Did You Know?…(14)

While watching the evening news, I happened to catch a brief segment on the subject of my beloved cursive writing. I was pleasantly surprised to find that some fourth graders in Kendall New York, also share my passion for this subject. According to this segment that aired on 13WHAM News earlier this evening, some eager students have made their desire to learn cursive writing known and have made quite an impressive case. This instance immediately took me back to a previous article I posted on 6/8/14 that focused on this very subject. Please see the link: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/cursively-speaking/

    • New York is 1 of 41 states that does not require students to learn cursive writing. I was amazed at the number of states that no longer have this requirement.
    • Some children in Kendall New York are determined to learn this ‘lost’ art form regardless. A fourth grader by the name of Cameron and his friends are making quite the fuss about the subject.
    • Common Core Standards do not require cursive instruction which is why it is no longer taught.

    • There are some states that are considering mandating instruction. Unfortunately, New York state is not of those.

When asked why he wanted to learn to cursive write, Cameron said that he wants to know how to write and sign checks, sign his legal name, and to write quickly. How impressive for a fourth grader. They even went as far as to make posters to aide their presentation to the school board, which was very much appreciated by the school principal, Sharon Smith. Cameron and his friends definitely seem to have a handle on the importance of learning to cursive write and it’s crucial role in their future functionality. I couldn’t agree with them more and wish them well in their ‘quest to learn cursive’.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know…(13)

Lately, I’ve been very intrigued by the cinquain verse and have written quite a few poems in this unique form. You can find my cinquain attempts as well as the innovator of this form at: http://sylviaiswriting.wordpress.com. I had a comment on one of the cinquains I wrote called “Old Boots”, where it was brought to my attention who developed this beautiful verse form.

The American cinquain was developed by Adelaide Crapsey who passed away on October 8, 1914 at the age of 36. She was a Brooklyn New York-born poet who was raised in Rochester New York (Upstate), my neck of the woods. Adelaide was the daughter of Adelaide T. Crapsey and Algernon Sidney Crapsey, an Episcopal priest. Prior to her death, she became reputable and widely recognized for the creative variation of the cinquain (quintain) which consists of a 5-line format with 22 syllables.

This style was largely influenced by the Japanese haiku and tanka. Adelaide’s 5-line form (now know as an American cinquain), has a common iambic meter which translates as one-stress, two stress, three stress, four stress and then reverts promptly back to one stress. This cinquain form usually contains 2 syllables in the 1st and last line, 4,6 and 8 syllables in the middle lines.

*Sidebar: Did you know that world-renowned poet, Carl Sandburg was said to have been the reason for the ongoing interest in the cinquain and kept Adelaide Crapsey from becoming insignificant with his poem “Adelaide Crapsey”? Incidentally, Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe were very good friends. It’s amazing the surprising ways in which people are connected and how close to home these connections sometimes hit.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(12)

What do Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, James Earl James, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis all have in common, aside from the fact that they are all famous? Well, they all suffered from stuttering at some point. Yes, each of these very accomplished individuals suffered at some time or other from a speech impediment, stuttering.

    • Marilyn Monroe‘s sensual breathy way of “mouthing” and speaking may have been her way of coping with stuttering. In a rare interview, Marilyn said that she would just suddenly begin to stutter at different times which she believed was triggered by feelings of nervousness and anxiety. *A long time acting coach advised her to speak in this over- exaggerated fashion as part of a tool/technique to help improve her acting.
    • There are still many arguments as to whether or not Winston Churchill actually had a stutter or a lisp, in which the “s” sounds like “sh”. Either way, it certainly didn’t stop him from being a most affective and infamous orator.
    • James Earl Jones spoke with Sarah Hartley, Mail on Sunday Health Editor, and was quoted as saying, “My stuttering was so bad, I barely spoke to anyone for eight years.” Evidently, sinusitis plagued him early on as well as many of his family members. This contributed to frequent instances of congestion which is believed to have impacted his issues with speech. Can you imagine missing out on a such a treat as the voice of James Earl Jones? Thankfully, we’ve been blessed to enjoy his wonderfully rich and robust voice by way of characters like “Darth Vader” in ‘Star Wars’ and “Mufasa” in the ‘Lion King’, just to name a few.
    • In an interview with Krishnan Guru Murthy, Samuel L. Jackson was said to have pretended, as a young boy in Tennessee, to be other people by creating characters who didn’t stutter, in hopes that he wouldn’t stutter. There’s a particular word of profanity that he is known to use in many of his movies. Apparently, Mr. Jackson mutters this world daily under his breath, as a kind of affirmation. Evidently, it works. Who would have thought that profanity would be a saving grace in an actor’s career and life? I won’t spell out this word, but lets just say, the initials are: MF
    • Bruce Willis once disclosed in an issue of GQ Magazine, that he had a terrible stutter that was so bad, he considered it to be a disability. He also says that ‘acting’ helped to cure his stutter. And thankfully so. Wow! Who knew?!

Stuttering is thought to be a neurological impairment of the brain, and is said to occur in children, mostly boys between the ages of 2 and 5 years of age. There’s another interesting fact about this subject that I simply must share before closing this post. I had both a lisp and a stutter as a young child. My friends have a hard time believing me, as they tend to feel that I speak with perfect diction, but is true. I can vaguely recall how frustrating it used to be for me, as I struggled to get my words out. Hey, I think I feel another post developing! Hmmm…what do you think?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Another Farewell to Hollywood Royalty

Another Hollywood legend has made an untimely exit. Lauren Bacall has died at the age of 89. According to CNN reports, her grandson received a call earlier today saying that she had suffered a massive stroke.

Lauren Bacall tasted international fame in 1944 starring in the film: “To Have and Have Not”. She made this film with her soon-to-be husband Humphrey Bogart. The two later married and had two children. This dynamic duo starred in a total of four films which included: “The Big Sleep” (1946), “Dark Passage” (1947), “Key Largo” (1948). Together Bogart and Bacall created a unique magic that was all theirs. Humphrey Bogart died in 1957, leaving Bacall a widowed mother of two children.

Lauren Bacall was later married to actor Jason Robards at which point they had a child together, who later became an actor, Sam Robards. Bacall was said to have been engaged to Frank Sinatra four different times between marriages.

It’s hard to believe that during some of those beautiful black & white shots of Lauren Bacall, that she was a shy 19 year old trying to keep it together amidst all the attention. American Film Director, Howard Hawks’ wife is credited with discovering Bacall after she appeared on the cover of Harpers Bazaar. She modeled to earn extra money and also earned, and rightfully so, the term “The Look”. She was a classic, vintage beauty with a deep, sultry tone that was unmistakable. Lauren Bacall, a true Hollywood beauty, no further description needed. One of my favorite films in which she graced the ‘big screen’ with her presence, is called “Written on the Wind”. Everything about this movie mesmerizes me, from the opening music, to the color and wardrobe, plot and story, acting, etc. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Lauren Bacall, the second actor to die within the last 24 hours, the first of course being Robin Williams. It has often been said that when Hollywood actors/actresses pass away, death usually comes in three’s. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen more than once and I pray that this isn’t the case now. R.I.P. Regal and classy lady. In the infamous words of Humphrey Bogart, “Here’s looking at you kid”.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google images

Many Thanks…100 Followers!

Hello fellow bloggers! Just want to take a moment and shout out a great big thank you to all of you for your support. I’ve just reached the magical number of 100 followers of this blog, and it was no easy task. I certainly could not have done it without all of you. I hope that you continue to be entertained and find enjoyment and quality content here! You are greatly appreciated!

Sylvia Porter-Hall

Fly Robin Fly

FILE - This 1987 file photo released by Touchstone Pictures shows actor Robin Williams in character as disc-jockey Adrian Cronauer in director Barry Levinsons comedy drama, "Good Morning Vietnam." (AP Photo/Touchstone Pictures)

I was extremely saddened to learn that ‘entertainer extraordinaire’ Robin Williams passed away On Monday August 11, 2014. It was even more disheartening to hear officials speculate that he may have taken his own life. Indeed a crash landing for a man who soared to such magnificent heights as a performer.

I first became acquainted with the work of Robin Williams during the sitcom days of Mork & Mindy which ran from 1978 to 1982. He went on to do such hugely memorable things; everything from the movie Mrs. Doubtfire to Goodwill Hunting and more. His talent seemed to have no bounds and he always had me in stitches. I’ve seen him interviewed on numerous talk shows over the years and I have to say, it was painfully humorous to watch the host(s) try and conduct a serious interview with Mr. Williams with his constant joke-cracking at every turn, taking full advantage of every opportunity to throw them off their ‘game’ with his witty and outrageous tactics. I don’t recall witnessing one host who was able to keep it together in his presence.

You could just see them struggling to stay in control until it became impossible, at which point they would let loose into thunderous hysterical laughter. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but usually ended up doing both. Robin would just continue on mercilessly, with his rapid-fire barrage of comedic jokes that seemed to spew from a never-ending arsenal of humorous lines.

Comedic timing is key in the world of comedy and Robin Williams had it down to a science, that he managed to successfully convert into his own special art form.  He will surely be missed but  never forgotten and is certain to go down in entertainment history as one of the most accomplished entertainers to ever grace the screen,stage, etc. Rest in peace great man with the ever-present smile. Fly Robin fly.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(11)

 

I had the pleasurable opportunity to see the James Brown movie: “Get On Up” this past Friday. I was very impressed with the lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, who played the role of James Brown. I watched in awe while Mr. Boseman nailed the dance movements, diction, speech, walk, mannerisms, etc. of James Brown. Overall, I felt it was a good movie, but there was a great deal left unexplained. However, it was indeed an experience to witness some of the more poignant moments in the life of this historical musical legend unfold onscreen.

Here are some interesting facts about James Brown:

    • James Brown is often referred to as ‘the hardest working man in show business’.
    • James Brown’s first name was originally intended to be Joseph, but was somehow accidentally reversed on his birth certificate.
    • James Brown was sent to live with his Aunt Honey Washington at the age of six. His aunt sold moonshine and ran a brothel to support herself.
    • James Brown aspired to be a professional baseball player and a boxer when he was younger.
    • A news anchor once reported James Brown to be dead in 1992, in error.
    • Try Me” was James Brown’s 1st No 1 single on the R&B charts in 1959.
    • Although James Brown was unable to read ‘sheet music’, he was a musical genius.
    • James Brown died on Christmas Day in 2006. His coffin was made of 24-Karat-gold.
    • James Brown is the most ‘sampled’ artist of all time.

***Sampling – definition: the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

 

 

 

Out of Con-text!

In this modern day of technological advances that seem to be emerging at break-neck speed, is it any wonder that it’s very difficult to keep up? All of these options to become more ‘with it’ on the social scene. But many of these options don’t really promote a social atmosphere at all. (see earlier post: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/where-is-the-social-in-media/) Press a button for this and another for that. All of these varying options for modes of communication, leave little to the imagination and even less to good old fashioned face-to-face and voice-to-voice contact.

I recall when emailing first became a big deal. I pretty much went with the flow and joined in because this is what everyone was doing. If I wanted to be in contact with others, I had to get on the bandwagon and use this form of communication also. Eventually, emailing became as easy and effortless for me as speaking directly with someone, as it was once a big part of my work. But I couldn’t help but notice that there was a very crucial piece missing to this new fad of interaction. I couldn’t see the face(s) of those I was corresponding with via email. I couldn’t hear the tone in their voice(s), or lack thereof. During some of the written interactions, I wondered if the person had intended to come across as strongly as their words projected or if I was simply misinterpreting their words?

Then along came cell phones and text messaging. Now, I will admit, I was not a fan of text messaging in the beginning. I could not bring myself to a rational conclusion as to why someone would prefer to spend time typing a message into a tiny phone -vs- speaking with the person directly. It just didn’t seem practical to me. I quickly noticed that people could practice avoidance very easily with this somewhat incognito method of communication. A person could decline an invite with a quick impersonal text. They could project a different persona than the true person behind the text. But once again, I found myself getting on board this train, because this is how most people rolled…at least those that I communicated with. Over time, I became very comfortable with text messaging, but I still didn’t necessarily like it.

I can’t tell you how many times something has been misconstrued or taken out of con-text as a result of texting. Just like with emailing, you can’t hear the person’s tone, so you look for it in the words they use in their written correspondence. The tone can be mistaken and things can become very messy simply because people no longer interact on a more personal level. Everyone is texting it seems. You walk down a busy street and you literally see people walking, as if in a trance, staring at their cell phones as if their lives depended on it. And sometimes, I think it does. What did people do before the emergence of cell phones and emails? We picked up the phone and called people and arranged face-to-face meetings and social gatherings. Nowadays, you can go to a social gathering, and find a great number of people on their cell phones! Every time I go out to dinner, I see a handful of people on their cell phones. But wait a minute. The whole purpose of getting together is to be social, right? But people are on their cell phones, being unsociable.

Overall, I try and use text messaging only when direct communication is impossible at the time. I will often interrupt the back and forth messaging and just call the person out of frustration. And nothing is more maddening, in my opinion, than when a person stops responding…they just drop out of sight leaving you wondering why they haven’t responded to your text. If you had been on a phone conversation instead, you would know when the conversation ended because you would both have hung up the receivers. Remember that? When I’m out to dinner, I turn my cell phone down so that I can’t hear it. After all, I go out to dinner to interact with a person, not my phone. All that back and forth just seems a bit ridiculous. Or maybe I’m just taking things out of…con-text. What do you think?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

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