Friday, August 23, 2013

Libro Learning

La historia del espanol (By husband and wife team Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow, who also wrote The History of French) is a great history lesson. Beginning with the Iberian peninsula, it talks about all of the different groups going in and out, and then moves into the colonization of Latin America.

During my freshman year Intro to Theatre class the prof of the course would constantly say, 'Theatre doesn't happen in a vacuum, folks!' Well, she would love La historia because it tells you that neither does language. It's focus is how Spanish has formed and changed, why it took hold when other languages didn't, and why it is so widely spoken today.

There have been many points in this book at which I've literally gaped in amazement and said, 'Whoa, that is so interesting.' Below are two I could immediately recall.

The idea that mariners at the time of Columbus thought the earth was flat is a myth. Portugal was extremely advanced in astronomy, trigonometry and algebra and had calculated the size of the earth quite accurately. They turned down Columbus' westward voyage to India because they knew such a journey would be five times longer than his estimated 2,500 miles. No ship could carry enough food and water. Portugal missed out on a great discovery because they knew too much. Discouraging.

The idea that Tex-Mex, or Mexican American cuisine, is an adaptation of authentic cuisine is also inaccurate.  It developed in the same grassroots manner as other foods with indigenous roots, before the U.S.-Mexican border reached is present day line. 'When Americans put cheddar cheese and sour cream on their nachos they aren't distorting an authentic custom. No one else eats nachos.' The word Tex-Mex dates back to the 1850s.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Road Trip

I flew to L.A. earlier this month to help my brother move to Iowa City. He's starting his M.B.A. Cara went to IA City early to find a place to live, etc.

 The first thing we did was load the UHaul. Nick insisted this dresser could withstand the trip. I disagreed and was proven right when it exploded on the street.

Sinatra. The cutest pug ever, gets everything he wants.

 The rest is the great Utah/Colorado scenery. If you click one of the pictures it brings up a slide show.