Friday, April 17, 2015

Why did Cate Blanchett put a bucket on her head to play Shakespeare?

Cate Blanchett @2:05 in Jimmy Kimmel interview:

"I played Miranda in "The Tempest", and I had to put my head into this rusty bucket, night after night."

A photo of Blanchett as Miranda, sans bucket, from Shakespeare Forever tumbler page:

I was unaware of the purportedly famous bucket head scene in "The Tempest", as compared to the balcony scene in "Romeo and Juliet":

the dagger scene in "MacBeth":

 and the fencing scene in "Hamlet":

I first thought this sounded like producers of Blanchett's production of "The Tempest" plagiarized Mystery Science Theater 3000 MST3K goof on "Hamlet" where the cast storyboarded a bucket head version of "Hamlet" @36:45:

"a bucket head 'Hamlet'. The buckets, of course, symbolizing modern man's faceless conformity."

However, doing the math, Blanchett said her production of "The Tempest" was 19 years ago and 2015-19=1996. The MST3K "Hamlet" goof, on the other hand, was produced in 1999:

So, as unlikely as it seems, somebody on MST3K staff, maybe one of the mild mannered robots:

probably Crow from "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians"

scouted out obscure Shakespearean productions from around the world to help lend authenticity to their script. Bet Marvin Gaye family lawyers are already on the case:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lancaster Caramel Commercial Pronunciation vs #TheMusicMan

For people who've never visited Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you will probably be unfamiliar with locals' persnicketiness on the pronunciation of their home county. I was never able to properly pronounce the county's name to locals' satisfaction (it sounds something like "Linkester"). I usually just stuck with the standard pronunciation across the English speaking world of "Lane-cast-ter". I guess my pronounciation was closest with Webster's 2nd :

The voice over in this Lancaster, Pennsylvania propaganda video seems to use the 1st pronunciation:

as does the voice over for Hershey's new caramel commercial (which, of course, brings up whole new debate over the pronunciation of "caramel" vs "carmel"):

Obviously, some youtube commenters are just as frustrated as I am with the pronunciation controversy:

"Lancaster" pronunciation controversy is very reminiscent of "Iowa Stubborn" lyrics from "The Music Man":

Man: "You are in Ioway."
Prof Hill: "Ioway? At least now I know how to pronounce it.  I always thought you folks preferred Iowah"
1st Woman: "We do."
Prof Hill: "But he just said Ioway"
2nd Woman: "We say it now and then but we don't like anybody else to."
As a minor footnote to history, I believe the controversy over the proper pronunciation of the name "Lancaster" was, in all likelihood, the primary reason why they were deposed from the English throne by the York family during the War of the Roses. A history lesson from "Looking for Richard"


Al Pacino: "Before the [ Shakespeare ] play 'Richard III' starts, we got to know a little bit about what happened before the play starts -- and what happened is we've just been through a civil war, you know, called the War of the Roses, in which the Lancasters and the Yorks ... clashed. Two rival families, and the Yorks won. They beat the Lancasters, and they're now in power. And Richard is a York." 

In case the above youtube link breaks, here's another video of the caramel ad:


You'll notice that this abbreviated ad also removes the anachronistic and geographically incongruous footage of 1906 San Francisco, which seemed to upset a goodly number of youtubers:

As Richard III 's long lost namesake,  Peppermint Patty, a proppos of nothing, @3:10 sang in "Snoopy, the Musical" "I know now that the price of a thought is a penny":

Sunday, March 8, 2015

#TheDesertRats document strategy to combat German tanks during WWII

"The Desert Rats" document UK strategy to combat German tanks in WWII in North Africa theater:


"Therefore, our plan of defense is based chiefly on the belief that Rommel will attack here. You gentlemen will have the honor of being the first to expose the blitzkrieg for what it is -- a highly limited tactical maneuver.  I propose to let Rommel's tanks come through here...unopposed. You infantry commander will engage and stop all German infantry here at the perimeter leaving the tanks to proceed up this avenue alone.  Colonel White will have moved as much artillery as he can spare to line both sides of this avenue.  Across here, we are already digging positions for the captured Italian field pieces. So, the longer we hold our fire the deeper Rommel's tanks will advance into this box and the easier they will be to destroy."

looks identical to German strategy used to oppose US tanks in WWI via Blumenson, Martin. The Patton Papers: 1885-1940. Vol. II. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972. First, on p. 716, Patton seems to anticipate the development of the German blitzkrieg strategy:

"advanced his thought on tank doctrine almost to the blitzkrieg concept...once the tanks and infantry, working together, crossed the line of trenches composing the forward enemy defenses, thereby breaking the hostile defensive positions, the tanks ought to take advantage of their mobility and exploit the victory."

Then, on pp 666-667, German WWI defensive strategy anticipate the British defense described above, of holding fire against tanks to shoot at softer infantry targets:

"Every time Patton or Angelo moved and exposed himself, German soldiers in a railroad cut about 40 yards away fired at them.

After a while that seemed like eternity, some tanks came by....The appearance of the tanks prompted a decline in the level of intensity of the enemy fire -- no machine gunner in his right mind was going to expose his position to the tank guns...a few more tanks passed nearby. Patton again sent Angelo to attract the tankers' attention and tell them where to go. Compton was in one of those tanks, and, following Angelo's directions, placed a few well-aimed shells and silenced a machine gun that had been harassing the two men"

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The universe is shaped like a yarmulke

Apparently, the space-time continuum of the universe can be visualized as a giant yarmulke, from book Steinmetz, Charles Proteus. (1923). Four Lectures on Relativity and Space (First ed). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Figure 34: Two-Dimensional Analogue of the Universe:

and the footnote on p. 120:

Usually, physicists use the metaphor of a trampoline or a foam mattress to help people visualize the space time continuum, from the PBS NOVA (funded by the people Democrats consider evil: the Koch brothers!) documentary "The Elegant Universe" hosted by Brian Greene:

Not certain I agree with the Steinmetz's glib paraphrase of physics, p. 119:

"The relativity theory has reconfirmed the law of the conservation of energy, but has denied the law of conservation of matter by showing matter as kinetic energy"

People at the University of Colorado seem to share my ambivalence of Dr. Steinmetz's dubious paraphrase in their tutorial on "Mass and Energy Conservation in Nuclear Decay"

Encyclopedia Britannica further clarifies in their article "Principles of physical science :CONSERVATION OF MASS-ENERGY" by Sir A. Brian Pippard:

"Neither of two separate conservation laws, that of energy and that of mass (the latter particularly the outcome of countless experiments involving chemical change), is in this view perfectly true, but together they constitute a single conservation law, which may be expressed in two equivalent ways—conservation of mass, if to the total energy E is ascribed mass E/c2, or conservation of energy, if to each mass m is ascribed energy mc2."

Steinmetz seems to preemptively exonerate himself in his introduction for any and all scientific and mathematical inaccuracies on page V:

Not to be rude to Dr. Steinmetz, but this hand waving seems something of a cop out.

Focusing on the aesthetics versus mathematics of Steinmetz's book, a number of the stereoscopic figures:

Such as Figure 22: Bent Euclidean Two-space:

Figure23: Elliptic Two-space:

Especially Figure 23, reminded me of Paul Klee paintings like his Twittering Machine:

or The mask with the little flag:

or Dawn One:

or Bust of a Child:

Figure 27: Projective Geometry in Elliptic Two-space:

Figure 28: Projective Geometry in Bent Elliptic Two-space:

Figure 24: Hyperbolic Two-space:

Figure 26: Projective Geometry in Bent Euclidean Two-space:

Friday, February 27, 2015

George Gershwin 's "The Man I Love" on #PerryMason

Constance Towers sings "The Man I Love" in the "Perry Mason" episode of "The Case of the Missing Melody"


Ella Fitzgerald's version of the George Gershwin standard:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dyslexic Catholics

FYI, for Catholics who only visit church once a year during Christmas, the proper way to make the sign of the cross:

You're supposed to make the sign of the cross with your right hand, not your left hand, as the guy in the checkered shirt does here:


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Physics behind airplanes vs rockets

Fr. Cedric makes common mistake of conflating physics behind airplane motion, i.e. Bernoulli's equation, with that of rockets, i.e. Newton's 2nd law of Motion:


Rocket propulsion uses Newton's 2nd Law of Motion: Law of Conservation of Linear Momentum, and thus can operate in the vacuum of space. From a standard introduction to physics text:  Serway, Raymond A., Robert J. Beichner, and John W. Jewett, Jr. Physics For Scientists and Engineers. Fifth ed. New York: Saunders College, 2000. 

Conversely, aeroplanes operate under Bernoulli's principle and require the presence of a fluid, as scientists would say, or air, as common folks would, and thus planes can't fly in the vacuum of space:

Additionally, whilst on physics, the moon is neither a planet nor a star but is a natural satellite. Even Dish Nation goofs on the lack of scientific knowledge of their home shopping network compadres:


Friday, February 13, 2015

Obama vs #BandOfBrothers Dick Winters leadership styles

Obama still advocates leading from behind:

Conversely, the PBS documentary about Bronze Star winning "Band of Brothers" protagonist Richard Winters "Hang Tough" points out Winters advocated leading from the front :


Narrator (Damian Lewis): Dick Winters lead his soldiers in some of the fiercest battles of World War II. He didn't lead them from the back; he led from the front. His concern lay not only in the mission, but also the well being of his men.

Hence, Dick Winters leadership style and methods diametrically opposed to the feckless current Commander in Chief who cavalierly allows US combat deaths to skyrocket on his watch, as Doug Book pointed out in his October 18, 2012  "Western Journalism" article "Rules of Engagement getting Our soldiers killed at alarming rate"

"Introduced  into the Afghan theater of operations by General David Petraeus in July of 2010, COIN includes 24 'points' to US commanders in the field, all based on the belief that 'alienating Afghan civilians sows the seeds of our defeat.' In short, the intent of COIN is to 'win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.'

But the winning of those hearts and minds has come at a steep price. During the first 9 years of the war in Afghanistan, 1000 American soldiers were killed. In the 27 months since the adoption of COIN, another 1000 American soldiers have been killed. As a function of time, that’s more than a 400% increase in the number of American casualties."
and reinforced in Allen West's February 13, 2014 post "US military deaths in Afghanistan skyrocket under Obama"

"In the first seven-plus years of war in Afghanistan (October 2001 – December 2008) we lost 630 U.S. soldiers. In early 2009, the Obama administration authorized the implementation of the COIN (Counter-Insurgent) strategy, more focused on 'winning hearts and minds' than winning a war, and over the next five years, the U.S. death toll nearly tripled."