MERRY MEDUSA

christmas_medusa_by_elfwoodsilverwing-d4gbjnh

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Merry gets around.

This time of year you hear it all the time. Merry Christmas.

But what about Merry and Bright? Who were they? Were they sisters? And let’s not forget the Merry Wives of Windsor or Merry aka Meriadoc Brandybuck. In the Lord of the Rings, Tolkein describes him as the “most perceptive and intelligent of the Hobbits”. So this week and in my own obtuse way, I offer you a new holiday greeting to use within the quiet riot that is your imagination. How about “Merry Medusa?

Departing from my love of the long form essay, I’m presuming we all know the story of Medusa…the ugly woman with hair that sported the nastiest form of split ends, namely snakes. Anyone who looked at her was instantly turned to stone. Perhaps this is where we find the cultural origins of the phrase ‘cold stone b)(tch’?

What brought her to her bloody end? It was none other than Perseus, the hero of Greek mythology who figured out that maybe if he used his polished shield he could look at her reflections and not get stoned in the process. It worked. Talk about working around the technicalities of Greek protocol.

But it hadn’t started out that way. In the beginning, she was reported to be a beautiful maiden, golden-haired and one of three sisters – all the daughters of Phorkys and Keto, the children of Earth and Ocean. But after falling head over heels in love with Poseidon and breaking her vows of celibacy, her patron Athena was anything but pleased. Enter the snake hair. Legend has it that as time passed, Medusa’s own disgust for what she had become translated into the statue making prowess we all know her for.

thefamilystonepic

Enter the holidays…more specifically all the family and friends so many of us look forward to being with. But wait a minute. So many of these same people drive us crazy. We’re so glad to see them arrive and even happier to see them leave. What gives?

I have a theory.

We may just see in our drunken uncle or chattering aunt the very things that bother us the most about ourselves. Thinking of the chaotic cluster of people swirling around us, it’s an easy leap to acknowledging one of the toughest tasks of being a better human is the courageous act of looking at ourselves for what we are rather than the masks we create of what we imagine ourselves to be.

So back to my premise of a new internal holiday greeting: Instead of being terrified of looking at ourselves directly as if we might turn to stone if we do, do what Perseus did. Look at your gathered assembly of friends and relatives and say to yourself, ‘Merry Medusa’.

One of the most unanticipated gifts they may give you this year is the realization that what really bothers you about them is actually what you’re scared of admitting about yourself. So use it. Run with it. Rely on your friends and family as polished shields in which you can view yourself without the disastrous side-effects.

Medusas Magic by Seana Fenner

My hunch is once you can honestly look at what you don’t like, it’ll be easier to embrace whatever that is as something as simple as that. No stone turning. No apocalypse. No punitive self-incriminations that lead to you putting coal in your own Christmas stocking. That my merry reader is the beginning of a new year without so much fear and paralysis.

I am all in. It’s time to renew my vow to myself. Please join me in lifting a glass and toasting us all. Merry Medusa.

UntilThenDan

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FernFive

PASSAGES

Peter OToole

Peter James O’Toole

(August 2, 1932 – December 14, 2013)

Peter O’Toole, the legendary Hollywood star made famous by his leading role in 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday, his agent Steve Kenis said.

O’Toole went on to be recognized as one of the premiere actors of his generation. He was nominated for eight Oscars, but never won until he was given an honorary honor in 2003.

O’Toole was born in Ireland and grew up in Leeds, Yorkshire. O’Toole honed his acting chops in the London theater, before he beat out Marlon Brando and Albert Finney for the role of Lawrence of Arabia.

“In a long list of leading roles on stage and in film, Peter brought an extraordinary standard to bear as an actor,” the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, said in a statement. “He had a deep interest in literature and a love of Shakespearean Sonnets in particular. While he was nominated as Best Actor for an Oscar eight times, and received a special Oscar from his peers, for his contribution to film, he was deeply committed to the stage.”

As the BBC reports, at first, O’Toole declined the honorary Oscar, telling the Academy to hold off until was 80, because he was “still in the game and might win the bugger outright.” At age 79, O’Toole announced that he was retiring from acting.

O’Toole died in a London hospital following a long illness. He was 81.”

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_O’Toole and http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/12/15/251310592/peter-otoole-star-of-lawrence-of-arabia-dies

and (story and pic) http://www.biography.com/people/peter-otoole-9430474

Single Fern

Joan Fontaine

Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland

known professionally as Joan Fontaine

(22 October 1917 − 15 December 2013)

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine, one of the last of the leading ladies from Hollywood’s Golden Age whose career was marked by a storied and bitter rivalry with her older sister, Olivia de Havilland, died on Sunday at age 96.

Fontaine died in her sleep Sunday morning at her home in Carmel, California which overlooked the Pacific Ocean, after having been in failing health in recent days, said Noel Beutel, a longtime friend of the actress.

She was an amazing woman, she had such a big heart and she will be missed,” Beutel told Reuters, adding that she had had lunch with the actress just last week.

Among Fontaine’s most memorable films in a Hollywood career spanning four decades and some four dozen films was the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Suspicion,” co-starring Cary Grant, for which she won an Academy Award in 1942, beating out her sister in the competition. The honor gave Fontaine the distinction of being the only performer, actor or actress, ever to win an Academy Award for a starring role in one of Hitchcock’s many movies.”

Source and pic: http://www.stabroeknews.com/2013/entertainment/12/16/oscar-winning-actress-joan-fontaine-dead-96/

Single Fern

Billy Jack creator Tom Laughlin

Thomas Robert “Tom” Laughlin

(August 10, 1931 – December 12, 2013)

“Billy Jack” star Tom Laughlin dies at 82

NEW YORK – Actor-writer-director Tom Laughlin, whose production and marketing of “Billy Jack” set a standard for breaking the rules on and off screen, has died.

Laughlin’s daughter told The Associated Press that he died Thursday at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Laughlin was 82 and Teresa Laughlin, who acted in the Billy Jack movies, said the cause of death was complications from pneumonia.

“Billy Jack” was released in 1971 after a long struggle by Laughlin to gain control of the low-budget, self-financed movie, a model for guerrilla filmmaking.

He wrote, directed and produced “Billy Jack” and starred as the ex-Green Beret who defends a progressive school against the racists of a conservative Western community. The film became a counterculture favorite and the theme song, “One Tin Soldier,” was a hit single for the rock group Coven.”

Sources: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/billy-jack-star-tom-laughlin-dies-at-82; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Laughlin and pic: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/12/16/251584740/billy-jack-creator-tom-laughlin-dies

FernFive

radio d4k inverse

Like this week’s post, this may not be a typical Christmas carol, but for some reason it has always held special poignancy for me during the holidays. Sing along…enjoy…especially the key changes during the bridge.

In my little town
I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all

I still believe. Such a thought may well be the very essence of all that is good in the Season. Click on the album cover below and enjoy with all the best to you and Yours from me and Mine.

Dan

My Little Town Album Cover youheartthat wordpress com

Simon & Garfunkel – My Little Town

 

SOURCES, PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS:

Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.

Visit Eric and see his other work at: http://www.ericephoto.com or http://ericephoto.wordpress.com/

More on Medusa and her place in Greek mythology: http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Medusa/medusa.html

christmas_medusa_by_elfwoodsilverwing-d4gbjnh: Christmas Medusa by ElfwoodSilverwing Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Fantasy©2011-2013 ElfwoodSilverwing: http://elfwoodsilverwing.deviantart.com/art/Christmas-Medusa-269277245; Lord of the Rings Merry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meriadoc_Brandybuck; thefamilystonepic: http://directorisin.blogspot.com/2009/12/family-stone.html; Medusa’s Ancient Magic by seana fenner: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/2011/entries/90533/view/; My Little Town album cover (A WordPress blogger): http://youhearthat.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/you-spin-that/; medusa by alexi francis (A WordPress blogger): http://www.alexifrancisillustrations.co.uk/wordpress/medusa/

medusa by alexi francis

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 32 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogs because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to MERRY MEDUSA

  1. Dan,
    As ever, the timeliness of reading your prose reflects my current events back to me. The two recent holidays, now passed, were spent in isolated, solitary reflection of me, myself, and I in the presence of my ghosts. Some of them are settling in to rest peacefully while others still rattle and moan.

    All in all, no pain has been wasted here and stone is being unturned.

    On a side note – BBCA has a new show, Atlantis. Hercules, Pythagaros, Medusa, Jason, and Ariadne are come to life again in new and unexpected ways.

    Blessings,
    Kina

    • dan4kent says:

      Aw shucks…all kidding aside, we do what we can with what we have. You do. So too, do I. It’s the only way I know of that ups the liklihood that we all get to where we need to be — together. Peace and safe travels. Dan

  2. ntexas99 says:

    I like the idea of embracing that which we see reflected, especially when it shines a light on those things we don’t particularly like about ourselves. This gives us a starting-off point again; a place where we can stand in acknowledgement, and then make a choice. We can either accept, change, deny, or ignore, but either way, it’s a decision. Where we go from there is up to us. Great post.

    Merry Medusa to you, and many more.

  3. purplemary54 says:

    Oh, I’m already well aware of seeing myself reflected back through my family. What we hate most in others is always what we hate most in ourselves. I’m trying to use it as a way of tempering my own faults, although I’ve no idea how effective I’ve been. But I love my crazy family, and my crazy friends. Which brings to mind a different Paul Simon song. It’s not very Christmasy, either, but if the shoe fits . . .

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • dan4kent says:

      Ah my dear PM54. So funny and so very crazy after all these years…so true. Besides, you meet the most interesting people that way! Wouldn’t have it any other way – for either of us.
      Be well. Dan

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