Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Times are Changin’ Again

It is appropriate and correct that young people are once again in the forefront of a major shift in the politics of America. In 1968, we changed the world with our anti war protests. Today students are once again protesting against violence, gun violence. I also find it serendipitous that the students leading this protest are from a school named after a woman, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who in her day lead protests and eventually helped save the Everglades, with her 1947 masterpiece, The Everglades: River of Grass. Just as the class of 1968 made a difference, I hope the class of 2018 makes a difference in America. I will be supporting them in Washington DC on Saturday, March 24.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Shed the NRA like a bad habit

Shed the NRA like a bad habit. Remember it’s about honor, morality, and common sense. We don’t want all guns just the automatic guns that are meant for killing and nothing else. Citizens shouldn’t have these kinds of military weapons. We now have a Military and have no need of a militia, which isn’t well regulated, BTW. The guns our Founding Fathers knew of weren’t AR-15 type of weapons and they surely would deem them military not civilian weapons. Get your priorities straight and shed the NRA. You’ll sleep better and be able to look kids in the eyes and let them know you do care, instead of lying. The NRA doesn’t care about life, they care about guns, the arch enemy to human life. We need common sense and I’m so proud of these students. As a teacher of forty years, I have been waiting for them to get their cause as we had in the 60’s. We had the draft, now they have guns. It seems like same reason, death at too early an age by violence and guns. We need adults in the room and it seems as if the kids are showing us the way. Find your independence and shed the NRA hold on our politics. Vote the bums out who don’t support common sense about assault rifles, killing tools. Take the bad guns away from Americans since they aren’t well regulated and too many Americans have mental health issues, apparently.  Stop Americans killing Americans with the same energy and vigor with which you are trying to get rid of good Americans via jingoistic Immigration ideas. Apply this hate to guns and we’ll be much better off.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

That's not a Preposition at the end of that sentence.

I’m not worried about ending a sentence with a preposition, because it’s not possible. The word some may think is a preposition at the end of a sentence is actually an adverb. Words can be used as different parts of speech. A word like “ride” can be a noun, a verb, an adjective, depending on use and context. “Google” has become a verb, too. The definition of a preposition is a word that precedes a noun or pronoun to create a phrase that modifies another word in the same sentence. So if a word at the end of a sentence can’t be a preposition by definition, what is it? It is an adverb, because it answers the adverb questions of “when, how, where, in what way, to what extent?” Words aren’t pigeonholed into one part of speech and the preposition has been misused and abused by too many for too long. Stop with the idea that a sentence can or cannot end with a preposition It is not a preposition if it ends a sentence, it is an adverb.

Friday, February 23, 2018


Twitter and/or Face Book. GIGO.
Information must be purged by each individual and not merely accepted. Information must be digested stripped of all its bits of fact, verifiable, before it is passed on. Take time, do research, seek other opinions, and find corroboration, before drawing and espousing a conclusion. Opinions should be constantly shifting and realigning. Before publicly publishing ideas, write a draft and read it, edit it; then rewrite it, polish it. Let it sit like a good wine or leftover food.
I miss the bibliography that helped keep track of all the resources, so I could cite them in my work. When I moved from atoms to digits, the bibliography became hyperlinks.
There is a moral obligation to be responsible with our right of free speech. Creating or perpetuating incorrect information is not responsible. I try to verify what I say, so as not to speak lies. Right now the platforms currently used for us to communicate are out of our control and in the control of bots. There’s too much and it is coming too fast for anyone to intelligently digest and formulate sound conclusions.
Right now we are in trouble because we have lost our intelligence. We need to Make America Smart Again and that means each of us must step back and explore each piece of information we get and follow it as we did when doing those research papers. What we learned in school about research has been lost to this chaos of information.
Rule one: GIGO.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Education of William Shakespeare

Even though scholars, basing their argument on a story told more than a century after the fact, accept that Shakespeare was removed from school around age thirteen because of his father's financial and social difficulties, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that he had not acquired a firm grasp of both English and Latin and that he had continued his studies elsewhere. The famous quotation from Nicholas Rowe's notoriously inaccurate biography of Shakespeare (written in 1709), where he claims that Shakespeare "acquir'd that little Latin he was Master of" and that Shakespeare was prevented by his father's poor fortune from "further Proficiency in that Language", should be read with an extremely critical eye.

We know William Shakespeare was a high school dropout. He never went further in school like his peers: Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Francis Beaumont, and John Fletcher, all of whom had a more formal education and in some cases went to Oxford or Cambridge. How does his successful emergence on the London stage in 1590 happen without a more formal education?
From the year 1577 until 1590, exactly how did William Shakespeare become William Shakespeare? If he lacked a proper education, how did he get access to the works of literature he used to create William Shakespeare? There weren’t public libraries, bookstores, and the like in his day. The wealthy, the gentry, and the nobility owned books. We know Shakespeare’s works are based on existing texts, exactly how did he get access? Somehow this intelligent lad figured it out.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets were original, but his plays were not, with the two exceptions of Merry Wives of Windsor and The Tempest. All the others are appropriated from others sources.  Nothing is known of Shakespeare from 1577 to 1590, except from random crumbs here and there, these thirteen years are considered the Lost Years.
William had to leave school because of a town scandal involving his dad. The bottom line was that William was out. But not down. He secured a tutoring job from a younger schoolmate’s family. And then another and another. Soon he was juggling the entire school in an orchestrated dramatic production. The sins of the father were not visited upon he son. After he graduated from his Stratford grammar school, by proxy, he moved on to the Halls. These Halls were away from Stratford and populated by the wealthy. Suddenly, he had access to the tomes that would let Shakespeare create beautiful masterpieces of literature. These rich men educated in the finest schools and owners of fat libraries; were able to provide Shakespeare with access as he educated their children. Drama had to be a major vehicle for Shakespeare the schoolmaster. With his family growing, Shakespeare was finding it hard to make ends meet. He prostituted himself as a writer of sonnets for n’er-do-wells, the love lorn, and the gentry.
Then the plagues hit London and the acting companies fled to the hinterlands and Shakespeare. These traveling minstrels gave him ideas about how to present to his charges in the guise of educating them. Many of his rhetorical tricks and inventions came from these teaching moments in Shakespeare’s own education. Since he didn’t seem to learn too much in school, it became his duty to educate himself, which is exactly what he did. During this thirteen-year period, Shakespeare grew a family and began a writing career second to none. How did this happen without access to his sources and the avenues to pursue this rabbit down the rabbit hole.
Shakespeare must have been a teacher. Consider the presence of teachers in his plays.  Love's Labor's Lost, Anthony and Cleopatra, Taming of the Shrew, and Two Noble Kinsmen, have a schoolmaster or a tutor. In other plays there are references to schoolmasters, most notably in King Lear: "Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie." (I,iv,170). Needless to say the presence of a schoolmaster is not a good one until we get to The Tempest and Prospero. Prospero owns the book, the staff, and the mantle as symbols of his scholarly authority. He teaches Caliban many things and things he wishes he hadn’t. Prospero and Shakespeare are one, as his own plans to retire. Art imitates Life as we watch Shakespeare pass on the book, the staff, and the mantle just as Prospero does in The Tempest.
Finally, consider his gift to us of language, words, and phrases.  Shakespeare changed our language like no other either before or after him. A true man of letters could do this, not just anyone, so how did he acquire this skill and art? He learned as a teacher and used playwriting as the vehicle. How did this man stay invisible for so long and then suddenly burst onto the scene? Where and how did he get his education? He was a teacher.  That is how he learned his future craft. He must have taught in manors and villages wherever he could find work until he was ready to bring it all to us.  William Shakespeare’s time in the wilderness was