The boys shuffle in from the bright Isla Vista heat outside, eight teenagers dressed in the navy blue polo shirt, slacks, and black-and-white converse sneakers that constitute the uniform of the juvenile detention center a few miles outside of town.
My favorite course in college was one of the obvious and simple ones: Shakespeare. We read maybe 20 of the plays and talked about them. Our professor was an eccentric old Greek, Pete Phialas, who had been dragged out of retirement by a student of his.
The journalistic cowardice of peppy, preening, self-absorbed muppets is not a sign of a coming apocalypse. It is, however, a symptom of national decline. If you can't face the future with open eyes, you're probably afraid of where you're going.
Life is a series of deaths and rebirths. Death happens to our bodies every minute of every day yet; this process goes unnoticed because we are busy living life. Cells die. Skin dies. But the thought of the ultimate death stops us dead in our tracks.
Many have attempted to bring Shakespeare forward to the present-day by banishing all sense of antiquity. Few are able to retain all sense of the original, while illustrating how timeless the story can be. The cast and crew of Much Ado have achieved it.
If a would-be writer is serious about his intention to become a fine writer, he would do well to get his head out of the vampire/zombie dreck that somehow passes for literature and discover the masters.
One fixed poetic form clearly stands the test of time: the sonnet. Even if you don't read poetry regularly, you probably know the basics: the average sonnet contains only 14 lines, and each line should be written in the same meter.
How high was Shakespeare? Research published in 2001 revealed residues of cocaine, marijuana and myristic acid, a nutmeg-derived hallucinogen, in 17th-century clay-pipe fragments dug up from the garden of his home.