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  1. 1 day ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    No, I didn’t, because in the former case All’s Well That Ends Well is one of Shakespeare’s plays that I haven’t read (I’ve probably only read between a quarter and a third of them) and in the latter case because I haven’t read Teseida. But I see that The Complete Works of Shakespeare (retained from my wife’s college days) agrees that a story from The Decameron (via an English translation by William Painter) was the source of All’s Well That Ends Well.

    One of my favorites from The Decameron is the one where one man discovers that his friend has been sleeping with his wife and so in return he gets his wife to lock his friend in a chest and then proceeds to make love to his friend’s wife on top of the chest, ending with them all agreeing to continue sharing spouses in the future. Another story where all’s well that ends well….

  2. 2 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    Unfortunately, there are still people who insist that it is. That whole Anti-Stratfordian thing – which only arose well after Shakespeare died – is just a conspiracy theory for intellectual (or pseudo-intellectual) types. Shakespeare’s contemporaries, whether friendly rivals like Ben Jonson or less friendly ones like Robert Greene, knew that the actor and the playwright were one and the same.

  3. 2 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    There’s also Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio, using Shakespeare’s original dialogue but set in a modern city rife with mob violence. So you get DiCaprio blasting away in a gun fight while speaking the lines that Shakespeare wrote. Somewhat bizarre but definitely different.

  4. 2 days ago on Calvin and Hobbes

    If you think Chaucer is funny and lewd, try Boccaccio’s The Decameron, which also happens to have a frame story that is eerily appropriate to current times.

  5. 2 days ago on Peanuts

    Where I live the comics update at or soon after 1 pm in the afternoon (so while it’s after 11 am on May 29 here, the May 29 comics won’t appear for another couple of hours), and since I usually read them in the morning I only have a chance to comment in the last couple of hours before the new ones appear. But somehow I survive….

  6. 2 days ago on Doonesbury

    Yes, it will be quite some time before the experts get a fuller understanding of what measures worked and what didn’t. Preventing hospitals from being swamped certainly saved a lot of people; in two places where the medical institutions were clearly overwhelmed, Wuhan at the very beginning of the epidemic and northern Italy a little later on, the death rates were far higher than they’ve been elsewhere. But even in places like New York there were at least some reports that while hospitals weren’t actually overwhelmed, people were discouraged from coming to (or even refused admittance to) emergency wards even when they were pretty seriously ill, not only with COVID-19 but also with other conditions, and at least a few people died who in normal circumstances could have been saved. And as you mention, there no doubt have been people who died from preventable diseases that in normal times could have been caught by screening. So yes, it’ll be awhile before we really have a good idea of all the consequences, and some things we’ll probably never know for sure.

  7. 3 days ago on Doonesbury

    While it’s true that the Hong Kong flu killed about 100,000 people in the US, a little context is necessary: It took about a year and half for it to kill that many people (from mid 1968 to the winter of 1969-70). The current pandemic has killed 100,000 Americans in only three months. It would have killed a lot more without the lockdowns and other measures, and it isn’t over yet.

  8. 4 days ago on Pearls Before Swine

    I haven’t read Rick Riordan’s books, but as a few others have noted, he certainly didn’t invent the idea that gods depend on believers for their powers or their very existence. As mentioned, Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods incorporate the idea, and both of them predate Riordan’s books.

  9. 4 days ago on Pearls Before Swine

    Tolkien’s Elves were immortal in that they didn’t age or die of natural causes, but they could still be killed. Admittedly, Pan dying of a heart attack would still seem to violate that definition of “immortal”, but you could say Pastis killed him for the sake of his pun, in which case Rat is no doubt right about the gods’ opinion of him.

  10. 6 days ago on Peanuts

    I never saw the movie or read the book, but Randy Newman’s song “Love Story” (which actually predates the movie) is a great ironic take on predictable love stories.