Archive for May, 2009

Penance Paid

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

This is just a quick post to acknowledge that I was able to blog every day in the month of May 2009. And yes, this post counts.

Moving forward, my penance paid, I will to try to continue to blog on a regular basis, though it may not be every day. Please feel free to comment on new posts, or old. Check out the Active posts, or browse old Questions. And you can always check out the right-hand sidebar to see which old threads have been revived.

Thank you for being part of this grand experiment.

Shakespeare Anagram: Othello

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

From Othello:


Switch around the letters, and it becomes:

So dead.


Googleplex – 5/29/09

Friday, May 29th, 2009

It’s time once again to check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

similarities between shakespeare and the west wing

Just as Shakespeare’s history plays are often an examination of the inner lives of kings, The West Wing is an examination of what it’s like to be the President. Both deal with the psychological consequences of holding so much power. Was Bartlet’s sleeping disorder modeled after Henry IV’s?

Sorkin was certainly aware of the resonance, and a major story arc in Season 3 centered around President Bartlet attending a condensed version of Shakespeare’s history plays. In one scene, the President takes a moment to distract himself from some bad news about his re-election campaign to tell his aide about how excited he was about seeing the play. Then, he asks what’s really on his mind:

“If Shakespeare wrote a play about me, how many parts do you think it would be?”

shakespeare crosswqrd puzzles and answers

I never did post the answers to this Shakespeare crossword. I’ll give it another week in case anybody still wants to try it, and then I’ll post the answers.

king henry the 8th wives names

Catherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn
Jane Seymour
Anne of Cleves
Catherine Howard
Catherine Parr

are our royal family descendants of henry the eighth

This search came in from the UK.

Since 1066, when William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings, the English crown has been held by one family (with a brief interregnum in the 1650’s). All subsequent monarchs have been direct descendants of William. So Queen Elizabeth II, for example, inherited the crown from her father King George VI, who (after his brother’s abdication) came to power through his father, King George V. His father was King Edward VII, whose mother was Queen Victoria. You could continue her line all the way back to William the Conqueror.

Henry VIII is also descended from William the Conqueror, but has no verified descendants. However, the Queen is descended from some of Henry’s suspected illegitimate children. So if they are, then she is.

why was shakespeare so successful? riddle

I keep getting this search term. I give up. Why?

gwyneth paltrow shakespeare descendant

No, she isn’t. It was just a movie.

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

shakespeare and jewish religion in 16th and 17 century

macbeth character analysis malcolm’s objects and adjective

shakespeare’s histories and saddam

macbeth teaching fun

“othello act 4 scene 3” themes

william shakespeare’s teachers

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

On the basketball court, you might find me obstructed;
I am profits you clear with expenses deducted;
I take butterflies captive, plus fish are abducted;
I’m where e-mail is sent, and the Web is constructed.

Who am I?

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

Larger Questions

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Monday’s Question of the Week was about the President’s new policy of “prolonged detention” for terror suspects who seemingly cannot be tried and cannot be released, and what larger implications this practice might have in the future. So far, nobody has touched it. It’s possible some are still pondering this question, while others are composing their carefully-worded responses. However, it’s also possible that I chose the wrong question. Let’s try another angle…

What icon will Doonesbury use to represent President Obama? In the past, Bill Clinton was represented as a waffle, while first-term George W. Bush was represented as an asterisk in a cowboy hat (later changed to a helmet from the Roman empire). The Doonesbury FAQ offers the following:

We appreciate the interest of the hundreds of readers who have written to ask — with varying degrees of impatience — whether there will be a Doonesbury icon for President Obama. Suggestions for an image have been generously forthcoming — halo, basketball, Ray-Bans, Blackberry, teleprompter.

My vote is coins. This represents “change” in one sense, and in another the financial challenges he inherited. What do you think?

What icon should Doonesbury use to represent Obama?

Conundrum: Shakespeare Invites

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Thanks for the good feedback about last week’s invite rhymes for the Best of the Bard and Henry VIII invites. The Shakespeare invites don’t usually involve poetry, but I do like to include a tagline to catch the interest of group members. Since I haven’t actually organized a reading in some time, I could at least share with you some of the taglines I’ve used. And since there are a few Shakespeare lovers who read this blog, I thought we could make a game out of it.

Can you identify the fifteen plays represented by the taglines below?

1. Bundle up, head on over, and join us as we catch winter by its tale. Hot cocoa will be served.

2. You like it! You really like it!

3. Everybody dies.

4. Come join us at our favorite Bavarian beerhouse as we travel to an austere statehouse, a rowdy whorehouse, and a dank jailhouse.

And then we’re gonna read a play.

5. Revenge is a beach.

6. Witches! Ghosts! Swordplay! Intrigue! Betrayal! Treachery! And the cold-blooded murder of a benefactor! Come join in the fun, as we read the play that dares not speak its name.

7. An afternoon to read. A lifetime to master.

8. We all know what happens when the children of rival families fall in love. But what happens when the rulers of rival countries fall in love?

9. What better way to spend an afternoon than with Rumor, Blunt, Shallow, Silence, Fang, Snare, Mouldy, Shadow, Wart, Feeble, Pistol, Quickly, and Doll?

10. Four hundred years before Seinfeld, there was a show about nothing.

11. We’re gonna party like it’s 1199.

12. Cast of Characters: a nobleman in disguise, an adulterer, a tyrant, an outcast, a wimp, a lackey, a fugitive, a bastard, a fool, two wicked sisters, and an elderly king, slowly losing his grasp on his humanity. Yes, we’re all in there somewhere.

13. And now for something completely different.

14. Bon Appetit!

15. Come join our monthly meeting of conspirators as we sink our daggers into Shakespeare’s classic tale of political intrigue and betrayal in Ancient Rome.

BONUS QUESTION: If readings are typically held on the first Sunday of each month, what play would have been the appropriate choice for January 2008?

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

UPDATE: Correct plays provided by Asher (10) and Jeremy (6).

Question of the Week

Monday, May 25th, 2009

On this Memorial Day, we remember and honor the men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country. Their sacrifices have helped keep us safe from harm, protected from tyranny, and secure in a way of life that upholds the values we cherish. This week’s Question invites us to examine what it was we believe they fought and died for, and how we can best honor their memories.

President Obama is doing the right thing by closing the detention camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. In some cases, this will mean a transfer of prisoners, while in other cases, it will lead to a trial. But there is one group that has triggered a serious policy discussion that has challenged the President to demonstrate how he will keep us safe while upholding the ideals that are fundamental to our nation.

What do we do with foreign nationals whom we do have a credible reason to believe are intent on doing harm to Americans, but whom we are not able to prosecute because they were tortured under the Bush administration and would therefore have to be released?

President Obama’s solution is “prolonged detention,” which means that they will be held without trial indefinitely. This is a preventative measure, intended to protect potential victims of future terrorist attacks. But many believe that holding suspects indefinitely, even suspects who openly declare their desire to harm Americans, crosses a line that America ought not cross.

Some would brand them as Prisoners of War, but that doesn’t quite work, since we are in a conceptual war with no conceivable end. Others would suggest bringing them to trial anyway, but we then risk setting them free. That doesn’t seem like such a great idea either. That may very well be the worst possible option, except for all of the others.

And you may be comfortable with President Obama having the right to decide who should be held in “prolonged detention” in 2009. But would you feel just as comfortable with President Cheney having that power in 2013? What we do now sets a precedent, and sends a powerful message about who we are as a nation. We can’t take that lightly.

But some of these prisoners, if released, could pose a serious threat. That can’t be taken lightly either.

What should we do?

If Blogging Were Like Facebook

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Shakespeare Teacher is going to bed.

Shakespeare Anagram: The Merchant of Venice

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

From The Merchant of Venice:

Go with me to a notary, seal me there
Your single bond; and, in a merry sport,
If you repay me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are
Express’d in the condition, let the forfeit
Be nominated for an equal pound
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your body pleaseth me.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

Obama’s Cardholder’s Bill of Rights may hamper undue predatory lending.

It won’t cap interest rates, but may end each hidden fee or a funny (or unfunny!) practice to rake your income.

And less opaque info may open the noose of those who offer money at usurious rates.

But it’s still a hoax. Pay them off.

The Eighth

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The invitation rhyme I posted a couple of days ago got a good reaction, so I’d like to share with you another invitation rhyme. I wrote this one as an invitation to a reading of Henry VIII.


The Eighth

The First hailed from Normandy, only to wreck it.
The Second one quarreled with Thomas of Beckett.
The Third one ascended to power at nine.
The Fourth was the first of the Lancaster line.
The Fifth one conducted a martial romance.
He married his queen after seizing her France.
The Sixth lost the War of the Roses, the fool.
The Seventh ignited a new Tudor rule.

But do you recall…
The most infamous Henry of all…