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  1. #1
    Steve Levicoff is offline Registered User
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    So . . .

    So here I am in Arkansas, where I decided to take a quick break before heading west toward Dallas, TX. So I had a little time to kill, so I thought I’d post a bit of penses on something that I’ve begun to find extremely grating…

    So I’m in a new truck and haven’t yet gotten around to installing Sirius XM, which I always keep tuned to the On Broadway channel (theatre geek that I am). So instead, I’ve taken to listening to a lot of NPR, the second best set of radio stations out there (although me again may disagree with that). So for the past week, I’ve been listening to lots of NPR.

    So, have you noticed anything about this post so far? So until this point, I’ve begun every sentence with “so.” So I’ve noticed that lots of commentators seem to do the same thing. A host asks someone a question and the answer always seem to begin with, “So…,” even when it makes no sense.

    Everyone has their particular speech quirks, but the “So Factor” has hit me as being more prevalent over the past week than it ever has in the past. At first I seemed to notice only women doing it (i.e., experts of the female persuasion), but over the past few days I’m picking up just as many instances of guys (as in experts of the male persuasion) doing it.

    So (to paraphrase Reagan, “There I go again…”) I’m beginning to wonder if this is an NPR thingey. I could compare it with other talk channels, but I can’t quite bring myself to get that heavy a dose of the right wing. Perhaps me again can enlighten us: Do guests who are interviewed by Limbaugh, Praeger, Ingraham, Beck, Hannity, Coulter, et al., do the “so” thing as well?

    This is beginning to bug me more than “um.” In my usual listening of Sirius XM On Broadway, when I hear actors interviewed, it seems that they say “um” at least once or twice in every sentence. On stage, they can perform lines without a flaw, but when they do an off-the-cuff interview, it’s “um” city.

    I’ve often felt that the most valuable course I took in high school was public speaking – it gets you out of the “um” habit better than anything. Coincidentally, the teacher I had for that course has spent the past few years directing plays and musicals at a Philly-area college, and every time I see him (some 40 years later) I’m reminded of how grateful I am to have taken that course. Now, every time I hear someone on the radio with vocal flubs, I wonder why they never took a course in public speaking.
    So . . . enough of a break. I’m off to Dallas, then, of course, who knows where.

  2. #2
    Abner is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Levicoff View Post
    So here I am in Arkansas, where I decided to take a quick break before heading west toward Dallas, TX. So I had a little time to kill, so I thought I’d post a bit of penses on something that I’ve begun to find extremely grating…

    So I’m in a new truck and haven’t yet gotten around to installing Sirius XM, which I always keep tuned to the On Broadway channel (theatre geek that I am). So instead, I’ve taken to listening to a lot of NPR, the second best set of radio stations out there (although me again may disagree with that). So for the past week, I’ve been listening to lots of NPR.

    So, have you noticed anything about this post so far? So until this point, I’ve begun every sentence with “so.” So I’ve noticed that lots of commentators seem to do the same thing. A host asks someone a question and the answer always seem to begin with, “So…,” even when it makes no sense.

    Everyone has their particular speech quirks, but the “So Factor” has hit me as being more prevalent over the past week than it ever has in the past. At first I seemed to notice only women doing it (i.e., experts of the female persuasion), but over the past few days I’m picking up just as many instances of guys (as in experts of the male persuasion) doing it.

    So (to paraphrase Reagan, “There I go again…”) I’m beginning to wonder if this is an NPR thingey. I could compare it with other talk channels, but I can’t quite bring myself to get that heavy a dose of the right wing. Perhaps me again can enlighten us: Do guests who are interviewed by Limbaugh, Praeger, Ingraham, Beck, Hannity, Coulter, et al., do the “so” thing as well?

    This is beginning to bug me more than “um.” In my usual listening of Sirius XM On Broadway, when I hear actors interviewed, it seems that they say “um” at least once or twice in every sentence. On stage, they can perform lines without a flaw, but when they do an off-the-cuff interview, it’s “um” city.

    I’ve often felt that the most valuable course I took in high school was public speaking – it gets you out of the “um” habit better than anything. Coincidentally, the teacher I had for that course has spent the past few years directing plays and musicals at a Philly-area college, and every time I see him (some 40 years later) I’m reminded of how grateful I am to have taken that course. Now, every time I hear someone on the radio with vocal flubs, I wonder why they never took a course in public speaking.
    So . . . enough of a break. I’m off to Dallas, then, of course, who knows where.
    Have fun in Dallas! So, how many miles away do you think that. And, so what time will get there.


  3. #3
    Gabe F. is offline Registered User
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    Steve,

    Spot-on! Be careful though. Soon you'll start to notice all the rest like "sort of" and people who repeat the same words (often used in conjunction with sort of). "So there's this this this sort of dichotomy between....".

  4. #4
    Steve Levicoff is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abner View Post
    Have fun in Dallas! So, how many miles away do you think that. And, so what time will get there.
    Actually, I wrote the O.P. in Texarkana, so I’ll be in Dallas tonight – it’s only a few hours from where I wrote it.

    This will be the second time I’ve been in Dallas in the past few weeks. Incidental note: When I was there a couple of weeks ago, I had dinner with an old friend of many of us who dates back to the alt.education .distance days. I won’t name names here, but suffice to say that he’s a well-known pianist and Southern Baptist who posted frequently in the old days on non-traditional education issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe F. View Post
    Spot-on! Be careful though. Soon you'll start to notice all the rest like "sort of" and people who repeat the same words (often used in conjunction with sort of). "So there's this this this sort of dichotomy between....".
    True that. It goes with other common phrases like, um, “like, you know...”

    One that used to strike me as annoying was a verbal quirk of Tony Campolo, well-known sociologist and speaker in the Christian festival scene (known to the general public as Bill Clinton’s spiritual advisor during Clinton's White House days). Tony often ends his sentences with, “Do ya see?” And after a while, you begin to notice how often he does it. A common version involves people who end sentences with, "you know what I mean?"

    Then there’s the nonverbal equivalent of all the above: “air quotes.”

  5. #5
    Abner is offline Registered User
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    off topic

    You sure must save a lot of money on rent. I think your lifestyle is neat. We met up with a friend not long ago, and he showed us the big rig he bought, very impressive.

    Do you own your big rig?

  6. #6
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    language, like other aspects of culture, evolves. that's all.
    American College of Sports Medicine

  7. #7
    decimon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    language, like other aspects of culture, evolves. that's all.

    Go figure.

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  9. #8
    John Bear is offline Senior Member
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    Portia Abagail Riley, where are you now? Our 9th grade English teacher at Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High had one of those library bells on her desk -- the kind where you hit the button on top to make it chime. Her hand was always poised, and whenever anyone started a sentence with "Well," "Um" or "So" -- BONG.

    My favorite (well, favourite) silly ending came from the Duchess we met when we lived in England, many of whose sentences would end, "Don'tcha know, kind of thing."

  10. #9
    Steve Levicoff is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abner View Post
    You sure must save a lot of money on rent. I think your lifestyle is neat. We met up with a friend not long ago, and he showed us the big rig he bought, very impressive.

    Do you own your big rig?
    Sorry for the delay, but it’s been a busy month . . . Beginning in June, I started out in Minnesota, went to Ohio, then back and forth to Kansas City twice and Atlanta twice, then Texas, threw in a trip to upper NYS, and am now back in Ohio for a few days of hanging out.

    The so-called owner-operators like the feeling of having ownership, equity, etc. But I’ve always been a company driver – less hassle in terms of paperwork, taxes, etc. And never having to worry about permits, insurances (plural intended since there are many types of insurance covering everything from equipment to cargo), or drumming up business. And not having to deal with the expenses that owners have – truck payments, fuel, repairs, etc. As a company driver, I have a hassle-free existence, which leave me free to pop onto the computer to find out what’s playing at local (live) theatres in the area in which I’m hanging out for the weekend.

    (Of course, sometimes the choices are slim. Two weeks ago while heading from Rochester, NY, to Steubenville, OH (yes, me again, Steubenville!), I “weekended” in Erie, PA, and saw Little Shop of Horrors for the eighth time. Even the great shows get tiresome after a while, but absent anything new I end up checking out different productions of something I’ve seen before. Some shows are worth seeing multiple times, other shows are not worth seeing at all. But as a known theatre geek, I have to keep up my reputation.)

  11. #10
    Abner is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Levicoff View Post
    Sorry for the delay, but it’s been a busy month . . . Beginning in June, I started out in Minnesota, went to Ohio, then back and forth to Kansas City twice and Atlanta twice, then Texas, threw in a trip to upper NYS, and am now back in Ohio for a few days of hanging out.

    The so-called owner-operators like the feeling of having ownership, equity, etc. But I’ve always been a company driver – less hassle in terms of paperwork, taxes, etc. And never having to worry about permits, insurances (plural intended since there are many types of insurance covering everything from equipment to cargo), or drumming up business. And not having to deal with the expenses that owners have – truck payments, fuel, repairs, etc. As a company driver, I have a hassle-free existence, which leave me free to pop onto the computer to find out what’s playing at local (live) theatres in the area in which I’m hanging out for the weekend.

    (Of course, sometimes the choices are slim. Two weeks ago while heading from Rochester, NY, to Steubenville, OH (yes, me again, Steubenville!), I “weekended” in Erie, PA, and saw Little Shop of Horrors for the eighth time. Even the great shows get tiresome after a while, but absent anything new I end up checking out different productions of something I’ve seen before. Some shows are worth seeing multiple times, other shows are not worth seeing at all. But as a known theatre geek, I have to keep up my reputation.)
    Yeah, I think it is much better to be a company driver, less headaches. Have fun watching your next play. It sounds like you concentrate on the important things in life, like taking time to enjoy a nice show.

    Have fun.

  12. #11
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Levicoff View Post
    Sorry for the delay, but it’s been a busy month . . .
    OK Steve, I've got a question. I know almost nothing about musical theatre. I think the only musicals I've ever seen are West Side Story and The Music Man (on TV). So what would you recommend for a newbie?
    American College of Sports Medicine

  13. #12
    Steve Levicoff is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    OK Steve, I've got a question. I know almost nothing about musical theatre. I think the only musicals I've ever seen are West Side Story and The Music Man (on TV). So what would you recommend for a newbie?
    I’d recommend, um, The Music Man and West Side Story. (Ba-da-bum!) But, in both cases, the film versions. There is general agreement that the TV version of The Music Man with Matthew Broderick didn’t hold a candle to the film with Robert Preston, who also originated the role on Broadway.

    The best way to appreciate theatre is to see it done live, and you’re in a good area for that. Worcester itself has the WCOLC Theatre Company (formerly the Worcester County Light Opera Company) at http://www.wcolc.org, which will be doing Evil Dead the Musical in October. If you want a fun experience, it’s a must-see. But, depending on the size of the theatre and where you sit, be prepared to be covered in fake blood – the show is generally done with a “splatter zone.”

    You’re also not too far from Stoneham, home of the Stoneham Theatre (Stoneham Theatre), an Equity (professional and unionized) theatre. Their next show is (I kid you not) Menopause: The Musical in July. I’m not into small Equity theatres that much – they tend to do shows with minimal casts, or small casts playing multiple roles, in order to save on the higher union salaries for actors.

    It’s a bit of a drive, but my favorite community theatre in your area is the Stageloft Repertory Theater (Stageloft Repertory Theater – Entertaining audiences since 1994 – presenting a new production every month) in Sturbridge. I’ve seen some fun shows there, and have always been able to drop my trailer at a nearby truckstop and bobtail in (i.e., go with just the tractor).

    If you don’t want to hit theatres live, there’s a load of musicals on YouTube, ranging from community theatre, high school, and college productions to bootlegs of current Broadway shows shot with cell phones.

    As for what to see, asking for a recommendation is like asking what food to eat – the options are endless. The foundation of contemporary musical theatre comes from the “Golden Age of Broadway” – composers like Rodgers & Hammerstein (Carousel, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, plus five other hits and three flops), Lerner & Lowe (My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, Camelot, and a few lesser-known shows), Bock & Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me, which had a recent Broadway revival and which Stoneham will be doing in the fall), and Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, Mame. plus a few more hits and flops).

    After the Golden Age, which most people say ended once Stephen Sondheim wrote Company in 1970 and Hair was produced in the late 60’s, theatre has become as diverse as rock musicals ([i]Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Rock of Ages, The Who’s Tommy), jukebox musicals (based on the catalogue of a particular composer, singer, or group, like Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys, American Idiot), original musicals not based on a book (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, and even rap/hip-hop (In the Heights, Hamilton). There are even musicals based on Shakespeare, the best of which is probably Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate. In short, something for everyone.

    So, what’s a good place to start? I think the best overall musical of the last few decades is Ragtime, based on the E.L. Doctorow book. There’s a great version of it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghjI1c-kkuo. It’s well written, well performed, and socially relevant.

    Another good starting point: Hairspray, which also had a recent TV version. And also on YouTube (which has lots of productions of Hairspray) – the best one, IMO, is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIQWELXteDQ. (Piece of cool trivia: Hairspray is one of only two instances in which an actor won the Tony Award for playing someone of the opposite gender: Harvey Fierstein won it for playing Edna Turnbladt, the mother, a role traditionally played by a guy. The other instance is Mary Martin, who won the Tony for playing the title role in Peter Pan, a role traditionally played by a woman.)

    Finally, for the live thing, check out both community theatres in your area, as well as college and high school theatres (which I like because I can park a whole rig at some of them). Community theatres can be a mixed bag – they’re either as good as Broadway or so horribly bad that they’re good. But for what Broadway charges for tickets to one show, you can see ten or more shows for the same price and not have to hassle NYC.

    Obviously, I could go on forever on this topic – true theatre geeks are like baseball geeks who can tell you who hit the 4th homer in the 3rd game of the 1923 World Series. And we’ve got a diverse fan base, as Neil Patrick Harris demonstrated so well at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6S5caRGpK4. When I show up at a theatre with a tractor-trailer, I’m constantly getting quizzed on theatre, and people are sometimes incredulous at the notion that an over-the-road trucker can be literate about something other than NASCAR. Lots of fun.

  14. #13
    Abner is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Levicoff View Post
    I’d recommend, um, The Music Man and West Side Story. (Ba-da-bum!) But, in both cases, the film versions. There is general agreement that the TV version of The Music Man with Matthew Broderick didn’t hold a candle to the film with Robert Preston, who also originated the role on Broadway.

    The best way to appreciate theatre is to see it done live, and you’re in a good area for that. Worcester itself has the WCOLC Theatre Company (formerly the Worcester County Light Opera Company) at http://www.wcolc.org, which will be doing Evil Dead the Musical in October. If you want a fun experience, it’s a must-see. But, depending on the size of the theatre and where you sit, be prepared to be covered in fake blood – the show is generally done with a “splatter zone.”

    You’re also not too far from Stoneham, home of the Stoneham Theatre (Stoneham Theatre), an Equity (professional and unionized) theatre.
    Their next show is (I kid you not) Menopause: The Musical in July. I’m not into small Equity theatres that

    much – they tend to do shows with minimal casts, or small casts playing multiple roles, in order to save on the higher union salaries for actors.

    It’s a bit of a drive, but my favorite community theatre in your area is the Stageloft Repertory Theater (Stageloft Repertory Theater – Entertaining audiences since 1994 – presenting a new production every month) in Sturbridge. I’ve seen some fun shows there, and have always been able to drop my trailer at a nearby truckstop and bobtail in (i.e., go with just the tractor).

    If you don’t want to hit theatres live, there’s a load of musicals on YouTube, ranging from community theatre, high school, and college productions to bootlegs of current Broadway shows shot with cell phones.

    As for what to see, asking for a recommendation is like asking what food to eat – the options are endless. The foundation of contemporary musical theatre comes from the “Golden Age of Broadway” – composers like Rodgers & Hammerstein (Carousel, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, plus five other hits and three flops), Lerner & Lowe (My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, Camelot, and a few lesser-known shows), Bock & Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me, which had a recent Broadway revival and which Stoneham will be doing in the fall), and Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, Mame. plus a few more hits and flops).

    After the Golden Age, which most people say ended once Stephen Sondheim wrote Company in 1970 and Hair was produced in the late 60’s, theatre has become as diverse as rock musicals ([i]Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Rock of Ages, The Who’s Tommy), jukebox musicals (based on the catalogue of a particular composer, singer, or group, like Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys, American Idiot), original musicals not based on a book (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, and even rap/hip-hop (In the Heights, Hamilton). There are even musicals based on Shakespeare, the best of which is probably Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate. In short, something for everyone.

    So, what’s a good place to start? I think the best overall musical of the last few decades is Ragtime, based on the E.L. Doctorow book. There’s a great version of it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghjI1c-kkuo. It’s well written, well performed, and socially relevant.

    Another good starting point: Hairspray, which also had a recent TV version. And also on YouTube (which has lots of productions of Hairspray) – the best one, IMO, is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIQWELXteDQ. (Piece of cool trivia: Hairspray is one of only two instances in which an actor won the Tony Award for playing someone of the opposite gender: Harvey Fierstein won it for playing Edna Turnbladt, the mother, a role traditionally played by a guy. The other instance is Mary Martin, who won the Tony for playing the title role in Peter Pan, a role traditionally played by a woman.)

    Finally, for the live thing, check out both community theatres in your area, as well as college and high school theatres (which I like because I can park a whole rig at some of them). Community theatres can be a mixed bag – they’re either as good as Broadway or so horribly bad that they’re good. But for what Broadway charges for tickets to one show, you can see ten or more shows for the same price and not have to hassle NYC.

    Obviously, I could go on forever on this topic – true theatre geeks are like baseball geeks who can tell you who hit the 4th homer in the 3rd game of the 1923 World Series. And we’ve got a diverse fan base, as Neil Patrick Harris demonstrated so well at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6S5caRGpK4. When I show up at a theatre with a tractor-trailer, I’m constantly getting quizzed on theatre, and people are sometimes incredulous at the notion that an over-the-road trucker can be literate about something other than NASCAR. Lots of fun.
    The other drivers must think you are the must educated driver out there. Especially if they see all the books you have written.

    I hope that other guy on FB with your same name doesn't cause to much confusion. You wrote about that once.

  15. #14
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Here's an interesting story about the evolution of language. But this times it's about what AI bots are doing.

    https://www.fastcodesign.com/9013263...ould-we-let-it
    American College of Sports Medicine

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