Monday, October 13

Today is Monday. Week 8 is now over... and Week 9 has begun. Monday morning, until noon, is the grace period if you did not finish any of the Week 8 assignments. This week's topic in the Myth-Folklore class is Native American stories, and in Indian Epics you will be starting the Mahabharata. I hope you will enjoy the readings!

Class Procedures and Reminders

Storybook Stack. As always on Monday, I will have a huge bunch of assignments in the Storybook stack waiting for me to look at. The first thing I will do on Monday morning when I get to work is to update the list of items in the Storybook stack. So, after 9AM or so on Monday, you will be able to check the contents of the stack to make sure I received your assignment. During a "new story" week, it takes me quite a while to get through the stack, so I would urge everybody to check the stack to make sure your assignment is there.

Tech Tips. For the second half of the semester, I have added some new Tech Tips, so the new "new" items on that list are ones that I have just now added: Tech Tips.

Myth-Folklore UnTextbook Update
. (repeat announcement) I went through the reading units for the second half of the semester and added some information about language and story length that I hope will be helpful as you choose what to read. When you go to the Table of Contents, you will now find Weeks 9-10 at the top, followed by Weeks 11-12 and Weeks 13-14, while I have moved Weeks 2-6 down to the bottom of the page. Especially if you have been working ahead and/or doing extra credit, you might want to start planning out your end of the semester. If you do not need to complete six more reading units, you can pick and choose the units you most want to do. So, for example, if you are more interested in the European options than in the British options, you might start calculating your points through the end of the semester to see if you want to skip one or even both of the British reading weeks. 

Indian Epics: Mahabharata! (repeat announcement) In the Indian Epics class, you will be starting the Mahabharata this week, with Narayan's book as the reading for Weeks 9-10. Then, for Weeks 11-14 you will have a choice of what to read: Buck's Mahabharata OR Indian reading units from the Myth-Folklore UnTextbook. You might want to start thinking about that, especially if you might need to order a copy of Buck's book. I've put up some information here that I hope will be helpful: Indian Epics Reading Choice.

Google Weirdness. There was some Google weirdness going on this weekend (spam prevention algorithms flagging things as spam that are not spam at all). I'm hoping that will get fixed up very quickly (that has been the case when this happened in the past), but I did want to take this opportunity to urge people to make sure you have an alternate email address and/or text messaging option in case you do run into trouble with your Google account: Google Account Security

The following items are for fun and exploration:

Recommended Book: Etymologicon . As you have probably guessed, I love word origins, a.k.a. etymologies. I've got all kinds of etymology books on my bookshelves, both physical and virtual, but THIS is my favorite of them all: The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language by Mark Forsyth

Indian Words in English: Today's Indian word in English is juggernaut, which comes to English from Sanskrit. For details, see this blog post.

Featured Storybook: Tales of the Raven: Trickster or Hero? You may know about Raven the trickster, but now you need to learn about Raven the hero and why you are indebted to him in ways you probably have never imagined.

FREE Kindle eBook: Blackfeet Indian Stories by George Bird Grinnell. Here is a link to the book at Amazon, and this blog post provides additional information about the book, which is the source for the Blackfoot unit coming up in Myth-Folklore.

Words of Wisdom: Today's proverb poster is Big oaks from little acorns grow (an English proverb). Details at the Proverb Lab. From small beginnings, big outcomes!

Mahabharata Image: Today's Mahabharata image is Ganga Pursued by Shantanu. Moving on now from the Ramayana, there will be Mahabharata images every day for the rest of the semester.

Monday Event on Campus: There wil be a talk by Rami Khouri at noon in Hester Hall Room 145: "Beyond Sunni and Shiites: Understanding the violent recalibration of Arab state, sect, tribe and citizen" (details). Find out more about this and other events at the Campus Calendar online.

October 13: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Today marks the birthday in 1948 of the great Pakistani qawwali singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Sadly, he died in 1997, but he left behind an amazing musical career with many beautiful recordings. You can read more about his career and legacy in this Wikipedia article. I was lucky enough to hear him perform in 1994, and it was one of the most marvelous concerts I have ever attended. Qawwali is a musical style traditionally associated with Sufism, a mystical tradition of Islam. There are some wonderful concert recordings at YouTube (this particular video has had over two million views - wow!) - and here is a picture that give you a sense of what his ecstatic concert performances looked like:

Note: You can page back through older blog posts to see any announcements you might have missed, and you can check out the Twitter stream for information and fun stuff during the day.