And then the murders began

Playing with literature … take the first line (or maybe two) of a story and add “And then the murders began” to make any book (or textbook!) better, or at least more entertaining. Well, if you have a bit of a dark sense of humor.

See some examples from The Hook.

I tried with a few books I have around and some famous works:

From Harry Potter, Book 1;

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much…”

… And then the murders began.

From Don Quixote:

“Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing…”

… And then the murders began.

Something’s amiss with Anne! (from Anne of Green Gables)

” Mrs Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladie’s eardrops, and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place…”

… And then the murders began.

From Alice in Wonderland:

“Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do…”

… And then the murders began.

The best by far is from Genesis (the Bible):

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

… And then the murders began.

Why knot?

Here’s a short explanation from NPR about why shoelaces come untied and what you can do to prevent it. You can read the article, and listen to the story with or without the transcript. To listen click on the “play” button you’ll see in the top-left corner of the article.

The last paragraph in the transcript has one vocabulary we used in Week 1’s class. And the bad joke which I used for the title of this post.

The article mentions this TED Talk about tying your shoes. This talk has been popular with past students, probably because it’s short and easy to understand. It’s also one of the very first TED Talks. Here’s the link to the TED site, where you can watch with a transcript.

Language usage question:

What does the word “nailed” mean in this context? (This is the second paragraph of the transcript.)

Down the rabbit hole of movie titles

This short video shows some examples of how Pixar movies are translated and adapted for international audiences. My favorite is exchanging broccoli for green peppers in the Japanese version of “Inside Out” because Japanese kids tend to dislike green peppers about as much as American kids hate broccoli. The video doesn’t mention that the Japanese title of that  movie is “Inside Head”. Which sounds to me like what they might use for the title of “Being John Malkovich”. Which is actually titled “Malkovich’s Hole” in Japan. Yikes.

Here’s a post from 2014 about movie titles and translation.

And if you haven’t guessed what “going down the rabbit hole” means from context, here’s the definition and the literary reference.

Put some color in your life

This is a reminder about what school (and work) often becomes … and what it can be if we encourage more creativity.

It also reminds me a lot of the movie “Pleasantville”. The metaphor is different, but there are similarities in the use of color.  If you haven’t seen this movie, you really should. The Japanese title is 「カラー・オブ・ハート」and it stars Tobey Maguire, a few years before he was Spiderman. Here’s the trailer. Fans of the “Fast and Furious” series (Japanese title: 「ワイルド・スピード」may recognize Paul Walker, too.