September 28, 2010

Good Tues. Bright and cold here this ayem, +16.

Yokelly, I can recommend the Robert Fagles translation of Homer’s Odyssey. It reads fast and is a gripping story. You can hear a terrific recording of this translation performed by Sir Ian McKellen (aka Gandalf in LOTR), formerly of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which is available on CD and probably also can be downloaded. As a longtime fan of audio books, I would place this recording in the top five I have heard.

Homer was far and away the most popular Greek author of antiquity. Men tended to favor The Iliad, with its cut and thrust fighting scenes, but for my money The Odyssey has it beat for sheer narrative interest. Also, the few women in The Iliad are prizes of war or doomed Trojan queens and princesses, not to mention quarreling goddesses in Olympus. The Odyssey features several strong women characters, some of them goddesses (Pallas Athena, Circe, Calypso) and others queens and commoners (Penelope, Arete, Nausicaa, Helen of Sparta aka Helen of Troy, Eurycleia the nurse, Melantho the disloyal maidservant, etc.). The oral epics were encyclopedias of cultural values, so The Odyssey is a window on social values in the Eastern Mediterranean world circa 1000 bce. The Fagles translation has a superb introduction by Bernard Knox, the great American Classicist, that aims to convey to a general audience why Homer is still considered among the greatest world authors 2700 years after his death. It’s the best single introduction to Homer I know of. Also very readable is M. I. Finley’s classic The World of Odysseus, which is a historian’s view of that world.

Locally, the gnus is substantially different and unclassic. We have this story—

North Pole minister indicted in fatal motorcycle crash

by Chris Freiberg / cfreiberg@newsminer.com Fairbanks Daily News Miner

FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks man has been indicted in connection with a fatal accident that occurred on the Fourth of July.

Last week, a grand jury indicted Anthony W. Buie, 59, on one count of criminally negligent homicide, a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Buie was driving a 2005 Chrysler minivan south on Cowles Street about 7:30 p.m. when he reportedly ran a red light.

The minivan was struck by a 2005 Suzuki motorcycle that Thomas N. Favero II, 37, was riding west on Airport Way.

Favero was transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Buie, who is a minister at True Victory Baptist Church in North Pole, was uninjured in the collision.

Court records do not list an attorney for Buie, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge Oct. 12.

This is the first of two incidents here this year where a driver ran a red light and killed someone. The other victim was a 13 year old bicyclist. The proliferation of distractions in people’s cars no doubt contributes to this unnecessary carnage. In the words of the immortal bard, “Leave the cell phone alone when you drive.”

On which topic, I would say also that the iPod type music players are a distraction because you have to look at them to choose a different artist or track, taking your eyes off the road. You could change a cassette without really looking at it, but not so with CDs and other digital media.

Enjoy Tues.

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