Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cursing, Shakespeare Style

I found in one of my dictionaries a scrap of paper on which I wrote examples of Shakespearean cursing. Unfortunately, I neglected to indicate the source that I took them from. Here is what I wrote:

"You drone," "You drudge, you clog," "You unbaked and doughty youth," "You tyrant," "You carcass fit for hounds," "You base wretch, you unspeaking sot, you pigeon liver," "You devil incarnate, you child of hell," "A pox on your throats," "Oh, wretched fool. Consumption catch thee. Go shake your ears," "Were I like thee, I'd throw away myself."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015



New York City survived the "historic" blizzard of 2015.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Importance of African-American Media

"There's no way--and I say it with as much feeling and passion as I can--there's no way for any American to understand the South Side of Chicago or Harlem or Los Angeles without regularly reading African-American media."--Lerone Bennett, Jr., former executive editor, Ebony magazine, author, and historian. (From Richard Prince's Journal-isms, August 15, 2003.)

It's a safe bet that most of the white people who have recently moved to Harlem rarely or never pick up a black newspaper or magazine, opting instead to read the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Therefore they have little or no knowledge of the people among whom they have chosen to live.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Little Free Library Revisited

When I saw an article in a back issue of the Christian Science Monitor Weekly magazine (September 8, 2014) called "Little Free Libraries Add Charm to Neighborhoods," I felt my journalistic instincts had been vindicated. I wrote in this blog (see "A Library in the Park", October 29, 2014) about these free-standing house-shaped structures containing books to be lent and/or donated before I saw the article which is in an issue I picked up outside a Christian Science reading room on 112th Street, near Amsterdam Avenue, in Manhattan, on January 14, 2015.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Giving Thanks At The Dinner Table

The only person I can remember saying grace before eating was my maternal grandmother and she always recited the same grace. (I heard it so often, that even to this day I know it by heart: "Before we eat we bow our heads and thank Thee God for our daily bread.") When I found (or refound) in a shopping bag in my kitchen a small hardcover book called Grace Before Meals, she came immediately to mind. The book, compiled by A. William Nyce and Hubert Bunyea, and published in 1939 by the John C. Winston Company in Philadelphia, arranged a mealtime prayer for every day of the year, including national holidays like Independence Day (July 4th). (I think this book originally belonged to a late aunt whose apartment I had to clear out after her death.)

The compilers, in their foreword, stated that Grace Before Meals "has been prepared for the home circle, in the hope that it may encourage reverence and gratitude by supplying appropriate graces to be spoken before meals at which the family meets together" and that its publication came about as "an answer to numerous requests that such a volume be given to the public." Obviously this book was published in the pre-television and pre-Internet days when family members sat down to eat together. Nevertheless, it's a handy book for those interested in getting into the habit of saying grace at mealtime. This particular book is probably out of print but there might be a similar book or books available, especially in religious book stores.

Here is the grace for January 14, today's date: "Lord, wilt Thou never cease Thy kindly care over us, may we also continue unceasingly to bless Thee for all Thy past and present blessings. Amen."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Movies Taught Me How To Read Roman Numerals

When I was in high school, we didn't cover roman numerals all that thoroughly and so I didn't feel the need to learn any more about them. What got me interested in deciphering roman numerals were the movies. I always wanted to know the year a film was released and didn't always have a copy of TV Guide handy. I noticed that at the bottom of the screen below the film's title, was the release date in roman numerals. I got out an old math book and brushed up on the roman numeral section so I could read them fast in the few seconds they appeared on screen.  If the numerals read MCMXLVI, I knew the film had been released in 1946. Now I can even read the cornerstone dates on buildings.

Saturday, January 10, 2015



I highly recommend to anyone who is an American history buff.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Is There No Need To Quote Black Film Critics?

The print ads for Selma and Chris Rock's Top Five have several blurbs from film critics giving these movies high praise. Unfortunately, none of the blurbs are from critics in the black press. Does that mean that Paramount Pictures, the distributor, thinks the black media has nothing worthwhile to say about films that are from the black experience?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015