Sunday, December 05, 1999

Magazine digs up UC archaeologists




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Going to prove once again, digging up dirt in Greece and Turkey pays off.

        Referring here to two stars in UC's classics department: Carl Blegen, the archaeologist who dug up ancient Greek sites in the 1930s, and Brian Rose, now digging up Troy (Turkey, not Ohio).

        They're in the new National Geographic in “Echoes of the Heroic Age,” part one of a three-part series.

        It recognizes Blegen for his 1939 work in Pylos (a site in ancient Mycenae), where he found the 3,000-year old tablets that led to the deciphering of Linear B, the language spoken in ancient Mycenae.

        Geographic calls it “One of the most important discoveries in Bronze Age archaeology.”

        The team over there now — Rose and Manfred Korfman of Germany's University of Tubigen — also gets a nod. The article describes their work but doesn't measure importance, probably because it's still in progress.

        ON THE ROAD: There's something to be said for hitching your star to a bug. Ask Paul Klebahn.

        Klebahn is the Northern Kentuckian who compiled Bug Tales (Oval Window Press, $12.95), 99 short essays about odd things that happened in old Volkswagen Bugs to everyday people and celebs as well — actor Harold Ramis, Channel 9 sports anchor Denny Janson, Channel 12 newsman John Lomax, Emmy-winning director Jim Friedman.

        Essays are about having babies, racing off to spring break, cross-country tours and heaven knows what else.

        So anyway, he's fresh out of a promotional frenzy that got him spots on more than 25 TV and radio shows in cities as far flung as Toronto, Dallas, San Antonio, Boston, St. Louis, and Las Vegas.

        Not to mention upcoming pieces in Motor Trend Magazine, VW Trends Magazine and TV's Motorweek.

        Consensus of the coverage: The book's success is because it's not about the Bug but more about the wonderfully quirky people who owned them.

        ALSO IN THE NEWS: Flipping through pages elsewhere, we find Ken Griffey Jr. and the Taft Museum in lofty company. To wit ...

        HEADY COMPANY: So Griffey has gone to the dogs, has he?

        Yep, he's Mr. September in the 10th annual Purina Incredible Dogs Calendar, a little job that lined up 12 celebs and 12 volunteer dogs to star in a 2000 calendar that Purina hopes will raise $120,000.

        The bucks will go to the Tony La Russa Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), an organization St. Louis Cardinal manager La Russa founded to place homeless pets.

        Griffey, current subject of all kinds of trade talks between Seattle and the Reds, is in there with a Rottweiler name of Akeiba. He shares company with Clint Black, Mel Gibson, Ashley Judd, Pete Sampras and bunches more.

        It's available through retail promotions (meaning you gotta buy the pet food) and assorted Web sites. MORE HEADY COMPANY: Talk about sharing space with the great and near great, here's the Taft Museum featured prominently on a page with the Louvre, superstar of the art world.

        You'll find it in Sister Wendy's 1000 Masterpieces: Sister Wendy's Selection of the Greatest Paintings in Western Art (DK ArtBooks, $40). Sister Wendy is an English nun — Sisters of Notre Dame — and a plenty famous art historian.

        She features two works by 19th century French artist Charles-Francois DaubignySunset on the Oise, in the Louvre, and Evening on the Oise, an 1867 landscape hanging around at the Taft.

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.