ipod charger, tom stoppard/vaclav havel

How to make an iPod charger out of an Altoids tin and 2 AA batteries. Build it yourself or buy a kit.
An update on Tom Stoppard, my favorite playwright. His new play is his first to be about his native Czechoslovakia. Which seems strange, since I’ve always thought of his work as having a Central European flavor — although maybe that’s just me misremembering Travesties. (I was briefly into Czech theater around the time the Berlin Wall came down; I remember trying (unsuccessfully) to convince my high school drama teacher to put on Havel’s The Memorandum.)
Stoppard’s new one, Rock ‘n’ Roll, apparently features Syd Barrett as an off-screen character, making it at least the third work of his to feature Pink Floyd prominently. (Joining the film version of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and the great play The Real Thing.)
Update: Here’s another Stoppard piece from the British newspapers.

william shatner as rocket man

You know, making fun of William Shatner lost its appeal some years ago — around the time when the ersatz Kirk began to understand the jokes and embrace his own absurdity. When did that happen, exactly? 1973? 1985? 1992?
I am no shatnerologist, but I believe the video below is strong evidence that his date of self-realization came after 1978, when he performed this (apparently irony-free) version of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” (Introduction by Bernie Taupin!) Trust me — it rewards an extended listen, particularly around the 2:00 and 3:50 marks.

Apologies for the lack of posting lately (and the absence of MP3 Monday). I was in New Orleans for an education writers convention and have been running around. Regular posting to resume shortly.