The Hateful Eight Featurette – Ultra Panavision (2015) – Quentin Tarantino Movie HD



William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway

The Writer’s Almanac for November 27, 2015

William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway on November 27,1582. We don’t know too much about Anne Hathaway, nor much about any aspect of Shakespeare’s private life. We do know that she was eight years older than the playwright, and that she lived in Shottery, a small hamlet a mile up the road from Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford. She was the oldest of eight children; both her parents were dead, and she lived with her brother. At 26, she was an old maid by 16th-century standards. We don’t know how the 18-year-old Shakespeare wooed this older woman, or even how they met, but we can infer a few juicy details about their courtship, based on the fact that their first child, Susanna, was born just six months after the wedding. Their wedding was hastily planned, and because Shakespeare was still under the age of consent, his father would have to have given his permission. The newlyweds then lived together with Shakespeare’s parents. Young William probably helped his father, John, with his business dealings, and Anne would have helped her mother-in-law with the housework. Anne gave birth to twins two years later: a boy and girl, named Hamnet and Judith, named after close friends of William and Anne.

Sometime after the twins were born, Shakespeare moved to London to pursue an acting career, and by 1582 he was well established. He came back to Stratford occasionally, but Anne never visited him in London. The couple spent most of the rest of their marriage apart, but Shakespeare moved back to Stratford when he retired from the stage, and they spent the last six years of his life together. In his will, Shakespeare bequeathed his “second-best bed” to Anne. Much has been made of this line in his will, but it probably was not intended to be insulting, as the “best bed” was generally reserved for guests and was passed down as a family heirloom. Shakespeare died in 1616, and Anne followed in 1623. She is buried next to him in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford.

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To take all things as they are

Homo est Machina


To take all things as they are
and adjust my life to what must be.
Then in this world I’ll go far
beyond what any eyes can see.

To say not one dishonest word
and avoid all sham and deceit.
Then my mind’s eye won’t be blurred
and life will seem more upbeat.

To make the most of my lonely hours
and quit day dreaming about the past.
Then I’ll tap into my hidden powers
and live my life with joy at last.

To do what no one has done before
but know that I’m like the rest.
Then I’ll find a cause to fight for
and live my life with zeal and zest.

But I take all things as they are not
and try to sink my inner ship.
Thus my efforts come to nought –
what a splendid ego trip!

*Painting “Small Girl Presenting Cherries” by John Russell,

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Larval Subjects .

zero-tokyoPassages from Sartre’s Being and Nothingness always reverberate through my mind:  “Consciousness is what is not and is not what it is”.  “Consciousness is a being such that in its being its being is in question insofar as its being always implies a being other than itself”.  I remember the happy days reading this tom(e)(b) when I was young; diagraming these sentences, trying to decipher them like Zen koans.  I remember later reading Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic.  “Zero is the number non-identical to itself”.  How many zeroes are there?  Many!  But that can’t be right.  By Leibniz’s principle of indiscernibles, two things must always be distinguished by something.  Yet zero is nothing.  There can only be one zero.  All zeroes must be the same.  But if there were one zero, then zero would be something.  A paradox.  No wonder zero was received as a heresy in…

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ThespisOn this date in the year 534 B.C.E., Thespis reportedly became the first Western actor to portray a character onstage. Details are sketchy, but Aristotle wrote that Thespis, a Greek poet from Icaria, donned a mask and took on the persona of Dionysus, god of fertility, wine, and the theater. Up to this point, Greek theater mostly consisted of choruses singing songs about Greek myths. Thespis was the first one to actually pretend to be someone else, speaking dialogue from the point of view of that character.

-Writer’s Almanac for November 23, 2015

It is implied that Thespis invented acting in the Western world, and that prior to his performances, no one had ever assumed the resemblance of another person for the purpose of storytelling. In fact, Thespis is the first known actor in written plays. He may thus have had a substantial role in changing the way stories were told and inventing theatre as we know it today. In reverence to Thespis, actors in the English-speaking part of the world have been referred to as thespians.


Anne Frank Was a Refugee



CLAIM:  The family of Anne Frank sought (and was denied) refugee status in the United States.

by Kim LaCapri, Nov 19, 2015

Documents uncovered in 2007 revealed that Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, desperately attempted to secure asylum in the United States.


EXAMPLE: [Collected via e-mail, October 2015]

I just saw a posting on facebook that Anne Frank was denied access to the US, I can’t find any info execept what was posted today or yesterday regarding this, is it true

ORIGINS: In November 2015, debate raged on social media networks regarding the escalating plight of Syrian refugees; during that time, a circulating rumor claimed Anne Frank was denied entry to the United States before her death in the Holocaust.

While most Americans were familiar with Anne Frank (and many read her diary in school), the claim labeling her a prospective refugee seemed novel. Its appearance during an ongoing debate about Syrian refugees similarly prompted some skepticism among those who hadn’t before heard the it, as Frank’s ordeal and death comprised a story with which many were familiar.

On 14 February 2007 The New York Times published an article titled “Letters reveal desperate plight of Anne Frank’s family,” reporting that documents newly uncovered by an accident of circumstance revealed the Frank family’s failed attempts at entry to the U.S.:

After lying undisturbed in a New Jersey warehouse for nearly 30 years, documents revealing the desperate efforts of Anne Frank’s family to escape to the United States and Cuba from Nazi-occupied Holland in 1941 have been discovered thanks to a clerical error.

“I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see U.S.A. is the only country we could go to,” Anne’s father, Otto, wrote to his college friend, Nathan Straus Jr., the head of the federal Housing Authority, a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt’s and the son of a Macy’s co-owner, asking him to put up a $5,000 bond. “It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance,” Otto Frank wrote.

Page by page, the papers illustrate the tortuous process for gaining entry to the United States in those days. Even with powerful connections and money, European Jews could not overcome the State Department’s restrictions against refugees, said two Holocaust scholars who examined the documents.

As the war in Europe intensified, so too did Otto Frank’s efforts to transport his family to safety. He ultimately settled on an attempt to enter through Cuba, a plan which never reached fruition:

By June 1941, no one with close relatives still in Germany was allowed into the United States because of suspicions that the Nazis could use them to blackmail refugees into clandestine cooperation. That development ended the possibility of getting the Frank girls out through a children’s rescue agency.

Because of the uncertainty, Otto Frank decided to try for a single visa for himself. It was granted and forwarded to him on Dec. 1. No one knows if it arrived. Ten days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and Havana canceled the visa.

Reuters covered the discovery on 14 February 2007, including commentary from Holocaust scholars who lamented the family’s failed attempt at passage:

If her father had sought help sooner, “Anne Frank could be a 77-year-old woman living in Boston today, a writer. That is what the YIVO’s documents suggest,” said Richard Breitman, a professor at American University.

However, Otto Frank decided to try to escape just as the Nazis were making it more difficult to leave and the United States was making it more difficult to enter, Breitman said.

Cuba issued Otto Frank a visa on December 1, 1941, according to the documents, but it was canceled 10 days later when Germany declared war on the United States.

A 2007 TIME article provided further details of Otto Frank’s increasingly desperate efforts:

For nine months, they tried to secure visas — first to the U.S. and then to Cuba — until that window shut. Just three letters of the file were written by Otto Frank, all addressed to university friend Nathan Straus Jr., son of a co-owner of Macy’s department store and head of the U.S. Housing Authority. Straus and Frank’s brother-in-law, Julius Hollander, regularly corresponded with two private Jewish agencies, the National Refugee Service in New York and the Boston Committee for Refugees. Straus also contacted the State Department on Frank’s behalf. Hollander and his brother arranged affidavits from their employers, Jacob Hiatt of E.F. Dodge Paper Box Co. and Harry Levine of the New England Novelty Co., both of Leominster, Mass.

An April 2015 article titled “Op-Ed: Getting Anne Frank All Wrong” published to Arutz Sheva addressed the plight of Anne Frank and other Jewish refugee children who perished:

Otto Frank, Anne’s father, dutifully filled out the small mountain of required application forms and obtained supporting affidavits from the family’s relatives in Massachusetts.

But that was not enough for those who zealously guarded America’s gates against refugees. In fact, in 1941, the Roosevelt administration even added a new restriction: no refugee with close relatives in Europe could come to the U.S., on the grounds that the Nazis might hold their relatives hostage in order to force the refugee to undertake espionage for Hitler.

That’s right: Anne Frank, Nazi spy.

Anne’s mother, Edith, wrote to a friend in 1939: “I believe that all Germany’s Jews are looking around the world, but can find nowhere to go.”

On 4 September 2015, Anne Frank’s step-sister Eva Schloss drew direct parallels between the Syrian refugee crisis and the Jewish refugee crisis of World War II:

“You must not be selfish and you must share whatever you have and help in a desperate situation. They need help from you.

“These people have had the courage to do a very difficult thing- to take your family and your whole life to another country requires bravery and strength. This is history repeating itself.

“These Syrians are valuable, educated people. These are doctors and nurses who are only too willing to help our society and they will become leaders in the community if you let them.”

The claim that Anne Frank “was a refugee” confused some readers, as they hadn’t heard it prior to the Syrian refugee crisis. But the extent to which Otto Frank tried (and failed) to save his family from death during World War II was only first reported in 2007, and thus didn’t appear in many history lessons before that. Ultimately Frank perished (likely of Typhus) at Bergen-Belsen in 1945, shortly after the deaths of her mother and sister Margot.

In which I tell you how your religion works


christianity_versus_other_religions_blog-horngsawI am not a Christian.  That fact has probably been perfectly clear for a very long time; it doesn’t take a whole lot of reading around here to figure it out.

What may be less clear to non long-time visitors: Chances are I know way more about Christianity than you do.  Is that a guarantee?  No, not at all.  But most of you don’t have a Master’s degree in Biblical studies.  I do.  And I got it from one of the best divinity schools in the country.  So chances are I know more about Christianity and Western religion in general than you do.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus a lot in the last few days.  Maybe I should go full wanker here and call him Yeshua, or something, to rid him of some of the cruft that’s accumulated over the past 2000 years, but the point is I’ve spent a…

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What is meant by the Virgin Mary?



“Ancient moon priestesses were called virgins. ‘Virgin’ meant not married, not belonging to a man – a woman who was ‘one-in-herself’. The very word derives from a Latin root meaning strength, force, skill; and was later applied to men: virle. Ishtar, Diana, Astarte, Isis were all called virgin, which did not refer to sexual chastity, but sexual independence. And all great culture heroes of the past, mythic or historic, were said to be born of virgin mothers: Marduk, Gilgamesh, Buddha, Osiris, Dionysus, Genghis Khan, Jesus – they were all affirmed as sons of the Great Mother, of the Original One, their worldly power deriving from her. When the Hebrews used the word, and in the original Aramaic, it meant ‘maiden’ or ‘young woman’, with no connotations to sexual chastity. But later Christian translators could not conceive of the ‘Virgin Mary’ as a woman of independent sexuality. Needless to say; they distorted the meaning into sexually pure, chaste, never touched.”