Tag Archives: Fairy Tales

Two Lives . . . One Note

Now that 2015 commencement exercises are mostly completed around the country, the wedding season is definitely upon us. At least one source states April is when wedding season actually begins, while other sources consider May the beginning of the “season.” I’ve usually considered May the most common month among my friends and acquaintances.wedding-season-spring

We’ve already attended one wedding this month. It was a beautiful ceremony with the stunning bride dressed elegantly and the groom all smiles as she walked down the aisle toward him. Venue decorations were stylishly appointed and it was (in my estimation) every bit the fairy tale event a young woman imagines for her day. Continue Reading →

What Does Cinderella Do?

Thanks to the recent release of Disney’s live-action movie, Cinderella, there’s been a resurgent popularity for the romantic fairy tale. In a February post, I mentioned my enthusiasm for the upcoming (at that time) movie and my eagerness to see it. (I’m hopeful to catch it this coming weekend.)
Unfortunately, from about the 1960s and forward, the Cinderella mythology fell out of favor because the feminist dogma unofficially rejected her as an undesirable sexist stereotype. Google “feminism and Cinderella” and numerous posts result, many of which attempt to provide a new take on this formerly discarded fairy tale heroine.
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Home Before Midnight

In spite of the hype of the 2015 Oscars last evening, it wasn’t enough to lure me in. Don’t get me wrong. I love movies, especially the films with well-drawn characters and a sensitive story line. (I’m much less interested in films that go for cheap laughs and ugly or superficial relationships.) If I’m going to devote two hours to a film, I need to care about the characters on the screen.

The Oscars broadcast didn’t draw me in because, much as I love movies, I’m disinclined to care about and choose to watch the Hollywood glitterati preen and pose and suffer through the tedium of a inane questions asked and answered inanely.2015_1$largeimg215_Jan_2015_104948370

From some of the comments I heard today and the brief posts I read online, I think it was a blessing I didn’t watch … no need to witness the awkward moments – Neil Patrick Harris in a diaper or John Travolta imitating Joe Biden’s lecherous moves, nor to note the stunning absence of Joan Rivers’ mention during the In Memoriam tribute.

I did note the Best Supporting Actor award earned by J. K. Simmons, the recent face of Farmers Insurance commercials. (I suppose it goes without saying, his price per ad will be going up, right?) I also took a gander at the gowns this morning and watched Lady Gaga perform the Sound of Music medley, as well as the Vine video of Common appearing to ignore (diss, some suggested) Oprah. All in all, the twenty minutes I spent was preferable over the extended live production. Continue Reading →

The Precious Precinct of Imagination

Perhaps you’ve already heard about the predicament of nine-year-old Aiden Steward, a Texas school-boy whose whimsical offer to make his classmate “disappear” has landed him in hot water.

Having watched with his family the most recent entry in Director Peter Jackson’s film oeuvre, The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies, young Aiden strode to school one day carrying his own “magic ring” and suggesting the ring’s magic powers were available and at his disposal (if you will).

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/mw3jtx

FROM: http://tiny.cc/mw3jtx

Apparently, Steward’s unnamed classmate had no intention of hanging around to have the ring’s “magic” demonstrated on him. The offended child – seriously lacking-in-imagination – complained to a teacher who notified the school principal. In short order, Steward’s claim of magical power reached the district superintendent, resulting in the boy’s suspension for “making a terroristic threat.

Wow!

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How Much Wood Can A Groundhog Chuck?

Since as early as the 1840s, Groundhog Day has been observed in parts of Pennsylvania. In places like Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the observation has become a highly-celebrated tradition, thanks in large part to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which hosts a series of events throughout the weekend.

One of the best things to ever happen to Groundhog Day (in my opinion) was the movie of the same name. It is a great comedy, as well as a unique view of human behavior and change. It wears well and even after multiple viewings, the predicament of the main character still resonates … we identify with Bill Murray’s Everyman.GroundhogDay

A number of my mother’s ancestors hail from Berks County PA where the earliest observations of Groundhog Day took place (in Morgantown PA), so I enjoy knowing something about PA festivals. These are my peeps! However, celebrants in Punxsutawney PA claim their tradition goes back more than a century. Those are not my peeps, though having watched the movie several times, I find their enthusiasm for this event contagious!

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Is This The Fairy Tale?

Looking back, there’s this overwhelming realization of how young we were … he was 21, I was five days shy. We were fresh-faced, dazzled by the idea of joining our lives together, and fearless about the unknowns our future held for us. Here’s a picture on our wedding day. (Did I mention fresh-faced? Ha! How d’ya like that bow?) We were heart-and-soul smitten and (using today’s parlance) in luuvv. (Say it with a deep voice.)

DLORLOWhat in heavens did we know about love? That’s a reasonable question! The best answer, I suppose, is that both of us were stubborn enough – once we’d said our vows – we were going to stick together no matter what. We’ve had our share of both laughter and tears, and how we’ve been blessed!

Forty-five years is more than twice the years we’d lived prior to marriage. But in the annals of anniversary history, 45 isn’t particularly significant … it’s just one of those milestones on the road to 50. As I thought about it, I realized there are a few other things uniquely related to 45 and I offer my observations on those. Continue Reading →

Deja Vu and French Class

Recently, the Turner Classic Movies channel (TCM) ran the old movie La Belle et la Bête. This 1946 version of the ancient fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, is part of what’s called The Criterion Collection. I think I’d seen this film years ago but I decided I needed to revisit it.

la-belle-et-la-bete-1946-a03Many people familiar with the story line know Beauty and the Beast from the 1987 television series that ran three years and starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. Another made-for-television rendition from 1976 aired as a Hallmark Hall of Fame film starring George C. Scott and his wife Trish Van Devere. There have been a number of other iterations (less notable in my view) through the years.

The 1946 La Belle et la Bête is different from all the others. First of all, the dialogue is delivered in French (start to finish) with English subtitles. If you’re not someone who has the patience for subtitles, you may not enjoy the film. Because the film is black and white, it’s dark (though at the same time luminous) and the score has a haunting feel about it.

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Goodbye, Peter Pan

Suicide is never noble!

Let me repeat. Suicide. Is. Never. Noble. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever!

"Robin Williams 2011a (2)" by Eva Rinaldi → Flickr: Robin Williams - →This file has been extracted from another image: File:Robin Williams 2011a.jpg.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robin_Williams_2011a_(2).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Robin_Williams_2011a_(2).jpg

FROM: http://tiny.cc/xehikx

The individual may be a supposedly devout Muslim and ardent follower of the radical Al-Qaeda who is perversely motivated by the promise of 72 virgins for dying a so-called martyr’s death.

Or the individual may be a celebrated comic, actor and all-around good guy as Robin Williams appears to have been.

Whatever the person’s status, religious conviction or seemingly hopeless conditions might be, not one of these reasons (in my view) justifies self-murder. And I say it again for emphasis:  No death by suicide should be considered a noble act … ever!

Am I being harsh? I don’t think so. I’ve posted about suicide before (here, here, here, among others). My thoughts on the subject should be clear to anyone who reads those posts. Most people who know me would probably agree I’m compassionate and have a deep well of empathy. But I’m also acutely pragmatic. Continue Reading →

Wendy Grows Up

"Peter pan 1911 pipes" by Francis Donkin Bedford (1864–1954)

“Peter pan 1911 pipes” by Francis Donkin Bedford (1864–1954)

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, J. M. Barrie’s fictional creation of Neverland and his story of Peter Pan has fascinated me since childhood. Between the time when my sister Nadja died (previous post here) and the birth of my younger sister Tamara (previous post here), our family resembled the Darlings (except I was second, fictional Wendy Darling had been born first). In our case, my family included older son Eric, daughter (me) and younger son Kevin. We slept upstairs in slant-ceilinged little rooms away from our parents’ space.

The sudden appearance at the windowsill of a boy who could fly and a fairy “no longer than your hand, but still growing” would have been an exciting scenario for the three of us! Becoming friends with a boy who’d lost his shadow might have puzzled us at first, but we’d have figured it out quickly enough.

Though I’d never have counted myself with the Lost Boys of Never-Neverland, in my younger years I well remember times when I wished fervently that I’d never grow up. The press of adult decisions and responsibilities seemed overwhelming and scary. I knew once I’d completely traversed the threshold of adulthood, my decisions were my own … for better or worse. Tell me that’s not sobering!

Over my lifetime, I’ve realized how significant imagination is to the proper formation of our adult personalities. There’s a terrific book by Professor Anthony Esolen called Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. Whether read by a parent of small children or an older parent (like me), this book provides helpful insight about imagination. Another book, Tending the Heart of Virtue by Vigen Guroian, is subtitled How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination. An older book (1998), this one is well worth close study and reflection. Continue Reading →

Unlocking the Gnome Genome

FROM: Gartenzwerg by EddyDD

With all that’s going on in the world right now, it’s a fitting day for whimsy …don’t you think?

Anticipating the arrival of my European relatives in a couple weeks, I couldn’t help but think about my Germanic roots and how those roots have influenced my life, probably in ways I know as well as via my subconscious.

Gnomes are a whimsical creation of German origin, so I’m told by various online resources. The Brothers Grimm (who else?) included their tale number 91, The Gnome, in one of their collections of fairy tales.

Every time I read (or re-read) one of these fairy tales, I’m reminded how absolutely unfiltered these stories are. This amuses me because I know literature for children today covers certain allowable themes while other themes are way off limits. I think Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm would be aghast at today’s strict and puzzling approach. Continue Reading →

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