Written by David Hatz, Retired Teacher and Coach

 

         Graduation is fast approaching, although maybe not fast enough for the Class of 2021.
Four outstanding seniors were recently selected to address the graduates in ceremonies that
will be a bit different from past years. But, unlike the class of 2020, at least this year’s grads will
have the opportunity to walk and receive their diplomas.The speakers are Diana Flores Valdivia (valedictorian, Cornell), Melissa Rodriguez Martinez
(salutatorian, UCSD), Valeria Rodriguez (Southwestern/UCLA transfer alliance program), and
Michelle Zeng (UCLA).
         I had the privilege of working with all four to help them edit/tweak their speeches. But,
quite honestly, there wasn’t much me to change – a word here, a phrase there, maybe add
“this,” or perhaps delete “that.”
         It was obvious all four spent a lot of time preparing. I was definitely impressed, but not
surprised because all four were students of mine in AP English Language and Composition last
year. And, make no mistake, they were outstanding students, outstanding writers, and a
pleasure to have in class.
         If I could have had a roomful of them in every class, I would have taught for free. OK, that’s a
bit hyperbolic. But you know what I mean.
         In case you haven’t heard, there will be three live graduation ceremonies (alphabetically) on
Tuesday, June 2, in the stadium to allow for social distancing. There will also be a virtual
ceremony for those who are uncomfortable or unable to attend.


Musical Wordplay

 

         Since previous blogs have included some math and science humor, I figured it is time to have
some fun with our musicians. Although I don’t believe you need to be musically astute to enjoy
the following puns.
         I hope you don’t think I’m out of tune (or touch) for presenting the following:


         1. What is Beethoven doing now? Decomposing.
         2. Why did the pianist keep banging his head against the keys? He was playing by ear.
         3. What do you call a musician with problems? A trebled man.
         4. What’s the difference between a musician and an 18-inch pizza? An 18-inch pizza can
         feed a family of four.
         5. What do you call a singing laptop? A Dell.
         6. How can you tell the difference between a violinist and a dog? The dog knows when to
         stop scratching.
         7. Why couldn’t the string quartet find their composer? He was Haydn.
         8. How did the turkey win the talent show? With his drumsticks.
         9. What is the musical part of a snake? The scales.
         10. My girlfriend left me because of my obsession with Linkin Park. But in the end, it doesn’t
         even matter.
         11. Mr. Williams told me he was going to hit me with the neck of his guitar. I asked, “Is that
         a fret?”

         12. What do a viola and a lawsuit have in common? Everyone is happy when the case is
         closed.
         13. What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit? BA-NA-NA-NAAAAA!
         14. How are trumpets like pirates? They both murder in the high C’s.
         15. Musicians? Oh yeah, we think outside the Bachs.
         16. Why did the guitarist get fired as a carpenter? Because he was shredding the floor.
         17. C, E-flat and G walk into a bar. The bartender points to the door and says, “Sorry, we
         don’t serve minors.”


         Thanks, or not, to Juliet Lanka (60 Corny Music Puns That are Completely Hilarious) for these
contributions.


Musical Wordplay, Part 2

 

         Having taken piano lessons as a youngster and self-taught on the guitar, I didn’t have to
work “real jobs” for money during my high school and college years. Instead, I played a variety
of gigs with various garage bands.
         One time I bought our bass player a “get better soon” card. He wasn’t sick. I just thought he
could get a lot better.


Coda


         Among the SCPA’s many outstanding programs are the band and orchestra. And I hear they
are about to get even better. My sources tell me that CVH will welcome two incredible
freshmen in July who are certain to complement both groups.
         They are (drum roll) … Claire Annette and Amanda Lynn.
         Rim shot and cymbal crash, please. I’ll see myself out.
         Until next time, write on!

Written by David Hatz, Retired Teacher and Coach

         There is a measure of truth to the adage/cliché “money can’t buy happiness.” That said, it
certainly can make life easier when it comes to affording necessities – food, clothes,
transportation, shelter, to name a few.
         Money wasn’t a problem for Robert Pirosh. He was a well-paid advertising copywriter in New
York City in 1934. But he wasn’t happy.
         So, the 24-year-old Pirosh decided to do something about it. Determined to realize his
dreams of becoming a screenwriter, he composed what is certainly one of the most effective
cover letters ever written and sent copies to many executives in Hollywood.
         His efforts paid off. The letter secured him three interviews, one of which landed him a job
as a junior writer at MGM. Happiness and success ensued.
         Pirosh became a prolific writer for the leading entertainment company, highlighted by an
Academy Award for best original screenplay in 1949 for the war film “Battleground,” based on
the Battle of the Bulge.
         In a Hollywood career that spanned more than 30 years, Pirosh was a writer, producer or
director on many well-known films and television series. He alternated between dramatic
subjects, including the Oscar-nominated war movie “Go for Broke!” (1951), and madcap
comedy – most notably his contributions to the Marx Brothers classical farce “A Day at the
Races” (1937).
         Pirosh also taught writing at the University of Southern California to conclude his illustrious
career. A sidenote: Pirosh was born on April 1, 1910 (April Fools’ Day), and died on Christmas
Day, 1989.
         Why am I sharing this with you? I’m glad you asked. Certainly, the message of striving to
realize one’s dreams should ring loud and clear.
More importantly for me, and hopefully, is to recognize and appreciate the importance of
good writing. And, many (if not all) of you will likely write one/several cover letters during your
working life. The message here: good/great ones can make a difference.
         And now, without further blustering, here, for your enjoyment, is Pirosh’s letter:

 

Dear Sir,

 

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn,

angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious,

black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V”

words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as

splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower,

scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker,

genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I

like wormy, squirmy, meal words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling

words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York

advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood. But before taking the plunge, I went to Europe

for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.

 

I have just returned and I still like words.

 

May I have a few with you?

 

Robert Pirosh

385 Madison Avenue

Room 610

New York

Eldorado 5-6024

More Fun with Words

 

         If you have read previous blogs, you know I enjoy wordplay. Some are hilarious, some not so
much, and others are just plain groaners.
OK, you have been warned. Here now is my latest collection culled from the Internet:


• Venison for dinner again? Oh, deer!
• I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
• I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.
• I stayed up all night to see where the sun went … and then it dawned on me.
• When chemists die, they barium.
• I know a guy who’s addicted to break fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
• I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.
• I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
• Broken pencils are pointless.
• I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
• I was taking a class on communism, but dropped it because of lousy Marx.
• What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.


Final Thoughts


         Only in math problems can you buy 60 cantaloupes and no one asks what the heck is wrong
with you.


         “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

         – Ernest Hemingway


         Until next time, write on!