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Sunday: November 13, 2011

How Do You Make Hamlet Even More Tragic?

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:38 PM UTC

Do what the grad students in Shakespeare Studies at Mary Baldwin did in the performance I saw tonight (directed by Zach Brown):

1. Leave out Fortinbras entirely.

2. Have Horatio ignore Hamlet’s plea at the end of the play, drink the poison, and die. His last words were, of course, “The rest is silence”.

The result: I believe Osric is the only member of the upper classes left alive to inherit the throne. The accession of King Osric I would be a truly tragic outcome.

If any of my readers are in the Shenandoah Valley, there is a second performance tomorrow night at 7:30. The theater’s website is here.

Sunday: November 6, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:25 PM UTC

Ten years ago today, I began this blog. Here’s the first post, in full:

Cheney Goes Hunting
Though I’m sure it was primarily intended for relaxation, VP Cheney’s pheasant hunting expedition has some nice side-effects: implicit support for the NRA, a manly sport to symbolize homeland defense, and other things too obvious to be worth listing. On the other hand, given the stupidity of many of America’s enemies — as evidenced in the recent claim that Rudy Giuliani is the ‘Jewish, homosexual, governor of New York’, whose father named him after ‘Rudolph Hitler’ — and their often shaky grasp of English, do we really want to give Al Jazeera and the like the opportunity to claim that Cheney goes out shooting peasants for sport? Not that America has ever had any peasants to shoot, but how would the ignorant fanatics who support Osama Bin Laden — a troglodyte in more ways than one — know that? Would Michael Moore or Noam Chomsky, for that matter?

The link for the quotation about Giuliani is unfortunately dead: it’s not often that even terrorists manage to squeeze four separate easily-checked errors into a dozen or so words.

What should I do for my second decade? Post every day, or at least more often than I’ve been posting, and see if I still have any readers? That seems like a good plan.

Saturday: November 5, 2011

This Takes Me Back

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:23 PM UTC

In a post at The Volokh Conspiracy, Stewart Baker includes a picture of the statue that stands outside the Federal Trade Commission (he credits JoeInSouthernCA):

When I worked in D.C. 20+ years ago, I often walked past the statue. My friends and I liked to think of it as the allegorical depiction of Bureaucracy restraining Trade.

Truer Today, But Already True Then

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:47 PM UTC

Dicaearchus, that great and prolific Peripatetic, wrote a work called On the Extinction of Human Life. Having assembled the other causes – floods, epidemics, ravages of nature, sudden invasions by hordes of wild beasts, the onset of which he demonstrates has caused the exstirpation of certain races – he then shows how many more men by contrast have been wiped out by attacks made by other men in wars or civil commotions, than by all other disasters.

(Cicero, De Officiis 2.16, tr. P. G. Walsh, Oxford, 2000)

The Latin:

Est Dicaearchi liber de interitu hominum, Peripatetici magni et copiosi, qui collectis ceteris causis eluvionis, pestilentiae, vastitatis, beluarum etiam repentinae multitudinis, quarum impetu docet quaedam hominum genera esse consumpta, deinde comparat, quanto plures deleti sint homines hominum impetu, id est bellis aut seditionibus, quam omni reliqua calamitate.