Monday, July 25, 2016

A Night at the Newseum, or Week 4 of the Great Books Challenge

It's been a very good week for me, specifically with my return home.  I am no longer doing the readings online since I have physical copies of both the Gateway to the Great Books and the Great Books of the Western World collections.  Here's a link on Amazon if you want to check it out!

I've also been sporting my reads from this very cool nook that my wife designed and put together.  Babes dig guys that read.

In exchange, Lady Superfly had been wanting to go to the Newseum.  

What is the Newseum?  The Newseum is a museum that is all about the news.  So, imagine the boringness of a museum, then multiply it to the degree of boring of the news and then pay $40 for the experience and you have my first day of vacation.  Exhibits include old newspapers, featured stories you've seen before, and they spread it over 6 floors to ensure you don't fall asleep because you have to walk so damn much.  But at the very tip top you are treated to their crescendo exhibit: the front page of a bunch of different newspapers.  This exhibit is updated daily.  It was like being in a library but we paid.  I couldn't have been happier with the entire evolution (mainly because they had a pokestop nearby).  I was impressed to leave without one paper cut.  It was a harrowing experience.  I know what you're asking, "Superfly, would you go back?"  If you are asking me that you clearly have not seen my wife.  I would go to any museum with her just for the company.

One exhibit was right on point with last week's reading.  There was a First Amendment exhibit that I thought was extremely well done.  The freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and petition were't first recognized in the United States.  The English Bill of Rights in 1689 legitimized these rights.  What was also fascinating was the right to bear arms; a response to the Crown quartering British troops on civilian soil during a time of peace.  Understanding the underpinnings of these rights, and how they came to be part of American society is still relevant for conversations today.  I find it discouraging when people argue "the world is different today, we don't need to ever defend ourselves from the government."  Here's a picture of a guard tower from Checkpoint Charlie where Berliners were shot trying to cross the Berlin Wall:
Berlin Wall tower at the Newseum

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989.  Not exactly ancient history.

Here are the readings for this week:

  1. The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway (Vol. 2, pp. 169-177)
  2. Letter to Horace Greeley” by Abraham Lincoln (Vol. 6, pp. 756-757)
  3. The Making of Americans” by Jean de Crèvecouer (Vol. 6, pp. 546-559; excerpted from Letters From an American Farmer; stop reading at the paragraph which ends, “Thus Europeans become Americans.” Could not find a full version online)
  4. Of Persons One Would Wish to Have Seen” by William Hazlitt (Vol. 5, pp. 284-295)
  5. Michael Faraday” by John Tyndall (Vol. 8, pp. 8-28; Chapters 1-3 of Faraday as a Discoverer)
  6. The Enchiridion by Epictetus (Vol. 10, pp. 236-254)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Week 3 of the Great Books Challenge

What a wonderful week for reading!

The readings of Erskine, Woolf, and Hume highlighted the importance of our little project here.  I did find the idea fascinating that much of our literature portrays the intelligent characters as evil and the heroes are always moral but foolish.

The reading this week that caused me to do the most thinking was The Two Drovers by Walter Scott. Such a simple short story with a deep commentary on justice.  What did you think?

Here's what we have coming up this week:

  1. Of Truth” by Francis Bacon (GGB Vol. 10)
  2. The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg” by Mark Twain (GGB Vol. 2)
  3. The English Bill of Rights (1689) (GGB Vol. 6)
  4. My First Play” by Charles Lamb (GGB Vol. 5)
  5. The March to the Sea” by Xenophon (Book IV of The Persian Expedition)
  6. “The Sacred Beetle” by Jean-Henri Fabre (GGB Vol. 8; pp. 1-36 of The Sacred Beetle and Others)