The Da Vinci dinner

Ten historic figures. One amazing limerick. This week in Table Talk, a homework assignment becomes pure poetry.

By Salon Staff
November 30, 2007 11:45PM (UTC)
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Erythrosine - 06:23 am Pacific Time - Nov 26, 2007 - #951 of 1475

As homework, my older son has to select ten people from a list (helpfully supplied), set up a seating arrangement (extra credit for presenting this on your posterboard in a novel and beautiful way, and no, he has no ideas for that), and then devise ten conversations, one for each pair of adjacent famous personages. He is suffering with this one. So far, he has made his selections, apparently at random (Hammurabi, Siddhartha Gautama, Henry VIII, Socrates, Plato, Confucius, Leonardo Da Vinci, Alexander the Great, Emperor Constantine, and Pope Innocent III), spent HOURS on looking up what years they flourished, and written famous quotes from a few of them on cards, with the plan of sprinkling real quotes in among the conversations. I am incredulous at how many hours he can stretch each little step into.


Sicut Cervus - 06:27 am Pacific Time - Nov 26, 2007 - #953 of 1475

A pox on "creative" homework assignments of that sort. They put conscientious kids through agonies.

PaganMama - 06:45 am Pacific Time - Nov 26, 2007 - #956 of 1475

That's a horrible assignment. ONE conversation between a pair of historical figures might be ok. But sweet moses on a poppyseed bagel, ten??


kat167 - 08:44 am Pacific Time - Nov 26, 2007 - #971 of 1475

The more I think about it, the more I'd encourage your boy to have a structure for this conversation, Ery. I think it's helpful in a variety of ways. I mean limerick, rhyme scheme, haiku, iambic pentameter...

Sicut Cervus - 10:09 am Pacific Time - Nov 26, 2007 - #986 of 1475


Said Henry, "I want Anne Boleyn."
But Innocent cried, "That's a sin!"
While Gautama Buddha
Remarked, "Well you shoulda
Considered the mess you'd get in."

And Socrates said, "That is true,"
And noble and beautiful too.
But I'd rather have boys
As my personal toys."
Alexander replied, "I'm with you."


Leonardo said (winking at Plato)
"This subject's a right hot potato …
But nearly as nice
If you take my advice,
Is a ripe red Italian tomato."

Confucius declared, "Ah, though beauty
Is nothing when set against duty --
I must say, Da Vinci,
I feel kind of pinchy
When I spy some nice Florentine booty."

Said Constantine, "Well, yes, of course!
Now Henry, get off your high horse,
And tell Hammurabi
You're going to lobby
For laws that will let you divorce."


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