Wednesday, April 23

 

Tuesday, April 22

The Debunker: Did Elizabethans Really Talk Like Americans?

by Ken Jennings

Put on a purple hat and rent some Corgis: Queen Elizabeth II is turning 87 years old this month! (Actually, the queen celebrates her official public birthday in June, because the weather is likely to be nicer then. That is a true fact. But she was actually born in April.) In honor of Her Majesty, we’ve asked Jeopardy! smart-arse Ken Jennings to spend the month debunking misinformation about the monarchy. Apparently we’ve been royally misled for years.

The Debunker: Did Elizabethans Really Talk Like Americans?

The great Shakespearean stage director Trevor Nunn opined a few years ago, after directing Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic theater, that he’d like to see Shakespeare done only in American accents from now on. “Today's American accent is closer to the sounds that Shakespeare heard when he was writing,” he said. Specifically, it’s been claimed since the late 19th century that parts of Appalachia still speak in an accent that’s a virtual time capsule of Elizabethan English. Gadzooks! Hillbillies talking like Hamlet? Can this in truth be so?

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Monday, April 21

Music Monday: Weather Songs

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! You know what they say, April comes in like a lion and- oh, well, they WILL say that soon, thanks to climate change issues. And speaking of climate change, today Scott's gonna take a good, hard look at songs about the weather. Join him, won't you?

Crowded House - Weather With You

 

It's interesting how often the weather is used as a metaphor for love. Or maybe, that shouldn't be so surprising. Emotions can be calm, stormy, lovely or horrid. Maybe we're just little weather events that thing they're people. Whoa, man. Whoa.

More weather songs on the way. See you after the jump!

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Wednesday, April 16

 

Tuesday, April 15

The Debunker: Did King John Sign the Magna Carta?

by Ken Jennings

Put on a purple hat and rent some Corgis: Queen Elizabeth II is turning 87 years old this month! (Actually, the queen celebrates her official public birthday in June, because the weather is likely to be nicer then. That is a true fact. But she was actually born in April.) In honor of Her Majesty, we’ve asked Jeopardy! smart-arse Ken Jennings to spend the month debunking misinformation about the monarchy. Apparently we’ve been royally misled for years.

The Debunker: Did King John Sign the Magna Carta?

In 1215, a group of feudal barons had enough clout to get King John on board with the Magna Carta, a document that for the first time limited the powers of the English crown. The charter enshrined rights like due process of law, making it the direct ancestor of the many future constitutional documents both in Britain and abroad, including the U.S. Bill of Rights. So powerful is the symbolism of the Magna Carta even overseas that in 1957 the American Bar Association placed a monument to the Magna Carta at Runnymede, the meadow near the Thames where the document was signed.

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Monday, April 14

Music Monday: Rapping Celebs

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! We hip hip hop and we don't stop! Much like a great many celebrities who recorded rap songs over the years. Thankfully, Scott's found a couple of them who didn't just rip off The Sugar Hill Gang. Not a lot. Just a couple.

David Bowie feat. Mickey Rourke - Shining Star (Makin' My Love)

 

Bowie's pretty open about being lost in the late 1980s. So, you know… here's proof. Sort of the bookend to "Dancing In The Streets" in a way, you know?

Maybe it gets better. Maybe it gets worse. You won't know unless you dare. See you after the jump!

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Friday, April 11

The Trivial Eye: Mad Boys & Girls

by Jason Toon

The period costumes and hairstyles of Mad Men are so perfectly done, and the '60s production design so pervasive, that it's startling to be reminded that the cast members have lives outside the show. And that some of them have the same history of ludicrous hairstyles and inadvisable outfits that the rest of us do. As Mad Men begins its final season (or next-to-final half-season? or whatever) this weekend, can you recognize these eight cast members in their pre-Sterling-Cooper days?

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Wednesday, April 09