Archive for January, 2009

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

I’m a game played on horseback with mallet in hand;
An explorer who sailed to a far away land;
I’m a shirt for the golf course; or Ralph Lauren’s brand;
And a team water sport you can watch On Demand.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Little Fish. See comments for answer.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I’m an average of terms, to a math statistician;
When you’re using a word to convey definition;
I am nasty and spiteful in my disposition;
But a term of respect for a skillful musician.

Who am I?

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

Breaking News

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

WASHINGTON – Former President George W. Bush was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital yesterday afternoon for injuries sustained when the door hit him on the ass on his way out of the presidency. President Bush’s injuries are reported to be minor, and he is expected to make a full recovery.

“This is a regrettable incident,” said newly sworn-in President Barack Obama, who then paused to assume a posture that onlookers described as Lincolnesque, “but let me be perfectly clear. I expressed grave concerns about the door to President Bush. I thanked him for his service to our nation, and advised that he not let the door hit him on the ass on his way out. Had he heeded my warnings, and the warnings of many others, he would not be in the position he finds himself in now.”

A spokesman for the Secret Service said that the danger posed by the door was known. However, the departing President inexplicably paused as he was leaving office, something he had been warned not to do, allowing the door to hit him on the ass on his way out. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs speculated that President Bush may have paused in response to a suggestion from incoming Vice President Joe Biden to “make like a tree.”

The Place to Be

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Last month, I had been considering making the trip to D.C. to be at the inauguration. But as the event neared, I realized that the most important place for me to be today was in school with the children.

When I was in the 10th grade, the teachers allowed us to watch the Challenger shuttle launch. This was the first time a civilian was sent into space, and it was a school teacher at that. As most of us remember, the shuttle exploded, and history was made in a different way.

I think that seeing the event in school made it something special. We usually don’t watch television in school, so the event was given extra significance. When I discuss it with other people my age, they often have a similar memory. I remember some news events I watched at home, but not nearly as vividly.

I hope the students who watched the inauguration today felt inspired by it, and that having been allowed to watch it in school helps them preserve the memories. I watched the event with an auditorium filled with junior high school students whose claps and cheers will forever be a part of my memory of the event.

I can’t imagine how being at the event myself could have been any better than that.

Question of the Week

Monday, January 19th, 2009

On the last evening of the George W. Bush administration, I’d like to end on a positive note, and invite my readers to opine on the very best thing that President Bush did while in office.

It would be too easy to list failures. Indeed, the Internet is teeming with lists of what the Bush administration did wrong. But in eight years, he must have done at least one thing right. It hardly seems possible that every decision was the diametrical opposite of what he should have done. Surely, even the harshest critic of President Bush can, on the final evening of his presidency, muster up a single word of praise.

Note that I am not looking for sarcasm. I am not looking for you to damn him with faint praise. I am not looking for you to say how his failures made it possible for something better or created an environment where something was possible. This should be a genuine compliment. (Though you can preface it with a broad condemnation if that will help the medicine go down.)

What is the best thing that George W. Bush did as president?

And if I can think of anything, I may even join the conversation.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

In a chemical mix, I’m how atoms affix;
An arrangement of bricks so that everything sticks;
I am somewhat safe picks when the stocks go deep six;
And a spy who beds chicks in a series of flicks.

Who am I?

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

Shakespeare Anagram: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

From A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evil comes
From our debate, from our dissension:
We are their parents and original.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

A sharp column in the Washington Post this month, wherein faded global warming is reframed in some depth as a hidden security issue, hit home.

In this column, he described three harsh ways that these few overwhelming horrors can render war: rampant scarcity from hotter, drier lands; renewed open-handed abundance; and fresh issues of common sovereignty, making two geopolitical zones of tension.

We should take this solemn threat to our security seriously, or we’re finished.

Googleplex – 1/9/09

Friday, January 9th, 2009

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, and what they were searching for.

Once a week (or so), I check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond to those search terms in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

shakespeare teacher

At long last, this site is the first hit in a Google search for “Shakespeare Teacher” which means that it’s the default for the “I’m Feeling Lucky” option. So you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky. Well, do ya, punk?

president died reading macbeth

Abraham Lincoln didn’t die while reading Macbeth; he was shot in the back of the head while attending the theatre. The play wasn’t Shakespeare, but the assassin was Edwin Booth’s brother, so that’s close enough.

Lincoln was a huge fan of Macbeth. Five days before his own assassination, he read aloud passages from the play that dealt with Duncan’s assassination to the Marquis de Chambrun. These passages haunted him, much as the chilling coincidence has the power to haunt us.

what does tudor have to do with shakespeare

The Tudors were a dynasty of English monarchs that rose to power when Henry Tudor defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 to become King Henry VII. The line ended with the death of his granddaughter Queen Elizabeth I in 1603.

Shakespeare was born in England in 1564, during the reign of Elizabeth, and therefore spent most of his life living under Tudor rule. There are also Tudor connections in two of Shakespeare’s history plays. Richard III ends with Henry VII coming to power, and Henry VIII is the story of Elizabeth’s famous father.

what message doesn’t macbeth
seem to getting from this last vision?

I’m not sure. The last vision is, I believe, the show of eight kings, and it seems like Macbeth gets the message: Banquo will be the father to a line of kings. However, Macbeth does go on to try to change his fate, which doesn’t seem to be possible in this world, so maybe that’s the message Macbeth doesn’t get.

My take is that he understands the prophecies, and accepts them as long as they are to his advantage, but when things go badly, he decides to take matters into his own hands, trying vainly (!) to usurp fate as he had usurped so much else.

anagram of venice


how to begin teaching shakespeare

Great question! Usually if I’m teaching Shakespeare, I’m teaching a particular play. If students are new to Shakespeare, I don’t jump into the language right away. I try to structure activities that interest students in the world of the play, the themes, the characters, and the plot.

When I am ready to introduce students to Shakespeare’s language, I do so by giving them a speech from the play we’re about to read, as well as the lyrics to a popular rap song. We then compare and contrast the way language is used in both texts.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

what rule did shakespeare change

how shakespeare affected Galileo

why was shakespeare so successful

a physical description of puck the mischievous sprite

henry the eighth for 10 year olds

shakespeare’s idea of humor

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

I’m what three is to nine; to untruthful, I’m truth;
I’m found under your hair; or the base of your tooth;
When you cheer for your ball team to hit like Babe Ruth;
I’m to dig up a garden; or search like a sleuth.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Little Fish. See comments for answer.

Conundrum: Poker Game 2

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Our four old poker friends have migrated from five-card stud to no-limit Texas hold ‘em, which they always play with a single deck of cards.

During one hand, the flop was an Eight, Ten, and King – all clubs. Ron went all-in, and the other three players called with money remaining.

The turn card was the Nine of Hearts. Nick went all-in, and the other two called with money remaining.

The river card was the Ten of Hearts. Frank went all-in, and Lennie called with money remaining.

As it turned out, nobody went broke on this hand.

What is the best possible hand that Lennie could have had?

UPDATE: Puzzle solved by Kimi. See comments for answer.