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Old 01-22-2008, 06:07 PM   #1
Don Quixote
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Default Very strange GL reference

I found the strangest place for a reference to GL. My daughter has been dealing with some severe psychological problems (that, combined with some heavy work loads, explains my relative absence here recently), and we've been trying to find alternative schools for her. Today, we took her to a school for kids with these and other problems. They gave us a booklet of sample questions for a computerized placement assessment. There on P. 15, on "Construction Shift Questions" (where you have to restate a sentence while maintaining its original meaning), question #10:

"In his songs, Gordon Lightfoot makes melody and lyrics intricately intertwine.
Rewrite, beginning with Melody and lyrics:
Your new sentence will include
A. Gordon Lightfoot has
B. make Gordon Lightfoot's
C. in Gordon Lightfoot's
D. does Gordon Lightfoot"

I kind of like the original sentence as it is.

You never know...
DQ
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

So sorry to hear about your daughter's difficulties/challenges. I wish you all the best for finding a more than adequate school for her to attend. What grade is she in?

The placement assessment sounds a bit much! The Gordon Lightfoot sample was on page 15??!!! How many pages in that thing???!!!

Geez, I wouldn't have expected to see that either! Looks like the appropriate response would be "C".

Thumbs up to the educator(s) who added that question! That may say something about the school.

Again, sorry to hear about these burdens, and seeing that question must have brought a smile to your face! Even when -especially when life's struggles arise, many smiles and laughter can still be found.

Pam
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

Change that sentence and start with "melody & lyrics"??! Impossible! :

I hope your daughter overcomes her difficulties and you,yours too.
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:11 PM   #4
charlene
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Quixote View Post
I found the strangest place for a reference to GL. My daughter has been dealing with some severe psychological problems (that, combined with some heavy work loads, explains my relative absence here recently), and we've been trying to find alternative schools for her. Today, we took her to a school for kids with these and other problems. They gave us a booklet of sample questions for a computerized placement assessment. There on P. 15, on "Construction Shift Questions" (where you have to restate a sentence while maintaining its original meaning), question #10:

"In his songs, Gordon Lightfoot makes melody and lyrics intricately intertwine.
Rewrite, beginning with Melody and lyrics:
Your new sentence will include
A. Gordon Lightfoot has
B. make Gordon Lightfoot's
C. in Gordon Lightfoot's
D. does Gordon Lightfoot"

I kind of like the original sentence as it is.

You never know...
DQ
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....


C - "Melody and lyrics in Gordon Lightfoot's songs intricately intertwine."
or C again - "Melody and lyrics intricately intertwine in Gordon Lightfoot's songs."

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....
Let us know when you find out!..
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

So sorry to hear of your daughters problems. Heavy workloads and lots of stress can do that to a person...

"Melody & lyrics are made to intricately intertwine in Gordon Lightfoots songs."
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

Melody and lyrics, deliciously intertwined, best describes the artistic medium in which Gordon Lightfoot has painted himself into the corners of our thoughts.

Melody and lyrics intertwined make Gordon Lightfoot's music irresistable.

Melody and lyrics intertwine intricately in Gordon Lightfoot's music

Melody and lyrics, intricately intertwined, represent an entity that does Gordon Lightfoot (and his career) no harm.


Grade me, teach!


Landon
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:03 PM   #7
gwen snyder
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

Yeah, you're ga ga enough to belong here in Gord central.
Ha--- B+eautiful.
Is there mental illness prevalent in Gord's music is that why he was mentioned on the survey?
I do hope things improve for your daughter Don Quixote, as for us we're just
Light-ly-toasted.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

I think that it says a lot about Gordon & his music if it's mentioned in such a book. I know that, over the years, I've found his music to be so soothing to me whenever I feel so stressed out that I want to scream. Sometimes when I can't relax enough to get to sleep, I pop in one of his CD's, put on my headphones, and just drift off into a pleasant dream.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

Don Quixote, great name. Sorry to hear about your daughter, hoping everything will turn for the best.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

Thanks, Jesse Joe and all other well-wishers. My daughter is 17, an extremely bright and charming girl, who has fought the demons all her life. We've spent time, effort and money we don't have to keep things going in the right directions; sometimes I think we're getting there, sometimes not. The road is never straight, but my wife and I love her very much, and we're doing what we can.

By the way, for those who tried to rewrite the sentence, don't forget that you can't change the original meaning of the sentence. Anybody feel like going back and doing the SATs again? I'm in education, and I think I would pass, too.

As for my name, Jesse Joe, I think a couple of years back I posted as to why I chose it; there was a discussion about the song, and I rambled on for what was probably far too long. Maybe Borderstone or John Fowles or someone else can pull it up if you're really interested, although I don't think it's really worth it.

Best to all,
DQ
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: Very strange GL reference

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Quixote View Post

By the way, for those who tried to rewrite the sentence, don't forget that you can't change the original meaning of the sentence. Anybody feel like going back and doing the SATs again? I'm in education, and I think I would pass, too.
Yep. It's hard because you can't add or take out any of the words, you can only change them around. (The word "intricately", I almost accidentally typed in as "interacially" because I'd never heard of that word before)
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:13 PM   #12
charlene
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DQ - I found this from april 2005:
A couple of things before we start:
1) GL mentioned Don Quixote in a prior song, the wonderful "If I Could" ("If I could stand like the rusty old man in his armor;/if I could ride the steed that he rode in his time;/I would turn his head away to the river/and let him wander through the meadow grass/wild and free (note the same phrasing in the later song)/for everyone to see." Obviously, what GL sees in the character is not just a crazy person who can't distinguish reality from fantasy. More about that later.
2) I'm not much of a fan of Man of La Mancha, although I have to admit "The Impossible Dream" is a memorable song. If you don't want to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the book by actually reading it (it's about 1000 pages in two parts), there is a recent movie version starring John Lithgow that is quite faithful to the book. I was pleasantly surprised by it, and even use it in my classes when I teach the novel.

If you want some information and maybe a little analysis for your paper:

The novel actually started as a parody of books of chivalry, which were about as distanced from reality, and therefore as popular as an escapist activity as soap operas, romance novels, WWF wrestling and cruising the Internet to find true love would be today. The main character, a previously quiet 50-ish bachelor, goes crazy from reading too many of these books of chivalry ("novelas de caballeri'as), and begins to believe that not only is a he a famous knight, but that his mission is to restore the ideals and rules of knight-errantry to a land that has forgotten them (conveniently forgetting that they never truly existed in practice in the first place).
As for his being crazy, his is a very particular brand of lunacy, for he is a wise, thoughtful, literate and knowledgeable man on any theme except that of knight-errantry. He leaves people perplexed and asking if he is the craziest sane person or the sanest crazy person ("el cuerdo ma's loco o el loco ma's cuerdo") in the world. This duality between reality and madness, sometimes between reality and fantasy, or idealism and realism, is perhaps the most notable theme in the novel. The reader constantly shifts between admiration for DQ's ideals--helping the poor and the defenseless, loyalty in love, defending the faith--and embarrassment at his true impotence, and even the occasional harm that he causes, as he tries to realize his goals. We also feel the ambiguity of the guilty pleasures of laughing at this crazy man (how can one laugh at the follies of the crazed--isn't this insensitive?) as he gets himself into one mess after another, and yet also, increasingly as the book advances, especially in the 2nd part, angry at those who deliberately trick him and play him for the fool. We start to ask who is crazier--someone who can't see reality, or someone who takes advantage of such a poor soul to make sport of him.

Duality and ambiguity are again part of other aspects of novel. His squire, Sancho Panza, a poor campesino, or peasant, sees windmills where DQ sees giants, and prostitutes where his master sees refined ladies. However, by the end of the second part, it is SP, and not DQ, who wishes to go on one more sally, who wants to continue the adventures, when DQ, now back to being his former self, Alonso Quijano, advises his friends that "no hay pa'jaros en el nido de anta~no" ("there are no birds in last year's nest").
The love of his life, "Dulcinea del Toboso", is in reality a pig-herder ("the best hand at salting pork" in the area!). In his folly, he transforms this coarse woman into the woman of his ideal, the one he fights for and to whom he dedicates all his victories. Again, we laugh, but we also think: what man does not look upon the love of his life and think that he possesses the most beautiful woman in the world? What matters more--what other people think of as objective reality, or what we believe is true?

There's sooooo much more to the book, but again I've been long-winded. What the relationship to the song is, well...
I would say that GL's song is also open to multiple interpretations, but that much of the spirit of the book is present (perhaps a bit too idealizing of DQ, but that's how he was mostly seen in the early 1970s. I don't have the time to go through the song line by line, but here are some of my general ideas:
In the song, DQ is portrayed somewhat ambiguously as well. He tries to right the wrongs that have been part of societies only forever (see the litany that starts with "See the jailor with his key who locks away all trace of sin"--who is crazier, someone who "shouts across the ocean to the shore", or someone who believes that the only people who have sinned are the ones behind bars?), and continuing to the present time ("see the youth in ghetto black condemned to life upon the street"). Of course, armed only with a "battered book" (could be a book of chivalry, could be a Bible), a "rusty sword" such as the one he used so ineffectively in the novel, ("rusty", perhaps because crusaders for justice are so few and far betweeen) and a "tarnished cross" (a religion that has been falsified and misused)--how can one person expect to make any headway against the injustices of life? He "shouts across the ocean to the shore 'til he can shout no more"--a futile effort, taking all of his strenghts, and later on goes "in vain to search again/where no one will hear." (Of course, if he were to shout from Spain across the ocean, the shore would be North America--perhaps a subtle jab at the social injustices of our society). All in all the definition of a quixotic pursuit: spend all your energy and resources in an fight against vastly superior forces, in a vain attempt to change the world.
Crazy, yes? Yes, but...is not it crazier to live in a society and give in to its corruption, injustice and insensitivity without a fight? To scrap all of our morals and beliefs in goodness to take part in a system that treats the underclasses as if they were less than human (the poor "who wake to find the table bare", that lets the rich be indifferent to suffering ("See the gentry in the country/ riding off to take the air")? Is it not crazier to see one's fellow man be downtrodden and not attempt to do anything about it, even if it means that we might take a licking as well? Is it wrong to love purely even though the rest of the world thinks of love as this week's bed partner?

I've gone on 'way too long. If anyone has made it to the end of this third part of the novel, and wants, God knows why, any more information, let me know.
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Old 01-30-2008, 12:14 AM   #13
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Bravo CHar... WOW, that is quite the moralist.
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Old 01-30-2008, 04:27 AM   #14
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Kerstin has actually read "Don Quixote", all 1,000 pages of it!! She finished it right before the September 2007 concerts that we went to, and had Gordon sign the book for her. She asked Gordon if he has read it, to which he replied "Are you KIDDING me?" (Turns out he meant that as a "No")
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:24 AM   #15
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WOW ! that Kerstin really likes to read. The only book of 1,000 pages I would most likely read would have to be about the life of Gordon Lightfoot.
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:02 AM   #16
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Don Quixote was the first name I tried to take when I joined Corfid, great name and a fantastic song as well.



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Old 01-30-2008, 07:26 PM   #17
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Congratulations to Kersten as well. It can be a very difficult work to get through; there are references to other contemporaneous and less well-known works, there are interpolated stories throughout, where Cervantes inserts tales that are only marginally part of the main story if at all, and some of the language can be tough on modern-day readers. If she made it all the way through, she's to be congratulated and rewarded.
Even in my most advanced literature classes, we read an abridged version (although in the original 17th century Spanish).

Also, if anyone's interested (probably not; I wouldn't be either), I explained about my handle back in a 3/29/05 post about the meaning of the Minstrel of the Dawn, back when the Rez and I were throwing some ideas around.

Best to all,
DQ

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Old 01-30-2008, 09:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Quixote View Post
Thanks, Jesse Joe and all other well-wishers. My daughter is 17, an extremely bright and charming girl, who has fought the demons all her life.

It is a shame indeed, Im sure she is a very bright girl, All the best to her.

As for my name, Jesse Joe, I think a couple of years back I posted as to why I chose it; there was a discussion about the song, and I rambled on for what was probably far too long. Maybe Borderstone or John Fowles or someone else can pull it up if you're really interested, although I don't think it's really worth it.

Best to all,
DQ
Oh yes it is Don Quixote, I hope someone can come up with the post of your choosing that great name. { Probably John Fowles.}
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Joe View Post
Oh yes it is Don Quixote, I hope someone can come up with the post of your choosing that great name. { Probably John Fowles.}
a few posts up - i think i found the post about DQ choosing his name..
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Old 01-31-2008, 06:47 PM   #20
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I took time to read it. Thanks Char !
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:44 PM   #21
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Hi DQ,
you must be the only other person I have ever "met" who has read the book and in Spanish even. It took me 6 months to finish the English version, but I have to say I'm glad I read it. I enjoyed the first part a lot more, esp. the inserted tales and how it all came together in the end. I must admit that I like the Don Quixote in the song a lot more. He is much more romantic. And I kept waiting for the part where he shouts across the ocean, which never came in the book or did I miss it?!. That was a bit disappointing. But there must be a reason why the book never went out of print in 400 years. It sure is worth reading.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:45 PM   #22
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Hi DQ
I liked your review a lot, too by the way.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:36 PM   #23
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Kerstin the book worm !
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:31 PM   #24
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Hi again, Kerstin.
Again, congratulations for making it all the way through the work. Just a couple of quick comments:
1) The "Shouting across the ocean" reference in the song is just metaphorical. It never happened in the novel. La Mancha, where most of the novel takes place, is in the middle of Spain, far from the ocean, very dry but beautiful land. The only time Don Quixote and Sancho make it close to the seashore would be towards the end of the second part, when they arrive in Barcelona, on the Mediterranean Sea, but there was no "shouting across the ocean" scene then.
2) It's interesting that you liked the first part better than the second. The second part is generally judged to be superior to the first, and in some ways it is, but I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the first part. It starts off somewhat tentatively, and was actually meant to be just a short story at first (notice that Sancho doesn't even go out the first time with DQ), but it's almost as if the story took hold of Cervantes and the characters became more developed as the first part was written. In the second part, there's more awareness of the characters (and their author) as being "important" people; it's as if those who react to DQ, being aware of the "fame" he achieved in the first part, are egging him on to continue playing the role of DQ the literary character, instead of DQ himself as a human being (of course, part of that is to make it seem that DQ actually IS a human being, instead of a literary character--this is part of the genius of Cervantes). It's all a bit complicated, as Spanish baroque literature tends to be. I find that there is more of a "grand statement", both literarily and philosophically in the second part, but in the first the main characters are more likeable and less "self-conscious", if that can be said about literary figures. You also have to remember that the second part almost didn't happen. Not only did Cervantes die the year after its publication (1615; as I noted in another post a long time ago, Cervantes both died and didn't die on the same day as Shakespeare, April 23, 1616--Spain and England used different calendars at that time), but Cervantes wasn't motivated to finish the second part until after a spurious sequel was published in 1614--you can see references to this work in the second part of DQ. So, I think part of the second part was written at least to some extent to reclaim Cervantes' authorship and authority over the novels and his characters, and some of this takes away a bit from the second part.
I think you have fine literary instincts--keep reading!
Best,
DQ
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