Forget what you know about Cleopatra - she was neither Egyptian, nor did she commit suicide with a live snake (though it remains a tenaciously romantic symbol) - and discover a much more complicated and interesting person. She was not the beauty as Elizabeth Taylor would make us believe, but was able to charm two of the most powerful men in history, and was lucky enough to bear sons by both. Stacy Schiff argues in this new remarkably readable biography, Cleopatra: A Life, that her death marked the end of an empire, the end of a dynasty and the end of ancient history. Read more about Cleopatra: A Life
We're No Angels possesses perhaps the dryest humor of any movie I've ever seen. The film stars Humphrey Bogart as Joseph, Aldo Ray as Albert and Peter Ustinov as Jules escaped criminals from Devil's Island prison and passing themselves off as convict workers until they escape from the island onto a passing ship. In an effort to hide themselves they work for an inept storekeeper and his family. For some unknown reason they take a shine to the family and help them through both their financial and personal problems. They are aided in their efforts by their companion Adolphe, a small Eastern Coral Snake kept as a pet by Albert. Read more about We're No Angels
The year is 1912 and news of the Titanic's sinking has reached the fictional English estate Downton Abbey, home of the Earl of Grantham and his family. Unfortunately, the closest male family heirs were on board the ship and are presumed perished. Downton Abbeyfollows the family from this point forward as they deal with inheritance issues as well as the trials of day to day life.
Read more about Downton Abbey
If you've been following the news I'm sure you are well aware of the state budget crises and the effect this is having on teachers and other public service employees. Adding to their woes are two new documentaries about public schools and education. I had a chance to see "The Lottery". Read more about The Lottery