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The Millions : Running in the Wake – The Millions

When I started running, I was stately, yes, but too plump, and I took to the roads in the morning to take in the crisp air and give myself a bit more margin of error to drink beer.  About half a decade later — a year ago now — I found myself waving goodbye to my wife on a chilly, wet October morning as she drove out of the empty parking lot of Mount Vernon, once George Washington’s estate on the banks of the gray Potomac River, back to our warm home, 19 miles away, and our kitchen, and two cats, myself left with just a bag of water on my back, an MP3 recording of an Irishman reading seeming gibberish for 35 hours — i.e., James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness dirge Finnegans Wake — and a GPS watch to track it all.  And, of course, space-age sprays and pastes slathered on my peaks and valleys to prevent chafing.

I like the idea of listening to Finnegans Wake when running. It’s the kind of book that you simply can’t follow, so you can just go with the rhythm of the words, and pick up on bits and pieces of it as you go along.

Source: The Millions : Running in the Wake – The Millions

No AppleScript Necessary – Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes

AppleScript is great for performing tasks that can be aggravatingly repetitive for humans (Mac-using humans, anyway). However, it is not always the best solution to a perceived problem with tag editing in iTunes.

It seems to me that some users are ignoring (or are perhaps anxious about using) several built-in features of iTunes that makes tag editing relatively fast and simple.

Doug Adams, the guy who writes AppleScripts for iTunes, points out some of the features in iTunes that let you edit tags efficiently without needing AppleScripts. You shouldn’t start looking for scripts to tag files in iTunes until you know all this stuff.

Source: No AppleScript Necessary « Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes

Christopher Marlowe credited as one of Shakespeare’s co-writers – The Guardian

The long-held suggestion that Christopher Marlowe was William Shakespeare is now widely dismissed, along with other authorship theories. But Marlowe is enjoying the next best thing – taking centre stage alongside his great Elizabethan rival with a credit as co-writer of the three Henry VI plays.

The two dramatists will appear jointly on each of the three title pages of the plays within the New Oxford Shakespeare, a landmark project to be published by Oxford University Press this month.

Using old-fashioned scholarship and 21st-century computerised tools to analyse texts, the edition’s international scholars have contended that Shakespeare’s collaboration with other playwrights was far more extensive than has been realised until now.

Henry VI, Parts One, Two and Three are among as many as 17 plays that they now believe contain writing by other people, sometimes several hands. It more than doubles the figure in the previous New Oxford Shakespeare, published 30 years ago.

It’s long been known that Shakespeare collaborated with other authors; now the Oxford Shakespeare gives credit to Christopher Marlowe. To be fair, the Henry VI plays are not prime examples of Shakespeare’s quality as a writer, so it’s no surprise that he didn’t write them all. They were some of his first plays, and it shows. It’s good to understand that they were collaborative efforts, like many of Shakespeare’s early and later plays.

This doesn’t diminish Shakespeare as a writer, but it shows how the theater worked in his time.

In 1925, the scholar Leslie Hotson published the coroner’s report in his book The Death of Christopher Marlowe. Witnesses testified that he was stabbed in the eye during a fight over payment of a bill and died instantly. The document did not end speculation, with some supporting the theory that Marlowe faked his death and continued to write as Shakespeare.

It’s sad that people still believe in these conspiracy theories…

Source: Christopher Marlowe credited as one of Shakespeare’s co-writers | Culture | The Guardian

The Lost Virtue of Cursive – The New Yorker

The laminated papers with cursive-writing instructions, taped to every one of the tyke-size school desks with the sweeping attached arms, were sad and beautiful at once, in the special way of obsolete educational technology, like the Apple IIe, or the No. 2 pencil itself. For me, a writer of strong fuddy-duddy credentials, the sad dramatic irony really was too much. You see, cursive isn’t being taught in my daughters’ school anymore, and hasn’t been for at least six years, as long as I’ve had children in the public schools. Who would tell the cursive that it was no longer needed?

I wish I would write cursive. Naturally, in my line of work, I type a lot. I touch type, and can type fairly quickly. (According to TypeIt4Me, 83 wpm.) But I like the tactile nature of handwriting. I always keep a pad on my desk to take notes, and record notes in notebooks. But my handwriting is ugly; even I have trouble re-reading it at times. It’s always been that way; I never really learned cursive, and have always use a sort of printing that, while efficient, isn’t very attractive.

Source: The Lost Virtue of Cursive – The New Yorker

Bob Dylan criticised as ‘impolite and arrogant’ by Nobel academy member – The Guardian

A prominent member of the academy that awards the Nobel literature prize has described this year’s laureate, Bob Dylan, as arrogant, citing his total silence since the award was announced last week.

The US singer-songwriter has not responded to repeated phone calls from the Swedish Academy, nor reacted in any way in public to the news.

“It’s impolite and arrogant,” said the academy member, Swedish writer Per Wastberg, in comments aired on SVT public television.

How is this arrogant? Bob Dylan is a very public person who likes to remain private. He puts himself onstage about a hundred times a year, but shuns interviews and public events. He never asked for this prize, and certainly doesn’t need it.

What if they had attributed the prize to J. D. Salinger, when he was alive, and Salinger ignored it? As an author who was famously reclusive, no one would have been surprised. I think people are mistaking Dylan’s public persona as a performer for the way he might be expected to act off stage.

No, the arrogant ones are the members of the Swedish Academy who expected Dylan to fawn after the prize was announced.

Source: Bob Dylan criticised as ‘impolite and arrogant’ by Nobel academy member | Music | The Guardian

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Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn