Sunday, June 30, 2013

175 Quiz Answer

Here’s this week’s quiz answer.
“A Doll’s House” is a play by Henrik Ibsen, the major 19th-century Norwegian playwright who is often referred to as "the father of realism" and who is one of the founders of modernism in the theatre.
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "Y" is for "Yvonne.")

Here's this week's Berownial quiz.
I wrote the following scenelet, which I hope will remind you of a world-famous play.  Though originally written in Norwegian, it has held the distinction of being the world's most-performed play.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: give us its name - in English.

"My last trip over that way I dropped in on Yvonne.  Hadn't seen her for a year or so."
"She seemed happy?"
"Oh yes, very happy.  She and Vernon have what looks like an ideal marriage."
"I got that same impression.  'Ideal' is the word.  Not many married couples are as contented as they are."
"It's almost funny, the way they carry on - like they just got hitched, instead of being married for years.  Vernon goes out of his way to be thoughtful and romantic.  Brings her little gifts and such.  And I thought it was a bit much, the way he calls his wife 'sweetcakes' and 'baby doll.'"
"Does she get indignant at such talk?"
"Oh no, she loves it.  When he was home, she couldn't stop singing and giggling at his jokes and so on.  It was actually a bit strange.  It seemed such a flabby existence and you know that Yvonne, back in school, was always an intelligent, serious type."
"Well, marriage changes people."
"As a result of my visit, I came away kinda worried.  I felt that somehow there was a smell - you could almost have called it a stench - of unreality about their situation.  Then, sure enough, she told me something in private, making me promise never to let her husband know."
"That sounds pretty melodramatic."
"She has money problems.  She had taken out a loan, a rather large one, not telling Vernon, and now she can't pay it off.  It seems that, for him, the very idea that she might do such a thing without consulting him would be unacceptable.  He knows how a wife should act and that wouldn't be it."
"You don't think that all her singing and giggling is just play-acting and that she's trying to avoid a domestic squabble?"
"Well, that shows insight but from what I know of Vernon - he's old school, he has to be the boss and so on - my guess is that it would probably be much more than a squabble."

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

174 Quiz Answer

Here’s this week’s quiz answer.
“Big” is a fantasy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood overnight.
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "X" is for "exact")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.

It's not Kubrick, but it is a film that I have in mind.  The following scenelet should remind you of a well-known motion picture.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the movie.

The largest toy manufacturer in the country is having a meeting to plan the introduction of their latest product to the general public.

Hal: “What we’ve wound up with is our next big seller, and one of the reasons is that it’s the safest toy on the market.”

Fred: “I wonder if kids are going to ask their parents to get them the safest toy on the market?”

Hal: “Well, their parents are going to want it, and they’re the ones with the dough.”

Fred: “Don’t forget a lot of kids manage to stow away cash and buy their own stuff.”

Keith:  “Fred, you may not be aware of how our Research and Development section came up with this item.  They worked on it for months; concept, design, marketing.  This is vintage toy-making by experts; it's an idea that has traction.  Because what we have as a result is a wonder: a copy of a world-famous building, a toy Empire State Building!  An exact replica, down to the tiny details.  And for a great low price.”

Hal: “Yes, and it’s a fact that kids love things having to do with the building trade – Bob the Builder, construction work, concrete mixers, anything having to do with building.   So we know there’s an established market for our sensational new toy version of the Empire State Building.  Fisher-Price has nothing like this.”

Keith: “You don’t looked convinced, Fred.”

Fred: “Well, you know, it’s just – what do you do with it?  A toy is something a kid plays with.  How do you play with a building?”

Hal: “Look at it this way.  The idea is that the father has a hobby; he probably collects things.  There are millions of collectors – they go after old baseball cards, butterflies, seashells, stamps, you name it.  This impresses a guy’s son; he wants to be a collector too.  It's imperative that folks understand that this item is a great way for a kid to start a collection.”

Keith: “And you’ve got to admit if it starts off with a toy Empire State Building it could be a terrific collection.” 

Fred:  “I don’t think it’s a good idea at all.” 

Hal:  “Look.  I don’t mean to be offensive, Fred.  But you’re new to this company and you come in here talking garbage and acting as if you know it all and we’re just beginners.  We were prepared to listen to what you have to say.  Well, we’ve listened, so do us the favor of shutting up and letting us get on with our work.  Okay?”

Fred:  “Okay.  But when I think of a toy I don’t think of a building.”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.) 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

173 Quiz Answer

Here's the answer to this week's quiz.
"Gypsy” is a musical with music by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim.  It’s loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother." It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life.
(Also for ABC Wednesday: "W" is for "Wynn")
This week's prompt reminded me of vaudeville so - here’s the Berownial quiz question.

The following scenelet should remind you of a famous musical.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the musical.

“Call me Wynn.  My stage name is Wynn Wonnderful.”

“Yes, I see this brochure you’ve had printed up.  ‘Wynn Wonnderful, Songs, Dances, Tall Stories.’  But we have to face it, these are the 1920s.  The old vaudeville acts aren’t so popular any more.  In fact, neither is vaudeville.”

“Why do you say that?  People still love to be entertained.”

“Yeah, but they love to be entertained by the new gimmick, motion pictures.  Those flickering images are taking over.  A lot of old vaudeville performers don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

“But as an agent you know there are still quite a number of vaudeville bookings available in various parts of the country.  And they’re ready for a new, exciting act like mine.”

“I had no idea you were a performer.  From what I know of your career, you were sort of a classic stage mother.  It was your two little daughters who were actually out there on the stage.”

“Yes, and we had one of the top acts.  My two kiddies earned ten thousand a week on the Orpheum Circuit.”

“Face it; those days are gone.  I remember seeing that act, those tiny, talented kids, years ago.  How were they billed?”

“’Bitsy and Her Sister – Songs, Dances…”

“And Tall Stories,’ Yeah, I remember it well.  Now the kids are growing up.  Bitsy isn’t so bitsy any more.  The other girl, she’s turned out to be a teenage beauty - we might be able to work something out with her, maybe in burlesque.” 

“No, no.  Neither of them is interested in show biz any more.  I came to talk to you about this new act, Wynn Wonnderful, created specifically for this modern age we live in.  It’s very upbeat, very positive.  My songs can get an audience believing that everything’s coming up roses!”

“So you sort of feel that you did all the heavy lifting for the careers of your little kids and now it’s your turn?”

“You might put it that way.  Just let me audition for you.  This is actually your chance to get in on the ground floor of a sure-fire theatrical success.  Wynn Wonnderful should be making ten thousand a week herself in a year or two.”

“Well, when you’re making ten thousand a week I might be interested.  Otherwise, afraid not.”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

172 Quiz Answer

Here’s the answer to this week’s quiz.
In 1862 there was a 31-year-old woman who lived in Amherst, Massachusetts and who wrote poetry. 

Emily Dickinson wrote a great many poems, very few of which were published in her lifetime and none of which were published as she wrote them.

The reason?  Her poetry was too, well, different – strange and at times almost chaotic. 

Truth is, she knew the rules of poetry, she just didn’t care all that much about them.  She wanted to write in her own raw, idiosyncratic way and she wasn’t going to change.
It’s ironic that, after her death, many of her works – she left almost 2,000 poems – were published, and she would undoubtedly have been upset to see that they had all been “corrected” by editors, the syntax rearranged and everything rewritten in the conventional poetic style and approved grammar of that era.
It wasn’t till 1955 that Thomas Johnson published Dickinson's poems for the first time in their original formats, thus displaying the creative genius and peculiarity of her poetry.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "V" is for "Value")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz.

I wrote the following letter.  In it I play the part of a stuffy, overly pedantic English teacher, Mr. Carlyle, writing to a woman who had asked to have her poems evaluated.  The letter is fiction, but there was such a poetess, who lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, and who had a strange and unique poetic style.

Your assignment, assuming you choose to accept it, is: who was she?

Dear Miss ---------------:

You have sent me a number of your “poems,” adding that you would appreciate my criticism.

Well, I believe that deep inside you, hidden under a quantity of grammatical errors and inept usages, the heart of a poet lies beating.

However, my criticism is simple.  You show you have the makings of a genuine poet but you should take a course in elementary grammar-school English.

The English language is your tool, it is what you have to work with, and your knowledge of this tool is, well, pathetic.  Poetry filled with grammatical errors simply has no VALUE.

Here’s a poem you sent me.

I fear a Man of frugal Speech —
I fear a Silent Man —
Haranguer — I can overtake —
Or Babbler — entertain —

Why on earth all the dashes?  Then there are those capital letters, often used, as far as I can see, for no good reason.  And whatever happened to the period as a way to end a sentence? 

I must admit that you sent one poem that I thought could be perfectly acceptable, if we fix all the errors.

I taste a liquor never brewed --
From Tankards scooped in Pearl --
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of Air -- am I --
And Debauchee of Dew --
Reeling -- thro endless summer days --
From inns of Molten Blue –-

Again, the capitals; again, the usual evil, the dashes.  And I have to admit that I chuckled at the thought that “pearl” rhymes with “alcohol.” 

Remember, there are rules that must be followed when writing poetry.  You mentioned that you have drawers-full of poems you have written.  I assume that instead of being smooth they too are in your usual raw, serrated style.

Unless you make the necessary corrections and avoid the grammatical errors a ten-year-old wouldn’t make, and unless your attempts follow the basic rules of poetry, all your efforts will have been in vain.

Sorry to have to rain on your parade.  I hope my suggestions and criticism will be of help.

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)


Sunday, June 2, 2013

171 Quiz Answer

Here’s the answer to this week’s quiz.
Citizen Kane was directed by and starred Orson Welles. It was his first feature film. The motion picture was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories. There are many critics, filmmakers and fans who consider the movie to be the greatest film ever made

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "U" is for "ululation.")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.

We had a tough quiz last week; there were only five “winners.”  Maybe this week’s will be easier.  I wrote the following scenelet, which may remind you of a well-known film.  Many say this was the best motion picture ever made.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the movie.

“I’m sorry, sir, your wife has a pleasant light voice, a lyric soprano, but not a voice suited for grand opera.”

“But Signor Rossi, that’s what I’m paying you five hundred an hour for, to train her voice so she can sing opera.”

“Sir.  Her voice is too light.  Opera singing requires power, the ability to sing loud enough to be heard over an orchestra in large auditoriums, power to control the diaphragm so that very long phrases are possible.”

“Again, that’s why you’re here.  She just needs the training.  They told me you were the best, so get to work.  I’ll see to it that she practices hard.”

“But an operatic voice is something you’re born with.  You either have it or you don’t.  Your wife was born with a comparatively small voice.  I could perhaps train her for, say, groups in your living room where she would sing, accompanied by a pianist, various show tunes.”

“No, no, no!  My wife has a magnificent voice.  When I first heard her sing opera I was swept off my feet.  That ‘Samson and Delilah’ number?”

“Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s the one.  I thought, my God, this woman could be a great legitimate operatic star and I must make it my mission to see this happen!  I’m willing to spend what’s necessary.”

“I don't like to be damaging to her ego, but there’s also the question of pitch.  A professional singer of quality must have a keen sense of pitch – not necessarily perfect pitch, which is rare, but a solid sense of relative pitch.  Again, this is something you’re born with.  Unfortunately, your wife’s pitch is very shaky.  This results in a sort of voice ululation that is rather – special.”

“Well, good.  That gives you something to work with.”

“There are times when she drifts into a different key.  She has actually created some interesting effects that sound like twelve-tone dissonance, though that of course is not what we’re looking for.”

“Well, keep after it for another month or so; that should do the trick.  I think you’ll be surprised to see you’ve created a major opera star!”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)
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