Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cover Version Musical Interlude

I don't know why, precisely, but this is pretty darn catchy. It was recorded in about 1969, I believe.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ground (Possibly) To Be Broken

And who is that nice lady? Well, her name is Kim Ng, and, if Sports Illustrated is to be believed, she may well be the person to whom is entrusted the task of fixing what ails the Seattle Mariners. This would, obviously, be a first for North American major pro sports, and an overdue and welcome one at that!

RIP Paul Newman

Obituary here. I'm going to have to go and watch Slapshot again, I think.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Marine Mosaicing!

Here are a couple more pictures from the Womens' Baths at Herculaneum (note: yesterday's squid is visible in the octopus picture!

And, a story, related to edible marine life. My corner of The Warrens is a long, long, way from the Big Water, which is somewhat inconvenient given that I do like teh seafood! So, whenever I find myself in an area where such fare is plentiful and good (like, say, the Bay of Naples), I tend to indulge liberally. And so, one evening this past summer, I found myself in a little restaurant in Vico Equense, examining the menu and discovering that it included grilled calamari. This seemed to be just the thing, so I ordered it. The waiter made approving noises, took my order and went away. A little while later he returned, bearing a plate.

And on that plate, there was a squid.

And I do mean, here, an entire squid (grilled, at that). Well, the internal bits had been removed, but it was otherwise intact. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera at hand, or I'd show photographic proof. I am used to calamari being in the form of deep-fried rings and sort of tentacly pieces, and I had never seen it fully assembled like that.

So I ate the squid, and it was good.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Picture Of A Squid

Because why not, that's why!

Anyway, it's from the Womens' Baths at Herculaneum.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In Which A Student Cracks Up Chunklets

So, to appreciate this, you need to think back to the iconic British sci-fi series Doctor Who, and in particular to the good doctor's implacable nemeses, the Daleks. For those of you unfamiliar with them, they were vaguely conical robotic critters who wandered around killing things and chanting "EX-TER-MI-NATE, EX-TER-MI-NATE" in a gravelly electronic voice. Here's a clip:

Anyway, I was marking my students' first quiz yesterday ("Here are two Latin verbs. Conjugate them in the present active, please"). As is their wont, some of them who had finished quickly had occupied the rest of quiz time by doodling on their test papers. The one that got me was the girl who had drawn, on the back of her paper, a little sketch of Dalek saying "CON-JU-GATE, CON-JU-GATE." It did make me laugh out loud (I took a picture of it, which I will post as soon as I can get it downloaded off the camera), and also seriously consider giving extra marks...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Destination Unknown...

...or a report on events that transpired down at the ol' concert hall the other night. Rather than try to write something that looks like an actual concert review, I present you with a series of random observations:


  • Massive lineup to get in, but fortunately we're well towards the front. Security very tight, with a large police presence, but everything seems fairly good-humoured. That's good, because it's not necessarily the default setting for events like this.
  • And now we're being separated into girls' and boys' lineups! I think that the last time I did this was about Grade 3.
  • Joe Keithley, lead singer of DOA, saunters past with a cup of coffee (*clonk* - sound of a name being dropped).
  • We're in! There are lots and lots of people milling about the merchandise tables and concession stands. Many young punks, but also a fair number of older folks, many of them presumably scenesters from back in the day. There's the odd skinhead wandering about. And, we seem to have a contingent of the "baseball-cap-on-backwards" brigade, for some reason. They are drinking beer in the beer gardens, and calling each other "Bro." The overall age range that I've spotted so far would be from about 10 to about 55.

Wednesday Night Heroes

  • I don't know too much about these guys, except that they're quite highly rated around here, enough to get them onto a ticket with DOA and Rancid.
  • They are enthusiastic, and loud. Particularly the lead singer.
  • They do manage to get a circle pit started at the front a couple of times, but it dies out after one or two songs. People are saving their efforts for later, I guess.
  • A tidy half-hour set. I think they'd be fun to see in a somewhat more intimate setting.


  • Funny story: Back in, I believe, the 1970s, the Soviet ambassador to Canada paid a historic visit to a Doukhbor community in British Columbia, an event that some historians consider a very early sign of the glasnost that was to come. In the last year or so, a reporter from a Canadian magazine went out to talk to that Doukhbor group about the ambassador's visit. After his interview with the elder members of the community was finished, and dinner had been consumed, the reporter was asked if he would perhaps like to hear some music. He agreed, resigning himself to an evening of Russian folk tunes. And then they took him to see DOA.
  • DOA have been playing punk rock for 30 years, which probably accounts for the presence of many of the older folks at the concert.
  • The band kicks things off with "World War 3," one of their very early songs. Pleasantly, they've turned the volume down a bit, having seemingly recognised that "ear-bleedingly loud" is not necessary.
  • Keithley looks very fit.
  • Yay! An expletive-filled anti-Stephen Harper rant from Mr. Keithley, right before, IIRC, playing "General Strike."
  • And, after a selection of their better-known works, the set is over. Sadly, they did not play "World Falls Apart," so I'll give you the video here to make up for it:


  • Much excitement as the headliners take the stage launch into... I actually can't remember precisely what they started with. They played "Roots Radicals" very early on, though.
  • The crowd where we're standing gets a little bit squirrely at the beginning of Rancid's set, largely due to the actions of one Mr. Aggro (not his real name, probably). One of things that you get early in punk rock sets is people pushing their way to the front to dance, along with people pushing their way to the back to get out of the pit. So, you get bumped into a lot, sometimes quite hard. Mr. Aggro is not handling this very well, and in fact is taking swings at anybody who runs into him. Some of the people at whom he is swinging are objecting. Fortunately, crowd peristalsis moves Mr. Aggro away from our general area, and, as everybody gets to where they want to be, things settle down.
  • And... I'm goin' with the earplugs for this one. Sigh. Actually, they work really well. The music is still easily loud enough to let you know you're at a gig, but not loud enough to cause physical pain.
  • They band rolls through "Knowledge," an old Operation Ivy song. Neat!
  • Rancid have always been one of the musically more capable punk bands out there, and they are ON this evening. They're also, unfortunately, a little remote at the start of their set; it is, after all, opening night for this tour. However, as the set goes on they start interacting with the crowd a bit more, with guitarist/vocalist Lars Frederikson hauling most of the freight in this regard.
  • Lead man Tim Armstrong occasionally seems to get lost in his own little world (it is possible, possible, that there are pharmaceutical reasons for this). This, however, is fairly standard concert behaviour for him, and is actually kind of endearing.
  • Bassist Matt Freeman is contenting himself with being, IMHO, the best bass player in rock'n'roll (forget just punk rock) today. The band plays "Maxwell Murder," which gives him his very own solo, and he nails it.
  • Break Time! Three quarters of the band takes a breather, leaving Frederikson alone on stage to do a solo, almost gentle, version of "The War's End." Like so (the video's from a gig in Japan a few years back):

  • All-in-all, the band gets through most of what you'd expect to hear at a Rancid gig, including a really nice version of "Old Friend," which always gets people up and jumping around. Is there anything I'd like to have heard, but didn't? Yeah, probably, but I can't think of it offhand ("She's Automatic," maybe).
  • The close things off with "Ruby Soho," giving me an excuse to post this excellent video, again from Japan. Be warned! There's NSFW language in the pre-song banter:

  • Encore! Encore! They come back out and play "Time Bomb," and that's all she wrote! Very impressive, particularly Mr. Frederikson.


  • Eximus omnes.
  • We get lost in the tunnels and parking garages under downtown, and end up surfacing over near Chinatown. Ah well.
  • And a fine time was had by most! All three bands did well, the crowd was in good form (Mr. Aggro aside), and it was all highly satisfying!

September 11th

September 11th, 2001, was a Tuesday. I remember this quite well, since back in them days Tuesday evening was D&D night, chez The Stealthy Dachshund (the world is a greatly changed place; D&D night is now Monday, and, while it is still at The Stealthy Dachshund's place, that place is now a different place, if you see what I mean). In the early afternoon, the somewhat sheepish e-mails started flying about: "So, um, what with World War III and everything, are we still gaming tonight?" Well, the chili was already cooking (that particular evening also being Chili Night), so it was eventually decided that D&D night would go ahead as planned, and so it did, with occasional breaks to check up on the latest breaking news.

The other personal memory I have of that day involved keeping up with events. I was at work, and it was, of course, nearly impossible to access any of the web sites for the major news services. I ended up getting most of my information about what was going on from the messageboards at one of the Millwall fan websites; people were watching the BBC's coverage of the attacks on television, and posting what they were seeing. Recently, that messageboard looked like it was going to shut down, prompting a fair amount of reminiscing amongst the longer-serving members. Turns out that I wasn't the only one who relied on the board for news that day.

Anyway, one gentle request of the people both here and to the south of us, as we head forth to exercise the franchise in the coming months: could we please not elect the people who made, and continue to make, political hay out of the events of September 11, 2001? Thanks.

Monday, September 8, 2008


You know, when the IOC considers things like the the level of international competitiveness in a sport - say, women's ice hockey, for example - it tends to look askance at silliness like this (note: link opens in a PDF). Seriously here - were the Slovaks actively trying to get get the sport turfed from the Olympics? What possessed them to run up the score like that? And how did the Bulgarians decide that it was a good idea to play in this tournament, given that they draw their national team from a grand total of 37 registered female players? How is this any good for anybody? Argh.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Amo, Amas, Amat, And So On

Another September, another group of bright young undergraduates yearning to be Latinists. Well, perhaps "yearning" is a bit strong, at least in some cases. Anyway, I met with my new group for the first time yesterday, and they seem promising. I've officially got 30, of whom 27 showed up yesterday, along with one fellow who wasn't on my class list on account of late registration. So it's a full class, which is nice. The students showed a willingness to come forward and volunteer answers, which is also a good thing.

One interesting thing came up yesterday. One of my "first class" exercises is involves giving the students the sentence "Latin is a(n)_______________ language" and asking them to fill in the blank. Then we discuss concepts like "dead," "Indo-European," and "inflected." Well, one of the suggestions offered up yesterday was "snobby." I sigh heavily at this point, but not in the direction of the particular student who gave that answer. I know exactly where he's coming from; I have had people accuse me, to my face, of arrogance and "elitism" based merely on the fact that I teach Latin. The perceived "snobbishness" of Latin has been used as a weapon to attack its inclusion in the modern curriculum, and if you wish to see that line of reasoning joyfully and deliciously beaten to a pulp, then I recommend Peter Jones' essay "Primal Scream," published in his book An Intelligent Person's Guide to Classics. The battle against the idea of "Latin as snobbery" has not been won yet, but I set out each September to do my bit.

On the other hand, the omens are good. As I mentioned some time ago, I've been tutoring a woman who is now teaching Latin at a local High School. At her first Grade 10 Latin class this past Tuesday, she had more than 35 students. This, I think, is a good thing!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oh Dear.

Good: You are the New England Revolution, a modestly successful MLS franchise.
Even Better: You qualified for the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions' League.
Very Encouraging: You were drawn against a mid-table team from the Trinidad & Tobago Pro League.
Suddenly Very Bad: The team from T&T beat you.
Even Worse: 4-0
Oh God Make It Stop: In front of your home fans.
Crawling Away In Abject Humiliation: The team from T&T is called Joe Public FC.