Sunday, April 28, 2013

166 Quiz Answer

The answer to this week’s quiz is The Catcher in the Rye, a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger.  Originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "P" is for "Paul")

Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.

It’s about a book that had a total sale of more than 65 million copies; over a quarter of a million copies are still sold each year.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the book.

My friend Paul recently told me about a dream he had, a dream that seemed to me to be pure surrealism.

In his dream, he explained, he could see quite clearly that there was before him a field of rye grain, a field that was almost covered with a huge group of children, playing and having fun.  They were of different ages and sizes; nothing special about any of them, they were just a lot of kids.

But somehow, and he didn't know how, Paul believed he had been put in charge of them, like a lifeguard at a beach.

It seems they were in danger, or at least the possibility of danger existed for them.  And he was the one who was supposed to save them.

As I say, it was a very strange dream.  He went on to add that at that time he knew (and maybe cared) little about children.  He rarely thought about them.  But the situation made him, still in that dream, nervous and anxious.  He felt he was acting like a penitent, being punished for some imaginary sin.  He was resistant to the idea because saving them would be a huge responsibility.

As the dream progressed, he learned what the danger was.

It seems that the field they were playing on was next to a steep cliff.  It was obvious that while they were cavorting about they might possibly fall over the cliff.

And the dream made clear that he, Paul, was supposed to catch them!

It was evidently a really scary experience for him.

Then suddenly it occurred to me that he had been influenced by a book that was quite famous some time back.  And perhaps now you can pay tribute to the book by giving us its name?

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings) 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

165 Quiz Answer

Here’s the answer to our weekly quiz.  Happy Days was an American television sitcom that aired first-run from 1974 to 1984 on the ABC network.

In one episode, the character named the Fonz, on water skis, literally jumped a shark, leading to an idiom that has entered our language.  If you’ve “jumped the shark,” you’ve reached your peak and now you’re on your way down, or out.  The phrase is now often used in other areas besides entertainment: politics, business, sports, etc.

(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "O" is for "Orv")
Here is this week's Berownial quiz.
The following little piece of fiction I wrote might suggest to you a certain highly successful TV series of a few decades back.  In its eleven seasons on the air, it was one of the longest-running prime-time sitcoms in television history.  Your assignment, should you agree to accept it, is: name the series.

The way this came about was that we all went down to the beach to watch Orv.

We weren't really surfer dudes; it's just that Orv - we called him Orv because his name was Orville - was bragging about how great he had become with water skis.
Since he was always telling us how great he was at something, we decided to call him out on it.  Some of us even put up some money, five bucks each, as a bet that he would screw up as a water-skier.

(That doesn't seem like a huge amount these days, but at that time - keep in mind that we were just a bunch of kids with what you might call little in the way of ready funds - five clams represented money.) 

Well, we were all a little embarrassed because we had to wake up; the guy was not only not putrid, he was good.  I don't mean Olympic Gold Medal-type good, but good enough.

To see him zipping about out there on the water on his skis, wearing his famous leather jacket, was a blast. 

And then something happened, something incredible.  Right smack in front of him a shark rose up, a huge son of a gun as big as he was.  I was doing nothing but watch but still I shuddered a bit when I saw it.  But Orv, believe it or not, handled it

He crouched down and then just leaped with his skis over the big fish.  Holy guacamole!  We could hardly believe our eyes.  Instead of cracking wise about it we were cheering Orv.  We could understand why he craved water-skiing.

Later, we could also hardly believe how this event got talked about by so many people and even how it worked its way into common everyday speech.

But perhaps by now you know the name of theTV series?
(Submitted also to Sunday Scribblings)


Sunday, April 14, 2013

164 Quiz Answer

Here's the answer to this week's quiz.

"Madame Bovary" is the story of a woman caught in the dull and stultifying country life of the 19th century that she leads with her equally dull husband.  Written with a detached irony and beautiful wit, and playing on the audience's affection for its central character as well as showing up her desires and hopes, Gustave Flaubert's book is listed as one of the world's great novels.

(Also submitted to Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "N" is for "Newt")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.
Since Magpie Tales is a writers’ blog, I thought folks might be familiar with a certain highly acclaimed book.  Published way back in 1856 by a guy named Flaubert, it has long been established as one of the greatest novels ever written.  Six movies were made of it.
So, without apology, I submit the following, which I thought might possibly suggest the original.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the novel.

Dear Mom:

Always a real pleasure hearing from you.  How are things out there in the wild West? 

As for us, we’re okay here.  We had lots of snow, but that’s gone now.  You asked about my friend Elsa.  Believe me, you open a can of worms, or a Pandora’s box, or whatever, when you ask that question.

You know how much I hate gossip, so I’ll tell you only the basic facts – along with anything else I can think of.

One thing is certain.  As you know, Elsa lived for quite a while rather high on the hog.  Upper East Side in Manhattan; shops, restaurants, theatre.  Then she marries this fellow named Newt (just like that guy Gingrich).  He is from a town in the Midwest named Tipover Junction or something like that.

So, amor vincit omnia (assuming I have that spelled right); she moved out there for the start of a new, or Newt, life. 

In a way it was kind of a “Green Acres” rerun.  She soon learned she had a hard time enduring small-town life.  As for local entertainment her attitude is, if you’ve seen one tractor-pull you’ve seen them all.  She coped with boredom by doing a lot of shopping - not always a wise idea - but basically she figured she didn’t have things too bad.  She was married to a doctor, after all.

Well, this is where things turned sour.  She wrote me that in New York she had originally been introduced to a man (Newt) as a doctor visiting the Big City from the great Midwest.  Having put her trust in this introduction she was to learn, once she got out thataway, that ol’ Newt wasn’t really a doc; he was his town’s “Health Officer.”  His job, among other similar things, was to travel about checking dumpsters and such to see they were closed properly.

Soon after she got established in the place, she learned that her husband worked hard to get the citizenry there to think that the phrase “Health Officer” actually meant a type of MD – though he had little medical training – and believe it or not he had actually operated on the lame leg of some poor farmer.

Talk about destruction; the operation had turned out badly.  As did the leg.  As did the farmer.  As did Newt - he is being sued.

In short, Elsa now feels that no Newt is good Newt and she wants out.  Know of any inexpensive apartments to rent out your way?

My love to all, Sylvia

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)  


Sunday, April 7, 2013

163 Quiz Answer

The answer to this week’s quiz is “Glengarry Glen Ross,” the famous Pulitzer Prize-winning David Mamet play that also became a famous motion picture.
(Also submitted to Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "M" is for "Martin")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.  I wrote the following little scenelet which is based, loosely, on a famous play that was made into a famous movie.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the play. 

“Quite a resume you got, Martin.  We may have a spot for you here.”

“That’s wonderful, Mr Collins.  I’ve got a couple of letters of recommendation too.  Here, let me give them to you.”

“Not necessary.  Fact is, I’m not interested in what others have to say about you.  I’m just a facts and figures guy.  In other words, since this is a sales job all I want to know is how successful you’ve been as a salesman – in dollars and cents.”

“Well, I basked in the title of top salesman for my company, got a raise every year.  As you may know, the firm came to grief because of government over-regulation, among other reasons…”

“No need to go into all that.  We’re going to give you a shot.  We’ll find out if you’re sharp enough to handle the type of work we do around here.”

“Well, if you’re looking for a dedicated, hard-working employee who knows what the word loyal means, you’ll find…”

“Yeah, yeah; keep in mind I’m interested in only two things: can you sell and can you close?  Ever sell real estate?”

“Uh – not actually, no.”

“It’s not all that important.  A good salesman can sell a plot of land as well as a used Toyota.  We’ll find out.”

“Good.  And I certainly appreciate the opportunity.  I’ll be selling tracts of land?”

“Right.  You, my friend, are now an officially-appointed real estate agent and you’ll be selling your prospects, your potential buyers, on what we claim is one of the finest real estate developments in the country, located in the golden paradise of Arizona.”

“Sounds great.  That’s quite a distance from here.  Do we fly them out there to view the property?”

“Ha.  We’d be broke in a week if we ever did that.  No, they’ll ‘view the property’ by listening to what you say about it and the way you say it.  And we have a beautiful video you can show them – it’s not exactly of the property but it is of Arizona.”

“I see.”

“When we send you a prospect it will be someone who has already expressed interest, so all you have to do is close.  If you can’t do that, if you can’t close the deal, you’ll be out of here and maybe you should move on to a different profession.  I hear Taco Bell is hiring.”

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

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