New “Secret History” Mini-series by Oliver Stone

From the NY Daily News:

Oliver Stone has a secret . . . or ten.

The Academy Award-winning director is shooting a ten part nonfiction series for Showtime about “secret” events in U.S. history.

“Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America,” debuting in 2010, covers topics from the reasons behind the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. and changes in America’s global role since the fall of Communism to President Harry Truman’s difficult decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945.

Showtime says the project examines events that were “at the time under-reported, but crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history.”

Stone believes the series will become “the deepest contribution I could ever make in film to my children and the next generation,” he said in a statement to Reuters. “I can only hope a change in our thinking will result.”

The 62-year-old won a Purple Heart for his military service in Vietnam, and drew praise for his Oscar-winning war films “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July”.

But his historical takes in the feature film “JFK” and his Fidel Castro documentary “Comandante” drew criticism, with some slamming his material for being opinionated or flat-out imaginative.

Stone’s last foray into political movies, “W,” about President George W. Bush, opened in 2008 just weeks before the last U.S. presidential election.

He’s currently filming a sequel to his 1987 hit “Wall Street,” which highlighted the greed and corruption behind the stock market and financial industry.

Stone has been working on his “Secret History” series for almost two years, and will narrate each 60-minute episode. An air date for the debut has not been set yet.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2009/08/20/2009-08-20_in_.html#ixzz0OjVLf8J6
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Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 9:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fountain of Youth?

Fountain of Youth—Just Wishful Thinking?

By Willie Drye at National Geographic

During his twilight years, American author Mark Twain noted that “life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.”

Photo: Painting of the Fountain of Youth

Painting of the mythical Fountain of Youth

Photograph by Fine Art Photographic Library/CORBIS

Twain’s quip was only one of many complaints about aging that have been recorded for as long as humans have dreaded the downside of a long life. The ancient Greek poet Homer called old age “loathsome,” and William Shakespeare termed it “hideous winter.”

So it’s not hard to understand why there have always been hopes and rumors that something soon to be discovered—magic waters, say, or maybe stem cell research—will do away with old age.

Alexander the Great, who conquered most of the known world before he died around 323 B.C., may have been looking for a river that healed the ravages of age. During the 12th century A.D., a king known to Europeans as Prester John supposedly ruled a land that had a river of gold and a fountain of youth.

But the name linked most closely to the search for a fountain of youth is 16th-century Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who allegedly thought it would be found in Florida. In St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., there’s a tourist attraction dating back a century that purports—albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way—to be the fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon discovered soon after he arrived in what is now Florida in 1513.

There are a couple of problems with labeling St. Augustine’s natural spring as Ponce de Leon’s fountain of youth, however. Elderly visitors who drink the spring’s sulfur-smelling water don’t turn into teenagers. And Ponce de Leon probably wasn’t looking for such a fountain and may not have set foot near present-day St. Augustine. Many historians now think he came ashore about 140 miles (225 kilometers) farther south near present-day Melbourne.

The Thrill of the Chase?

But the tale of the search for a fountain of youth is so appealing that it survives anyway, says Ryan K. Smith, a professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

“People are more intrigued by the story of looking and not finding than they are by the idea that the fountain might be out there somewhere,” Smith says.

No original documents survive from Ponce de Leon’s Florida expedition. Spanish historians writing long after he died in 1521 may have created the story that he was seeking the fountain to make fun of him because he was an old man who wanted to restore his sexual vigor, Smith says.

Still, a few grains of truth have helped sustain the story. Kathleen Deagan, a professor of archaeology at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a National Geographic Society grantee, says a cemetery and the remains of a Spanish mission dating back to St. Augustine’s founding in 1565 have been discovered near the so-called fountain of youth.

“It’s always been interesting and ironic that the site is, in fact, one of the most important historical sites in Florida,” Deagan says.

Michelle Reyna, a spokesperson for the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park in St. Augustine, says the fountain has been a tourist attraction since at least 1901 and may have been attracting visitors since 1860.

Published in: on August 7, 2009 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Light Reading Material…

51PW9HTksOL._SS500_

Below is the small list the good people at TExES exam give for preparation purposes. I just ordered the teachers edition of One of Many, the US Hist text from Amazon for a whopping $5.47! Chris and I were sitting here wondering if any smart high schoolers scour the earth for the teachers editions of their texts. I mean, come on, wouldn’t you? While I wait for my textbook to arrive, I am reading a 10th grade world history book(found at half price books for $9.97.) Not the most fascinating thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on but it is helping give me some recollection of what I think I learned in high school.

Alvermann, D. E., Moon, J., and Hagood, M. (Eds.) (1999).  Popular Culture in the Classroom:
Teaching and Researching Critical Media Literacy.  Newark, DE:  International Reading
Association.
Baerwald, T. J., and Fraser, C. (2002).  World Geography:  Building a Global Perspective.  Upper Saddle
River, NJ:  Prentice Hall.
Bahmueller, C. F. (1991).  Civitas:  A Framework for Civic Education (Bulletin No. 86).  Calabasas, CA:
Center for Civic Education.
Banks, J. A. (1998).  Teaching Strategies for the Social Studies (5th ed.).  Reading, MA:  Addison-
Wesley Publishing Company.
Bergman, E. F., and Renwick, W. H. (2002).  Introduction to Geography:  People, Places, and
Environment (2d ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall.
Boyes, W., and Melvin, M. (1999).  Economics (4th ed.).  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company.
Calvert, R. A., and DeLeón, A. (1995).  The History of Texas (2d ed.).  Arlington Heights, IL:  Harlan
Davidson, Inc.
Davidson, J. P., Reed, W. E., and Davis, P. M. (1997).  Exploring Earth:  An Introduction to Physical
Geography.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall.
Expectations of Excellence:  Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (Bulletin No. 89) (1994).
Washington, D.C.:  National Council for the Social Studies.
Faragher, John M., Buhle, M. J., Czitrom, D., and Armitage, S. H. (2000).  Out of Many:  A History of the
American People (3d ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall.

Alvermann, D. E., Moon, J., and Hagood, M. (Eds.) (1999).  Popular Culture in the Classroom:
Teaching and Researching Critical Media Literacy.  Newark, DE:  International Reading
Association.
Baerwald, T. J., and Fraser, C. (2002).  World Geography:  Building a Global Perspective.  Upper Saddle
River, NJ:  Prentice Hall.
Bahmueller, C. F. (1991).  Civitas:  A Framework for Civic Education (Bulletin No. 86).  Calabasas, CA:
Center for Civic Education.
Banks, J. A. (1998).  Teaching Strategies for the Social Studies (5th ed.).  Reading, MA:  Addison-
Wesley Publishing Company.
Bergman, E. F., and Renwick, W. H. (2002).  Introduction to Geography:  People, Places, and
Environment (2d ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall.
Boyes, W., and Melvin, M. (1999).  Economics (4th ed.).  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company.
Calvert, R. A., and DeLeón, A. (1995).  The History of Texas (2d ed.).  Arlington Heights, IL:  Harlan
Davidson, Inc.
Davidson, J. P., Reed, W. E., and Davis, P. M. (1997).  Exploring Earth:  An Introduction to Physical
Geography.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall.
Expectations of Excellence:  Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (Bulletin No. 89) (1994).
Washington, D.C.:  National Council for the Social Studies.
Faragher, John M., Buhle, M. J., Czitrom, D., and Armitage, S. H. (2000).  Out of Many:  A History of the
American People (3d ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall.

Published in: on August 3, 2009 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Beer Summits Started Long Long Ago…

egyptbeerpouringPresident Obama’s “Beer Summit” was surely not the first time leaders sat with their citizens and enjoyed a glass of the tasty beverage. Beer is actually one of the oldest beverages in the world, next to tea. Beer can be traced back to Sumer,  African tribes and Egypt. The oldest proven records of beer are about 6,000 years old and refer to the Sumerians.  Sumeria is between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers including Southern Mesopotamia and the ancient cities of Babylon and Ur.

Excerpt from A History of Beer:

“It is said that the Sumerians discovered the fermentation process by chance.  No one knows today exactly how this occurred, but it could be that a piece of bread or grain became wet and a short time later, it began to ferment and a inebriating pulp resulted. These early accounts, with pictograms of what is recognizably barley, show bread being baked then crumbled into water to make a mash, which is then made into a drink that is recorded as having made people feel “exhilarated, wonderful and blissful!” It could be that baked bread was a convenient method of storing and transporting a resource for making beer. The Sumerians were able to repeat this process and are assumed to be he first civilized culture to brew beer. They had discovered a “divine drink” which certainly was a gift from the gods.

The Egyptians carried on the tradition of beer brewing. They also used unbaked bread dough for making beer and added dates to the brew to improve the taste. The importance of beer brewing in ancient Egypt can be seen from the fact that the scribes created an extra hieroglyph for “brewer”.

Although beer as we know it had its origins in Mesopotamia, fermented beverages of some sort or another were produced in various forms around the world. For example, Chang is a Tibetan beer and Chicha is a corn beer and kumis is a drink produced from fermented camel milk. The word beer comes from the Latin word bibere, meaning “to drink”, and the Spanish word cerveza originates from the Greek goddess of agriculture, Ceres.”

Sources:

http://www.alabev.com/

http://www.herestobeer.com/

Published in: on August 2, 2009 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My Road to Teaching (is Paved w. Good Intentions…)

History

So lets start at the semi-beginning. I wrote down somewhere that I want to “inspire people” for a living. Great. That limits my options. And then, one day I thought intensely about my lack of inspiration and started to long for the days of my academic past and the high school history teacher I still remember so well (and had a dream about recently, no details for you all on that one!) And somehow the idea of teaching started to sound brilliant. And somehow, history was the only option. After all, it couldn’t be that different than Art History right? (Ha!) So after I made the decision, I started looking for programs and realized w/o history credit in college I will have to take the state social studies exam that covers everything that has happened in the world at large from before time to the present and US Government, and Econ. That’s all?  Oh, and some psychology and sociology for good measure. But, once I pass the exam this January, I will find my way to a program and  be in the classroom by next August.

I have 5 areas or “domains” that the TeXes exam covers. These are broken down into competencies, of which there are 23. I have 30 weeks until the test. What’s the best way to tackle them? If I do one week per competency, if that’s even possible, I would finish 7 weeks early. If I do one domain per 5 weeks, I just get in by the deadline. Should I study 1 comp per week   and then pick up the pieces and test myself after I finish them all? I’ve pasted the domains and competencies below. Tell me what you think.

Domain                  Competency
I World History    001 Ancient World Civ.
I World History    002 World 476 AD-1350
I World History    003 World 1350-1815
I World History    004 World 1815-Present
II US History    005 Exploration/Colonization
II US History    006 Revolutionary Era
II US History    007 Expansion/Civil War
II US History    008 US as World Power
II US History    009 Pol/Eco/Soc 1877-Present
III Geography/Culture/Soc Sci    010 Physical Geography
III Geography/Culture/Soc Sci    011 Cultural and Human Geo
III Geography/Culture/Soc Sci    012 Humans and environment
III Geography/Culture/Soc Sci    013 Soc/Anth/Psych
IV Government and Citizens    014 Democratic Govt
IV Government and Citizens    015 Citizenship and Pol. Process
IV Government and Citizens    016 Types of Pol. Systems
V Econ and Sci/Tech/Society    017 Econ Systems/Concepts
V Econ and Sci/Tech/Society    018 Free Enterprise System
V Econ and Sci/Tech/Society    019 Sci/Tech/Soci
VI Soc St Foundations/Skills    020 Soc St Foundations/Skills
VI Soc St Foundations/Skills    021 Sources of Soc Info
VI Soc St Foundations/Skills    022 Soc St. Research
VI Soc St Foundations/Skills    023 Soc Instruction/Assessment

Published in: on July 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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