Lewis Carroll

Blogging From A To Z Challenge~Letter D~

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‘D’ is for Dormouse.  In cold, factual reality, a dormouse (plural, dormice) is a mere nocturnal rodent.  It’s native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.  It’s notoriously inclined toward hibernation.

We bookworms, especially we fans of nonsense literature, are quite familiar with the Dormouse in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’.   Alice’s friend was also quite nocturnal and sleepy.  I’ve been trying to find out as much as I can about dormice, and I’ve just noticed that the name comes from the French ‘dormeuse’, which may come from the Languedocien ‘radourmeire’.  Anyone who knows anything about romance languages, or Latin,  knows that the prefix ‘dorm~’ is always connected to sleeping.

Risultati immagini per dormouse alice

Contrary to what many may assume, the dormouse character to which Grace Slick refers in Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ may not have been Carroll’s.  The dormouse in ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’ never said ‘feed your head’.  

Annunci

visiting works of fiction

If I could have my choice of three works of fiction in which I should be able to participate, I should most certainly have to pick the late 1960’s movie, “Hello Dolly”, with Walter Matthau, Barbra Streisand and Michael Crawford, as one of them.    Ever since I was a kid in St. Gabriel’s, where the De La Salle Christian Brothers, in the glee club, kept us singing show tunes, I’ve always enjoyed this classic musical.    It’s about the adventures of Dolly Levi, a middle aged matchmaking widow  in turn of the twentieth century New York CIty.     Besides Dolly’s romance with Horace Vandergelder, there are several other dalliances that transpire within the story.    The last time I watched it I was quite especially favorably impressed with all the costumes and music.    The distinctive suits,  hats, dresses and parasols, were perfect.    I’ve always really wanted to see what that kind of spectacle must be like in person.     The clothing, speech and customs of that era, as depicted in the movie, are enough to catch anyone’s attention.     Another story in which I should really like to partake is “Don Quijote (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote of La Mancha)”, the picaresque novel by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra.   It’s from Spain’s Golden Age in the early seventeenth century.     In the book, a middle aged hidalgo, Alonso Quijano, after having read too many chivalric novels, thereby distorting his perception of reality, sets out to reinstate the era of chivalry.     Throughout the story he and his sidekick Sancho Panza, a simple farmer, get into a series of misadventures stemming from the benighted Don’s inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.     Aldonza Lorenzo, a local  homely farm girl, is his lady love.    She’s somewhat reminiscent of Petrarch’s Laura and Dante’s Beatrice.    The tale is filled with all sorts of insights into theology, philosophy, literature and history.    I should really like to get involved in it because of all the offbeat adventures of the Don and Sancho and because of all the things I could learn about life during one of mankind’s most interesting historical epochs.     I should get quite a kick out of watching our protagonist constantly confusing the most ordinary everyday people, places and occurrences with profoundly significant realities.    The story is a major lesson about reality and mankind’s relationship to his world and surroundings.     Another story I should like to visit would  be Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”.    I’ve always really enjoyed the tales of life in a distorted world where animals, plants and inanimate objects are personified, logic is incessantly convoluted and imagination reigns supreme at all times.      I could have a chance to meet the Mad Hatter, the Walrus, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Cheshire Cat and all the other characters that make Wonderland such a distinctive environment.    Life in Wonderland  shares with Don Quijote the fact that nothing ever matches up to what anyone would normally expect based on an even somewhat legitimate standard of logical consistency.

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/fictional-intruder/

http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/unicorn/

http://deanbowman.co/2014/07/15/alone/

http://guthonestfaith.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/the-great-daisy/

eight is enough

Of course if I were ever to have the absolutely ultimate party, I should have to invite Beatles John Winston Lennon and James Paul McCartney to represent my favorite band.     It would be only right to make them sit next to each other.    Their combined intelligence and creativity as well as wit, humor and imagination would be bound inevitably to provide one and all with quite a fine time.   If I allow them to sit right next to Lewis Carroll, that would really make for such an interesting collection of insights.   Everyone knows how intensely significant an influence Carroll always was on the 1960’s musical world.     The threesome could take us on all sorts of misadventures throughout both Pepperland and Wonderland.    Woody Allen would be quite an exceptionally interesting guest too.    He and I are both neurotic bespectacled native New Yorkers.     We also share an interest in dwelling upon mankind’s much bigger, more significant questions about the ultimate meaning of life and death.    We most certainly don’t have any of the same answers, though, unfortunately.     Perhaps I should be more comfortable in the company of the typical character Allen played in his movies than with the real Allen.      Each of the characters he played is quite a perpetually befuddled eternal square stranded in a world that’s utterly over his head.    There’s a side of me that’s very much like that.    An accomplished jazz clarinetist, he, along with Lennon and McCartney, could provide quite a show.     In order to ensure that there will be women in attendance I could invite Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen and Flannery O’Connor.     Austen could give our festivities a bit of a sense of propriety and a dose of what life was like during England’s Regency period.   She was known for her having been supposedly quite stuffy but I’ll bet she could really cut a rug.    The Misses Dickinson and O’Connor, by explaining to us all exactly what was going on in their perpetually lopsided literary works,  could give us all sorts of insights into human nature.    Dickinson was quite the dysfunctional recluse, and O’Connor a strict orthodox Catholic, but I should assume each of them could swing from the occasional chandelier or two every once in a while too.     The last name on my guest list would be Robert F. Kennedy, brother of the thirty fifth president.     R.F.K. has the distinction of being the most interesting of all the famous people I’ve met in person.   I met him at his last St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a few months before he died.    I was only in the third grade then.    Kennedy also was quite charming, witty, intelligent and articulate.    He could explain just exactly what it is about the Kennedy mystique that has always kept people so enraptured throughout the course of the past few generations.    A consummate politician and statesman, he could also be an effective moderator among the others.   

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/seat-guru/

http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/hanging-out-with-the-cool-crow-dude/#comment-13639

http://guthonestfaith.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-living-dead/

http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/tryst/

all those years ago

Over a month ago, on Saturday, February 8, I drank my usual cup of hot tea with honey and sugar and went to bed at around 9:00 p.m.   I know quite well that I was in Long Beach in 2014 then.    When I woke up on Sunday morning, though, I was in for quite a shock.   Somehow, upon opening my bedroom door, I appeared to have been transported back in time, precisely a half century, to Sunday, February 9, 1964.   Besides that I was in front of  the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.   At first I couldn’t possibly have known that I was so far away in the past.   After a few minutes, though, I started catching onto all the anachronisms.   Because of my having been so interested, for as far back as I can remember, with the era, I soon recognized all the then-current styles of vehicles, clothes and hair.   Billboards, taxicabs and buses advertised for the New York World’s Fair at Flushing Meadow, and the movie, “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World”.   A few stylishly dressed teenagers were listening to the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie”, that was referred to as new, on Music Radio WABC 770 AM.   People were cussing out Lyndon Baines Johnson and Nelson A. RockefellerThe_Fabs, as they tried to recuperate from the recent assassination of Johnson’s immediate predecessor, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a few months earlier.   There was talk of Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council.   It all really sank in when I picked up a copy of the New York Daily News at a nearby newsstand.   My suspicions were confirmed.   It was that fateful day in the winter of 1964.   All sorts of references to, and pictures of John Winston Lennon, James Paul McCartney, George Harold Harrison and Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr), were staring me in the face.   There were countless references to their upcoming appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” at 8:00 that night.   It’s quite interesting to take note of the fact that I was already alive back then.   I was a little boy in Jackson Heights, Queens, and I got a bit of a kick out of wondering if I  could come up with the nerve to go to 92 Street to say hello to my young adult parents, infant sister Mary Anne, and toddler me.   After a few minutes I looked up from the paper only to get quite a major shock.   The legendary John, Paul, George and Ringo were standing right in front of me.  In those days they were all still so very young and handsome.   Because their manager, Mr. Epstein, was still alive to keep them in check, there was none of the noticeable rampant excess that would characterize their later style.   They were quite a friendly bunch.   John greeted me with a jovial, “Well, ‘ello”, in their characteristic Liverpudlian scouse accent.   He then said, “‘Ey, Paulie, me buy, get a load o’ this fellow!”.   They were dressed quite casually, and George was wearing a bit extra because of his having recently recovered from a sore throat.   All their notorious Beatle charm shone through.   After a few minutes they invited me into the Plaza and we had a few drinks.   They told me a lot of stories about John’s wife Cynthia Powell and son Julian, Ringo’s girlfriend Maureen Cox, and Paul’s girlfriend Jane Asher.   George would meet Patti Boyd in a few months.  I ended up having to make quite a few adjustments in my attempt to explain to them my circumstances.   Never having been aware of all the etiquette of time travel- I don’t suppose there’s an official rule book that covers it- I tried ever so desperately to refrain from telling the young Fabs about what was up ahead of them.   They explained what went on, during their early days, with Klaus Voormann, Jurgen Vollmer, Astrid Kirchherr and all their other friends and family.   I tried, as they told me that they intended to sing “All My Loving”, “Till There Was You”, “She Loves You”, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” that night at Studio 50, to maintain some semblance of composure.    I sat there uncontrollably stunned, somewhat politely humoring them.  They talked of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and the Who, the way just anyone would refer to his friends and people at work.   All I could think of were things like the infamously nauseating sexual revolution, drugs, the war in Southeast Asia and everything else that would make such a mess of a time frame that would be forever referred to as specifically the Beatles’ era.   Besides remembering that they’d break up in April of 1970 I couldn’t help cringing over the events of December 8, 1980, when John Lennon got killed, and November 29, 2001, when George Harrison died.   Assuming I should consider myself as having been sworn to absolute silence and secrecy, I asked more than I told.  “Gentleman”, I was tempted to say, “Even you, with your seemingly infinite imaginations, couldn’t possibly begin to imagine what you’re up against!”   Knowing about Lewis Carroll’s influence on the musicians of the 1960’s I kept thinking of it all as a trip through a looking glass, down a rabbit hole, or in some other offbeat out of the way direction.   They could even be seen as a four-part variation of Robert Browning’s Pied Piper, with Liverpool standing in for Hamelin.   From the point of view of an entirely favorable interpretation of their impact on the world they most certainly got rid of quite a few metaphorical rats.  We sang a bunch of their early songs together.   They showed me some guitar tricks.   Conveniently their sense of humor turned out to be quite compatible with mine.   I kept trying to convince them to put some colorful twists, of my invention, into their songs.  We kept cracking each other up. Throughout my lifetime I’ve always considered their early songs, style and image to be their very best so I was absolutely as high as  could be.    Conveniently I managed to avoid any anachronisms and all went quite well.  Eventually the moment of truth came to pass.  It was time to get ready for their legendary appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.   We all went over to Studio 5o.   I somehow cajoled them into letting me join them.   They even let me hang around backstage.   When they started the show, they sang, “All My Loving”,  and “Till There Was You”.   Immediately after Ringo’s world-changing drum fill and John’, Paul’s and George’s perfect chant of “She Loves you yeah yeah yeah!”  I was back in Long Beach yet again, in 2014, sipping tea with honey and sugar.  It’s a true story.

  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/writing-challenge-time-machine/#more-71990

the music man

ublt

Because I was born in September of 1959, the first decade of my lifetime was virtually precisely coeval with the 1960’s.    Musically and otherwise the 1960’s have made quite an indelible mark upon my lifetime.    My childhood was filled with all sorts of musical influences.    I was four and a half years old when the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.    To this day they’re still undeniably my absolute favorites.     That era was known for musical variety shows like “Sing Along With Mitch”, “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour “, and “The Dean Martin Show”, among several others.     As a kid I was always smitten with the sounds of  songs like Petula Clark’s “Downtown”,   Zager and Evans’ “In the Year 2525”, and  Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days”.    Whenever I’d go to a doctor’s office I’d keep obsessing over songs like Percy Faith’s “Theme From ‘A Summer Place'” and Mason Williams’   “Classical Gas”,  among others that were played in waiting rooms.    The folk, jazz, country and other musical styles of that era have always been quite a major love of my life.    Although I’ve never been even the least bit willing to humor the liberals, I’ve even  always  thoroughly enjoyed the protest songs of that era.     Along with all that I made sure I joined the glee club at my grammar school, St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst, as soon as I was old enough.    Brother Edmond and Brother James, of the De la Salle Christian Brothers, taught us all the then-current popular songs as well as Christmas and Easter songs and show tunes.   Brother James played the guitar quite well and Brother Edmond, with his fine baritone voice, sang an exceptional version of “Edelweiss(Blossom of Snow)”  from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”.     I even took guitar lessons for a while at one of the local public schools, P.S. 127.    My parents were always quite happy to humor my sister and me about our tastes in music.   They enjoyed country music, Edith Piaf and other standards they grew up with so that widened my horizons even more.     Eventually the 1960′ s became the 1970’s.   That era started out fairly well with  Carole King’s “Tapestry” as well as James Taylor, Led Zeppelin and a few other holdovers from the 1960’s.    Eventually, though, disco started to become popular.   My teenage years saw the rise of tacky styles in music and dress.    There were good singers and bands too, though, like the Doobie Brothers, Elton John, Grand Funk and a few others.    In my imagination, though, gone forever were the days when everything musical was perfect.    Even most of  the then-current music I listened to generally tended to be the latest album by someone like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin (a variation of the Yardbirds).    I had become such a musical snob and purist.    I continuously picked fights with all the kids in school, as well as the public school kids, defending my claim that even in the best of 1970’s music, there was something missing compared to that of the previous decade.      Unfortunately I’ve never been terribly comptetent musically.   My strengths seem to lie more in writing and story telling.    Maybe that’s why I’ve always so thoroughly enjoyed the songs of the 1960’s.     It was an era that included songs like Joan Baez’s “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving”, based on a poem by Lord Byron, Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” , based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland”, and Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind”, based on a Christina Rossetti poem.       The music I grew up with has profoundly influenced both my adult musical tastes and even my entire life in general.    Although the singers and musicians of my early days could never possibly get me to agree with their liberal political and social agenda, they’ve most certainly shaped my imagination and given me ideas and interest which I may never have otherwise gotten.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/daily-prompt-papa-loves-mambo/