February 04, 2014

A Loud and Heartfelt Phooey

I don't much care for this year so far. It began with the awful, paralyzing back pain over the holidays; then I had a brief semi-respite of about a week (still dealing with remnants of the back pain, though); and then I contracted some dreadful flu/bronchitis illness. The flu-ish thing kept me largely bedridden for close to the last two weeks. It was unbelievably draining. I slept for huge amounts of time. The cats were magnificent company; they rarely left my side, and their warmth (in all senses) and affection helped pull me through. Little miracle workers, they are.

So, on Sunday, as I'm finally beginning to feel vaguely normal-ish again, the main computer that I've used for the last few years crashed, fizzled, fried and died. I tried tons of stuff and can't get it to do a damned thing. Utterly dead. Thankfully, I have a backup -- but I'd forgotten how crappy it is in many ways. (I mean, the OS is Windows Vista.) Equally and more important ultimately, I don't have a backup any longer. If anything happens to this computer, I'm plain out of luck. So I guess I'm in the market for a new computer.

All this on top of the fact that I'm in my usual financial state after paying first of the month bills, which is to say close to broke, with some bills due over the next couple of weeks still outstanding. My begging cup is therefore out once again (or still, whatever). PayPal is all right for the moment, although I will continue to retrieve any donated funds very quickly, so as to prevent various malefactors from plying their evil. Mail is fine, obviously (please write me if you'd like the address: arthur4801 at yahoo dot com).

And since I need a new computer, there is another way to donate, especially for those who are reluctant to use PayPal or the mail (which I realize adds a further inconvenience). Amazon Gift Cards would also be most welcome, and I can use them for other needed household items in addition to a computer. I think all you need for a Gift Card is my name and my Amazon email, which is the same (arthur4801 at yahoo dot com). I had considered putting a computer on my Amazon Wish List and hoping for my own personal billionaire to come along and buy it for me, but I'm not even certain what kind of computer would be best at this point. I've never had a laptop, so maybe it's time for that? (Would be handy for bedridden times, among other things.) Please let me know if you have strong recommendations or thoughts about it.

Meanwhile, there is writing to be done! I'll try to get back to it over the next few days, despite still feeling quite rocky. In the meantime, Tarzie has written two posts well worth your time if you haven't yet read them: Noam Chomsky versus Aaron Swartz (in which you will learn of Chomsky's genuinely horrifying and awful views about Swartz, which I found deeply shocking), and the first article in that series about related matters. Tarzie's post concerning Swartz reminded me that I had intended to write about Aaron Swartz in some detail after his tragic and profoundly disturbing death; unfortunately I never got to it for various reasons. But since the issues that concern me are of a kind that never loses relevance or "timeliness," I think I may try to write about them very soon.

Many thanks for reading and for your kindness, as always. I'll be back with numerous astounding! and penetrating! thoughts as soon as I can manage.

And one more item, which I've been meaning to mention to you for ages. YouTube has a lot of treasures to be enjoyed. One series that I think many of you will find of great interest is "Playing Shakespeare." It was filmed in 1982 with the wonderful John Barton and members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Those members include Peggy Ashcroft, Judi Dench, Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart and David Suchet (and loads of other splendid actors). A wonderful episode to start with is this one, which we might call "The Dueling Shylocks." Barton had directed both Stewart and Suchet in The Merchant of Venice on stage, and it's fascinating to see how and why their interpretations differ from each other, in matters large and small. Both interpretations are equally valid, although I find one of them far more interesting than the other. (No, I won't tell you which I prefer. Watch it for yourself, and see what you think.)

If you're interested in acting, the kinds of choices an actor and director make, the uses of language, Shakespeare in general (including many sonnets), or any number of other issues, you'll probably find all the episodes as enthralling as I do. I've watched several episodes multiple times. You'll see the other episodes listed on the side of each one, or simply search YouTube for "Playing Shakespeare." The sixth episode ("Irony and Ambiguity") is grand fun, but truly all of it is marvelously entertaining and endlessly interesting. Enjoy!