Friday, June 12, 2009

Duel Words -- Writer's Poke #231

"We couldn't have done it without a dual income." -- Carl Smith

Can you imagine making money from dueling? I think that's probably even better than earning a wage from playing Russian roulette.

Granted, "dual" and "duel" are homonyms, but a lot of words share the same letter sequence and hold quite different meanings.

There must be literally hundreds of these dual words, and here are just six off the top of my head: match, spring, fall, quarter, stroke, wave. And I bet it wouldn't take you very long to brainstorm another hundred or more.

In context, you can determine the right meaning of the word being referenced; and it's true that you can easily figure out that a word might change meaning depending on whether it's being used as a verb or a noun, etc. But still, it's fun to visualize the wrong use of the word, and think about how it totally changes the intended meaning of the sentence. Makes you feel sorry for all of the people trying to learn this crazy language...

Brainstorm as many words with multiple meanings as you can. Then, pick a few of these words and think about how you generally use the word. Does an alternative meaning of the word, or the word used as a different part of speech, help you gain insight into the way you usually use the word?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Love at 20 -- Writer's Poke #230

I stumbled across "Antoine and Colette," which is an interesting French short film from the early 1960s. Shot in black and white, it's the story of a young boy infatuated with a hot chick.

Towards the end of the film, he lays it all out for her: Let's set things straight, he tells her. Just don't lead me on.

Of course she hasn't been leading him on whatsoever. She doesn't mind if he hangs around, but if she has something she'd rather be doing, or other people she'd rather be with, she makes it quite clear that he is not the first priority in her life.

As it turns out, her parents are much more "in love" with him than she is. They see in him a nice boy, but that's probably all that Colette sees in him too. And by film's end, her parents have invited him to supper, but then there's a knock on the door and a new man has arrived to take Colette out for a date. Antoine is left to watch TV with the parents. Awkward? Uh, yeah...

The brilliance of this short is in the subtext: class issues, feminist issues, etc. It's also interesting to view the representation of a boy looking for love whereas it's the young woman that's looking more for fun and freedom.

What did romantic love mean to you? Pick a specific age, such as 20, and explore how your ideas about love have evolved over the years.

"You are the most beautiful girl that has ever lived, and it was worth dying to have kissed you." -- Dylan Thomas

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Hand That Bites Rick Astley

I like the Sir Mix-a-lot mash-up better, but this one with Nine Inch Nails is worth watching, too.

Rick Likes Big Butts and Cannot Lie

So we've been talking a lot about rain on facebook today... This next video has nothing to do with rain, but I found it while doing a rain video search, and it's just about the most brilliant thing I've ever seen. Tell me you don't agree?


It's been raining a lot lately, and so needless to say, some people have been getting tired of it. But you know, there are a lot of good songs with rain as a theme. Here are a few that come to mind:

Red Rain -- Peter Gabriel

Purple Rain -- Prince

Another Rainy Night (Without You) -- Queensryche

Blame It on the Rain -- Milli Vanilli

And here's a website that has cataloged over 800 more.

So, what's your favorite rain song?