Friday, August 27, 2010

bye, bye, mr. bunny

Happy Friday silly rabbits!









Blur - Girls & Boys



Claude Cahun (1894 – 1954) asked questions about girls and boys:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cinderella, sorting and impossible tasks in fairytales

Kym Hepworth, detail The Castle at Night, mixed media, 17 ¼ x 8 1/8 x 4 ¼ in., 2008


"Aschenputtel" is the title of the Brothers Grimm's version of the Cinderella tale. The term originally designated a lowly, dirty kitchen maid who must tend to the fireplace ashes.

excerpt from Aschenputtel:

"Now it came to pass that the king ordained a festival that should last for three days, and to which all the beautiful young women of that country were bidden, so that the king's son might choose a bride from among them. . . .

Aschenputtel, when she heard this, could not help crying, for she too would have liked to go to the dance, and she begged her step-mother to allow her.

"What, you, Aschenputtel!" said she. "In all your dust and dirt, you want to go to the festival! You that have no dress and no shoes! You want to dance!

Kym Hepworth, You that have no dress and no shoes! You want to dance!

But as she persisted in asking, at last the step-mother said, "I have strewed a dish full of lentils in the ashes, and if you can pick them all up again in two hours you may go with us."

Then the maiden went to the back-door that led into the garden, and called out,

"O gentle doves, O turtle-doves,
And all the birds that be,
The lentils that in ashes lie
Come and pick up for me!
The good must be put in the dish,
The bad you may eat if you wish."

Kym Hepworth, and the doves nodded with their heads, and began to pick, peck

Then there came to the kitchen-window two white doves, and after them some turtle-doves, and at last a crowd of all the birds under heaven, chirping and fluttering, and they alighted among the ashes; and the doves nodded with their heads, and began to pick, peck, pick, peck, and then all the others began to pick, peck, pick, peck, and put all the good grains into the dish. Before an hour was over all was done, and they flew away. Then the maiden brought the dish to her step-mother, feeling joyful, and thinking that now she should go to the feast; but the step-mother said,

"No, Aschenputtel, you have no proper clothes, and you do not know how to dance, and you would be laughed at!"

And when Aschenputtel cried for disappointment, she added,

"If you can pick two dishes full of lentils out of the ashes, nice and clean, you shall go with us," thinking to herself, "for that is not possible." When she had strewed two dishes, full of lentils among the ashes the maiden went through the backdoor into the garden, and cried,

"O gentle doves, O turtle-doves,
And all the birds that be,
The lentils that in ashes lie
Come and pick up for me!
The good must be put in the dish,
The bad you may eat if you wish."

Kym Hepworth, chirping and fluttering among the ashes

So there came to the kitchen-window two white doves, and then some turtle-doves, and at last a crowd of all the other birds under heaven, chirping and fluttering, and they alighted among the ashes, and the doves nodded with their heads and began to pick, peck, pick, peck, and then all the others began to pick, peck, pick, peck, and put all the good grains into the dish. And before half-an-hour was over it was all done, and they flew away. Then the maiden took the dishes to the step-mother, feeling joyful, and thinking that now she should go with them to the feast; but she said, "All this is of no good to you; you cannot come with us, for you have no proper clothes, and cannot dance; you would put us to shame."

(source for quote: Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, published by Nelson Doubleday, Inc., New York © 1954)

excerpt from The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales:

"The task demanded of Cinderella seems senseless: why drop lentils into the ashes only to have them picked out again? The stepmother is convinced that this is impossible, degrading, meaningless. But Cinderella knows that something good can be gained from whatever one does if one is able to endow it with meaning, even from stirring around in the ashes. This detail of the story encourages the child in his conviction that to dwell in lowly places--to play in and with dirt--can be of great value, if one knows how to extract it. Cinderella calls on the birds to help her, telling them to pick out the good lentils and put them in the pot, but to do away with the bad ones by eating them.

Kym Hepworth, unsorted beads

The stepmother's falseness in twice reneging on her promises is thus opposed to Cinderella's recognition that what is needed is a sorting out of good and evil. After Cinderella has spontaneously turned the task into a moral problem of good versus bad, and eliminated the bad, she proceeds to her mother's grave and asks the tree to "scatter gold and silver" over her...."

(source for quote: The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim, published by Vintage Books, New York, © 1989)




The Icicle Works - Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)

more birds...

Talk Talk - It's My Life

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mermaid Avenue

Wilco and Billy Bragg - Secret of the Sea

Today's post is loosely hobbled together around the theme of dangerous creatures of the sea - so I thought I'd share with you an excerpt from a Scottish folktale, Morag and the Water Horse. If you're not familiar with this particular beastie, a Water Horse is a shape-shifting monster that lives in lochs and roams the hillside searching for unlucky people to devour...

"One golden morning as (Morag) was turning her shuttle without a care in the world, a dark shadow came between herself and the sunlight, and she broke off her song with a scream.

'I did not mean to startle you,' said a pleasant voice; and looking round, Morag discovered a young man standing beside her. He was tall and comely, and there was the look of strength on his broad shoulders. Yet his appearance was strange, for his clothes and hair were dark and dripping with water.

'How is it you are so wet?' asked Morag. 'For there is not a cloud to be seen in the sky.'

'For sure,' the young man answered easily, 'the sole of my foot slipped as I passed by a tarn high in the hills, and I fell into the water. The sun will soon dry me.'

He sat on the ground by Morag's side, and she was not loth to let her spinning-wheel hang idle while he spoke fair words to her. Yet in spite of the charm in his manner, his pleasant speech, and tender glances, Morag could not help feeling that there was something strange about him, although she tried to push this thought away from her mind.

As he felt the sunlight on his scalp, the young man brushed one hand over his damp head.

'Lay your head upon my lap,' said Morag, 'and let me smooth your hair.'

And while the young man did as she bade him, she began to comb his dark locks with gentle hands. But suddenly she paused in her combing, and terror entered her soul.

For she saw that the teeth of the comb were choked with fine green strands of weed and grains of silt. That weed and silt she knew well, for had she not seen it often in her father's net when he fished in the great loch below the hill-side? In truth, it was the liobbagach an locha that was wrapped round the roots of the young man's hair . . . Young man? This was no young man, but the dreaded Water Horse itself, risen from its lair and present in this comely shape to lure her to her death. . . ."
(source for quote: Scottish Folk-tales and Legends retold by Barbara Ker Wilson, published by Oxford University Press, New York, © 1990)

the merciless Water Horse???


The Pixies - Palace of the Brine (thanks Robin!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

amuse yeux (don't fall on me)

Lover's Leap, Cumberland, Maryland (postcard from my collection)

Edward Gorey (1925-2000), on which she flung herself over the parapet, from The Object-Lesson
(source: Amphigorey: 15 Books by Edward Gorey, published by The Berkley Publishing Group, New York, NY © 1972)


excerpt from the diary of Nelly Ptaschkina (1903-1920), at the age fifteen:

October 20 (1918)

"I love to stand at the edge of an abyss, at the very edge, so that a single movement, and . . . today, stepping close to the brink of a precipice, although not so deep as I should have wished, the thought came into my mind that some day I should die thus, crashing headlong into the chasm.

My walk today has evoked this premonition . . . . But I feel it more now, after the walk, than during it."
"On July 2, 1920, in Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc, (Nelly Ptaschkina) mistook some moss for stones, misstepped and fell from an enormous height into the torrent of the Cascade du Dard. Her body was recovered many miles downstream and she was buried in Paris." . . . Go figure.

(source: Revelations: Diaries of Women edited by Mary Jane Moffat and Charlotte Painter, published by Vintage Books © 1974, 1975)


R.E.M. - Fall On Me

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Little Murderess (Lizzie Borden)

Lizzie Andrew Borden (July 19, 1860 - June 1, 1927)


On August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Durfee Borden were brutally murdered by multiple blows from a hatchet inside their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie Borden was arrested for the murders of her father and step-mother on August 11, 1892. She was brought to trial and acquitted of both murders on June 20, 1893. No one else was tried or arrested for the crimes.

Below are passages from the inquest testimony of Lizzie Borden. Borden was questioned by District Attorney Hosea Knowlton on August 9-11, 1892. If you'd like to read more, click here. I've included Lizzie Borden-inspired artwork created by a few of the many talented artists on Etsy. Please click on the links and visit their shops!


Q. How long was your father in the house before you found him killed?

A. I don't know exactly because I went out to the barn. I don't know what time he came home. I don't think he had been home more than 15 or 20 minutes. I am not sure.

Q. When you went out to the barn, where did you leave your father?

A. He had laid down on the living room lounge, taken off his shoes and put on his slippers and taken off his coat and put on the reefer. I asked him if he wanted the window left that way.

Q. Where did you leave him?

A. On the sofa.

Q. Was he asleep?

A. No sir.

Q. Was he reading?

A. No sir.

Q. What was the last thing you said to him?

A. I asked him if he wanted the window left that way. Then I went into the kitchen and from there to the barn.



Q. Whereabouts in the barn did you go?
A. Upstairs.

Q. To the second story of the barn?

A. Yes sir.

Q. How long did you remain there?

A. I don't know. Fifteen or 20 minutes.

Q. What doing?

A. Trying to find lead for a sinker.

Q. What made you think there would be lead for a sinker up there?

A. Because there was some there.



Q. When you got through looking for lead, did you come down?

A. No sir. I went to the west window over the hay, to the west window, and the curtain was slanted a little. I pulled it down.

Q. What else?

A. Nothing.

Q. That is all you did?

A. Yes sir.

Q. That is the second story of the barn.

A. Yes sir.

Q. Was the window open?

A. I think not.

Q. Hot?

A. Very hot.


Q. How long do you think you were up there?
A. Not more than 15 or 20 minutes, I should not think.

Q. Should you think what you have told me would occupy four minutes?

A. Yes, because I ate some pears up there.

Q. Do you think all you have told me would take you four minutes?

A. I ate some pears up there.

Q. I asked you to tell me all you did.

A. I told you all I did.

Q. Do you mean to say you stopped your work and then, additional to that, sat still and ate some pears?

A. While I was looking out of the window, yes sir.

Q. Will you tell me all you did in the second story of the barn?

A. I think I told you all I did that I can remember.



Q. Do you know whether there was any blood on the skirt?

A. No sir.

Q. Assume that there was, do you know how it came there?

A. No sir.

Q. Have you any explanation of how it might come there?

A. No sir.

Q. Did you know there was any blood on the skirt you gave them?

A. No sir.

Q. Assume that there was. Can you give any explanation of how it came there on the dress skirt?

A. No sir.

Q. Have you offered any?

A. No sir.

Q. Have you said it came from flea bites?
A. On the petticoats, I said there was a flea bite. I said it might have been. You said you meant the dress skirt.



Q. Miss Borden, of course you appreciate the anxiety that everybody has to find the author of this tragedy, and the questions that I put to you have been in that direction. I now ask you if you can furnish any other fact, or give any other, even suspicion, that will assist the officers in any way in this matter.
A. About two weeks ago---.

Q. Was you going to tell the occurrence about the man that called at the house?

A. No sir. It was after my sister went away. I came home from Miss Russell's one night and as I came up, I always glanced towards the side door. As I came along by the carriage-way, I saw a shadow on the side steps. I did not stop walking, but I walked slower. Somebody ran down the steps, around the east end of the house. I thought it was a man because I saw no skirts and I was frightened, and, of course, I did not go around to see. I hurried in the front door as fast as I could and locked it.


Monday, August 2, 2010

What Maisie Knew


Ideas of Her Own

"Little Maisie was very naughty one day, crying and breaking up her toys, kicking and screaming, and ending up by spitting at her nurse.

Her mother gave her a good talking to. "I can't see what gives you such ideas," said her mother, "unless it is the devil."

"Maybe the devil made me kick and cry," said Maisie, "but that spitting was my own idea." ..."

(source for quote: One Hundred Pointed Stories by Keith L. Brooks, published by American Prophetic League, Inc., Los Angeles, CA ©1940
)


found photograph from my collection


The Pretenders - Bad Boys Get Spanked