Breakfast At the Jetsons

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Feste’s Song

In William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; or, What You Will, Feste is called “Feste” only once in the play; other times he is referred to as “Fool” or “Clown”. Feste sings several songs, including the one that ends the play. A part of this last song is in a brief scene in Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny And Alexander (1982), performed by Gunnar Björnstrand playing Feste; however, there is a segment of about 20 minutes in The Making Of “Fanny And Alexander” (1986) in which Björnstrand does many takes of this scene. There are various melodies applied to this last song, but the version Björnstrand sings is my favorite (and he sings it in Swedish!). (Some favor the version in Trevor Nunn’s Twelfth Night (1996), performed by Ben Kingsley who plays Feste.)

The Fool, the 0 card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck

The Fool, the 0 card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck

Feste’s final song:

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
‘Gainst knave and thief men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my bed,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken head,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

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Pinky Shrimp’s

Pinky Shrimp’s

Pinky Shrimp’s sells raw and cooked seafood on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. It is located on Long Beach Boulevard at 83rd Street, on the east side of the boulevard. We recently took out assortments of prepared food two days in a row. We had feasts which included steamed whole lobsters, steamed clams, steamed mussels, fried flounder, fried shrimp, fried scallops, crab cakes, french fries, fried chicken patties, clam chowder, and lobster bisque. We highly recommend this place. Its website is: Pinky Shrimp’s, which has a menu page. Yummy!

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Autumn In the Heavenly Kingdom by Stephen R. Platt

Autumn In the Heavenly Kingdom

Autumn In the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, And the Epic Story Of the Taiping Civil War by Stephen R. Platt

I just finished reading the recently published Stephen R. Platt’s Autumn In the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, And the Epic Story Of the Taiping Civil War, a historical account of the Taiping Civil War (more popularly known as the Taiping Rebellion) which occurred in mid-nineteenth-century China. According to Platt, his book is written from a somewhat different, even revisionist, point of view from previously published histories, as he attempts to strike a balance between the Qing Dynasty’s and Taiping Kingdom’s points of view, which older histories tended to downplay one side or the other. He highlights interesting representative personalities, major or minor, connected to the conflict to illustrate the various viewpoints. The book, aimed to high school to college and up, is written in an absorbing style and lucid prose, which an English major would be cognizant of, as Platt had been before he turned his interests to Chinese history.

This period in Chinese history, 1851-1864, has inexplicably been neglected over the years. Even as the American Civil War, which overlaps this Chinese civil war in the later years, has continued to loom large in the American psyche, the Taiping Civil War has mostly been forgotten. All the more strange since, as bloody and violent as the American Civil War was, the Taiping Civil War was many times more so, with more deaths and human atrocities, which Platt provides ample details of, and with more factions having a stake and acting upon self-interest. And, the Taiping Civil War lasted more than twice as long, and had profound consequences for China well into the twentieth century.

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Skipper Dipper

Skipper Dipper

Skipper Dipper is a Long Beach Island ice cream shop in Peahala Park, New Jersey. It is situated right on Long Beach Boulevard at 94th Street (Mariner), on the east side of the boulevard. We liked it so much we recently went there three times in two days! Some of our favorite ice cream flavors are Maine Blueberry and Mint Chocolate Chip. We also enjoyed samples of other flavors, such as Pumpkin Spice, a special fall preview flavor. The Regular scoop is pretty large, so sometimes we ordered a Kiddie scoop, which was sufficient to satisfy the craving. Some of us also had milkshakes, which are also excellent. We highly recommend this place. Its website is: Skipper Dipper, which has a menu page. Enjoy!

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Hungry Ghost Festival

Food for hungry ghosts ... and hungry people, too!

We just celebrated the Hungry Ghost Festival, which falls on the 15th (full moon) of the seventh lunar month, but is observed throughout the entire month. Even though the seventh month begins this coming Sunday, some folks customarily celebrate it early. Ancestors, as well as other deceased relatives, come to visit our homes during this month, and we honor them; that’s the benevolent explanation, the sinister one is that we’d better appease the ghosts or else they’d haunt us! Every region has its particular rituals, with similarities and differences. For us, we’d burn incense, rice-paper money, and color-paper and thread (so they could have new clothes), and offer lots of food (after all they are hungry ghosts!), which includes some ceremonial ingredients, such as lotus root soup: the lotus root halved lengthwise has the shape of a boat, for the ancestors to travel back home by. I read that the Japanese custom during this period called “O-Bon” involves a lotus flower, or a rice-paper shaped like one, with a lit candle on top, and is set afloat on a river or stream or some water conduit. Quite an interesting variation. (The waterway in both traditions could be symbolic of the Milky Way, celestially prominent in the summer, and is central to another holiday this time of year which celebrates two mythical lovers separated by the river of the Milky Way except once a year, on the seventh of the seventh month, when they could bridge across and meet.) And, the fact that this folk tradition of the hungry ghost got absorbed into Buddhist and Taoist religious traditions is also interesting, as the lotus has symbolic meaning in Buddhism (though this lotus symbolism could have been an influence the other way around).

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High School AP Exam Time!

Last week and this week, AP (advanced placement) exams in a variety of subject areas were/are offered to high school students. This coming Tuesday is the day for the exam in US Government and Politics. For the last three years, C-SPAN aired a live call-in program just before the exam, allowing students planning to take the exam to call in to two social studies teachers from Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL., Andrew Conneen and Dan Larsen. They have a website: www.CitizenU.org, which is now also the blog: Civitas88.blogspot.com. They have posted the C-SPAN video segment from yesterday:

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.swf?pid=299380-5 (I’m having problems embedding this video, so if this is not a functional link, go to their blog linked above and view the post of May 7, 2011, or go to this C-SPAN webpage.)

The call-in program is interesting not only for test-takers, but also for people interested in government in general. I wish I had history teachers like these when I went to high school!

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