in which I am sad instead of grumpy

Jul. 27th, 2017 01:16 pm
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1. abrinsky is on his way home and will hopefully be back by 16:30

2. I already had a physio appointment booked this morning, which was convenient for the newly painful left leg. Physio confirms that although the tendon in my right leg is healing, I now have acute tendinopathy in my left leg. In both cases, there was no dramatic event to trigger the problem, and I've never experienced tendinopathy before, so she suggests that there is some underlying problem. It's anecdata rather than hard science but, based on similar cases, she's speculating that I may have a vitamin deficiency/malabsorption issue. She's going to recommend to my GP that I have tests for D3 and B12. We talked about my medical history, diet, and lifestyle and I've really enjoyed her way of thinking around the problem. I also really enjoyed the massage to both legs. Well, apart from the paining.

3. I have given notice of my resignation from the board. I'll be freeeeeeeeee from 1 September. I'm sad about this, and I feel bad about the problems my departure will cause, but I am very sure that it's the right decision for me. I have also undertaken to provide a lot of support with very clear boundaries to make the transition as easy as possible for the organisation.

Possibly My Last Word On The Subject

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:19 am
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[personal profile] poliphilo
The case against Shakespeare's authorship?

It doesn't really exist. The argument- used by the Oxfordians- that only an aristocrat could have had the experience of the world and depth of culture necessary to produce  such work- is pure snobbery. After all, our candidate, Kit Marlowe, was a cobbler's son- and came from even further down the social scale than the glove-making, landowning Shakespeares. 

It's just a feeling really. 

You look at the records of Shakespeare's life- which are fairly copious- and the picture emerges of an energetic, none too scrupulous businessman. He buys land and property, lends money, does a bit of  profiteering, applies for a coat of arms. No reason why a man who leaves this kind of paper trail shouldn't also have written King Lear, Twelfth Night and the Sonnets but somehow it doesn't quite fit. One loves the writer but doesn't entirely like the social-climbing chiseller he seems to have been.

Where did he get his education? Why is there no certain record of him as a writer before he was 29? Isn't it a little odd that so great a genius should have risen without trace?

Our man Kit on the other hand leaves a glittering trail. He goes to university, acquires aristocratic patrons, hangs out with the Luciferian genius Walter Raleigh, travels, does undercover work for the government, writes and publishes plays and poems, translates Ovid- and all before he reaches the age at which Shakespeare emerges from obscurity.  Kit at 29 is a man of whom great things might be expected and Shakespeare at the same age is nobody in particular.

And then there's the evidence of the work. Shakespeare is just so Marlovian. His first published work- Venus and Adonis- is heavily influenced by Marlowe's Hero and Leander- which hadn't been published yet, his historical plays plough the furrow that Kit initiated with his Edward II, the style of early Shakespeare- his quirks and quiddities, his vocabulary and all that sort of thing- is practically the same as Kit's. You could say that Shakespeare was imitating his predecessor but you don't expect an imitator to surpass their model- and Shakespeare just keeps on getting better and better.

Where one sticks- a bit- is with the testimony of Shakespeare's contemporaries. Ben Jonson liked and grudgingly admired the man. Hemming and Condell seem to have accepted his authorship. But did any of them stand looking over his shoulder while he wrote? Was there any need for them to be in on the secret? The Shakespeare they knew was a fellow-actor, astute man of the theatre, fun guy to be around. He could have been all these things and still acted as the front for another man's work. Would the deception have been so very hard to maintain? Shakespeare could well have been enough of a writer to effect revisions of Kit's work as it went through the process of production, cutting lines, adding lines, shoehorning in a song or a masque-  all that sort of thing. Perhaps he slipped one or two of his own compositions- the Hathaway sonnet for instance- in among Kit's papers- simply because he could. It would explain why there are things in the canon that fall so very far below the general standard.

Case proved? Hardly. Perhaps the document that'll clinch the matter is out there- somewhere- but more probably not. In the end what matters is the work itself and not the name on the title page. 

Still one does love a good mystery...




How It Might Have Been

Jul. 27th, 2017 10:19 am
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[personal profile] poliphilo
Kit is in big trouble. Archbishop Whitgift is running an English approximation of the Holy Inquisition and Kit has been informed against. A man called Baines has turned in a report of his blasphemous tavern talk which still exists- and it's spicy even by today's standards. Kit has been arrested, examined and is currently out on bail. If things go against him he could face the death penalty. Fortunately he has done the state good service (as an undercover agent) and has friends in high places.

The death in Deptford is faked up. The witnesses are all either government agents or professional conmen. The venue belongs to a relative of one of Kit's bosses. The inquest is irregular and the coroner is in on the fix. The body- probably that of a recently executed man- is hastily buried in a common grave. Kit, meanwhile, is on his way out of the country.

The rest is silence. Except that he goes on writing. He may have been in Italy, or Scotland or travelling around; he may have returned to England under a false name. There's no way of knowing. Meanwhile a man called Shakespeare has agreed to put his name to Kit's plays and poems.

Shakespeare is an actor and theatrical entrepreneur. Perhaps he does a bit of writing- botching up old plays and such. (There's a sonnet that puns on the name Hathaway- which doesn't fit with the rest and is altogether pretty feeble; maybe that's an example of Shakespeare's own work.) Anyway this scribbler- who has hitherto written nothing of note- starts producing masterpieces.  The man is witty and sociable and smooth. He passes. Not even his closest associates- Ben Jonson for instance- see any reason to question his authorship. The players notice that the scripts he turns in (and this is on the record) are singularly free of corrections and put it down to an extraordinary fluency of invention (Jonson grumbles about it.) Really it's because they're fair copies in Shakespeare's handwriting of Kit's original "foul papers".

The folio collection of "Shakespeare's Works" contains several plays that have never been published before and heavily revised versions of some that have. Maybe Kit has outlived Shakespeare and is still around in the early 1620s- overseeing the production of his magnum opus. 

And that's it. No-one guesses. No-one suspects. The man Shakespeare- who, in his lifetime, drew little attention to himself- begins to acquire a legend...



This is summary of other people's research and speculation. I claim none of it as original- except, perhaps, for the sideways glance at the "Hathaway" sonnet. 

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:20 pm
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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Crooked Timber's John Quiggin considers imaginable ways to get carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down to 350 ppm by 2100.

  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog considers the tenuous nature of the upper-middle class in America. How is downwards mobility to be avoided, even here?

  • Imageo shows the growth of a sunspot larger than the Earth.

  • Language Hat shares the story of how Manchu script came to be.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the working poor need protection from arbitrary and always-changing work schedules.

  • The LRB Blog notes the geopolitical scramble at the Horn of Africa, starting with bases in Djibouti.

  • The NYR Daily engages with an intriguing exhibition about the relationship between Henry James and paintings, and painting.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw engages with the classic 1937 Australian film, Lovers and Luggers.

  • Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money notes that one benefit of the trend towards greater informality in fashion is that time has been freed up, especially for women.

  • Peter Rukavina writes about his new Instagram account, hosting his various sketches.

  • Unicorn Booty notes the continuing problems with Germany's adoption laws for same-sex couples.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how the Polish president saved the independence of Poland's courts with his veto.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia is trying to mobilize the ethnic Russians of Lithuania, finally.

in which I am the most grumpy

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:11 pm
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[personal profile] lamentables
1. abrinsky went to Liverpool this morning and won't be back until tomorrow night

2. I went for another walk at a normal pace this afternoon, and halfway round my circuit the OTHER leg started to hurt and now I'm limping again, but on the wrong leg.

3. Board meeting this evening, when I really wanted to retire to bed with book/video and alcohol.

4. Board meeting did not go well. Person who has previously exhibited bigotry was doing it again as I arrived. I disagree with the majority of the board about our approach and strategy. I am right, obvs. Someone is being poisonous and judgemental. Someone else doesn't trust anyone. I've come home feeling like I HATE EVERYBODY. Trying not to send my resignation email until I've slept on it. Restraint needed.

5. Brother is ill and cannot attend the storytelling festival at the weekend. I was SO looking forward to hanging out with him and his kids and now it's all roooooooned.

6. I want to offer to take his kids to the festival without him, but we feel (all of us, including my bro) that this would be too risky. For reasons.

7. I hate even numbers. I don't trust them, all round and smooth and secretly evil. (Have I mentioned I divide most things into odd/even? Flavours, days of the week, colours, shapes. I like odd, spiky, sour, left-handed, green and yellow things best of all. Especially on Wednesdays.)

Kit And Will

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:09 am
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[personal profile] poliphilo
I've been looking at the case for Christopher Marlowe having faked his death and come back as Shakespeare. Verdict: unprovable but not implausible. There are no clinchers.

But.

Marlowe and Shakespeare were the same age. Marlowe died at 29 having already established himself as playwright, poet and man about town whereas Shakespeare was a late developer, and only appeared as an author- with the Marlovian Venus and Adonis- a couple of months after Marlowe's death. The one takes up where the other finishes.

I read Marlowe's Edward II. It's has all the qualities we call Shakespearian- the poetry, the stagecraft, the ability to see all sides of a question, the mastery of pathos- and resembles Richard II to the point of making the later play seem like an imitation or riposte- but one that improves on the original- which is not something one expects a mere copyist to pull off- unless of course- it were a case of a master in competition with himself.

So either we have two great writers- of an age- with remarkably similar skill-sets- the one beginning his career just as the other cashes in his chips- or else...

Reading: The Star of the Sea

Jul. 25th, 2017 06:27 pm
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[personal profile] white_hart
The Star of the Sea is Una McCormack's sequel to The Baba Yaga (which I read last autumn). Both novels are set in a universe originally created by Eric Brown, though I haven't read Brown's books in the series, and take place in a far-future universe where both humanity and their traditional enemies the Vetch are threatened by the mysterious and massively deadly Weird. In this book, following the events of The Baba Yaga, the human Expansion mounts an expedition to Stella Maris, where humans, Vetch and Weird had been living in harmony, ostensibly to study the Weird but perhaps with more sinister motives. At the same time, Yale, one of the residents of Stella Maris, agrees to transport a mysterious human girl and a Vetch boy back to the Expansion for purposes that, at least initially, aren't clear to any of them, while information analyst Maxine Lee, working in the Expansion's capital, starts to suspect that some of the conspiracy theories she's meant to be monitoring may have more truth than she has been led to believe.

Like the first book, it's a plotty, compelling sf thriller with a strong cast of mostly-female characters. Also like the first book, this isn't a utopian Star Trek-type space opera; it's an examination of what it means to live in a society that's far more authoritarian than any of its citizens would care to admit, and of how an authoritarian regime can exploit the small (and not so small) differences between people to bring discord and division to a previously-harmonious society; and if I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I enjoyed The Baba Yaga, I think it's simply that the world I live in has shifted between last September, when I read that, and now, and I found it so dark that in places it was quite difficult to read, knowing what's going on in the world around me.

triffid of the day

Jul. 25th, 2017 06:45 pm
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[personal profile] lamentables
Triffid #oftheday

Walking is almost back to a normal pace now - so much so that the f*tb*t recognises it as exercise - but I'm still not walking more than 2km at a time. I've now spent too much time not-walking or hobbling, so that walking feels like hard work and not fun. This makes me grumpy, but I am trying to focus on the longer term instead of on immediate gratification. Not-walking has also had a impact on my mental health: I'm twitchy and prey to small-hour brain weasels at the moment. *resolve face*

abrinsky had his stitches removed today and his face is looking much more the way it should do. Without the stitches there, he braved a wet shave (though not of the wound itself) and this also makes him look more himself. The nurse confirmed he's healing well, which is good to hear.

Unfiltered

Jul. 25th, 2017 10:39 am
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[personal profile] poliphilo
The difference between Trump and most other heads of state is that they hide their uncouthness, incompetence and venality behind a curtain- and he doesn't. He's the first uncensored, unfiltered president of the modern age. There's no Vaseline on the lens. In place of the managed image, the crafted statements there's an orange man with silly hair who twitters...

He's embarrassing but he hasn't started a war yet. Now which, I wonder, is the greater crime...

potluck yoga

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:35 pm
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[personal profile] lamentables
It was the last yoga session of the term today, which necessitated some cooking over the weekend, ready for our traditional potluck lunch.

I think I've previously mentioned the occasional benefit of being the last drop for the vegbox man - the week of 18 avocados? (Some weeks there are items missing from my box, so it's not all good news.) This week there was a bonus net of lemons in my box, so I was inspired to make lemon polenta cake. But to make life easier I made small individual cakes in bun cases.

Lemon polenta cakes #oftheday #whenlifegivesyou🍋🍋

They are delicious and, I reckon, better than a single large cake. I had to grind my own almond flour (also contains hazelnuts, because not quite enough almonds) and I think that really enhanced the cakes, making the texture more uneven and interesting.

the recipe )

And as a savoury, I baked some individual 'frittatas'. Or maybe they were pastry-less quiches. It all depends on how you look at things. Either way, they were very tasty and I shall be making them again for my lunches.

Mini frittata #oftheday #omnomnom

They contain roast veg, feta, finely sliced onions, and egg whisked with a little milk. I seasoned only with salt and pepper, but the roast veg has such an intense flavour that this was the right choice. The bonus is that the veg was a bit tired and limp, so I was using it up before it had to be thrown away. And there's a bit more roast veg in a box in the fridge as a handy ingredient for I don't yet know what.
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Europe at Midnight is the second in Dave Hutchinson's Fractured Europe series; although it isn't quite a sequel to Europe in Autumn and could reasonably easily be read as a standalone novel, reading Europe in Autumn first fills in some of the background, and reading Europe at Midnight first would take away the impact of one of the major plot twists in Europe in Autumn.

Like Europe in Autumn, Europe at Midnight is basically a Le Carre-esque spy thriller which replaces the Cold War with the complicated politics of a fragmented near-future Europe. Its events take place on the same timeline as those of Europe in Autumn, with limited points of intersection. It's clever and plotty and interesting and I enjoyed it a great deal. I did, however, have one reservation, which was that I counted no fewer than three separate incidents where female characters who were important to the two male protagonists died violently in order to advance the men's plots (and a fourth where a woman was only seriously injured). It's true that the novel belongs to the gritty spy thriller genre and that comes with a lot of violence, death and general unpleasantness, and it gets points for having a reasonably wide range of female characters who are as likely to be dishing out the violence and general unpleasantness as on the receiving end of it, but by the third death I couldn't help feeling that this was starting to feel a bit like a pattern, especially as none of the deaths of men had the same emotional resonance for the two protagonists.

***

Rivers of London: Black Mould is the third Rivers of London graphic novel. I pre-ordered this in February when the release date was, I think, May; it was eventually released this week. Like the first two, it's a short standalone casefic which doesn't add to the wider arc of the series; fairly slight, but it was nice to see more of DC Guleed in particular, and it was entertaining enough.

Rossetti's Grave

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:03 am
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[personal profile] poliphilo
Dante Gabriel Rossetti had no particular connection with Birchington (near Margate) except that he was staying there when he died. He hadn't wanted to be buried with his wife- Lizzie Siddall (whose grave he'd unromantically dug up to retrieve the poems he'd romantically sealed in her coffin) and he was too rock and roll for the Abbey so they buried him where he dropped (so to speak)- by the south porch of Birchington church. The monument- which features the figures of Dante and Beatrice- with whom Rossetti had a life-long obsession- and St Luke, patron saint of painters- was designed by Rossetti's old mentor and mucker in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Ford Madox Brown.

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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • CBC Prince Edward Island notes that, although down from its 1999 peak, PEI is still Canada's top potato producer.

  • Strong demand and limited supply means that the Island's real estate market is tight, with rising prices. CBC Prince Edward Island reports.

  • Meagan Campbell writes in MacLean's about two of the Island's newest migrant groups, Amish from Ontario and Buddhist monks from East Asia.

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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

    Torontoist's feature on how Stepgate went viral internationally is a mustread.
  • The National Post covers a disturbing report about claiming a police officer maimed a teenager. If the Toronto police have been actively trying to cover up criminal assault by one of their members ...

  • Global News notes that Metrolinx has opted to remove Bombardier for consideration in operating GO Transit.

  • A high-speed ferry link between Toronto and Niagara--St. Catherine's--is imaginable. Economically viable? The Globe and Mail reports.

  • Simon Lewsen describes in The Globe and Mail how the 1977 murder of Emanuel Jaques led, eventually, to the transformation of Yonge Street.

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Coffee Time by the towers (and Food Basics) #toronto #dupontstreet #wallaceemerson #coffeetime #foodbasics #condos #towers


I stopped off at the Coffee Time on the northeast corner of Dupont and Lansdowne this afternoon en route to Big on Bloor Festival, picking up a jumbo coffee and a beef samosa before I veered south onto Lansdowne towards Bloordale. I blogged about this restaurant and its (to my mind) unfairly grim reputation. (My Flickr link is here.) This time, as I approached the restaurant from the east, I saw the Food Basics grocery store lying just to the west, I thought about the controversy around this store and its neighbourhood.

This Food Basics is an anchor store for the Fuse Condos development, on the northwest of Dupont and Lansdowne. This new grocery store opening was welcome by some, who saw no reason this store could not co-exist with the FreshCo in the Galleria Mall just a few minutes east at Dupont and Dufferin. To some, this was a betrayal: Fuse Condos had produced a Metro grocery store, a higher-end grocery store with more selection, and some buyers were quite upset. There was even a petition calling for a Metro.

All this was satirized in The Beaverton, and aptly analyzed in the Toronto Star by Edward Keenan. Keenan pointed out that this behaviour was wildly out of place given the decidedly working-class nature of Wallace Emerson. Food Basics, obviously, got installed regardless.

Still: how long will this neighbourhood, this cluster of west-end neighbourhoods, remain what it has been? I wonder.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

Jul. 22nd, 2017 05:06 pm
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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Anthrodendum considers the question of what, exactly, is the genre of ethnographic film.

  • Centauri Dreams features authors' calls for a debate on METI, on sending messages to extraterrestrial intelligences.

  • The Crux reports on the continuing damage caused by the continuing eruptions of Indonesia's mud volcano, Sidoarjo.

  • Imageo shares a cute time-lapse video from Hubble showing the motion of Phobos around Mars.

  • Language Hat responds to a newly-translated mid-19th century Russian novella, Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya‘s 1861 novella Пансионерка (The Boarding School Girl).

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money has a depressing extended examination of Trump as reflecting structural crisis in the United States.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the genesis and continuing success of Nicaraguan Sign Language.

  • The Map Room Blog shares a satirical map of Washington D.C., defined by the names that its metro stations should have.

  • Ethan Siegel at Starts With A Bang lists the various worlds in our Solar System possibly hosting life, and notes how you could get an Earth-like world with wildly erratic seasons as in Game of Thrones.

  • Unicorn Booty notes that the German president has signed marriage equality into law. (Also, the country has good LGBT protections.)

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Putin is fine with an asymmetrical bilingualism in Russia's republics, aimed against non-Russian languages.

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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • In The Globe and Mail, Elizabeth Renzetti looks at the Toronto debate on having cats indoors or outdoors. (I think the first is best.)

  • Helena Oliveira at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes how people can train their cats to make use of leashes. (Should I have?)

  • The SCMP reports on a Hong Kong prison that will allow inmates to keep cats, for the time being.

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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • In The Globe and Mail, Ian Brown and Nam Phi Dang's photo essay tracking the adventures of a bus of Chinese tourists who went from Toronto to the Island and back is insightful and amusing.
  • Alex Ballingall's account in the Toronto Star of his week-long trek along the Trans-Canada Trail from Niagara to Toronto is enlightening. Would I could do this ...

  • Mark Milke in MacLean's argues that, regrettable excesses aside, Canadians should be proud of our British heritage.

  • The Montreal Gazette's Brendan Kelly wonders why a supposedly Canadian music compilation does not include any French-language songs.

  • In the Toronto Star, Emma Teitel points out that visibility, including corporate visibility, is hugely important in Pride.

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