Whiskey for the Pope

April 4th, 2014 → 8:30 am

“A good sherris-sack hath a two-fold
operation in it.  It ascends me into the brain;
dries me there all the foolish and dull and curdy
vapours which environ it; makes it apprehensive,
quick, forgetive, full of nimble fiery and
delectable shapes, which, delivered o’er to the
voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes
excellent wit.  The second property of your
excellent sherris is, the warming of the blood;
which, before cold and settled, left the liver
white and pale, which is the badge of pusillanimity
and cowardice; but the sherris warms it and makes
it course from the inwards to the parts extreme:
it illumineth the face, which as a beacon gives
warning to all the rest of this little kingdom,
man, to arm; and then the vital commoners and
inland petty spirits muster me all to their captain,
the heart, who, great and puffed up with this
retinue, doth any deed of courage; and this valour
comes of sherris.”  – Henry IV

No wonder Queen Elizabeth gave the pope a gift of whiskey at their meeting yesterday.  Originally I had thought the gift rather odd for a religious man, but Shakespeare expounds the virtues of alcohol so thoroughly I feel like getting a drink myself right now!

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians

Between Two Ferns

March 13th, 2014 → 8:28 am

“For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps,
Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up: urchins
Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,
All exercise on thee: thou shalt be pinched
As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging
Than bees that made ’em.”  – The Tempest

Barack Obama was on the comedy podcast Between Two Ferns the other day.  I don’t know about his performance, but I did spend an embarrassing amount of time at work yesterday (during lunch, of course!) watching a number of the other videos.  Some were really funny!

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art & Politics/Politicians

Vladimir Putin’s Aggression

March 2nd, 2014 → 6:00 am

“Must make perforce a universal prey
And last eat up himself.”  – Troilus and Cressida

What is Putin doing?  He seems to want to take over the Crimean Peninsula.  Isn’t Russia a large enough country for him to run?  Doesn’t he have enough on his hands with internal dissent, a poor economy, and the remains of the Olympics to deal with (what is going to happen to Sochi now?)  I would imagine antics and overreach like this would eventually ruin him, but the arc of history is long, and it appears at times to swerve in distressing directions.

P.S. Happy March.  Who’s loving this latest snowstorm we’re having?

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

Vladimir Putin – Again

February 28th, 2014 → 9:44 am

“The laws are mine, not thine.
Who can arraign me for’t?”  – King Lear

Almost three years ago I posted the above quote in relation to Vladimir Putin.  Sadly, it continues to apply.

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

Viktor Yanukovych Flees

February 23rd, 2014 → 6:49 am

“With all his crimes broad-blown, as flush as May.” – Hamlet

I have a good friend of Ukrainian descent whose been educating me/updating me on what is happening in Kiev these days.  The vitriol she, and her family, feels towards Viktor Yanukovych (and Vladimir Putin for that matter) startles me, but the more I learn about the situation, the more it appears justified.  He flew the coop yesterday and escaped Kiev as protesters stormed his palatial estate.  I only hope he knows enough to relinquish power peacefully now.

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

Francois Hollande

January 27th, 2014 → 6:07 am

“And then the lover,
Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.”  – As You Like It

The French president is an idiot.

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

Queen Elizabeth I

January 23rd, 2014 → 8:06 am

“The bird of wonder…the maiden phoenix.” – Henry VIII

The above is a quote Shakespeare actually made about Queen Elizabeth I (and not somebody else which I then appropriated for the sake of this blog).  I have always admired this single ruler of England for 45 years in the 16th century, but never more so than after reading about what she faced in the quasi-history book What If?  I mean, I always knew that she faced a tough struggle with Spain, over twenty assassination attempts, and tons of misogyny, but what I had failed to really appreciate was how trul alone she (and England) were at the time.  This was well before England was a great empire.  In 1588 when the Spanish Armada attacked, the entire world was against her.  There was, literally, only one country that stood with England:  the Dutch.  How she stayed firm to England’s independence, to her own determination not to marry, how she stayed alive at all (!) I really have a hard time fathoming.  Very impressive.

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians

Ariel Sharon’s Passing

January 12th, 2014 → 6:32 am

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar.”  – Julius Caesar

He did good, he did bad.  Now, he is at rest.

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians

A Chris Christie Adage

January 9th, 2014 → 7:57 am

“Revenge should have no bounds.” – Hamlet

If this isn’t the polar opposite of Nelson Mandela and his approach to politics, I don’t know what is.  Which leader would you rather have?

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

A Belated Tribute to Nelson Mandela

January 7th, 2014 → 5:48 am

“The rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance.”  – The Tempest

There have been a gazillion tributes to Nelson Mandela since he died about a month ago, so I won’t rehash his extensive history and important accomplishments here.  What I will do is comment on the one aspect of his personality which is most relevant to me.  In my own life, I often have a hard time forgiving people and getting past injuries and slights.  Mandela seems to have been able to do this to an astounding degree.  I find it not just amazing, but almost incomprehensible.  I hope I can keep his example in mind in the future when life (and people) try my soul.

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians