Saturday, August 20, 2005

BOND - WITH THE BEST

A few flights up to the Royal Albert Hall…A giggling string quartet
brings back the glory days of the Saturday Night Fever school of thought
as they adorn the stage, complete with well-endowed orchestra, a band
comprising synths, bass, drums, a viola, two violins and a cello.
Contemporary classical, it is called, and this Anglo Australian band has
concocted their own unique recipe enveloping their flair for classical
music and the stage. Intensive, aerobically challenging dance
arrangements in the backdrop of some familiar and some new classical
style pieces might be a shade closer to disaster in some cultures. But
if you’re not looking for anything more than some good old fashioned
fun, then you’ll find your foot obediently tapping to the rhythm of this
band. They are Bond. Just Bond.
Bond (all lower case, mind you), was conceived, nutshell and all, by
entrepreneur and producer Mel Bush, and it the epitome of what happens
when a quintessentially girl-band bunch of divas goes Vanessa Mae and
Tchaikovsky. It is a rediscovery of classical music, which of course,
might have the veterans turning in their graves, but if placed in
isolation, can be deemed imminently pleasant, if not actually good.
There is no cause for complaint, considering the expense and vision that
has created this band, with the sole aim of targeting the modern
classical market to eradicate it of its snobbism. If that means booting
around to the boogey, Bond knows how to get with it. This charismatic,
sexy foursome goes straight for the jugular of appeal in true Charlie’s
Angels mode.
And so, by some twist of fate, we have Bond’s quartet, comprising Haylie
Ecker on first violin, Eos Chater on second violin, Tania Davis on viola
and Gay-Yee Westerhoff on the cello. Although, the instruments might be
the neo-plastic or nylon variety of their traditional counterparts! This
disarming quartet picks the bones of classical music, strings some old
notes together, and takes things from there. Gay-Yee Westerhoff has to
her lineage backing performances with Primal Scream, the Spice Girls,
Talvin Singh and Barry Manilow. Eos Chater was originally with “The
Divine Comedy” and the “Cocteau Twins.” Their heritages being diverse,
the Bond girls have clubbed together a whole lot of musical experiences
and setup their cauldron under one roof, calling it contemporary
classical music. Their compositions are mostly penned by Croatian
composer Tonci Huljic, and Magnus Fiennes.
Bond’s debut album, “Born” (2000), hit #2 on the UK Classical charts,
but the UK’s Chart Information Network swiped it off the charts when
they realized that only one track credited a dead composer and featured
the drums prominently. “Born” lifted itself from despair and went gold
in the UK, France, Australia, Sweden, Italy and Austria. It has also
been certified platinum in Turkey and Bulgaria. If Tchaikovsky’s “1812
Overture,” Saint-Saen’s “Carnival of the Animals” and the theme track of
“Aquarium” find a somewhat twisted location in Bond’s music, attribute
it to their study and love of classical music. There is also the flip
side. Uptempo beats strutting alongside the James Bond theme and “1812
Overture” itemize that intent is often a different ballgame from
execution. But Haylie Ecker points out, “We’re all classical musicians
who have trained for twenty years. We have degrees and have won prizes;
we play in the classical tradition and we are a string quartet. Our
album is a classical musical mixture of sounds and rhythms from around
the world.” Tania Davis has summed up the essence of the band, saying,
"If I were to explain Bond to someone, I'd probably call it eclectic.
The music is quite a mix. It's a lot of different styles. The producer
we've been working with has introduced a lot of different flavors to the
music."
Their originals such as “Quixote” and “Victory” do them credit, and have
the undying appeal that reaches out to masses in a gamut of age groups.
As for publicity, Bond have done their share of wacky things. A
promotional tour comprising a Jaguar-sponsored concert outside the New
York Stock Exchange could only be outdone by a performance at the New
York Auto Show, and Bond managed to do it! They have also appeared on
television programs such as “Good Morning America.” If insta-success is
measured by 2000000 copies of their debut album being sold in the first
month of release, then it logically also implies that whether classical
or quasi-classical, Bond’s reason for being extends purely to the
populist. Statistics approve – for they have hit the top slot on
Classical charts in a host of countries, including the Billboard and
Classical Crossover chart in the US, leaving Charlotte Church and Sarah
Brightman behind.
Bond is backed by a powerful string section that plays to act as foil
with the band rather than extend towards the experiential themselves.
Looking for hardcore Classical music, and a reinvention of Brahms in
breathing colour? Bond is not an option. So think again. Bond is just
upstream, refreshing pop at best, and neo-classical at worst. There is
no harm in reinventing the wheel to give it a dash of flavour. And the
Bond girls do just that. It is all about having the spirit to handle
offending the snobbish masses, who subscribe to the classical tradition
of yore, and giving these women the chance they rightfully deserve.
Don’t beat it till you try it…

Too HArd for my Hard disk to take....

1) FILM: Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost
MUSIC: Anu Malik, Ranjit Barot, Amar Mohile
LYRICS: Sameer
RATING: *
A bunch of braying tracks gone astray meet a sad musical death at the
hands of frogs, who sound infinitely more musical, even when dead
hungry. Or dead for that matter. It doesn’t matter that the album boasts
a bunch of experienced singers – what matters is that tracks like
“Shaher Ka Jadoo Re” and “Saiyan” sound like mediocre recycled songs
that one wouldn’t want to voluntarily listen to. “Jeetenge Baazi Hum” is
again uninspired and lacking in depth, considering that Ranjit Barot
could have done much more with it. Anu Malik is definitely at his
musical worst if you look at this soundtrack in isolation. Of course,
you cannot complain much if you place it next to others of its genre and
the more modern stuff in the offing.
2) FILM: Bhoot
MUSIC: Salim-Sulemain, Anand Raj Anand, Amar Mohile, Bapi-Tutul
LYRICS: Lalit Marathe, Praveen Bhardwaj, Jaideep Sanhi, Sandeep Nath,
Mahathi Prakash
RATING: ****
Ram Gopal Varma’s latest just goes to show that for some people, the
essence of music is still not dead. Bhoot’s range of musical composers
extends from Salim-Sulaiman and Anand Raj Anand to Amar Mohile. This
one’s a jazzy, innovative mix of tunes that suits the content of the
film, beginning with “Bhoot Hoon Main.” “Bhoot Hain Yahan Koi,” sung by
Asha Bhosle is grippingly chilling, with its somnolent undercurrents and
Asha’s evergreen vocals. “Din Hai Na Ye Raat” is one of the most
exciting songs in the film – and has the right pulse for a movie of this
category. Newcomers Bapi-Tutul have composed the music for this song,
and the originality comes through. A must-possess for lovers of
soundtracks.
3) FILM: Parwana
MUSIC: Sanjeev-Darshan
LYRICS: Sameer and Afsar
RATING: *
Singers as diverse as Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Vinod Rathod and
Jaspinder Narula, come together on the soundtrack of Parwana, which
follows the age-old epithet of Hindi soundtracks. Fudge, cut, paste,
represent. But the audience have woken up, and if these guys don’t buck
up, it will only be a Ctrl+Alt+Del. The crowning goriness of this film’s
music is emphasized by Jaspinder Narula singing along with Farid Sabri
and Sarika in, "Jo Pallu Gira Diya.” Sounds like Ila Arun put through a
transformer. “Jindri” is the only saving grace of this album, and that
is most obviously because it is one of those Punjabi tracks, that one
doesn’t have to listen to for appreciation. Only shake to its
madness…Like the rest of this soundtrack.
4) FILM: Sayaa
MUSIC: Anu Malik and M.M. Kreem
LYRICS: Sayeed Quadri, Parveen Bhardwaj and Anand Bakshi
RATING: **
This soundtrack takes off with a bang, with “O Sathiya” composed by M.M.
Kreem, which is a real eye-opener. This is the kind of track that
epitomizes how simplicity is often much more appealing than the crass
stuff that’s let out the gates of Bollywood’s filmi gate. “Aaj Jo Teri
Yaad,” sung twice in the album, once by Sonu Nigam and the second time,
by Shreya Ghoshal is a pleasant listen for a first time around play, but
two times is a bit too much. “Aye Mere Zindagi” is a romantic Udit
Narayan number that features some instrumental exploration with the
violin and saxophone. Sayaa is one of the better soundtracks of the day,
which emphasizes that all is not lost, and the black hole of Hindi music
is not growing.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sudoku - Once Latin , Now Jap

If the first week of May 2005 will be remembered for a general election, the second will go down as the week of Sudoku.
National newspapers scrambled to advertise the puzzle on their front pages, while websites devoted to it sprang up and TV and radio stations caught the new global bug.
Numerous articles have attributed the puzzle, which has a Japanese name, to the mysteries of the Land of the Rising Sun. But its true modern origins lie with a team of puzzle constructors in 1970s' New York, from where it set off on a 25-year journey to Tokyo, London - and back to New York.
Scientists have identified Sudoku as a classic meme - a mental virus which spreads from person to person and sweeps across national boundaries. Dr Susan Blackmore, author of The Meme Machine, said: 'This puzzle is a fantastic study in memetics. It is using our brains to propagate itself across the world like an infectious virus.'
Sudoku - pronounced soo-doe-koo - does not require general knowledge, linguistic ability or even mathematical skill. Dubbed the Rubik's Cube of the 21st century, it consists of a grid of 81 squares, divided into nine blocks of nine squares each. Some of the squares contain a figure. The goal is to fill in the empty squares so that the figures 1 to 9 appear just once in every row, column and individual block. The requirement is logic or, for those willing to engage in a fiendish game of trial and error, sheer patience.
The Sudoku story began in 1783 when Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician, devised 'Latin Squares', which he described as 'a new kind of magic squares'. Euler had come up with a grid in which every number or sym bol appears once in each row or column. More than two centuries later, the difference for Sudoku players is that the grid is subdivided into blocks of nine.
The realisation that this could become a popular phenomenon was made in Manhattan, New York in the late 1970s by Dell Puzzle Magazines, which has been producing crosswords and other puzzles since 1931. Its editor-in-chief, Abby Taylor, who joined in 1980, said: 'No one knows exactly when it started or who devised it, but the oldest copy I can find in our archive is 1979. We called the puzzle Number Place and still do today.'
For years Dell continued to publish Number Place among numerous other brain teasers. Taylor said: 'It was only about five or six years ago that we got a lot more mail from people who said they enjoyed it. We decided to feature it more and produced a complete book of Number Place puzzles. But we didn't suspect it would become a global phenomenon.'
She added: 'I like the puzzle a lot. It's accessible to most people and that's part of the charm. Although some are more difficult than others, the concept is easy to grasp and it doesn't take for ever to solve. There is a universality to it and it becomes addictive.'
As Dell continued to quietly churn out Number Place through the Eighties, it was spotted, imitated and embraced in puzzle-obsessed Japan. Publisher Nikoli made two small improvements to the concept and renamed it Sudoku - in Japanese Su means a number and doku roughly translates as singular or unique. From its publication in 1984, it became a sensation in a country where the alphabet is ill-suited to crosswords.
The new Sudoku meme remained virtually confined to the Far East for 20 years. But a man from Matamata, New Zealand, was to become responsible for a global outbreak. Wayne Gould, a judge who had moved to Hong Kong, was shopping in Tokyo in March 1997. While he waited for one shop to open, he browsed in a bookstore. 'As soon as I saw the grid with the empty squares, I felt very tempted to fill them in. Over the next six years I developed a computer program that makes up Sudoku puzzles on the spot.'
Gould's wife, Gaye, is a professor of linguistics in New Hampshire in the United States. Gould published one of his puzzles in the local newspaper, the Conway Daily Sun, with success. Then last October Sudoku spread to Britain. 'I was on my way to Hong Kong via London,' Gould, 59, recalled. 'I turned up unannounced at the Times, like an old-fashioned travelling salesman, and got my foot in the door. They published the puzzle the following month and it took off.
'This is light relief and anybody, including immigrants who don't speak the native language, can do it. I have become good but my wife is much better and does them in about half the time. I'm surprised and amazed at how popular it has become and I can't really explain it.'
Gould sells puzzles via his website, www.sudoku.com, and has customers ranging from seven-year-olds to octogenarians.
Newspapers have been quick to hurl themselves into the Sudoku frenzy, some claiming they had it first under a different name. On Friday the Guardian front page declared 'G2 - The only newspaper section with Sudoku on every page!' and the Times promised: 'Mobile Su Doku; The game everyone's talking about - now on your mobile phone'. Yesterday's Independent dangled the prospect of becoming a 'Grand Master' in the first Sudoku Championship of Great Britain, and BBC Radio 4's Today read numbers aloud in the first radio version.
Sudoku Selection, the first monthly magazine devoted to the craze, was launched last week, and several Sudoku books are on the market. Celebrities ranging from the cerebral Carol Vorderman to Big Brother 's Jade Goody have testified to its benefits as a mental workout. The government-backed Teachers magazine has recommended Sudoku as brain exercise in classrooms. It has even been suggested that it can slow the progression of conditions such as Alzheimer's.
Sudoku has sprung up in newspapers from France to Slovakia, while a card game is sweeping American high schools. Last month the puzzle completed its circumnavigation of the globe by arriving back in Manhattan as a regular feature in the New York Post. Abby Taylor of Dell mused: 'We were a little surprised to see it in the Post. I suppose if people see it there, they might want a whole book of them, and that's where we come in. We're not selling millions yet.'

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Metal!!

It isn’t just about splitting up music – which is hard enough and con never really be done anyway. It’s almost like classifying gloom, doom and the like – how gloomy, what kind of doom etc. And, of course, changes. Sooner or later everyone’s going to have evolved (putting it optimistically)and then you have sub-genres and sub-sub-genres – basically a whole lot of hyphenated words until some bright spark comes up with a name, and then you’ve got a whole new GENRE to work with again.
Well, I guess that’s enough whining and general listing out of excuses for now. The first division before the majority of the dividing happened was Heavy Metal. Using degrees of comparison, I think you’d find a predominance of ‘ers’ here. Louder, harsher and definitely more blasphemous than most of the music around that time. So much so that it had to get a name of its own. And of course the band name you’d hear the most here would be Sabbath – the closest you could get to identifying a beginning.
Predictably, it gets noisier. There’s Speed, Thrash, Black and Death to follow. Here the degrees of comparison come even more into play. Some more melodic than others, some faster, some noisier, some harder, some heavier… On the melody scale thrash would definitely come lower than all the rest. After all, something had to be sacrificed in the quest for the really noisy, really aggressive, really really angry sound. Yelling’s no longer left to concert audiences. Inevitably providing vicarious thrills to many. And it doesn’t end there either. Black and Death are on their way, and among other things make the job of classifying even harder.
There’s more noise but there also seems to be more melody. Yells and snarls become shrieks and growls. And doomsday’s popularity hits a new high, along with related or unrelated themes – as long as pain, anger, violence etc. are in there somewhere. Anti-Christianity tirades and Satanic babble seem to be an essential part of Black metal, but can be found in other genres too. And are not really that essential, in fact. It all comes down to what which group decides to put where, say how and other such complicated stuff. Safe to say that there do seem to be vague methods of identifying them; when you consider all the switching around that groups do, and all the afore-mentioned hyphens you see, (black-death, thrash-death etc) it probably doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong – or better yet you will be right to some extent. Emperor’s Black, Dissection’s Black-Death, Morbid Angel’s Death – for example.
Excessive degrees of depression could take you out of the black/death categories and dump you in Doom. Slower, more musical, misery’s never looked better and has all the company it wants. Classical instruments like the violin, piano etc are used a lot here. Even more melodrama can be found in Gothic – mournful, majestic, and, well, gothic. And there’s Folk, with folk influences. Neo-classical: think Gothic or Doom and add a whole lot more classical instruments.
Nu-metal – can you ever leave rap behind? Retain anger-and-aggression, add hip-hop flavors – or is it flava? (Korn, Limp Bizkit…) And then there’s power metal. Go back to good old heavy, toss in some thrash. Oh, and the idea that the world isn’t so bad after all. Helloween and Blind Guardian are members of this happy(er) crowd. Progressive metal – we’re progressing back to those good old days when melodies and lyrics actually mattered. So are we traveling in circles or spirals? There’s also technical metal – there’s always someone around who actually wants to make things more complicated.
And the best thing about it all is that you don’t have to conclude, because you can’t, because there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

No Horsing Around !!

Movement. The concept has always held the fascination of any conscious being. Take a cat, and dangle a string in front of it – and watch it bat out… but movement from one place to another isn’t as cute – it requires effort. Not a very enthralling prospect through the ages, though, as most of the time it’s been the effort of the individual who requires to move…

But then, around the time mankind discovered that they could lounge around watching plants grow, instead of running after stupid animals who wouldn’t stay in one place, they found the horse. Caught young, it wasn’t that hard to control, and provided a fascinating, if smelly, mode of transport. Untiring, at least when compared to feeble humans, and hugely faster than most other things on legs, this created a revolution.

Actually, the revolution was to come slightly later, you need wheels for that, but…

…the quest for speed had begun. The horse was a status symbol – kings rode on the best, fastest horses in the kingdom, and the horse became a symbol for integrity, strength and honour. And speed. Horses were bred for swiftness, and the swiftest horses were famous for miles around. Passing the lineage down the gene-pool was an expensive affair, and not everybody could afford the best. Or deserved the best. Because a horse was more than just a mode of transport – it was a way of life.

Then, automobiles were invented, and the first ‘horseless carriages’ started puttering around town belching out evil-smelling effluents. They were compared to horses. At least to the lack of them. And their prowess, again, was measured in ‘horsepower’. For good reason. The quest of speed carried on to this lifestyle, too, and the fastest drivers were given the status that only kings and sportsmen had held, before.

For speed is a form of sport. Jockeying for pole position. Racing your pistons in wild abandon, praying that the oil keeps them moving until you complete your laps. Your horse, foaming at the mouth, heart beating violently, the spurs digging into his sides and egging him on. The smell of rubber, the bitter-sweet taste of exhaust and adrenalin mingling on your tongue, as you flick your thumb to re-arrange the cogs behind you, delivering the correct torque to the wheels, pulling you ahead of the pack. The grass flying into the air behind you, kicked into bits of fluff, only to be thudded down nearly instantly by the horse behind you with that wild, proud, faraway look in its eyes as it focuses on the only thing that matters…

…To be the fastest.

This is a story of two horses. And two men. And the cars that resulted out of their union.

Think you’re in a plane, in the middle of the Great War (known as World War I after the second one came along to spoil the party), fighting a losing battle against radial-engined, oil-seeping crooked crosses. Leather-helmeted and goggled, you have the wind in your hair, and have the immense protection of a sheet of glass in front of you against the leaden bursts of machine-gun fire all around.

Not the ideal way to grow old, is it?

Francesco Baracca (1888-1918) was born at Lugo dj Romagna, and entered the Scuola Militaire at Modena in October 1907. Ascending rapidly through the ranks of the military, he quickly reached the rank of officer in the cavalry regiments, and underwent flight training in Reims, and went flying into the war to become the most successful airman in his country. A record of 34 enemy planes were brought down by him. While one day experiencing the things in the previous paragraph, he finally got shot down, and rather than be captured ignominiously or die in the crash, he shot himself. Of course, not having his first-hand account of the event, we know of this by the fact that there was a pistol in his hand, and a bullet-hole in his head, when he was discovered a few days later. He was immortalized by a monument with the horse prancing on the side, and his remains are preserved to this day in a bronze casket made by melting down guns used during the war.

Due to his prowess in bringing down enemy aircraft, he had painted a prancing horse (‘cavallino rampante’) on the fuselage of his plane, and this is what everything’s getting at. Countess Isabella, Francesco’s mother, wanted that her son’s logo, and the family’s shield, should only go to something befitting. And as her son thrived on speed, she presented the logo to Enzo Ferrarri, for use on his racing cars. Not very often that an identity falls thus from the skies (literally, in this case) and goes on to garner more acclaim than the skies themselves…

And of course, if you haven’t heard of Ferrari, you should donate the red in your blood so that it can be put to some better use…

Getting back to the topic, that decision of Francesco’s mother turned out to be the best thing she could ever have done… The black prancing horse is now an icon of mechanical status that arouses everything in a person, second only to the traditional Ferrari red that has gained epic status. The story does go that you cannot buy a Ferrari with money alone – you need to have owned a Ferrari to buy one. The story might even be true.

That maxim apparently does not seem to have taxed one of our cricket heroes, however…

But Enzo Ferrari wasn’t always deserving of the logo – born in a middle class family with three aspirations – to be either an opera singer, a sports journalist or a racing car driver – he was never very good at school, and finally left it altogether after Italy entered the Great War, and the deaths of his father and brother.

Starting off shoeing mules for the mountain artillery, he went on to contract flu in an epidemic ravaging the army, but thankfully for us did not succumb to it. He instead procured a letter of recommendation from his colonel, and turned to Fiat for a job. He was rejected, oddly enough, and was taken in by Vespa as a test driver. He participated in his first race under their auspices. He continued racing, and started working for Alfa Romeo come 1920.

After working for Alfa Romeo for nine years, he quit to go it on his own, and after the severance agreement (which stipulated that he would not design machinery or race under his name), he finally designed a car under his name in 1946, after shifting his factory to Maranello following a bombing of his previous plant at Modena.

The prancing horse finally made its appearance on the Rome Grand Prix track, on a 125 which was driven by Franco Cortese on May 11, 1947.

Suffering losses, he sold part of his company to Fiat in 1965, and then a further portion in 1969, bringing the total Fiat ownership to 90%, though, as per the contract, he retained control of the company till his death.

Stuttgart – Stutt Garten – Stud Garden. The devolution of a word.

Horsepower is something that is intrinsic to a place of this nature. But it wasn’t always so – it became a city in the 13th century, and the capital of the Counts of Württemberg in 1312. Their seal appeared the same year, and contained two horses, the lower being smaller than the upper. The original seal of the area, however, were three deer antlers; the arms of Count Konrad and his father Hartmann, and were derived from older arms of the counts of Nellenburg, which had three blue antlers. These counts, of Nellenburg and Württemberg, were both related to the counts of Veringen.

Starting off with antlers covered by a helmet and topped off by a peacock feather as the crest (since around 1279), the crest was replaced by a horn around the beginning of the 14th century, as visible in the Zurich and von der Esten roll of arms. The mantle was red and gold, derived from Veringen. Around the 15th century, three feathers were placed at the mouth of the horn. Famous for the horses that were bred in the area, the royal benevolence created a stud of repute that ended up contributing to the name.

In another deviation from this other story, we go to 1951, when Porsche is planning on shifting back to their hometown, away from their temporary wartime setting.

Stuttgart. A place with a history. Other than the one outlined above, to boot. The home of the Solitude race track, which was used as a ‘Test and Race Track for Automobiles and Motorcycles’ from 1952 – 1956. Using the emblem of the Württembergs, named Rößle, this track was once a public road, and was modified and built into the race track it now is, jointly, by the State of Baden-Württemberg, the State Capital Stuttgart, the County of Leonberg and the Automobil Club section of ADAC-Gau Württemberg.

--- BOX next to the race track image ---
Highest Point of race track: 200 meters behind Frauenkreuz at km 3 with
505.92 m
Lowest Point of race track: in Mahdental valley at Glems bridge with 382.59
m
Elevation difference: 123.33 m
Length of track: 11417 m
Width of track: 8-12 m, at start 24 m
Steepest rise: 15 % from Glemseck up to Hedersbachebene
Steepest drop: 11% from Frauenkreuz down to Dreispitz
Steepest banked turn: 14% in Hedersbachkurve
Smallest corner radius: 37 metres in Hedersbachkurve
Number of corners: 26 left and 19 right, 45 curves in total
Longest straight: 550 m between Steinbachsee and Büsnau
--- END BOX next to the race track image ---

Porsche was now a brand without an emblem. The subliminal identity that humans seem to require to exhibit that elusive quality named ‘loyalty’. Something that creates the entire feel and experience behind something which, logically examined, remains completely identical.

Or does it? Influence the maker itself, so he has to live up to the mythical image conjured up by the mythical image that is the emblem?

Whatever the case may be, the customers wanted it, and the resellers demanded it. Rumour has it that professor Porsche himself sketched it out on the back of a napkin, but we do know for a fact that Messrs. Lepper and Riemspiess from the publicity/design studios were the ones who meticulously crafted the end result.

There were representations of three things – the family name ‘Porsche’ is at the forefront, the other two displaying the fact that Porsche was finally back where it belonged, in Stuttgart. The State of Württemberg contributed the deer antlers and the red/black bars, and the horse cantered in from the coat of arms of Stuttgart, which just happens to be the capital of Württemberg.

The emblem was there. Used initially only internally (1953), on the horn button of the cars, the first time it made an exterior appearance was on the bonnet of a 356 coupe, in 1957.

The traditional colours of Porsche are a story unto themselves… faced with an acute shortage of coloured inks and coloured paper after the second World War, and with the availability of coloured paper in one colour – maroon – at their small printer’s (Glauner), a precedent was set. Today, you can see the colour all over the Porsche office buildings, letterheads, wallets and other stationery.

The way Porsche is written, itself, has undergone numerous changes. First debuting at Gmund, in June 1948, the squarish shape was easily apparent. Initially, they were discrete letters placed in a semicircle pattern in front of the cars. Starting from 1950, a horizontal bar underlining the letters joined them into one unit. In 1952, the letters hunkered down and were extended, probably due to the higher speeds the cars were capable of by then and the effect of the windstream on the logo… or perhaps not.

When the 911 appeared, the logo reverted back to the discrete letters, but thinner and more open. The metal letters were abandoned in favour of a depiction on the reflective panel separating the tail lights of the 911, starting from 1974.

We will now resist the immense urge to write a list of bad puns on the 911, and exit gracefully, as befits the motifs of the story…

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What the Faulk?

I don't remember why this was compiled....
But anyways, what the faulk!!!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Faulkner's great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner, died eight years before
William Faulkner was born, but nonetheless he dominated the lives of all his
descendants. During his life he was, in turns, a Civil War soldier, a
planter, a lawyer, a politician, a best-selling novelist (for The White Rose
of Memphis), and a railroad entrepreneur. The Old Colonel's Ouster


W. C. Falkner's nickname was the "Old Colonel," for his rank in the Civil
War, and he was commended by Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston for his
courage in repelling the Union General Irwin McDowell's final assault at the
Battle of First Manassas. Nonetheless, he was ousted from command by his
troops the following year for being too reckless. Undeterred, Falkner
returned to Mississippi and raised a regiment, the First Mississippi
Partisan Rangers, to defend his homeland.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Larger than Life


W. C. Falkner had a larger-than-life-size statue made of him in Carrara of
Italian marble in expectation that his grateful townspeople would erect it
in the town square of Ripley, Mississippi, to commemorate him. The statue -
eight feet tall and resting upon a base six feet square and fourteen feet
tall - was never erected in the town square as he envisioned. Instead, it
rests atop his grave, intact except for the fingers of his right hand, which
at some point were shot off.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Business Is Hell


Falkner died in the streets of Ripley in 1889 when his former business
partner shot him. Falkner had forced the partner, Richard J. Thurmond, out
of his railroad. In the subsequent trial, Thurmond was acquitted.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Young Colonel's War Record


William Faulkner's grandfather, John Wesley Thompson (J.W.T.) Falkner, was
nicknamed the "Young Colonel," out of respect for his father, the "Old
Colonel," but the younger Falkner in fact never fought in any war. J.W.T.
Falkner


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Bank Builder


J.W.T. Falkner, the first Falkner to live in Oxford, founded the First
National Bank of Oxford in 1910. The bank is still in operation today.

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Career Dreams Dashed


William Faulkner's father, Murry Falkner, had his career dreams dashed when
his father sold the family railroad in 1902. Murry had been working for the
railroad in Ripley and had hoped to inherit the railroad from his father,
just as his father had inherited it from the Old Colonel. But when Murry
went to a banker hoping to secure a loan to buy the railroad, the banker
laughed at him, thinking it was a joke that someone would sell something so
profitable as a railroad. Offended, Murry stalked out, effectively ending
his best chance to save the only job he would ever love. Murry Falkner


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Childhood and Adolescence
Kindling Choppers


When Faulkner (then named "Falkner") was born in September 1897 in New
Albany, Mississippi, he was sick enough most nights that his mother, Maud,
would rock him steadily, not in a rocking chair but in a straight kitchen
chair, and the sound of the chair's legs could be heard through the open
windows. One neighbor said, "Those Falkners sure are the queerest folks.
They chop kindlin' all night on the kitchen floor."

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An Early Start


Faulkner knew at an early age what he wanted to do with his life. When he
entered third grade (after having skipped second) and was asked what he
wanted to do when he grew up, he responded, "I want to be a writer like my
great-granddaddy."

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Lynched!


One of William Faulkner's most formative experiences happened in 1908 when a
black man, Nelse Patton, was lynched on the square in Oxford. A man named
McMillan who was in the Oxford jail asked Patton, a trusty at the jail, to
take a message to his wife, Mattie. According to reports, Patton made
advances upon Mattie, which she refused, and when she reached for a pistol
to force him to leave, he slashed her with a razor that nearly took her head
off.
Patton was captured and returned to the jail, and by sundown a crowd
numbering in the hundreds had gathered outside. A judge and several
ministers had nearly convinced the throng to let justice take its course,
but then a friend of J.W.T. Falkner, former U.S. Senator W. V. Sullivan,
arrived and harangued the crowd, now numbering nearly 2,000 people. Now a
mob, the assembly managed to break into the jail and shot Patton; they then
dragged his body out, castrated it, and mutilated the head. They tied a rope
around Patton's neck and dragged him behind a car to the square, where they
hung his naked body from a tree. The coroner's jury determined that Patton
"came to his death from gunshot or pistol wounds inflicted by parties to us
unknown."


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Early Adulthood
Phil Stone


If any one person is responsible for Faulkner's emergence as one of the
twentieth century's most gifted novelists, that honor would go to Phil
Stone. Four years older than Faulkner, Stone first noticed Faulkner in the
summer of 1914, after having earned a B.A. from Yale and learning that
Faulkner was writing poetry. After he had read Faulkner's poetry, Stone
sensed his potential as a writer and took Faulkner as his protégé,
encouraging him in his pursuits and ambitions and instructing him in his
many interests, including literature, philosophy, and history.

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Canada Cadet


When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Faulkner (still spelled
"Falkner" at this time) tried to enlist in the Army Air Corps as a pilot.
When he was rejected for being too short, he decided to spell his name
"Faulkner" and adopted a British persona, even affecting an English accent,
hoping to join the Royal Air Force in Canada. He was accepted and reported
for duty in Toronto on July 9, 1917.
Nevertheless, he never flew in combat. When the war ended on November
11, 1918, Cadet Faulkner was stationed at the School of Military Aeronautics
in Toronto in the third and final phase of pre-flight training. He returned
home to Oxford in December 1918, having never left North America for the
skies over Europe.
William Faulkner in 1918


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A Plate in His Head


Even though Faulkner never flew in combat during the war, that didn't
prevent him from suggesting that he had. He returned to Oxford in his R.A.F.
uniform sporting wings that he had purchased in New York City and with a
limp he claimed he had suffered in a crash during training. The tales he
told varied - on occasion he claimed he had suffered a skull fracture that
had left him with a silver plate in his head and lingering pain, and when
listeners assumed that he had incurred his "injuries" in the skies over
France, he did little to dissuade their beliefs. Some of his tales of
injuries even made it into later biographical notes accompanying his novels.

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The Card-Playing Postmaster


Faulkner's most notorious stint as a working man was his role of postmaster
at the University of Mississippi post office, which incredibly he held for
nearly three years. By all accounts, he was a terrible postmaster - he would
ignore patrons calling at the window, he delayed taking outgoing mail to the
train station, and on occasion he even threw away mail. He spent much of his
time in the post office writing, and other times he would play bridge and
mah-jongg with friends whom he'd appointed as part-time clerks. When a
postal inspector came to investigate, Faulkner agreed to resign. Later,
Faulkner said about his experience: "I reckon I'll be at the beck and call
of folks with money all my life, but thank God I won't ever again have to be
at the beck and call of every son of a bitch who's got two cents to buy a
stamp."

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The Ousted Scoutmaster


At the same time Faulkner was working as postmaster, he also volunteered as
a scoutmaster for the Oxford Boy Scout troop - but he was relieved of his
duties because of his drinking.

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The Writing Life
Sherwood Anderson


Besides Phil Stone, Faulkner's other literary mentor was Sherwood Anderson,
author of Winesburg, Ohio, whom he met in New Orleans in 1925 through
Anderson's wife. Anderson encouraged Faulkner in several ways, most notably
in his instruction for him to write about the region he knew in Mississippi
(see introduction to The Library). Anderson also played a crucial, if
hurtful, role in having Faulkner's first novel, Soldiers' Pay published;
Anderson agreed to recommend the novel to his publisher, Horace Liveright,
if Anderson did not have to read it.

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Dark Houses


Faulkner twice used "Dark House" as a working title for a novel in progress,
and both times he changed it for a more impressionistic title. The first
novel had originally begun with a character named Hightower and his bride
arriving at a church in Jefferson. Later, however, Faulkner made another
start, "knowing no more about it than a young woman, pregnant, walking along
a strange country road." One afternoon in August, Faulkner and his wife
Estelle were having a drink on the east gallery of Rowan Oak. Estelle looked
across the grass to the bushes, bathed in the afternoon sunlight, and to the
sunken garden in the shade beyond, and said, "Bill, does it ever seem to you
that the light in August is different from any other time of the year?" A
little while later, Faulkner rose, said, "That's it," and walked into the
house. A few minutes later, he returned without explanation. He had gone to
his worktable, struck out "Dark House," and substituted "Light in August."
Later, Faulkner said he used that title because "in my country in August
there's a peculiar quality to light and that's what that title means."
(Blotner, Faulkner: A Biography, Rev. ed., pp. 280-81)
The second novel, bearing the working title "A Dark House," began from
"Evangeline," a story that he had first begun in the mid-1920s, which
involved two young Americans, twenty-three-year-old Don and a
twenty-two-year-old narrator, attempting to solve a murder mystery having to
do with a plantation owner named Colonel Sutpen and his children. In 1933
Faulkner had approached the material through a different character, Wash
Jones, a poor white who "looked after" Colonel Sutpen's plantation while
Sutpen has been away fighting the war. The story, "Wash," was published in
Harper's.

Faulkner began writing A Dark House in February 1934, substituting two
characters named Chisholm and Burke for the narrator and Don of
"Evangeline." After several false starts, he hit upon using a character who
had previously appeared in The Sound and the Fury, Quentin Compson, first
telling the story to his Harvard roommate, Shreve, then as the recipient of
a letter from his father dated January 12, 1910, which began, "My dear son,
Miss Rosa Coldfield was buried yesterday. She had been in a coma for about a
week and two days ago she died without regaining consciousness...." Mr.
Compson's reflections on death lead to a flashback in the home of Rosa
Coldfield, Sutpen's sister-in-law. The murder mystery that had first arisen
nearly a decade before in "Evangeline" would fall primarily on Quentin's
(and Shreve's) shoulders, but it would also be explored by other characters
as well. The novel was published as Absalom, Absalom!, and it would take
Faulkner another two years before he finished writing it. (Blotner,
Faulkner: A Biography, Rev. ed., pp. 176, 324-27)


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C o l o r e d Ink


When he was trying to get The Sound and the Fury published, Faulkner
suggested using colored ink as a means of delineating the multiple time
periods represented in Benjy's section rather than simply indicating a shift
in time with italics, but he was told publishing was not advanced enough to
accomplish it.

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A "Cheap Idea"...

Faulkner wrote in the introduction to Sanctuary - one of the few
introductions Faulkner ever wrote for his novels - that the book was "a
cheap idea, because it was deliberately conceived to make money." Though
Faulkner did not want the introduction published in future editions of the
novel, in a sense he was right, since Sanctuary was his only bona-fide
bestseller at the time of first publication, and fifteen years later - when
Malcolm Cowley's edited version of The Portable Faulkner was published - it
was the only Faulkner book not out of print. Faulkner's comments would have
the unfortunate effect of convincing critics to accept the book at face
value, ignoring the novel's obvious skill and craftsmanship as well as its
exploration of "Faulknerian" themes.

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...But Not Too Cheap

Faulkner may have called it a cheap idea, but ultimately it was costly. He
wrote the manuscript for Sanctuary immediately after The Sound and the Fury
and sent it off to his publisher, who said of the novel's lurid subject
matter, "Good God, I can't publish this. We'd both be in jail." Faulkner
then wrote As I Lay Dying, which was published, and late that year received
the galley proofs of Sanctuary. Reading through them, and realizing how
badly written the novel was, he chose to rewrite numerous parts of the
novel, sharing the cost of such an immense change with the firm. The cost of
revising the novel came to $270 for Faulkner, "at a time," he said, "when I
didn't have $270.00" (Blotner, Faulkner: A Biography [1984] 268-70).

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Fact and Fiction
On Eagles' Wings


In Faulkner's first Yoknapatawpha novel, Sartoris, the epitaph he had chosen
for John Sartoris, a pilot who dies in the novel, was "I bare him on eagles'
wings and brought him unto me." In 1935, when Faulkner's youngest brother,
Dean Swift Faulkner, died crashing the airplane Faulkner had sold to him,
the same epitaph was used on his gravestone.

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Like a Brother


Faulkner felt tremendous guilt over the death of his brother Dean: he had
sold the airplane to Dean, and he had encouraged him in his flying. At the
time of Dean's death, Faulkner was writing Absalom, Absalom!, a novel in
which the central mystery concerns the murder of a brother by his brother.

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Church Related


According to Faulkner's nephew, James Faulkner, the church which Thomas
Sutpen "rode fast to" - and in which he was married - in Absalom, Absalom!
is the same church, College Hill Presbyterian Church, in which Faulkner
married Estelle Oldham Franklin in 1929.

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Col. Dickey's Kindness


The first Union cavalry officer to arrive in Oxford during the Civil War was
a "Col. Dickey," who demonstrated an act of kindness to the "Widow Sample"
for teaching the children of her 100 slaves to read - he returned to her six
mules and a wagon earlier taken by Union troops and gave her a wagonload of
salt from Union stores. In The Unvanquished, the name of the Union commander
who ordered the return of Rosa Millard's silver (not to mention her mules
and slaves) was named Colonel Nathaniel G. Dick (Hinkle and McCoy 112-13).

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Benjy's Brother?


The Compson home in The Sound and the Fury was based on the Chandler House
in Oxford, a few blocks away from Faulkner's childhood home. Faulkner's
first-grade teacher, Miss Chandler, lived there with her family, which
included a mentally retarded brother who may have been a model for Benjy
Compson. Photo by John B. Padgett
The Thompson-Chandler House


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Barton Fink and Bill Faulkner


Joel and Ethan Coen's 1991 film Barton Fink, which depicts the story of a
"serious" writer who hesitantly accepts a lucrative Hollywood screenwriting
job in the 1940s, features a character conspicuously modeled on William
Faulkner: Bill Mayhew, a Southern novelist (America's greatest living
novelist, according to Barton Fink) who is having an affair with his
secretary. Mayhew, played by John Mahoney, bears a strong resemblance to
William Faulkner, who himself had taken up screenwriting in Hollywood to
make ends meet. However, there are other parallels in the film between
Faulkner and the title character: like Faulkner, Barton Fink's first
screenwriting job is to write a wrestling picture for Wallace Beery.

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Hollywood
Faulkner in Hollywood
A Mickey-Mouse Job

When Faulkner first went to MGM to work as a screenwriter in 1932, he
volunteered to Story Department chief Samuel Marx to write not feature films
but two types of movies he claimed he was most familiar with: newsreels and
Mickey Mouse cartoons.

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Homework


According to Hollywood legend, Faulkner went to the studio boss and asked if
it would be all right for him to work at home. The studio boss said okay.
Later, someone tried to reach him at his Hollywood apartment, to no avail.
Finally, they realized "home" for Faulkner meant Oxford, Mississippi. (In
fact, Faulkner had gained permission to work in Oxford.)

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Studio Directive


While working for MGM in Oxford, Faulkner received a directive to fly to New
Orleans to work on dialogue for a picture called Louisiana Lou, which was
being filmed there. As Faulkner says, "I could have got on a train in Oxford
and been in New Orleans eight hours later, but I obeyed the studio and went
to Memphis, where an airplane occasionally did leave for New Orleans. Three
days later one did."

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Clark Gable
Clark Who?

In 1932 Faulkner went dove hunting with Howard Hawks and a friend of his, an
actor named Clark Gable. Hawks began talking with Faulkner about books,
during which Gable remained silent. Finally, Gable asked Faulkner who he
thought were the best living writers. After a moment, Faulkner answered,
"Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Thomas Mann, John Dos Passos, and myself."
Gable paused for a moment and said, "Oh, do you write?"

"Yes, Mr. Gable," Faulkner said. "What do you do?"


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A "Nobel" Achievement


Faulkner's film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's novel To Have and Have Not
marks the only time in film history that two Nobel Prize winners, Faulkner
and Hemingway, were associated with the same motion picture.

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The Butler Did It...Or Did He?


What is probably Faulkner's greatest screenwriting triumph, The Big Sleep,
was borne out of confusion that extended even to the source material. As
Director Howard Hawks recalled, "It was basically an entertaining film, even
though I could never figure out who killed who." When someone asked Hawks
who killed the man whose car was fished out of the river, Hawks said he
didn't know, so he asked Faulkner. Faulkner didn't know either, so Hawks
asked Raymond Chandler, the author of the detective novel on which the movie
was based.
Chandler jokingly responded with the old cliché from stage melodrama,
"The butler did it." To which Hawks replied, "Like hell he did; he was down
at the beach house at the time."


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The Nobel Prize
William Faulkner at the Nobel ceremonies with Dr. Gustaf Hellström and Envoy
Ståhle
A Timely Award

William Faukner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1949, but he
did not actually receive the award until 1950 because the Nobel committee
could not reach a decision in time. The initial list of candidates included
Hemingway, Steinbeck, Pasternak, Sholokhov, Mauriac, and Camus. Though the
list was narrowed down to Sir Winston Churchill, Pär Lagerkvist, and
Faulkner, with the voting eventually swinging in Faulkner's favor, it did
not happen in time for the prize to be awarded that year.

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A Farmer in Sweden


When Faulkner was informed that he had been chosen to receive the Nobel
Prize, Faulkner did not want to go to Stockholm to receive it. He told a
Swedish reporter, "I won't be able to come to receive the prize myself. It's
too far away. I am a farmer down here and I can't get away." His wife,
Estelle, eventually persuaded him to go when she told him their daughter,
Jill, wanted to go. In reality, Jill was not at all anxious to go, but
Faulkner did not know this and eventually capitulated.

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Nothing to Wear


Faulkner was unwilling to buy a new suit to wear when he received the Nobel
Prize, so he rented one. Afterwards, he told his publisher, Bennett Cerf,
that he wanted to keep the suit. When asked what he would do with it,
Faulkner said, "Well, I might stuff it and put it in the living room and
charge people to come in and see it, or I might rent it out, but I want that
suit." Random House bought the suit for him.

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Seen, Not Heard


When Faulkner delivered his Nobel Prize speech, no one could understand what
he said - he stood too far from the microphone, and his Southern accent and
rapid delivery made it even more difficult to understand what he was saying.
But when they discovered what he said the next morning, the impact was
tremendous. For years afterward, according to one scholar, Faulkner's speech
would be recalled as the best speech ever given at a Nobel dinner.

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Faulkneriana
The Faulkner Stamp


The United States Postal Service issued a first-class 22-cent stamp
commemorating Faulkner in 1987 - an ironic honor, considering Faulkner's
notorious stint as a postmaster. The stamp's first-day cancellation was held
in Oxford, Mississippi, Faulkner's hometown, on August 3, 1987.

Etymology - Doggy Style

Did you know that when you called your dog a "mutt", you were actually calling it a muttonhead! Or for instance, how your pet poodle gets it's name? Well, the poodle incidentally, gets it's name from the German word for "water dog", a simple shortening of "pudelhund", where "pudeln" means "splash", and
"hund" means "dog"! In fact, this is just one of the more obvious origins of dog names! Take for example, the Chihuahua, which was basically a descendant of an ancient dog breed called Techichi, which played a vital part in the Toltec and Aztec ritual - and if anything could get more obscure, try the "affenspinscher", which takes its name from the German word "Affa", meaning ape, with the suffix, "pinscher", meaning terrier. While "ape terrier" may sound laughable, a look at the canine might prove explanation enough!

Then there's that esteemed and very available species found all over town, namely, the mongrel! Well, the "mongrel", refers to a dog that is a mixture of some sort, and derives it's name from the Old English word "gemang", meaning "mixture"! While some dogs are named on basis of their appearance, and breed, lots are named due to the functions they served in the early ages. Take the dachshund, for instance - it is of Deutsch origin, where the dog was used for badger hunting, which was a popular sport of the time! The word "dachs", means "badger", and "hund" of course, means "hound", and from this collation, we get "dachshund"!

The dalmation was called "firehouse dog", as it played the role of the mascot in American fire stations for a long time! The dalmation, was named after Dalmatia, the Adriatic coast of present day Croatia! The spitz, a German breed, is named so, because of it's pointed face. And then, there are the dogs that made history in some fashion or the other, and the most famous of these, is Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin, was found by Captain Lee Duncan, who was searching a German dog station after World War I. Finding two German Shepherd puppies, he took them under his wing, naming them "Nanette", and "Rin Tin Tin", after the small finger dolls that French soldiers carried during the war for good luck. Since then, Rin Tin Tin made Hollywood history by starring in over 22 movies, and earning a thousand dollars a week! In fact, it was only the best for this dog, for he had his own private limousine, and was fed Steak Chauteabriand! Like some great once said, "It's a dog's life!"

1) In the Middle Ages, it was a term used to refer tot a member of the ecclesiastical order. By the sixteenth century, it was a cloak worn by ecclesiasts, and in the 1800s, a black-hooded, half-masked sleeved cloak. It gets it's name from Latin for "lord" or "master". What word?
a) Domino-The game's playing pieces resemble white faces showing from beneath black hoods. The winner of Dominoes shouts "Domino!," which means "master."

2) Whose surname was originally from an Old English place name meaning "place of the cow sheds"?
a) Byron

3) The modern formulation of the word dates to the 14th century and originally was a legal term to apply to the act of inflicting serious injury on another. It comes from the Latin word for "to wound". What?
a) Mayhem

4) What is the claim to fame of a certain development engineer assigned to Colonel J.P. Stapp's research on the rocket sleds that tested the limits of human endurance of high acceleration at Edwards Field, Calfornia, in 1949?
a) He introduced "Murphy's Law" - The Murphy in question is Captain Ed Murphy, a development engineer assigned to Colonel J.P. Stapp's research on the rocket sleds that tested the limits of human endurance of high acceleration at Edwards Field, Calfornia. Murphy was referring to a particular technician, whose name has been lost to history, who had wired a piece of equipment incorrectly when he remarked, "if there is any way to to do things wrong, he will." A few weeks later in a press conference, Stapp credited his program's safety record to planning for Murphy's Law. The rest was history.

5) Leon Uris had just published his book, Mila-18. Another author had completed a book soon after, giving it to the same publisher, resulting in a slight change. What?
a) Joseph Heller submitted "Catch 18" for publication but did not want it to sound like Uris' book - on the publisher's advice, he changed the name to Catch 22

6) This first supposed use of the term was in 1705 when John Campbell, the second duke of Argyll, travelled from London to Edinburgh bringing with him a "certain instrument occasioned ye debauching of a great number of Ladies, and young gentlewomen." It supposedly comes from the Latin word for "one that preserves". What?
a) Condom

7) "I'll sail to Ka-Troo And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Preep and a Proo, A Nerkle, a ______, and a Seersucker, too!" Fill in the blank and give the funda.
a) Nerd - it's origin in Dr. Seuss's If I Ran the Zoo, in which appears a creature called a "nerd." This book was published in 1950

8) What word comes originally from the Latin word for a villager or a rustic?
a) Pagan

9) It was originally a voucher issued at baseball games that were washed out, allowing the spectators to return to watch another game, and consequently attained it's present usage. What?
a) Raincheck

10) What term dates back to 1830, when it was first used to denote the Presbyterians of Fayetteville?
a) Rednecks - Three explanations are commonly offered. First, it could be a reference to a ruddy neck caused by anger. Second, it could be a reference to sunburned necks caused by working in the fields all day. Finally, it could be a reference to pellagra which turns the neck red.

The Persistence of Dali

I don't take drugs. I am the drug."
- Salvador Dali

To a world taking it's moment to recover from World War I, Salvador Dali
took his chance to thrust the Freudian slip of the most bizarre "ism" to hit
the universe - a movement that began with the penetrating credo of Freud's
theories of the subconscious mind, and took it's abstractions to a new,
fantastic and out of the world plane - a movement that left the world of
modernism gasping at it's own surging pulse - a movement that caused the
avant-garde of the heyday to turn somersaults at it's complex and wacky
limits - a movement that was collectively labeled "Surrealism".

It all began with the manifesto by Andre Breton, who spoke of surrealism as
"pure psychic automatism through which it is proposed to give expression
verbally, by writing, or in any other way, to the real functioning of
thought". Surrealism thus found it's rudiments in Paris in 1924, soon
spreading it's roots to other regions in Europe, coming to epitomize a
homage to Freud, the first person to supposedly attempt an exploration of
the depths of the human psyche.

"After Freud it is the outer world, the world of physics, which will have to
be eroticised and quantified."
- Salvador Dali, in "The World of Salvador Dali" - 1962

Put together the man who designed the dream sequence for Alfred Hitchcock's
"Spellbound", the second son of a conventionally successful lawyer, the
co-maker of films such as "Un Chien Andalou" (The Andalusian Dog), with Luis
Bunuel, and the family man who refers to himself as "the unique genius who
has had the unique fortune to be married to the genius Gala, the unique
mythological woman of our time"; and you have the recipe in a nutshell.This
is Dali.

The year - 1929.The surrealist movement had traversed all it's phases from
Max Ernst and Joan Miro, to Rene Magritte and Yves Tanguy, paving the way
for Dali's entrée. "At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I
wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever
since." No one, least of all Dali might have perceived what he turned out to
be - a wildly eccentric genius touting curling mustache with as much aplomb
as his phallic imagery.

To the world of films, he gave the "Abstract of a Critical History of the
Cinema"
(1932), and to Luis Bunuel, The Andalusian Dog, their close friendship
eventually turning bitter, when Luis Bunuel landed a job at the Museum of
Modern Art at New York, but was forced to resign when Dali accused him of
atheism and communism. To Hitchcock, he gave the dream sequence in
Spellbound, in painting format.

"Don't be afraid of perfection. You will never attain it!"

Salvador Dali was born in Figueres, Spain, on May 11 1904, in the Catalonian
district of Girona. After an education in art, and experiments with cubism,
he made his first trip to Brussels and Paris in 1926, where he met Picasso
and Miro. After his second exhibition, Dali was expelled from the San
Fernando Academy of Fine Arts for refusing to take his final examination,
claiming he knew more than the professor who would take his test.

In 1927, Dali's first major written work, "Saint Sebastian" appeared, and
was followed by the Manifest Groc or "Yellow Manifesto". The following years
saw experiments with cubism and the gradual evolution of a new style, until
he designed the frontpiece for the Second Surrealist Manifesto, another
milestone in the surrealist movement. The film L' Age d' Or, made with Luis
Bunuel was first screened at Studio 28 in Paris, where the League of
Patriots among others protested against the surrealist theme of the film,
leading to it being banned. In 1936, Dali gave a lecture in a diving suit at
the International Surrealist Exhibition in London.

The year 1937 saw another breakthrough in the world of films, when Dali
visited Harpo Marx in Hollywood, and went on to write the creative scenario
for "Giraffes on Horseback Salad". It was around this time that Dali finally
got to meet his lifelong idol, Sigmund Freud, doing a series of paintings on
the ailing Freud. Fleeing France during the Nazi invasion, Dali went on to
create a series of jewels for the Duke de Verdura. The break of a lifetime
came when Dali got a commission to work with Walt Disney on an animated film
called Destino. Unfortunately, after most of the cartoons were ready, the
film got scrapped. This didn't deter the persistent Dali, and he went ahead
to create the sequence for Spellbound, as well as for Macbeth and Don
Quixote.

Dali was soon drawn more into the metaphysical and paranormal, and made
talks on such themes as a lecture on the phenomenological aspects of the
paranoiac-critical method. He worked with Robert Descharnes on a film titled
"The Prodigious Story of the Lacemaker and the Rhinoceros", which remained
unfinished again. Dali had the distinction of designing the First Day Cover
for the twentieth anniversary of the World Federation of United Nations
Association.

In the 1970s, Dalí made a film, Impressions from Upper Mognolia (Homage to
Raymond Roussel), which was produced by German television. By then, his
"Diary of a Genius" was published, and he went on to write The Unspeakable
Confessions of Salvador Dali. In 1983, after Gala's death, the perfume
called "Dali" was introduced. Finally in 1986, after a heart failure, he
designed a square in Madrid, with his ton heavy sculpture "Homage to
Newton", as a play on gravity. No wonder then, that Dali was the recipient
of one of Spain's highest decorations, the Grand Cross of Isabella the
Catholic, and numerous honours of the sort.

As an artist Dali had all the trappings of a wild eccentricity, a flowing
imagination, and a discerning eye. Never mind melting clocks, phantom
chariots and metamorphosing embryos. As an analyst, he was the Nietzsche of
Surrealism - As a philosopher, he combined Proust and Pythagoras, rending
them carefully with some Dali, to create a blend of eclectic prosaic - And
as a man, he loved with as much fervour as he lived.

In his own write -

"Every morning when I wake up I experience an exquisite joy-the joy of being
Salvador Dali-and I ask myself in rapture, 'What wonderful things this
Salvador Dali is going to accomplish today?'" -Salvador Dali.

THE COLOUR OF WORDS

The fugitive names of hues

Words for colours are slippery things. This came particularly to mind when I was reading through some fashion pages the other day as part of my eternal search for new vocabulary. One piece of clothing, whose coloured illustration showed it to be a sort of dull pastel green, was described as being khaki in colour. Now I am old enough to remember the colour of British army uniforms just after the Second World War. Their uniforms were also said to be khaki (so much so that to be in khaki meant to be in the Army), but they were most certainly also a sandy brown with no hint of green. This fitted the etymology of the word - a legacy of British rule in India - which comes from an Urdu word meaning 'dusty' (no connection with the ancient informal English term cacky, though the implied colours are, or were, similar).
If a word so recent and apparently so clearly defined can change meaning, almost without anyone noticing, perhaps it is not so surprising that other colour words have done the same through history, even those for the primary colours that you would think too well-grounded in nature to suffer much change.
Take yellow for example. This has been traced to an Indo-European root *ghel or *gohl which seems to have denoted both yellow and green. This has evolved into many terms which have reached English by a variety of routes, including jaundice (from Latin galbus 'greenish-yellow', via French), gold (so that 'golden-yellow' is a tautology, etymologically speaking), choleric (from the Greek word for 'bile', which is yellow-green in colour) and yolk (which, therefore, just means 'the yellow part of the egg'). The word blue has had an even more eventful history. It started out, apparently, as the Indo-European root *bhlewos, meaning 'yellow', and evolved into the Greek phalos, 'white', and hence in Old English to 'pale' and 'the colour of bruised skin'; we actually re-borrowed the word blue in its modern sense from French. However, the word green seems always to have been tightly bound to the idea of growing things: indeed green and grow come from the same Germanic root. Red is another colour-fast word, related to the Greek eruthros (hence words like erythrocyte, 'red blood cell') and to the English words russet, ruby, ruddy and rust.
In another colour transition, the hair colour auburn once meant 'brownish-white' or 'yellowish-white' (it derives from Latin albus, 'white', via the medieval Latin alburnus, 'whitish; off-white') and only shifted sense to refer to a shade of brown in the sixteenth century, seemingly because it was sometimes spelled 'abrun' or 'a-brown' and was misunderstood as deriving from 'brown'. Though some older dictionary definitions say it could mean either 'golden-brown' or 'reddish-brown', the sense has continued to shift so that now it refers exclusively to the latter colour.
The word pink is generally agreed to be derived from the similar Dutch word pinck. However, there are two theories about which sense of the Dutch word was involved, and how it became applied to the colour. One is that it came from pinck in the sense of 'small' (which turns up in the modern English word pinky for 'little finger'), through the expression pinck oogen 'small eyes' - that is, 'half-closed eyes' - and that this was borrowed into English and applied to the flowers of the common English cottage-garden species Dianthus plumarius, which has been called a pink since the seventeenth century. The other theory says it came from pinck in the sense of 'hole' (which is the origin of pinking shears, the device used to make ornamental holes in cloth) and was applied to the flowers of Dianthus because they resembled the shape of the holes. Either way, the colour comes from the plant, not the other way round.
Many other modern colour words are similarly derived from the colours of plants and natural substances, which have long been raided by colourists in search for names to apply to the ever-more subtle shades which turn up in commercial colour charts. There's no great surprise in colours like cinnamon, tangerine, oyster, lime, melon, glacier, apple white, ivory, silver, chocolate, amber or aubergine, though there probably is in puce, a colour which seems intrinsically comic even if you don't know that it actually means 'flea (coloured)' (from Latin pulex via French).
Quite a large set of our less-common colour words have similarly come from French: the currently-fashionable shade taupe for a brownish-grey colour comes from the word for mole; an earlier fashion gave us greige, from the French word meaning 'the colour of raw silk' (though I am told the word came into French from the Italian for 'grey'); beige is a transferred epithet from the French name for a type of woollen fabric usually left undyed; ecru similarly comes from the French écru, 'unbleached'; and maroon is derived from the French name for the sweet chestnut, whose fruit is that distinctive brownish-red colour.
Other colour names originate in those for precious stones: aquamarine, for example, was originally the name of a type of beryl (Latin aqua marina, '(the colour of) sea water', referring presumably to the Mediterranean and not to the dull grey-green of British waters. Ultramarine might seem to be a directly-related word, as it refers to a deeper shade of blue, but the 'ultra' part of it means 'beyond' in the literal sense - a stone which came from across or beyond the sea, since it was made from ground-up lapis lazuli imported from Asia (a much-modified version of the Arabic name for the mineral gave rise to azure in medieval English). The word turquoise comes from the Old French pierre turquoise, the 'Turkish stone', though the word is now used more frequently in its colour sense than in reference to the stone, unlike emerald, which retains both its literal and figurative senses in about equal measure.
The colour orange derives originally from the Sanskrit word narangah for the fruit, whose name moved westwards through Persian narang and Arabic naranj to Spanish (the Arabs imported it into Europe via Moorish Spain in medieval times); in French it became corrupted to orange, in part by the process called metanalysis but also through being strongly influenced by the name of the town of Orange in south-eastern France which used to be a centre of the orange trade.
Purple comes to us from Greek via Latin and refers to the dye extracted from a species of Mediterranean shellfish, which was so rare and valuable that it was reserved for royal garments. However, the colour from the dye is very variable, and could at times be crimson (the colour of cardinals' robes), well removed from the colour we normally associate with the word. When William Perkin discovered his first synthetic dyestuff in 1856, derived from aniline, he called it at first aniline purple but subsequently changed its name to the more distinctive mauve, taken from the French word for the mallow plant, whose stems were purple (his new dye became so popular that the 1860s were called the mauve decade). It's good he changed the name, because the chemical compound aniline that was a starting point for the new dye was so named in 1841 after anil, the common word at one time for the purple vegetable dye we now call indigo (from the Portuguese word which means 'the Indian (dye)' because that was where they got it from), so aniline purple is very nearly a tautology.
The word crimson I've just used comes from the Sanskrit krmi-ja, '(a dye) produced from a worm' (actually it came from the dried bodies of a small insect), through the Arabic qirmaz and the Old Spanish cremesin (via medieval Latin this also gave us carmine); the insect was called the kermes but a continuing mistaken belief that it was a worm also gave rise to the word vermillion (Latin 'worm-coloured', from vermiculus, the Latin term for the kermes). Yet another word for this colour, scarlet, was not originally a colour word at all, but referred to a high-quality cloth which may have originated in Persia, and which could have been blue or green, though it was commonly dyed red. So Will Scarlet of Robin Hood legend may just have been well-dressed.
Magenta, a key colour in photographic reproduction, derives its name from a dye discovered by the London company Simpson, Nicholson and Maule. In 1859, Edward Nicholson found a way to make it from aniline, and marketed it under the name magenta after Garibaldi's then-recent victory in northern Italy. (The chemical name of the dye is fuchsine, named by E Verguin - who discovered another way of making it in France at almost the same time - after the purple-red flowers of the fuchsia plant, which itself commemorates the sixteenth-century German botanist Leonhard Fuchs, though delicately re-pronounced to spare the blushes of the innocent.)
The word livid which turned up earlier has an odd history, which may be guessed from the entry in one of my etymological dictionaries which said "livid: see sloe". The connection is that the word sloe probably originally meant the 'blue-black' fruit, perhaps being derived from an ancient Germanic form *slaikhwon, which may be linked with the Latin livere, '(be) blue-black'. It became applied to the similar colour of bruises when it was first introduced in the seventeenth century (similar in sense to the idiom black and blue). But - perhaps because the colour of bruises is so variable - its sense shifted about in a confusing manner until any firm connection with a single colour was lost. As an illustration of this, my Roget's Thesaurus gives five references for the word in its index: 'blackish', 'grey', 'colourless', 'purple' and 'angry'. This shift of associations may have come about because the word was applied to the colour of death, say in phrases like the livid lips of the corpse, in which the word means 'ashen', or 'leaden'. It may then have become linked to the colour of the complexion during rage, in which the face can go a lifeless colour through blood draining from the skin (in fact, the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word to mean '(of) a bluish leaden colour' and says firmly that it was applied to complexions because enraged people went pale with emotion). My guess is that the word became so strongly attached to this figurative sense of 'enraged' that it was mistakenly re-applied to the flushed, purplish colour which is even more common when someone is angry. What is certain is that the only safe way to use livid these days is to avoid colour associations and use only its figurative sense of 'enraged':
Trying to keep track of these shifting colour names can make you absolutely livid ...

References
• Ayto, John Dictionary of Word Origins, Columbia Marketing, 1994
• Brock, William H The Fontana History of Chemistry, Fontana Press, 1992.
• Encyclopaedia Britannica on CD-ROM, Second Edition, 1995.
• Grigson, Geoffrey A Dictionary of English Plant Names, Allen Lane, 1974.
• Hayakawa, S I & Fletcher, P J The Penguin Modern Guide to Synonyms and Related Words, Penguin Books, 1987.
• Jelenc, Pierre Re: color words please, Article in Usenet newsgroup alt.usage.english, 18 June 1996.
• Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition on CD-ROM, 1992.
• Potter, Stephen & Sargent, Laurens Pedigree: Words from Nature, Collins New Naturalist Series, 1973.
• Salisbury, Sir Edward Weeds & Aliens, Collins New Naturalist Series, Second Edition, 1964.


.

Steven Spielberg – The Boy Who Grew Up Too Soon!

It’s the early ‘50’s. A father dabbles incompetently with his camera…His son sits crying at the corner. The boy has just watched Disney’s Dumbo on the tube…This does not whet the kid’s appetite for the godforsaken contraption…He continues to watch… He sees the Night on the Bare Mountain sequence from Disney’s Fantasia…At night , he would shiver under the blankets trying to free himself from the monsters of his own imagination.They were everywhere, under the closet, between the quilts…everywhere. His relationship with them was eerie, they crept out of discreet creaks in the walls and spoke to him. He would freeze at the sight of trees, the clouds, the dark. He liked being scared. He found it stimulating. What can you say, about a boy who considered his date of birth less significant than the year, because the year of his birth - 1947, was the year the phrase “flying saucer” came into existence? A boy, for whom science fiction was fact, and it’s depiction, a reality. A boy for whom life wasn’t a duel – it was a film…

He was a boy, who never grew up. A man, who had never been robbed. A man, who had never seen a fight, or ever fought. A man, who had never seen a corpse. A man, who had never eaten Italian food, until he came to New York…A man who jumped off a Universal Studios tour bus on a whim, and ended up making history, and going down in it…

The back lots of Universal were not only vital inspiration for a guy in the throes of a dream, but they became his first abode, when he stumbled upon a decrepit janitor’s closet, and set up shop in it’s premises. The guy who had never made it to film school, and studied English instead, was perched on the precipice of his fantasies.

The world of “thirty five millimeter” for Steven Spielberg began with the unglamorous 8mm. His first recorded film depicted a three and a half minute stagecoach robbery and was shot on a shoestring sum of ten dollars. He was only twelve. The possibilities for Spielberg were endless. He chose to exercise them. One year later, he made a forty minute offering entitled “Escape to Nowhere,” and at sixteen, ventured into territory most comfortable to him, filming a 140 minute epic on UFOs. The film was obviously destined to make cinematic history years later, as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

Meanwhile, Spielberg found himself thrown off the sets of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Torn Curtain”, and rusting in his makeshift studio, until his first big break came when Dennis Hoffmann gave him the opportunity, to make a twenty minute short film. The project, titled Amblin’, attracted attention at the Atlanta Film Festival, and went on to give it’s name to Spielberg’s entertainment company.

“Before I go off and direct a movie I always look at 4 films. They tend to be: Seven Samurai, Lawrence of Arabia, It's A Wonderful Life, and The Searchers.”

Spielberg’s cinematic success was not only due to his pictorial perception and intensive analytical ability, but also to his sheer drive. For instance, during the filming of Rod Serling’s “Night Gallery”, starring Joan Crawford, the neglected Spielberg asked writer friends Barry Levinson and William Link, to keep him company at the sets. Levinson talks of Spielberg’s rendition of their script, Murder By The Book, “Our script was awful, but Steve’s work was dazzling, electrifying. He took all sorts of chances. He’d do a five page scene in one take, choreographing the people and the camera.”

It was only a natural succession to filming episodes for productions like “The Psychiatrist”, and “The Young Sherlock Holmes.” The 1971 feature film, “Duel”, based on a Richard Matheson story, was filmed in a hurricane period of sixteen days. His next film, Something Evil, provoked cult appreciation, when it was released in America in 1972. It was judged by The New Yorker to be, “one of the most phenomenal debut films in the history of movies.”

In the year 1974, a true Texas based 1969 incident, released as the Goldie Hawn starrer, “The Sugarland Express.” By now, Spielberg had firmly planted his roots in direction, and the character of Duel and Something Evil, were evident in the film. Scriptwriters Matthew Robbins and Hal Barwood, were later immortalized as the two missing space men at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The film unfortunately, turned out to be unsuccessful, and it was put down to bad ad campaigning. Producer Richard Zanuck said, “We couldn’t get any one visual idea that would express what the picture was.”

In the wake of Sugarland’s failure, were the preparations for what was destined to become one of the biggest box office grossers of all time. The filming of Jaws, co-written by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, began on the day that Spielberg was informed that Sugarland Express was a disaster. Simultaneously, he had second thoughts about doing the film, as the shark and human menace scene was similar to the truck driver scene in Duel. He almost didn't make Jaws because he was worried about being called a "shark and truck driver.” Taking the plunge despite the doubts, Spielberg set about the 52 day filming operation, that winded up taking triple the time. The mechanical model of the shark, nicknamed Bruce, was a twenty four feet poly urethane structure, weighing a ton and a half, which only added to the problems, by sinking on it’s first introduction to water, and exploding at the next. It was also found to be significantly cross eyed. The film, Jaws, portrayed the terror of the residents of a small town called Amity, and smashed the box office clean.

In fact, Spielberg was so confident that he would receive an Oscar nomination for best director for Jaws that he invited a camera crew to film his reaction to the nominations, “Jaws is about to be nominated in 11 categories, you're about to see a sweep of the nominations, we're very confident.” He was proved wrong, and in reaction said, "Oh, I didn't get it! I wasn't nominated! I got beat out by Fellini. For my record, I am outraged that I wasn't nominated for best director for Jaws. This is commercial backlash. When a film makes a lot of money, people resent it. Everybody loves a winner. But nobody loves a WINNER.”

The 1977 Close Encounters of The Third Kind, was fated to be a hit from the word go. With the financial backing from Columbia working in tandem with Spielberg’s own state of monetary well being, the Paul Schrader scripted original, was slashed in the last forty minutes by Spielberg, finally, into a storyboard that he referred to as “all phantasmagoria.” The majority of the filming, was done at a deserted aircraft hangar at Mobile, in Alabama, in great secrecy. In the role of Roy Neary, was cast Richard Dreyfuss, whose ability Spielberg was familiar with, from Jaws. The film also had the bizarre claim to fame, of casting French director, Francois Truffaut as the scientist Lacombe. Spielberg says, “I wanted a man-child, ingenuous and wise, a father figure with this very wide-eyed young outlook on life. I didn’t want the stoic with the white hair and pipe.” For the role of the UFOs, were cast fifty six-year old girls. Spielberg, on the tone of the movie, says, “The movie is very gentle. I wanted it to feel like an embrace.”

Spielberg’s next big venture never attained the popularity or credit it deserved. The film, 1941, written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, was inspired by three real life historical events, namely, the sighting of a Japanese submarine off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1942, the following “Great Los Angeles Air Raid”, and the 1943 fights between sailors and unlisted civilians. It was originally intended to be directed by John Milius, but when he went on to land the direction deal of “Big Wednesday”, Spielberg assumed the role of director. For Spielberg, it was an opportunity to work with Toshiro Mifune, who played Commander Mitamura. Spielberg was acquainted with Mifune’s roles in the Akira Kurosawa Samurai films. George Lucas had this to say about the failure of the 26.5 million dollar production, “Steve’s direction was brilliant. The idea was terrible.” In Spielberg’s words, “The film does cater to the lowest moral character in all of us, without licking the sewer. It’s just a tongue’s reach away from good sewer humour, but falls short of classic comedy.”

Big ideas always start with small dreams. Raiders Of The Lost Ark was a living manifesto to the statement, as it’s conception began when Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were on vacation in Maui, in 1977, making a sandcastle. While Spielberg preferred to shoot a James Bond style movie, George Lucas opted to pay a tribute to Saturday matinee serials. The two concepts merged, ultimately resulting in the creation of Indiana Jones, named after Lucas’ wife’s pet dog. The Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford, was after Tom Selleck declined the role, landing Ford one of the biggest roles of his lifetime. The film borrowed scenes from other movies to prevent budget over-runs, for instance, the shots from inside the submarine, were taken from Wolfgang Petersen's "Das Boot". Also, footage from the 1972 film, "Lost Horizon" was used for the plane flying over the Himalayas shot. In addition to the scores of miniatures created for the film, Spielberg used 4500 snakes to create the burial ground of the Ark of Covenant in Raiders. Raiders, was created as a combination tale of the legend of the lost Ark of the Covenant, and Adolf Hitler’s passion for the occult.

“If a person can tell me the idea in about 25 words or less, it’s going to make a pretty good movie. I like ideas, especially movie ideas, that you can hold in your hand.”


Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, released in 1984, was a sort of prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, with it’s ad campaign reading, “The Hero Is Back”, but never achieved the success of Raiders.

The 1982 classic, E.T, was inspired by a project called “After School”, which was an experiment on what kids between eight and fourteen years in age did after school hours. Another project, an idea for a science fiction movie, titled Night Skies, was overlapped with the first, and a guy called Carlo Rambaldi was soon entrusted with the goal of creating “ET”, which was supposed to be a character both alien and human. The human character was supposedly got by morphing the facial characteristics of Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein, and Ernest Hemingway. The film, as all of Spielberg’s feature films, boasted a John Williams soundtrack.

Spielberg referred to this prized project, as “a song of joy from a peerless popular artist who can sing it as though he believes every note. Only a heart of stone could not find it irresistible.”

The year 1985, landmarked an opportunity for Spielberg, of producing the film, The Colour Purple, which was based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, composed of a set of letters spanning thirty years. When Spielberg approached Walker, her advice was that “the final cast must seem like they have stepped straight from the book.” For a Spielberg totally unfamiliar with the customs of a Negro Community in the South, it was another case of touch and go. Music producer Quincy Jones, was the one who finally convinced Spielberg to make The Color Purple, after Spielberg declared that a black person should direct the film, by replying "You didn't have to come from Mars to do E.T did you?" The film is famous in more ways than one, for it also marked the cinematic debut of Oprah Winfrey. It also racked up it’s fair share of controversy, being criticized for racism, for depicting African males as savage. Subsequently, when three of the nominated actresses for Best Actress lost out, the Hollywood Academy was accused for racial discrimination against the film by the National Association of Coloured People. In addition, the film was nominated in 11 categories for Oscar, except in the genre of Best Director.
Spielberg’s visionary creative force is only substantiated further, in each of his films. For a Jewish lad whose rudimentary influences were the likes of Bambi and Dumbo, it has been a long journey from scratch. For Spielberg, the vision lives on. All else is a far encounter.
“I dream for a living.”
- Steven Spielberg

Thanks To The Cigarettes!

The voice of the phenomenally successful ET (extra-terrestrial), Steven Spielberg's record-breaking money-spinning film, was something of a problem. Technicians could not come up with a voice to match the appearance of the model star of the film. By pure chance, Mr Spielberg happened to be in a store one day when he heard a lady ordering something. Her voice, he thought, was exactly what he wanted, and so unknown American housewife Pat Welsh's voice became part of the one of biggest moneymaking movies of all time. Mrs Welsh used to be a speech trainer - but excessive cigarette smoking caused her voice to crack up, leaving her croaky and gasping for breath - exactly what Mr Spielberg had in mind.

The Family Tree of Sherlock Holmes

Holmes fans...
Munch on.


The Purpose of this article to collect all of the available information about the family of Sherlock Holmes. Wherever possible I have given correct names but it has been necessary to fill in gaps. Also a number of names occur a number of times so most have been given numbers to designate them in further discussion. I should also mention that Not every work about Sherlock Holmes is true and a number of Holmes' relatives have had their identities used to mock the Great Detective.

The obvious place to start is at the Wold Newton meteor strike present were Dr Siger (1) Holmes and his wife Violet(1) Clarke (a descendant of Micah Clarke) As far as I have been able to determine the couple had only one child Mycroft (1) Holmes who married Violet (2) Vernet. Mycroft appears to have had five children, Mycroft (2), Siger (2), Henry, Dorothy and Mary. (Farmer TARZAN ALIVE)

Mycroft (2) married Violet (3) Sherrinford daughter of Sir Eric Sherrinford. It appears that Baring Gould with all of the Violet Holmes in the family mistakenly married her to Siger. Mycroft (2) apparently died childless and the family estate passed in the hands of Siger (2). (Baring Gould SHERLOCK HOLMES and Farmer TARZAN ALIVE)

Siger (2) married Violet (4) Rutherford. There appears to be seven definate children from the union as well as rumours of at least two more. The Children are Shirley(1), Sherrinford, Mycroft (3), Sherlock, Charlotte, Sigerson and Sigrina. The rumoured children are Rutherford and Verner.

Shirley (1) married Charles Jones after her much fictionalised adventure titled"The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Dumber Sister in the Case of the Mislaid Pussy"( in GAME magazine Juy 1976). Charles was the younger brother of Henry Jones Snr. They had one son named Fetlock Jones. A fictionalised account of a meeting between Fetlock and his uncle Sherlock was written by Mark Twain titled A DOUBLE BARRLED DETECTIVE STORY. Fetlock had two sons. The first son named his son, Jupiter, after statement about his uncle Mycroft by Sherlock Holmes recorded in THE ADVENTURE OF THE BRUCE PARTINGTON PLANS.

Unfortunately, Jupiter's parents died when he was very young and he was raised by his Uncle Titus Jones and his wife Mathilda. Jupiter started his own detective agency with two of his friends called the THREE INVESTIGATORS which has to date solved fifty four cases. He has displayed several of the family traits. Alfred Hitchcock introduces about half of the group's cases and he says that "Jupiter is known for his remarkable powers of observation and deduction" and that he is "stocky, muscular and a bit roly poly" Jupiter was also a gifted child actor. Farmer in TARZAN ALIVE pointed out that one of the male types of the Wold Newton Family is the "tall and obese but very strong" Certainly Jupiter ably fills these qualities and when reading the cases it feels like reading about a young Nero Wolfe or Mycroft Holmes. Jupiter lives in Rocky Beach just near Hollywood and like his relative Doc Savage has been granted special privledges by the Rocky Beach Police to investigate crimes.

Sherrinford Holmes was named after his aunt's father which led to the confusion with Baring Gould. Sherrinford after the death of his father became the squire and had three children. The first child Richard was illegitmate and hence could not inheirit the estate. The second son I have been unable locate any information on. The final son was named Sebastion. (Baring Gould SHERLOCK HOLMES, SHIRLEY HOLMES Television program)
Richard Holmes was fathered by Sherrinford whilst he was travelling in Germany. Richard's mother was from a wealthy German Jewish family. Richard went to university in Nuremberg later moving to New York became a police Inspector but he did not do so under his own name instead he changed his last name and the name of his two sons to Queen. His first son Ellery assisted his father on the first ten cases attributed to Ellery Queen. Ellery then retired, married and had two sons Ellery Jnr and Gullivar Queen. Ellery's younger brother Dan then stepped in and took over the remainder of the cases attributed to his brother. Gulliver whilst visiting Dan has had three adventures. The Queen family have many things to recommend them they have grey eyes, the deductive abilty and the tall lanky build of the Holmes family. Dan in "The Adventure of the House of Darkness" made reference to his father telling him the Queen (Holmes) clan is made of the stuff of heroes. (Julian Symons THE GREAT DETECIVES, Ellery Queen THE ROMAN HAT MYSTERY, Ellery Queen Jnr The GULLIVER QUEEN series.)

The second son of Sherrinford Holmes became the new squire and his descendants are still the squires. To my knowledge none of this branch of the family has done anything exceptional.

The third son Sebastion married awoman named Peggy. They had one son Robert who married Joanna. Robert works as a diplomat for Great Britain in Canada. His daughter Shirley (3) has shown the family flair for mystery work solving 39 cases as well as for acting and disguise. (It should be noted here that Sebastion inheirited a puzzle chest from his Uncle Sherlock. Inside the Chest is a note to the solver of the puzzle Sherlock states that he has left no heir. Sherlock left the chest with Sherrinford before he left for the events of THE FINAL PROBLEM. At that time Sherlock had only Raffles Holmes as a son and he did not hold great hope for the boy) (SHIRLEY HOLMES Television program)
Mycroft (3) Holmes married briefly and had one daughter "Shrinking" Violet (6). She married Charles Beauregard but has a son to James Bond, Clive Reston. For more information see the MASTER OF KUNG FU Chronology by Matthew Baugh.

Sherlock Holmes appears to have seven children with the rumour that there may be at least two more daughters. These six children are Raffles, Nero Wolfe and Marco Vukcic, Shirley (2), Minerva, Jeeves and Abraham Moth.
Raffles Holmes is also the grandson of A. J. Raffles and he has one son Creighton Holmes. (Arthur Kendrick Bangs R. HOLMES & CO and Ned Hubble THE ADVENTURES OF CREIGHTON HOLMES)
Nero Wolfe has one son Spenser Holmes and and an adopted daughter Carla Luvchen. Marco Vukcic had one son Archie Goodwin. It is here that I should mention that Archie is also a cousin to Travis McGee on his mother's side.It is also possible that Marco could be the father of Hannah Wolfe an English private detective whose cases are told by Sarah Dunant as well as Private Detective Frank Cannon (CANNON TV series) and District Attourney J.L McCabe (JAKE AND THE FATMAN TV series. (Baring Gould NERO WOLFE and Denny Martin Flynn SPENSER HOLMES series)

Shirley (2) married a man named Robinson Their grandson Dan Robinson established his own Baker Street Irregulars who have solve ten cases to date. Dan is constantly being refered to as looking like Sherlock Holmes without the Hat and Pipe (on one occasion Dan's father looks at his son and thinks that people may be right in thinking that Sherlock is not dead, a subtle reference to the Holmes Blood in the Family) nor is the resembalance physical but also mental. (It appears that Dan was raised on tales of his famous family members as he refers to Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, Richard Hannay, Fagin and Fu Manchu.) (Basil Mitchell's HOLMESES OF BAKER STREET Stage play and Terrance Dicks BAKER STREET IRREGULARS series)

Minerva to my knowledge has no children and is the illegitmate daughter of Sherlock (THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' DAUGHTER by Ian McTavish) and finally Abraham Moth is the father of Arthur Sherlock Holmes. Byron Priess THE LADY IN RED: THE SON OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and THE STRANGE CASE OF THE END OF CIVILISATION AS WE KNOW IT TV movie).
According to THE LOVECRAFT PAPERS by P.H. Cannon. Reginald Jeeves, manservant of Bertie Wooster was rumoured to be the son of Sherlock Holmes and Mrs Hudson but this merely appears to a fanciful claim by Jeeves.

There are rumours of two other daughters to Sherlock but these may be refences to Shirley and Minerva. (Ms HOLMES OF BAKER STREET by C. Alan Bradley, "Sherlock Holmes' Daughter" by H. H. Ballard (in THE BROWN BOOK OF BOSTON Apr 1905) and "Sherlock's Bastard Daughter" by David Maleh (in ADAM magazine Sep 1976) respectively) Rex Stout also suggested that Lord Peter Wimsey may be the son of Sherlock. (WATSON WAS A WOMAN speech to Baker Street Irregulars)

Charlotte Holmes has one son Alexander from a Morganic Marriage to Prince Rupert of Kravonia. It appears that Rupert is descended for Sophie of Kravonia (See SOPHIE OF KRAVONIA by Anthony Hope) (A morganic marriage means that Charlotte will never be Queen of Kravonia nor will any of her Heirs) (Hilary Bailey THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLOTTE HOLMES)
Sigerson Holmes had his one meeting with Moriarty turned into a farce by Gene Wilder but most of the facts in the case are accurate and Sigerson Holmes did marry Jenny Hill. They had a daughter who married a Weston and had one son Geoffery Weston. Geoffery calls himself the world's greatest Christian detective and in THE CASE OF THE HIGH JACKED MOON he is described as lanky and sporting a goatee ( he must resemble Holmes in his disguise as Altamont see "His Last Bow" ) and is told by his partner's, John Taylor, fiance tells him that he has to tidy up as "not even [his} great uncle Sherlock would be able to find anything in this Pigsty." (THE ADVENTURE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER movie and Thomas Brace Haughey's GEOFFERY WESTON series)

Sigrina married a man named Smith and had three children, Sir Denis Nayland Smith, another son and a daughter. Sir Denis had one son John "Hannibal" Smith. ( Hannibal is the leader of the A Team and shows a flair for disguise. It has also been noted that he bears a resembalance to Archie Goodwin). The other son appears to have died on the Titanic, but one of my fellow researchers is looking into the possibility that he may not have died. The daughter married a man named Sneed and had son Lancaster who became the villain Shockwave(Farmer TARZAN ALIVE and A-TEAM TV show and MASTER OF KUNG FU) (For more information about the paternity of Sir Denis see below in the section relating to Solar Pons)

Rumours also abound that both Siger and Violet had extra marital affairs. In one rumour, according to Fred Saberhagen in THE HOLMES DRACULA FILE,Voilet had an affair with Radu Dracula, brother of Vlad Dracula, and had a son twin to Sherlock. Another rumour is that the Dr Verner who purchased Dr Watson's practice in "The Norwood Builder" may be another brother. (Jacques Barzun "How Holmes Came to Play the Violin" in THE GAME'S AFOOT)
The third son of Mycroft (2) Holmes is Henry Holmes. He had one son Jonathon Holmes. Jonathon was a scholar of the occult and had a case refered from his cousin Sherlock in THE RETURN OF THE WEREWOLF by Les Martin.

The fourth child was Dorthy Holmes. ( In confusion with another Aunt Dorothy of Sherlock Holmes Baring Gould accidentally made her the mother of Prof Challenger) Dorothy did in fact have son. This son in fact did so resemble his cousin Mycroft Holmes that J. Randolph Cox in his article "Mycroft Holmes: Private Detective" (reprinted in Peter Haining's SHERLOCK HOLMES COMPENDIUM) mistook him for Mycroft. I am refering to Martin Hewitt. Hewitt operated prior to Holmes but his cases were edited by Arthur Morrison and published in the STRAND at the same time as his more famous cousin.

Dorothy also had two daughters. The first Mary married a Baronet named Merrivale and had two children. The first Sir Henry Merrivale followed his second cousin into the field of espionage where he was nicknamed Mycroft due to the physical and mental resembalence but Sir Henry determined to make it on his own hated and rejected the nickname ( from John Dickson Carr's THE PLAGUE COURT MURDERS) Sir Henry has one daughter Lydia. The second child Kitty married an American named Bennett, who is high up in Washington, and their son James Boyton Bennett helped his uncle solve THE WHITE PRIORY MURDERS.


Though slightly outside of the scope of this article I should mention some other members of the Merrivale Clan. Sir Henry's father had two younger brothers, elder of these joined Scotland Yard and became a friend of Sherlock Hoplmes as seen in "The Adventure of the Shoscombe Old Place" although Watson did spell his name as Merivale. The other younger brother moved to America with his wife and had two sons Richard and Francis. Unfortunately both he and his wife were killed and the boys were for som reason placed in separate orphanages and a clerical error recorded their last name as Merriwell. Frank Merriwell was later reunited with Dick and married Inza Burrage and they had a son Frank Jnr and a daughter.

The second daughter Elizabeth of Dorothy married a Fell and had one son Gideon Fell. Fell certainly resembles his uncle Martin Hewitt and his cousins Sir Henry, Nero Wolfe and Mycroft Holmes in bulk and intellect.

The final daughter of Mycroft (2) Holmes married a McIvor and had one daughter Roberta. She married Asenath Pons and they had two sons Bancroft and Solar Pons. Bancroft and Solar bear such an incredible resembalance to Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes respectively that there can be little doubt that there is a family connection.

It appears that Bancroft and Solar Pons may well be half brothers to Sir Denis Nayland Smith. According to information suggested by Chris Davies with some research of my own it appears that Sigrina Holmes Had an affair with her third cousin's husband some point in 1882 -83 after relentlessly pursuing him after meeting him at their wedding. After some eight years of relentless chasing Sigrina caught her man and had an affair with Asenath Pons to whom she became pregnant to at the same time that Roberta also be came preganant with Solar. Apparently the Holmes family shunned Sigrina and she quickly married a Smith. It does however appear that the boys were allowed to see each other as there is some borrowing of habits. It also appears that Sherlock Holmes ashamed of his sister's actions was quite involved in the life of young Solar.

Future Descendants: Two People in the far Future will lay claim to being descended from Sherlock Holmes. The First is Mr Spock of STAR TREK, the second is Eric Sherinford who has set up a private detecive agency on the planet Roland in the year 2890 as Seen in Poul Anderson's "The Queen of Air and Darkness"

Acknowledgements: If I have seen far it is because I have stood on the shoulders of Giants.
Thanks to Win Eckert for the Raffles Holmes Creighton Holmes and Nero Wolfe Spenser Holmes Connections, Matthew Baugh for the Master of Kung Fu info, Chris Davies for suggesting the possible link between Solar and Sir Denis, Denis Powers for the Merrrivale family members and Mark Brown for encouraging me.