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401, 401V, 501V: English-Language Reading Diary

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

501, 502: Questions about the film biography of Ray Charles

Ray – Questions about the film biography of Ray Charles
  1. What did Ray's mother Aretha mean when she said, “Always remember your promise to me. Never let nobody or nothing turn you into no cripple.” Is there something your grandparents or parents said to you that might come back to you in a similar way when you need it?
  2. At the bus, the driver refuses to transport Ray (an unaccompanied, blind passenger) all the way to Seattle. Ray told the bus driver, “I may have left my eyes on Omaha Beach, but I ain't asking no charity from Uncle Sam. I got a job waiting for me in Seattle.” The driver asked, “You were in Normandy?” Ray replies, “Shuttling troopers to the beach. We took a direct hit.” What is going on in this scene?
  3. In the Rocking Chair nightclub, when Ray is unexpectedly offered a chance to play, we see him using a drug for the first time. Who gave it to him, and why? (There might be two reasons, maybe three.)
  4. Ray uses his hearing to compensate for his lack of sight. Can you remember examples of this from the film?
  5. When Ahmet Ertegun visits Ray Charles to explain that Ray's contract has been taken over by Atlantic Records, Ray says nothing about Atlantic. Later in the conversation, Ray explains, “Well, you know, I gotta keep my eye on you city boys. Down home, we call it 'country dumb'.” What does Ray mean by “country dumb”?
  6. During one of their early recording sessions, Ahmet Ertegun tells Ray Charles that “I signed you because I sensed something special in you, not because you sound like Nat Cole or Charles Brown.” Ray replies, “I thought you like what I do. … I don’t know no other way.” Ertegun concludes, “We got to help you find one.” What does he want, and why is Ray resisting?
  7. When Ray plays “I got a woman, way over town, she’s good to me” to Bea, he is singing about Bea herself. Why is she shocked and upset?
  8. “Ain't nothing free in this world but Jesus.” What does this line mean?
  9. When Ahmet tries to talk to Ray about his drug habit, Ray asks, “Who's the one who delivers a record in one take, hmm?” What is Ray trying to say? If you were Ahmet, how would you answer?
  10. When Jerry Wexler finds out that Ray has been talking to Sam Clark at ABC-Paramount Records, Wexler hits the roof: “Ahmet wouldn't believe it. You know what he said, Ray? He said you would never turn your back on us. Never for a schlockmeister like Sam Clark! That's rich. Sam Clark's a corporate slug, who wouldn't know the difference between Earl Hines and Art Tatum!” What is Wexler saying about Clark? Is that the main reason he’s upset with Ray?
  11. In the film, Ray Charles is arrested twice--once in Indianapolis, and once in Boston. Why was the second arrest so much more serious than the first?
  12. At the recovery clinic, Ray sees his mother and his brother in a dream. What do they tell him?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NGI Schedule for this week

Remember to check the
bulletin board for changes!
It was great to see so many of you this evening at our NGI Day party! Thanks for coming!!

When I get a chance, I'll post some photos on vkontakte. (Update: They are there.)

Those of you who are able to come on Monday, welcome to the first of our (we hope) weekly tea sessions at 2:45 p.m. in room 13. We know Mondays are awkward for some of you, but this year I have classes every Wednesday and Friday at 3 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays I have other scheduling conflicts.((

Aside from Monday, we will see some of you on Thursday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

NGI Schedule for this week

Remember to check the 
bulletin board for changes!
We'll see part two of Ray, the docudrama about Ray Charles, on Thursday, second pair, and discuss it the following week.

The PDF-format list of phrases and definitions is here.

N.B. Don't forget Institute's birthday party on Sunday, November 13, 5 p.m.!

On Monday, November 14, we plan to restart our weekly tea with NGI students, probably right after fourth pair, using room 13.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

School Groups 204 and 205: Friday's Listening Comprehension exercises

This week, the Friday groups will not meet. But don't worry--you don't have to miss the joy of аудирование! Here's what the other groups (201, 202, 206) were working on this week:

Enjoy the holiday!!

Exercise from Olga Afanasyeva, Virginia Evans, Victoria Kopylova, Practice Exam Papers for the Russian State Exam, 2010 Revised Edition, Moscow: Express Publishing/Prosveshchenie Publishers.