Friday, October 31, 2008

Ann Francis Stars In.....

Forbidden Planet, wuh-uh-oh oh ohhhh.....

(Rocky Horror?  Anybody?)

Anyway, not sure if I've mentioned this before.  I think every time I see that "The Day The Earth Stood Still" is being remade, I confuse it with Forbidden Planet, which is "loosely" based on The Tempest.  Perhaps now they are really remaking it? 

I confess, I've never seen it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shatner. Hamlet. Video. Any Questions?

I had not seen this. Now that I have, I'm not really sure what to say about it.  William Shatner on the Mike Douglas show, circa 1969, pimping for his (Shatner's) now infamous album The Transformed Man that brought us such cult gems as his Tambourine Man, and Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds.

I had no idea, having never heard the complete original album, that each bad song was intermixed with a bad rendition of famous poetry.  Thus we have "It Was A Very Good Year" mashed up with To be or not to be.  (I see from wikipedia that there are selections from Romeo and Juliet, and Henry V on the album as well.)

Unfortunately the quality of the sound is horrendous - the music is too loud, and the sync is off by a mile.

[It dawns on me as I title this post that it takes a certain kind of actor to be represented solely by last name.  Olivier.  Welles.  McKellan. ... Shatner. ]

Filthy Shakespeare, Now In Paperback

My post from a year ago ("Oh Great, The Filthy Shakespeare Movement Is Back") continues to be one of my most popularly searched, mostly for people googling for the phrase "hey nonny, nonny."

Anyway, the book in question, by Pauline Kiernan, is now in paperback.  NYTimes has the review, and looks like they like it. Maybe some nice publicity agent will send me a review copy and I'll get to see for myself :).  After all, the original article never does say what "hey nonny, nonny" means :).

Throne Wars

Hamlet meets Star Wars.  It's just a school project, so don't expect much by way of production values (it's hand-drawn animation), but points for the creativity.

Were The World Mine : Musical Midsummer Movie?

Start with a movie centered around a production of Midsummer.  Not new (Dead Poet's Society, among others, springs to mind).

Now imagine that the character playing Puck whips up a *real* love potion that works on his fellow actors, and then runs around spraying it on everyone in town.  All heck breaks loose, as you could well imagine.

Oh, and did I mention that the actor in question is gay?

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Coriolanus Than Othello?

Comparing the presidential candidates to Shakespeare is hardly new.  But Coriolanus doesn't come up all that often, so I thought this one worth a link.   [* You know, I never did watch the Colbert report on this subject since I was in Disney at the time, I'll have to go check it out.]

The other candidate (I'll let you guess which is which if you don't want to peek :)) is compared to Hamlet and Macbeth, though I think that's the weaker of the two arguments.  After all, the author says (albeit jokingly) that the candidate is not a good match for Macbeth because "he is not a man given to seeing ghosts in his dining room."  ... apparently seeing ghosts up on the parapets is not a problem?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Best Macbeth Ever(*)

BoingBoing points to the story of a librarian who got a $500 fine for "ethics violation" after promoting his daughter's book in the newsletter, and by distributing free copies.  (He called it "Best Book Ever", hence the title :))

Just so happens that the book in question is a Manga version of Macbeth.  Hey, I'll take popularity for the bard anyway I can get it.  If people buy copies of the book just for protest, that's still exposure!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Demetrius, You Dog!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I notice something different every time I flip through one of the plays.  This time it is Midsummer, right at the beginning.  I know that Lysander is pleading his case for Hermia, and argues that Demetrius could have Helena instead.  What I don't think I ever noticed, though, is what he says:

Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul;

Maybe I'm not fully up on my terminology, but are we supposed to believe that Demetrius actually slept with Helena, and now has completely lost interest in her? We're not talking about modern times where a girl will go on a daytime talk show with 15 guys who might be the baby daddy.  You'd think that one guy just blurting out "Yeah, he slept with her and they're not married" would be a big deal, wouldn't it?  On top of that, Theseus basically says, "Yeah, I'd heard that too."  How does Helena not come off looking like a big slut?

But maybe I'm overinterpreting, and maybe "made love" really is supposed to mean something more along the lines of "showered with attention and gifts and tokens of affection, and generally made her believe that he loved her."  That's always how I'd interpreted it, without close scrutiny of the exact words.  That seems a bit more forgivable.

So which is it?  Is Demetrius just a typical young man who only wants what he can't have?  Or is he a scoundrel who takes advantage of women and casts them aside?

[I suppose there is also the third option that he's talking about a different Helena here - let some random girl we don't get to meet play the role of town slut - but that would be strangely and unnecessarily confusing.]

Monday, October 20, 2008


So we've got friends over Friday night, and they have a daughter who I believe is just over 1 (she's been walking a few months).  The father, a dedicated sports fan, tells her "Do Touchdown!" and she squeals and throws her arms up in the air.  It's very cute.

This makes me think of high school and the two cultures that arose between the sports kids and the nerdy kids, I of course being one of the nerdy kids.  "It's funny how different our kids will end up," I said.  "Brendan, who's on Daddy's watch?"

"Shakespeare," my 2yr old son replies.

I swear, I totally meant to demonstrate that the sports guys raised their kids with more of a sports mentality, while the nerdy kids raised their kids to be nerds.  It was harmless, but apparently not well thought out.

"Are you calling my kid stupid?" asked the mother.

"Ummm......" said I.

"I think you are, I think you just called my kid stupid."

Awkward!  She was at least partially joking - it's not like they stormed off or anything - but the conversation rapidly turned to other subjects.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shakespearean Halloween Costume?
It's one thing to say "do a Shakespeare theme" for Halloween (for grownups), but if you think about it, it's quite the commitment.  Most people can bust out some form of athlete / construction worker / medical personnel based entirely on stuff already in their closet or easily borrowed.  But try doing Beatrice and Benedick without having some friends who are either directly involved in the theatre (and hence may have some stuff), or else are crazy into the Renaissance Festival scene.  Either way you're going to spend the night explaining to people who you are, anyway :).

UPDATED:  More Shakespeare Halloween Ideas!

I Love Homework Questions

I don't like doing people's homework for them, mind you, but sometimes it's fun to look at the questions.

Cite three allusions to Greek and Roman mythology used in Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet


The "Phoebus' lodging" one would be obvious, if not for the fact that it's not in Act 1.  How many can you think of WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE SCRIPT?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Any Budding Playwrights Listening?

[Found via]


Back in college I wrote some plays.  I remember what it was like to try and format a script.  I never learned the "official" template (much to the annoyance of my directors).  For those that take it seriously, however, there's word processors dedicated to the task.  Celtx gets a link because the blogger who pointed it out not only speaks of it in Shakespearean terms ("Shakespeare says Celtx rocks") but actually shows a picture of a dude dressed up like Shakespeare :).

Performed Not Read, Revisited

I link to this one for the second book's description:

The traditional view of Shakespeare is that he was a man of the theatre who showed no interest in the printing of his plays, producing works that are only fully realised in performance. This view has recently been challenged by critics arguing that Shakespeare was a literary ‘poet-playwright’, concerned with his readers as well as his audiences.

Hurray!  Finally a retort to all those "You do know the works are meant to be performed, not read" people!

Do People Still Do The Newsletter Thing?

As a fulltime computer geek, I get all my news via "RSS" feeds.  They actually show up on my portable device (iTouch), and many's the time at 6am on a workday my wife will be watching the news on television while I'm scanning 100x as many stories on my own gadget.  Comes in handy when they say "We'll tell you what Madonna called her husband, right after this commercial break..." and I can tell her because I just read it 5 minutes ago :).

As such, I never bothered with the email newsletter thing.  I figure, if people want to know when I've updated the blog, they can get the feed.  But not everybody's a computer geek, now are they?

So, that's my question.  Were I to open up a good old fashioned email newsletter, would you subscribe?  I couldn't promise regular intervals (certainly not more than once a week), and for the most part it'd be a summary of stuff that had gone on in the blog anyway, but I could definitely put in original content just for the newsletter, as well as expanded details on previously posted stories.

Yes, no?  Help me out here people, it's too quiet for my liking.  You tell me how we can make this the cool place to hang out and talk Shakespeare.


The folks making "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead" are working the viral angle.  They've got some videos up, if you're into the whole vampire thing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Anyone Want More Contests And Free Stuff?

Twice over the past few weeks, publishers have asked if I run contests and if I want free stuff to giveaway.  My first response is "Of course I want free stuff to give away," but I don't want to keep doing the "Link to me someplace" thing, either . That gets boring.

If anybody's got some contest ideas they've seen on other blogs, that they'd participate in (and think others would, too!), I'm all ears.  Who knows, maybe that'll be my first contest -- best contest idea gets a book :).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Computer Generated Alternate Hamlet

You probably have to be pretty heavy on the computer-geek side of geeky to appreciate this, but luckily, I am :).  "Markov chains" are a way to statistically look at a data set and then try to reproduce likely combinations of the elements that could have matched the similar pattern.  It's also useful for doing things like name generation.

Here, the programmer starts with the text to Hamlet and then rearranges it jigsaw puzzle style to see what comes out.  Most of it is nonsense, but if you know how to spot the seemingly random bits from the "wow he almost got it" bits, it's fun stuff.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shakespeare Pie Club

The headline is horrible - but the post is actually an aggregate of brief local news stories, including the "Shakespeare And Pie Club" at Hampshire College.  Hey, whatever gets 'em in the door!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nice Work, If You Can Get It

I'd never considered that "line reader" was a job unto itself, but it seems pretty darned important when you think about it.  I wonder if the line reader is charged with monitoring proper pronunciation and timing as well, or just missing words?

Switchblade Sisters

So I marked the above link, thinking it to be some reference or discussion of "O", the high school version of Othello.  What I found was a new reference - to the Quentin Tarantino favorite Switchblade Sisters, a cheesy 1970s exploitation flick that also happens to be a retelling of Othello.


I'm still trying to make the connection, but apparently it's not without merit.  From one of the Amazon reviews;

Believe it or not, Switchblade Sisters is a neo-futuristic retelling of Shakespeare's "Othello." And it is so much cooler than the Josh Hartnett vehicle, "O." The movie opens with a girl gang called The Dagger Debs, the counterparts to the male gang, The Silver Daggers. The Debs' leader, Lace, (the "Othello" character, for those of you paying attention) is brilliantly played with much gusto by Robbie Lee. Her boyfriend is the leader of the Silver Daggers, Dominic.

The Daggers and their Debs are chillin' in a fast food joint when they notice a blond babe who won't leave "their" table. They hassle her, but to their surprise, she impressively defends herself. Her name is Maggie, and after they do a little jail time together, she and Lace forge a fast friendship.

Lace isn't the only one Maggie has impressed, however. Lace's boyfriend Dom is after her. Maggie admits that she has feelings for Dom, but would never betray Lace. This is just enough for Patch (aka Yago) to use to manipulate Lace into believing that Maggie is her enemy.

I particularly like the spelling of "Iago" as "Yago."  Sounds very Clockwork Orange. 

"Come and get one in the yagos, if you have any yagos, you eunuch jelly thou!"

Saturday, October 11, 2008


There's nothing really special in this brief interview - I don't know who this person is, or what she's famous for.  But it caught my attention for mention of her thesis:

"I studied the character of Portia very minutely. It was also one of the characters that had qualities which one could easily relate to. Those who have read Othello will admit that they see themselves in Portia."

This of course says nothing about her thesis.  Personally I've never really thought much about Portia at all.

Any Othello fans in the audience want to elaborate on what sorts of things she may have discussed in her thesis?

[Work with me, people.  It's Saturday afternoon and I'm trying to look for a wider variety of material. :)]

Friday, October 10, 2008

Manga Shakespeare : Coming Soon

The good folks over at Harry N. Abrams, Inc were nice enough to send me some review copies of their Manga Shakespeare series that I blogged about recently.  As I told Laura (who sent them), once I pry them out of my kids' hands I'll get reviews up and then probably give them away to you folks.

But until then I thought you'd get a kick out of this story.

One of the books was The Tempest, of course (I ask for that one special :)).  Forgetting I had it last night, I leave it on the kitchen table at my daughter's chair, so she'll see it in the morning.  This morning it is the 4yr old (Elizabeth) down first, and I tell her, "There's a surprise waiting for you at the table.  You have to share it with your sister."

"Do I have to close my eyes?" she asks.

"No, not really," I say.

A few minutes go by as I pack up my bag to head in to work, and I don't hear anything.  I go into the kitchen where my 4yr old is standing there, expectantly, with her eyes closed.  So I take the book, hold it in front of her face and tell her to open her eyes.  "What is it?" she asks.

"This is the story about the girl on the island," I tell her (and her sister, who has come up rapidly behind when she realizes there are surprises).  "One of Daddy's friends on the internet sent it."

"Oh, The Tempest?" asks the 4 yr old.  It always amazes me when Shakespearean stuff flows so naturally out of their mouths.

As the 6yr old gets ready for school, the 4yr old goes off to read.  Well, to look at the pictures.  In a minute I hear, "Is this Miranda?"  I go in the room and she's pointing to one of the characters who, as far as I know, is Miranda. I tell her so.

The morning ritual continues, I'm trying to make myself a lunch, get breakfasts, all that sort of thing.  Then I hear, "I found Shakespeare, Daddy!"  Odd, I think, since he's not actually in the story.  "He's on the back page."  Oh.

I can only imagine what will be waiting to tackle me when I get home from work. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Macbeth 2006 [Geoffrey Wright]

So I finally got around to watching this ultra-violent Australian adaptation of Macbeth.  I actually won it in a contest, but then the DVD that arrived was not compatible with my player and I forgot all about it...until I learned a few geeky tricks and magically figured out a way how to play it :).

It's easy to compare this modern interpretation to Luhrman's R+J.  In fact I think it's part of the press to say exactly that - this one will do for Macbeth what Luhrman did for the other one.

Meh.  There are times when it's better compared to something like a Pulp Fiction.  Plenty of blood to go around, and whenever one character approaches another you're never quite sure if somebody's about to draw a gun or knife, and use it promptly.

The story opens with the witches, portrayed as triplet girls in Catholic schoolgirl uniforms (I think that's what they were), defacing a graveyard.  So it's gonna be like that, is it?  (Whenever we see the witches again they're mostly naked, and it's more or less an orgy sequence.)

We then cut to the Macbeths, mourning at the grave of their son.  Well there you go, there's a question not often answered. 

The plot seems to be one of gangland warfare.  There are meetings in alleys, briefcases of money, and lots and lots of shooting each other.  Everybody's got rich fancy toys, and there are plenty of opportunities to work in security cameras and other interesting shots.  For a play that contains a great deal of paranoia, this works well.  You always feel like somebody is watching somebody else.  Some directorial choices I liked - like actually watching Macbeth kill not just Duncan, but the guards as well.  Often that is done off screen. 

The acting in particular is quite flat, for both Macbeths as well as most of the supporting cast.  The Banquo's ghost at the table scene in particular was surprisingly flat.  There's a great bit of shock thrown in, but that was almost something out of a horror movie, not what I'd call intepretation of the text.  There's no chemistry between anybody at all, and when Macbeth delivers lines like "She should have died hereafter" at his wife's death (including gratuitous nude scene), he says it like he's delivering the weather report.

As always with Macbeth, I like to pay particular attention to the ending.  I figure there's enough material in Macbeth's descent to make or break the whole movie.  Does Macbeth come off like he's full-on insane?  Like some crazy immortal god walking among his enemies without fear?  Yes and no.  During the "storming of the castle", he's freaked out just like everybody else.  Lots of ducking and running.  This sequence in general is done well for the big picture - it's basically a slow motion massacre with a soundtrack and lots of lasers (maybe a little too much on the lasers).  But when the actual sound kicks back in and it's focused on Macbeth again, he shows himself to be just a wee bit insane (including a quick dance number, believe it or not).  He does hit it right, briefly, while fighting with Macduff.  That sort of crazy confidence of being in a knife fight with somebody and knowing you can't be killed.  That is, until you go and get yourself killed.  It's that time in between - that realization that you're not immortal - where different Macbeths really either succeed or fail.

But then they have to go and ruin it by changing the ending.

Yeah, you read that right.

I don't want to put in spoilers, but let's just say that our hero does not get in as many last words as he normally does.  At all.  Like, none.  No "Lay on Macduff", no throwing the warlike shield upon the ground, no baited with the rabble's curse.  All out.  There's definitely some creative interpretation that takes place at the end, and I can see what the director was going for.  But man, how do you cut out what is basically the best part?

Folding Chair Theatre Presents : Cymbeline

[Normally I don't do straight up press releases for shows, since any given Internet audience is going to be 90% of the time somewhere else in the world.  But as I told Stephanie, who sent it to me, the first thought that came to me was the pro-wrestling version of "folding chair", namely something you hit your opponent with, and I thought conjured up some funny images of what stage combat might be like :)]


Folding Chair Classical Theatre proudly presents

William Shakespeare's


Performances October 9 – November 2, 2008

Folding Chair Classical Theatre will present CYMBELINE by William Shakespeare for a limited run, October 9 – November 2 at the 78th Street Theatre Lab. Folding Chair's Artistic Director, Marcus Geduld, will direct.
CYMBELINE is an epic tale with everything: comedy, tragedy, a princess, long-lost brothers, thwarted lovers, valiant warriors, noble servants, an evil queen, a girl disguised as a boy, a scheming Italian, a snooty Frenchman, some Dutch guy with nothing to say, a sleeping potion, a severed head, a bare bosom (covered for the student matinee), divine intervention, an attack by the Roman Army, and a king just trying to make sense of it all. It is a rollicking, wild adventure with a cast of thousands. Or, to be precise, a cast of six. That's right, a crack team of five Folding Chair vets (and one newbie) will take on the entire play, switching roles at lightning speed and bringing the play to life using only their wits, their skills, their long experience with Shakespeare, and maybe the occasional funny hat. Join us for all the humor, heartbreak and crazy plot twists of CYMBELINE.
Featured in the production are Lisa Blankenship, Gowan Campbell, Ian Gould*, Paul Edward Hope*, Karen Ogle*, and Josh Thelin*.
Five of the six actors appeared last March in Folding Chair's critically acclaimed revival of Timberlake Wertenbaker's OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD, also directed by Mr. Geduld. Back Stage called the production a "bracing revival…the entire cast delivers with passion and intelligence" and the New Theater Corps, the blog of PBS's Theater Talk, called it "superbly directed and acted…a cast that will wow you".
Two of the six appeared in June in Folding Chair's equally acclaimed, sold-out revival of Michael Frayn's BENEFACTORS, with Mr. Geduld again at the helm. raved "A wonderful production…I certainly will be going to see more of Folding Chair's shows".
About Folding Chair Classical Theatre
Now in its seventh year, Folding Chair Classical Theatre produces plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Aeschylus & other writers from past eras. They also produce modern adaptations of classic stories, plays based on historical events, and modern plays on their way to becoming classics. Folding Chair Classical Theatre Company is dedicated to performing classic drama with an emphasis on storytelling.
For further information about Folding Chair and its programs:

Ticket Information

DATES: October 9 – November 2, 2008

TIMES: Thurs – Sat @ 8:00 pm & Sun Oct. 26 & Nov. 2 @ 2pm

THEATRE: 78th Street Theatre Lab

236 West 78th Street


RESERVATIONS: SmartTix (212) 868-4444 or

*Member, AEA     An Equity-Approved Showcase

Steampunk Twelfth Night! :)  Looks like a neat production.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Macbeth II, Electric Boogaloo

Danger Will Robinson - highly offensive, badly drawn comic ahead.  I link it mostly for the large discussion that goes on after it.  Might as well just stay away if you don't find stupid things funny.

Remixing Shakespeare at MIT

This looks like it could be interesting.  I'm downloading the almost 2hr video (also available in audio only) now, from iTunes U.  I've been to this section before, makes me wonder if I haven't seen this already...

[Small universe -- one of the other lectures in this section of iTunes U is "The Craft of Writing Science Fiction", a lecture with Joe Haldeman.  It is via this lecture that I learned about his book Accidental Time Machine, which I just read lat week on vacation.]

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

O Brave New World!

Anybody up for a Brave New World movie?  How about directed by Ridley Scott, he of Bladerunner fame?   As folks should hopefully know, not only is "Brave New World" a direct Shakespeare quote (Miranda, The Tempest), but a major character spends the novel mostly quoting Shakespeare.  Should be pretty cool!

A Bard Day's Night

I'm always interested in putting Shakespeare to music, I think it makes things much easier to memorize (and I've got the geeklets to prove it).  Here's a story about a guy from a Beatles tribute band doing a show where he does exactly that, putting Shakespeare's words to the Beatles' music.

"The speeches are harder to do," says the singer who did not study Shakespeare in school.  "But the sonnets seem to be very easy.  They are perfect to put into music."

There is a multimedia widget on the page, but I cannot get it to play.  I'll update if I get it working.

UPDATE: Got the player working in Internet Explorer.  It is....well, let's just say you have to like the Beatles, shall we?  It's certainly Shakespeare's words, but it's more like "Hey that's the Beatles doing Shakespeare" rather than "Hey that's Shakespeare put to music", you know?  I don't think I'd love a whole show of it.  I'll take Rufus Wainwright any day.

Change One Letter

Something send from a friend, via Twitter.  Anybody got more?

Monday, October 06, 2008

What Is The Line?

Not what I expected - a guy starts quoting Twelfth Night, gets stuck, and his friend offers no help at all.  Funny, although it drags on too long.  I just like that it had so much Shakespeare content. :)

Bonus points to the geek in the comments who points out that he missed a line in his monologue :)

What Shakespeare Time Is It?

About 4:16pm.  I know this because my wife got me a Shakespeare watch. :)  Specifically this one, from Shakespeare's Den.  It's got Will's face, and a quote from Twelfth Night: "O time thou must untangle this, not I, it is too hard a knot for me t'untie."  I love it, I am now one more point Shakespeare geeky.

Did You Learn That From Your Mother?

You learn a great deal about how you communicate when it gets parroted back to you by your children, who absorb words and phrases with no sense of sarcasm and just the barest amount of context.

Over the vacation I was wearing my shirt that reads "My kids walk all over me", complete with footprints, that the kids made for me for Father's Day.  This was the Father's Day where I also got "Shakespeare things", including a mug and a refrigerator magnet.  Since I am not a coffee drinker, the mug has sat "decoration-style" on top of the microwave ever since.

My 4yr old always notices when I wear the shirt.  This time her comment was, "We made that shirt for you, Daddy.  Remember for Father's Day, when we got you that Shakespeare mug that you never drink anything out of?"

Sounds totally sarcastic, but that's just her way of explaining the mug she's talking about.  Who knows, maybe you had to be there.  I thought it was cute. :)

P.S. Hot chocolate weather draws near.  The mug will get much use.

Great Moments In Porn

Completely safe for work.  Funny where Shakespeare references show up.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Colbert Nation on Shakespeare

A friend pointed out this link while I'm at Disney.  Stephen Colbert apparently did a bit (with Stephen Greenblatt, no less) comparing the presidential candidates to Shakespearean characters.  I have not watched it yet.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Manga Do About Nothing?

"Manga Shakespeare" is not new, but I was pleased to spot a blog from someone who looks to be working on a new title.

Other Much Ado posts here, here and pretty much here in general.

UPDATE: A few days old, but found it in my "drafts" folder.  Did I never publish this? :(

Attack of My Shakespeare Geeklets

So we're in the middle of Disneyworld at about 9pm, waiting for the fireworks to start.  We have run into some friends who have a 2yr old of their own.  My girls find a way to entertain him by singing the ABC song.

"ABCDEFG, HIJKLMNOP,QRS,TUV,W,X,Y,Z,now I know my ABC, next time won't you sing with me!"

"How cute is that!" says the mother of the 2yr old.

They're not done.  "ZYXWVUT, SRQPONM..."  There's a pause as it dawns on this woman (and people around us) what the kids are singing.  "LKJIHGF, E, D, CBA..."

"Who taught them *that*?"

I shrug and look at my 6yr old.  "Do the Shakespeare, that'll really freak them out."

Katherine looks at me and says, "I don't remember it."

"Yes you do, you're just shy."

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day, thou art more lovely and...something."

The funny part?  Nobody even noticed that little trick.  I think it's because adults in the wild can still recognize the alphabet backwards (with a little time to think about it), but the Shakespeare goes right past them. :)