Adeus Zoom. Olá Lisboa!

More on that later. Right now, I can report the final semester of sequestering is over, with a high degree of confidence that I—along with my fellow University of Minnesota classmates—will happily be learning/studying/kegging once again on campus this coming Fall. I for one can hardly wait. I do not plan on letting this change in study affect my now newly acquired COVID habits, I plan on wearing my pajamas to class and will continue watching TCM on my laptop while pretending to be listening.

Also, happy to report, I am now a senior senior with 24 credits left to graduation. Once again, it is a race between a degree and Alzheimer’s.

A brief recap of my classes:

CSCL 3212 Cinema: History of the Documentary

A very cool class with a look at everything from Nanook of the North to Paris is Burning. Of particular interest was Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog, a 2005 film where Herzog edited the footage of a bear loving naturalist who was eaten along with his girlfriend by one of the bears he was filming. Highly recommended (not the eating part but the documentary itself). Should you wish to read my scathing review of Herzog titled, Is Werner Herzog a Big Fat Bully? You may find it below. This paper is drawing quite a bit of attention on campus with literally dozens of people scrambling to ignore it. For part of our grade, we had to do a documentary on an aspect of our life this past semester. Here is my effort, Waiting for Charlie. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it will become a part of you (right Mark Trail?).

I managed to earn an A for the class.

My pal Sura, for whom I channeled Raymond Reddington from The Blacklist.

HIST 3053 Ancient Civilization: Rome 

This class was asynchronous, meaning we watched pre-recorded lectures when you wanted to, so naturally with no one to see me I wore a bedsheet as a toga and drank steadily from a goblet of wine. Well, when in Rome—or a Roman class—why not? I think it paid off because for several weeks we played a role-playing game, assigned different Romans during the 68 BCE uprising led by Sulla over Cicero. My team actually was able to turn the tables and change history to the extent that we were not killed, and we made Cicero look like a stupid baby. I channeled Raymond Reddington of The Blacklist for my character, and it worked out rather well. I also wrote a scintillating paper on the end of the Roman Republic (not the fall but the end of the Republic and the start of the autocratic rule period). Many argue it was the time with the defeat of Mark Antony and the extraordinary powers given to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BCE, or the time of Sulla or Caesar’s dictatorship, or even Actium assuming the title of Augustus: I propose it lasted to the time of Diocletian (280’s CE) ending with the return to a monarchy. I argue there was an elasticity to the Republic that allowed it to survive. You may review The Elasticity of the Roman Republic below, or simply wait for the movie, I have forwarded the paper to Sony Pictures and I believe it is creating quite a buzz, although for some reason they have served me a cease and desist.  

Regardless I did get an A in the class. 

Shuri Castle, Okinawa.

HIST 3476 War and Peace in Japan Through Popular Culture

This was a great class primarily on 20th century Japan and how it recovered from the end of World War 2 and became the giant powerhouse of a nation it is today: all without the ability to have a standing army. Yes, General Douglas MacArthur had Article 9 written into the Japanese constitution (the entire constitution was written by the US) which states they are to have no standing army, engage in no wars and represent pacifism. Naturally as early as three years later the US tried to get Japan to change the thing and they said arienai (no way). What was amazing was the anti-bomb story that was the original Godzilla. For my analysis on this and a couple other Japanese movies read below: Godzilla, Space Battleship Yamato and Silent Service: The Evolution of Peace in Three Acts. I suggest a bowl of popcorn while you do.

Yes, I received my third straight up A for the semester.

PORT 1102 Beginning Portuguese

Finally, this brings us to Portuguese, the language I selected to fulfill my language requirement (sort of like Spanish with a potato in your mouth). It has been a battle. I simply cannot hear it. Desculpe (sorry). The instructor was great, the students were great (five old people to three young ones) and I am optimistic. My plan is to spend the entire month of July in Lisbon in class four hours a day, five days a week learning the language from those who speak it. Thus, Goodbye Zoom, Hello Lisbon! My motto will be: “Por favor, fale apenas português para mim, a língua mais linda da Terra” (Please only speak Portuguese to me, the most beautiful language on Earth). If I can’t speak it, at the very least I can ingratiate myself and hopefully get a better pour. For a Story Map on my anticipated trip, you may see it here.

I did manage to get an A-.

Looking for trouble? Who, me?

That is it for now.

All-in-all a pretty good semester for me. It was a bit of a drag being home, but next Fall looks bright and promising, much like my employment prospects. I imagine there will be something to Blog about once I leave for Lisbon and if so, I will let you know. After all, how much trouble can a college student get into overseas? Hmm…

Until then, yip yip.

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