ShakeDic: guinea hen

January 29th, 2015 → 5:37 am

“I would drown myself for the love of a guinea hen.” – Othello

There’s your regular dictionary, your urban dictionary, even something called Your Dictionary.  Today I introduce ShakeDic – Shakespeare’s Dictionary.  In my current reading of Othello I’m coming across a number of words I am not only unfamiliar with, but I find hilarious/interesting once I figure out what Shakespeare meant by them.  I’ll post more examples over the coming months, but here’s the first:  guinea hen – slang term for a prostitute

Use in a sentence:  Honey, you haven’t seen any guinea hens lately, have you?

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Spoken Language

January 26th, 2015 → 5:53 am

“That’s an ill phrase, a vile phrase, [‘ok’] is a vile phrase.” – Hamlet

I am happy to report that the reviews coming in of The Other Shakespeare are mostly positive!  It’s really been heart-warming, in fact, to see all the nice things readers have written about the book, and it’s even given me incentive to think about a next novel…  The few criticisms I’ve gotten have generally been about the dialogue in the book.  That it messes up and sometimes sounds too modern.  First, let me say that I agree I should have never used the word “ok” in the book.  My bad.  But let me add that criticism of dialogue in historical novels is rife, and often quite unsubstantiated.  My favorite response on this came from Philippa Gregory, who said that, let’s be honest, no one knows how people actually spoke hundreds of years ago.  There were no recordings!  And obviously people don’t talk in casual conversation like they write in formal documents, so formal writing from that time period tells us nothing.  So anyone who claims definitively that a historical novel’s dialogue is wrong, is basing that opinion on, frankly, personal opinion.  Like most historical novels I had to wing the dialogue, and I may have messed up in a few places, but I’ve learned.  Watch out – my next novel is going to be even better!!

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art & Self/My Life

Miss Lebanon & Miss Israel

January 23rd, 2015 → 5:57 am

“Ye have angels’ faces, but heaven knows your hearts.” – Henry VIII

A photo from the Miss Universe pageant has apparently caused a political stir – because it has BOTH Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel in it.  For god’s sake.  Who cares?  The uproar has caused Miss Lebanon to disown the photo, and blame Miss Israel for taking it without permission.  Miss Lebanon may have a pretty face, but she has zero backbone; one can only hope that there is goodness in her heart at least.

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians & Stupid/Evil People


January 20th, 2015 → 6:07 am

“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”  – Sonnet 55

I’ve been reading some commentary about Shakespeare from the Harvard scholar Marjorie Garber, and she claims that the world has become “Shakspearized” – i.e. that the bard’s quotes, images, and allusions are everywhere.  I have to admit, I like that word – Shakspearized.  Shakspearized.  Shakspearized.  I’ve got to find a way to use it in every day conversation.  🙂

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Lassana Bathily

January 17th, 2015 → 7:44 am

“Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.” – Henry IV, Part I

Why don’t we celebrate the heroes, such as Lassana Bathily, as much as we lionize the villains of our common tragedies?

Filed under: Blog & Other & Stupid/Evil People

A Bad Day

January 15th, 2015 → 5:32 am

“By my troth Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.” – Merchant of Venice

That is just how I feel today…

Filed under: Blog & Self/My Life


January 12th, 2015 → 5:41 am

“Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine.”  – Othello

I’ve agreed to lead a discussion group on Othello over the next few months (how did that happen?!), so forgive me, but I have a feeling many of the upcoming posts will be Othello based.  Already on just the first page of the play I’ve underlined a number of things I wouldn’t mind blogging about.  The first is simply the word “arithmetician.”  I’ve written before how few math/numbers related quotes I’ve been able to find in the Shakespeare canon, so when I came across this word I was at first excited!  But it appears that Shakespeare means it less about arithmetic, than about describing someone with military knowledge.  Oh well.  It’s still a cool word, IMO.

Filed under: Blog & Other

Charlie Hebdo

January 9th, 2015 → 5:43 am

“Make death proud to take us.” – Antony and Cleopatra

Stephane Charbonnier, the editor of Charlie Hebdo, once said, “I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.”  And so you did.  You can be proud.  We are proud of you.  Death is proud to have you.  Your life meant something and your death stands for even more.  One of the most important things:  Free Speech!

Je suis Charlie.

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians

Winter is Upon Us

January 6th, 2015 → 6:43 am

“Sap checked with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o’er-snowed and bareness everywhere!”  – Sonnet 5

Despite our horrible Mexico adventure, I wish I were still there!  Winter is upon us and it is freezing here – brrrrrrrrrr!

Filed under: Blog & Other

American Airlines

January 3rd, 2015 → 6:47 am

“Whip me, ye devils, …
Blow me about in winds, roast me in sulfur,
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!”  – Othello

Wait, that’s exactly what I feel like after our latest trip with American Airlines.  We went to Mexico over the holidays, but our luggage did not!  Apparently over the six days of our trip our luggage went to Dallas, China, Singapore, and then finally on to Mexico where it arrived on the day of our departure.  As we were checking in for our flight home an agent told us to wait and, voila, our long-lost, at that point feared never-seen-again luggage, suddenly appeared!  I laughed with incredulity and the tears ran down my face, until the AA agent then asked for my credit card for the fee to check our bag in for the flight home.  I realize travel is all about the adventure, but after this last one, bandied about, insulted, hung up upon with customer service, I really do feel as though I’ve been whipped, roasted in sulfur, and then washed in gulfs of liquid fire.

Filed under: Blog & Self/My Life & Stupid/Evil People