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I miss the noise of the old newsroom

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I don’t think I’m old yet. And I believe I’m on top of the technology but I’m sure that many of my young colleagues would consider me antediluvian if I would tell them how I worked on my first years as a reporter.

There were no computers, no cell phones, no internet. Me and my coworkers had to search for information directly from our sources, using phone cabins on the streets, and our phone line in the office, direct interviews, and after that write your story typing on typewriters in the newsroom. There were enormous archives to look for background information stored in thousands of folders filled with papers and photos.

Our newsroom hadn’t even a typewriter par person, and there were competitions to catch one and be the first one to write the news.

Those years a very important element in the desks was a jar with a little brush and glue. This was because when while typing , when you made a mistake you had to literally “cut” the paper and “paste” the piece with the right words (using the glue) to a blank paper to continue writing the rest of the information.

The newsroom was filled with noise from the typewriters, the teletypes, the phones, the loud voices of the journalists… Somehow, in the middle of all that ruckus it was possible to concentrate to write in a hurry the assignment of the day before the deadline. And we had a great time.

When the computers arrived all the noise disappeared and somehow the great atmosphere of the newsroom suddenly was gone. Now there is also exciting and interesting but it’s different.

So, call me antediluvian: I miss the noise of the old newsrooms.

Ragtag Daily Prompt Antediluvian

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Thank You, Danny Kaye

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When my dad was very sick and he couldn’t move, we knew how to make him laugh heartily and forget about his situation for a while. It was pretty easy because he was a good-humoured man.

But we had a specially very good time when we used to watch with him a Danny Kaye’s video. In it, Kaye plays a performer who imitates a russian baritone, who had been temporarily retired because of problems with allergies, and wants to return to the music hall singing the popular russian song: “Black eyes”. Everything seems normal untill a girl brings to the scene a big bouquet of flowers and he begins to sneeze while he’s singing. It’s hilarious.

Only mentioning the title of the song (“Otchi Chornya”) was enough for a belly laugh. We all knew what was coming after.

So, Thank you, Danny Kaye, wherever you are. (I’m sure there is a very special place in Heaven for the people who make us laugh or convey us beauty, for the people who make us happy.)

Laughter

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Droll

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The most famous jester I know is Rigoletto. I love the Verdi’s Opera, because I adore baritone voice, and it has several magnificent arias, duets and quartets. Of course, Rigoletto’s story is not funny. it’s the great drama of a father who has to earn his life making laugh the Count and his friends and can’t protect his daughter from the lust of his master. Other than that I have never known a droll comedian.

Well, once I had to interview an actor who was famous because he was the main character in a series of bandits. He was in a tour around Spain with his team and they performed a spectacle in the arena with horses and fake blunderbusses. But he was not very happy to have to go traveling around with the show so when I began to put questions he answered angrily and unpleasantly. He began to tell me such gross words that I turned around, left him alone and went away without the interview.

Close by, one of the secondary actors, who was very popular because his character was pretty comic, realized what was happening. I approached him to ask him some questions and I made my interview with him who was certainly very funny. When I told my boss what had happened, luckily he supported me, and told me I had done well leaving the main actor alone with his bad temper.

Many years ago, we had a driver for the newsroom. He had been a paperboy but he had had an accident with his van and when he recovered they decided to transfer him to deliver journalists instead of newspapers. We were a little afraid of him, because he didn’t know well the highways around the city that had been built while he was on leave, he had mobility problems and he was quite quarrelsome when there was a traffic trouble.

We preferred to take the car from the garage and drive ourselves. But he wouldn’t let us. One day one of the journalists who used to take the car, arrived to the newsroom carrying a big, heavy chain, and left it with a crash on his desk.

  • what’s that? .we asked
  • the key chain our driver put for the car keys. He chained the keys to avoid us taking the car but forgot to lock the chain to the rack on the wall of the garage, so When I saw that the chain was unlocked, I took the whole thing and went out with the car.

Droll

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Fragile Tune

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The world was in war. But he was young and he fell madly in love. His heart was full of sweetness. She was good, smart and beautiful. His first and only love. They knew that life during a war was uncertain. They knew about death, suffering, and destruction. He had been taken prisoner and almost killed recently. So they decided to get married as soon as possible and live together the precious moments they could share. They didn’t want to lose a moment no matter the difficulties. They were extremely poor and they had to endure together cold and hunger. But they were happy just to have each other.

He had a nice tenor voice and used to sing to her beautiful melodies; ancient love songs he had learnt from his father.

But their time together ended soon.

The war was stronger than them. At one point, they found themselves in opposite sides of a closed border. He couldn’t come back to his country, and she couldn’t go out with their small daughter. The war ended, the border got sealed and all hopes of a fast solution to their case vanished. He began a life in exile and tried with all his means to bring her out without success.

Everywhere he went he learned new love songs thinking on his forbidden and beloved wife. And he sang them when he was alone.

Twelve years passed till they finally got a permit for her to travel out of the country. He had left his daughter as a four months baby, and he met her as a thirteen years old girl in the family reunion in the Munich train station.

Now that they were together again, he could sing aloud to his only love the songs he had learned during all those years. She smiled. She always smiled.

Years passed and they grew old together. When his battered body couldn’t bear up any more, he had to go to the hospital, almost unable to move and talk, and never came back.

***

It was a gorgeous day. Warm and sunny. Sunday morning. I was with him at his bedside. He had his eyes closed. The TV monitor was on, and they were broadcasting a concert by the three tenors (Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras). Luciano Pavarotti began to sing a Neapolitan song. “Non ti scordar di me” (Don’t forget about me). My dad said from his bed: “I know this song”.
He began to sing in Italian with his frail voice to me:

Don’t forget about me.
My life is tied to you
I love you more and more
In my dream you stay

Don’t forget about me
My life is tied to you
There’s always a nest
In my heart for you

Don’t forget about me

Don’t forget about me

It was one of the songs he learned in Italy for my mom fifty years ago when they didn’t know if they were going to get reunited again. But this time he was singing to me.

Don’t forget about me. Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll never forget about you. My life is tied to you.

Topic Generator

 

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Send in the Clowns!

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If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

The show must go on. OK. But how? The director, producer or whatever, ran out of ideas and decided to let it go. For a mysterious reason the audience seems to don’t count to them. They didn’t bother to send in the clowns to save the evening. Which would be a good thing. At least we would have a little fun.

Why bother? Don’t bother, They’re here. We are the clowns saving the day with our writings about whatever, to fill a grid already full of old posts about and old prompt like today’s. I didn’t bother to look at my archive but what I know for sure is that when it comes to movies, I would rather be the spectator. Go to the theater, wait for the lights to turn off, look at the big screen and enjoy the result of the efforts of writers, directors, actors, and the money of the producer. Actually my older sister directed a movie and my brother in law was the leading actor in it. This is how they met and fell in love more than 40 years ago in the States. Later they both left the film business. My sister worked as a journalist making TV interviews and video reportages and my brother in law was a teacher in a University.

So here am I like a clown, writing stories about my family, because I don’t want to leave the daily prompt, and I really think the show  must go on. I would like somebody at WordPress headquarters pick up the dying daily prompt and begin to publish fresh, inspiring prompts or at least send in the clowns with some silly, funny ideas to write about. I don’t think we will have them soon. Well, maybe next year…

The Show Must Go On.

 

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The rain in Spain doesn’t stay mainly in the plain

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Write down the first words that comes to mind when we say . . .

. . . home.

. . . soil.

. . . rain.

Use those words in the title of your post.

“The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain”, sang a duo joyfully Eliza Doolittle and her professor Higgins in My Fair Lady when she discovered she was able to pronounce beautifully the language of Shakespeare. But that’s not completely true. The rain in Spain stays mainly in the mountainous North where my home is. I realize that mountain doesn’t rhyme so well with rain like plain, and all is an innocent pun. Besides, I love the musical, I have the DVD of the film with Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn playing the main characters and I know by heart some of the songs even the ones practically recited by Mr. Harrison.

“Damn, damn, damn, damn! I’ve grown accustomed to her face”, he sings at the end of the musical, and then explodes: “Marry Freddy! What an infantile idea. What a heartless, wicked, brainless thing to do. But she’ll regret it, she’ll regret it.” To finally recognize again “I’ve grown accustomed to the trace of something in the air, accustomed to her face.” I love the movie.

Back to the rain that doesn’t stay in the plain in Spain. As I said I live in the North humid and mountainous where we have frequent rain and even snow in winter. The price is the bad weather and hard winter we have to endure, but the reward is a fertile soil and a beautiful ever green landscape, with plenty of mountains and forests we enjoy.

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Free Association.

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Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more

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I just saw the movie about the Shakespearian play Much ado about Nothing made in 1993 by Keneth Branagh, and get seduced again by Balthasar’s song’ when Don Pedro, Claudio Y Leonato are trying to concimce Benekick tiara Beatrrice loves him. I love the song and think that Branagh did a great job choosing it as a Leifmotif of his movie.

It says:

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,

Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leafy:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,

And be you blithe and bonny,

Converting all your sounds of woe

Into Hey nonny, nonny.

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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This is clearly subjective, but some words really sound like the thing they describe (personal favorites: puffin; bulbous; fidgeting). Do you have an example of such a word (or, alternatively, of a word that sounds like the exact opposite of what it refers to)? What do you think creates this effect?

I would like to have enough knowledge of the English Language to answer to this Prompt with some sense.

I love the sound of a lot of words but, being a foreigner, I don’t dare to pick one and elaborate the reasons of my choice. I like how it sounds thunder, for instance. But I’m sure that if I had a broader vocabulary, I’d found better words with the right sound.

So, since I can’t answer to this prompt seriously I’ll switch to fantasy and I’ll choose a very good sounding word: “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” which is fair game because it has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary as a nonsense word that means fantastic. It also means, according to the Mary Poppins film, “something to say when you have nothing to say”, which is my case today.

 

Sounds Right.