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Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge

“I believe in looseness”*…

 

Robert Greene as pictured in the frontispiece to John Dickenson’s Greene in Conceipt (1598)- the only known image of the dramatist, poet, pamphleteer

Known for his debauched lifestyle, his flirtations with criminality, and the sheer volume of his output, the Elizabethan writer Robert Greene was a fascinating figure.  Ed Simon explores the literary merits and bohemian traits of the man who penned the earliest known (and far from flattering) reference to Shakespeare as a playwright: “Robert Greene, the First Bohemian.”

* Willie Nelson

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As we frolic on the fringes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1750 that the first issue of the first college student magazine, Student, or the Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany, was published.

Cover of a 20th century collected reprint

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Written by LW

January 31, 2016 at 1:01 am

Top of the Pops…

After an author has been dead for some time, it becomes increasingly difficult for his publishers to get a new book out of him each year.
– Robert Benchley

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From the always-amusing Mental Floss, a current read on The All-Time Best-Selling Books.  The top spots are held by volumes either instructional or devotional:

1. The Bible (6.7 billion copies)

2. Quotations from Chairman Mao, Mao Tse-Tung (900 million)

3. The Qur’an (800 million)

4. Xinhua Zidian (400 million — a Chinese dictionary, first published in 1953)

5. The Book of Common Prayer, Thomas Cranmer

6. Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan

7. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, John Foxe

8. The Book of Mormon, Joseph J. Smith, Jr.

But two works of fiction round out the Top Ten:

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling (107 million — UK title was …and the Philosopher’s Stone)

10. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie (100 million)

Read the full list (and find links to top lists of videos, games, and albums) at  The All-Time Best-Selling Books… dive more deeply into the rankings at Wikipedia— which observes:  “This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness.”  To put it politely:  note, e.g., that Tale of Two Cities and Tolkein’s work probably belong in MF’s Top Ten… Still, it’s fun…

“Classic.” A book which people praise and don’t read.
– Mark Twain

As we turn the page, we might recall that it was on this date in 1593 that poet and playwright (Shakespeare’s nearest rival) Christopher Marlowe was killed in a tavern brawl.  Marlowe reputedly supplemented his income as a spy; in any case, he ran afoul of Queen Elizabeth’s government when, earlier in the month, his roommate, playwright Thomas Kyd was grilled by authorities.  Kyd  insisted that the “heretical” papers found in his room belonged to Marlowe, who was subsequently arrested, but was able to use his connections to arrange bail.  While out Marlowe became involved in a fight– ostensibly over a tavern bill, but believed by many to have been a set-up– and was stabbed to death.

The 1585 portrait discovered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1953, believed to be of the 21-year-old Christopher Marlowe.  The inscribed motto is “QVOD ME NVTRIT ME DESTRVIT,” “that which nourishes me destroys me.”  Indeed.  (source)

 

We might note too that (as the Library of Congress recalls) it was on this date in 1868 that Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 designating May 30 as a day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

The first national celebration of the holiday took place on that day at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Confederate and Union soldiers were buried. Originally known as Decoration Day, at the turn of the century it was designated “Memorial Day.”

Life begins at 65 (or so)…

Meet Ted Wilson.

I’m an artist, musician and good friend and widower. I started drawing at a young age because my dad did it and I got really good. All the other kids in school always liked my drawings of Dick Tracy and Krazy Kat, so I stuck with it. When I was 15 I got a job as a ghost artist for the syndicated strip “Kingsley Masterson and his Pirateens.” Then, after high school I started my own strip called “Jungle Hustle”. I plan to put some pictures of it up here some time soon.

I gave up being an artist when I met my now deceased wife Rosie because she thought it was childish. Instead, I got a job as an accountant and worked for over 40 years at Rockville Insura-best, Inc. I retired soon after Rosie died because i didn’t need as much money anymore.

Now I’m a musician in a fun band called the Ryan Montbleau Band.

Ted is also a journalist, a reviewer of…  well, everything.

In each week’s edition of The Rumpus (an online zine your correspondent heartily recommends), Ted tackles an aspect of existence…  This week, he gave 3 out of 5 stars to “Forest Fires.”

… There are benefits to forest fires even to those not responsible. For instance, a recently contained forest fire is a great source of freshly cooked meat. Free meat is important in today’s economic climate. Not only can one find all the regular woodland creatures, but there is also the possibility for less legal and culturally unacceptable meats. I like to keep a picnic set in the trunk of my car, ready at a moment’s notice.

On the downside, the loss of all those trees might mean hundreds of pieces of Ikea furniture the world will never be able to assemble and enjoy temporarily before discarding on a sidewalk or giving away through Craigslist to someone else who will eventually discard it on a sidewalk.

It’s also a sad time for people who live near the fire and are forced to evacuate their homes. But at least it causes them to really evaluate what’s important in their lives by reducing their belongings to the essentials. It’s a great way to purge.

While forest fires can be bad, they’re not nearly the dire experiences Smokey the Bear makes them out to be.

Next week he’ll be reviewing Garth Brooks.

And while at The Rumpus, Dear Readers, do check out the resident cartoonists, among them the delightful Lucas Adams

As we look again at the elderly gentleman in the seat next to ours, we might recall that it was on this date in 1829 that the first Boat Race between the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge was rowed. (Oxford won).

The tradition began with two friends: Charles Merivale, a student at Cambridge, and his Harrow schoolfriend Charles Wordsworth (nephew of the poet William Wordsworth), who was at Oxford.  Merivale and Cambridge sent a challenge to Oxford –and so the practice was born which has continued to the present day, by which the loser of the previous year’s race challenges the opposition to a re-match.

The first Boat Race took place at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire; contemporary newspapers report that a crowd of twenty thousand traveled to watch.  Shortly thereafter, the race was moved to Putney, where it has become an annual tradition.  But the first fixture was such a resounding success that the people of Henley later decided to organize a regatta of their own, the event now known as the Henley Royal Regatta.

The Boat Race

Who you callin’ “Cupcake”?…

Cupcakes are, of course, all the vogue.  And as their popularity has exploded, they’ve begun to speciate…

There are Periodic Table Cupcakes…

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Elmo cupcakes…

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Watchmen Cupcakes…

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And oh so many others (for a nifty selection, starting with the ones above, poke around at Laughing Squid and at Friday Foodie)…

But cupcakes, in their mainstream “chocolate or vanilla” manifestations, or in these more elaborate guises, have remained…  well, dainty.

No longer!  Now the formidable folks at Butch Bakery (“Where butch meets buttercream”) offer cupcakes in 12 flavors and six “styles”:  Woodland Camo, Wood Grain, Houndstooth, Plaid, Checkerboard or Marble.

Got beer?

As we bench press a baker’s dozen, we might recall that it was on this date in 1953 that James D. Watson and Francis Crick announced to friends that they had determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement took place on April 25  following publication in the April issue of Nature (published April 2).  The not-yet-Nobel-laureates walked into the Eagle pub in Cambridge and announced, “We have found the secret of Life.”

The Double Helix

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