Friday, March 21, 2008

Ancient Civilizations Book #10

Well, I didn't mean to read this, but I picked up Frontiers in Archeology by Robert Silverberg. I've read a lot of Silverberg over the years, mostly fantasy and sci-fi stuff.

Since I teach art history, I already have an interest in Ancient Civilizations, but sadly most texts are like death to get through. I had read one of Silverberg's other history books in my college American History class a million years ago. I recall that I enjoyed it, and after reading
Frontiers in Archeology I remember why.

This book definitely gives a lot of information and cites reputable academic sources. I always caution my students to be leery of information garnered from the world wide web. I tell them I am certain that I can find Billy Joe Bob Fred's website that says absolutely that the moon is made of green cheese. Perhaps Silverberg is such a wonderful fantasy writer because he is such a palatable writer of history.

This small book (182 pages) does not explore any of the topics in excessive depth, but seems to give the reader enough information to encourage them to want to know more. It does not attempt to touch on every significant item about each civilization, but gives tantalizi
ng "bits" of information. Much like an appetizer!

The book looks at notable ancient civilizations: Jericho, Ugarit, Shang, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Easter Island. Throughout the book there is discussion of influences of the other civilizations. It asks a lot of questions that no one knows the answers to, but provides information that has been ascertained by the study of archaeologists.

I never thought I would be devouring information about the digs of various seasons at Jericho, but after reading this, I want to read something in more depth. I felt the same way about each of the civilizations presented in this book.

I think this will make me a better teacher!

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This week has been interesting. Lots of drama. The final word came down on moving our magnet programs to a different school. Three of the magnets will move. This is disappointing but not unexpected. What is sad is that one of the clusters has no applications for the new school. It's kind of hard to grow a program if no one applies.

I saw this picture in Al Dia today. Holy Cow! For those of you familiar with the neighborhood this was on Northwest Highway near Lawther near Flag Pole Hill!

The weather has been lovely after the monsoon on Tuesday. The children are coming out in droves. I have started book #11. I didn't expect to read this one either, but it sucked me in quickly. Since the last book was SO academic (even thou
gh it was really fun) this book is certainly NOT intellectual. It's trashy and fun. I've ordered another book recommended by my friend the nurse. I asked another friend who reads everything and she said it was interesting (of course she had read it already).

I think I may just go back on the porch and observe the neighborhood. Life is interesting as it wanders by. This morning there were grackles in the tree overhead doing quite a lot of posturing. It's so funny to see the males get all puffed up and noisy. Seems a little like the boys at school. I get a little nervous in the spring. The gang activity seems to become more prevalent. I feel so sorry for the kids that really believe that this is the way for them to survive. I feel more sorry for the girls who hitch their stars to the gang bangers. I'm learning more about gangs than I ever wanted to know. I'm just tired of hearing children brag about their gang affiliations. We shouldn't have to hear about it at school. I'm also tired of hearing profanity all the time. What is sad is that the kids don't think anything of it. I cannot imagine walking by a teacher at South Garland High School and saying "these motherfucking teachers get on my nerves, I mean these motherfucking teachers are tripping." I looked at the young lady and said "Miss, please watch your language." She looked right at me and said "these motherfucking teachers DO get on my nerves." I guess she did not perceive the correction intended in my comment.

Oy. Maybe I should carry my hammers with me.