Saturday, December 25, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Virus

My computer has a bug. Hopefully it will be fixed over Christmas. I have a post scheduled for the 25th but the eclogues won't continue until after. As you can imagine it is a lot of typing that will have to wait for my home computer to be fixed.

To Mr. Congreve

As merchants whose sunk trade, and ebbing stocks
Fear every storm, and dread the lurking rocks,
Above her real worth their bark ensure,
Then carelss hug themselves, and sleep secure;
They hear of wrecks, and fear no inward pain,
But seeming losses bring a real gain.
So, would your smiles protect the fearful muse, The vulgar praise I would with scorn refuse.
By you approv'd, condemn'd by all beside,
I'd court my fate, and swell with careless pride.
Since novel treats our modern gusts persue,
I hop'd at least to please by something new.
The muse long sought the woods, and mossy caves,
Despis'd the seas, and fear'd the rowling waves,
The flowry meadows, and the whispering trees
Have oft been sung, and will hereafter please.
Cool shady grots, and gently rising hills,
And the soft murmurs of complaining rills,
In ancient verse describ'd their sweets convey,
And still succeeding bards repeat the grateful lay.
But the vast unseen mansions of the deep,
Where secret groves with liquid amber weep,
Where blushing sprigs of knotty coral spread
And gild the azure with a brighter red,
Were still untouch'd -
Beside the muse has no envenom'd rage,
No party-wars her innocence engage,
Nor partial falshoods stain the guilty page.
She loves no pompous sound, or lofty strain,
Or soars to sense obscure with awkward pain,
But would plain songs in artless verse contrive,
And humble modes only asks to dive.
Joys free, and undisturb'd, and endless loves
The Triton seeks, and ev'ry Nymph approves.
    But should the harmless pen have no regard,
Your name (like sacred spells that charm when
                       heard)
From blasting tongues secure the tender bard,
The beauteous Nymphs to your protection throng,
And beg, you would not scorn the humble song:
As Indian travellers wild beasts affright
By kindled fires, and skreen themselves with light.
So critick-wits, like other brutes of prey,
From a surrounding brightness slink away.
Men dare not censure (even when they ought)
If Virgil will approve what Maevious wrote.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

William Diaper

Here is a young fellow has writ some Sea Eclogues, poems of Mermen, resembling pastorals of shepherds, and they are very pretty, and the thought is new. Mermen are he-mermaids; Tritons, natives of the sea. Do you understand me? I think to recommend him to our Society to-morrow. His name is Diaper. P— on him, I must do something for him, and get him out of the way. I hate to have any new wits rise, but when they do rise I would encourage them; but they tread on our heels and thrust us off the stage. - Jonathan Swift

William Diaper (1685–1717) is a somewhat obscure poet, more appreciated in his time than in ours. Little is known of his life, and he died at a young age leaving us only a few works to appreciate. His most important work, published in 1712, was Nereides, or Sea-Eclogues. It was a lovely attempt to recreate the pastoral. It consists of fourteen dialogues of the sea nymphs and tritons.


Tracking down these Eclogues has been a task (of course after purchasing the book, Amazon put up several.)

My Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa gift to you all is putting them up for you to enjoy! Starting tomorrow I will put up one a day until they are finished.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Glaucus

I've mentioned Glaucus before on this blog. He was a rather lucky fisherman in my opinion (despite what happened to Scylla.)

According to mythology, Glaucaus was a Boetian fisherman. One day he landed upon an island that he had never heard of. There were no signs of anyone on the island and so he decided to stay awhile. He laid out his catch on the grass and laid himself nearby to nap. As he was drifting off to sleep he heard a strange noise.  Looking up he was shocked to see his fish, revived and heading off to sea. Amazed he looked around trying to discover what had caused this miracle. The only thing he could imagine was that there was something special about the grass. He ate some of the grass and was overcome with a longing for the sea. His legs transformed into a fishtail and his hair and beard turned sea-green.
At first Glaucus was unhappy about his transformation but the other tritons and sea gods welcomed him with open arms. Oceanus and Tethys cleansed him of his mortal element and taught him the art of prophecy.
Unfortunately it was shortly after this that Glaucus fell in love with Scylla and went to Circe, and we all know how well that turned out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mermaid Sighting on How I Met Your Mother

I've never seen the show, but I have heard about it. On December sixth there was a new episode called "The mermaid theory."



I'm not really sure what's going on in the show in the long term but the mermaid theory is rather funny. I did enjoy seeing the characters dressed up as mermaids and manatees.

Check out the full episode here

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stop on by for a fantastic show!

Guess who is performing here in February.... Jodi Benson!!! That's right, Ariel!

She'll be here in Myrtle Beach at the  Myrtle Beach High School Performing Arts Center on Robert Grissom Parkway February 26 at 7:30 PM. The show is presented by  The Rotary Club of Myrtle Beach and The Long Bay Symphony. She and Doug Labrecque will be preforming "Motion Picture Magicc - Music From the Movies."

I keep hassling the Sea Captain every time we see the commercial. I say "We NEED to get tickets." He sighs and rolls his eyes and I say "But it's Jooodi Bensooon....It's Ariel!" In my best whine.


If I manage to get tickets I'll let you all know!

For tickets or more information call 843.448.8379

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ursula Fashion Inspiration

Fashion Inspirations now has started doing the Disney Villains! They've got Dr. Facillier, the Evil Queen from Snow White and Ursula up so far! Just like the princesses each villain has at least three outfits inspired by what they wear in the film.  Check them out!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Glen Keane talks Ariel

Tomorrow (Saturday Dec 11) at 5pm the Egyptian theater in Hollywood will be showing The Little Mermaid! After that Glen Keane, who just happened to design Ariel, will be answering questions for Charles Solomon and discussing his work. If you can't make it (I know I can't) you can check out some of his character designs here


You can get your tickets here

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Fisherman and his Soul

This story was written by Oscar Wilde and published in 1892 in a short story collection. It was dedicated to Dedicated to H.S.H. Alice, the Princess of Monaco.


The story was just too long to keep here. I got a few complaints actually. So you can read it here or here. You can even listen to it here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mermaids at the Georgia Aquarium

Throughout the month of December (until Jan 2nd) there will be Weeki Wachee mermaids preforming at the Ga Aquarium in Atlanta!!


The mermaids will be preforming in the largest aquarium vewing window in North America. They will swim with whale sharks (the worlds largest fish,) the only manta rays in a United States aquarium, and various other fishes!

The mermaid shows are fifteen minutes long and are at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The Aquarium will also be getting two new Beluga's, Grayson who is three and Qinu (pronounced kee-nu) who is two. They will be joining the other two Beluga's, Maris and Beethoven. When I last went to the Aquarium the Belugas were my favorite exhibit!

If you're in the area, I definitely recommend heading to the aquarium for a fin-tastic show this holiday season!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm Back

I feel like it's been years since I've posted! I'm back and we're full into the holidays! I've got a series of special posts planned closer to Christmas (I certainly hope you enjoy them) but until then I've got plenty of good posts planned!

It's good to be back!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Connie Francis

Pearly Shells from Connie-Hawaii

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mermaid Sighting on Family Guy

I was watching a rerun of Family Guy last night and on the episode titled 420 there is a cutaway scene of Peter as a mermaid sing a siren song to sink a ship. He makes one seriously odd looking mermaid!

I can't find just the clip so you can check out the whole episode here if you are so inclined. http://www.familyguyx.net/episode/420/link_1355/ start watching at 18:15

And just so you know, Peter is "singing" the Rockford Files theme!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Wonderful Tune

This is an Irish tale that comes from Fairy Legends and Traditions by Thomas Crofton Croker. There is another version retold in A Book of Mermaids by Ruth Manning Sanders.

Maurice Connor  was the king, and that's no small word, of all the pipers in Munster. He could play jig and planxty without end, and Ollistrum's March, and the Eagle's Whistle, and the Hen's Concert, and odd tunes of every sort and kind. But he knew one, far more surprising than the rest, which had in it the power to set every thing dead or alive dancing.
In what way he learned it is beyond my knowledge, for he was mighty cautious about telling how he came by so wonderful a tune. At the very first note of that tune, the brogues began shaking upon the feet of all who heard it - old or young it mattered not -just as if their brogues had the ague; then the feet began going - going - going from under them, and at last up and away with them, dancing like mad ! - whisking here, there, and everywhere, like a straw in a storm - there was no halting while the music lasted !
Not a fair, nor a wedding, nor a patron in the seven parishes round, was counted worth the speaking of with out "blind Maurice and his pipes." His mother, poor woman, used to lead him about from one place to another, just like a dog.
Down through Iveragh - a place that ought to be proud of itself for 't is Daniel O'Connell's country - Maurice Connor and his mother were taking their rounds. Beyond all other places Iveragh is the place for stormy coast and steep mountains : as proper a spot it is as an in Ireland to get yourself drowned, or your neck broken on the land, should you prefer that. But, notwithstanding, in Ballinskellig bay there is a neat bit of ground, well fitted for diversion, and down from it, towards the water, is a clean smooth piece of strand - the dead image of a calm summer's sea on a moonlight night, with just the curl of the small waves upon it.
Here it was that Maurice's music had brought from all parts a great gathering of the young men and the young women - O the darlints ! - for 'twas not every day the strand of Trafraska was stirred up by the voice of a bagpipe. The dance began; and as pretty a rinkafadda it was as ever was danced. "Brave music," said every body, "and well done," when Maurice stopped.
"More power to your elbow, Maurice, and a fair wind in the bellows," cried Paddy Dorman, a hump-backed dancing-master, who was there to keep order. " 'Tis a pity," said he, " if we 'd let the piper run dry after such music; 't would be a disgrace to Iveragh, that didn't come on it since the week of the three Sundays." So, as well became him, for he was always a decent man, says he: "Did you drink, piper ?"
" I will, sir," says Maurice, answering the question on the safe side, for you never yet knew piper or schoolmaster who refused his drink.
"What will you drink, Maurice?" says Paddy.
" I'm no ways particular," says Maurice; "I drink any thing, and give God thanks, barring raw water: but if 'tis all the same to you, mister Dorman, may be you wouldn't lend me the loan of a glass of whiskey."
"I've no glass, Maurice," said Paddy; " I've only the bottle."
"Let that be no hindrance," answered Maurice; my mouth just holds a glass to the drop; often I've tried it, sure."
So Paddy Dorman trusted him with the bottle - more fool was he; and, to his cost, he found that though Maurice's mouth might not hold more than the glass at one time, yet, owing to the hole in his throat, it took many a filling.
"That was no bad whiskey neither," says Maurice, handing back the empty bottle.
"By the holy frost, then !" says Paddy, " 'tis but could comfort there's in that bottle now; and 'tis your word we must take for the strength of the whiskey, for you've left us no sample to judge by :" and to be sure Maurice had not.
Now I need not tell any gentleman or lady with common understanding, that if he or she was to drink an honest bottle of whiskey at one pull, it is not at all the same thing as drinking a bottle of water; and in the whole course of my life, I never knew more than five men who could do so without being overtaken by the liquor. Of these Maurice Connor was not one, though he had a stiff head enough of his own - he was fairly tipsy.
Don't think I blame him for it; 'tis often a good man's case; but true is the word that says, "when liquor's in sense is out;" and puff, at a breath, before you could say " Lord, save us!" out he blasted his wonderful tune.
'Twas really then beyond all belief or telling the dancing. Maurice himself could not keep quiet; staggering now on one leg, now on the other, and rolling about like a ship in a cross sea, trying to humour the tune. There was his mother too, moving her old bones as light as the youngest girl of them all: but her dancing, no, nor the dancing of all the rest, is not worthy the speaking about to the work that was going on down upon the strand.
Every inch of it covered with all manner of fish jumping and plunging about to the music, and every moment more and more would tumble in out of the water, charmed by the wonderful tune. Crabs of monstrous size spun round and round on one claw with the nimbleness of a dancing-master, and twirled and tossed their other claws about like limbs that did not belong to them. It was a sight surprising to behold.
But perhaps you may have heard of father Florence Conry, a Franciscan friar, and a great Irish poet; bolg an dana, as they used to call him - a wallet of poems. If you have not, he was as pleasant a man as one would wish to drink with of a hot summer's day; and he has rhymed out all about the dancing fishes so neatly, that it would be a thousand pities not to give you his verses ; so here's my hand at an upset of them into English:
The big seals in motion,
Like waves of the ocean
Or gouty feet prancing,
Came heading the gay fish,
Crabs, lobsters, and cray fish,
Determined on dancing.
The sweet sounds they follow'd,
The gasping cod swallow'd;
'T was wonderful, really !
And turbot and flounder,
'Mid fish that were rounder,
Just caper'd as gaily.
John-dories came tripping;
Dull hake by their skipping
To frisk it seem'd given;
Bright mackrel went springing,
like small rainbows winging
Their flight up to heaven.
The whiting and haddock
Left salt water paddock
This dance to be put in:
Where skate with flat faces
Edged out some odd plaices;
But soles kept their footing.
Sprats and herrings in powers
Of silvery showers
All number out-number'd.
And great ling so lengthy
Were there in such plenty
The shore was encumber'd.
The scollop and oyster
Their two shells did roister,
Like castanets fitting;
While limpets moved clearly,
And rocks very nearly
With laughter were splitting.
Never was such an ullabulloo in this world, before or since; 'twas as if heaven and earth were coming together; and all out of Maurice Connor's wonderful tune !
In the height of all these doings, what should there be dancing among the outlandish set of fishes but a beautiful young woman - as beautiful as the dawn of day.  She had a cocked hat upon her head; from under it her long green hair - just the colour of the sea - fell down behind, without hinderance to her dancing. Her teeth were like rows of pearl; her lips for all the world looked like red coral; and she had an elegant gown, as white as the foam of the wave, with little rows of purple and red sea weeds settled out upon it: for you never yet saw a lady, under the water or over the water, who had not a good notion of dressing herself out.
Up she danced at last to Maurice, who was flinging his feet from under him as fast as hops - for nothing in this world could keep still while that tune of his was going on - and says she to him, chaunting it out with a voice as sweet as honey -
" I'm a Iady of honour
Who live in the sea;
Come down, Maurice Connor,
And be married to me.
"Sliver plates and gold dishes
You shall have, and shall be
The king of the fishes,
When you 're married to me."
Drink was strong in Maurice's head, and out he chaunted in return for her great civility. It is not every lady, may be, that would be after making such an offer to a blind piper; therefore 'twas only right in him to give her as good as she gave herself - so says Maurice,
I'm obliged to you, madam :
Off a gold dish or plate,
If a king, and I had 'em,
I could dine in great state.
With your own father's daughter
I'd be sure to agree;
But to drink the salt water
Wouldn't do so with me ! "
The lady looked at him quite amazed, and swinging her head from side to side like a great scholar, "Well," says she, " Maurice, if you're not a poet, where is poetry to be found?"
In this way they kept on at it, framing high compliments; one answering the other, and their feet going with the music as fast as their tongues. All the fish kept dancing too: Maurice heard the clatter, and was afraid to stop playing lest it might be displeasing to the fish, and not knowing what so many of them may take it into their heads to do to him if they got vexed.
Well, the lady with the green hair kept on coaxing of Maurice with soft speeches, till at last she overpersuaded him to promise to marry her, and be king over the fishes, great and small. Maurice was well fitted to be their king, if they wanted one that could make them dance; and he surely would drink, barring the salt water, with any fish of them all.
When Maurice's mother saw him, with that unnatural thing in the form of a green-haired lady as his guide, and he and she dancing down together so lovingly: to the water's edge, through the thick of the fishes, she called out after him to stop and come back. "Oh then," says she, "as if I was not widow enough before, there he is going away from me to be married to that scaly woman. And who knows but 'tis grandmother I may be to a hake or a cod - Lord help and pity me, but 'tis a mighty unnatural thing! - and may be 'tis boiling and eating my own grandchild I'll be, with a bit of salt butter, and I not knowing it ! - Oh Maurice, Maurice, if there's any love or nature left in you, come back to your own ould mother, who reared you like a decent Christian ! "
Then the poor woman began to cry and ullagoane so finely that it would do any one good to hear her.
Maurice was not long getting to the rim of the water; there he kept playing and dancing on as if nothing was the matter, and a great thundering wave coming in towards him' ready to swallow him up alive; but as he could not see it, he did not fear it. His mother it was who saw it plainly through the big tears that were rolling down her cheeks; and though she saw it, and her heart was aching as much as ever mother's heart ached for a son, she kept dancing, dancing, all the time for the bare life of her. Certain it was she could not help it, for Maurice never stopped playing that wonderful tune of his.
He only turned the bothered ear to the sound of his mother's voice, fearing it might put him out in his steps, and all the answer be made back was - "Whisht with you, mother - sure I'm going to be king over the fishes down in the sea, and for a token of luck, and a sign that I'm alive and well, I'll send you in, every twelvemonth on this day, a piece of burned wood to Trafraska." 
Maurice had not the power to say a word more, for the strange lady with the green hair seeing the wave just upon them, covered him up with herself in a thing like a cloak with a big hood to it, and the wave curling over twice as high as their heads, burst upon the strand, with a rush and a roar that might be heard as far as Cape Clear.
That day twelvemonth the piece of burned wood came ashore in Trafraska., It was a queer thing for Maurice to think of sending all the way from the bottom of the sea. A gown or a pair of shoes would have been something like a present for his poor mother; but he had said it, and he kept his word. The bit of burned wood regularly came ashore on the appointed day for as good, ay, and better than a hundred years. The day is now forgotten, and may be that is the reason why people say how Maurice Connor has stopped sending the luck-token to his mother. 
Poor woman, she did not live to get as much as one of them; for what through the loss of Maurice, and the fear of eating her own grandchildren, she died in three weeks after the dance - some say it was the fatigue that killed her, but whichever it was, Mrs. Connor was decently buried with her own people.
Seafaring men have often heard, off the coast of Kerry, on a still night, the sound of music coming up from the water; and some, who have had good ears, could plainly distinguish Maurice Connor's voice singing these words to his pipes: -
Beautiful shore, with thy spreading strand,
Thy crystal water, and diamond sand;
Never would I have parted from thee
But for the sake of my fair lady.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November already!?

Well October Sea Monster month seemed to go well, so well that I'm already planning to do it again next year! There are quite a few monsters I didn't get to and I'm already looking forward to writing them up next year!

I also want to mention that November will be hit and miss with the blog. I don't like leaving my home at Christmas or really at all during December so I make my family trips during November (for some reason lots of family anniversaries and birthdays during this month, plus Thanksgiving!) So while the posting will be sparse, you can all look forward to the special treat I have planned for December!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Creature From The Black Lagoon

TCFTBL (because it takes forever to type it out each time) is a 1954 Univeral horror film which is actually based on a Mexican folk tale. It was originally produced in 3-D, one of the first Universal pictures to be filmed that way!

In the movie, a geologist finds a fossil linking mankind to the sea, a fossilized hand with webbed fingers. He convinces his pal to mount up an expedition to the Amazon to find more of the skeleton. When the scientists (and one of the Dr's girlfriend,) arrive they find the rest of the team is dead! The movie then continues in typical horror fashion and the 'Creature' (also known as 'the Gill-man') goes for the girl and is eventually left for dead. 

Gill-man was so popular that two sequels were produced; Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us.  In fact he is still quite popular to this day. So popular that a TCFTBL musical was produced in 2009 and a new movie is in pre-production!

Here's a fun fact - "When Jenny Clack of the University of Cambridge discovered a fossil amphibian in what was once a fetid swamp, she named it Eucritta melanolimnetes, which is Greek for 'the creature from the black lagoon.'"

Personally, I always felt kind of bad for the creature. He wanted the pretty girl and was just misunderstood. I think that when he first walked into that camp he had no intention of killing the scientists, they attacked him and so the reign of terror that ensued was their fault.

Watch the trailer:



Love the 'Creature'? Order a cuddly plush version from Funko

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

This show was on from 1973-1975 so I missed out on seeing its first run by not being born yet. Luckily for me (and you) there are episode clips here and it's also available on DVD too so pick up a copy!

As my DVD isn't here yet and I've only seen clips online, I'm not particularly well versed on the show so I'll merely give you a brief overview. If anyone has anything to add, please do!

Sigmund was a Sid and Marty Krofft production (which is quite obvious from the picture, in my opinion) and their first show to last more than one season! These guys were of course responsible for a lot of trippy cool kids television that was fun for adults too (especially those that chose to indulge in less than legal entertainment enhancers,) and totally campy.

The show was about a sea monster (Sigmund) who refuses to scare people and so runs away from home ("Dead Man's Point") and his mean brothers. On the beach he meets two boys, Johnny and Scott, who take him home to their clubhouse. The rest of the series revolves around the boys hiding Sigmund from their housekeeper Zelda and Sigmunds' brothers, Blurp and Slurp, who are always trying to forcibly take Sigmund back with them. Later a genie named Sheldon ("Rip" Taylor) was added to spice/silly things up!

Almost every episode featured music to help advance the plot, most of which was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart (they wrote many of the Monkees' hits) and Wes Ferrell (he did music for the Partridge family among others!) There was an album released featuring some of the more popular songs and Tripping Daisy covered the theme song on a 1995 cd featuring the best of Saturday morning theme songs.

Here's a groovy video that gives you the important plot points:

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Mermaid of the Mill Pond

This slightly scary story comes to us from Mary Pope Osbourne's Mermaid Tales from around the world. It's been adapted from a German folk tale (in the Grimms Fairy Tales) The Nix in the Mill Pond.




The Mermaid Of The Mill Pond


        Long ago a miller and his wife lived in the Black Forest. They had plenty of land and plenty of money.  But just as a thief comes in the night, ill luck crept into the miller's life, and his good fortune began to wane until he'd lost almost everything.         
      The poor miller was so distraught about his misfortune he could not eat or sleep. He wrung his hands and paced his floor at night.  To add to his burdens, his wife told him that she would soon be having a baby.
        One early morning, after a sleepless night of despair, the miller decided to drown himself in the millpond.  "My wife will be better off if I die," he said, "for then she'll be free to marry someone who has better luck, who can take good care of her and our child."
        Without even saying farewell to his wife, the miller crept out of their house and headed down to the millpond.  In the gray light of dawn, he stood by the water and tried to gather the courage to drown himself.
        But as the miller stared at the pond, the first sunbeam broke over its glassy surface, the water rippled, and a beautiful mermaid rose from the deep.
        The miller was speechless; he stared in amazement at the mermaid.  She had long, dark wavy hair and eyes the color of the bluest water. 
        "Why are you so sad, dear miller?" she asked in a lovely voice.
        The miller took heart to hear such a kind voice inquire after him. "Once I lived in great wealth," he said. "But now
    through no fault of my own I am poor."
        "Oh, I will make you richer than ever before," said the mermaid. "But on one condition: You must give me your first
    child."
        The miller was horrified. "Oh no, never!" he said.
        "I promise your child will have a wonderful life with me," said the mermaid.  "Besides, what are your choices?  You must either give your baby to me or drown yourself in despair.  No?"
        The desperate miller could see no other solution to his problems, so be promised to exchange his first-born child for wealth and riches.
        "You've decided wisely," said the mermaid.  And with that, she disappeared into the depths of the millpond.
        The miller was anxious about his promise to the mermaid.  But by the time he got home, his tattered clothing had turned into the finest silk.  His pockets were bulging with gold coins.  And his humble cottage had changed into a castle.
        When the miller went inside the castle, he was overjoyed to find his wife lying on a luxurious bed, dressed in the finest gown.
        "Oh, our new baby boy has brought us great luck!" his wife cried.  "No sooner did I give birth at dawn, than everything changed!"
        "Our baby boy?" said the miller.  He was astonished to discover his child had been born in his absence.  As he looked at the beautiful infant, he burst into tears.  He threw himself on the bed and told his wife about his terrible promise to the mermaid.
        His wife was furious, of course. But she did not waste time yelling at him.  Rather, she hugged her baby and said fiercely, "She will never have him!  We will watch him every moment of his life and make sure he stays far away from the millpond!"
          Just as the mermaid had promised, great prosperity flowed into the miller's life.  But he did not keep his part of the bargain, for he and his wife never let their son go near the millpond.
        "Beware!" they warned the boy constantly.  "If you but touch the water, a hand will rise up and drag you down." 
        As the years passed, the miller and his wife worried less and less about their son.  The boy always avoided the millpond, and the mermaid was not capable of traveling on land, so there seemed to be no way for her to capture
him.
        When the boy grew up, he became a brave huntsman.  He married a kind maiden, and the two lived happily together in a beautiful cottage of their own.
        But one day when the huntsman was chasing a deer, he pursued it into an open meadow that was crossed by a stream.  Unbeknownst to the young man, the stream fed into the millpond.  Hot and thirsty from the chase, the huntsman fell to the ground and washed his face in the cool stream waters.
        Suddenly the mermaid surfaced.  Before the huntsman could escape, she wound her arms around his neck and dragged him down into the water.
        The huntsman opened his mouth to scream, but water rushed down his throat.  Not even a ripple was left on the surface of the stream.
        When the huntsman did not come home, his wife became alarmed.  She hurried to the miller's castle and told the old couple about their son's disappearance.  The miller and his wife explained about the terrible promise made long ago to the mermaid.  They were too feeble to leave home, so they begged the girl to search for their son.
        The huntsman's wife rushed down to the millpond.  She walked around the pond until she discovered the small stream.  She followed the stream into the open meadow, and there she found her husband's hunting pouch in the weeds.
        The huntsman's wife walked around and around the millpond, calling her beloved's name.  But the surface of the water stayed calm.  As the moon shone down upon the girl, she sobbed softly.  Several times she cried out, "Give him back to me!  Give him back!"
        But no answer greeted her.
        At midnight, the exhausted girl sank to the ground and fell into a deep sleep.
        While she slept, she dreamed she was climbing great rocks.  Thorns and briars tore her feet and the wind tossed her hair.  But finally she reached the summit of a mountain.  There she found a green meadow filled with flowers. In the middle of the meadow stood a tiny cottage.  An old woman opened the door and beckoned the girl inside.
        "I'll help you," the old woman said.  "Here is my golden comb.  When you wake, comb your long hair."
        When the girl woke up from her sleep, she found a golden comb in her hand, the same one the old woman had given her in her dream.  "How can this mere comb bring him back?" she asked sorrowfully.
        Nevertheless, she began combing her long hair with the comb.  Suddenly a large wave rolled to the shore and, in the moonlight, the waters parted.  Then the huntsman's head appeared!  He looked at his wife and shouted with great joy, for he was so close to his freedom!
        But as soon as he cried out, a second wave covered the huntsman.  He vanished, leaving the millpond as still as before.
        The girl wept with grief. For the rest of that night and all the next day she mourned by the pond.
        Around midnight of the second night, the huntsman's wife fell into a deep sleep again, and soon she was climbing the mountain.
        When she arrived at the tiny cottage, the old woman opened her door and said, "Take my golden flute.  When you wake, play a beautiful song."
        The girl woke and found herself holding the golden flute the old woman had given her in her dream.  "How can a flute possibly bring him back?" she asked sorrowfully.
        Nevertheless, the huntsman's wife began playing a hauntingly sweet tune.  Suddenly a wave rolled to the shore and, in the moonlight, the waters parted.
        This time, not only did the huntsman's head appear, but half his body rose out of the water.  He reached towards his wife with a look of great yearning.  But no sooner did his hands touch hers, than a second wave covered him again.
        The girl wept with grief.  For the rest of the night and all the next day she mourned by the millpond.
        Around midnight of the third night, the huntsman's wife fell into a deep sleep, and again she dreamed she was climbing the mountain to the old woman's cottage.
        This time when the old woman opened the door, the girl cried, "Alas! What good is it to keep seeing my beloved, only to lose him again?"
        "Take my golden spinning wheel," said the old woman. "When the moon is high, sit near the shore and spin the spool full."
        The huntsman's wife woke to find herself sitting next to a golden spinning wheel.  "How can a spinning wheel possibly bring him back?" she asked sorrowfully.
        But no sooner did the huntsman's wife begin to spin than a mighty wave swept across the moonlit millpond.  This time, the whole body of her beloved rose into the air.  And this time, he sprang to the shore!
        Both of them shouted with great joy. 
        Before they embraced, the huntsman caught his wife by the hand and pulled her away from the millpond.  But the couple had not gone far when they heard a terrible roar and water began flooding out of the pond over the land.
        "The mermaid is trying to drown us!" cried the huntsman's wife.  "Old woman of my dreams, save us!"
        Instantly she was transformed into a toad, and her husband was turned into a frog.  The toad and the frog were swept away into the flood, until finally they both hopped to dry land.  And then they became human again.
        But alas, though the huntsman and his wife had been saved from drowning, they'd gotten separated from one another in the flood.
        Day after day, week after week, the sad wife wandered the deep valleys and high mountains, searching for her husband.  No matter how hard she looked, she could not find him.
        Finally the huntsman's wife became a shepherdess.  But even while she tended her sheep she continued to search the lonely fields and forests for her lost husband.
        One spring day, the shepherdess was surprised to see a shepherd watching his flock in a nearby field.  She could not tell how old he was or what he looked like, but just his presence brought comfort to her.
        That night when the moon was full and the sheep were resting, the shepherdess heard a song wafting through the gentle evening air.  She saw the shepherd playing his flute.
        The haunting music made her cry.  She moved closer to the shepherd - then closer and closer.  When she was within calling distance, she shouted to him, "I once played that song for my beloved.  But only part of him rose out of the millpond."
        The shepherd put down his flute.  He moved slowly towards the shepherdess.  As the moon shone on his face, the shepherdess recognized the shepherd as her long lost love.  She cried out and rushed into his arms, and the two wept and laughed and loved one another until daylight.
        After the huntsman and his wife were reunited, they journeyed to the miller's castle.  The old couple rejoiced to see their son alive again.  When they heard the story of the huntsman's escape from the mermaid, the miller begged his son's forgiveness.  "Not all the riches in the world are worth the loss of one's child," he said.
        Thereafter, the huntsman and his wife lived on the other side of the hills, far far away from the mermaid in the millpond.

Late again

I've been crazy busy so I completely forgot about the Weeki Wachee anniversary! It was on the 13th of this month and there is a very nice little article here.  

Also there is a neat DIY article about how to make a mermaid costume out of leftover plastic bags! Not interested in being a mermaid? They've got several other options as well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mermaid Costume Makeup

My favorite mermaid makeup for Halloween is from a Sephora magazine that's a few years old. There's a lovely tutorial video up by julieg713.





For the look on the left use dark liner, a nice mossy green and for the illusion of scales use a piece of fishnet (hose or otherwise,) hold it tightly to your skin and use a shimmer foundation to paint over it, making sure not to move the net. When it dries you should be left with some scales.

For the look on the right use lots of shimmer, try to get it slightly paler than your usual tone (it's Halloween go for it!)
Buy some crystals or sequins (make sure the bottom is flat) and use eyelash glue to stick them on.

There are of course other make up looks to try so practice and see what looks good on you. You can always take a little from each look and come up with something truly splashtacular!
If you are brave enough to try fake eyelashes you might want to try the Blakeley. They're cute and blue, perfect for a mermaid!

Once you've finished your makeup, don't forget your hair! You'll want to make sure your hair is pretty and wavy or maybe slicked back with extra gel for that wet look. Or if you prefer it up, try a fishtail braid! You can make your own hair accessories by gluing a shell or starfish to a bobby pin or hair clip. You'll want to do this ahead of time so that the glue can dry. You also need to make sure it's not gonna fall off so wear it around the house for a bit. If you're really artsy crafty you can make a tiara or headband.

Blue and green streaks in your hair are also a nice touch; you can dye it yourself or buy a clip in or go all out and get yourself a green or blue wig!
Mermaids probably wear what they find in the sea, so try a pearl necklace or something older and gold, like from a shipwreck.
And don't forget your toes and fingernails, try a pretty blue, green or silver!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sea Monster Fountains

There are some lovely pictures and a bit of history on the Sea Monster fountains of Florence at Livorno Daily Photo!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Aspidochelone

Imagine you're a sailor in ancient Greece. You've been sailing for days, got caught in a storm and are hopeless lost. You know that there is a very real chance that you and your shipmates will die at sea if you don't find land soon, but wait just ahead you spot an island. You and your comrades set a course for the "island" and make camp right on the Aspidochelone or the asp-turtle (also known as the Fastitocalon.)

According to Medieval Bestiaries the aspidochelone was a large turtle (sometimes a whale) whose sides looked like beaches. It would rise to the surface of the sea, and entice unwitting sailors to make landfall on its huge shell. As soon as those sailors lit their campfires the creature, feeling the heat, would sink back below the depths, drowning all. The bestiaries seem to draw their descriptions from Pliny the Elder's Natural History although there it is called pristis.

The creature was apparently a very popular myth and often used to represent Satan in moral stories of the time. You will find versions of the aspidochelone in the Physiologus, the old English poem The Whale, The Lengend of Saint Brenden (as Jasconius,) in the first voyage of Sinbad the Sailor, in Milton's Paradise Lost (it is mentioned in the story of the Leviathan [an altogether different creature,]) and by Tolkien in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.

Look, there is Fastitocalon!
An island good to land upon,
Although 'tis rather bare.
Come, leave the sea! And let us run,
Or dance, or lie down in the sun!
See, gulls are sitting there!
Beware! - Tolkien

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bloop, Julia, Train, and Whistle

I've not gone off the deep end, Bloop, Julia, Train, and Whistle are **unidentified sounds recorded undersea and determined to be from something (things) large.

Bloop, heard in 1997, was traced to a remote point in the south Pacific Ocean west of the southern tip of South America by US Navy equipment. According to NOAA's Dr Christopher Fox the sound "rises rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km."  Dr Fox went on record to say that it is not human in origin (not a sub, bomb or ship) nor was it geological (volcano or earthquake.) The sound was also recorded as being quite loud, in fact it was much louder than the loudest known animal, the Blue Whale. Did you catch that? Louder than the Blue Whale...the largest animal known to have existed! The sound cannot be researched much further, unfortunately, as the sound has not been made/heard since 1997.

Listen to Bloop

Julia was first heard March 1 1999 quite loudly over the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array.

Listen to Julia


Whistle was recorded by the autonomous hydrophone deployed at 8oN, 110oW on July 7, 1997 at 0730Z. Origin of the signal is unknown, and it was not detected on any other hydrophone.
Train was recorded on March 5, 1997 on the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array.

So what could these sounds be? According to Allan Bellows "The sound (the Bloop) shares many characteristics with those emanated from biological creatures, in fact it fits those parameters so closely that a large number of researchers are convinced that its origin is animal. But in order for an aquatic animal to emit a sound that can travel over 3,000 miles though Earth’s noisy oceans, scientists say that it would need an incredibly large noise-making apparatus, one much bigger than that of the blue whale."

So what do I think the noises are? I think they could be the mating calls of real sea monsters, (leftover dinosaurs) a plesiosaur or megalodon, or something else we thought was extinct. As you all know we're constantly finding new creatures and even ones we thought to be gone forever...so in my opinion, it's entirely possible that something large lurks out there in the deep!

What do you think it could be?


**There are other unidentified sounds but most of those have 'sort of' been figured out. Slow Down has been linked to glaciers movments, and Upsweep has been linked to volcanic activity.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

At some point back in 2009 there was a strange trend of taking the classics of litereature and making them more teen-friendly by adding a bizarre element. The most obvious example is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (they're even making a movie with Natalie Portman.) Not for me. While I enjoy horror movies and scary books, I draw the line at zombies! I am freakin' terrified of zombies! So I passed on that one. But then out came the next one, and it was certainly more my speed... Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters! (Also available are Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Little Vampire Women!)

Sense and Sensibility is a tale of two sisters Elinor and Marianne, who are looking for love. They've been kicked out of their family home due to them being girls and not boys so they're not doing so great. There are heartbreaks and romance, arguments and misunderstandings, happily the novel ends with them finding true love. Now take that and throw in an underwater city, an adventuring uncle, and random monster attacks.
Basically you're getting the story of S & S (with a few omissions that don't lend themselves to the new additions, an example is that instead of twisting her ankle one of the sisters is attacked by a giant octopus) with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, vicious jellyfish, two-headed sea serpents, and more! It's definitely silly-sea-monster-fun! Of course I can see where the Jane Austen purists are grumbling, to appease everyone the books should be sold as a two-fer, buy the Sea Monster one and get the original for free!

Here's the book trailer:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mermaid Sightings

Tybee Islands Mermaid Cottages and Vacation Rentals has an ongoing feature where they post your pictures or scans of mermaid sightings! Check them out here! I think this is a fabulous idea and would love to start posting mermaid sighting from you swimmers! If you spot a mermaid (statue, decoration, or the real thing!) send a picture my way at vonthehalfshell@yahoo.com! If this gets popular we may start doing a prize! Yes I am totally bribing you all!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Charybdis

According to mythology Charybdis was once a beautiful naiad, the daughter of of Poseidon and Gaia. (Isn't it interesting how most of the tales start out with she was beautiful but then something happened!?) Charybdis was very loyal to her father and always took his side in the endless fights between him and his brother Zeus. When Poseidon would create a storm she would ride the waves and destroy the cities and all the good beachfront property. Zeus became so irritated by their actions that he turned her into a monster and placed her in the Strait of Messina. She became a huge creature that had small flippers for arms and legs and she existed only to suck in water, and then spit it back out causing whirlpools three times a day.  On the other side of the narrow strait is the monster Scylla, navigating away from one would lead you straight into the jaws of the other, hence the phrase "between Scylla and Charybdis" or "between the rock and the whirlpool" which is probably the origin of the phrase "between a rock and a hard place."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scylla

It's true her voice sounds like a new-born pup,
but she's a vicious monster.  Nobody
would feel good seeing her, nor would a god
who crossed her path.  She has a dozen feet,
all deformed, six enormously long necks,
with a horrific head on each of them,
and three rows of teeth packed close together,
full of murky death.  Her lower body
she keeps out of sight in her hollow cave,
but sticks her heads outside the fearful hole,
and fishes there, scouring around the rock
for dolphins, sword fish, or some bigger prey,
whatever she can seize of all those beasts
moaning Amphitrite keeps nourishing
in numbers past all counting.  No sailors  
can yet boast they and their ship sailed past her
without getting hurt.  Each of Scylla's heads
carries off a man, snatching him away  

right off the dark-prowed ship. 
She's not human,
but a destroyer who will never die

fearful, difficult, and fierce—not someone 
you can fight.  There's no defense against her.
The bravest thing to do is run away. 
If you linger by the cliff to arm yourself,
I fear she'll jump out once more, attack you
with all her heads and snatch away six men,
just as before.  Row on quickly past her,
as hard as you can go.  Send out a call
to Crataiis, her mother, who bore her
to menace human beings.
The Odyssey: Book 12
  
Originally, Scylla was a beautiful nymph. There are two tales that describe how she was changed into the monster we know today. The first has already been told here, how jealous Amphitrite changed her into a monster. 
This is the other tale: one day while playing with the Nereids in a pool she was seen by the merman Glaucus, who instantly fell in love with her. (Glaucus was a mortal fisherman who had previously been transformed by eating a magical  plant, gaining the form of a fish from his waist down, more about him later.) He approached her and told her of his love for her, but she was disgusted by his fish tail and green hair and ran away. Glaucus, determined to win her, went to the sorceress Circe and told her of his problem. That was a mistake as Circe had a thing for Glaucus. Not wanting any competition Circe went to the pool where Scylla bathed and poured in some magic herbs turning Scylla into a monster with six arms, six heads with four eyes each and at the lower part of her body, six hideous dogs with mouth containing three rows of razor sharp teeth. From  that day forward she kept herself hidden in a cave at the bottom of a cliff, only showing herself to pop out and gobble up dolphins or any human or animal that would venture near. Which, to be honest, wasn't often since she chose to live next door to Charybdis.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mermaid costumes

Halloween is less than a month away!? Well if you haven't already gotten your costume, now would be the appropriate time to do it! And if you want to be a mermaid, fish, sea creature I've put together a great list for you to check out for both children and adults.

As a side note, if you gals plan to go as a mermaid and your guy isn't interested in donning a fin, convince him to dress as a fisherman. You'll be his "catch of the day!" The sea captain and I did this a few years ago. He waited till the last minute (literally) and we ran to Walmart and purchased a pair of waders, a cat toy fishing pole, and a silly hat. He looked great!


Mermaid:
Most of the mermaid costumes out therefor adults are pretty skimpy, but mermaids aren't known for being overly dressed. I've done my best to find some that aren't too revealing.

Costume Craze has a wide variety of costumes and accessories for your mermaid. They have so many that some are listed below on other sites.











Other:










Kids Poseidon Costume

I could go on, but I'm sure you've found what you're looking for!

Also if you do plan on doing anything fishy for Halloween please send me a picture or two, I'd love to post them!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jörmungandr

In Norse mythology the world (Midgard) was encircled by the sea serpent Jörmungandr, also known as the Midgard serpent. According to the legend the serpent was one of the three children of Loki, the trickster god, and the giantess Angerboda. Odin (the leader of the gods) was disgusted by Loki's monstrous brood, but because he and Loki were blood brothers he couldn't kill them so he put them where he though they could do the least damage. He took Jörmungandr and tossed him into the sea, where he sank to the bottom and began growing. He eventually grew so large that he encircled the world and was able to bite his own tail. Supposedly when he lets go of his tail the world will end.

Over the years Thor had three encounters with Jörmungandr. At one time the serpent was disguised as a cat and it was Thor's task to lift it, which was thought to be impossible as it is so large. Somehow Thor was able to lift the cat high enough that only one foot touched the earth.
Another time he encountered it while fishing with the giant Hymir (the sea giant.) He caught the creature and would have killed it with his magic hammer (Mjolnir) except Hymir became so fearful that he cut the line and Jörmungandr sank back into the ocean.

His third encounter was at the end of the world, Ragnarök. While the other gods were fighting Fenris (one of the other sons of Loki) Thor had his hands full with Jörmungandr. He repeatedly threw his magic hammer at the creature but  it continued to hiss and spit at him. Finally he summoned all of his strength and stuck a final time killing the beast. Thor then took nine steps and fell down dead from Jörmungandrs' poison.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sea Monster Month

The last time I attempted to dedicate a month to certain types of posts (March) I failed miserably. Let's see if I can manage to do it right this time.

October at Lost City will be dedicated to the Sea Monster!

Hopefully at least most of my posts this month will be dedicated to this sometimes creepy, often misunderstood sea monsters, both real and imagined. We will probably also try to get around to talking about the infamous sea witch!

I'll also be doing a few posts on mermaid costumes and the like to get you all Halloween ready!
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