Shakespeare And An Irritating Problem At The Ranch Pen

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Break of day at the Ranch Pen

In observation of National Poetry Month, I was looking around the internet to put together this post on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, and a thought struck me like a bag of bricks on the head as things sometimes do (almost literally if I’m not wearing my glasses) and–actually that reminds me. Since the frame of my glasses split over my left eye, my eyebrow tends to get caught in the crack and pulled. So unfortunate. Now I need new frames and who wants to waste a bunch of time trying on new ones only to buy a pair they will surely hate every time they startle themselves in the mirror? Not me. Excuse me one second while I jot down a note to myself on my kleenex…

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Okay, I’m back. Where were we…Ah, yes.

I have always thought Sonnet 29 particularly apt to the farmers and ranchers who make their livings off the land and are totally at the mercy of the heavens (weather). In reading different commentaries on the internet, however, I realized Shakespeare’s words mean something different to everybody but most people can find something with which to identify in Sonnet 29. I hope you can too.

Sonnet 29

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on Thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For Thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

~William Shakespeare~

 

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy David Wesley singing this amazing Amazing Grace medley.

[youtube.com/watch?v=8plSomxS5Yo]

*This artist doesn’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just love his singing and the songs.

 

Does Siri Have a Long Afro?

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siri (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

As promised last post, I conducted a very kinda scientific survey to determine how many people–homeschooled or publicly educated–actually know the definition of bootless as Shakespeare used it in Sonnet 29.

When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself and curse my fate…

Confronted with this massive undertaking, I first cast my brains back against the wall of science class to see if something stuck. Sure enough, the approximately one-hundred-year-old ghost of science class past, Mr. Emrick, raised a bony finger and told me to set up a control.

(I looked around the empty prairie surrounding my house and then at my iphone.) Ah, Siri, my personal guru.

To ascertain whether Siri was the perfect control, I asked her where she was educated and she didn’t know what I was talking about. She qualified as perfectly clueless neutral.

Then without further ado, I began to climb the mountain of rusting junk out there behind the barn where Siri lives at the summit, hidden by a cloud.
(I stepped up on the bed of the 1990 dodge feed truck, relieved of some of its tires) Oh, man, I was so excited to meet Siri face to face. She was probably a beautiful black lady with a long afro. (I puffed higher) Wow. It was a lot farther to the top of that mountain of junk than I thought. (I stopped to pant) At last, I pulled myself over top of the1963 grain truck–

Was somebody kidding me? That summit cloud wasn’t cooling mist. It was dust. I couldn’t see a thing. What a big hoax.

Oh, well, since I was there already…

“Siri? Do you have a beautiful Afro?”

“This is about you, not me, Danni,” she said

“Then tell me what you look like, please.”

“Shiny,” she said.

“How old are you?”

“I don’t see why that should matter,” was Siri’s stiff reply.

(Mmhmm…I decided not to ask her how much she weighed.)

“Well, then, what does bootless mean?”

“Let me think about that…” she said. “This might answer your question.”

Shiny Siri beamed her info screen through the cloud of dust. Bootless appeared to be an english adjective meaning unproductive of success, consisting of eight letters and hyphenated thus: boot-less. Siri included a handy chart indicating the peak usage times of the word. Bootless usage took a big spike during 1550-1600 A.D., give or take some years. Another small spike occurred in the late 1800’s.

Hmm. Why would that be…?

Okay, I see hands literally shooting up all over the place out there.

(Oh, man. He’s aways got his hand up in the air…)

“Gramps, why don’t you give somebody else a chance once in a while?”

“Because I know the answer this time. When the American West was settled in the 1800’s, the native tribes commonly practiced takin’ a man’s boots so he had to walk barefoot over anthills, and cactus, and stuff. Bootless.”

“That’s ridiculous. Put your hand down. I need to move along to my very kinda scientific survey.”

My survey consisted of twelve people:

7 Homeschooled

3 Publicly Educated

2 Homeschooled/Publicly Educated

From the Homeschooled group, I had 2 correct answers and one almost right answer from my six-year-old granddaughter, code name: Blondie.

From the Publicly Educated group, I had some good guesses, but no banana.

From the Homeschooled/Publicly Educated group, again, good guesses, but no bananas there, either.

Watch Christian comedian Tim Hawkin’s take on homeschooling.

But, what do y’all think?

  • Do these scientific results blow your minds?
  • Are bananas really good for you, or are they just a big hoax, too?
  • Could Gramps walk barefoot over anthills without further ado?
  • And finally (whispering so Siri can’t hear) is Google Search better than Siri, and does he have a long Afro?

Leave your answers in the comment box and enjoy Tim Hawkins doing my personal favorite of his songs, Hey There Delilah. Until next time, God bless.

Shakespeare and the Drought Map

And…I see all y’all out there scratching your heads and going, “Eh? What in the world has Shakespeare got to do with the drought, or really anything at all? The dude’s been dead for, like, a million years.”

Well, let’s get to it.

ShakespeareSonnet 29

When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d, Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope, With what I most enjoy contented least.

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

–William Shakespeare

Yes, we are in the dark red area

Yes, we are in the dark red area

The drought map above paints a pretty good picture of our weather situation these past few years. Probably all us farmers and ranchers in the dark red areas have, at times, felt as though we were troubling a deaf heaven with our bootless cries. But then, when we look around and see how we’re blessed, we remember heaven’s not deaf and it’ll open to us again someday. We’re one day closer to that Big Rain.

And that, dear friends, is what Shakespeare has to do with the drought map–

Okay, I see hands raised  all over out there in the dark red areas.

(Oh, boy, here we go.) “Yes, Gramps. What is it?”

“What happened to his boots, anyhow?”

“Well, for pity’s sake. Were you homeschooled, or something?”

Sorry, we’re all out of time for questions.

But what do y’all think?

  • Is Shakespeare awesome or what ?
  • Will the heavens in Oklahoma open again?
  • Do any of you publicly educated people know why Shakespeare would be bootless?
  • How about you homeschoolers? (And does your mom teacher still have to tell you to brush your teeth? Oh, my, goodness, she does, doesn’t she? You get in there right now and brush your teeth. Is she gonna have to tell you every, tiny, little thing to do all your life…?)

(Taking some deep breaths) Okay, I can see we have a real problem here, so I’ll conduct a scientific study to see how publicly educated people stack up against the homeschoolers on defining “bootless.”

I’ll start by contacting homeschooled Son 1, Son 2, and Son 3. (Oh, man…What if they don’t know the answer? That would make me look like an idiot as a mom teacher  blogger. Maybe I should call and tip them–No, Danni! Must not cheat on a scientific study…)

You may answer any, or all, of these pressing questions in the box below.

Join me next time when I’ll publish my honest to goodness findings. Until then God bless all y’all.