Shakespeare Anagram: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

August 23rd, 2014

From The Two Gentlemen of Verona:

This weak impress of love is as a figure
Trenched in ice, which with an hour’s heat
Dissolves to water and doth lose his form.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

If she is listed, his challenge is she must pour ice water over her head or vow to donate cash.

Oh man, if this fad works, it wins.

For more information, visit the ALS Association website.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

August 21st, 2014

I’m a spot in the stable where horses will stay;
A malfunction in engines that causes dismay;
I’m a space in the rest room; deliberate delay;
And a seat near the choir where clergy can pray.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Jason. See comments for answer.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

August 14th, 2014

I’m the wood of a trunk when you cut down a tree;
To accrue flying hours for pilots-to-be;
If your sleep has gone deep, then you’re sleeping like me;
And in natural states, I’ve a base set to e.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

August 7th, 2014

I am dragging your feet; I’m a step used in tap;
I’m to randomize cards; I’m a Super Bowl rap;
I’m the smallest of iPods; mix songs in the app;
And a daily routine for that Party Rock chap.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

July 31st, 2014

I’m the songs in a show; I help painters prosaic;
The mob’s betting racket; the fourth book Mosaic;
The terms’ coefficients in strings algebraic;
And Apple’s own app for all things formulaic.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Bronx Richie. See comments for answer.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

July 24th, 2014

I’m the stalk of the grass that the sugar men pick;
I’m an athlete from Raleigh who scores a hat trick;
I’m a Singapore sentence; a curved walking stick;
And a mint-flavored candy you’d get from St. Nick.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Mo. See comments for answer.

The End

Shakespeare Anagram: As You Like It

July 19th, 2014

From As You Like It:

Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you:
I thought that all things had been savage here;
And therefore put I on the countenance
Of stern commandment.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

Hey!

They happen to be in a forest, so you condemn gents as an agenda of smug entitlement rather than put them out a hand?

Check your privilege, Orlando.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

July 17th, 2014

I’m the musical Rose of whom Fanny Brice sung;
I’m the smoke from another that reaches your lung;
I’m bought formerly owned; I’m a tale spread by tongue;
And just give me a minute, and I’m fully swung.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

July 10th, 2014

I’m a station you’re changing when less than engrossed;
Found between mainland France and the low English coast;
I’m a YouTube account where a user can post;
And I’m using your body for hosting a ghost!

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

The End

Shakespeare Follow-Up: America

July 4th, 2014

In The Comedy of Errors, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse, while visiting Ephesus, are quite surprised that two women have claimed them as husbands. In actuality, they are the wives of the Syracusians’ long-lost twins, but our travelers don’t know this. Dromio describes his new-found wife as spherical, like a globe. Antipholus asks where particular countries can be found, and Dromio makes bawdy wordplay based on various parts of her anatomy. At one point, Antipholus goes somewhere unexpected:

Where America, the Indies?

USA! USA! USA!

But, wait… Shakespeare wrote The Comedy of Errors in the late 16th century, over a hundred years before Thomas Jefferson was even a glimmer in his pappy’s eye. There was no USA. O, say can you see the need for a Shakespeare Follow-Up?

The 1492 expedition of Christopher Columbus introduced Europeans to what they would later refer to as “The New World.” But at the time, Columbus thought that he had circumnavigated the globe and found a new route to the Indies. Despite being in error about this, the islands he reached continue to be called the West Indies and the native people he encountered are still commonly referred to as Indians, though the latter title seems to be phasing out.




The earliest-known use of the word America was in a 1507 map by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller. The Library of Congress has a digital version of it, and it’s really worth checking out. You can see how much and how little they knew about the “New World.” Most of what they had charted was what we today call South America, and very little of the North American landmass is depicted. At the top, apparently overseeing his discovery, is Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer credited for realizing that the landmass discovered by Columbus was not part of Asia, but rather an independent continent.

According to my Arden edition of the play (R.A. Foakes, ed.), Shakespeare wrote The Comedy of Errors around 1591-1592, give or take a couple of years. For our purposes here, it will suffice to note that the play was written after the first English colonists set up in the New World (the ill-fated Roanoke colonists, arriving July 4, 1584), but before the first permanent colony was established in Jamestown in 1607.

So what did Shakespeare mean by “America”? The Arden note is inconclusive: “the only specific reference to America in Shakespeare’s writings; here, like the ‘Indies’ named in reference to its proverbial wealth.” However, according the Folger’s Shakespeare in American Life website, Shakespeare’s characters would refer to the New World as “the Indies,” as it appears Antipholus is dong here. So my best inference would be that “America” also is referring to the New World in general, and not necessarily the middle section of the North American landmass.

Isaac Asimov, by the way, is silent on this issue. He does note that, during this section, Antipholus and Dromio have completely abandoned any pretense of being from ancient Greek city-states.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in Congress on this date, July 4, 1776, and today is commonly celebrated as the birthday of the United States of America. The word “America” is now most commonly used to refer to this nation.

So… Happy Birthday, America!

The End