Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blogging Shakespeare Dreams

Nope, not talking about the act of blogging dreams about Shakespeare. Last night I actually had a dream about blogging Shakespeare.

For some reason there was lots of commuting on the train going on - I remember myself and several others having to walk from one train platform to another. And at some point I think I picked up one of those small weekly papers, like a college thingie. And on the front page, in a side bar, was an article entitled "Love gave us Dr. Seuss, Churchill, and Shakespeare. Why?"

I remember thinking, "Man, I have to read that and blog it. Must find out the Seuss/Shakespeare connection! But what the heck is Churchill doing in there?" Actually in the context of the dream I remember getting all blurry eyed at the prospect of just how amazing such an article was going to be.

Woke up before I ever got a chance to read the article. But what a weird combination. Are there similarities between Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss? Sure, people over the years have had fun doing Seussian versions of the Shakespeare classics (some better than others), but that's not what I'm talking about.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Roger Daltrey on Shakespeare

I don't know why exactly Reuters interviewed Roger Daltrey of "The Who", but here it is. I particularly like his take on Shakespeare (he once acted the part of Dromio for a BBC Comedy of Errors, you see). Apparently Shakespeare was the Pete Townshend of his day, and thus Mr. Daltrey was not intimidated in the least.

Anybody besides me got an image of Will doing that cool guitar windmill thing that Townshend always used to do?

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Intelligence, design and Shakespeare

I love this article on intelligence, design and Shakespeare, een if I'm not sure I understand it.

It starts out talking about the holidays, and then with a quick "here's the rub" (nice!) slides quickly into using words like "big bang cosmology" and "particle accelerators." The story, of course is about "intelligent design" and whether it should be taught in biology courses as an alternate theory to Darwinian evolution. Fair enough. It brings up Newsweek's position on the subject, where they noted that Darwin carried the Bible with him on his travels.

But then we get the Stephen Hawking quote that ends "for then we would know the mind of God," rapidly moving on to "What, after all, do we really know?" and then to "Engineers design routinely. they examine the design of others...."

(Meanwhile I'm scanning and thinking "Where's the Shakespeare?")

To close the article, the author circles back around to the "frozen" variety of human speech - writing. And then asks a bizarre question - "Why is the play called Julius Caesar, when he dies in Act III? Shouldn't it have been called Brutus?" He then gets all philosophical about whether Shakespeare had a reason for doing that, and if he showed us and we simply haven't realized it.

I'm going to have to come back and read this one a couple of times, it's making my head hurt.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Shakespeare My Butt

Ok, this is different. This morning in my Google news I saw a reference to the Canadian band Lowest of the Low whose album "Shakespeare My Butt" is ranked #10 in Top 100 Candian Albums of All Time. Not bad when you consider that Neil Young is on there at #7.

But then, upon googling for more references, I found
Shakespeare My Butt!: From 'Marsupial Elvis' to 'No Place'... on the Trail of the Pointless Quest by John Donoghue which appears to be a completely unrelated book project.


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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Shakespearean Leftovers

There's really nothing about Shakespeare in this article, other than the first sentence. But I just couldn't resist a story that starts with the classic "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio...." and then goes on to discuss what to do with the turkey leftovers.

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What's on your Shakespeare Wish List?

Tis the season, as they say, and I don't have any time for political correctness. So let's just assume that you're going to soon celebrate some holiday that is traditionally a gift-giving occasion. Is there "Shakespeare stuff" on your list? Like what? Last year I got three books about Shakespeare -- Garber, Greenblatt and Bloom. I'm still working my way through them :), so no books for me. Movies? Other geeky gadgety stuff? I have a bust of Shakespeare on my bookshelf.

So what other sort of Shakespeare stuff have you got, or do you want?

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Guesswork about Shakespeare beats TV 'Science" Any Day

The Herald has this article that appears to be about Shakespeare, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what the heck the man is talking about. Although it starts with a discussion about analyzing Shakespeare, it actually appears to be a review of three different BBC television shows - none of which appear to have been about him. Maybe the first one, but I have no idea. Who is William Boyd? Who is Rupert Graves?

Anybody want to translate for me?

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Shakespeare Works!

While trying to hunt down a different project called "Shakespeare's Guide to e-Learning" I found KJ-Films' "Shakespeare Works!" which looks even more interesting. The project contains a 30minute film about Shakespeare (focusing on a key question for the 11-14 age group, "Why is he so famous?") as well as an interactive CD loaded up with games and other such things.

At 175 euros for a 5 seat license it seems somewhat expensive for most of the school budgets I've known, but I can't fault somebody for needing to make some money. Make money on the first project, that'll give you the impetus to do another project.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Bill Bryson doing Shakespeare?

For those who do not recognize the name, Bill Bryson is perhaps best known for "A Walk in the Woods" (in which he walks the Applachian Trail) and "A Short History of Nearly Everything" which is pretty self-explanatory. I have not read either, personally, though both have been recommended.

So it was with great interest that I caught the tail end of this interview with the man:

What are you working on next?

I'm doing two biographies - one on me, one on William Shakespeare.

Actually, it makes for an interesting question -- is there really all that much new under the sun in the Shakespeare biography world that yet another one is needed? Over the last few years alone we've seen quite a few. I wonder if Bryson is going to bring any new insight to the Bard's life? Maybe reveal that the plays were actually written by Bottom or something? :)

Y.P.R.: The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Told Entirely in Emoticons

Y.P.R.: The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Told Entirely in Emoticons

I think that basically sums it up. :)

King Lear II : Courtesy Vaclav Havel

CJAD 800 : News: Vaclav Havel, former Czech president, is planning to write a new play. Says he's got it all in his head, and just has to write it down. The quote of the story comes here: "He has said earlier, however, he planned to write a play based on William Shakespeare's King Lear, as well as an autobiography." I'm trying to figure out if that means one play that combines the elements of King Lear and autobiography, or if he's talking about two separate projects.

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Lay on, Macduff indeed!

I only just caught this link about Hugh Hefner's Macbeth out of the corner of my eye when I finished the Romeo and Juliet quiz. "Oh good lord," I thought, visions of Caligula running through my head.

Turns out they're referring to Roman Polanski's 1971 "The Tragedy of Macbeth", produced by Hefner. Haven't seen it, or for that matter ever even heard of it, but it appears from the reviews that it was pretty good. And not just for Lady Macbeth's nude sleepwalking, although you have to wonder if Hefner was at the production meetings saying "Darnit can I get at least some nudity in this thing?" No word on whether Francesca Annis, who played Lady Macbeth, was Hef's girlfriend at the time. :)

"Romeo and Juliet": The Quiz

"Romeo and Juliet": The Quiz:'s got a new quiz up. I got 8 out of 10. I always falter when they start asking questions beyond the context of the play itself, like who wrote the ballet entitled Romeo and Juliet. (Yes that's a question but no I'm not giving you the answer :))

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Cinematizing Shakespeare

If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be writing movies. So starts this great commentary on the history of Shakespeare's plays in film.
(Did you know that the very first Shakespeare-on-film was actually King John, a silent film in 1899?)

Some choice quotes tell you where the journalist's heart lies: "Film directors continually talk about 'opening up' Shakespeare for the big screen. To me, this always brings to mind Jack the Ripper opening up the innards of his East End victims in order to slice out their entrails." He picks a number of adaptations including Prospero's Books, Brannagh's fulltext Hamlet, and Iam McKellen's Richard III and dissects their attempts -- too literal from stage to screen? Too liberal?

My personal rule has always been that if you keep the text in tact, then you can visually present it however you want. I don't have to like it, but you can still do it and get away with calling it Shakespeare. But once you get rid of the original text, then forget it, you're doing your own thing.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Beep. It's from Hamlet. 2B? NT2B?=??? - Yahoo! News

Beep. It's from Hamlet. 2B? NT2B?=??? - Yahoo! News:

Dot Mobile has a plan to offer SMS-ified versions of the classics in order to keep kids interested. "bothLuvrs kill Emselves" sums up Romeo and Juliet, while "MadwyfSetsFyr2Haus" is the climax of Jane Eyre.

Kill me now.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Self-Referential Shakespeare

In the final scene of Macbeth, the hero enters asking, "Why should I play the Roman fool, and die on mine own sword?"

In the final scene of Julius Caesar, Brutus tries to convince one of his soldiers, "Good Volumnius, Thou know'st that we two went to school together: Even for that our love of old, I prithee, Hold thou my sword-hilts, whilst I run on it."

Anybody got another spot where it looks like one Shakespeare play references another?

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Monday, November 14, 2005

The Tempest in Bermuda

I think some of us would like to hang out with this guy. Don Kramer may only be just another guy starting a business in the Bermuda insurance market, which sounds like a sleeper, but he's named his company "Ariel", a direct and deliberate reference to the Tempest.

He's not even been particularly sneaky. This is his second business, you see - the first was indeed named Tempest, back in 1993.
Both companies are "property-catastrophe reinsurers", whatever that means.

I like how simply the article (in a Bermuda newspaper) calls the Tempest "Bermuda based" as if that was agreed upon fact. :)

What do you think -- if Mr. Kramer had perhaps grown up in my generation, with today's education, maybe he would be calling his companies Gilligan and Skipper?

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When coaches quote Shakespeare

Nothing terribly newsworthy, I just always like to link it when I find a Shakespeare reference on the sports pages. Reminds me of high BIZARRO WORLD.

Nothing against Bernie, but the coach was waxing poetic in a realm - the underside of an NBA arena - where you hear more 50 Cent than Henry V.

Said Bickerstaff: “It's like that Shakespeare quote: Fault lies not in the stars but in ourselves.”

I particularly like how the writer of the article couldn't help but take a Shakespeare jab himself. High school literature nerds unite!

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Henry the What?

No good Shakespeare news stories or sightings to report recently so I might as well start up with more personal stories. Last night for the first time in a long time Kerry and I were able to sit on the couch and read the newspaper in the evening, both kids asleep. "Oh hey," she says, "Henry the Eighth."

"That's a Shakespeare play," I say, curious.

"No, wait," she says, reading, "Is that eight? What's V?"

"V is five. Probably Henry the Sixth, then."

"Nope, just V."


She hands me the paper. Sure enough the headline is, "Highschool performs Henry the V."

Henry "The" V? Never heard it called that before :). Methinks the writer is perhaps not a Shakespeare fan.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Savage Shakespeare Spouting Chickens

SavageChickens is just the kind of comic I like. It's small - written on yellow stickies. The humor is in the joke, not the artwork. And there's lots and lots and and lots of Shakespeare references. Go check it out.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Shakespeare : The Comic Book

I just found so I can't say I know much about it. But I like the idea. As the newspaper article I saw put it, "Half a loaf of Shakespeare is better than none." In other words, even though many hardcore fans (like myself) would normally insist that you have to stick with the original language, if the choice is between giving up the language versus losing them completely, I'll give up the language.

Plays include Midsummer's, Macbeth, Henry V, Romeo and Juliet, and Twelfth Night. The site even has screenshots which is very cool. I see that the "modern english" version is literally right next to the original, so at least they haven't totally foregone the source.

Their summary of Macbeth is weird. Is he really an essentially good man? Where's the evidence of that? Sure, his wife is the one that pushes him into all the really bad acts, but is it true to say that we know he was all that good in the first place? He didn't take much convincing, after all.

I agree with them, though, that his speech on learning of his wife's feath is "amongst the most powerful and haunting in literature." It is so completely and totally unexpected for where it is that (when done justice) just hits you like an emotional freight train.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

O for a Muse of Fire!

Wow, wish I'd thought of this Shakespeare-O-Lantern! Very cool indeed.

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Cursed be them that move his bones!

Oh no no no no, tell me that this story about digging up Shakespeare's body is a Halloween joke. Apparently some American scientists have become convinced that Shakespeare was murdered by his son in law? Would that be the one who married the younger daughter, where Shakespeare deliberately rewrote the will at the last minute to make sure that the son in law wouldn't get anything? The son in law who was involved in some sort of scandal where he got another woman pregnant?

I don't think it's cool to go digging up bodies just to satisfy your own curiosity.

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