Archive for September, 2012

Shakespeare Song Parody: Countrywide Problems

Friday, September 28th, 2012

This is the eighth of a series of Shakespeare-themed parodies of popular songs.


Countrywide Problems
rapped to the beat of “99 Problems”

(With apologies to Jay-Z, and anyone who came here looking for stuff they could use in class…)

I ain’t worried ‘bout the Maid of Orleans.
I got countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.

I got morbid fears on the war frontiers,
This thing’s been ragin’ on for a Hundred Years.
Charles the Dauphin named himself the French King.
I’m the French King, stupid, you don’t know a damn thing.
My father did conquer, or haven’t you heard,
Reclaiming the title of Edward III.
So now England and France are united as one.
If you don’t like the arrangement, too bad, it’s all done.
But with our generals shaken, an army unskilled,
With Talbot taken, and with Salisbury killed,
The French took back Champaigne and Rouen,
Rheims and Poitiers, and now Paris is gone… zut alors!
I don’t know what you take me as,
Or understand the divine right that Henry has.
We took back Rouen, but the French ain’t done.
I got countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.
Back me!

Countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.
I ain’t worried ‘bout the Maid of Orleans.
I got countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.
Back me!

It’s 1429, and the realm is fine,
But some folks just want to step out of line.
My uncles spend hours debating my powers,
And out in the garden, they’re choosing up flowers.
Plantagenet shows up with a smirk on his face,
And actin’ like the fool thinks he owns the damn place, so I
Take the time out of planning for wars,
And I heard “I have a claim that’s better than yours.”
You don’t have a claim, who you messin’ with?
Your pops was a traitor, mine was Henry V,
So what’s this claim you think you can flaunt?
“From my mother from a brother who was older than Gaunt.”
Uh-huh. “My uncle carried the Mortimer name,
And now that he’s gone I inherit his claim.”
Descended through a female, so you missed your chance.
“If that’s how it goes, what are we doing in France?”
We use English law here, you wanna be a smart alec,
French law is different, and it’s not the Law Salic!
“Aren’t you sharp as a tack, you some type of scholar or somthin’,
Some kind of royal family historian?”
I ain’t got all the lineage trees from Burke’s,
But I know a little somethin’ ’bout how this all works.
I gave him York, but his trench ain’t done.
I got countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.
Back me!

Countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.
I ain’t worried ‘bout the Maid of Orleans.
I got countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.
Back me!

Now once upon a time, when I had to invade,
A monarch like myself had to strong-arm a maid.
This is not a maid in the sense of some girl with a sword,
But a self-proclaimed handmaid who waits on the Lord.
My army met hers on an Angiers field,
And in force of war, York made the witch yield.
You know the type, claiming divine sight,
But she couldn’t hold her own in a brute fight.
The only thing that I’d let happen is to stop all her yappin’,
Take her to the stake and start strappin’ with the wrappin’,
And then watch the witch start bargainin’,
In a desperate attempt just to save her skin.
Such an unholy lass, so afraid of death,
That she’s spouting out lies with her dying breath.
She denied her father, claimed a noble birth,
And an unborn child to increase her worth.
But from Renier of Naples or Alencon?
So much for the “Maid” of Orleans.
We lit the fire, and the stench ain’t fun.
I got countrywide problems, burnin’ a wench ain’t one.
Back me!

Countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.
I ain’t worried ‘bout the Maid of Orleans.
I got countrywide problems, but a wench ain’t one.
Back me!

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

I’m a motley-clothed jester with bells on his cap;
I’m the Joker of Tarot; a dim-witted sap;
An investment-help website; an April-First trap;
And an object of pity in Mr. T’s snap.

Who am I?

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

Three Truths and a Lie

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Your results may vary.

Over the past few days, Mitt Romney made three of the four statements below. The other statement, I just made up. Can you find the fake Romney quote among the genuine?

I put links to the sources after each quote. They lead to the story as reported by Talking Points Memo, your source for liberal-friendly political news. The fake quote’s source link leads to my favorite picture of President Obama.

1. “I admit this, he has one thing he did not do in his first four years, he’s said he’s going to do in his next four years, which is to raise taxes.” Source

2. “Look, George W. Bush was president when the financial meltdown began. I know that. And the Obama team has done a pretty good job of turning all of that around. But, the next four years are going to be critical.” Source

3. “The largest contributors to the Democratic Party are the teachers’ unions. And so if they can elect someone, then that person is supposed to be representing the public vis-a-vis the teachers’ union, but actually most of the money came from the teachers’ union. It’s an extraordinary conflict of interest.” Source

4. “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance. If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.” Source

How did you do?

The fake quote was inspired by this story. And now that you know which of the quotes are real, feel free to discuss them in the comments section.

UPDATE: Should have waited a day

“[D]on’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured,” Romney told NBC. “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”

Some Context

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Taking quotes out of context is a peculiar breed of dishonesty. It carries a sense of credibility, as the person actually said the words, but that only makes the lie more powerful when the meaning isn’t preserved. Lately, we’ve seen a number of instances of a particularly virulent strain of the practice, one in which the out-of-context quote conveniently fits an existing narrative about the speaker. The liar is comforted that his lie is meant to convey a deeper truth.

For example, a while back, Mitt Romney offered the statement “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” Now, anyone watching the original speech in context understood that he was talking about his preference to retain the ability to change health insurance companies. But because the left had already characterized him as someone who had built his fortune destroying jobs, it became very easy to shorten the quote to “I like being able to fire people,” or simply “I like… to fire people.” It doesn’t really feel like lying if we believe it to be an accurate portrayal of how he really feels deep down, right?

So when Barack Obama uttered the now-famous sentence “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” Republicans didn’t care that he was referring to roads and bridges. They knew that he really believed in his heart that business owners didn’t deserve credit for their own success, so taking him out of context seemed to be fair game. In a way, it felt even more honest than leaving the quote in context. They went so far as to base their entire convention around the misleading reference, shouting back at their fictionalized idea of the president’s intentions with righteous fervor. By the end of the convention, the imaginary Barack Obama seemed so real that Clint Eastwood even tried to have a conversation with it.

Now, a video has surfaced which has raised some questions about what Mitt Romney meant when he said that it’s not his job to worry about the 47% of Americans that don’t pay federal income taxes:

Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement and government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.

I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49 … I mean, he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax; 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. He’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years.

And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center, that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon, in some cases, emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what he looks like.

He was talking about his job as a candidate, not as a future president. So a response of “Well, Barack Obama is president to ALL of the people” is an unfair non-sequitur. All he’s saying is that it would be a waste of his time to court the votes of the non-taxpayer, because to do so would require getting them to vote against their own entitlements, thus taking responsibility and caring for their lives.

In fact, a President Romney would indeed convince the 47% to take personal responsibility and care for their lives by helpfully removing the safety net, their dependence on which has caused them so much detriment. You’re welcome. Added to which, we are to believe that a Romney presidency will lead to an immediate American Renaissance in military strength, traditional family values, and economic prosperity for all Americans rich and poor alike. The statement just doesn’t make any sense, from Romney’s point of view, if he’s talking about himself as president.

Now, I have to admit that there’s a part of me that is a bit amused by Romney’s complaint that he’s being taken out of context. Sorry, Mitt. You built that.

But I actually think it’s important to look at what he said in context, because that in itself is disturbing enough without having to distort it. And yes, the 47% does include soldiers and seniors, but I am willing to give Governor Romney the benefit of the doubt and say that he probably wasn’t talking about them. I want to focus on what he really meant, not what we want him to have meant.

If you look at what he is saying and who he is saying it to, you can see that he is painting a very broad picture of people who pay no federal income taxes as lazy freeloaders – not just the people who receive government aid, but also people who simply pay no taxes because they don’t earn enough to tax. That would be the poor, many of whom do harder work every day than Mitt Romney or I could even imagine. Now, these people never asked for a government handout; they just benefit from a tax code that doesn’t take food off of their table. Like everyone else, they’ll pay the lowest rate possible and certainly won’t volunteer to pay more. If anyone can appreciate that, it should be Mitt Romney.

When a man who owns a car elevator bemoans at a $50,000-a-plate dinner how the working class believes that they are entitled to food, we really have to consider what that means for us as a nation. Marie Antoinette, at least, offered cake.

Shakespeare Anagram: Coriolanus

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

From Coriolanus:

A hundred thousand welcomes: I could weep,
And I could laugh; I am light, and heavy. Welcome.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

Each high page-view accolade would include all who huddled around my site as monument.


Friday, September 21st, 2012

This blog has just reached 100,000 hits! We haven’t done this in a while, but it’s time for the cake and SiteMeter counter!

The 100,000th hit came in at 7:27am on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 from an undisclosed location. I do know that the milestone visitor found the site via a Google search in Turkish and came in through the Shakespeare Lipogram page. I doubt the lipograms maintain their univocalic purity in Turkish, but all are welcome here.

At this point in time, there are 859 posts (including this one) in 70 categories and 2,572 comments. A recent screenshot of the blog’s Technorati Authority is chronicled below.

Thanks to all of the fans of the riddles, parodies, puzzles, and anagrams. Thanks to the Shakespeare lovers and Shakespeare teachers. Thanks to the Googlebot and people looking for living descendants of Henry VIII. Today, you all have been counted. Onward and upward!

UPDATE: A celebratory anagram.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

I am ten to the fifth, or a figure of speech;
I’m the meters above us where space we first breach;
Former candy bar, Pyramid (name changed for each);
And the hits an illustrious weblog can reach.

Who am I?

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

Shakespeare Anagram: Romeo and Juliet

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

From Romeo and Juliet:

But, let them measure us by what they will,
We’ll measure them a measure, and be gone.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

The melee damage-buy seems mutual where Rahm blew a test-result law by the union.

Shakespeare Song Parody: Thought We Were Friends

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Oops, I did it again! This is the seventh of a series of pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.


Thought We Were Friends
sung to the tune of “Till the World Ends”

(With apologies to Britney Spears and, yeah, Shakespeare…)

Been servant to you for my whole life, you see.
Never seen you behave so abnormally.

Although you are my master,
Your words are a disaster.
I tell you of your honey;
You ask me for your money.
I ask you if you’re eating;
You answer with a beating.
Master, say, is everything all right?

I can’t take it, take it, take no more.
Never been like, been like this before.
C’mon get me, get me off the floor.
Master, what’d you, what’d you beat me for?

* * *

Say what else, but I know what I know did pass.
Being kicked, I should kick, if I were an ass.

You brought home guests for dinner;
The doors were locked from inner.
You left mad with the goldsmith;
A rope you said come back with.
Then, my task completing,
I earn another beating.
Master, say, is everything all right?

I can’t take it, take it, take no more.
Never been like, been like this before.
C’mon get me, get me off the floor.
Master, what’d you, what’d you beat me for?

* * *

If you beat me, I must take it.
But I really thought we were friends.
I’m the servant; you’re the master.
But I really thought we were friends.

But I really thought we were friends.
But I really thought we were friends.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

I make power from blades, or a large water wheel;
I grind coffee or pepper, increase their appeal;
British writer who showed libertarian zeal;
And a factory churning out paper or steel.

Who am I?

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