Monthly Archives: May 2007

Time Travellin’ to the Renaissance

I attend the St. Louis Renaissance Festival every year. Over the years I’ve been working on putting together a jester outfit. A colleague asked me if there were jesters in Renaissance Europe — he thought they were more medieval.

A little research suggests they ended in England in the 16th century, but were existent in France up to the French Revolution (late 18th). The Wentzville Faire is set in France, under the reign of Francis I, early 16th century. He ushered in the Renaissance for France, and his court Jester was perhaps one of the more famous court jesters — at least in literature. Triboulet, star of Victor Hugo’s Le Roi s’Amuse (The King’s Diversion), and Verdi’s remake into an opera – Rigoletto.

Hugo took liberties with the real individual, but here’s a few illustrations for his character:

Triboulet1.jpg
triboulet2.jpg

What isn’t clear from the illustrations is he’s a hunchback. Hugo liked characters with that deformity apparently. Not sure if I’ll work that into my costume, but I already have the beard.

Freedom of Speech

I talk about politics a lot here. I don’t know how many people care what I think. It’s not like I’m running for congress. (I think some of the poetry I’ve written pretty much eliminates any possibility of that.) Here’s a series of statements I’ve put together about one of the freedoms from the First Amendment. It’s partially in response to some discussions I’ve had with friends and others. I may put together something similar for the other freedoms. Feel free to comment, and to make suggestions. (Note: “We” is not necessarily always the plural of “I”)

Freedom of Speech

Barbra Streisand is free to express her opinions.

Charlton Heston is free to express his opinions

Natalie Maines is free to express her opinions.

Toby Keith is free to express his opinions.

If we disagree with the opinions of any of the individuals above, we are free to express our disagreement.

We are free to say that these individuals shouldn’t express their opinions as entertainers.

We are free to say that Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, Bill O Reilly, and Al Franken should express their opinions, even though they are also entertainers.

We are free to be hypocritical and support the free expression of some, but not others.

We are free to point out hypocrisy in others when we see fit.

We are free to burn books, cds, dvds. (if they belong to us)

We are free to destroy any object that belongs to us, alone.

We are free to tell people who burn books, cds, dvds that they are Philistines.

They are free to disagree with us and/or keep on burning.

Residents of Philistia are free to be offended by the comparison, even though they’ve all been dead for centuries.

Radio stations, newspapers, publishing houses, and bookstores are free to follow the money, and remove particular artists from airplay, column space, publication, shelves if they feel it will please their readers, listeners, or customers.

Readers, listeners, and customers are free to show these radio stations, newspapers, publishing houses, and bookstores that their business decision was the incorrect one, by staging a boycott, and trying to affect their bottom line.

We are free to express our opinions.

We are free to express our disgust with the opinions of others.

They are free to express their disgust with our opinions.

Talented individual

Guy shoots self in butt.

When you read the news story, it won’t be too difficult to figure out how I discovered it, if you’re a regular reader, or at least have read my earlier posts today.

This ties in nicely with a discussion of gun control I’ve been having on a college alum email list. I’d make the argument that the ability to conceal a weapon doesn’t make you safer. But someone would likely point out that since the guy didn’t have the gun legally, he probably didn’t receive any training. Would the training have helped, though?

Don’t follow the link unless…

Here’s a tshirt that spoils the ending of a dozen films, one tv show, and one book. Within a few years, the book will become a movie, unless the earth explodes before then, but for now it’s just the sixth book in a series that ends in July.

What’s spoiled:
Dallas (Who shot JR)
The Usual Suspects
Citizen Kane
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
Planet of the Apes
Sixth Sense
The Matrix
Fight Club
The Others
Psycho
300
Soylent Green
Beautiful Mind
Crying Game
Donnie Darko
Harry Potter Book Six

And two films…one about a village, and another about a group of villagers. No clue, but they sound like horror films.

It’s a funny tshirt, but I wouldn’t wear it until after the film is released.

Don’t follow the link unless…

Here’s a tshirt that spoils the ending of a dozen films, one tv show, and one book. Within a few years, the book will become a movie, unless the earth explodes before then, but for now it’s just the sixth book in a series that ends in July.

What’s spoiled:
Dallas (Who shot JR)
The Usual Suspects
Citizen Kane
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
Planet of the Apes
Sixth Sense
The Matrix
Fight Club
The Others
Psycho
300
Soylent Green
Beautiful Mind
Crying Game
Donnie Darko
Harry Potter Book Six

And two films…one about a village, and another about a group of villagers. No clue, but they sound like horror films.

It’s a funny tshirt, but I wouldn’t wear it until after the film is released.

Character v Plot II

Sunday night I saw two movies. The first movie I saw was at the home of Dog Girl (she used to be Toy Lady, but she reminded me recently she hasn’t sold any toys for over a year. She works at a vet’s, and often there are more canines than humans in her home. So she has a new nickname. And maybe she’ll learn not to complain.)

The movie was 28 Days Later. I was the only one in the room who hadn’t seen it. (Well, the only non-canine in the room) It’s a zombie horror flick. The zombies weren’t classic undead, but instead the creatures were the result of an escaped virus that turned humans into raging monsters almost instantaneously. The movie followed predictable zombie paths, with a mixture of science fiction thrown in due to the virus. It was entertaining, though. Anyone who likes horror/zombie flicks is likely to enjoy it, if they haven’t already, since it’s been out for over a year. It’s setting in London made me think of Shaun of the Dead. However, there was nothing intentionally comedic about 28 Days Later. Good horror plotting. OK characterization. I know I was happy when it was finished, but I’ve already forgotten most of the characters. Since some of the scenes were vivid, I was able to call the characters to mind by going over the plot in my mind, but otherwise, they’d be gone.

After that, as some may have guessed already, we made a trip to the theater to see 28 Weeks Later. The sequel was disappointing. In the opening scenes, a character made a comment about the virus, which any viewer of the first film would know was untrue. I made the assumption that wasn’t a mistake, and the character would live to regret their misinformation. However, I was wrong, and it played no role in later events, leading me to believe it was a disappointing mistake on the part of the writers. The ending felt a little contrived and tacked. I’d have liked a couple minutes of additional explanation – it wouldn’t have taken much, and the movie was pretty short as it was. There were certainly some horrific scenes. The plotting wasn’t as good as the first film. I wasn’t satisfied. I remember a couple of the characters more vividly, though.

If I were going to rewatch either of the movies. I’d rewatch the first.