I slipped into the Chat Room before the official meeting only to hear the
COM (cranky old members) complaining about their children not using
10-key adding machines at home. What’s next—slide rule hanging from
your belt? That’s from back when the US was imminently ready to
convert to the metric system!
Thankfully, PP/AP (can we call you Pappy?) Tom Barron was ready to
call our meeting to order-yet without the WVRC Ship’s Bell—wait ‘til
Admiral Gauld hears (or doesn’t hear) about this! Tom swiftly called
on Chatterbox Jim Crane to lead our Pledge to the Flag which we
completed (almost) simultaneously. Next up was perky PP Aly Shoji
with most appropriate “thoughts” about today, Yom Kippur. What a
great Holiday—a time to reflect, to confess, to atone and seek
forgiveness for our mistakes. So, why not have one monthly-it would
be most useful in this time of political unrest?
PP/AP Tom thanked Aly and provided some coming Rotary attractions:
a) Friday, October 1 wine-tasting party at the Meyer hacienda—bring wine
or hors d’oeuvres. 1:00 to 6:00PM.
b) September 25 Rotary Foundation seminar (Zoom) on Grants.
c) November 6 District Foundation Dinner at the Skirball 5:00-10:00PM.
Bring proof of vaccination and $175/head (only $150 if paid in September).
d) Steve and Marsha Day will be married for 34 years (“if they make it to
Sunday”). Marsha was fined $34 for that crack and (Bagman) Steve will pay.
Time for PP/AP Tom’s Facts of the Day!
• The US paid Russia 2 cents per acre for Alaska-no wonder they hate us!
• Kansas wheat could feed the World for 2 weeks—what fun!
• “Pennsylvania” (its location) is misspelled on the Liberty Bell—which explains
their 2020 Election Audit which is happening right now—"a special request.”
• The NYC population is greater than that of the sum of the smallest 40 states.
(the last one is an “alternate fact” I may have misheard). A real fact is that its
population is greater than any of the smallest 40 states-their totals is 149 million).
John O’Keefe rose to introduce our program speaker today, Dr. Stephen
Dickey, graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard PhD, and UCLA lecture who was
recognized with the “Distinguished Teaching Award” in 1993. John
attended his Freshman English class at UCLA some years ago and was
thoroughly impressed with his knowledge of the Bard, as were we.
Dr. Dickey delivered a short version of “Shakespeare’s Empathy—Behind the
Scenes and Between the Lines,” his multi-faceted dissection of several pages
of the script of “Anthony and Cleo” from “The 1st Folio” of 1623. “Rambling
through a quick discussion of “humanity, Humanism, humankind, kinship, etc.,”
Dr. Dickey proposes the keys to the Bard’s appeal is his deep empathy for his
characters which allow us to “feel” them and, of course, his extraordinary choice
of language. 400 years ago, English was far more fluid and unrestrained than the
language we have since diagrammed and gammar into a straight jacket.
Drawing on Classical poets and creating his own English words, Shakespeare had
more freedom to soar and create new language and description. Regarded as
a genius, he arrogated himself by putting his own name on his scripts, rather
than that of the acting company, which was customary since said company
had commissioned it out to Will to write. All these nuggets of background
information had us Bard-lovers excited and receptive, but with merely 10 minutes
remaining, the professor dove into a dissection of a few pages of “Anthony
and Cleo” that cooled my ardor, at least.
Showing us these beloved pages with “Roman thoughts” as blue words and
“Egyptian thoughts” (or values) in red, the script went “Code Blue” and the
autopsy began. Not familiar with Ovid, I felt myself falling into the pit and
became a Groundling again. I no longer deserved to watch from a covered throne
and struggled for my place in the dirt, searching for a simple pun or some comic
relief to cheer me.
Our brief Q and A failed to revive me until Admiral Gauld unveiled the elephant
In the Zoom with his last question. If much of the English population in those
days was unschooled peasants, was this esoteric Bard mostly unappreciated?
Was a literary dictionary essential to enjoyment? Lost in my thoughts, I didn’t
hear the answer. Guess I’m just an Orwell man, after all.