Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shakespyeare: Day 30 - To Elf

my friend Becky, hair elfed
Elf - verb - to tangle, knot, or mat.

I came across this lovey verb in my latest Shakespeare reading (King Lear). In scene VII, a fugitive Edgar decides to disguise himself as a mad hobo to evade capture: My face I'll grime with filth, / Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots, / And with presented nakedness outface / The winds and persecutions of the sky.

This echoes Mercutio's strange rant on the nature of dreams in Romeo and Juliet. He tells Romeo that Queen Mab has visited him in his sleep and gives a litany of her nocturnal activities which includes fairy hairstyling: [She] plaits the manes of horses in the night / And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs, / Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes.

The motto of Fróðskaparsetur Føroya is "oh gentle elves set light to lead the Faroes on their starry way from age to age. One can only hope this guidance includes a fair amount of hair knotting.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shakespyeare: Day 17 - The Coast of Breast Implants

In searching for commentary on Shakespeare's mention of the coast of Bohemia (which does not exist, Bohemia being landlocked), I came across this autofill option on google. One would assume that the googlers mistyped the cost of breast implants. Still, the coast of breast implants it makes for an interesting, surreal mental image.


Shakespyeare: Day 17 - Zip and Shakespeare

Our school snake gets into Shakespeare's complete works.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shakespyeare: Day 16 - Dog and Bear

I read Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Winter's Tale in the past weeks. The two plays are representative of the extreme chronological ends of Shakespeare's career. Animals make memorable appearances in both, a dog in the former, a bear in the latter.

In TGV, the servant Launce's dog, Crab, runs amok, eating food and soiling rugs. Hapless Launce, takes blame for all these things, even urinating indoors, to save his beloved pet and is pilloried.

The best stage direction I've ever read occurs in TWT - exit, pursued by a bear. Spoiler: the bear mauls the guy, just deserts for dumping a baby on the desert shores of Bohemia (neither desert nor coast exist there).

Proteus giving a mangy mutt as a token of love to Silva is a nice comic touch. The editor for the Oxford Complete Shakespeare points out that after TGV Shakespeare didn't repeat the experiment of giving a large role to an animal, perhaps because of their unpredictability. So, though there is some speculation that the Globe may have used a real bear from the bear-baiting pits for TWT, I have my doubts. I do like the idea of a Russian bear rampaging across Shakespeare's stage.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Strange Search Engine Queries

Over the last year people have stumbled across my blog on google searching the following terms:
  • matt landrum boat scrubbing service
  • cremolada pucallpa
  • connection chain
  • over-accessorized
  • nuala ní dhomhnaill "bisexual"
  • oxford for fall fashion
  • faroese beach
  • gentleman's haircut
  • gender in the bhagavad gita
  • matthew landrum army
  • green hair in the bitter sea
  • homo phone
  • pyrrha piranha 
  • elision ephemeral epiphany
  • matthew landrum sales
  • sad bubble zoloft
  • what are jeggings?
  • whitmore lake tavern menu
  • berlin chemistry lab
  • how to wear fashion
  • bumpit
  • millionize definition
  • matt landrum and whitmore lake

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In Taberna Quando Sumus...

When we are in the tavern, we do not think how we will go to dust we parse grammar and style on menu (click on the picture for a more readable view):


Monday, January 7, 2013

Lorca Whale II

My poor student is closer to his translating doom - the Lorca whale is getting closer as he works on translating "In the Garden of Lunar Grapefruits." Another student drew this, inspired by the first.

A Book a Week in 2012 - Failure

A Book a Week in 2012

For the last two years, I read an average of a book a week. In 2012, I set out with the same goal but got waylaid and came up short. As much as I would have liked to meet my reading resolution, I think its a valuable lesson to accept that sometimes life gets in the way and 70% has to be enough. I could make a defense and point out that I read at least a dozen issues of Poetry Magazine or claim extenuating life circumstances but instead, I’ll list what I read along with some highlights and statistics.

The Children’s Book - A. S. Byatt
MacBeth – William Shakespeare
Hay – Paul Muldoon
Green Squall – Jay Hopler
Envy – Joseph Epstein
Ether/Ore – Brett Jenkins
Trojan Women – Seneca (trans. A.K Boyle)
Ashes for Breakfast – Durs Grünbein (trans. Michael Hofman)
Love Stories/Hate Stories – Russ Wood & Brett Jenkins
Victims of a Map - Samih al-Qasim, Adonis, & Mahmud Darwish (trans. Abdullah al-Udhari)
The Deleted World – Tomas Tranströmer (trans. Robin Fulton)
Ode to Walt Whitman and Other Poems – Federico Garcia Lorca (trans. Carlos Bauer)
Birds of a Lesser Paradise – Megan Mayhew Bergman
Corruption – Camille Norton
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
 Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
The Bhagavad Gita – (trans. Juan Mascaro)
My Melancholy Whores – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (trans. Edith Grossman)
The Apple Speaks – Becca Lachman
The Seven Very Liberal Arts – Marilyn Taylor
The Birth of Classical Europe – Simon Price
Passions and Ancient Days – C.P. Cavafy (trans. Edmund Keeley & Phillip Sherrard)
The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides
Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Nifflinger
The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
The Casual Vacancy – J.K Rowling
In the Garden of Beast – Erik Larson
Shakespeare: the World as Stage – Bill Bryson
The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
Berlin Stories – Robert Walser (trans. Susan Bernofsky)
Descartes’ Bones – Russell Shorto
My Unwritten Books – George Steiner
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
Things Fall Part – Chinua Achebe

Some Lines:
  • Purity of heart is to will one thing. (Søren Kierkegaard)
  • Once there was a city that was at war for ten years. Eventually it was destroyed; many people were killed and their women taken into slavery. (Linda Gregerson)
  • Facts are surprisingly delible. (Bill Bryson)
  • The beginning is an artifice and what recommends one over another is how much sense it makes of what follows. (Ian McEwan)
  • Every letter was a love letter. (Jeffrey Eugenides)
  • What has become of us as a people that we can possess the beautiful only in dreams? (Robert Walser)

Some Statistics:
  • 35 Books
  • 26% in translation
  • 32% poetry
  • 35% female writers
  • 7243 pages 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shakespyeare 2013 - My New Year's Resolution


I've been putting this off for years but am now resolved: in 2013 I will read or watch everything Shakespeare wrote. A good way, I think, to revisit old favorites, make time for plays and poems that never make my reading list (King John, The Phoenix and the Turtle), and give a tone and tenor to the new year. So, 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 poems, and some various miscellany here we go. I'll be posting my progress, pitfalls, ponderances, and epiphanies. Happy new year, dear reader. I hope it finds you well and resolute.