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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bad Day at Black Rock, , , , , , , , , , , titles   

    What’s In YOUR Toilet? 

    In his incisive biography of Spencer Tracy, author Bill Davidson tells of a problem which arose during planning stages of a Tracy film based on a short story titled BAD DAY AT HONDO. He quotes Millard Kaufman, who was writing the screenplay, as follows:

    Our picture still was called Bad Day at Hondo, when, to everyone’s surprise, there came the release of a John Wayne movie called HONDO. So our title went out the window.

    Davidson continues, “Such coincidental flaps can cause weeks of delays at a studio, while everyone tries to think of a new title. In this case, Kaufman was out in Arizona looking for locations for another picture, when [he] stopped for gas at one of the bleakest places [that] was not even a ‘wide place in the road’, just a gas station and a post office. Kaufman looked at the sign on the post office. The name was Black Rock, Arizona. Kaufman rushed to the phone and called the studio. ‘I’ve got the title for the Tracy picture,’ he said. “We’ll call it “Bad Day at Black Rock.”

    You may be wondering what the foregoing has to do with the title of this post….and the answer is diddly-squat (or just squat, for short). So what’s the deal? Simply to serve as a pun-gent example of a title’s potential to entice you in to a creative work, whether it be film, story, poem or poop. Did the serendipitous (and delay-saving) spotting of the Black Rock post office sign lead to a perfect fit for the title of the movie? Perhaps this scene will tell you all you need to know to answer that question (Tracy plays a one-armed WW II officer, just returned from the service, who goes to a middle-of-nowhere desert town to present a posthumous medal to the father of one of his soldiers):

    But suppose, after chewing it over endlessly, you still can’t come up with a killer title for your opus delicti? Friends, just swallow the bitter pill that there are times indiscretion is the better part of valor, and settle for a title such as this post’s. And what if even doo-doo doesn’t do the trick? There’s still the when-all-else-fails last resort I used when I titled this poem….

    UNTITLED

    This poem’s title is Untitled —
    Not because it is untitled,
    But because I am entitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    If I’d not titled it Untitled,
    It would truly be untitled….
    Which would make me unentitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    So it is vital, if untitled,
    Not to title it Untitled,
    And to leave that title idled,
    As a title is entitled.

    NOTE: This is the Random poem leftover from my previous post

     

     
    • calmkate 12:11 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      ha ha ha love your play on words … and titles do make a difference as to whether something is read or not .. but hey I’ve already done the squat loo post, no peeking 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • geo. raymond 12:23 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great word play. (Excellent movie, too)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Garfield Hug 12:26 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      LOL! I loved your Untitled poem😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 6:50 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’m just thankful they didn’t title it “Bad Day on the Toilet”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:09 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, you’re entitled to be untitled. But this reminds me of a Country Western song writer named Ray Whitley and he’d written a bunch of songs for Gene Autry and he was told they needed one more. So he sighed and headed for the studio. His wife asked him what was the matter and he told her. She said. “Guess you’re back in the saddle again.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:36 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t know the story behind it, but I remember the song well, Don. Odd that the clip portrays the likeness of Roy Rogers (Autry’s biggest rival for most popular screen cowboy in those days).

        Like

    • christie jones 1:26 pm on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I love the way you play with words! And btw, you have a great blog🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:39 am on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry for the tardy reply to your comment, Christie, but modest fellow that I am, your compliment made me so red in the face that I got a bad case of blisters, which may have improved my appearance, but I still didn’t know what to say. Anyway, now that I’ve recovered, I’m ready to be embarrassed again, whether I deserve it or not. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • christie jones 2:30 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink

          While two-thirds of the words are twisters, I didn’t mean to provoke any blisters. I’m happy you’re now recovered, and hope never again embarrassed. All the best! Christie

          Liked by 1 person

    • Ricardo 11:32 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      May all your titles be short ones, and your un-titleds even shorter, Sr. Muse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:56 am on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        That’s a Capital (One) proposal, Ricardo. It even has commercial possibilities connected to the title of this post.

        Like

    • RMW 1:12 pm on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      As a frequenter of art museums, I am always bemused by the pieces labeled “Untitled.” Worse yet they are titled “Untitled Number 3” or “Untitled March, 1987″… is this SUPPOSED to be ironic and I’m not getting it? Now I think about it, “Toilet Number 3” or “Toilet March, 1987” would work much better… and in many cases, be more appropriate!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:05 pm on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        At the very least, they should title their restroom toilets Number 1 or Number 2 based, of course, on whether you have to go Number One or Number 2. They could even have Number 3 for those who have to do both, otherwise you’d have to move from Number One to Number Two or vice versa, depending on order of priority.

        How this would be enforced I don’t know — I can’t think of everything!

        Like

        • RMW 12:35 am on June 8, 2017 Permalink

          I’m sure North Carolina could come up with an idea to handle it!

          Like

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , James Jones, John Steinbeck, , , , , titles, , Willa Cather, ,   

    TELLTALE TITLES 

    How much time and thought do you devote to coming up with just-the-right title for your story, poem or article? If you take writing seriously, the answer is probably: as long as it takes to nail it — which could be almost no time at all, if it comes to you in a flash — or, more time than a less intense writer is willing to allot.

    Ernest Hemingway, for one, evidently wasn’t the latter type. Case in point: in writing his definitive Spanish Civil War novel, he didn’t settle for less than a killer title that would encapsulate ‘the moral of the story,’ eventually finding it in this passage from a 1624 work by the poet John Donne: “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    As a writer of (mostly) humorous poems and posts, I’m inclined to go for witty and/or wordplay titles. Many times, the title to a particular piece all but suggests itself, but more often, no such luck, and I’m stuck — until eventually (as with the title of this post) a eureka moment rewards my resolve….or a poem resists my labeling efforts, and I just settle for:

    UNTITLED

    This poem’s title is Untitled —
    Not because it is untitled,
    But because I am entitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    If I’d not titled it Untitled,
    It would truly be untitled….
    Which would make it unentitled
    To the title of Untitled.

    So it is vital, if untitled,
    Not to title it Untitled,
    And to leave that title idled,
    As a title is entitled.

    Moving on, suppose we try a title quiz based on the Papa Hemingway model (sorry, those of you who’d prefer the mistermuse model). Here are five passages from classic original works from which later authors lifted titles for their novels. Can you name the five later works and pin each tale on its author (ten answers total)? If you name all ten correctly, you win the title (with apologies to Cervantes) of Donkeyote Of All You Survey.

    PASSAGES FROM ORIGINAL WORKS:

    Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree/Damned from here to Eternity/God ha’ mercy on such as we/Ba! Yah! Bah! –Rudyard Kipling

    The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley/An’ lea’e us naught but grief an’ pain/For promised joy! –Robert Burns

    By the pricking of my thumbs,/Something wicked this way comes. –Wm. Shakespeare

    Come my tan-faced children/Follow well in order, get your weapons ready/Have you your pistols? Have you your sharp-edged axes?/Pioneers! O pioneers! –Walt Whitman

    No Place so Sacred from such Fops is barr’d,/Nor is Paul’s Church more safe than Paul’s Churchyard./Nay, fly to altars; there they’ll talk you dead/For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. –Alexander Pope

    TITLES (WITH AUTHORS) FROM  ABOVE PREVIOUS WORKS:

    FROM HERE TO ETERNITY –James Jones
    OF MICE AND MEN –John Steinbeck
    SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES –Ray Bradbury
    O PIONEERS! –Willa Cather
    WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD –E.M. Forster

    How many of the ten titles/authors did you get? That last title, parenthetically, became part of Johnny Mercer’s lyrics to this 1940 hit song composed by Rube Bloom:

    And now I fear I must tread on out….before something wicked this way comes.

     

     
    • Cynthia Jobin 10:29 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If there were an award entitled “The Best Poem about Title-ing An Untitled Poem” you certainly would be entitled to it. I recall a creative writing teacher who was a stickler about titles; she said leaving a poem untitled was lazy and a refusal to finish your poem properly. In the history of Literature it seems even the use of Numbers—Sonnet 24—has been acceptable, and often the first line or phrase of a poem is used as its title—-“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night….”.

      I liked the quiz. Pour moi it was a piece of cake. Just this past month I used a line from a Shakespeare sonnet for one of my titles: “Love’s Not Time’s Fool.” Thanks for an enjoyable post!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:21 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Cynthia. I believe the exception to the ‘poems must be titled rule’ is the limerick, which should never be titled (if one were to follow the rules, which apparently exist to curtail my fun, so I have occasionally titled a few of mine).

        Congrats on getting 100% on the quiz. I hereby award you the title (in deference to your gender) of DONNA-KEYOTE OF ALL YOU SURVEY! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:14 pm on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I got all the titles but sad to say did not know the last three authors off the top of my head. I guess I get a 70. But of course I knew the song.

      Like

    • mistermuse 9:05 pm on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Don, you know how much I dig great old songs, so I’m giving you 30 bonus points for knowing FOOLS RUSH IN (WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD). That brings your score up to 100, which wins you the DON(FRANKEL)KEYOTE OF ALL YOU SURVEY AWARD….and well deserved, I might add!

      Like

    • arekhill1 10:32 am on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      AUTO REPLY: I’m on vacation. Any quizzes will be taken when I get back to my office.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:07 am on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I auto wish you a great vacation, but no doubt you’re having one anyway. Safe trip home.

      Like

    • inesephoto 5:55 pm on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Love your poem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 11:20 pm on June 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I got the titles but didn’t know all the authors. This was really interesting. Your poem made me laugh. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 11:33 am on February 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , special offer, titles   

    TITLE CLEARANCE SALE 

    Have I got a deal for you! For some time now, I have been storing up brilliant titles as they come to me, because as you writers know, you never know when you might need the perfect title for a novel, story or whatever. You may have written the greatest masterpiece This Side Of Paradise, but if it keeps getting rejected because you gave it a slightly ill-conceived name like ALI BABA AND THE FORTY HORSE THIEVES OF THE APOCALYPSE, you now know the advisability of getting the title exactly right.

    Obviously the need is acute, and so was I when I was young. But now that I’m in my dotage, I’ve come to realize that I’m not going to live long enough to use all of these killer titles myself. Not wanting to see them go to hell in a wastebasket, I’ve reluctantly decided to make them available to you, my faithful readers, for the bargain price of $100 each, or two for $499. This special trial offer will not be open to the general public until yesterday, so act now while the selection is commodious and you’re flush with approbation.

    ALLAH THINGS CONSIDERED

    BEAUTY AND THE DEIST

    CLEAR DA SALOON

    DUEL CITIZENSHIP

    EAST OF EVEN

    FUNDAMENTAL LISTS

    GONE WITH THE WENCH

    HELL, HELL, THE GANG’S ALL HERE

    I SHALL RETURN

    IF I THINK OF IT

    LOOSE ENDS

    But wait — this needn’t be the end (loose, book or otherwise). Far be it from me to deprive any desperate title sucker — er, seeker  – of my services in their hour of need. Therefore, I am open to putting more awesome titles up for sale provided the demand is there and heed is paid to the terms of Jean Shepherd’s best-selling novel IN GOD WE TRUST, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH.

    Would you believe he got that title from me?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
    • scifihammy 12:37 pm on February 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent titles! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • ladysighs 1:27 pm on February 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Still a wee bit pricey ……. but am considering East of Even

      Like

    • mistermuse 4:15 pm on February 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Seeing as how it’s you, ladysighs, that title is yours for a song, or rather for the loot in the lyrics ….like maybe “The Money Song” from Cabaret, or “With Plenty of Money and You” from Gold Diggers of 1937. What I don’t want to hear is “I Got Plenty of Nothin’.” 🙂

      Like

    • Stella's Mommy 5:34 pm on February 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hilarious! I want fundamental lists

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:00 pm on February 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You can have them! 🙂

      Like

    • linnetmoss 6:37 am on February 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      LOL at Gone With the Wench. Jean Shepherd, now there is a genius 🙂

      Like

    • Don Frankel 6:41 am on February 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Muse you make the salient point that a title can make or break a work of art. The song ‘I Love You So F*cking Much You Make Me Want To Sh*t’ was a really beautiful piece of music.

      But just a suggestion. I think you should bundle them all on a DVD and sell it for $19.99. Then you can have the second DVD of More Great unused titles and for a limited time now and a limited time later, sell them for the unbelievable bargain price of both for $19.99. Also include the knife that always stays sharp and the sharpener.

      Like

      • mistermuse 8:23 am on February 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        You’re right, Don. That song would’ve been a big hit, but the title wasn’t worth a sh*t.

        I remember that knife. It stayed sharp until the day it broke, which was less than a week after I got it. I don’t know what happened to the sharpener.

        Like

    • arekhill1 10:34 am on February 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I liked East of Even myself. With any luck, they’ll be a bidding war for it.

      Like

    • mistermuse 1:44 pm on February 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      My favorite is CLEAR DA SALOON because it conjures two images for the price of one: CLAIR DE LUNE and Captain Renault clearing out Rick’s in CASABLANCA. I would charge double for it, but then it wouldn’t be two for the price of one.

      Like

  • mistermuse 7:28 am on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , titles   

    TITLE POWER (THE UN-TOLD STORY) 

    IS THIS A GREAT POEM, OR WHAT?

    The power of suggestion
    is that it begs the question.

    UNTITLED

    This poem’s title is Untitled —
    Not because it is untitled,
    But because I am entitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    If I’d not titled it Untitled,
    It would truly be untitled,
    Which would make me unentitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    So it is vital, if untitled,
    Not to title it Untitled,
    And to leave the title idled,
    As a title is entitled.

     

     
    • ladysighs 7:40 am on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Are you finished with your recital about the title?

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:40 am on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      All right-al.

      Like

    • Don Frankel 10:06 am on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I know you wrote this Muse but it begs to be by Anonymous.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:37 am on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Actually it’s by Anomalous.

      Like

    • arekhill1 12:04 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I think you’ve demonstrated you’re entitled to your sense of entitlement.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:49 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I guess that makes it Unanimous.

      Like

    • errinspelling.wordpress.com 6:31 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      i loved it

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:42 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      In that case, I love you (what my wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her).

      Like

    • Joseph Nebus 10:54 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Once back in college I impishly gave our arts-and-poetry newspaper edition a poem titled, “How life appears to a person sitting in his dorm room watching people come in and go out all night”, with the body of the poem being, just, “Transitional.”

      The editor misunderstood at first and that all that was the poem and laid it out as “Untitled” but I caught that and explained my prank. Happily, he loved it way more that way.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:52 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Some might say that’s life – either a dorm room or a prank. I don’t know – I just work here.

      Like

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