Giant Panda in Coliseum

panda Coliseum, Rome loofah


It was in the time when the Romans were gentle. Before Caligula or Caesar Augustus. It was the era of the loofah and genial public bathing.

At the coliseum one could watch the giant panda eat bamboo shoots.  

And of course, in turn, the Romans took up synchronized chewing, for they understood the spirit of the panda.

Those were good days.

We all know how history went. Optima dies, tempus fugiteven Virgil  wept for the demise of the panda’s appearances in the dappled, sun drenched arena.

Slaughter can’t hold a candle to a good “group chew”.

(This sounds better in the original Latin.)

Here are some examples of things that sound better in the original:

corruptisima re publica plurimae leges
In the most corrupt state are the most laws (Terence)

deos enim religuos accepimus, Caesares dedimus
The gods were handed down to us, but we created the Caesars (i.e., the rulers) ourselves

cucullus non facit monachum
The cowl does not make the monk



Lately I have not been blogging much owing to the pressures and fatigue of travel. I was in Seaside, Oregon, teaching in the fabulous low residency MFA program at Pacific University from Jan. 7-14 and then I went home to Iowa City just long enough to repack my suitcase and take off for Sarasota, FL where I’m currently a scholar in residence at the John and Mable Ringling Museum.


Seaside Oregon  Hindu Animal Hypnotist

The Beach in Seaside Oregon        Hindu Animal Hypnotist, Poster


The Ringling museum is a special place. It hosts the Ringling art collection, the circus museum and library, the historic Asolo Theater and of course the magnificent Venetian “Palazzo” built by John and Mable Ringling in the early 20th century. I’m here studying the history of people with disabilities in the circus and living in the cottage that the Ringlings built for the captain of their yacht.


Ringling Cottage                                 Theater                                              Ringling Mansion



Ringling Cottage    Historic Asolo Theater 

  Ringling Mansion


I find it altogether lovely and odd to be living in the Ringling guest cottage on the grounds of this great estate. But as the rapper Eminem says:

“The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.”


I think that also sounds better in the original Latin.



More to come…



0 thoughts on “Giant Panda in Coliseum

  1. I had remembered from her autobiography that Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy supported themselves for a time by performing a sideshow act in on the vaudeville circuit. Here is an interesting piece about that period in her life:
    Play[ing] her part correctly’: Helen Keller as Vaudevillian Freak
    Susan Crutchfield
    Disability Studies Quarterly, Vol 25, No 3 (2005)


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