Archive for September, 2007

Shakespeare Anagram: King John

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

The Shakespeare Geek and Satia have been hating on King John this week.

But when I did my own rankings, I listed it as my 13th favorite Shakespeare play, ahead of The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and even The Taming of the Shrew.

So I thought it would be a good time to say a few words about why I ranked it so high. And because today is Saturday, I think I’ll do it as an anagram.

From King John:

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form:
Then have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.
I will not keep this form upon my head
When there is such disorder in my wit.
O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows’ cure! 

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

Why do I build up King John?

Hamnet’s death fills our Bard with sensitivity to how parents suffer the loss of children. This monologue of Constance seems to be ripped from his sad soul. Wow.

Unlike whiny crummy dorky wimpy gruff bastards from Much Ado or Lear, suaver Falconbridge is a wise fool. Welcomed to the royal family, he is a merry commentator of events, to mystify or befuddle foes with wry whimsy.

The odd solipsism in Mommy plus the portrayal of young Arthur are also why I recommend this history.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

I’m a dangerous substance; I sealed two men’s fate,
When I went to the loo and arrived at the gate;
If inhaled, I can kill you – there is no debate;
But you can’t live without me, so don’t be irate.

Who am I?

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

Conundrum: Pic Tac Toe V

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

In a “Pic Tac Toe” puzzle, there are nine pictures in a three-by-three grid, like Tic-Tac-Toe. In each row, column, and diagonal, there is a common theme that unites the three pictures. The challenge is to find the eight themes.

You can click on each image to see a larger version:



Please post whatever you come up with in the comments section.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: Correct themes provided by Annalisa (7) and Neel Mehta (1). See comments for all answers.

Free Content on the Internet!

Monday, September 24th, 2007

New York Times Select is no more!

Content on the online version of the newspaper of record is now free.

You still have to log in, but that’s free too.

I’ve been hesitant to link to Times content, since not everyone would be able to follow. I may start doing it now. For example, Krugman has a good column today on race and politics.

Enjoy!

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

I’m that moment of hope curiosity brings;
I’m the whitest of breads; or the projects of kings;
Little Stevie of music; what Natalie sings;
And Small, Woman, or Years among televised things.

Who am I?

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

Conundrum: Pic Tac Toe IV

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

In a “Pic Tac Toe” puzzle, there are nine pictures in a three-by-three grid, like Tic-Tac-Toe. In each row, column, and diagonal, there is a common theme that unites the three pictures. The challenge is to find the eight themes.

You can click on each image to see a larger version:



NOTE: Pictures 4 and 6 carry a watermark from iStockphoto. This is not part of the puzzle.

Please post whatever you come up with in the comments section.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: Correct themes provided by Neel Mehta (1) and Annalisa (6). See comments for all answers.

Shakespeare Anagram: Henry VIII

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Earlier this week, I attempted to answer the question of whether Henry VIII has any living descendants, but I fear my answer may have been a bit too long winded. Perhaps I could deliver a more succinct answer if I made an anagram from the speech in Shakespeare where Henry talks about his daughter Elizabeth.

From Henry VIII:

O lord archbishop!
Thou hast made me now a man: never, before
This happy child, did I get any thing.
This oracle of comfort has so pleas’d me,
That when I am in heaven, I shall desire
To see what this child does, and praise my Maker.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

Henry VIII has no descendants that live.

Hail papa! From each of the four mommies, the Eighth had a hip kid: Catholic Mary, bastard Henry, wise Bess, and little Edward.

These had no more. His chromosomal line was stopped. Gone.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

I am not someone’s heart, but I’m worn on your sleeve;
You have seen it on TV: the weakest must leave;
I connect Kevin Bacon to Christopher Reeve;
And I’m missing, but out there, as some still believe.

Who am I?

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

Conundrum: Pic Tac Toe III

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

In a “Pic Tac Toe” puzzle, there are nine pictures in a three-by-three grid, like Tic-Tac-Toe. In each row, column, and diagonal, there is a common theme that unites the three pictures. The challenge is to find the eight themes.

You can click on each image to see a larger version:



Please post whatever you come up with in the comments section.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: Correct themes provided by Neel Mehta (8). Alternate themes suggested by Neel Mehta (2). See comments for all answers.

Living Descendants of King Henry the Eighth

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I subscribe to a service called “SiteMeter” which allows me to see a limited amount of information about my visitors. One thing that I can see is if someone finds my site via a Google search. Recently, I’ve had a number of hits from people looking to find out about living descendants of King Henry VIII. My site isn’t really about that, but I thought I’d provide an answer anyway, as a public service.

There are no living descendants of King Henry VIII.

Henry’s father, King Henry VII, had four offspring who lived past childhood: Arthur, Margaret, Henry, and Mary. Arthur was always expected to be the next king, but he died in 1502. When Henry VII died in 1509, the kingdom was passed to his younger son, crowned Henry VIII.

Henry VIII had four known living offspring from four different women. His first wife, Catherine of Arragon, gave him a daughter, Mary (born 1516). He had an illegitimate son, Henry FitzRoy (born 1519), with his mistress Elizabeth Blount. His second wife, Ann Boleyn, had a daughter Elizabeth (born 1533). His third wife, Jane Seymour, had a son, Edward (born 1537). Henry VIII would have three more wives, but no more children to carry on his line. And as we shall see, none of his four branches would bear fruit.

Henry FitzRoy died in 1536, while his father was still alive.

When Henry VIII died in 1547, young Edward became King Edward VI, but died in 1553 with no heir. He was 15 years old. That was the end of Henry’s Y chromosome. But what about the daughters?

There was a brief reign by Lady Jane Grey (not a descendant of Henry VIII, but a granddaughter of his sister Mary) and then Henry VIII’s daughter Mary took the throne as Queen Mary I of England. You may know her as Bloody Mary.

(Don’t confuse either Mary with Mary Queen of Scots, who was yet a third Mary. She is a descendant of Henry VIII’s sister Margaret. We’ll come back to her in a bit.)

Mary I of England died in 1558 with no offspring, leaving the country in the capable hands of her sister Elizabeth. During the 45-year-long reign of Queen Elizabeth I, we saw a new Golden Age which included the rise of Shakespeare and Sir Francis Bacon. But alas, we saw no heir. Elizabeth died in 1603, ending her father’s biological legacy forever.

The crown then passed to the son of Mary Queen of Scots, who was James VI of Scotland at the time. He became King James I of England. And Shakespeare quickly began work on Macbeth. Note that the British monarchy even today can be traced back to King Henry VII, the father of King Henry VIII.

But King Henry VIII himself has no known living descendants.

I hope this was helpful for at least some of you. For the rest of you, expect a new Conundrum tomorrow.

UPDATE: An anagram version of the answer!