Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

Even though this phrase means a rare event, it does refer to a natural phenomenon when there are two full moons in a calendar month. This occurs about once every 2.5 years. However, this New Years Eve's blue moon is rarer still--it happens only once every 19 years.

Happy New Year and a Blue Moon to everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Tis the Season for Mondegreens

I'm not a big fan of Christmas music, but hearing Winter Wonderland reminded me of how my eight-year-old mind heard this Christmas classic. Because I didn't know what a Parson was, I heard:
In the meadow we will build a snow man
And pretend that he is parcel brown

Further along in the song I heard:
Later on we'll perspire as we dream by the fire

So when I saw Miss Cellania's recent post on Christmas Mondegreens it put me in the mood to visit my favorite site for misheard lyrics whose url contains one of the most famous mondegreens: 'scuse me, while I kiss this guy. This site requires a SPEW WARNING else you'll be mopping up your monitor while counting head lice on the highway
from Tiny Dancer or watching as the girl with colitis go by the Beatles.

Here are three of mine that may or may not be on this archive.

The Beatles: But the fool on the hill / Sees the sun going down / And the ice in his hair / See the world spinning round.

Janis Joplin: Take another little piece of my hard on baby

Abba: Wannado, couldn't escape if I wanted to

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Richard III blog added to list

I recently learned of the New South Wales chapter in Australia of the Richard III Society and have added their site to my blog list. You can explore their site here.

I'm a member of the American branch and am active in the New England chapter. We are going to have our annual holiday luncheon this Sunday at the Colonial Inn in Concord, Massachusetts.

We Ricardians and others who are interested in that period of English history are scattered across the globe, many of us in remote places where access to resources is often difficult obtain.

While I'm not shy about my interest in Richard III, I find that it usually isn't the topic of conversation. So it's a great surprise when I learn that someone who I've known for months or even years is also a Ricardian.

Please feel free to leave a comment about your interest in Richard III and/or that period of history and let us know where you are from.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Review of "Richard III: The Maligned King" by Annette Carson

If I had to summarize this book in one word, it would be provocative. From the opening chapter where Annette Carson analyzes Richard Collins’s theory that Edward IV may have died of poisoning, to the closing chapter depicting Richard’s personal tragedies--son dies suddenly and wife dies after a long illness--and how they affected his security, to his miscalculations of how to manage the powerful lords upon whose support he depended, we not only learn how history has maligned this medieval monarch, but also how certain key events have several valid interpretations.

The chapters are arranged chronologically, starting just before Edward IV’s death to Richard’s defeat and death on Bosworth Field--a period extending just under two and a half years--and of the Tudor aftermath where Richard’s good name was maligned. While Carson clearly sides with the “good king Richard” view, she does not ignore detracting theories for each point she examines. Throughout all the tumultuous events of this short historical span, Carson analyzes the primary (where available) and secondary sources--sometimes supporting and sometimes contradicting the conclusions that are drawn. Notably she doesn’t shirk from citing and examining controversial references such as that of Thomas More's History of King Richard III.

Carson’s work is well balanced, logical, and witty. I believe this text is readily understandable by someone just embarking on learning about this era as well as an important addition to the more knowledgeable reader. The selected bibliography lists over a hundred references that she cites throughout the text. Despite the weight of the research, the book is highly readable and accessible to the non-historian.

The one issue I had with this book has to do with its physical production and not the contents. For this, I lay the responsibility squarely on the publisher--The History Press. I found the tiny font size they chose for this book a real challenge for me to read. I measured it and the regular text is a six-point font size with quoted text even smaller. Admittedly, I am of an age where I need to use reading glasses for normal print size. Here, I often found myself using a magnifying glass in addition to the glasses. I implore The History Press to use at least a ten-point font size if they reprint this book. I’ll purchase another copy if they do.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the author and I traded books when we met for the first and only time last August. Neither of us had any expectations of receiving or giving a review. I am writing this review because I think this book is a valuable addition for anyone interested in Richard III and that period of history.

Richard III: the Maligned King may be purchased at