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John McChesney-Young
Works at UC Berkeley, History of Art Department
Attended University of California, Berkeley
Lives in Berkeley, California
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John McChesney-Young

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San Francisco jury holds both driver, employer responsible in fatal crash and awards family $4 million.
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John McChesney-Young

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On South Park Drive in Tilden Park yesterday morning. My direct commute isn't nearly as beautiful.
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A frequent lunch reading spot, on the ledge of my office balcony.
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Thanks for posting this.....aaaah, I feel your joy...
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John McChesney-Young

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#onthisday   in 1824, the Scottish minister and author George MacDonald was born in Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

"Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later, I knew that I had crossed a great frontier.” (C.S. Lewis)

The idea of spinning a phantastic yarn is probably almost as old as the developed languages themselves. The first written documents of humanity still available seldom get along without involving mythic elements, beginning with the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Mahabharata to the Odyssey and the medieval romances. The motives of myths and legends along with a fascination for bygone things at large were enthusiastically apprehended by the early Romantics, especially in the German-speaking area and while the Brothers Grimm collected and recorded genuine folk tales, authors such as Novalis, Tieck and de la Motte-Fouqué told tales of fairies and spirits and castles and brave knights that are, by today’s standards, the basic repertoire of High Fantasy. But the actual beginning of modern fantastic literature is usually said to start with George MacDonald’s  “Phantastes” and “Princess and the Goblin” at the end of the 1850, when the major poets of the Romantic Movement already were literary history.

It might have been the wish to escape the narrowness of his Scottish Calvinistic upbringing that brought young George to the Romantics and finally to develop his own fantastic surroundings. George MacDonald became a minister, nevertheless, even though he never felt comfortable with the more austere aspects of Calvinism. A pastor since 1850, MacDonald took up writing and published his first fantastic tale “Phantastes” eight years later. He had his literary breakthrough with a sentimental tale of the highlands, “David Elginbrod”, in 1863, without neglecting a certain mysticism and supernatural elements. MacDonald continued to publish more or less realistic fiction along with fantasy and soon became a friend as well as an influencer of many of the great representatives of Victorian literature, from Lewis Carroll to John Ruskin as well as the Americans Longfellow and Whitman. The success of his books enabled him to move with his large family to Italy, where he wrote most of his literary output. MacDonald died at the age of 81 in Surrey, his ashes were buried in his beloved Riviera dei Fiori in Liguria.

Religion, or Calvinistic Christianity according to MacDonald, remained a golden thread in his writings, with a strong dose of predestination and musings over crime, punishment, repentance and atonement. His persuasion is tangible in his fantastic tales and Kunstmärchen , literary fairy stories, as well, and it is hardly surprising that similar spirits like C.S. Lewis hailed his writings enthusiasm. MacDonald’s merit in terms of fantastic literature certainly his bridging function in the English-speaking world to translate the mindscape of the Romantics into the Age of the Novel in Victoria’s days, where his tales took root, flourished and influenced not only his contemporaries and Lewis but Tolkien as well as Chesterton and Auden – and remain readable to this day.

Depicted below to the left is a portrait of George MacDonald, taken around 1870 and to the right an illustration of "Phantastes" by John Bell (ref http://artofnarrative.blogspot.de/2012/01/phantastes-faerie-romance-mystery.html) from 1894

And more on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_MacDonald

#literature #fantasy #victorianliterature #europeanliterature  
 
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If this ruling stands on appeal, methinks copyright law will have to be rewritten.
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Many of you have probably heard about the explosion and fire at UC Berkeley last night. The power is still out in the library building where I work, but I'd hoped it might be restored by 8 so I went just in case; no dice. I'm working from home.

The photo that's mostly trees includes my office window behind them; I'm facing NE. The other one is the scene of the explosion, taken from the same spot, facing west. The photos were taken a little after 8 this morning. 
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Have him in circles
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John McChesney-Young

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Full moon over Mount Tamalpais from near the top of Spruce in Berkeley, about 7 this morning..
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The apparently random Latin placeholder text, used to help design pages, has been translated. Despite the absence of meaning, it's weirdly mesmerising
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thanks for the post. One nit: lorem ipsum is not "random" as quoted in the article...It was carefully designed to match the texture of English, with the same frequency of letters and length of words common to English.
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John McChesney-Young

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UC Berkeley just sent out a survey to faculty and staff on commuting practices and they provided a box for comments at the end. Here's what I wrote:

Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments.

I understand that many employees live far enough from central Berkeley that riding a bicycle to work is impractical (at least when balancing the time and effort with their other priorities), but I would encourage the University to take four steps to increase commuter bike ridership to campus.

1) Encourage the city of Berkeley and surrounding cities to make riding safer by providing bike paths separated from cars.

2) Provide safe and convenient bike parking on campus (I'm very fortunate to work in Doe with its bike atrium, but not all employees are so lucky).

3) Educate and promote bike riding at frequent intervals - in the UC parking office, at new employee orientations, in mailings to all staff, and other similar opportunities. Promotion could also include campus bike-to-work days in addition to the Bay Area observance, incentives for riding like nominal payments for riding a bike (the carrot to go along with the stick of car parking fees), promotions with prizes, and that sort of thing.

4) Possibly a pipe dream, but providing shower and changing facilities next to those secure bike parking areas I mentioned in point 2 would be wonderful. Of course, when ice is on the ground as now it's not so much of an issue, but it does get warm here and even a ride directly from west Berkeley up the gentle incline can make a shower desirable.

Any or all of these should be done in consultation with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, which could not only offer advice but can probably put the University in touch with other campuses which have successfully mounted similar campaigns.

*

I'm hoping other UC Berkeley employee cyclists will respond similarly.
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Great ideas!
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From the UK Classicists list:

"In conjunction with the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary [Cambridge University Press is] pleased to be hosting Fiona Hobden's Blog post  'History meets fiction in Doctor Who, "The Fires of Pompeii"’, which talks about her Greece & Rome article on the same theme. Read the Blog post and access the Doctor Who and time travel article selection here: 

http://blog.journals.cambridge.org/2013/11/history-meets-fiction-in-doctor-who-the-fires-of-pompeii/ 
In conjunction with the Doctor Who Anniversary Fiona Hobden talks about her Doctor Who themed article 'Fires of Pompeii' from Greece & Rome
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John McChesney-Young

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I've started riding an even farther extended commute most mornings which takes me up South Park Drive in Tilden Park (closed November-March to protect newts, which makes it a nice if rather steep climb) to Grizzly Peak, and a little north of where I come out there's a vista point overlooking Berkeley, Oakland, and points beyond. In the slightly darker photo you can see near the center something that looks like a flaw, but that's the very top of the antennas on Twin Peaks in SF.
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Wow, gorgeous!
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Have him in circles
197 people
Charles Jones's profile photo
Hasnah Shariman's profile photo
celebb fash's profile photo
Amber McChesney-Young's profile photo
Kirk L Rhoads's profile photo
mangott's profile photo
Gail Hobson's profile photo
Roya Dedeaux's profile photo
Ibrar IBI's profile photo
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  • UC Berkeley, History of Art Department
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Berkeley, California
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Torrance, California
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Independent scholar, interested particularly in the use of technology in the humanities.
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  • University of California, Berkeley
    Paleontology
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