2019 Award of Excellence in History!

Posted: May 28th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries, Inc. (CBHL) presented its twentieth Annual Literature Awards on May 17, 2019.

The 2019 Award of Excellence in History was presented to Gardens of the Roman Empire edited by Wilhelmina F. Jashemski, Kathryn L. Gleason, Kim Hartswick, and Amina-Aicha Malek, and published by Cambridge University Press. In this collection of essays, leading scholars examine ancient Roman gardens in daily life throughout the empire. Featured in these essays are archaeological, literary, and artistic evidence about gardens across the entire Roman Empire from Britain to Arabia. Through this work, the contributors illuminate the central role and value of gardens within the Roman Empire.

PROSE Book Award

Posted: February 13th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I am pleased to announce that my recently published book, The Gardens of the Roman Empire (Cambridge University Press) has won the prestigious PROSE Award in the category – Single Volume Reference/Humanities and Social Sciences.  https://proseawards.com/winners/
The PROSE Awards (Professional and Scholarly Excellence) are presented by the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) Professional and Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Division. Presented since 1976, the awards annually recognize distinguished professional and scholarly books, reference works, journals, and electronic content.

CUNYBA Student, Steven Pacheco, profiled on NBC Today!

Posted: October 29th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Steven Pacheco, who matriculated into CUNYBA in Fall 2017, is pursuing an individualized area of concentration in “Social Thought,” in collaboration with Professor Calvin John Smiley, Sociology Department, Hunter College. I urge you to take a look at the impressive video: https://www.today.com/news/former-inmate-now-college-student-says-prison-made-me-ready-t140036

CUNYBA Alumnus Starts Own Business!

Posted: August 29th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

While a student at Baruch College, David Aharoni (BS 2017) was admitted into CUNYBA in summer 2016 in order to create an individualized degree in Artificial Intelligence by pursuing courses in media, computer science, and communication as well as completing an independent study and an internship (supported by the Baruch Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowship). It is not surprising that David has combined his CUNY BA degree and his having earned a real estate license from the State of New York into the creation of a technology-informed real estate brokerage in Manhattan, Rent NY.

As an alumnus of CUNYBA, he mentors students on careers in sales and real estate and offers professional development seminars to CUNY undergraduates. For those CUNYBA students interested in real estate, he is accepting applications for paid internships for Fall 2018 (info@rentnyrealestate.com).

We, of course, wish him great success in his new company and in all future professional and personal endeavors.

Sharing a Student Quote

Posted: December 11th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

A recent applicant’s personal statement included a final paragraph that I think is worth sharing (slightly modified):

The CUNY Baccalaureate program is a blessing. Like the joker card we are all part of the same deck but do not belong to any suit, nor are there many of us. And, just as most card games exclude jokers, many colleges don’t offer unique programs for us and if they do, it’s usually just a very restrictive interdisciplinary studies major. So, thank you CUNY for allowing people like us to play our own games.

Creativity from Within

Posted: September 7th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Michelangelo, Slave (detail of face) Accademia, Florence

Camus described the writing of The Stranger as if the book was “traced within him.” The idea of fiction existing inside the writer, as if lurking there to emerge, is part of a modernist credo. Proust, a writer otherwise at odds with Camus, expressed in Time Regained the same idea of characters that are already “forged within us, rather than sketched by us…”

In similar fashion, Michelangelo believed a sculptor to be a tool of God, not creating but simply revealing figures already contained in the marble. But, these figures were, in fact, those within Michelangelo himself, struggling to see the light of day. Just as the sculptor employed his chisels to chip away the excess to expose what lay beneath, so Camus and Proust used pen and paper to reveal their characters, who had been hiding within the writers themselves.

When a Lie is a False Assertion

Posted: December 12th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

truthliesIn today’s NY Times Jim Rutenberg writes, in TV News Must Pull No Punches for Trump: “Television news is going to have to do its part should Mr. Trump and his administration try to make policy based on false assertions…”

False, as we all know, is something that is not true or factual, and an assertion is a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief, so a “false assertion” is nothing more, therefore, than an “untrue statement of fact or belief” or perhaps we should just call it what it is – a “lie.”

So much for “pulling no punches”!

Donald Trump and I Have Something in Common?

Posted: August 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

HeelSpurIt seems that I and Donald Trump have something in common. I have a bone spur on the back of the heel of my right foot – not a particularly common location (they usually form on the bottom of the heel and are associated with inflammation of the connective tissue [plantar fascia] that runs along the underside of the foot).

It is not clear where Mr. Trump’s spurs, which were found in 1968, are located and not even in which foot.  But we do know that they prevented him from being drafted.  It seems it (or they) were still large enough, almost fifty years later, that he was able in 2015 to show to his biographer a tiny bulge on his heel. When questioned soon thereafter which foot had a spur, Mr. Trump could not recall. His campaign later released a statement saying that the spurs were on both feet.

Not all bone spurs cause pain but Mr. Trump has said that his spurs were a minor malady and they “healed up” over a period of time, suggesting that they caused him, at some point in his life, at least some discomfort.

I commend Mr. Trump for having, it seems, bone spurs on both his heels, and that for the past 48 years he has managed to have had no significant pain. In my case, having a single spur, the pain was at times severe enough that walking was almost impossible (see my December 2015 post). Over many months of therapy and stretching, I have managed to diminish the major painful symptoms; however, unlike Mr. Trumps’ “healed up” spurs, mine likely will always be with me, causing at least some intermittent pain. It seems that Mr. Trump’s spurs, although not causing him any painful walking issues, may still cause him some discomfort in his “run” for office!


Posted: December 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Prince Grigory Potemkin

Prince Grigory Potemkin

Two articles in today’s NYTimes employ the term “Potemkin.” An essay about Provincetown, RI quotes a year-long resident that the town in winter is “like a Potemkin village,” and another article, just eight pages later, uses the same word to describe a Williamsburg chocolate shop as a “Potemkin” factory.

The term is eighteenth century, related to Prince Grigory Potemkin, a lover of Catherine II, who supposedly duped the Empress by creating a fake portable village on the banks of the Dnieper River to impress Catherine as she journeyed to Crimea.

According to Wikipedia: “’Potemkin village’ has come to mean, especially in a political context, any hollow or false construct, physical or figurative, meant to hide an undesirable or potentially damaging situation…”

And, as in the NYTimes cases, “Potemkin” can also be used as an adjective to modify nouns other than “village.”

So, next time it is appropriate, impress your friends by using “Potemkin” and see if they are aware of its meaning.

Ambulatory Reflections

Posted: December 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

walking-1My wife typically tells me, as she is two steps behind, that I walk too fast. I, indeed, do have a quick pace, which is even more pronounced when I am alone, weaving through the crowds near the Empire State Building or jumping a light when it is flashing 3 seconds.
But, lately I have slowed down, although not because of my wife’s admonitions. Instead, because of a bone spur on the heel of my right foot I have tendonitis in my Achilles’. So, I am not only walking more slowly but also now have a slight limp. As the pain is diminishing through physical and electronic therapy walking is less painful but I am still cautious about any rapid movements. So, over the past several weeks I have been forcibly enlightened on the benefits of moving a bit more slowly and, consequently, being able to see the world at a slower pace. I, indeed, am now observing with more clarity and mentally recording my movements more intensely than I ever did. On the other hand, I am looking forward to being without pain and it is likely when that happens I will be back to my “normal” pace and my wife’s reproofs.