Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Write Like... & Up the Down Staircase.

This cool link was brought to my attention.
I Write Like

It analyzes you writing, and tells you who you most write like. I was wondering if it was more of a random generator. A lot of people on the board I found the link on got Stephen King. And so did I, the first time.

I whipped up a two paragraph random piece of fiction. Not really thinking about it, just something quick. When I got Stephen King, I thought "OK yeah." I mean, I love Stephen, but we all can't write like him! Then I thought about putting up a non-fiction piece. I put up one of my blog posts about being Catholic, and guess who it said I write like? Dan Brown.

Tell me that's not funny! LOL!

I'm sure there is little science to this. It probably picks out random words and uses that as some type of algorithm I suppose. But it is all in fun.

Yesterday I watched a movie from 1967 entitled "Up the Down Staircase" starring Sandy Dennis.

A young white teacher has her first assignment in a tough urban high school. Not a new storyline as "The Blackboard Jungle" tackled it first. Nor was it the final one as "Dangerous Minds" came decades after. However, this is one of the better ones I've seen.

Ms. Barrett is an inexperienced teacher who teaches English to a group of rowdy high school students. As it is set in the late 60s, we see a lot of racial tension. With that in the background, she has to deal with kids who are abused, neglected, have self-esteem issues, sexual identity crisis, basically, she is dealing with the reality of being a teacher.

There is that one student that gets under her skin. The more she reaches, the more he resists. There is the student that shows appreciation for her, thus changing her outlook.

Those of us who like to read, will like the fact that Ms. Barrett is an English teacher and talks about Emily Dickinson and Charles Dickens. The class reads "A Tale of Two Cities", and discusses it, though not in depth in this movie.

I'm usually iffy on the movies from the late 60s/early 70s, but this one is very good.

4 out of 5 stars.

On a side note, I felt sad when I saw Florence Stanley in this movie. Those of you may remember Ms. Stanley from the hit TV show "Fish" starring Abe Vigoda.

I met Florence in the strangest of places. We had a class together. It was at the 96th Street Y in Manhattan. We were in a writing class, along with several other people. She was the most senior person in the class. No one else recognized her, but I sure did. It was the early 90s, and she was living in NYC at the time.

We struck up a friendship. She was a lovely woman, and very down to earth. I am not sure if anyone ever recognized her, and I never gave her secret away. We lost her 7 years ago, I think about her every now and again. I was sad but also happy to see here in the movie. Haven't seen anything by her in a while.

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