Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lots of talk about things one knows nothing about...

  Snipers, I was interested in becoming a sniper in Vietnam, didn't happen since I was on a re-enlistment bonus and had to work in my Military Occupation Specialty - so they shipped me off to where they needed my precision computing of big rounds on little targets. Could have had a larger score than many snipers, but it wasn't really being counted except by the enemy - since it was a team effort I would never believe anything except I got the rounds on target as fast and perfect as I could. I learned that going without enough sleep for days would affect my computing abilities and that as soon as someone asked us to shoot for them - everything else was gone all we did was shoot, moving ammunition for gun crews, getting chow for people that couldn't move from the mission... making sure it was quiet so only the important words were in the air to hear.

   When I am asked about war I tell them that if they read and study the Iliad, everything about war (as the Europeans fight it) is there. I watched two versions of the story on DVD yesterday. Helen of Troy and Troy, both are good films, but not the real story - although I wish I could merge them into a better telling, must have had a ton more money in Troy than Helen of Troy. The military action was better in Troy but the story was really shortened by nine years and a bunch of months in that one. It was a ten year effort. I have Robert Fagles' translation of The Iliad, he kept the poetry - I am not smart enough to know if he kept Homer's meter.

  Too many words for someone not working on their scholarship of the classic. So I have a fine condensation with illustrations: Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of THE ILIAD by Rosemary Sutcliff,  illustrated by Alan Lee.  Seems the book Amazon.com is selling is a newer version without Alan Lee's illustrations - get the Delacorte Press, 1993. Half price books might have one - it is a keeper. For free, on the Project Gutenberg eBook has the version I read and loved for many years - mainly because of the fine line drawings, The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy, by Padraic Colum. I have his The Children of Odin, again with illustrations, 1920, but that was when men were men and sagas and myths meant something. Willy Pogany was the illustrator.

  If I were in charge, the books of classics, would have just enough quality illustration to promote the words, but not enough to pull you out of the story, I could always go back and look at the pictures. Well this was fun, hope your days are full of heroes and heroines (does anyone know that word now? or is it like Honor, just not well understood).


  1. Huh, didn't realize those were two different movies... Guess I better pay more attention!

  2. Huh, didn't realize those were two different movies... Guess I better pay more attention!