Saturday, April 28, 2012

Good Morning! Доброе утро!

New day.New Start. Brand new.

Something beautiful to start the day with, our friend Chopin.

MzTeachuh: What Kids Need to Be Able to Learn

MzTeachuh: What Kids Need to Be Able to Learn: We prepare to teach--the bulletin board is up with cheerful posters and encouraging signs; desks set in kid-friendly teams; and the crucial ...

The Raven: Movie Review

The movie "The Raven," is superior to expectations. The screenwriting is so eloquent, its almost Shakespeare; the actors have caught genuine humanity rather than a superficiality that would have come easily with this subject. All the details of costuming and creativity of filming truly add to the tone and mood of Baltimore in the 1840's. And it was filmed in Hungary and Croatia. Good job Eastern Europeans!

Poe and Emily.
John Cusack presents Edgar Allen Poe as the intelligent, distraught individual that history describes. But he is not frenetic; the activity is in his mind and from his pen. The characters created for this story are so genuine, you feel that you could look them up in Wikipedia. Emily is so caught up in the courtly beauty of Edgar's poetry, she really loves him. He is truly attractive to her.

Old School Graphic Novel
If you have been fortunate enough to have a sound public school background in literature, you will recognize references to Poe's stories, poems, and some Shakespeare, too. MacBeth appears. And for Poe scholars, I think you will be satisfied with references to his life, including his mentioning West Point, and his final words.

1858 illustration, "The Raven" "The Cask of Amontillado." "The Pit and the Pendulum."

Masque of the Red Death, illustration 1919  "The Masque of the Red Death."

I am guessing Poe could also be sarcastic, and the screenwriters gave him a great line. When someone mentions the serial killer is using Poe's ghastly stories as inspiration, Poe quips, "If I'd known that would happen, I'd have written more erotica."

 As for the 'R' rating, it is well-earned. Don't take middle-schoolers. Maybe Juniors and Seniors in high school. This is not a supernatural tale, and life is scarey enough without viewing what a demented mind can do to another human on a huge, bloody screen. A 45-foot swinging pendulum is not something you need in your dreams when you're 13 years old.

Here is some of the music by Lucas Vidal written for the movie. It is interesting. Even some sort of techno, I think. Incidental music also included a nocturne by Chopin.

I took this pic at the Tower of London. Who knew ravens liked french fries?

Everything Is Beautiful In Its Own Way...

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"--rosa, роза,steg,igo,
玫瑰,τριαντάφυλλο,गुलाब,D'ardaigh,バラ,장미,rožė,meningkat,trandafir ,ружаرنگ گلی, గులాబీ,ரோஜா,רויז,شىء على شكل وردة
...but especially roses and children.

Ray Stevens, 1970, 'Everything Is Beautiful.'

Post Script: If I have made an error in translation of the word 'rose,' please forgive; its Google Translate. But it is true, a rose would smell as sweet no matter the name, and a child is uniquely valued no matter the nationality.

Here Comes the Sun!

And I say, "It's Alright!

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
It's all right

----even if its raining or overcast!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poem In Your Pocket

I love me my Longfellow.
Today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day, a function of National Poetry Month. How to choose which one? Maybe write a quick haiku? I finally chose "The Rainy Day," by Longfellow, a favorite from my angsty early teens. I made a few extra copies and gave them to some teacher friends.

The Rainy Day 

by Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

I chose to celebrate  Poem in Your Pocket Day early because it is also my birthday!

Need to find your poem? Check out the Poetry Foundation:

Or you could just whip out a haiku.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teaching Is...

Alas poor Yorick...

Teachable Moment: Hey, William, You Say It's Your Birthday?

Well, actually its not my birthday for several more days...
 ...but you know what fools these mortals be.

Here are some more absolute Shakespeare quotes, so many cliches (joke.)

 And you say its your birthday, too? Enjoy!

 The Beatles actually were involved in a scene from "Midsummer Night's Dream," written by our birthday boy. It was on the BBC and the Fab Four were perfectly adorable. If anyone wants to enjoy:

John Lennon looks sort of pretty in braids.

Spring Song

With this song, I almost expect Elmer Fudd to pop out over the top petal and say, "Where's that Wascally Wabbot?"
"Spring Song," Felix Mendolssohn

Just to be fair, more about Mendolssohn.  He also wrote a Wedding March for Titania in "Midsummer's Night's Dream," that is still frequently played as it was at Queen Victoria's Wedding.

No Wascally Wabbit here, but the little girl to the left looks like she forgot her shoes. but both Mendolssohn and wabbit in this cartoon.

This particular cartoon was created as a way to employ dozens of musicians from Europe who were refugees from World War II.  After the war many of Europe's finest classical musicians immigrated to the U.S. Many of them ended up in Hollywood to earn money, playing the soundtracks to movies and cartoons. If you listen closely to many of the Looney Tunes cartoons you'll realize that they're full of the world's best classical music.