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Antony and Cleopatra, er, Julius Caesar

As I told you earlier, I had been planning on doing Antony and Cleopatra next. However, I couldn't find a good video to follow along. Too much 'passionate kissing' (it is about an affair, so what did I expect?) and also ten minute clips of productions.

So I went with Julius Caesar, which is my second favourite Shakespeare play.

I found this video... and it was really good. Definitely a tragedy. Like, all the good guys die in the end, usually by suicide or else aided suicide. So yeah. But there's some great speeches in there!

Like Mark Antony's speech "Friends, Romans, country men, lend me your ears" ........ holy cow, what a wowzer. The way he takes a crowd hating Caesar and praising his assassins, to loving Caesar (and, of course, Antony) and going off to murder Caesar's assassins....... just wow.

And holy cow this post is gonna be long... ;-) so grab a few cookies, stretch, and settle down.

Okay, here are some of my favourite quotes from the play:

"Men at some time are masters of their fates: / the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
"What you have said/ I will consider; what you have to say/ I will with patience hear"
"Awake and see thyself[!]"
"and what other oath / than honesty to honest engaged/ that this shall be, or we will fall for it?"
"Cowards die many times before their deaths;/ the valiant never taste of death but once."
"Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more."
"The evil that men do lives after them"
"A friend should bear his friend's infirmities"
"Good words are better than bad strokes"
"This was a man!"

Okay, now to my thoughts on it:

Brutus did it all wrong.

But still, let us learn from him (wow I'm waxing poetic, it must be the listening to Shakespeare for 2.5 hours straight); for in our lives, we will each be called upon to, in one way or another, stand up against tyranny.

Brutus started out doing okay: he considered the matter instead of rushing into it rashly; he refused to form a secret combination ("No, not an oath!... do not stain the even virtue of our enterprise.").

And then from there it went all wrong.

1. He participated in cold blooded murder (okay... maybe this is an exception to the rule... I'm still thinking about it).
2. He attacked other people offensively, instead of defensively
3. He did the same thing expecting different results
4. He gave up and committed suicide

So what should he have done?

1. Persuaded the Senate to give a trial to Caesar (with his "power of speech" I'm sure he could have managed something; plus, he had quite a few friends in the Senate)
2. Allow the enemy to attack first (fight defensively)
3. Tried new, innovative ways to fight the wars
4. Had the end in mind- like, how will government be organized/ who will rule when this is over/ etc
5. Never give up! It is never as hopeless as it seems...

Okay, but now I want to point out something else.

The American colonies rebelled against Britain; the French rebelled against their king.

One revolution worked; the other failed spectacularly.


Allow me to point out a few things that determine the success or failure of any revolution.

1- The rebelling citizenry have a classical education! In other words, they have read all the great books, discussed all the great books, and they are great thinkers! In the American revolution, it wasn't just the founders who had an amazing education, it was, to a large extent, everybody!

2- Bring God into it. The French were, at that time, a people who 'worshipped' science and atheism. The American colonists knew there was a Supreme Being, worshipped that Supreme Being, and believe (to a large extent) that he was involved in the affairs of man.

3- Have the end in mind. The French wanted to not be ruled by a king. The American people wanted to live in a free society. Big difference there, and that difference is clearly spelled out in their results: the French lived without a king (at least for a while); the American people lived in a free society.

So, going through those three things: do you think that the revolution Brutus helped spark had that classical education; a belief and worship of a Supreme Being; and had the end in mind?

I don't know about how it actually played in real life, but it is my opinion, that in the version of events that Shakespeare lays out for us, that he had none of those things.

And that, is why he failed.

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice has been the most interesting of tales from Shakespeare Bootcamp...

Basically, this young man (Bassanio) is in love with this girl (Portia) who is condemned by her late father's will to pick her husband by a queer method: to have three chests (one of silver, one of gold, one of lead) and one will have her likeness in it, and her suitors have to guess which chest has her likeness in it, and if they guess right, then wedding, if not, kick them out.

Bassanio has a friend of his borrow a large sum of money, Bassanio wins his lady but gets news that his friend has failed to pay the debt back and must give, as his penalty, of pound of the flesh closest to his heart (yuck!). And then... No. I'm not telling what happens next.

It is maybe my third favourite Shakespeare play. Macbeth is definitely #1, the Julius Caesar is #2 (because Brutus' speech is the coolest speech ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)), and Merchant of Venice might be #3.

So here are some cool tidbits I got from this play:

"Let none presume to wear an undeserved dignity"
"O! that estates, degrees, and offices/ were not deriv'd corruptly, and that clear honour/ were purchased by the merit of the wearer!"
"Some there that be that shadows kiss/ shall have but a shadow's bliss"
"There is no vice so simple that assumes/ some mark or virtue on his outward parts"
"You that choose not by view..." (to paraphrase) shall get the better part.
"He is well paid that is well satisfied."

Yeah... this play is super good. I highly recommend it!

Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona was a very interesting Shakespeare play to read.

It's basically this really 'complicated' loves story.

Guy #1 falls in love with Girl #1; Guy #2 falls in love with Girl #2; Guy #1 goes to visit Guy #2 and falls in love with Girl #2. Guy #1 betrays his friend, Guy #2, and woos Girl #2; meanwhile, Girl #1 decides to surprise Guy #1 by going to visit him (in guys clothes, which is a huge deal in the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century), and learns that Guy #1 is wooing another woman; Girl #2 absolutely scorns Guy #1; and then, somehow, Guy#2 and Girl#2 and Guy#1 and Girl#1 fall in love they way they were in love at the beginning and live happily ever after.

One thing that ticks me off: Guy #2 freely forgives Guy #1 for getting him exiled, and for slandering him. Like, what? How?!?!?!?! I guess forgiveness is a different matter than trust... one can forgive without trusting... right???

I think it was really interesting to see their allegiances.

Guy #1 (Proteus): Self
Guy #2 (Valentine): Good/God
Girl #1 (Julia): Good/God with maybe a tiny bit of self in there?
Girl #2 (Silvia): Good/God
the Duke of Milan, and father to Silvia: Money/wealth/power

Shakespeare Bootcamp: Report

I've told you about Elisabeta and I going to boot camp? Well, we are right in the think of it.... safe at home on my very cozy bed!

The first Shakespeare play I read was Henry V, then Two Gentlemen of Verona, and just yesterday, the Merchant of Venice, which I really enjoyed.

How I did the Two Gentlemen of Verona and the Merchant of Venice was, I found a production on youtube and then played it while following along in my book. So much easier to understand when you do it that way, you should definitely try it out!

Oh, and here are the links to the videos in case you want to do the same:

Two Gentlemen of Verona And holy cow the actors do a good job! Especially whoever it is who played Julia... just wow!
Merchant of Venice One problem here? They totally skip the last scene! Which is a really important scene! So make sure you read the rest of the play as well... if you read it aloud it's way easier to understand that if you read it in your mind. ;-)

And today I'm going to do Antony and Cleopatra.

Time For Bootcamp!

So I mentioned earlier that Elisabeta and I were going to go to a bootcamp this summer.

Well, that's sorta true and sorta not true.

Here's the scoop:

Even though school is, technically over, it's time for me to sit down and really focus on reading those classics. I had this great idea to make a "boot camp" where I read a Shakespeare Play every school day! A mentor who I respect and admire very much suggested using one's summer break to do a big simulation. I decided to do a 'Shakespeare play a day.'

This will last two weeks, so by Monday the 8th, I'll have read at least nine Shakespeare plays.

I'm so excited! :-) ;-) :-)

The play I'm going to read today is "Henry V."

Be Obsessed Or Be Average

On Monday, I read this uber inspiring book called "Be Obsessed or Be Average." It's legit the coolest book I've read this year... so far ;-) (You can find it here)

Published in 2016, best selling author Grant Cardone lays out his secret to success- being obsessed. In other words, finding what gives you satisfaction and meaning, and then chasing it!

If you do decide to read it (which you totally should!), I highly recommend doing all the activities therein. It will make your experience 10x better... (get it? that's a pun... Grant Cardone also authored The 10X Rule.... ;-) which is going on my to-read list).

And you know what, it's a very liberating read! The idea that I can live with passion and totally not listen to anyone who says other wise is, while not new to me, still exciting.

I think this is one of the most important books that Gen Z's and Millennials can read. If everyone read (and applied) it, it would completely revolutionize our educational system, our families, and our culture.

Some Of My Favorite Books

I read a lot. And because I read a lot, I find a lot of really great books. I want to share my top sixteen (though it’s actually far more because I am counting series as a single book) with you, along with WHY I like them (because I think no book recommendation list is complete without the WHY).

So without further ado (and in no particular order):

Words On Fire, by Jennifer A Nielsen
Wow, this book is incredible. I recently read this for the first time, and this one is definitely worth rereading. It tells the tale of a young Lithuanian girl who's country is occupied by Russia. The Russians want to destroy the very culture of Lithuania, so they ban the Lithuanian language, religion, and books.

Guardians of Ga'Hoole, by Kathryn Lasky
This series of fifteen is absolutely thrilling as you follow the development of the main character, an owl named Soren, and his friends. These books are powerful classics on leadership, friendship, duty, and freedom.

How To Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell
This delightful series of twelve follows our unlikely hero, Hiccup, as he develops his unique gifts, deals with a mischievous dragon, saves his life and the lives of his friends many times, and discovers and claims his destiny in order to save both the dragon and human world.

Rise of a Legend, by Kathryn Lasky
This powerful prequel to the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series follows the life of the greatest Ryb at the Great Tree. This book is INCREDIBLE, it might be my toppity-top favourite. You have to read it.

Wolves of the Beyond, by Kathryn Lasky
A series of six, this takes place in the same world as Guardians of Ga'Hoole and Rise of a Legend, except it focuses on the wolves, not the owls. It's super interesting to see a different culture surviving and thriving in the same world. Except... that world is falling apart, and it is up to Faolan to save it.

The Screwtape Letters, by C S Lewis
This fictional book is a very entertaining series of letters from a devil official, Screwtape, to his Nephew, Wormwood, who he is mentoring in the fine art of leading souls to hell. Profound, funny, and hard to put down, it's a great read that I highly recommend.

Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
Macbeth is my favorite play by Shakespeare. Murder, madness, and magic... this tragedy has it all. Killing the king, Macbeth usurps the throne, assured by three witches that he would rule until the trees of the forest marched up to battle him. A little hard to understand at first, I recommend finding a production of the play on YouTube to watch and following along in your book.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell
When the farm animals overthrow their drunkard master, they think they are bound for prosperity. But then the pigs take control, become above the law, and subject the other animals, leaving them worse off than ever before. This distopian is deep, and a little sad, but I still highly recommend it. It's an incredible freedom classic. If you choose to read it, I recommend doing so with a notebook and pen, and keeping a list of exactly HOW the pigs usurp power. You'll learn a lot!

Voyage of the Dogs, by Greg van Eekhout
What if... humans had found a way to shrink space, making it possible to travel to a planet in a whole other galaxy in less then a single human lifetime? And then... what if a meteor hit the spaceship, forcing the human crew to abandon it? And what if, the crew dogs had to be left behind? That is the premise of Voyage of the Dogs, a fictional account of pack of dog's attempt to finish the mission their people had started.

Property of the Rebel Librarian, by Allison Varnes
When the majority of books are banned at her school, June decides to take action. She starts a secret library, distributing books in the school so that other students can read too. When her resistance is uncovered, it is up to June to make a difference with her words.

The Giver, by Lois Lowery
Extremely dystopian, The Giver transports you to a world of 'sameness,' a world without color, music, love, or choice. When Jonas is chosen by his community elders to be a holder of memories of the past, he discovers these forbidden things -color, music, love, and choice- and decides that life can not go on as before.

Perloo the Bold, by Avi
A shy scholar, Perloo is tasked with leading his species. He does not want this leadership position, but is forced to take it, stop a war, and restore freedom to his people.

The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer A Nielsen
This riveting trilogy tells the tale of Sage: an orphan, a prince, and a king. Filled with death defying action and phenominal story telling, this trilogy is absolutely inspiring.

Camp Half-Blood Chronicles, by Rick Riordan
This series twists modern with ancient, reality with myth. It's beautiful! Full of Greek mythology and lots of adventure, it's a page turner.

Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Cofler
This eight book series is filled with villainous genius! It follows the adventures of Artemis Fowl as he interacts with the fairy folk and outwits everyone.

Beauty, by Robin McKinley
This retelling of the classic story Beauty and the Beast adds a whole new depth of characters. Beautiful plot, beautiful writing; it's a very easy and engaging read. Even if you don't like the original tale of Beauty and the Beast, this is still a great read!

And so there you have it... sixteen of my favourite books! I hope you'll take the time to read some of them, and don't forget to comment below about your reading experiences!

What Is Socialism?

Socialism -
That idea is getting more and more popular all the time. Perhaps one of the greatest proofs of this is how far Bernie Sanders got in the process of become an 'official' candidate for United States president. Or how people think that health care is a 'right.'

So what is socialism exactly? The popular definition is taking from the rich and giving to the poor. But that just the add for socialism.

When one tries to explain the pitfalls of how socialism won't work, it hasn't worked, and it never will work, people usually respond that it'll work "this time," or that it was just flawed execution. But that is not true. The execution is not flawed; it's the theory that is flawed.

Stripped down to it's most basic theology, socialism is the abolition of private ownership. And, as I briefly discussed in my post What Is Freedom?, private ownership is not just about your stuff, but about your body, your mind, your rights.

Allow me to further explain. In socialism, private ownership does not exist. Everything is owned by the government to use as they see fit. Sometimes this means giving to the poor (or rather, letting the poor borrow what ever it is until the government finds a better use for it); often times, this means usage by the government officials.

So say you own a really nice car. It was made just last year, has less than 1000 miles on it, incredibly gas efficient, all around great car. And then say that somehow, this nation that you live in becomes socialist. Well, that car isn't yours anymore. You're just 'borrowing' it until a government official comes along and says otherwise. Well, let's say that a government official comes along and says otherwise. And since he/she represents the government, they can do whatever they want with it. And let's say they decide they should get it, since their job involves driving around lots and their car stinks. Well, then that government official gets your car (of course, since this is socialism, they are only 'borrowing' it). But then say the President of your nation spots your car, and is like, "Wow, that is one great car! I think I need that!" Well, the president gets it, since the president is a higher ranking official than the one who originally took 'your' car. But the president only gets your car until a higher ranking government official comes along...

That is socialism, stripped down to it's barest theology. And it's not pretty. I mean, that was a very nice car!

But let's talk about some more aspects. Your car is a thing; and you own it. But you have private ownership over your body as well. And in socialism, private ownership isn't a thing. So the government can take your body-essentially, you- and do whatever it pleases with it. Medical experiments. Slave labour. Breeding an 'Aryan' (or whatever race your socialist government prefers) race.

What about your home? Or belongings? What about your freedom? Your education? Your lively hood? What about, if and when you are a parent, the ownership of parental rights?

Socialism is not about taking from the rich and giving to the poor. It's about the abolition of private ownership. And once you get down to that root, socialism is not pretty. It's downright disgusting.

What Is Freedom?

A lot of people are somewhat confused as to what freedom means exactly. They are so caught up in the details of application in bureaucratic nations that they forget what it means.

Freedom can be defined as your right to do anything with your private property (this includes mind and body, as well as the things your own) as long as it does not hurt other people.

In fact, the only reason government is ever created by the people, is to protect their right to use their personal property without hurting others, and to make sure that other people/nations won't use their private property to hurt them.

For example, take the freedom of speech. I am free to speak as I please, as long as it does not hurt someone else. I cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theatre (unless there really was a fire) because there might be a stampede and someone could be killed. I can not use words to inspire people to murder, and so forth.

As another example, take the right to keep and bear arms. I may own and use a gun; the only thing is I can't go kill people with it, threaten people with it, or hurt people with it.

Freedom is really very simple, and it comes down to eleven words: freedom is the ability to use personal property without hurting others.


Many people don't care about what is going on in the world today, and if they do care, they don't understand. And if they do understand, they probably aren't sure how to go about influencing what is happening today.

That needs to change if America's freedom is going to be restored.

My name is Liliana. I've been homeschooled up until 9th grade, and now I'm going to Leadership Academy of Utah.

I am passionate about many things, some of which include current events, the United States Constitution, good books, designing and sewing clothes for me and my 18" doll, debate, and having a clean room.

I am very excited to have this blog and be sharing anything and everything I'm interested in with you.