Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shakespeare's grave situation

As a self-described writer and English teacher, I felt it would be beneficial to visit Stratford-upon-Avon when I was in England. That place is famous for only one reason. It's where William Shakespeare was born, lived and died.

A high percentage of the town is devoted to the memory of "The Bard," and I felt I was in the midst of one of his tragedies when I was there. At first, my emotions ran high when I stumbled across his birthplace (see above photo).

"Aww, how cute," I thought. "Baby Shakespeare cooing in iambic pentameter!"

Then, things took an unexpected turn when I bumped into Shakespeare's grave. As I entered an ornate Church, I saw a large arrow that pronounced: "SHAKESPEARE'S GRAVE THIS WAY."

When I followed the arrow, I met a man who said loudly, "IT WILL BE ONE POUND, FIFTY TO SEE SHAKESPEARE'S GRAVE!"

I paid the fee, and the man yelled, "SHAKESPEARE'S GRAVE IS TO YOUR LEFT. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS AS YOU VISIT THE BARD'S RESTING PLACE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE!"I never felt less in a Church than I did at Shakespeare's grave because of the screaming man. Crowds hovered around The Bard's grave until I finally had a moment to ponder what it truly meant to be so close to Shakespeare's skeleton.Later, I saw a play called "The Winter's Tale" performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, which boasts Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh and Ralph Fiennes as alumni.

Snooze Button Generation review: The production and acting from the Royal Shakespeare Company were superb. The company did nothing wrong and put on an excellent and memorable production.

If there were any problem, it was with Shakespeare antiquated dialogue. Granted, he wrote "The Winter's Tale" around 1600, and his words may be poetic. But I question a 15-minute soliloquy when the point this: "Dang, I think that ho cheated on me."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Snooze Button Generation, Euro-style

After spending 12 days in England, I have returned reinvigorated, planning to live a little more "Euro." If that means drinking espresso, riding trains and visiting castles, so be it.

I met several interesting chaps in Britain, and some are so polite that they will engage in conversations about the Snooze Button Generation, which applies to Europe but is a bit different. For example, the English SBG folks I ran across did not know Lloyd Dobler, but they had firm memories of "The Breakfast Club."

My English SBG brethren absolutely knew and experienced Atari. But one confessed: "I actually had Spectrum."

Apparently, Spectrum was huge in England and similar to the Commodore 64, which also was popular in England in the '80s. My English pals had no idea what Intellivision was.Of course, England has a much longer and richer tradition than the United States, but English folks of the SBG still have nostalgia to their childhoods and its quirks.

With such a rich tradition, for some reason, I kept having these thoughts: "How many people does it take to clean this castle?" and "How long does it take to mow this lawn?" It seems rare to see people cleaning castles, but when it happens, it is glorious.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ms. Pac-Man: A perfect metaphor for life

Ms. Pac-Man is a perfect metaphor for life: You got to keep running and make sure not to be consumed by ghosts.

For me, personally, I tend not to feel an imminent threat of being eaten by ghosts. But I suppose some of my peers do, and, thus, Ms. Pac-Man's premise may be deeper than it appears.

This comes up now because in my attempt to teach my children cultural awareness - AKA, video games from the '80s - Ms. Pac-Man has become the game we enjoy the most. The big games from the '80s can be found online, and I have been played a handful of them with Lady Pac-Man being the most fulfilling.

Am I making a feminist statement, preferring Ms. Pac-Man to Pac-Man? Of course.

Apparently, a lot of Pac-Man theory exists on the Web, and I find most of the tips silly. I did, however, learn that Pac-Man will stop after 255 levels and then look like the following:On the Ms. Pac-Man I have been playing, I have cleared 14 levels, which includes a final level of keys in which the ghosts do not turn blue at all. I have cleared one "Keyboard" level but have not gotten past "Keyboard II."

I must admit that I am a casual Pac-Man player. I play for a few weeks every 15 years or so.

Through my Internet research, I was amazed to realize that Pac-Man celebrated its 30th year of existence in May and Ms. Pac-Man will do the same next year. I also discovered in the bottom video at about 1:10 that Ms. Pac-Man can trap herself in a maze. My feminist statement continues.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Twirling meat is coming home

I am a big fan of self-improvement. "That which does not grow is dead," I say. So I keep trying to grow in various ways in an attempt to improve my life and the lives of those around me.

Cuisine, AKA cooking, is one way in which I am trying to improve. Upon a lot of reflection, I realize the best way I can do this is to purchase a lamb-filled spit, install it in my home and have gyros available at all times.

At first, I thought some slight adjustments to my cooking - new recipes, different spices, fresh combinations - might be in order. But all that subtle mumbo jumbo could not possibly offer me and my neighborhood constant gyros.

Why is it is so rare to see other meat on an enormous spit? Well, obviously, other meat remains technologically unadvanced while lamb meat has boldly entered the 21st century.Of course, a skeptic might say that a twirling spit of succulent lamb meat at home is impractical. Well, those skeptics always have a way of seeing the negative. Hopefully, I will soon have a gyro spit in my kitchen, and I will be carving my way to true happiness.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron, go **** yourself

According to the Kubler-Ross model of grief, humans go through five emotions when faced with a loss. They go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

As an avid Cleveland sports fan, I am stuck in the anger stage when it comes to the mentally deficient and morally depraved LeBron James - a self-made villain.

I don't mean to swear, but LeBron, go **** yourself!

I have witnessed some stupidity in my lifetime and a lot of Cleveland sports grief, but the manner in which LeBron pulled his exit to Miami shows how evil and stupid he is. If you are going to have an hour special announcing your exit, you had better have a better message than "winning is everything" or "f you, Cleveland."

My fellow sports fans in Cleveland agree. People who understand that "winning is everything" is not the biggest message in life also get it. LeBron does not.

He needs to move out of the Cleveland area. He is not wanted there, and he is not good enough for us. Character is more important than hoops.

P.S. - The Snooze Button Generation is on vacation and likely will take a bunch of days off from posting. But the Generation felt necessary to vent a bit after hearing this horrible news about James.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Casper: A kid who didn't make it

Ten years ago this week, Justin Pierce was found dead, hanging in his room in the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Pierce was 25 and was not that famous, but perhaps known for his portrayal of Casper in the 1995 film "Kids." I honestly did not realize he was dead until I wondered what ever happened to the kids in Kids and did some Internet research.

Chloe Sevigny, who had an odd alleged love affair chronicled in this blog, and Rosario Dawson are the only two actors who did much after "Kids." And Casper ... well, he died five years later.When it came out, "Kids" was a bit controversial and had the rare NC-17 rating. The film showed teens and preteens stealing 40-ounce beers, drinking, smoking weed, fighting, having sex and getting AIDS. I guess there are a lot of similarities between "Kids" and MTV's "Jersey Shore."

I could have sworn the song "Psycho Dwarf" by the Beatnuts was in "Kids," but according to my Internet research, it was not. Really? Hmm. If that song is taken to extremes, the person likely will end up dead - perhaps like Casper.

I really wasn't offended by "Kids," although I was 22 and living in Washington Square Village when it was released. It must be remembered that the film, written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark, is fiction, although it has a semi-faux documentary feel.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sophie creates buzz in art world

A 5-year-old girl from Long Beach, Calif., is making an impact in the art world and could create bidding wars for her innovative art, the Snooze Button Generation has learned from a source.

Sophie Stevens, 5, has been dabbling in realism, abstract impressionism and surrealism since she was 2 and has developed some fans. She creates her art in mostly marker on paper but does not shy away from other less-conventional materials, including cotton balls, straws, seashells and grocery-store stickers."Look, I'm not going to comment on Sophie's artwork," Snooze Button Generation founder and CEO Joe Stevens said. "She's my daughter, and drawing and coloring are part of her development. I don't want to put any pressure on her to be some sort of world-class artist. I want her drawing to be completely healthy."

An obvious comparison to Sophie is "child prodigy" Marla Olmstead, the subject of the 2007 documentary "My Kid Could Paint That." Olmstead obtained international media attention by age 4, and her work has sold for more than $300,000.

Sophie refuses to sell any of her artwork, but she says she will take work on commission.Sources also say that Sophie's younger sister, Chloe, is making an impact in the world of performance art. Chloe, who turns 3 tomorrow, did a seminal performance in March that involved a bubble machine and bicycle helmet.