This week was the first Shakespeare Week in the UK, a nationwide deal where they try to bring the big guy's works to life for elementary kids, a terrific idea and a tricky thing to do. Hell, it's hard to bring Shakespeare to life for grownups; that's when you get the faux-important approach, simply reading... Continue Reading →
Pub signs: a virtual crawl through Oxfordshire
Web-surfing recently brought me to a trove of scholarly reviews of Oxfordshire pubs. Its index page alone is great for the lovely names it catalogues: the Penny Black, the Coach and Horses, the Five Bells, the Rose and Crown, the Lamb and Flag, the Jolly Postboys, the Catherine Wheel. (I'm quite the fan of pub... Continue Reading →
What’s a British goddess like you doing on a Texas flag?
Compared to the stars, blocks of color and occasional cannon of other early Texas flags, the San Jacinto flag is a complex mass of symbolism. Here's a reproduction (which I have kinda brightened up) of the image at the center of the actual, refurbished flag, from Robert Maberry's 2001 book "Texas Flags": It's clear that... Continue Reading →
A friendly cover for your Hitchhiker’s Guide
Click here now to upload this important update to your Guide! Expanded capabilities: As you can see, the latest upgrades of the Guide include the ability to control nearby Nutri-Matic dispensers and several settings that allow it to work in tandem with your shipboard computer. Most importantly, the latest Guide relieves you of the need... Continue Reading →
Behind the scenes of “All Creatures” TV series
I'm a big James Herriot fan, and thanks to the JamesHerriot.org Twitter feed, I recently learned that there's a BBC 4 documentary -- a good one, with modern-day interviews with all the actors plus lots of behind-the-scenes footage -- available on YouTube about the making of the "All Creatures Great and Small" TV series. It's... Continue Reading →
Woohoo! “Black Adder” on Netflix streaming!
Watch just the first 1:03 of this video (actually you can jump in at 0:35, the first bit is the credits) and tell me if you don't want to watch the rest of this show. I can now retroactively complete my list of British TV on Netflix "Watch Instantly" (streaming video to your computer; free... Continue Reading →
Shakespeare’s love-in-idleness: A blackberry ice-cream viola
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell: It fell upon a little western flower, Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound, And maidens call it Love-in-idleness. -- A Midsummer Night's Dream This is the lovely Viola cornuta, a modern cousin of the deep purple violet Shakespeare knew and used in his play --... Continue Reading →
More tales from the kindly, warm world of James Herriot
Having been a fan of the James Herriot books since I was a little girl, I recently did myself a huge favor: I ordered the biography of him that his son wrote, "The Real James Herriot," as well as the photo book with his essays on "James Herriot's Yorkshire." (Herriot was the pen name adopted by... Continue Reading →
Why ‘Norwegian Wood’ would today be ‘IKEA Shelves’
I was puzzled as a youngster (and indeed, up until last week) by the title of "Norwegian Wood." The song is moody, and I always pictured a dark forest of young skinny trees, probably related to the photomural in my dentist's office. But no, I read now that it was a dig at the girl's... Continue Reading →
Live every day like a Beatle!
The calendars for 2010 and for 1965 use the same days, and in honor of my coworkers' upcoming Beatle trivia night, I thought it would be fun to design a printable calendar page saying where the Beatles were and what they were doing in February 1965. Here it is: If my evil plan has worked,... Continue Reading →