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Scripturient: On the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death

“Is There Such a Thing as a ‘Bad’ Shakespeare Play?” asks a recent article on the Smithsonian website. It adds, “Shakespeare, despite the efforts of notable dissenting critics and writers to forcibly eject him, has occupie… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: On the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death

Scripturient: The Bard’s Best? Nope…

To help celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23), the website Mashable has put together a “battle” for the “Best Shakespeare Play Ever.” It’s done up as a sort of sports playoff gr… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The Bard’s Best? Nope…

Scripturient: Some of the Dharma

I first started reading Jack Kerouac in 1968, a battered paperback copy of On the Road, reprinted a decade after its original publication and kept in a pocket of a pack sack for easy reference as I hitchhiked around the country one summer. The book e… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Some of the Dharma

Scripturient: Aesop is Still Relevant

A MONKEY perched upon a lofty tree saw some Fishermen casting their nets into a river, and narrowly watched their proceedings. The Fishermen after a while gave up fishing, and on going home to dinner left their nets upon the bank. The Monkey, who is t… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Aesop is Still Relevant

Scripturient: Reading Pablo Neruda

One hardly expects poets to generate spirited debate in the media these days*, but they did, not that long ago, well within my own lifetime. Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was one of those who sparked great, passionate emotions in people, for both his writin… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Reading Pablo Neruda

Scripturient: Decoding Alice in Wonderland

It is tempting to suggest author David Day’s lush new book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded is the final word on the mysteries and secrets behind Lewis Carroll’s iconic children’s fantasy, but alas, it would be an ov… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Decoding Alice in Wonderland

Scripturient: Where Have all the Readers Gone?

No, it’s not a remake of Pete Seeger’s famous 1955 anti-war song. That’s the title of an article that appeared in the Globe and Mail this week, by Peter Denton, lamenting our overall slide into image-based information with the “… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Where Have all the Readers Gone?

Scripturient: Who By Fire

I’ve been reading a biography of Leonard Cohen, recently: the 2012 I’m Your Man, by Sylvie Simmons. It’s an interesting journey through the life and thoughts of an exquisite artist who is, by nature, somewhat reclusive and stays out… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Who By Fire

Scripturient: Judas, a Biography

Long before Darth Vader, long before Lord Voldemort, long before Stephen Harper, Judas Iscariot reigned as the supreme icon of evil in Western mythology. Judas betrayed God. How much worse can you get?* For 2,000 years we’ve used the term Judas . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Judas, a Biography

Scripturient: Myth and Meaning

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the physical pl… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Myth and Meaning

Scripturient: The Secret to Good Writing

Spoiler alert: the secret to writing well is…. (insert drum roll)… writing. Writing a lot. Every day. Every possible minute you can spare. Writing and writing more and then writing even more. But doing so within a pre-specified limit. Oops&#823… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The Secret to Good Writing

Scripturient: In Search of Kant’s Categorical Imperative

I have not read Immanuel Kant. Until recently, I did not feel at all apologetic about that statement. But when I watched the video above, I realized how much I was missing. A remarkable thinker, he proves to be, whose thoughts about society, religion, … . . . → Read More: Scripturient: In Search of Kant’s Categorical Imperative

Scripturient: Read, Re-read, Repeat

I’m currently re-reading Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantasy novel of Soviet life under Stalin, The Master and Margarita. Since this is actually a newer translation than the original one I read many years ago, I’m not sure it properly qualifie… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Read, Re-read, Repeat

Scripturient: A Sense of Pinker’s Style

I share one of Steven Pinker’s passions: I like to read style books, grammar books, language books. To me, they’re like literary chemistry sets. When I was young, getting a chemistry set for Christmas or a birthday opened a whole world to … . . . → Read More: Scripturient: A Sense of Pinker’s Style

Scripturient: Our Know-It-Alls

Collingwood Council obviously knows more than anyone else in municipal governance. More, in fact, than anyone else in the entire country. In fact, they may all be geniuses in local governance issues. Otherwise, why would council cancel their individual subscriptions to Municipal World magazine at the start of their term? Previous councils subscribed to an issue for each member of council, […]

Scripturient: In Praise of Audio Books

Although I had listened to them in the past, I really discovered the joys of audio books several years ago, when my 92-year-old father entered hospital for his final months. As I travelled to and from the city frequently that summer, audio books kept me entertained and my mind from dwelling on the more serious […]

Scripturient: The Venereal Game

The Venereal Game is the provocative subtitle of James Lipton’s 1968 classic, An Exaltation of Larks (reprinted in 1977, and later expanded in the 1993 “ultimate” edition). Venereal, in this sense, comes from venery which in turn comes from the Latin venari, to hunt or pursue, rather from the sexual connotation.* The collective nouns in much of […]

Scripturient: The Road Not Taken

I was surprised to read a recent piece in the New York Post that suggests a poem I have long loved was actually not what I thought it was about. It was one of those epiphanies that made me reassess my attitude not only towards the poem but towards what I had assumed it meant. […]

Scripturient: Victor Hugo’s Hunchback

I have just finished listening to a well-read audio book (in English) of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, Hunchback of Notre Dame, or more properly, Notre Dame de Paris, as the original title was written. I had read the novel several years ago in a more recent Penguin edition, but hearing it on my peregrinations around town with […]

Scripturient: This week’s reading

Going Clear by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright is an expose of the Church of Scientology. Fascinating, scary stuff and it makes you want to keep looking back over your shoulder to see if someone is watching you. A great read, though, and a real eye-opener if you’ve ever wanted to know the inner workings […]

Scripturient: The Paleo-Fantasy

Perhaps the best – and certainly the funniest – description of what happens to your life when you pursue pseudoscience fads like the “paleo” diet is here on Popsugar. It’s laugh-aloud funny and too good not to be shared. I loved so many lines it’s hard to pick one or two, but from the description […]

Scripturient: Books versus E-readers

Back in February, Naomi Baron wrote a piece called “Reading on-screen versus on paper,” in which she compared the two reading experiences: printed books and e-readers in five areas: Cost Container vs content Environmental impact Quality of screens Concentration Baron actually looks at these as true-or-false questions, not really comparisons. She doesn’t address issues like […]

Scripturient: Propaganda?

Last term, when council sent out community newsletters to keep residents informed, the illiterati screamed these were ‘propaganda’ and a waste of tax dollars.* Now this council has done the same thing and these nattering nabobs of negativity have raised their voices and screamed… nothing. Their silence is deafening. Well, they wouldn’t want to embarrass their friends […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Count of Monte Cristo

Many of us grew up on the stories of Alexandre Dumas; from cartoons to comic books, TV series and movies. And, yes, books, albeit often abridged for the young market, with drawings of swordsmen, women in flowing dresses, and the court of kings. Swashbuckling adventures, romances with honour and swordfighting. We may not have always […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Shakespeare Changed Everything

I have been reading an entertaining little book called How Shakespeare Changed Everything, which, as the title suggests, is about the pervasive influence the Bard has had on pretty much everything in our lives ever since he started putting quill to paper. Stephen Marche’s book was described in the NatPost as a, “sprightly, erudite sampling […]