Friday, 30 May 2008

The coming "prime crisis" and a killer reason for the forthcoming rise in gold

Jim Willie's latest has some amazing charts, an interesting reason for a rise in gold shares and some startling statements on the coming "prime crisis" which, he claims, will be greater in magnitude because of falling property prices and bankrupt bond insurers and banks.

After the current shellacking what is the bigger picture in gold?

The falls in gold and related equities will have many goldbugs questioning the wisdom of holding either. The truth is gold and goldshares are historically cheap. Sometimes it is important to stand back to get a proper perspective on where gold shares are going and how they will eventually break out of a chart pattern that goes back several decades. The first chart by James Turk is a work of art - and a keeper. The second chart produced a few years ago by the Aden sisters confirms Turk's work.

A new blog on gold and silver - well worth a visit!

Here's a link to new blog with good content on gold and silver. Peter J. Cooper is a financial journalist based in Dubai and one of a small band of journalists who knows the importance of precious metals.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Gold is "taking a time out" by Richard Russell

Like Richard Russell, I'd rather be a buyer here. His 40 week chart suggests a big upturn is coming over the next few weeks and months. However, the rise will not be in a straight line.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Chaucer - Concept Map Resources For "The Merchant's Tale

This image is an early effort and it does not feature a focus question; Still it is structured as a hierarchy of readings of the text for AO4 and it shows (without arrows this time) how relationships between concepts can be made. Several students challenged the order of this paired student reading with strong arguments suggesting that the feminist reading of the text should have been placed in either first or second position. I will post other versions in another week or so when the students have worked on the maps again for revision.

The characters, themes and the terms for language and form are all you need to create a concept map. Concept maps can help you "construct" what you know to deepen your understanding of a topic. They can also help you understand what you do not know! Ultimately, concept maps help you conceptualise a topic so you can establish an overview. Consequently they are great for revising texts and topics.

What you need to do for a concept map is:

  1. Produce a question preferably with the word "how" in it. This will enable you to produce a better, more focused map that will help you conceptualise your ideas on the Tale by organising the concepts into a pattern.

  2. Place the question at the top of your concept map.

  3. Place the ideas/concepts in a hierarchy from the top with the less important, ideas that you cannot link to others or stand on their own below. (You can also find and cut out appropriate images to stick with your concepts to make your map more memorable!)

  4. Place arrows between and around your concepts to trace their relationships. (This will enable you to conceptualise and deepen your understanding of the text.)

  5. Use blue or white tack with the concepts on slips of paper to stick them to a wall or on a big A2 sheet of paper.

  6. Try to justify how you organised your concepts to someone else to find out whether they agree with the pattern of your map.
Rinse and repeat to cover a range of appropriate questions for the text.

Here are a few good questions for the head of your concept map:

In what ways do the Tale reflect the sense of a social hierarchy?

How does Chaucer exploit literary and other traditions?

Can the Tale be described as consistently hostile to women?

Does Chaucer satirise religious and courtly values?

How is the marriage debate presented in lines 307-364 and in another passage of your choice?

How is a modern reader's response to the Tale more complex than Harry Bailey's in the Epilogue?

Is the "world of deceit" presented in the Tale recognisably our own? How is the theme of deceit presented in three passages in the Tale?





Justinius and Placebo

Pluto and Proserpine

Harry Bailey - the host


Auctorite(s )- authors/clerks/figures from The Bible, male experience, proverbs, etc.

Courtly Love - satirised through Damyan and May

The position of women

The Garden

Marriage - includes the marriage debate

The teller and The Tale - nested narratives and implied audiences

Appearance and Reality

Blindness and Seeing

Religion and religious beliefs

Age and Youth

Deception and Self Deception

The Position of Women

Terms - language and form

A Fabliau




Stock Characters (archetypes)

A Senex Amans - Foolish old man

Animal Imagery associated with characters


An Oral Culture and an Oral Style




Heroic Verse - Rhyming Couplets – accentual syllabic verse – like common speech. Aids memory.

Diction of Phrases


Epithets (Part of the oral culture)


The Three Estates (No merchants!)

Fortune - chance and fate - (The roman goddess, Fortuna, the queen of fortune and her wheel)


Time and fate

The influence of the Classical World – Ancient Greece and Rome

Literary Context
The Decameron
The Romance of the Rose
The Mirror of Marriage

The Pear Tree

Metonymy – words to associate feelings and accepted ideas

Timeless and Essentialist
(There is little representation of linear time. Life seen as cyclical.)

The Redundant Style - Additive – for fullness, oral impact, variation on a theme and to develop poetic power!

Conseil – advice and willfulness!

Chaucer’s Wrote in English
English merged with French and Latin additions! This reached a wider audience – to represent variations in life as he saw it?

The Dialogue as a device
An ancient form. Plato and other philosophers used it to inform, teach, reveal etc.

Mythical figures from ancient Greece merged with fairies from English folklore

The Christian world overlaps a pagan one

A Marriage Tale linked to others (identify three others!)

Individualisation (Characters that have detail and depth as opposed to stock characters)

Social Hierarchy –by rank or "degree"

Add in concepts that you think I have left out!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

"A Streetcar Named Desire" - revision guide with synopses, key issues and themes

Need some last minute revision for Tenessee Williams's play? It's brief, punchy and to the point. Just the thing at this stage.

Monday, 19 May 2008

"The Ecstasy of Gold" by Ennio Morricone (live version in concert)

"Kubla Khan" - read and presented by John Brick

Given that S.T. Coleridge's poem is highly dependent on images drawn from his imagination, and for the Romantics the power of the imagination was all-important, John Brick's rendition of the poem with well-chosen images to aid understanding is a welcome and timely aid to understanding Coleridge's poem. Enjoy! Classic Poetry Aloud is an excellent website and I have posted work from there before. The link is given at the beginning and at the end of the video. You can also find it if you scroll down to poetry links on the right of this blogsite.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Banking Crisis Renewed?

With the fall in the prices of UK banks because of their need for huge rights issues it looks as if the banking crisis is back after being discounted by the Bank of England only last week! Is this the catalyst for precious metals and their associated equities? Perhaps. One fund manager thinks that some UK banks are "in denial" and that they will have to raise another £10 billion in a rights issue in less than a year's time.

What could be the biggest banking crisis of all time could still well play out!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Is the tide in gold about to turn?

After a two-year correction that has sapped the strength and will of goldbugs, is the tide in gold equities about to change? The new upsurge in goldshares has been mooted for a long time and in each instance the rises proved fleeting and false, only for the correction to rumble on longer. The angst for gold and silver bugs has lasted longer than any previous correction in this bull market. It's only when the hardiest goldbugs have been tested to the nth degree that the tide turns; it changes slowly at first and then with a great gush it comes in.

Several technical commentators think that for cyclical and technical reasons we are very close to an important rise in gold equities and gold itself. Posters such as Cyclist of Gold Action on Kitco and Goldrunner, who also posts as Nelderand, think that we could see that rise between next week running into the third week of June.

Options expiry ends on Friday in New York. That has sapped the life out of gold equities. Next week will tell the tale.

Key Skills With Chaucer - theory and much more

Here's a great new link for studying Chaucer.

I particularly like this page (theory and genre) as it is helpful for applying Assessment Objective 4.

For those studying The Merchant's Tale have a look at the text/audio of The Merchant from the General Prologue to the Tales:

I've added the link to the Chaucer section of links on the right of this blog.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Stages of Courtly Love

(Adapted from Barbara Tuchman)
1. Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance
2. Worship of the lady from afar
3. Declaration of passionate devotion
4. Virtuous rejection by the lady
5. Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty
6. Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness)
7. Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady's heart
8. Consummation of the secret love
9. Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection

From the "analysis" section in Wikipedia

Courtly love saw a woman as an ennobling spiritual and moral force, a view that was in opposition to ecclesiastical sexual attitudes. Rather than being critical of romantic and sexual love as sinful, the poets praised it as the highest good. Marriage had been declared a sacrament of the Church, at the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, and within Christian marriage, the only purpose was procreation with any sex beyond that purpose seen as non-pious. The ideal state of a Christian was celibacy, even in marriage. By the beginning of the 13th century the ideas of courtly tradition were condemned by the church as being heretical. The church channeled many of these energies into the devotion of the Blessed Virgin Mary; it is not a coincidence that the Church used her devotion to Virgin Mary as a counter to the secular, courtly and lustful views of women in the 12th century. Francis of Assisi called poverty "his Lady".
Courtly love had a civilizing effect on knightly behavior, beginning in the late 11th century; it has been suggested that the prevalence of arranged marriages required other outlets for the expression of more personal occurrences of romantic love. New expressions of highly personal private piety in the 11th century were at the origins of what a modern observer would recognize as a personality, and the vocabulary of piety was also transferred to the conventions of courtly love.

At times, the lady could be a princesse lointaine, a far-away princess, and some tales told of men who had fallen in love with women whom they had never seen, merely on hearing their perfection described, but normally she was not so distant. As the etiquette of courtly love became more complicated, the knight might wear the colors of his lady: where blue or black were sometimes the colors of faithfulness; green could be a sign of unfaithfulness. Salvation, previously found in the hands of the priesthood, now came from the hands of one's lady. In some cases, there were also women troubadours who expressed the same sentiment for men.
More posts on Chaucer's poetic style will follow.

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.