Elsewhere for May 17. 2020

You should read this for 5/17/2020:

Art and Film

decorative leaf bulletCheck out this extremely detailed image of Rembrandt’s Night Watch painting

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

The Perambulating Library of 1859 in Warrington, England
Image: Wikipedia

decorative leaf bulletVia Stephen’s Lighthouse: Before Amazon, We Had Bookmobiles: 75 Rare Photos Of Libraries-On-Wheels

Coronavirus | Covid-19

decorative leaf bulletThe Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them

decorative leaf bulletThe Four Men Responsible For America’s COVID-19 Test Disaster

decorative leaf bulletThe coronavirus slayer! How Kerala’s rock star health minister helped save it from Covid-19 “KK Shailaja has been hailed as the reason a state of 35 million people has only lost four to the virus. Here’s how the former teacher did it.”

In 20 January, KK Shailaja phoned one of her medically trained deputies. She had read online about a dangerous new virus spreading in China. “Will it come to us?” she asked. “Definitely, Madam,” he replied. And so the health minister of the Indian state of Kerala began her preparations

decorative leaf bulletMara Gay, writing for The New York Times: “I Wish I Could Do Something for You,” My Doctor Said

The second day I was sick, I woke up to what felt like hot tar buried deep in my chest. I could not get a deep breath unless I was on all fours. I’m healthy. I’m a runner. I’m 33 years old. […]
I am one of the lucky ones. I never needed a ventilator. I survived. But 27 days later, I still have lingering pneumonia. I use two inhalers, twice a day. I can’t walk more than a few blocks without stopping.
I want Americans to understand that this virus is making otherwise young, healthy people very, very sick. I want them to know, this is no flu.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletMaking Your Own Sour Cream Is Extremely Worthwhile And it’s even easier than making your own ricotta.

decorative leaf bulletYeast scientist has some bad news about your sourdough starter


decorative leaf bulletNew Reporting Increases Doubts on Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Joe Biden


decorative leaf bulletUkrainian hackers used quizzes to access private Facebook data, company says

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletHow Trump has berated, insulted and demeaned female reporters – video

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletH/T SJS:

Toronto-based artist Micah Adams uses a jeweler’s saw to cut out the embossed animals, figures, and objects from coins of different sizes and denominations. The metal cut-outs are used to create tiny readymades and fun collages. From a growing pile of copper leaves taken from Canadian pennies, to intricate birds and flowers borrowed from foreign currency, each of Micah Adams works are hand cut using the same basic tool.

Elsewhere for May 10, 2020

You should read this for 5/10/2020:

Art and Film

decorative leaf bulletVia Dan Moren @dmoren: Star Wars is the most influential work of fiction in my entire life, so it’s no surprise I’ve spent a ton of time thinking, talking, and writing about it. Anyway, as I sit here listening to all of the scores, I figured it’s a good day to point to some of my favorite work on it.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletVia N.H. NPR: Listen Online: New Hampshire Library Leaders Interviewed on Public Radio

decorative leaf bulletThe real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletVia NPR: Trump Received Intelligence Briefings On Coronavirus Twice In January President Trump was warned in January briefings that the coronavirus was going to “spread globally,” according to a White House official. Five days after that initial briefing, the official says Trump was briefed again.

The question of what Trump knew about the coronavirus, when he was aware of it and the tenor of those conversations have come under heavy scrutiny, as the administration faces criticism that it was slow to respond to early warnings about the virus. In the time since the president’s January briefings, the U.S. has reported more than 1.1 million cases of the coronavirus — more than any other nation. In all, more than 66,000 Americans have died.

decorative leaf bulletWhy the Coronavirus Is So Confusing “A guide to making sense of a problem that is now too big for any one person to fully comprehend”

decorative leaf bulletHow ‘Karen’ Became a Coronavirus Villain


decorative leaf bulletWhen Quakers Become Takers

In response, [St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Maryland, Brentwood School in Los Angeles] came up with lists of reasons they would not be returning the money. The primary reason was simple enough: The schools had qualified for the loan, and they needed to pay their workers like any other business. But the board of Sidwell Friends School, the private, hyper-selective alma mater of the Obama and Clinton children in Washington, D.C., argued that it should keep the $5 million it had received for a different reason: “The Board determined that accepting the loan was appropriate and fully consistent with its fiduciary responsibilities, as well as our Quaker values.”

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletNo flour? No problem. Try these recipes for delicious sweet bakes

decorative leaf bulletIf You’re Out of Baking Powder or Baking Soda, Try These Substitutes

decorative leaf bulletFrom Wirecutter: Tools and Tips for Freezing Food So Nothing Goes to Waste

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletPolice seize 19,000 stolen artefacts in international art trafficking crackdown “101 suspects arrested and rare cultural treasures recovered in huge global investigation”

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletCanada: DNA discovery lends weight to First Nations ancestral story


decorative leaf bulletHow to Return a Deceased Person’s Stimulus Check

Via Down East Magazine: The Moment That Presaged a Maine Senator’s Downfall This is an interesting look at Maine in 1970, with some strong connections to current events.

Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletArmed citizens escort lawmaker into Michigan State Capitol

“The majority of the protesters were white,” Anthony said. “I’m still not exactly sure on the connection between confederate flags and Nazi symbolism. They just had no connection to the stay-at-home orders. The fact they were carrying guns openly while we voted was unnerving.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletWhile Americans shelter in place, Trump plans his summer getaway

As nearly half of all Americans cancel their summer plans to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, US president Donald Trump will be escaping to New Jersey.

According to federal spending data, the Secret Service has ordered bullet-resistant glass and party tents to be used in Bedminster—home to the 535-acre Trump National Golf Club,

Taxpayers are footing a $42,350 payment to a party rental company in Jackson, New Jersey, as well as a $9,600 bill for ballistic glass installation and removal, awarded to a small business in Westbury, New York. The tent rental is projected to be slightly less expensive than one the Secret Service rented in 2018 for the holiday season at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm beach, which cost taxpayers $54,000. The Secret Service uses the tents primarily as screening areas for vehicles and visitors.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling people across the US that they should only travel outside their local area if it’s for “essential” reasons, such as providing “medical or home care to others,” or “for a job considered an essential service.”

decorative leaf bulletVice President Mike Pence staffer tests positive for coronavirus

Yet Pence and Trump by and large refuse to wear masks, despite a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that face coverings be used to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

decorative leaf bulletTrump Falsely Claims He Inherited ‘Empty’ Stockpile

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletCoronavirus: Gollum actor Serkis to raise cash by reading entire Hobbit live online

“So many of us are struggling in isolation during the lockdown,” he said.
“While times are tough, I want to take you on one of the greatest fantasy adventures ever written, a 12-hour armchair marathon across Middle Earth whilst raising money for two amazing charities which are doing extraordinary work right now to help those most in need.”

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletJer Thorp @blprnt made a game called 🐦🎶🎲 You can learn the calls and songs of the birds in your area. It’s made with data from eBird and sounds from Xeno-Canto.

decorative leaf bulletVia Twitter and @KatecBowler: Every night, in the sweetest voice, my six year old asks me a question in order to try and stall me from leaving. I commit to documenting these questions every night for the next 30 days because THAT KID HAS GAME.

decorative leaf bulletSabrina Orah Mark in The Paris Review: Fuck the Bread. The Bread Is Over. Read this. It’s about life, truth, fairy tales, bread, and academic circuses.

Elsewhere for May 3, 2020

You should read this for 5/3/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletArt history majors are thrilled that ‘Animal Crossing’ gives them a chance to shine

decorative leaf bulletHear Classic Rock Songs Played on a Baroque Lute: “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “White Room” & Mor Thank to the efforts of Baroque lutenist Daniel Estrem. I particularly admire “House of the Rising Sun.”

decorative leaf bulletDutch researchers coax secrets from Girl with a Pearl Earring

Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring (ca. 1665)
Image: Wikmedia Commons

decorative leaf bulletYou Can Now View 4 Million Items in the British Museum’s Online Collection

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletH/T: Elizabeth Featured – Diversity Check: Removing Dehumanizing Language from the Discovery System

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletMan dressed as grim reaper to visit Florida beaches that reopen too early

decorative leaf bulletAmazon tech workers are calling out sick in protest over COVID-19 response “Amazon tech workers are calling out sick today in protest of the company’s treatment of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The action, which will consist of a live streamed series of speakers in lieu of a physical rally, is a sign that the protests at Amazon’s warehouses have galvanized portions of the company’s white-collar workforce.”

A software engineer in Seattle who asked to remain anonymous “given Amazon’s recent history of retaliation” checked his email after receiving the invitation, only to have it vanish ten minutes later. He had found the earlier panel “eye opening,” particularly the disparity in how tech workers and warehouse workers are being treated during the pandemic: while he and his colleagues were sent home immediately after a coronavirus case was confirmed at Amazon’s headquarters, warehouse workers aren’t being informed when coworkers test positive and social distancing is haphazardly enforced.

decorative leaf bulletSee also: Amazon’s white-collar workers are starting to stand up for their blue-collar colleagues

decorative leaf bulletGeorgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice “The state is about to find out how many people need to lose their lives to shore up the economy.”

“We can’t figure out a way to make the numbers work to sustain business and pay rent and pay everybody to go back and risk their lives,” he told me. “If we tried to open on Monday, we’d be closed in two weeks, probably for good and with more debt on our hands.”

Georgia’s brash reopening puts much of the state’s working class in an impossible bind: risk death at work, or risk ruining yourself financially at home. In the grips of a pandemic, the approach is a morbid experiment in just how far states can push their people. Georgians are now the largely unwilling canaries in an invisible coal mine, sent to find out just how many individuals need to lose their job or their life for a state to work through a plague.

decorative leaf bullet‘We’re Literally Killing Elders Now’

An estimated 70 percent of coronavirus deaths in Minnesota have been linked to long-term-care facilities. In at least six states, these fatalities account for half of all COVID-19 deaths, and according to the World Health Organization, half of all coronavirus fatalities in Europe have been traced to nursing homes too. Some of this mortality is linked to long-term-care facilities that are shoddily run or that violate health standards. But most of them are doing the best they can with what they have. And they don’t have much.

decorative leaf bulletAn Open Letter to Other Library Directors | Opinion

If your plan is to begin reopening as soon as possible, or engaging in curbside soon, then I want to see the library director and administrators on the front lines of service. I want them to be the ones to take books out to the cars, handle materials, and empty book drops.
Remember, when people say “That’s why you make the big bucks” (they don’t say that too often in libraries), this means you. Our lower-paid employees are often our most vulnerable in terms of being able to handle sickness and unplanned financial setbacks.

decorative leaf bulletDon’t Mix Your Cleaning Products

decorative leaf bulletTribes Were Supposed To Get $8 Billion In COVID-19 Aid. They’ve Gotten $0.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletFirst the Negroni; now the Martini: Stanley Tucci teaches us to make a martini and he takes his ‘stirred not shaken’

decorative leaf bulletThe power of pickles: a guide to preserving almost everything – from jam-making to chutneys

decorative leaf bulletThe secret to San Francisco’s famous sourdough: bug poop

decorative leaf bulletYou Should Eat More Black-Eyed Peas

decorative leaf bulletThe Mohito Just in time in terms of all that mint . . .

decorative leaf bulletlayered yogurt flatbreads

But instead of frying them right away, you brush them with oil, sprinkle them with scallions, and roll the pancake into a tight cigar, and then the cigar into a snail. This snail of wound dough is left to rest again, and then rolled into the final pancake. The hidden layers of flour and oil help the layers lift and separate into flaky layers as you fry the pancakes.

decorative leaf bulletSlow Cooker Chickpea Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Red Peppers

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletPompeii ruins show that the Romans invented recycling “Excavations reveal that rubbish left outside the city walls wasn’t just dumped. It was being collected, sorted and resold”

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletScientists discover new species of turtle that looks like a muddy rock

decorative leaf bulletHubble celebrates 30 years in space with a gorgeous landscape of stars

decorative leaf bullet‘I can see a bird. What is it?’: a beginners’ guide to backyard birding

decorative leaf bullet“Crazy beast” lived among last of dinosaurs

Scientists think that the badger-like creature, known as Adalatherium, would have burrowed – helping it to evade predatory dinosaurs. This could explain how it evolved to such a size.

The public voted. These are some of NASA’s all-time best photos of Earth.


decorative leaf bulletThe Brew’s Guide to Quarterly Earnings


decorative leaf bulletWhen David Bowie Launched His Own Internet Service Provider: The Rise and Fall of BowieNet (1998)

Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletA Secret Love review – moving portrait of two women’s 60-year romance

The romance between Terry and Pat never seems to have gone stale. Terry was a pioneering sportswoman, a baseball player in the professional women’s league that inspired the Penny Marshall movie A League of Their Own. She was 22 in 1947 when she met the love of her life, Pat, then 18. They’ve kept the early love letters, the bottoms ripped off in case they were caught by the authorities.

decorative leaf bulletSkeletal damage hints some hunter-gatherer women fought in battles “Traditional views of females being largely responsible for gathering food may be too simplistic’

Women’s reputation as nurturing homebodies who left warfare to men in long-ago societies is under attack. Skeletal evidence from hunter-gatherers in what’s now California and from herders in Mongolia suggests that women warriors once existed in those populations.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletTrump’s claim the Postal Service loses money on every e-commerce package it delivers

In the end, Treasury cannot show us USPS is actually losing money on its contract with Amazon, as Trump claims. It can assert only that USPS does not know whether it makes a profit.

decorative leaf bulletPresident’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat

decorative leaf bulletWhy Trump Was Deaf to All the Warnings He Received

he Washington Post reports that the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB, an intelligence report on national-security threats, mentioned the coronavirus “more than a dozen” times in January and February, a period during which the Trump administration was doing little to prepare for a pandemic, and when the president himself was often downplaying the threat the virus posed to the United States. The oversight would come as a surprise if not for the long line of warnings that the president is known to have ignored.
Here’s a partial timeline:

decorative leaf bulletHow New Jersey’s Governor Figured Out Trump “Phil Murphy discusses the state’s efforts to mitigate its coronavirus infections and lower its death rate, the second-highest in the country.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletThe Getty Has a Free Animal Crossing Art Generator

Elsewhere for April 26. 2020

You should read this for 4/26/2020:

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletShakespeare Day 2020: Dame Judi Dench reads from Richard II

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletThomas Frake’s buttermilk fried chicken and leftover slaw

decorative leaf bulletRachel Roddy’s recipe for piadina flatbread æA cheerful, simple flatbread you eat straight from the pan, loaded with soft cheese, prosciutto and greens”

The key to piadine is eating them while they are really hot. This means gathering everyone around and having all the fillings ready: slices of salami, prosciutto or ham, soft cheeses such as stracchino, gorgonzola or cream cheese, also some greens, such as rocket or watercress. As soon as your piadina comes out of the pan, fill and spread one half, then fold the other half over. Eat immediately, ideally with a cold beer or glass of lip-staining dry lambrusco.


decorative leaf bulletConservative activist family behind “grassroots” anti-quarantine Facebook events

Their usual method is to attack established conservative groups from the right, including the National Rifle Association, and then make money by selling memberships in their groups or selling mailing lists of those who sign up, according to some conservative politicians and activists who have labeled the efforts as scams.

Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletAngela Merkel Is Germany’s Scientist in Chief “The chancellor’s rigor in collating information, her honesty in stating what is not yet known, and her composure are paying off.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletQuestions mount over Christian group behind Central Park Covid-19 hospital “Facility run by Trump ally Franklin Graham’s organisation requires staff to sign statement opposing gay marriage”

decorative leaf bulletCompany With Ties To Trump Receives Millions From Small Business Loan Program

decorative leaf bulletTrump vs. Pelosi: What happened in Chinatown

decorative leaf bulletTrump says he will block coronavirus aid for U.S. Postal Service if it doesn’t hike prices immediately

President Trump on Friday threatened to block an emergency loan to shore up the U.S. Postal Service unless it dramatically raised shipping prices on online retailers, an unprecedented move to seize control of the agency that analysts said could plunge its finances into a deeper hole.

Several administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said Trump’s criticism of Postal Service rates is rooted in a desire to hurt Amazon in particular. They have said that he fumes publicly and privately at Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, for news coverage that Trump believes is unfair.

Amazon already delivers close to half of its own shipments. Before the pandemic, it was on pace to deliver more packages annually than either UPS or FedEx by 2022, according to Morgan Stanley.

The Postal Service has not taken federal funding since 1970, operating instead from revenue it raises from stamp sales and other products.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletDutch flower park’s virtual tour brings blooms to living rooms

Elsewhere for April 19, 2020

You should read this for4/19/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

How Clannad made Theme from Harry’s Game

Tired of being cooped up? Want to entertain yourself and your kids? The British Museum has lots of ideas: How to Explore the British Museum form Home Virtual tools, online exhibits and galleries, podcasts, short films, digital galleries and collections . . .

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language


Corona Virus | COVID-19

H/T Kira Cee: Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic

The ‘Red Dawn’ Emails: 8 Key Exchanges on the Faltering Response to the Coronavirus “Experts inside and outside the government identified the threat early on and sought to raise alarms even as President Trump was moving slowly. Read some of what they had to say among themselves at critical moments.”

Via NPR: How One City Mayor Forced A Pork Giant To Close Its Virus-Stricken Plant

Later that day, the two officials released their letter to the press. That public disclosure forced Smithfield’s hand.
The next day, the company announced it was closing the Sioux Falls plant, which the company says accounts for 4% to 5% of all U.S. pork production, for an indefinite period of time. Other meat processing plants are also closed due to the coronavirus, although none has reported as many sick workers as the Sioux Falls plant.

Food and Drink

Forget sourdough! How to make 10 of the world’s easiest breads

How to make shepherd’s pie – recipe

How to Make a Single Packet of Yeast Last

Lockdown larder: the best store-cupboard recipes for cheap, easy meals

History and Archaeology

Bergen- Belsen. SAS entry into the Camp

‘Spectacular’ artefacts found as Norway ice-patch melts “Discoveries exposed by retreating ice include snowshoe for horses and bronze age ski”

Science and Nature

Interstellar object ‘Oumuamua believed to be ‘active asteroid’Everythime I see an artist’s rendering of Oumuamua I’m reminded of the STNG episode “Tin Man.”


Brooklyn’s legendary food co-op shows how community organizations can thrive in a pandemic

Women’s Work

Verona van de Leur: ‘When you have no food you do anything to survive’ “Dutchwoman was among Europe’s best gymnasts in 2002 but she became penniless and homeless after a bitter dispute with her family and coaches”

Has Trump finally met his match? The female reporters setting him straight “During Monday’s coronavirus briefing, the president talked over reporter Paula Reid – a pattern he seems to follow when talking to female journalists”

In the ensuing debacle, Trump talks over her, raising his voice and calling Reid disgraceful – a pattern he seems to follow when taking to female journalists, and female journalists of color particularly. Earlier this month, the PBS journalist Yamiche Alcindor had a similar interaction with Trump, during which he told her to “be nice”. Alcindor stood her ground and held her line of questioning.

Reid does what all journalists who are facing Donald Trump should do: she demands an answer, she holds him to account, and she remains steadfast and unfazed while he ignores her questions and insults her instead.

Paula Reid of CBS and Yamiche Alcindor of PBS need to have backup from their colleagues. Work together journalists; you’re smarter and stronger than 🤥🤥👖🔥.

What Nurses Want You to Know “Preexisting staffing shortages and dismal pay are colliding with a crisis that’s testing the limits of the people caring for the sick and elderly.”

Nursing-home employees, nurses, and home health-care workers—the majority of whom are women—are at the forefront of the coronavirus crisis, and they have long been underpaid, overworked, and under-resourced. Registered nurses can expect to make less than $72,000 annually at the median; home health- and personal-care aides earn just $24,000 a year. A quarter of home care workers are uninsured.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Fauci confirms New York Times report Trump rebuffed social distancing advice

Asked on CNN’s State of the Union why the administration did not act when he and other officials advised, Fauci said: “You know … as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it’s not.
“…It is what it is. We are where we are right now.”

No White House briefing was scheduled on Sunday but Trump continued to attack the Times and its article, in one tweet appearing inadvertently to confirm it, writing: “the Fake News Opposition Party is pushing, with all their might, the fact that President Trump ‘ignored early warnings about the threat’.”

This Is How It Looks When You’re Not Afraid æAnthony Fauci is the rare senior government official who seems more devoted to truth than to Trump.”

But it may explain why the familiar dynamics of Trump’s unhappiness with underlings—first the retweets of criticism, then the “Behind you 1,000 percent!” show of public support, then the dismissal, then the anger and insults from Trump—could take a different course this time.

he common theme that connects these people is that, one way or another, they have seemed afraid of Donald Trump. I am sure many of them would deny that if asked directly. But their actions are consistent with their being fearful of what would happen if they don’t do what Trump wants, or tell him what he so desperately wants to hear.

‘Daily Show’ runs compilation of Trump pointing blame for the coronavirus spread

There aren’t many politicians out there who are quick to hold up their hands and admit when they’ve made mistakes, especially in these unprecedented times. But although there’s mounting proof the White House was warned about the threat of a pandemic but did not act, Donald Trump is in a whole other league of pointing the finger.
The Daily Show compilation above mashes together various clips of the president blaming other people and organisations for their decisions relating to the coronavirus — from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to the Obama administration, from the World Health Organization to China.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

How You Can Support the USPS

The USPS has not received taxpayer funds since 1982, with its entire budget coming through the sale of stamps. So if you do want to help, buying stamps—and then waiting to use most or all of them until after the pandemic has passed and mail volume begins to recover—is a good way to support to USPS right now.

See also: Hoping To Save The Postal Service, People Rush To Buy Stamps The USPS, its establishment enshrined in the Constitution, works for all Americans, old, young, rich, poor, rural or urban. As a kid growing up in rural N.H. the Post Office was my gateway to the world. That’s true for so many of us even now. We vote by mail, we receive our social security and pension and dividend checks by mail, we keep in touch with friends and family with cards and letters, we depend on Media Mail for our books and tapes for the blind. Don’t let 🤥🤥👖🔥 kill the USPS.

Exeter to repatriate Blackfoot regalia to Siksika Nation

The Devon council voted to return the items to the Siksika Nation, in Canada, after guidance from curators at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), which holds the sacred relics that once belonged to Crowfoot, a Blackfoot leader who signed a treaty in 1877 with forces of the Crown.
The return of the regalia, which include a buckskin shirt, leggings and a knife bought for £10 in 1904 from the family of an English-born member of the Canadian mounted police, followed a formal request made for the repatriation in 2015. It resolves a drawn-out dispute that has beenacrimonious at times.

These L.A. Librarians Are Building Hundreds Of Face Shields For Hospital Workers Using A 3D Printer

These efforts are examples of why libraries are still relevant not to mention essential to every day, especially in a time of need.

Nurses and doctors are posting photos of their faces bruised by masks. A boy stepped in to help.

Elsewhere for April 12, 2020

You should read this for 4/12/2020:

Art, Music, Film and Theatre

Benedictine nuns release Gregorian chants to help ease coronavirus isolation

They have instead allowed the release of a week’s worth of their chants https://www.neumz.com/ for the six days Christians refer to as holy week, preceding Easter Sunday, the highlight of the religious calendar, when the chants have a particular importance. The rest is to go live next month.

Adrian Edmondson: ‘Hamlet saved me from being expelled’

Malvolio’s a sharp-tongued, po-faced joykiller, but he can’t have started out that way. He runs the household with meticulous precision. And while he’s unpleasant, he never does enough to provoke the wicked prank the rest of the household pulls on him, to be left imprisoned and losing his marbles.
Thankfully we no longer find someone being bullied as hysterical as people used to. I decided that if I could get the audience to laugh at him being bullied and then feel very guilty about it in the last scene, then I would have won … comedy and pathos are brilliant bedfellows. Discuss.
Twelfth Night will premiere on Marquee TV on 11 April, with a watchalong on Twitter starting at 7.15pm.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

500-year-old manuscript contains one of earliest known uses of the “F-word”

Happy Birthday, Statute of Anne

Unfortunately, however, while in the early 18th century the focus on protecting and enhancing the rights of authors was intended to facilitate the growth of public discourse around those ideas, today that same focus on authors’ rights does the exact opposite. With so much emphasis now being put on the rights of the author as owner of the work to control it, at the expense of the public benefit the system is supposed to impart, it has had the effect of choking off what discourse these works might spawn. Through needlessly lengthy monopolies and overly-expansive interpretations of the reach of these rights, history seems to be repeating itself, returning us to the discourse-choking limitations of the licensing era and forsaking the promise of the Statute of Anne to promote its spread.

Coronavirus | COVID-19

More Details on Airlifts and Supply Seizures

According to Pritzker, the US military planes airlift the PPE and other medical supplies to the US and then hand them over to the major medical supply distributors the White House taskforce is working with. That part was clear from the discussion April 2nd. What Pritzker confirmed is that the states then have to bid against each other to purchase the supplies from those distributors.

Veterinary scientist hailed for Faroe Islands’ lack of Covid-19 deaths

Seth Meyers lists every time the Trump administration was warned about a pandemic

All jokes aside, Meyers makes an incredibly strong and frustrating case for one thing: “They knew.”

At White House coronavirus briefings, rescue efforts are extensive but often aspirational

These pronouncements and pledges have turned out, again and again, to be a description of the administration’s aspirational response to the pandemic, not the one doctors, nurses and stricken families are reporting from the front.

That is where emergency responders and hospitals are dangerously low on protective gear, and where widespread, rapid testing for the virus in retail parking lots is not, in fact, a reality. Where millions of small-business owners are struggling to get federal assistance they need to stave off collapse and where millions of people are newly unemployed and fearing ruin.

. . . .

While all crisis leaders have to chart a delicate course between comforting the nation and providing reliable information to its citizens, the president and his top political aides have repeatedly used the nationally televised briefings to describe efforts and actions that have not panned out.

Read this New York Times article Ma href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/us/politics/coronavirus-trump-response.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage”>He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus “An examination reveals the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response.” Then read this Twitter thread: from Eric Lipton @EricLiptonNYT with texts sent in early March.

By the last week of February, it was clear to the administration’s public health team that schools and businesses in hot spots would have to close. But in the turbulence of the Trump White House, it took three more weeks to persuade the president that failure to act quickly to control the spread of the virus would have dire consequences.

Food and Drink

No flour, eggs or butter? No problem! 23 cake recipes for when you’re missing an ingredient Includes recipes as well as tips for substitutions.

I have finally mastered the dark art of sourdough baking. Here’s how to do it
And Here’s a Helpful Timer for All That Sourdough You’re Making

Thankfully, a home baker and journalist Stuart Thompson created Bread Scheduler, a scheduling tool that helps you plan all that rising and resting with precision. Just choose one of six recipes provided and pick a start time, and Bread Scheduler will spit out timed, step-by-step instructions, along with timer reminders and helpful photos.

Via LifeHacker: Find and Share New Recipes With This Open Source Cookbook THere’s a Web version, or you can download the .pdf file.

Via Smitten Kitchen: ultimate banana bread

Hot cross buns (with grated orange zest and spices)

History and Archaeology

Science and Nature

This Lizard Is in the Middle of a Wild Evolutionary Transition, Scientists Believe

Three-toed skinks are one of a handful of species capable of bimodal reproduction, meaning that some populations are oviparous while others are viviparous. However, it is the only species that has ever been seen employing both modes during the same pregnancy, which demonstrates an unprecedented example of reproductive versatility.


April pink full moon: readers’ photos of the supermoon


Worried about Zoom’s privacy problems? A guide to your video-conferencing options

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump holds “financial interest” in pharmaceutical company that produces hydroxychloroquine: NYT

You’ve Got Less Mail: The Postal Service Is Suffering Amid The Coronavirus

The terms of the loan included in the last funding bill could give control of large parts of the agency to the Treasury Department, and Dimondstein says the Trump administration has made no secret of its desire to eventually privatize the Postal Service. “It’s in writing,” he says. “That’s their plan.”

. . .

Congressman Connolly says the next coronavirus rescue bill should provide a cash infusion of $25 billion to the Postal Service and forgive the agency’s debts, which House Democrats had pressed for but failed to get in the last funding package, after objections by Senate Republicans and the White House. He notes that lawmakers provided about $50 billion in that bill to help the airline industry.

Donald Trump Fires Inspector General Who Brought Ukraine Phone Call Whistleblower Complaint To Congress

The whistleblower that reported President Trump’s inappropriate conversation with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky saw their report buried by the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel. So much for the proper channels. President Trump himself asked for the whistleblower to be outed, undermining the protections the federal government has established to ensure wrongdoing is reported.
The only party receptive to the whistleblower’s complaints has now been fired by President Trump, closing the loop on the White House’s retaliatory actions.
President Donald Trump on Friday fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who had told Congress about the whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment, the President told Congress in a letter obtained by CNN.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Color Our Collections Free downloadable coloring books and sheets from various museums, based on their collections.

Elsewhere for April 5, 2020

You should read this for 4/5/2020:

Art and Film

The Marvel Spiderman artist teaching children in Ireland to draw

Illustrator Albert Uderzo drew me in to Asterix’s world with deftness and care

H/T Lymond: The Getty Museum in Los Angeles challenged art fans to post photos of themselves recreating their favorite works of art from the safety of their homes. People responded with a lot of enthusiasm and flooded social media with their unique artistic interpretations.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

The New York Times Is Committing ‘Journalistic Malpractice’ On Trump’s Catastrophic Covid-19 Failures

Coronavirus | COVID-19

Coronavirus: The fake Bill Gates post and other claims to ignore

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like

Returning to the above chart, Washington state, despite being the site of the earliest cluster of confirmed cases in the U.S., has contained its outbreak better than any state, and many other sub-national regions as well. This simply must be because Governor Inslee started testing earlier, implemented clampdown measures earlier, and tightened them earlier.

Coronavirus: A US tourist town telling visitors to stay away

The US state of New Hampshire, with its mountains, lakes and foliage, is used to being a tourist destination for urbanites from nearby Boston and New York. But as out-of-towners flock to their summer homes to escape coronavirus in the cities, locals are begging them to stay away.

Dad has always sent care packages from China. Now it’s face masks instead of snacks

Everyone Thinks They’re Right About Masks

Print this so you don’t bring coronavirus home

You Need To Look At This

TPM Reader BW flagged something to me from this evening’s White House press conference that strikes me as pretty remarkable. The US has established an airbridge of flights from abroad to bring in supplies of masks, gowns, all the supplies we’re hearing are in short supply. But in answer to a question from Weijia Jiang of CBS News, the Admiral in charge of this effort explained that those supplies mainly are not going to FEMA or the states. They’re going to private sector distributors. And that seems to be one of the big reasons why states are having to fight amongst themselves over them, bidding up the price along the way.

The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients.

“If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,” said Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system. “Everyone can say, ‘Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.’ But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.”

Mr. Dowling said he has had to tear his hospitals apart, retrofitting any unused space, including lobbies and conference rooms, into hospital wards. His facilities now house 2,800 so-called Covid patients, up from 100 on March 20, he said. About 25 percent of those are in serious conditions in intensive care units.
Across the city, hospitals are overrun. Patients have died in hallways before they could even be hooked up to one of the few available ventilators in New York. Doctors and nurses, who have had to use the same protective gear again and again, are getting sick. So many people are dying that the city is running low on body bags.


Free Educational Content In Minecraft Marketplace!

From the comfort of your home, you can tour the International Space Station or even explore the inside of a human eye. We’ve also included ten worlds from our Marketplace creator community! Thanks to creators Everbloom, Jigarbov, Lifeboat, Razzleberries, The World Foundry, Blockworks, and Imagiverse you can explore renewable energy, marine biology, Greek history, and more! The worlds include lesson plans like creative writing activities, build challenges, and tricky puzzles.

Food and Drink

These 7 Top-Rated Tennessee Whiskeys Prove It’s Not All About Kentucky

Connoisseurs will know that Tennessee whiskey is also made with at least 51% corn before being aged in new charred oak barrels, but Tennessean producers go an extra step. They must filter the whiskey through sugar maple charcoal in a step that mellows the spirit.

Limoncello locktails! How to make delicious drinks from years-old holiday booze

How to cook pad thai – recipe

History and Archaeology

Dugout Canoe Dated in New Hampshire

Science and Nature

Video via Twitter: Just watch it to the end; you’ll want to hear it, too.


A fine bromance? Why the Cuomos’ brotherly love is just what we need “One is New York’s governor, the other a CNN anchor battling Covid-19. But their human interaction is a balm in troubled times”


Safety and Security While Video Conferencing with Zoom

Zoom has come under fire in recent days due to security issues with the platform. A zero-day vulnerability has recently been disclosed, and numerous users have noted that Zoom bombers are joining open meetings and sharing undesirable content. Zoom has also been found to overshare data with Facebook via their iOS app, a problem now fixed. BleepingComputer recently reported about a newly found vulnerability in Zoom that allows an attacker to steal Windows login credentials from other users.

Every Zoom Security and Privacy Flaw So Far, and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Women’s Work

Defiant British Museum appoints Mary Beard as trustee “Board approves the ‘perfect candidate’ after she was rejected by No 10 for her pro-European views”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Judge Allows PEN America’s Lawsuit Against 🤥🤥👖🔥 Trump Over Retaliation Against The Media To Proceed

Robin Lindley’s interview of James D. Zirin, the author of Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits

Jared Kushner’s Coronavirus Task Force Is Using Private Email Accounts To Conduct Official Business

Jared Kushner’s shadow coronavirus task force appears to be violating both the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by using private email accounts with no assurance their communications are being preserved and by meeting in secret, according to a letter sent today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The failure of the White House to comply with any of the PRA and FACA requirements leaves the public in the dark about the work the shadow task force has done and the influence of private industries on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

No paywall in the chicken coop: A fast-food chain is paying to take down 16 Canadian newspapers’ paywalls this month “On April 1, Postmedia announced it is partnering with Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters, a Canadian fast-food restaurant with 170 locations, to drop its paywall on all content for the entire month. “We’re pleased and gratified by this generous vote of confidence in our journalism,” wrote Lucinda Chodan, senior vice president of editorial, on the National Post’s website.”

Something Wonderful

Shakespeare Sonnet #1


1609 quarto Image: The British Library


From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory;
But thou, contracted1)Contracted as in a marriage contract; betrothed. OED contract as a verb: “To enter into an agreement or contract.” Also contracted adj. “Drawn into smaller compass; narrowed, shortened, shrunken, etc.” to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content2)Content see OED content n2 1a “Satisfaction, pleasure; a contented condition” but also OED content n1 “That which is contained in anything.”,
And, tender3)Tender ; a tender is “One who tends, or waits upon, another; an attendant, nurse, ministrant” (s.v. OED tender n1). churl, mak’st waste in niggarding4)Niggarding is Shakespeare’s coinage, derived from the Scandinavian loan-word niggard, a miser. All three of the OED’s entries for niggard, niggardly, niggarding use context quotations from Shakespeare, including this line for niggarding,which is the only example for a word marked “rare.”:
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

This sonnet is generally considered part of the sequence from 1–17 that appear to urge a young man to produce an heir. It has the typical Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme; ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, and the three quatrains and a couplet structure, neither of which were actually invented by Shakespeare, though he employs both with exquisite skill.

The first line “from fairest creatures we desire increase” is a reference to reproduction. The poet refers to wanting beauty to reproduce and bear children and thereby gain immortality. At the same time, given Shakespeare’s fondness for playing havoc with word order, “we desire increase” can also mean “our desire increases.”

“But as the riper should by time decease” continues the idea of a parent and offspring from the first two lines. despite the nature of life, that with age, “the riper” will because of time, “decease,” or die. Tender serves double-duty; both as soft or delicate because of youth, and as a noun; an attendant. There is in addition, given the legal context of any discussion of an heir, the meaning of tender (OED tender n2) “a formal offer.”

In the fourth line the anonymous creature becomes “he”by virtue of the repeated “his” and the concept of an heir enters the poem. This line is the pivot on which those readers who think that Shakespeare was addressing a specific aristocratic male and urging reproduction (and the creation of an heir) turns.

Contracted in line 5 means both “someone who has agreed to a contract” or betrothed, and possibly also “reduced in size.” He is married to himself; his compass has been reduced to his own person. He is thus self-consuming, and “making a famine where abundance lies” by ignoring other potential suitors, other “contracts.”

With the start of the third stanza the poet continues the flower metaphor begun with the reference to the rose in line 2, describing the youth as the “only herald to the gaudy spring.” This line always makes me think of Chaucer’s description of the Squire in the “General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, and to the closely related Spring images of a “young and lusty bachelor” in the May calendar images of books of hours.

In line 11 “Within thine own bud buriest thy content” Shakespeare returns to the rose metaphor of the second line. Bud is ostensibly self-explanatory in the context of the rose; an unopened immature blossom. The youth is burying his own content, his own happiness, within his own bud. By not reproducing he buries (as if hidden in a grave) his own future happiness. Note that content means not only “contentment” or happiness but content, something contained. The youth “contains” the potential for progeny, for fatherhood, and, the poet argues fatherhood would make him (and presumably the world) feel content.

I can’t help but see bud in the context of producing progeny as a phallic reference. Particularly given this couplet:

Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, mak’st waste in niggarding:

He buries his happiness within his own bud, and “mak’st waste in niggarding.” By not fathering progeny, he is wasting his potential by keeping his content to himself.

The final couplet in this sonnet is a summary argument for the preceding stanzas:

Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

That is, pity the world, who would lose his beauty, and reproduce, or “eat” the world’s due by not reproducing, and thus being swallowed by the grave, the grave foreshadowed by the reference to “bury” in line 11. In this closing couplet the motifs built around the theme of eating and of death join.

References   [ + ]

Elsewhere for March 29, 2020

You should read this for 2/29/2020:

Art and Film

H/T Kira Cee: An Artist Hides Cats in His Paintings, Creating a New Kind of Art We’ve Named “Catscapes” These are delightful.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

Audible: Stories Help A collection of free to listen “stories” mostly designed for kids stuck home while schools are closed. Lots of potential here.

For as long as schools are closed, we’re open. Starting today, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. 
All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.

Joel Mathis: Newspapers have never been more vital. Bail them out.

The pandemic comes at a moment of crisis for the news industry. The New York Times and The Washington Post may be flying high, but local and regional newspapers that reach community audiences were already on life support, shedding staff and reducing coverage. The collapse of the economy will reach into every sector of society and make it extraordinarily difficult for these publications to serve their communities.

Covid-19’s Impact on Libraries Goes Beyond Books “Shuttering public libraries puts a strain on communities—even if it’s the only way to keep people safe.”

Via The GuardianBook sales surge as self-isolating readers stock up on ‘bucket list’ novels “Book sales have leapt across the country as readers find they have extra time on their hands, with bookshops reporting a significant increase in sales of longer novels and classic fiction.”

Coronavirus | COVID-19

16 National Healthcare Leaders: The best thing everyday Americans can do to fight coronavirus? #StayHome, save lives

Rand Paul Has More Than a Cold

The senator from Kentucky was worried enough about being exposed to the virus that he got a still-hard-to-obtain test for it. But while he was waiting for the results, he decided to keep showing up to the Senate. He went to group lunches with his Republican colleagues, took the Capitol elevators, talked with reporters, and worked out in the somehow-still-open Senate gym. Yesterday morning, he was doing laps in the pool there.
By yesterday afternoon, Paul had announced that he had tested positive. Graciously, he said that he would start self-quarantining.
Paul is exactly what we’ve been told to worry about.

‘It’s a community effort’: Wiltshire villagers unite against coronavirus isolation

Coordinator Morag Philpott, a parish councillor, has divided the village into 18 sectors and allocated at least one of her 33 volunteers to each one.
The volunteers are staying in close touch with the people who are isolating within their sector – which might be part of a longer street or the whole of a smaller one – to make sure they have the supplies they need and to top them up when required.

Phishing in the Time of COVID-19: How to Recognize Malicious Coronavirus Phishing Scams

California State DepartmentCOVID-19 Updates of Public Health This is what more states need to do.

Via NPR: States Are Taking Many Approaches To The Coronavirus. Here’s A Look At Each

The Safest Way to Dilute Household Chemicals

Food and Drink

Make a Batch of Flavored Salts

Green Beans with Bacon

Via Serious Eats: Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide

Mexican Lasagne It’s not that Mexican, and it’s not lasagne, but this layered casserole using corn tortillas, seasoned ground beef, refried beans, a mix of grated cheeses, and salsa, is tasty. Serve it with sour cream, salsa, jalapeño pepper slices on the side.

How to Make Your Own Chili Oil
The terminology is a little confusing; all peppers are apparently deemed “chili”; the chili flakes in the title are the bootled dried red pepper flakes familiar from pizza parlors if not your own spice rack. But as the article suggests, there are losts of kinds of dried pepper flakes.

Via Sage Boggs @Sageboggs on Twitter: OK, buckle up. I wanna talk to you about Triscuit

Rachel Roddy’s Italian recipes for lockdown “Tins, packets and short ingredient lists are good friends right now – as is ever-resourceful Italian cooking. Our resident Roman offers 10 simple meals to keep you well fed.”< THis is the the one I’m planning on: Rachel Roddy’s classic Neapolitan puttanesca sauce recipe./p>

History and Archaeology

Fossil of 67m-year-old raptor dinosaur found in New Mexico “Remains of agile meat-eater show raptors were thriving right up to point asteroid struck 66m years ago”

Science and Nature

Free E-Book: “And The Geese Exploded…” Bird photographer Chuq von Rospach has released a free .pdf ebook of his bird photos. These are some really amazing photos.

Koalas are being released back into the wild after Australian bushfires


Via the BBC podcast The Boring Talks#41 Pencils

Brian Mackenwells is passionate about pencils. In this Boring Talk he shares his passion for good pencils.

He talks us through their history, and explains why having a good pencil gives you a pleasurable ‘small pivot point that can change your whole mind set’. He also talks us through his favourite pencils, and shares the very personal reason that he can’t part with one particular pencil in his collection.

See also this accompanying illustration

Every Default macOS Wallpaper – in Glorious 5K Resolution

Women’s Work

Peter Conrad for The Guardian reviews Diana Souhami’s No Modernism Without LesbiansConrad is perhaps a bit more paternalistic and heteronormative than a careful reader would wish, or Conrad realizes:

s Diana Souhami sees it, lesbianism is much more than a sexual preference: it extends into an artistic vocation, an enraptured emotional cult and a political campaign that challenges the bullyboy patriarchs who assumed that “women’s bodies belong to men” and should be consecrated to perpetuating the male line. Souhami has written several fine biographies of what Truman Capote once reprehensibly called the “daisy-chain” of “butch-babes”; now, in a comprehensive cultural history, she awards lesbians the credit for modernising art, manners and morals in the early 20th century.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump is trying to stop people from seeing this ad on his response to coronavirus

H/T Eric Nelson: The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life “The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportions”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

We’ve made Monument Valley 2 free on the App store and Google Play for a little while!

Neil Diamond sings “Sweet Caroline” with updated lyric for safety during Covid-19 pandemic. Stay safe out there! 

LibraryThing Is Completely Free This is both a book cataloging site, and a community for readers. Apps for iOS and Android, as well as a solid easy to use Website.

Something Wonderful

Via Twitter; Sir Patrick Stewart Sonnet 116 “Let Not Marriage . . .

Sonnet 1

A Selection of Cats From Ancient Art to Present Day

H/T Less Harper via RSPV Stationary Podcast: In celebration of Cheapass Games in Black and White, a retrospective covering the black-and-white games published in the early days of Cheapass Games to be released in October, we’re pleased to offer these print-and-play games for your enjoyment!

Patrick Stewart Reads Shakespeare’s Sonnets

On March 22 2020, Sir Patrick Stewart posted on Instagram a video of himself reciting Shakespeare’s Sonnet 119 “Let not marriage . . ..” The reception was so enthusiastic that on March 23 Stewart posted again:

I was delighted by the response to my posting of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. It has led me to undertake what follows. When I was a child in the 1940s, my mother would cut up slices of fruit for me (there wasn’t much) and as she put it in front of me she would say: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” How about, “A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away”? So…here we go: Sonnet 1.

Stewart has thus far proceeded to post a sonnet a day; as I write this on March 26, Stewart has posted sonnet 4 “Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend . . . ”.

As many have noted since the lock-downs and self-isolation of COVID-19 in 2020, Shakespeare’s life was marked by various incursions of the plague. Shakespeare was christened on April 26, 1564, at the Stratford Parish church; by July of that year the town, like most of England, was ravaged by bubonic plague. Waves of plague affected England all of Shakespeare’s life, resulting in multiple closures of the London theaters, in an effort to practice what we are calling “distancing.” The theaters were closed in February 1564, the year Shakespeare was born, in 1593, in 1603–1604 the theaters closed for 11 months, again in July of 1606 (when Shakespeare was occupied with King Lear), and in 1608.1)Regarding the history of King Lear’s composition and iniital performances, see the excellent 1606: A Year of Lear by James Shapiro.

The summer of 1592 is almost certainly when Shakespeare wrote his long poem Venus and Adonis, published in 1593 when theaters were still closed because of the plague. That Shakespeare was acutely aware of the plague is clear from this passage of Venus and Adonis:

“Long may they kiss each other for this cure.
O never let their crimson liveries wear,
And as they last, their verdour still endure,
To drive infection from the dangerous year,
   That the star-gazers, having writ on death,
   May say the plague is banished by thy breath” (Venus and Adonis ll. 505–10)

Stephen Greenblatt theorizes that the sonnets were largely written during the summer of 1592, when the theaters had been closed first because of concerns regarding social unrest, and later, in 1593, because of plague. It is thus particularly appropriate, perhaps, to turn to Shakespeare’s sonnets for consolation during 2020, the year of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

I have for several years been working my own way through Shakespeare’s sonnets, making notes and annotating them as I read. This began as part of my preparation for my Ph.D. qualifying exams, continued as an aide to teaching, and then simply became an enjoyable meditative habit.

I thought to take Sir Patrick Stewart’s lead, and re-read and post about each of Shakespeare’s sonnets as Stewart read them. I am by no means a Shakespearean scholar, though I have studied with several, and taught Shakespeare under some of their supervision and mentoring. I’m merely presenting my own idiosyncratic readings as I attempt to stave off depression and homesickness, not presenting a definitive reading.  I do point to a number of resources related to Shakespeare’s sonnets, as well as provide a somewhat truncated introduction to Shakespeare’s sonnets.

To begin: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1.

References   [ + ]