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Sunday: January 31, 2010

For Ignorant Tourists

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:28 PM GMT-0500

Proposed motto for the city of Staunton, Virginia:

Staunton: The ‘U’ is Silent

Truth in Advertising

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:15 PM GMT-0500

A local convenience store has a sign out front:

Buy 1, Get 1

Sunday: January 24, 2010

If a Seer Is Someone Who Sees the Future . . .

Filed under: — site admin @ 8:56 PM GMT-0500

Am I obsessed with puns? I couldn’t help noticing that the last four postcards in today’s edition of Post Secret confess to peeing in the shower, and the very next paragraph asks for readers’ “support in our effort to create the first peer-to-peer online crisis center” (emphasis added). I will gladly grants that this is a problem, and a rather disgusting one, especially if you share a bathroom with anyone else, but ‘crisis’ seems a bit strong.

Wednesday: January 13, 2010

Anticipatory Tenterhooks (Is That a Googlewhack?)

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:16 PM GMT-0500

What’s the best thing about the American Shakespeare Center’s production of Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, opening tomorrow night? There’s no way to tell, but the best thing I know before seeing it is that the same actor (John Harrell) is playing Lucifer and the Pope — not to mention the Holy Roman Emperor and the Duke of Vanholt. Whether the implicit parallel owes more to Marlowe or the ASC, and what (if anything) they will do with it, I do not know. I’m looking forward to this play more than most. Dr. Faustus is one of the two books I loved in high school and still love. (The other is Borges’ prose.) I don’t really ‘get’ most of Shakespeare’s plays (especially the comedies) from reading them, but Dr. Faustus has a simple — or at least linear — and powerful plot.

As for my title question, yes: there is one previous use of the phrase. Of course, this will make two.

Sunday: January 10, 2010

An Unexpected Pleasure

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:55 PM GMT-0500

I seldom visit Crooked Timber, and was therefore surprised to see two December threads on Shakespeare (and related topics) that were consistently interesting: Would Bacon’s Hamlet be Hamlet? and A molehill as high as Tenerife. Two commenters on the second post couldn’t resist dragging in Reagan and Nixon and saying stupid things about them, but otherwise the threads are intelligent, informative, and polite — not to mention very long. I would visit the site more often if it had more informal literary criticism and less philosophy, sociology, economics, and politics. I suppose I should stop by once a month to see what turns up.

Saturday: January 9, 2010

A Win-Win Situation?

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:25 PM GMT-0500

Iraqpundit is only the most recent blogger I’ve seen quoting Maj. Hasan as saying “We love death more than you love life”. Am I the only one who thought of Men in Black when I first read those words? I’m thinking of the scene where Edgar the ill-tempered hillbilly tells the newly-arrived Bug “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers” and the Bug replies “Your proposal is acceptable” and kills him.

Friday: January 8, 2010

Now what?

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:44 PM GMT-0500

My Oxford Spanish Dictionary, third edition on CD-Rom, arrived today, 65% off in their Christmas sale. The first word I looked up, ‘navecilla’, was not in it. It must mean ‘little ship’, but it was disconcerting not being able to check. In one 66-line poem of Quevedo, I found two other words that were entirely missing, along with several more that seem to have changed their meanings in the last 400 years. ‘Avariento’ must mean ‘greedy’, but I still don’t know what ‘dina’ means, or even whether it is a noun, adjective, or verb. It’s obviously not a ‘dyne’ (unit of power), the only modern meaning, or a small-d ‘Dinah’, and there is no obvious English or Latin cognate, as with ‘avariento’. Very frustrating. Is there some other Spanish-English dictionary that includes ‘obs.’ or ‘arch.’ words used by well-known older authors?

Saturday: January 2, 2010

Another Sign Our Civilization Is Doomed

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:00 PM GMT-0500

I have often thought that somewhere in the world some wit has undoubtedly named a cat or rabbit ‘Fwuffy’, with a W, but only recently thought to Google the name. Not only did I get “about 68,100” hits, but only one of the first ten was an animal — a hummingbird — while at least six were human beings using ‘Fwuffy’ as part of their noms de web. One of the six claims to be 22 years old.

I can’t find the exact quotation in a 5-minute web search, but Capt. Picard once told Cmdr. Riker that ‘there are some things about the Klingon psyche better left unexplored’. This made me feel much the same way about the 21st-century human psyche.

Friday: January 1, 2010

A Not-So-Subtle Distinction

Filed under: — site admin @ 8:48 AM GMT-0500

I would feel a lot better about Megan McArdle’s latest post if it were titled “Looking Ahead to Health Care Reform” instead of “Looking Forward to Health Care Reform”. No one I know is looking forward to it.