Saturday, August 13, 2005

Topics... topics... topics...

I don't know what this entry is going to be about... I've got a lot on my mind. That is not to say that I've got problems. Thankfully, I don't right now. ::knocks wood:: But this is going to meander.

Zinzi graduated this evening. Well, she had her nursing college convocation anyway. Tomorrow, is the official graduation at the Sundome, where she will receive her degree cum laude. We're all very proud of her.

Note to self: Do not wear shoes that are 2" or higher without stockings again for any amount of time. Bad idea if I don't want blisters.

Andrea is flying up to Chicago tomorrow. She will miss Zinzi's graduation by mere hours. She's taking most of clothing up there to partially move. We're all very worried about her. She was only released from the hospital this afternoon. She's been having severe abdominal issues for most of the week.

I am flying to South Carolina on Sunday. Quite excited about this... and I need to pack tomorrow at some point... and go shopping...

I'm watching a show on Discovery Science Channel right now. It's called "Metropolis" and is a series about the great ancient cities: Athens, Babylon, Carthage, Rome, etc... This one is about Rome. It's very interesting as it doesn't deal with the history or influence of the city as much as how the city operated day-to-day and the culture that ran it. It's been talking about the night life, the sewer system, the aqueducts and who got the water from them as opposed to from the Tiber, the diseases that Romans were plagued with because of the size and consequent filth of the city, the garbage dump (aka Rome's eighth hill)... All quite interesting and *none* of it was covered in my Roman Civilization course last Spring semester. tsk, tsk, tsk... This would have been more interesting than watching Ben Hur with Charlton Heston, let me tell you! (I would also add "Spartacus" and "Gladiator" to that, but I actually like those movies, historical inaccuracies notwithstanding. Tony Curtis, Lawrence Olivier, Kurt Douglas and Russell Crowe... Can it get much better than that? I don't think so...)

But this brings me to another topic: HBO is going to be airing a new mini-series/series (they talk about it like it's both at the same time, so I'm not sure if we're getting multiple seasons or what) called "Rome." It begins during the Caesar vs. Pompey civil war. Cleopatra will become involved before the end. It's going to get up close and personal with these historical figures and many others, as well as common people who are mentioned in the biographies of the famous ones. The producers are getting meticulously and obsessively historical, no matter what previous theatrical depictions of Rome would have us believe about her and her people. The set designer for example went and talked to archaeologists and historians about what Rome looked like and then rebuilt all the major sets on a five-acre lot outside of Rome in Italy. There won't be white marble everything like we've seen in every other historical film involving Rome because Romans were, in fact, obsessed with color and painted everything in bright, beautiful colors. It's going to look more like what people would think Babylon looked like rather than Rome. One of the designers said, "think of Calcutta today, and you have ancient Rome with cars and bicycles." They made all of the costumes out of the materials they would have been made of in the 1st century BCE. No polyester rags for the peasants, no aluminum breastplates for the soldiers. And this truly impressed me... Not only did they find an actor who looks pretty close to a middle-aged Caesar, but Caesar is going to actually live up to his reputation as the "wife of every husband and husband of every wife." Scandalous by Hollywood's and Middle America's standards, but accurate! Not only that - and this truly shocked me - but Atia, the mother of a 14-year-old Octavious (Caesar's great-nephew) will be trying to nudge him into Caesar's sights, among other things, in order to gain favor with Caesar. Utterly horrifying on a number of levels by modern standards, but it happened and often in ancient Rome, and that's honestly not the half of it as far as the messed up, torturous, agonizing ordeal that Roman children were subjected to for what was believed to be their own good by their parents (There were reasons that the mortality rate of children under two was 70%, and 50% from 2 to 10. Only 15 out of every 100 children born safely lived to see their 11th birthday. And since it had a population of approximately 1 million, it boggles the mind how many children were born but didn't live. "Brutal" doesn't even begin to cover it.). This unflinching dedication to extreme accuracy can only, in my opinion, deepen the modern understanding of the past (in this case, the - debatably - greatest ancient civilization of the Western world). I will be watching for more info on "Rome."

I am hoping that this will usher in a trend in historic film; that they will become obsessive in their accuracy and show the past with all its flaws and foibles, as well as all its wondrous, magical moments and beauty. Perhaps their is hope for "The Iliad" as I see it afterall...

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