Friday, December 3, 2010

Oak Island Captain William Kidd and the Mystery

Oak Island, Nova Scotia, one the most intriguing mysteries and the world's greatest treasure hunt. There has been so many attempts to try and solve the Oak Island riddle. Neither force nor technology have been able to give us the answer but just maybe the answer is not far away. Six lives have been lost and millions of dollars spent attempting to get to the secrets of the Money Pit. Still, no one knows what lies at the bottom, who built it or why. There are numerous theories but little proof.
Oak Island Part 1

   Captain William Kidd

Legends abound about secret caches of treasure buried by Kidd and his crew. There are many tales of old men on their death beds claiming to have been part of Kidd's crew and having knowledge of hidden wealth.

      He was born in 1645 Greenock Renfrew Scotland although some say Dundee,he died May 23, 1701, London.  He was sailing as a legitimate privateer for Britain when he was commissioned in 1695 to apprehend pirates who molested the ships of the East India Company. He himself turned pirate on the voyage,taking  several ships and starting his life as Captain William Kidd pirate of the seas. He then took possession of numerous French ships and as long as he was harassing the French, the British authorities were happy to turn a blind eye, too much of his piracy.
    It was in 1699 when he surrendered, having been promised a pardon. Sent from New York to England for trial, he was found guilty of  murder and five piracy counts, and he was hanged for the murder of William Moore.
The Murder of William Moore 

     On October 30 1697, Kidd's gunner, William Moore, was on deck sharpening a chisel, a Dutch ship was in sight. Moore urged Kidd to attack the Dutchman, an act not only piratical but also certain to anger the Dutch-born King William.An argument started and Kidd  heaved an ironbound bucket at Moore. Moore fell to the deck with a fractured skull and died the following day.
       At his execution,Kidd had drank so much brandy and rum he could no longer stand by himself. A huge crowd gathered to see Kidd get hanged. The rope around his neck broke.A new rope was tied around his neck and he was hung. His body was hung on the gallows until three tides had washed over his body before being cut down and pronounced dead. This was the maritime law for convicted pirates.His body was tarred and placed inside a metal cage as a warning to all future pirates. His body was displayed like this for almost 2 yrs until the birds pecked his body to the bone. Some of his treasure was recovered from Gardiners Island (off Long Island), but much has apparently never been found.Many stories point toward Oak Island as Kidds treasure burial ground.
     It was'nt just Kidd but other pirates also have been rumored to have used the island as something of a safe/bank. It is believed that each group of pirates would dig deep, long tunnels off the main Money Pit shaft in order to hide their treasure. If they wanted to retrieve it, all they had to do was dig down through untouched dirt to get their wealth.

Francis Bacon, Knights Templar/Mason Conspiracy Theory

    Francis Bacon was always accepted as the younger son of Sir Nicholas Bacon however there exist reasonable grounds to suggest that he was actually the secret son of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley. He is an enigmatic figure and some actually believe he is the true author of the works of Shakespeare, and Christopher Marlowe. Bacon held a fascination with mysterious codes and ciphers. 

     Dr Owen, says Bacon always intended to conceal his manuscripts below the river Wye.This was in the tradition of the ancient Visigoths who redirected rivers and buried their dead beneath in secret tombs. While following instructions in a Baconian cipher and discovering a mysterious underground chamber beneath the bed of the River Wye, in the West of Britain. To his disappointment it was empty,but further Baconian ciphers were to be found carved on the walls. They believed the inscribed stone discovered in the Money Pit could be the link to Francis Bacon.Also the parchment found give Bacon followers more hope that one day the truth will be revealed.

Bacon's faithful claim Shakespeare was not educated enough to write his plays and they must have been written by someone else. Some people believe that someone else, is Francis Bacon. Since no original manuscripts of Shakespeare have ever been found, the theory goes that the originals were Bacon's and he has buried them somewhere to be found some time in the future.
In 1610, King James I granted Bacon land in Newfoundland. Sir Francis Bacon had  contacts such as Sir Francis Drake and status to arrange a secret burial of his valuable manuscripts. Bacon just adds more mystery to what's lying beneath Oak Island.
Francis Bacon Quotes

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.
Life, an age to the miserable, and a moment to the happy.
Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom
There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying.
   In this Clip,they use Edgar Alan Poes deciphering code from his book The Gold Bug which I find of great interest as well.

The Visions

An old lady told of a vision she had which occured on the south side of the island where there was a old birch tree see saw a vision of a dog sitting on some treasure chests.
Another story is a vision of dog on some boxes which a man had while  searching  for the treasure on Oak Island.
There have been many photos taken on Oak Island where orbs have claimed to be present.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Phantom of the Opera Gaston Leroux

 The Novel
     Leroux claimed to have been inspired to write the story after visiting the catacombs of the Paris Opera house.  While roaming its lower depths he found a mysterious subterranean lake which was visible through iron grilles in the floor.  Leroux also remembered an unfortunate accident in 1896 when one of the chandelier’s counterweights had fallen on the audience.

    Thirty years after the events conveyed in the novel, he wrote about how the story came about with his researching the library at the Paris Opera house his interviews with people who were present at the time and his reliance on the memoirs of one of the opera’s directors at that time.
He boasted about having found evidence of bodies in the cellars. 
  The novel features an innocent young girl, who having lost her father attempts to become a star at the Paris Opera House, much to the disappointment of her boyfriend, who wishes she would quit. Her father promised an angel of music would watch over her and help her. She meets a man, the phantom, living under the opera house in the catacombs with a half-hidden, disfigured face. He becomes her angel of music, tutoring her while terrorizing others. His obsession leads to a tragic love story triangle and eventually to his death. The novel had mixed reviews.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical 
   It came to life when in May of 1984 Andrew Lloyd Webber sees a review about a stage adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera produced by the Theatre Royal in Stratford, and considers the idea of turning it into a new musical.
   Then in early 1985 he comes across a faded copy of the original Leroux novel in a second hand bookshop in New York, and buys it for a dollar.The book inspired him to create a romantic musical score for his new wife Sarah Brightman and The Phantom of the Opera the musical is born kicking off in UK at Her Majesty's Theatre on 9th October, 1986.

  The Movies 
   The story appears on the big screen for the first time in 1925, when Universal Pictures put Lon Chaney in the starring role. The tale of a deformed, masked composer, haunting the Paris Opera like a ghost, redeemed only by his love for a pretty young singer, has horror and romance in a good mix. Erik, the Phantom , may exhibit occasional homicidal tendencies, but like most of the screen's great monsters, he is also in love, and this is his saving grace.The following is the  famous scene in which the Phantom, in his underground lair, is unmasked by the young opera singer Christine after he has abducted her. They cunningly devised, both photographically and editorially, so the camera is positioned where both Christine and the Phantom are facing forward when the unmasking occurs, allowing the audience to see the Phantom's face first, and then Christine's shocked reaction when he turns around to confront her.

Paris Opera House

Phantom of the Opera Images with music

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lady of Shalott

  John Waterhouse Painting

   Alfred Tennyson 1809-1892 made significant changes to this poem in 1842 and it is the revised edition that is used in most publications of this classic poem.
The Story
    The Lady of Shalott lives alone on an island upstream from King Arthur's Camelot. She looks outside her castle window in a mirror, weaves what she sees into a tapestry. She is forbidden to look at the outside world directly. The farmers who live near her island hear her singing and know who she is, but never see her. 

 The Lady, her surroundings, her tower and the outside world. The cause of the curse and its meaning are left unknown. She speaks through her own voice twice in the poem.Once when she makes the conscious decision to look out of her window, and again when she realizes what she has done. Tennyson  focuses the reader's attention on the physical situation of the Lady, and "the contrast between her interior world and the exterior world, between status quo and movement, between the active and meditative state and the differences between the two worlds"

 Lady of Shalott 
Verses and Photos taken around Lakes

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
;The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
    Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle embowers
    The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth, silken-sail'd
    Skimming down to Camelot
Yet who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she know in all the land,
    The Lady of Shalott?
 Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the beared barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
    Down to towered Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
    Lady of Shalott."

And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.
Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to the left and right--
The leaves upon her falling light--
Thro' the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
    And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half sick of shadows," said
    The Lady of Shalott.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Swan Lake and the Ugly Duckling

      Swan Lake is one of the most famous ballets ever performed and has been reproduced in many countries throughout the world.Tchaikovsky wrote the ballet in 1876.Tchaikovsky was a famous composer of ballets and his other works included Sleeping Beauty in 1889 and The Nutcracker in 1892
   The classic ballet begins with the celebration of Prince Siegfried’s 21st birthday. He is expected to take a wife in marriage. Discouraged, he retreats to an enchanted lake and discovers a uniquely beautiful swan floating among her companions. At dusk, she turns into a beautiful woman named Odette. She is the swan queen. An evil sorcerer named von Rothbart has turned Odette and her fellow lake maidens into swans by day and they can only be human by night. The weeping of the maiden daughters parents caused the formation of the lake itself. 

Swans Swimming on the Lake 

Swans on the Lake

   There is much controversy over the origin of the Swan Lake story. For centuries, legends of swans, symbolizing the purity of womanhood, can be found transcending both Eastern and Western literature. It is known that Tchaikovsky was commissioned by Vladimir  Begichev, of the Russian Imperial Theatres in Moscow and a friend of Tchaikovsky, to write a score for Swan Lake in May 1875.
   It was Begichev who wrote the initial programme of the ballet. He, along with Vasily  Geltser, a dancer in the Moscow company, are credited with writing the words for the ballet. It is highly likely that Tchaikovsky had a good deal of influence over the story’s development as well. Legends of swans were presumably familiar to Tchaikovsky and his artistic friends, who no doubt discussed the idea of the swan as a symbol of womanhood at its purest.

Swan Lake 

   The legend of the Swan Maiden goes back for centuries, appearing in differing forms in both eastern and western literature. Women who turn into birds and vice versa were popular themes, and the swan was particularly favored due to its grace when swimming in the water. The ancient Greeks considered the swan to the bird closest to the Muses. When Apollo was born at Delos, the event was celebrated by flights of circling swans.

The Ugly Duckling 
Hans Christian Anderson
    I can't understand how this ugly duckling can be one of mine!" she said to herself, shaking her head as she looked at her last born. Well, the gray duckling certainly wasn't pretty, and since he ate far more than his brothers, he was outgrowing them. As the days went by, the poor ugly duckling became more and more unhappy. His brothers didn't want to play with him, he was so
clumsy, and all the farmyard folks simply laughed at him. He felt sad and lonely, while Mother Duck did her best to console him.

   "Poor little ugly duckling!" she would say. "Why are you so different from the others?" And the ugly duckling felt worse than ever. He secretly wept at night. He felt nobody wanted him.
   Then one morning the ugly duckling sees the beautiful swans . He knows them. He wants so much to swim with them in the river. But he is afraid of them. He wants to die. So he runs into the river. He looks into the water. There in the water he sees a beautiful swan. It is he! He is no more an ugly duckling. He is a beautiful white swan.

 Ugly Duckling Danny Kaye

The Swan Song
      This term derived from the legend that, while they are mute during the rest of their lives, swans sing beautifully and mournfully just before they die. This isn't actually the case swans, even the inaccurately named Mute Swans, have a variety of vocal sounds and they don't sing before they die. The legend was known to be false as early as the days of ancient Rome.
Nevertheless, poetic imagery proved to be more attractive and many poets and writers used this legend. Chaucer included this line in the poem Parliament of Fowles.
Shakespeare,  used the image in The Merchant of Venice, 1596.

Aesops Fable  A Raven and a Swan
     A Raven saw a Swan and strongly desired the Swan's beautiful white feathers. Thinking the color was due to constant washing in the water the Swan was swimming in, the Raven left his perch and went to live in the lake. But washing in the lake's water had no effect on the Raven's color and as he could not fish for food, he perished.
    Maybe these are two ravens that did'nt perish but transformed into Black Swans.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Robert Louis Stevenson

His stories are great childrens classics Treasure Island, Kidnapped,The Black Arrow and then his poetry. Robert Louis Stevenson has always been one of my favourite authors and I remember reading a short story of his called The Imp as a boy and it has forever stuck in my head.
  The other two works of his that has me a little ga ga is The Body Snatchers and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and they are the stories we are looking at in this post.


     Stevenson was born on Nov. 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, the son of an engineer. He himself studied engineering and then law at the University of Edinburgh. Since childhood, however, Stevenson's natural inclination had been toward literature and he soon made his way into writing by the excellence of his style. 
   Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis and often traveled abroad in search of more healthful climates. His earliest works are descriptions of his journeys. An Inland Voyage (1878), describing a canoe trip through Belgium and France in 1876. Travels with a Donkey (1879), an account of a journey on foot through mountains in southern France in 1878. Subsequent travels took him by ship and train to California (1879-80), where in 1880 he married Frances Osbourne they settled in Samoa 1889 in a final effort to restore his health. He died in Samoa on Dec. 3, 1894, and was buried on a mountaintop behind Vailima, his Samoan home. 

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde based on scientists 
Freud, Kraft-Ebing and Darwin 

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the two characters of the novella are but one; one body two conflicting characters, the good and evil. In a way, these two characters bear more than two symbolic values In Victorian era, Dr. Sigmund Freud and Richard Kraft-Ebing gifted the world with the new branch of science Psychology and Psychoanalysis. Stevenson was impressed rather inspired by series of papers written by these two eminent scientists and published in journals of that period. Then there was most famous biologist, Charles Darwin, who produced tremors by publishing his research work the origin of species.Darwin's thesis of evolution of human being (monkey-ape-homo sapien) was also a thrilling new biological approach. Stevenson was inspired by these prominent scientists. Somewhere in his mind their thesis remained embedded within him and when he dreamt a nightmare, it triggered him to write Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Quotes
      I incline to Cain's heresy,' he used to say quaintly: 'I let my brother go to the devil in his own way.

The last I think; for, O poor old Harry Jekyll, if ever I read Satan's signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend."

I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end. And indeed he does not want my help; you do not know him as I do; he is safe, he is quite safe; mark my words, he will never more be heard of."

It was for one minute that I saw him, but the hair stood upon my head like quills. Sir, if that was my master, why had he a mask upon his face?"

    O God!' I screamed, and 'O God!' again and again; for there before my eyes--pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death--there stood Henry Jekyll!

   With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.

Stevenson Quotes 
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
Even if the doctor does not give you a year, even if he hesitates about a month, make one brave push and see what can be accomplished in a week. 
Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences. 
That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much.  
The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us. 
The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the domination of outward conditions.
 Stevensons Books and Poems
My Shadow
The Vagabond 

The Body Snatchers
First published in the Pall Mall Gazette Christmas issue
The Story summary
Four men sit drinking in a British tavern. There is a sick man in the house and a famous London doctor has been summoned to treat him. When one of the men, Fettes, hears the doctor’s name, Wolfe Macfarlane, he wakes suddenly from his drunken stupor and rushes to see the doctor’s face. He recognizes and threatens the doctor, who flees. Doctor Macfarlane and his accoster, Fettes, had studied medicine together under a famous--but unorthodox--anatomist.
They were in charge of obtaining bodies for dissection. Fettes regularly received and paid for corpses late at night from the men who robbed graves for them. One night, the body of a woman he knew was brought to his door; he was certain that she had been murdered but he said nothing. One day he met Macfarlane at a tavern. He was being strangely heckled by a man named Gray. The next night, Macfarlane showed up with Gray’s body and demanded payment for it. He had evidently murdered the man. Fettes was shaken but acquiesced. Soon the body was dissected, so the evidence of murder was gone.

History behind the Body Snatcher Publication

It was written in June, 1881, and was originally
  intended to form one of a series of tales of
  terror that Stevenson called  "crawlers,"
  which had been planned in collaboration with Mrs.
  Stevenson, and were to be brought out under the
  title of The Black Man and Other Tales.  Of these
  stories Thrawn Janet adn The Merry Men were
  published in the magazine but The
 Body Snatcher was laid aside the tale being so horrid.  Subsequently in
  1884 being asked to contribute a story to The Pall Mall Xmas Magazine ,
 he offered
Markheim, but as it fell short of the space
  reserved for it, Stevenson sent The Body Snatcher,
  which, in a letter to the editor, he describes as
  "blood-curdling enough and ugly enough to chill
  the blood of a grenadier". Unique and gruesome
  methods of advertising were used by  
The Pall Mall, and much attention was drawn to the
  story.  In London, posters were displayed of so
  ghoulish and startling a character that they were
  suppressed by the police.
The friendly cow all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart.

She wanders lowing here and there,
And yet she cannot stray,
All in the pleasant open air,
The pleasant light of day;

And blown by all the winds that pass
And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass
     And eats the meadow flowers.
Travels with Robert Louis Stevenson in the Cevennes 
Anna Tambour 

While striking his bargain, Father Adam petted my neck for the first time. At our separation he shed a tear, and the tear made a clean mark down one cheek as he fingered with delight his heavy coins. And although everyone in the village knew the truth about his loving attachment to me, they waved in complicity as my new owner led me away. As we rounded the corner, my left ear pointed back to the laughter from where we had been, while my right leaned toward a chortle at my side. "Cheaper than my sleeping sack!" Mr. Stevenson exclaimed, in words that sounded like pebbles rolling down the cobblestones. I felt quite deflated. I had been quite proud at the price he paid for me, and here he thought me cheap. He spent the next few steps congratulating himself rather insultingly until he interrupted himself with "What shall I call her?"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ian Fleming and His Golden Man

The Birth of Bond and Ian Fleming's love affair with the Caribbean.
    Ian Fleming had long harbored a dream of creating for himself a home in a far-off place. During World War II, he had made occasional visits to the West Indies. His favourite pastimes which included underwater swimming and his interest in the fauna and flora of the Caribbean environment. He loved to talk about the rare types of sea shells and tropical birds on the island. 
   He not only knew Jamaica thoroughly, but other parts of the Caribbean such as the Bahamas. Live and Let Die”, “Doctor No” and “The Man with the Golden Gun” have Jamaican settings. The nearby village of Oracabessa is the “beautiful little banana port” which James Bond drove through in “Live and Let Die”. 
 Fleming built and called his home here the Golden Eye. The Golden Eye was the name given to the movie based on Flemings life made in 1989.

   James Bond by Ian Fleming
I was looking for a name for my hero and I found it, on the cover of one of my Jamaican bibles“Birds of the West Indies” by James Bond, an ornithological classic.

His first Bond adventure was CASINO ROYALE in 1953, and it was followed by 13 others.

A Passage from Casino Royale

     It was a dark, clean-cut face, with a three-inch scar showing whitely down the sunburned skin of the right cheek. The eyes were wide and level under straight, rather long black brows. The hair was black, parted on the left, and carelessly brushed so that a thick black comma fell down over the right eyebrow. The longish straight nose ran down to a short upper lip below which was a wide and finely drawn but cruel mouth. The line of jaw was straight and firm. A section of dark suit, white short and black knitted tie completed the picture."

Live and Let Die 1954

In World War II Fleming was a high ranking naval officer in the British intelligence. During a training exercise Fleming had to swim underwater and attach a mine to a tanker. This act became material for the climax of Live and Let Die.

   Beautiful, fortune-telling Solitaire is the prisoner of Mr Big ,master of fear, artist in crime and Voodoo Baron of Death. James Bond has no time for superstition .He knows that Big is also a top SMERSH operative and a real threat. More than that, after tracking him through the jazz joints of Harlem, to the Everglades and on to the Caribbean, 007 has realised that he is one of the most dangerous men that he has ever faced. And no one, not even the enigmatic Solitaire, can be sure how their battle of wills is going to end.
Dr No 1958

      Bond is given a shabby little case in the Caribbean. It will really be a holiday on an island in the sun,he is told but on the horizon 
is an articulated steel hand, the hand of Dr. No! He is a sinister recluse with mechanical pincers for hands and a sadistic fascination with pain. Bond and Honey Rider, his beautiful and vulnerable girl Friday, have been captured trespassing on Dr No's secluded Caribbean island. Intent on protecting his  operations from the British Secret Service, Dr No sees an opportunity to dispose of an enemy and further his diabolical research. Soon, Bond and Rider are fighting for their lives in a murderous game.

 Some of Flemings strongest characters came from the book Goldfinger.

Goldfinger 1959

The Villain

Auric Goldfinger treasurer of Smersh, the richest man in England, expert marksman, gold-loving murderer and golf cheat his character was based on at least three people
but was named after the architect Erno Goldfinger, a Marxist and the designer of the Modernist tower blocks in London, Balfron Tower and Trellick Tower. The other two were an American minerals millionaire,and a First World War German spymaster . In the novel Goldfinger, the seventh in the James Bond series .Fleming sketched a biographical background. Auric (the adjective for gold) Goldfinger is a 42-year-old expatriate Latvian, 5ft short, with blue eyes, red hair and a penchant for painting his women gold, so he can make love to the metal he adores. Fleming’s golfing partner, John Blackwell, was related by marriage to the real Goldfinger and disliked him: he probably encouraged Fleming to appropriate the name. 

The Bond Girl   

Pussy Galore  

   Pussy is the owner of a flying circus, the staff of which consists entirely of beautiful female pilots. However, she is also part of Auric Goldfinger's plan to rob Fort Knox. Prior to Goldfinger's men moving in, her pilots are to fly over the area, spraying it with knockout gas to immobilize all personnel in the immediate area.

Pussy identifies herself as "the outdoors type" and apparently plans to use her cut of the proceeds from the robbery to buy her own tropical island and "go back to nature."

   A judo expert, she is very tough and not easily moved by 007's charm. In fact, it is hinted that she may be a lesbian. However, she is eventually seduced by Bond, who informs her that the gas Goldfinger intends to use is actually deadly - she had believed it to be knockout gas with no lasting effect on those targeted with it. Pussy then reveals that she does have a conscience, by contacting the CIA to inform them of Goldfinger's plan, and switching the gas for another variety which has no effect at all, allowing the CIA to set a trap for Goldfinger.

Bond Girls


   In spite of warning's from doctors, Fleming did not give up his outdoor activities, and the final heart attack which ended his life came at the Royal St. George's Sandwich golf course in Kent on 12 August, 1964.The unfinished The Man with the Golden Gun,was completed by Fleming's literary executors,and was published posthumously.
Fleming also published a successful children's book about a magical car,Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

   Ian Fleming Quotes
"You only live twice: Once when you're born ,And once when you look death in the face."
   You Only Live Twice

"Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles." 
Casino Royale 

Smoking I find the most ridiculous of all the varieties of human behavior and practically the only one that is entirely against nature. Can you imagine a cow or any animal taking a mouthful of smoldering straw than breathing in the smoke and blowing it out through its nostrils?"

The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success

Bond Theme Songs

Bond Car Chases

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Urban Legends

Thought we would look at Bloody Mary ,Springheeled Jack and other urban legends which always make interesting stories.

Bloody Mary

  What you need is one candle, a strong heart and a big bathroom with a large mirror.
Turn out the lights, place your candle down and light it, stand and look into the mirror, chant slowly “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary”. And see what happens.

It is believed that by taking part in this game, and summoning the witch, it would have one of the following terrible consequences:
eyes being ripped out by the witch.
found with claw marks all over body.
disappear mysteriously from the bathroom and end up in the mirror with the witch for eternity.
view the horrifying image of the witch appear in the mirror.
driven insane or dropping dead on the spot at the appearance of the witch in the mirror.
suffer terrible claw marks all over face.

The other names she is known.

Mary Worth
Mary Whales
Hell Mary (for the appearance of Satan)
Bloody Mary Worth
Mary Worthington 

Queen Mary
There is a lot of speculation as to the names being taken from Mary I, Queen of England who reigned during the Tudor period. Mary Tudor was also commonly known as "Bloody Mary". Her nickname of "Bloody Mary" became attached to her when she
violently executed and burnt people at the stake for heresy throughout her reign of a little over 5 years.
She also was unable to bear children and suffered two phantom pregnancies, this is where it is speculated that the Bloody Mary game involving chanting "I stole your baby" or "I killed your baby" became tangled up with the now known Bloody Mary game. 

Springheeled Jack

                  Some of the sightings through history

Springheeled jack
In 1808, a letter to the editor of the Sheffield Times recounted how "Years ago a famous Ghost walked and played many pranks in this historic neighbourhood." The writer went on to identify this entity as the "Park Ghost or Spring Heeled Jack," and briefly described its ability to take enormous leaps and frighten random passers-by.

 Then Spring-Heeled Jack leapt out of the shadows in 1837.  At first he was just a rumor, and few Londoners believed the tales they heard of the attacks, mostly on young women, carried out by the mystery man. The rumors persisted as the number of attacks grew. He would hide himself behind walls or bushes and then leap out on unsuspecting travelers. Usually he would rip their clothes with the claws on his hands, and breathe flames into the victims' faces. Then he would bound away in huge, leaping strides which covered great distances at each step. The thing about the devil-man which most stuck out in the minds of the victims were his terrible, hell-like red glowing eyes, and his peculiar ringing laughter, which echoed in their minds for days afterward. 
  Spring Heeled Jack was again seen leaping up and down the streets and rooftops of Liverpool in 1904, then disappeared from England for close to seventy years. By that time, however, he had become notorious in the US. Jack's American visits were first reported in Louisville, KY in July of 1880. There, he was described as tall, having pointed ears, long nose and fingers, and was clad in a cape, helmet, and shiny uniform. He accosted women, tore at their clothing, and emitted flames from a blue light on his chest.
     Between 1938-1945, he made dozens of appearances in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts, though there he reportedly belched flames rather than ejecting them from his chest. In Provincetown, which I gather has seen no end of strange things, his leaping forced pedestrians off the pavement of a busy street. When a dog cornered him, the animal's owner blasted Jack with a shotgun, but "the darned thing just laughed and jumped my eight foot fence in one leap," the man told police. 

Scariest Urban legends

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wizard and Wonderland

   The Wizard and Wonderland
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland

  These two would have to be the biggest children stories seen on movie theatres,stage and tv .My daughters must have watched Wizard Of Oz 100s of times from when they were two through to about seven years old and Alice would have to be the most remade story of all time with numerous versions over the years. The latest of course seeing Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter with lines like...
Why is a Raven like a writing desk?

There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter.

What a regrettably large head you have. I would very much like to hat it. I used to hat The White Queen, you know. Her head was so small.

Alice In Wonderland
Alice comes upon a mushroom and sitting on it is a blue Caterpillar smoking a hookah.
Cheshire cat
  A Cheshire Cat appears in a tree, directing her to the March Hare's house. He disappears but his grin remains behind to float on its own in the air prompting Alice to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat.

  Alice leaves the tea party and enters the garden where she comes upon three living playing cards painting the white roses on a rose tree red because the Queen of Hearts hates white roses.
 Queen of Hearts
Off with their heads.

   Alice attends a trial whereby the Knave of Hearts is accused of stealing the Queen's tarts. The jury is composed of various animals, including Bill the Lizard, the White Rabbit is the court's trumpeter, and the judge is the King of Hearts. During the proceedings, Alice finds that she is steadily growing larger. The dormouse scolds Alice and tells her she has no right to grow at such a rapid pace and take up all the air. Alice scoffs and calls the dormouse's accusation ridiculous because everyone grows and she can't help it. 

Author  Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

 The third of eleven children of an Anglican priest, was a mathematician and a logician who was a lecturer at Oxford for some 26 years. He was also an accomplished photographer, and a Church Deacon. Dodgson's pen name, was Lewis Carroll.

  Alice was originally a dark haired child, whose likeness had been patterned after ten year old Alice Liddell, the child of a church colleague, for whom the Alice stories had been originally created.

 Quote from Lewis Carroll himself.
 "Many a day we rowed together on that quiet stream - the three little maidens and I - and many a fairy tale had been extemporised for their benefit- .. -yet none of these tales got written down: they lived and died, like summer midges, each in its own golden afternoon until there came a day when, as it chanced, one of the listeners petitioned that the tale might be written down for her."
That's how Alice was put to paper.

 There are so many characters in Alice I am sure Mr Dodgson was on something just like the caterpillar.Another two characters are Tweedledee and Tweedledum which prompted Bob Dylan too put this down with music.

 Neither one gonna turn and run
They’re making a voyage to the sun
“His Master’s voice is calling me”
Says Tweedle-dee Dum to Tweedle-dee Dee

Oz book


Cowardly lion
 L. Frank Baum was born in New York in 1856. He began his career at the age of 25 by writing for musical theater; he was also an actor. Baum eventually turned to journalism, and moved to Chicago in 1891, writing for the "Evening Post." To earn extra money, he also sold porcelain and china; you will see evidence of that in the stories he tells .

   Adventures in Phunniland and Tales from Mother Goose were his first two childrens books published in 1897 This collection of short stories, with an appearance of a little farm girl named Dorothy were a success and 
driven by the impetus of these works, and now in his early forties, Baum decided to earn his living as a writer. Together with artist William Wallace Denslow he produced Father Goose: His Book in 1899 and in so doing created a publishing sensation which sold nearly 60,000 copies. To follow this book up he published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz which was a huge success with the public and critics alike.

  In 1910, Baum and his family moved to Hollywood, California. He founded the Oz Film Manufacturing Company and began making films based on the Oz books. The problem was that back in the early years of the century, nobody had really started making films for children. Baum found it difficult to market the films, and they were not financially successful. 

  Baum's financial affairs had become increasingly entangled, and by 1910 the situation was so serious that he assigned all rights to his Bobbs-Merrill books to a group of creditors. In 1911 Baum was declared bankrupt. 

    Baum continued to publish an Oz book once a year, with a whole generation of American children growing up with the tradition of an adventure in that far away land every Christmas. In February 1918 Baum entered the hospital, writing to his publishers that he had "finished the second Oz book - beyond The Tin Woodman of Oz - which will give you a manuscript for 1919 and 1920. Also there is material for another book, so in case anything happens to me the Baum books can be issued until and including 1921." Baum survived his hospital operation but spent his last year bedridden, dying nine days before his 63rd birthday in 1919.
   People over the years have developed stories,comic strips,ideas from Baum's classic story. the Wiz a stage musical and Wizard of Id comic strip are just two.The group Toto who had great musical success in the eighties was named after Dorothy's pooch.


The Wiz

  The Wiz a retelling of Baum's, Wizard Of Oz  in the context of African american culture. The story was written by William F Brown. While it was a successful stage show musical. I think a lot of people will remember the screen version starring Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow and Diana Ross as Dorothy.

Wizard of Id comic strip 
  The title is a play on Wizard of Oz, combined with the Freudian psychological term Id, which represents the instinctive and primal part of the human psyche.It first appeared in 1964 created by American cartoonists Brant Parker and Johnny Hart.