Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Glossary of Archaisms from Shakespeare

Verily, a fardel of meed....

How about a list of "Old Words That Occur Frequently in Shakespeare".

My favorite:

"And we have done but greenly in huggermugger to inter him" (Claudius to Gertrude, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act IV, Scene V).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Silent film: Phantom of the Opera

The Silent Opera

I saw the 1925 silent film Phantom of the Opera at the Loew's Jersey Theater last night. Or did I? According to Wikipedia's article about the film, multiple versions were created by Universal Studios, including a later dubbed sound version and an alternate with color sequences. There were alternate cuts with different scenes distributed too. Anyway, what I saw was silent (with terrific musical accompaniment from the Loew's massive theater organ) and entirely in black and white.

Scary? Not by today's standards, though the scene in which the Phantom is unmasked reportedly caused some viewers to faint in 1925, due to Lon Chaney's still impressive make-up. It was entertaining, though, and an interesting history lesson.

The audience was huge, which surprised me. But then, there aren't many places where film buffs can see silent movies with live musical accompaniment these days.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Word of the Day: Clinquant

clinquant (adj)

Glittering, but usually in a false or cheap way, like tinsel

"No, there are too many of these fine sparks you talk of who perhaps may be very clinquant, slight, and bright and make a very pretty show at first, but the tinsel-gentlemen do so tarnish in the wearing, there's no enduring them."
--Thomas Shadwell, The Virtuoso

I once had a cat that liked to eat the tinsel (of the "icicle" type) off the Christmas tree. Maybe he had an iron deficiency. Anyway, he always threw it up later, in a sort of shiny hairball, which was both pretty from a distance and disgusting close up -- like many things, I guess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Walking on a college campus today, momentarily felt as if in a time warp.... Set up the stereo last weekend -- the one that's been in the basement, in a various boxes, since we moved. Was amazed (but shouldn't have been) at how much better it sounds than the boombox.... Listening to the audiobook of Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) while on the subway (PATH), felt a certain irony. The book is about an underground society (figuratively and literally) beneath the steets of London.... Watched The Fall last weekend. Interesting film about the power of storytelling with an amazing performance by a five-year-old girl....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quote of the Day: Yoko Ono

"Consider if it is such a catastrophe
to live without your head or if it
shouldn’t be easier for you to go
around since your body would be much
--Yoko Ono

Thursday, October 09, 2008

John Lennon's Birthday

Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé


I believe, yes I believe, that today is John Lennon's birthday. Number 9, number 9, number 9....

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Starry Night: the SIMBAD Astronomical Database

The images in this SIMBAD Astronomical Database remind me of the sparkling night sky in rural upstate New York (where I grew up).

Word of the Day: sprezzatura

sprezzatura (n)

rehearsed spontaneity, studied nonchalance

"To get an idea of this sprezzatura at need only recall
some of the supreme moments of comic films."
--Gerald Mast, The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies

"What, the curtains?"

Saturday, October 04, 2008