Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shakespeare Movie Opens Tomorrow

I love Joely Richardson and Rhys Ifanson.  Also the actor who plays the young Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, Jamie Campbell Bower, also played King Arthur in the short lived Camelot on Starz last year.  He was good in that!

Am looking forward to this film.  A dear friend over 15 years ago wrote a novel about this controversy.

 But important to note real scholarship, as the New York Times reported this weekend, Brush Up on Your Shakespeare, or Whoever
Professor Shapiro, author of “Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?,” called Mr. Emmerich “a charming man and a great filmmaker” but said that his approach was reductively anti-intellectual, and dangerously so. Mr. Emmerich and Sony have produced a documentary and classroom study guide that Professor Shapiro described as full of “half-truths repeated through a 20th-century perspective.” “I have no problem if Roland Emmerich wants to drink the Kool-Aid, but I do have a problem when it’s doled out in small cups to school kids,” he said.
He also said this, which is obviously true:
“That’s so funny,” Professor Shapiro said in response. “If I actually found a document that suggested that the Earl of Oxford wrote ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the age of 9, as the movie would have it, my career would be made.”
But it's just a movie.  I'm glad it will raise awareness., hope it will be entertaining, and regret my friend's novel wasn't the germ for this because it was very good!

787 Finally Flies

Pretty neat. 787 Dreamliner's maiden voyage yesterday from Tokyo to Hong Kong. Still, an American company built it. Boeing. No images of inside, but still kind of cool to see.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Classic Synchronized Swimming

On a lighter note, here is a fun video about Esther Williams. I sent this to my swim coach the other week who is so young she had no idea to whom I was referring.

Another younger friend I shared this with declared it was the creepiest thing he'd ever seen. Well, his life isn't creepy enough obviously!

I loved these movies when I was a kid. And yes when I grew up, while at Vassar, after foot surgery halted my ballet career, I joined the synchronized swimming team.

And loved it.

Here is Esther:

Poetry, Love and Vulnerability

Okay so the weekend's theme seems to be poetry.

This blog post Everything Moves to Live by Xeni Jardin at the Poetry Foundation web site is awesome.

It's partly a meditation on a movie, Alphaville, a science fiction film I've never seen, but sounds fascinating (and not just because of the synchronized bathing beauties!)
Love is illegal in the dictatorship of Alpha 60. Expressing grief, desire, or tenderness, even reading poetry, these are all crimes punishable by death—specifically,  staged executions in which prisoners are lined up and shot on the edge of a swimming pool filled with with synchronized Busby Berkeley-style bathing beauties.
And partly a meditation on poetry, two poets in particular - Argentinean poet Jorge Luis Borges and his contemporary, the French surrealist Paul √Čluard.  I had never heard of the latter (and one of his books is called Capital of Pain - need to check that out)...

but this poem ----

Because I love you, everything moves
We must advance to live
Aim straight ahead toward those you love
I went toward you, endlessly toward the light
If you smile, it enfolds me all the better
The rays of your arms pierce the mist
from √Čluard’s 1924 work, “Mourir de ne pas mourir” (“Dying Of Not Dying”)

Of this Jardin remarks - 
They express for me, better than my own words can, what it means to submit to the vulnerability that love requires. They capture what it means to accept that control and order are illusion, never mind what technology promises; chaos and chance are the magic in intimacy. They remind me of the eventuality of pain that any deep bond with another person entails, no matter how rich and blissful the sweet parts are.
Control and order are an illusion.  Particularly regarding agency over your own body.  I agree with every syllable of her observation and love the poem too.  

In the movie, poetry is what transform darkness into light.  Jardin calls poetry (and I love this too)-
command-line prompt of the human operating system

Friday, October 21, 2011

Poetry, Death and a Wind

I went to a funeral this morning, for the husband of a dear friend of mine.

The service was very beautiful.  Great hymns - Love, divine, all love's excelling and For all the saints (not the New Orleans melody, but just as beautiful).  One of the readings reminded me of the context of the bible verse on my mother's tombstone - which, obviously, moved me.  The second reading was I Corinthians 13:1-13, which is better known for the "Love is patient, love is kind," verses often read at weddings.

But I loved this, at the start of that chapter:
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all the mysteries and all the knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love trumps all - faith, knowledge, talents, power, things, your body.  Love changes all.  God's unconditional love, our love for others, receiving love.

Toward the end was my mom's verse-
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we shall see face to face.
My mom said to me, about that verse, that it was an awesome promise.   Here's my youngest niece at the grave site who last April asked me to take her to the cemetery.   You can see part of the verse engraved at the top.

And then at the end a bagpiped played Flowers of the Forest, which I had never heard and is a Scottish Folk Tune.  The melody embodied so much.   We walked outside for the committal into the Columbarium.  The crisp day was made a bit warmer by the bright sunshine.

The wounded National Cathedral, still closed, loomed in the background and added to the sadness.

But then as we together, for the second time, said the Lord's Prayer together a wind passed over us and...well, I felt God, love, my mother.  I felt a lot, exhaled and surrendered.

And finally, because of his military service, a lone bugler played Taps.

But what I also really wanted to share was the awe-some poem my friend Joanne selected for the bulletin.   I love so much about this:
If Death is Kind
Perhaps if death is kind, and there can be returning.
We will come back to earth some fragrant night,
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.
We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long genre thunder of the sea,
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free
 - by Sara Teasdale
 Here are some photos of the Cathedral from that day:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Byzantine's Bad Rap

I love Slate's Explainer column.  Today's edition is on how Byzantine came to mean "deviously convoluted"

Here's the crux:
Was the Byzantine system of government especially complex?Only compared to those of medieval Europe. 
Read more here.  

And related, I LOVED LOVED LOVED these free podcasts - 12 Byzantine Rulers by Lars Brownsworth.  The podcasts are also available on iTunes.  Very lively, very political and very interesting history.  Also a good bit of church history.   Many of these great stories not commonly known or taught in US schools.   His book Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization alludes to that (and is very readable too).

The Ardnamurchan Viking - An Amazing Find

Like myself, my mom loved books set in Britain in the past.  

So this news caught my eye at BBC News -
The UK mainland's first fully intact Viking boat burial site has been uncovered in the west Highlands, archaeologists have said.  The site, at Ardnamurchan, is thought to be more than 1,000 years old.
It's really really cool.

Items from Ireland and Norway in the site too.  Amazing.  

Read more here and there's is also a great graphic and a very good short video, less than two minutes at the link.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marshmallows, Muppets, Stephen Colbert and The Newshour

Im not sure when this aired on PBS' Newshour, but the clip from the Colbert Report are from June. No matter - still funny, and about that delayed gratification marshmallow test.

Watch Leather Muppet to Stephen Colbert: You Are What You Eat on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Erik Todd Dellums, My Man in WaPo!

I LOVE this man!  One of my best friends.  And I've been fortunate to know him for a long time.

I am so glad he is being recognized (even if I don't agree with his criticism of Obama).

Actor Erik Todd Dellums Stirs the Political Pot with Blog Posts About Obama  was in yesterday's Washington Post.

It concludes with this:

Dellums hopes he gets the chance to meet Obama at Sunday’s dedication of the King memorial. 
“I’m going to be the voice of God,” he said, using the theatrical term for an anonymous announcer. “I get to announce all the good folks, including the Queen of Soul,” he said (Aretha Franklin is scheduled to perform). “I’m excited to do it because I love Martin Luther King Jr. And the president is a brother!” 
What would be even better is if he were to get the acting role of his dreams: to play Obama in the biopic of the 44th president. 
“There are certain roles you just know you’re born to play,” Dellums said. 
“I have no desire to play the first black president,” he adds. “I want to play the greatest president that ever lived.”
Erik is an idealist and a purist, which is why I love him.  And fearless.   And we just love debating politics!

He is also a very kind and loving friend, and I am a lucky gal!

Thursday, October 13, 2011