A thumb pressed against two fingers, and the lean figure of Dr. Cruces, head tutor, looming over the startled boys.

“We do not murder,” he said. It was a soft voice; the doctor never raised his voice, but he had a way of giving it the pitch and spin that could make it be heard through a hurricane.

“We do not execute. We do not massacre. We never, you may be very certain, we never torture. We have no truck with crimes of passion or hatred or pointless gain. We do not do it for a delight in inhumation, or to feed some secret inner need, or for petty advantage, or for some cause or belief; I tell you, gentlemen, that all these reasons are in the highest degree suspect. Look into the face of a man who will kill you for a belief and your nostrils will snuff up the scent of abomination. Hear a speech declaring a holy war and, I assure you, your ears should catch the clink of evil’s scales and the dragging of its monstrous tail over the purity of the language.

“No, we do it for the money.

And, because we above all must know the value of a human life, we do it for a great deal of money.

There can be few cleaner motives, so shorn of all pretense.

Nil mortifi, sine lucre. Remember. No killing without payment.”

He paused for a moment.

“And always give a receipt,” he added.

Terry Pratchett, Pyramids (via nobodysuspectsthebutterfly)

(via engrprof)



That production of Twelfth Night I saw earlier this month made me recollect my own headcanon version of Olivia, the one I’ll whip out if I ever direct a production.

Every version I’ve seen plays her so serious, but I don’t think she is! I think she’s a lighthearted, vivacious young person putting on a “serious” role that doesn’t suit her true nature because she wants to do right by her dead brother. The very first time we see her, she’s laughing and joking with her best friend Feste the jester. She only throws on the black veil and does the high, cold, queenly act when company comes. It’s been some years since her brother’s death, the mourning period is starting to end, and she’s ready to go out and live life again, but she doesn’t want to admit it to herself. So she’s taken Malvolio as the ideal example of how to live, even though really she knows that he’s a stuffy bore. She puts him in charge of all her estate and goods because she sees his sober asceticism as something to strive for and feels herself profoundly unworthy of him—an illusion which, of course, snaps in two the moment he shows up in yellow stockings.

Feste has made it his business to put her in touch with the merrier, happier side of herself that she’s reluctant to claim ownership to, and he’s really the only person who can make her feel that way…until that handsome young valet of Orsino’s shows up and inadvertently reminds her that she’s really a giggling teenage girl and a hopeless romantic to boot.

(This is not to disclaim her queenliness. She is queenly. Olivia tells you to do a thing, you jump. But for quite a long time, she doesn’t have the self-possession or confidence in her own instincts to, for instance, stop taking Malvolio so seriously. She even tries her best to tell off Feste in accordance with his wishes—“Now you see, sir, how your fooling grows old, and people dislike it”—but she just can’t do it. It’s just not her.)

Part of the purpose of the “mourning” act is that it gives her a great excuse to ignore her hellishly persistent suitor Orsino. Little does she know that her public appearance as the unattainable spectral figure in the black veil is actually exactly what’s making Orsino fall in love with her. Five minutes’ contact with her genuine, laughing self would dispel all his illusions and convince him that they should just be good buddies. (In the end they’re married to the twins, which means they get to be the ridiculous in-laws Fate intended them to be, and all is well.)

Also, and this is important, she’s amused rather than horrified or put-off by the elaborate unmasking at the end. Sebastian is her true love and she decides as long as they’re together, the madcap antics that led them to this point are irrelevant. (Important because, until I actually saw a production that convinced me she was sincerely in love with Sebastian, I hadn’t realized how uncomfortable I’d always felt about that plot point. Most productions leave her merely confused and trapped in a marriage she doesn’t really want—which doesn’t suit the mood she appears to have at the end, if you’re just going by the script. And, as a good friend of mine pointed out, Viola’s “Cesario” act is probably 75% an uncanny Sebastian impersonation, since he’s the closest male in her life and the one she’d automatically refer to when trying to act like a man. Olivia fell in love with Sebastian before she even met the real Sebastian! And if you think that’s a stretch, just look at all the people in love with Tom Hiddleston from seeing him on film.)

(via iridescentoracle)




Actually, the Hollow Crown version of Henry V both begins and ends with Hiddleston’s Henry in a coffin. It’s a great framing device, and considering Hiddleston’s Henry is all guts and glory it works really well to remind everyone that these are tragedies after all (it fits really well with the chorus’ words, too). I’m not so keen on the gritty mud-bath that both the Hollow Crown and Keneth Branagh use for the battle scenes, but framing a seemingly patriotic play such that it can’t help but be tragic is good by me. And it leads nicely into the Henry VIs, which begin with everyone fussing about how Henry V is dead and Henry VI is teeny tiny, and all those mahoosive lumps of France where gained for nothing.

Yes, it’s a great framing device. And understanding the histories in order make them fit together so much better. The epilogue of Henry V really helps make Henry VI part 1 make more sense.

“Don’t put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That’s why they’re called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes.” — Terry Pratchett   Night Watch (via booksarelove-booksarelife)

(via engrprof)

“The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned secondhand bookshop, one of those that look as though they were designed by M. Escher on a bad day and has more staircases than stories and those rows of shelves which end in little doors that are surely too small for a full-sized human to enter. The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.” Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (via ossifragus)

(via unfavorableinstigation)






asexual sirens getting real fuckin pissed about all these sailors interrupting choir rehearsal

asexual sailors getting tired of having to rescue other sailors from sirens

they see each other when the ships sail past the rocks and they share a commiserating nod like, “can you believe this shit? every single time.”

Eventually word gets around, names get exchanged, and the coordinates for some utterly isolated island get passed to the sailors (once the concept of ‘coordinates’ has been adequately explained and understood). The concert ends up being pretty awesome - turns out the music’s a lot better when not punctuated by screams of “TURN ME LOOSE, WASTREL!” and indiscriminate punching. 

(via iridescentoracle)




I love the Pushing Daisies universe because it’s this beautiful little bright world where people live in windmills and keep bees and everyone’s jobs are things like lighthouse keeping, illusionists, and scratch-and-sniff book authors. But it’s teeming with cold-blooded murder.

(Source: andyradicalopossumtackler, via eclecticbibliophile)


Im-possum-ble, Nothing’s


Though I worked at a large city library, I am a rural girl at heart, so it was pure fate when a man beckoned me over to where he had set a book on the counter.

Man: “Ma’am, well, I have a weird question.”

Me: “I’m intrigued.”

Man: “Can you tell me, I mean, am I reading this right? Does this recipe call for possum?”

Me [leaning over to look at the cookbook]: “Yes. It sure does.”

Man: “Well, um, do you know where I could get one?”

And that’s how I wound up giving a man the telephone numbers of local trappers so that he could make possum pie.  



Where do you land on this important poetry issue? Sonnets or haiku? #LetsTalkBooks

Both.  Both is good!

Wait, this is even a question? It’s POETRY. Sonnets, haiku, free verse, villanelles, sestinas, Spencerian goddamn stanzas, whatever the fuck, give it to me. Poetry is awesome.



Where do you land on this important poetry issue? Sonnets or haiku? #LetsTalkBooks

Both.  Both is good!

Wait, this is even a question? It’s POETRY. Sonnets, haiku, free verse, villanelles, sestinas, Spencerian goddamn stanzas, whatever the fuck, give it to me. Poetry is awesome.


For Shark Week: the truth about the one shark that all the others fear






His name — a word like a mouthful of knives — is Ed’rashtekaresket. (Only one being in history has ever had the nerve to shorten it to “Ed”.)

To his face, people call him the Master-Shark. Elsewhere, in whispers, people call him the Pale Slayer. But the New York Times calls him one of the most riveting characters in YA literature. And this is his week… because he owns every other shark there ever was. 

In celebration of Shark Week, and until August 18th, Ebooks Direct is offering Deep Wizardry, the second book of the Young Wizards series, at 50% off.

So come on… satisfy your curiosity at a bargain price, and find out what all other, lesser sharks in history have been missing.








A dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson

London 1760

Johnson’s dictionary has some unusual definitions in it. 

Distiller: One who makes and sells pernicious and inflammatory spirits.

Dull: Not exhilaterating (sic); not delightful; as, to make dictionaries is dull work.

Excise: A hateful tax levied upon commodities, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid.

Far-fetch: A deep stratagem. A ludicrous word.

Pastern: The knee of a horse. (This is wrong. When Johnson was once asked how he came to make such a mistake, Boswell tells us he replied, ”Ignorance, Madam, pure ignorance.”)

Patron: One who countenances, supports or protects. Commonly a wretch who supports with insolence, and is paid with flattery.

Pension: An allowance made to any one without an equivalent. In England it is generally understood to mean pay given to a state hireling for treason to his country.

To worm: To deprive a dog of something, nobody knows what, under his tongue, which is said to prevent him, nobody knows why, from running mad

I particularly enjoy his definition of dull. 

He reminds me both of Jack Aubrey, and of Blackadder. Good company for him.


It keeps getting better!

(via engrprof)


Anonymous said: I'm actually a little upset about the whole excitement over Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet, because the only reason people are buying those tickets is to see him, not a great work of art. But on the other hand, it might get more people interested in Shakespeare? Plus Cumberbatch does not seem like a Hamlet to me. Thoughts?




I’m a huge fan of this “Let get this famous actor to play blah blah because we will get butts in the seats” But, as you said, I could never see Cumberbatch playing Hamlet. I believe that Hamlet should be a younger person. It is for this reason that I think Cumberbatch is too old to play this role. That being said, I do not like the Branagh Hamlet because I believe he portrays it as an adult. David Hamlet, at least looks younger and plays it off almost childlike. This is an unpopular opinion, but its mine


I like the “get more people into Shakespeare” bit.  I freely admit - hot guys got me into Shakespeare.

I prefer young Hamlet, but I saw Dan Donovan do Hamlet as an adult a few years ago at Ashland and now I think it can work either way. (Although I didn’t like Branagh’s Hamlet.) 

So, given that Benedict is an excellent actor, it could be good. 

What, not fans of the “Hamlet is such a wuss it took him thirty years and counting to kill his uncle” theory?

Yeah, that’s slow even for such a major decision as whether or not you should kill a close relative on the dubious word of a possibly-diabolic specter who is probably not actually your dad. A few months, I can see - thirty years, at this point you’re just pretending you’re planning to make a decision.

I do like younger Hamlets, though, if only because it really gets across the point that he’s seen as the future of Denmark, this bright hope, well-loved by his people. Because it makes it so. much. sadder.







You know those eye drops that make you fall in love with the first living thing you see or something like that?
What if
You woke up
And the first thing you did
Was look in the mirror

actual thing i said to my fourteen-year-old lysander last rehearsal: don’t look at your hand, you don’t want to be in a romantic relationship with your …

I’ve always wondered how precisely that stupid flower works. If you looked at a letter would you instantly fall in love with the sender (which means it’d work via internet, too). What about if you saw a picture (or video)? And does it work via audio? Like, you answer the phone and fall in love with the person on the other end? And what about blind people? Or what if you have bad vision and see someone without your glasses and mistake them for someone else; do you fall in love right away with who you mistook them for, or does it not kick in until you get your glasses on? And what if the first person you see doesn’t match your sexuality, would the potion cause you make an exception, or would it hold off until you saw someone who did?

Oh. People ask questions about my play! Let me shout about this for a while!

So. Quotes, first, so we have all the information canon gives us.


The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees


The next thing the she, waking, looks upon
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull
On meddling monkey or on busy ape)
She shall pursue it with the soul of love


And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes
And make her full of hateful fantasies


What thou see’st when thou dost wake
Do it for thy true love take
Love and languish for his sake.
Be it ounce or cat or bear
Pard or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wak’st it is thy dear
Wake when some vile thing is near

So, what does this tell us, then?

Well, for one, we need a ‘live creature’ for this charm to work, so presumably, a letter or picture will not work, because those are not ‘live’. A video, however, might work, because a video does show a live creature.

A mirror, too, will presumably work, as it will show you a live creature, even if that live creature is yourself. (Also, there is precedent for a guy falling in love with his own image, and I’m fairly certain that Will, of all people, would appreciate that sort of tragic joke.)

Audio won’t work, it seems, because the emphasis is rather heavy on the whole ‘seeing’ aspect of things. So a phone-call or an audiobook is probably not going to have any sort of significant effect at all.

Blind people, for aught that I can tell, should be fully immune to the charm, on account of not seeing anything whatsoever, and therefore, they won’t be seeing any live creatures, either.

Bad vision, on the other hand, won’t help at all, since it is just literally the first living being someone will lay eyes upon, regardless of any details, so even mistaking one blurry-looking person for another will not help, since you will still fall in love with the blurry-looking person you looked at first, regardless of who you think them to be and who they are.

The incompatible orientation question, too, is (presumably) answered by the canon, seeing as apparently, Titania will fall in love with any living being, including various animals. So I’m guessing if a cat is a possibility, then any human, regardless of incompatibility of orientation, should be a rather reasonable possibility as well.

Uhm. Yeah. Don’t mind me. I have lots and lots of thoughts about this play, and I will share them at the drop of a pin, so if you plan to drop pins, handle with care. :)

Thanks! That makes a lot of sense, and it seems the magic in the play is a little more cohesive than I’d thought.

(via engrprof)

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