Jul. 20th, 2005

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Thank you, Amazon Reviews, especially http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/guides/guide-display/-/XM10VUQDAZ1K/ref=cm_bg_dp_l_3/102-4790198-2951367

Movies to see: 84 Charing Cross Road: (& etc.)

... supposed to be a comedy/drama about booklovers!

Editorial Review
Amazon.com essential video
Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) and Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins) are lifelong friends who never meet in this unique comedy-drama based on a true story. Hanff and Doel are separated by 3,000 miles of ocean and joined by a passion for old books. Their relationship begins when New Yorker Hanff orders a copy ("unabridged, please!") of Pepys's diary. Doel, as polite and soft-spoken as Hanff is loud and overbearing, fields the request from his book shop in London. For the next two decades they correspond without ever actually sitting down for tea and crumpets. Brit director David Jones (Betrayal) does a reasonably good job of goosing a movie about something as uncinematic as letter writing, and the stars have fun chewing scenery on both sides of the Atlantic. The model for this kind of bittersweet relationship is David Lean's Brief Encounter, which, not coincidentally, is glimpsed here when Hanff steps out for a rainy-day matinee. --Glenn Lovell

Howards End (1992)

Howards End is E.M. Forster's beautifully subtle story of the crisscrossing paths of the privileged and those they disdain--and of a remarkable pair of women who can see beyond class distinctions. Dramatic and tragic, but also surprisingly funny, this James Ivory film focuses on a pair of unmarried sisters (Emma Thompson, who won an Oscar, and Helena Bonham Carter) who befriend a poor young clerk (Sam West) and, without meaning to, ruin his life. Meanwhile, Thompson also makes the acquaintance of a dying neighbor (Vanessa Redgrave), who leaves her a family home in her will--which her husband (Anthony Hopkins) destroys. But, ironically, he meets and falls in love with Thompson, even as their paths once more intersect with the increasingly miserable young clerk. Nuanced acting, gorgeous but muted cinematography, and a beautifully economical script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, which also won an Oscar. --Marshall Fine

A Room With A View (1986)
A superb English cast in the acclaimed comedy of manners from Merchant/Ivory based on E.M. Forster's novel of wit and romance. Off to the sensuous landscape of Florence for her horizon-broadening tour, Lucy, a perfectly proper young Edwardian lady, is chaperoned by her even more proper Aunt Charlotte. At the merest hint of scandal--Lucy is kissed by an improper suitor--Charlotte whisks her back to the serene English countryside, where she is betrothed to a supposedly suitable gentleman, insufferably in love with himself. With its "superb ensemble acting, intelligent writing and stunning design" (The New York Times), this delightful comedy of manners sparkles with keen observations of class behavior and genuine humor.
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(apt_rhiannon) wrote in anthropologist,
@ 2005-07-19 12:24:00

The real sound of Shakespeare?
I thought that this article might interest those of you who are more linguistically inclined - I'm not, but found it quite interesting anyway. (Be sure to check our the audio of actor Philip Bird reciting a passage in both normal and mock Tudor pronunciation)

The real sound of Shakespeare?
By Joe Boyle
BBC News

Ever been baffled by the bard? Vexed by his verse? Or perplexed by his puns? London's Globe theatre thinks it has the answer: perform Shakespeare's plays in Shakespeare's dialect.

In August the theatre will stage an "original production" of Troilus and Cressida - with the actors performing the lines as close to the 16th century pronunciations as possible.

By opening night, they will have rehearsed using phonetic scripts for two months and, hopefully, will render the play just as its author intended. They say their accents are somewhere between Australian, Cornish, Irish and Scottish, with a dash of Yorkshire - yet bizarrely, completely intelligible if you happen to come from North Carolina.

For example, the word "voice" is pronounced the same as "vice", "reason" as "raisin", "room" as "Rome", "one" as "own" - breathing new life into Shakespeare's rhyming and punning.

'Visceral' text

Giles Block, the play's director, believes the idea could catch on. He first tried the technique for three performances of Romeo and Juliet last year.

"I think it helps the audiences enter more into the visceral nature of the text. It brings out the qualities of the text, the richness of sound which is closer to our emotions than the way we speak today," he says.

"Apart from the delight of feeling 'I'm getting closer to how this play was done 400 years ago', some of the jokes, some of the rhymes and some of the puns also work again."

The actors have been coached by David Crystal, one of the world's most prominent language experts. He prepared the phonetic script by meticulously researching the rhymes, meter and spellings within Shakespeare's plays - as well as contemporary accounts of how the language was pronounced.

"We can deduce the value of a vowel from the way words rhyme. We can deduce whether a consonant was sounded from the way puns work," he said in an earlier interview.

For example, in Romeo and Juliet the word "mine" is used to rhyme with "Rosaline" - showing clearly that "Rosaline" rhymed with "fine" rather than "fin", he said.

Toilet humour

Philip Bird, who plays the Trojan king Hector (pronounced 'Ecter), admits the he felt "apprehensive" at first, but he says within a matter of minutes the material becomes "totally understandable". He says the "earthy, gutsy, grounded" accent forces the actors to find different ways of portraying power and seniority.

"When you're asked to play someone who is powerful or of high status, you act class, you act posh - but with this production it is not available because everyone spoke the same way 400 years ago."

But the accent also resurrects some classic Shakespearean puns. Ajax, who is the butt of many jokes in the play, is pronounced "a-jakes" - which, conveniently, is an Elizabethan word meaning toilet.
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THE Naming of Cats
. . . T.S. Eliot

The naming of cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have three
different names.

First of all, there's the name
that the family use daily,
Such as Victor, or Jonathan,
George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names
if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen,
some for the dames;
Such as Plato, Admetus,
Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you,
a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that is peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he
keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers,
or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind,
I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quazo or Coripat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellyrum--
Names that never belong
to more than one cat.

But above and beyond
there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you will never guess;
The name
that no human research can discover--
But The Cat Himself Knows,
and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought,
of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Ideas from: Alexis ( nos4a2no9) wrote in english_majors,
@ 2005-07-15 11:19:00

· Footnote
· Allegory
· Iambic
· "Grendel," of Beowulf
· “I always thought it'd be fun to use "peeve" as a name. Then you could say, "This is my pet, Peeve!"” – saraswati3
· “Mine's named after Hemingway (Ernest) because he drank like a lush (4 bowls of water the first day!) and was always adventure-safari-ing around our apartment. There was no choice.” – curieuse
· “I know someone who named her cat Cassius, "for he hath a lean and hungry look." “
· “We used to have a cat named Satan. Whenever he got into the garden my mom would yell "Satan! Get out of the azaleas!" “ – jitendra
· Orpheus
· Vignette
· “how about grimalkin? it's the old name for a cat that is a witch's familiar... shakespeare uses it.” –mermuse

"Sonnet to a Cat"
John Keats

Cat! who hast pass'd thy grand cliacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroy'd? - How many tit bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
Those velvet ears - but pr'ythee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me - and upraise
Thy gentle mew - and tell me all thy frays
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick.
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists -
For all the wheezy asthma, - and for all
Thy tail's tip is nick'd off - and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a mail,
Still is that fur as soft as when the lists
In youth thou enter'dst on glass bottled wall.

Posthumous and fugitive Poems
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Poaching leads to more tuskless elephants

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Monday July 18, 2005
The Guardian

Intense poaching by ivory hunters has caused a dramatic shift in the gene pool of Asian elephants, leading to a steep rise in tuskless herds.
Asian elephants are under more intense pressure from ivory hunters than their larger African cousins. There are believed to be no more than 50,000 spread across the Indian subcontinent and Indochina, around 10% of the number found in Africa.
Male elephants usually grow tusks, but typically around 2%-5% have a genetic quirk that means they remain tuskless. By killing elephants for their ivory, poachers make it more likely that tuskless elephants will mate and pass on the quirk to the next generation.
Zhang Li, a zoologist at Beijing Normal University and a member of the World Conservation Union's Asian elephant specialist group, studied herds in China and found that up to 10% were tuskless.
"The larger the tusks the male elephant has, the more likely it will be shot by poachers," he told the China Daily newspaper. "Therefore the ones without tusks survive, preserving the tuskless gene in the species."
The illegal trade in ivory has also skewed the sex ratio of the elephants in China, with females now outnumbering the males by four to one.
Some African countries have shown that increased policing of national parks and tighter controls on ivory can reverse the decline in numbers, but poachers are devising new strategies to evade officials. Instead of using guns, which attract rangers, many have switched to crossbows and target soft areas on the elephants, such as their mouths.
"It can be a slow and painful death over a few days and the poachers will follow the elephant until it dies and then cut the tusks out," David Cowdrey, WWF's wildlife trade campaign director, said.
He added: "As long as people are willing to pay high prices for products which come from endangered species, they're going to have a price tag on them and that fuels the poaching. Unfortunately, it comes down to the markets, which are in the west."
Last November, police raids in London and Gloucester seized some 80kg (176lb) of ivory and 141 ivory products.
Later this week, British legislation will be amended to make the buying and selling of products from endangered species an arrestable offence.

(posted by tulipchica in anthropologist)
Feminist Daily News Wire
July 14, 2005
All-Female African Village Still Thriving After 10 Years
The all-female village of Umoja, Kenya is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year as a prosperous community after ten years of struggle and opposition. Umoja, meaning “unity” in Swahili, was founded ten years ago by a group of homeless women who had been left by their husbands because they were raped. The husbands claimed that their wives had shamed them and their villages. Umoja has served and continues to serve as a safe haven for young women escaping violence, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage., according to the Washington Post.Approximately 36 women live in the village, running their own cultural center and a tourist campsite for the nearby Samburu National Reserve. At the cultural center, the women sell crafts and the traditional Samburu beaded necklaces. This has been such a successful project that the women have enough money to send their children to school for the first time. In their previous village lives, many husbands would insist that the children help with the livestock, but these women have the money and decision-making power to choose education for their children. Some men attempted to start an all-male village close by, but the endeavor was unsuccessful. Rebecca Lolosoli, the matriarch and chief of Umoja, was recently invited to speak before the United Nations in New York at a world conference on gender empowerment. When commenting on the achievements of the village, Lolosoli said, “We’ve seen so many changes in these women. They’re healthier and happier. They dress well. They used to have to beg. Now, they’re the ones giving out food to others,” reports The New York Times.


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