Tell me if you have a topic you'd like to see. (Contact: LoiS-sez@LoiS-sez.com .)
Please also let others know about this site.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Yes, the EU Affects You

It's said we're all in a Global Village and this week proves it.  It's a tale of the E.U. being the tail wagging the rest of the world.  The tale's unfinished and I'm hopeful the rest of the world will speak up before it's too late and stop the European Union's Parliament from wrecking both the Internet's free access (in a move that makes the U.S. battle for Net Neutrality look like a mere spat) and, worse yet, Copyright and the concept of Public Domain.

I admit I sometimes get on my soapbox about Copyright, especially shouting about the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act which went from a fixed 28 years with an additional 28 year extension available to life of the artist plus 50 years.  I breathed a sigh of relief when we recently killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership which would have stretched it world-wide so expiration could not come until 70 years after the death of the author.  After all, how many authors around the world die without anyone noticing even if you try to find out?  I've been cheering the release of works from 1923 on to start at the end of 2018 ending the SBCTEA.  When this article,  https://boingboing.net/2018/01/08/sonny-bono-is-dead.html, said even the Authors Guild didn't support copyright extension beyond 50 years at most it looked as if the concept behind Public Domain might be reviving from near death.

The Public Domain Manifesto organization does an excellent job of telling us about Public Domain's role in both looking back at our cultural heritage and looking forward to the way it provides the "raw material from which new knowledge is derived and new cultural works are created."  The Authors Guild even pointed out "many of our members benefit from having access to a thriving and substantial public domain of older works." The P.D. Manifesto has both international organizations and individuals signing it and I urge you to go there and do so, too. 

Cue the ominous music . . . 

Earlier this week I posted about Article 13, which unfortunately has now passed out of the nine member committee and on to the full Parliament. 

As one storyteller, however, pointed out when I also sounded the alarm on Storytell, the email list hosted by the National Storytelling Network at Storytell listserv, "Suffice it to say that, regardless of the voting results, the topic will be far from over."

He was correct since it now is up to the EU Parliament https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/20/eu-votes-for-cop..., requiring platforms like Google and Microsoft to install filters.

An unrelated email I received this past week about clarification of Public Domain mentioned a case where Project Gutenberg posted 3 authors in the Public Domain in the U.S., but not in Germany so they were sued by the German Publishers.  I checked and found this article, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180306/03423339363/project-gute.... As a result German users are now blocked from accessing Project Gutenberg.

Public Domain initially was planned to begin after 14 years.  Its creation was intended to keep alive our cultural literacy.  That may have been naive, but the EU has already required sites all over the world to check to see if EU meet their privacy requirements with General Data Privacy Regulation or GDPR.  This latest regulation makes that look like an annoying test of the water to see if they can control the worldwide web and more.

Looking at what this means for the Internet and Copyright, the tech supersite, CNet says:

What is Article 13?

Article 13 would force all online platforms to police and prevent the uploading of copyrighted content, or make people seek the correct licenses to post that content. For the most part this would mean filters that check content as it's uploaded would be mandatory for platforms including Facebook, Instagram, GitHub, Reddit and Tumblr, but also many much smaller platforms.
YouTube already uses such a system -- called Content ID -- to protect copyright infringement, but the technology to do this is extremely expensive and has taken over 11 years to build and refine.

There's much more to the CNet article including how the less discussed Article 11 will force tech giants to police the internet (providing no recourse if they fear something might be restricted) and all smaller platforms into even more restrictions because they can't afford to do otherwise.

The CNet article ends with "How will this affect me, an EU resident?", but, as GDPR and also the incident with Project Gutenberg shows, it will chill progressively more the internet and make users of what should be Public Domain even more paranoid.  That certainly includes small publishers and storytellers attempting research.

So what can we do?

Normally I'd say this is a matter involving another country and they won't listen to us.

That is precisely why we do need to contact them and let them know this affects the whole world.  We are a Global Village when it comes to the internet.

We can spread the word and also send emails letting the members of the European Union's Parliament know why this matter is important to us.

How do we reach them?  https://europa.eu/european-union/contact/write-to-us_en is a form.  You have a limited, but adequate space to write your "Enquiry."
I posted under the Subject: Articles 13 & 11 the following (spacing is a bit "wonky" here as I copied it from the form):
Dear Members of European Parliament

Creativity and free speech will be harmed by Article 13 because algorithms will have difficulty telling the difference between infringement and the
legal use of copyrighted material vital to research, commentary, parodies
and more. This is far too high a cost for enforcing copyright.  Copyright was intended to include Public Domain for older material to keep our
cultural heritage alive! As a storyteller in the U.S., I rely on Public Domain material frequently for my research.

No filter can possibly review every form of content covered by the proposal including text, audio, video, images and software. Article 13's mandate is
technically infeasible and it is absurd to expect courts in 27 EU Member States to be constantly working out what the “best” filters might be.

It is a bad idea to make Internet companies responsible for enforcing copyright law. To ensure compliance and avoid penalties, platforms are sure to err on the side of caution and overblock. To make compliance easier,
platforms will adjust their terms of service to be able to delete any content or account for any reason. That will leave victims of wrongful deletion with no right to complain – even if their content was perfectly legal.
***
I don't take the credit for that.  My Canadian friend and colleague, Elinor Benjamin wrote it and I merely changed it to the U.S.

If you value the internet or Public Domain, I beg you to take the simple step of flooding the E.U. Parliament with your sharing world opinion.  It will affect you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

EU: They're breaking the Internet & Copyright tomorrow

My normal focus is U.S. storytelling, with Net Neutrality here an issue requiring me to speak up, but the EU is taking action tomorrow that will affect the internet and copyright -- which is already messed up enough.  The EU will massively harm small publishers, new startups, and creators, including storytellers, across the world if they succeed.
Please go to https://savethelink.org/tweet-your-mep-saveyourinternet?src=162723#... for more information and the way to Tweet or email the 9 Members of the European Parliament who are all that stands in the way of the most drastic upheaval to the Internet and Copyright in its history.
If it helps you write a response, this is the message I sent each of them.  Feel free to adapt it.
Subject: Storytellers say Censoring Links Will Break the Internet
For freedom of expression, and for independent creators, small publishers and startups, please use your JURI vote to #SaveYourInternet.
I work as assistant administrator to Professional Storyteller and know this is important for storytellers throughout the E.U. including your own countries.   My own blog often requires
  • Creativity and free speech which will be harmed by Article 13 because algorithms struggle to tell the difference between infringement and the legal use of copyrighted material vital to research, commentary, parodies and more. This is far too high a cost for enforcing copyright.  Copyright was intended to include Public Domain for older material to keep our cultural heritage alive!  Just today I had an email from someone seeking guidance on this very issue and related to my own segments on "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."
  • No filter can possibly review every form of content covered by the proposal including text, audio, video, images and software. Article 13's mandate is technically infeasible and it is absurd to expect courts in 27 EU Member States to be constantly working out what the “best” filters might be.
  • It is a bad idea to make Internet companies responsible for enforcing copyright law. To ensure compliance and avoid penalties, platforms are sure to err on the side of caution and overblock. To make compliance easier, platforms will adjust their terms of service to be able to delete any content or account for any reason. That will leave victims of wrongful deletion with no right to complain – even if their content was perfectly legal.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Asbjornsen - The Seventh Father of the House - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This illustration is from the 5th edition, 1874, of the original collection
For Father's Day I wanted to post a humorous story I recalled from Norwegian folklore collected by their own major collectors, Asbjornsen and Moe.  (That link is to earlier posts on my blog of their stories.)  I didn't want to post the well-known tale of "The Husband Who Was to Mind the House" as it shows the father as definitely foolish...maybe some other time.  This story, however, was not in their original series of tales, but in what was called the "New Collection" (Norske Folke-Eventyr. Ny Samling 1871) and I found it was not in my own collection of books, either Asbjornsen and Moe nor other anthologies until I checked the book published by Viking Press in 1960 -- so still under copyright.  It used the original illustrations, however, in this case dating back to 1879 by Erik Werenskiold and I will end with the one so often used with the story.

Of course this set me really hunting!  For one thing, it appears that Jorgen Moe wasn't involved with this story.  I'm going to take the version you can find on D.L. Ashliman's excellent folktale site.  (After it I'll pass along some other things I discovered, including some wild interpretations for the story.)

Old, Older, and Oldest


folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 726
about old men, their fathers, and their grandfathers
selected and translated by

D. L. Ashliman

© 1999-2006

The Seventh Father of the House

Norway, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen

Once upon a time there was a man who was traveling about, and he came at length to a big and fine farm. There was such a fine manor house there that it might well have been a little castle. "It would be a nice thing to get a night's rest here," said the man to himself, upon entering the gate. Close by stood an old man with gray hair and beard, chopping wood.
"Good evening, father," said the traveler. "Can I get lodgings here tonight?"
"I am not the father of the house," said the old man. "Go into the kitchen and speak to my father!" The traveler went into the kitchen. There he met a man who was still older, and he was lying on his knees in front of the hearth, blowing into the fire.
"Good evening, father. Can I get lodgings here tonight?" asked the traveler.
"I am not the father of the house," said the old man. "But go in and speak to my father. He is sitting at the table in the parlor."
So the traveler went into the parlor and spoke to him who was sitting at the table. He was much older than the other two, and he sat there with chattering teeth, shaking, and reading in a big book, almost like a little child.
"Good evening, father. Can you give me lodgings here tonight?" said the man.
"I am not the father of the house. But speak to my father over there. He is sitting on the bench," said the man who was sitting at the table with chattering teeth, and shaking and shivering. So the traveler went to him who was sitting on the bench. He was getting a pipe of tobacco ready, but he was so bent with age, and his hands shook so much, that he was scarcely able to hold the pipe.
"Good evening, father," said the traveler again. "Can I get lodgings here tonight?"
"I am not the father of the house," said the old, bent-over man. "But speak to my father, who is in the bed over yonder."
The traveler went to the bed, and there lay an old, old man, and the only thing about him that seemed to be alive was a pair of big eyes.
"Good evening, father. Can I get lodgings here tonight?" said the traveler.
"I am not the father of the house. But speak to my father, who lies in the cradle yonder," said the man with the big eyes. Yes, the traveler went to the cradle. There was a very old man lying, so shriveled up, that he was not larger than a baby, and one could not have told that there was life in him if it had not been for a sound in his throat now and then.
"Good evening, father. Can I get lodgings here tonight?" said the man. It took some time before he got an answer, and still longer before he had finished it. He said, like the others, that he was not the father of the house. "But speak to my father. He is hanging up in the horn on the wall there."
The traveler stared around the walls, and at last he caught sight of the horn. But when he looked for him who hung in it, there was scarcely anything to be seen but a lump of white ashes, which had the appearance of a man's face. Then he was so frightened, that he cried aloud, "Good evening, father. Will you give me lodgings here tonight?"
Erik Werenskiold, 1879.

There was a sound like a little tomtit's chirping, and he was barely able to understand that it meant, "Yes, my child."
And now a table came in which was covered with the costliest dishes, with ale and brandy. And when he had eaten and drunk, in came a good bed with reindeer skins, and the traveler was very glad indeed that he at last had found the true father of the house.

  • Source: Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, Round the Yule Log: Norwegian Folk and Fairy Tales, translated by H. L. Brækstad (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, ca. 1930).
  • Translation modified by D. L. Ashliman.
  • Link to the original Norwegian text Den syvende far i huset

Professor Ashliman's site is definitely worth visiting for stories!

I took that story as just an enjoyable bit of nonsense about back in the days when a traveler sometimes was dependent on the hospitality of whatever place they found.  Imagine my surprise to find it on the blog of Simon Hughes selling Erotic Folktales from Norway, but also as part of his Norwegian Folktales Project to publish his translations of Asbjornsen and Moe's complete works.  Then the blog, Legends of the North,  said it was first published in 1840 and "it still remains as highly relevant to this day as the tale may be read as a witty satire on the disclaim that exist in everyday bureaucracy."  It also was discussed on Religious Forums mainly as a parable, although the original poster of the story, Willamena did eventually say, "And if there was no subtext there, then you're simply reading A LOT more into the story than I did."  While the viewpoint on that forum tended to Christian allegory, there was a very different view of "The Esoteric Meaning of the Fairy Tale of The Seventh Father of the House" on The Modern Alchemist blog, complete with chakras, sexuality, and meditation.  Someone else used it to ask who is the oldest in their readers' families.  There's an animated YouTube version and another version by the director, Ivo Caprino, which may explain linking it to bureaucracy. 

I think you can tell I tend to take it as just a bit of fun and hope you had fun with it, too, for Father's Day.
*********************************************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Bigham - Curly Lock's Peas - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

"School's out! School's out! Teacher let the mules out!"  That's an old end of the school year chant I remember shouting.  Along with that came, "No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks!"  Now I've been on the other side and this past week brought the end of six school residencies.

I didn't use Mother Goose with these classes, but Madge Bigham's Stories of Mother Goose Village and Frank Baum's Mother Goose in Prose do a great job of taking the original well-known verses  and expanding them.  Bigham's Schoolmaster takes an imaginative enough approach to suit home-schoolers, too.  I've seen teachers use seeds in their classrooms.  This takes the idea and also plays with a creative use for peas for arithmetic and beyond in an early version of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS!, and Mathematics).  School districts too often are featuring STEM, leaving out the creativity of the Arts.
I'm sure you caught that last Mother Goose rhyme, but did you also recognize the one opening today's story?
********************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Wiggin - The Three Sluggards - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

My Malamutt (Husky/Malamute mix) has been laying around panting in misery because we barely nodded at spring, then jumped into summer.  It was the second warmest and fifth wettest in record.  By the time this appears we are predicted to be back to temperatures more normal for May and the start of June.  (Yes, I know, with the early start of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Storms even this could be worse...hmmm, the story of It Could Be Worse could have been posted.  Maybe another day.)  In the meantime this came in a week with errands and appointments, but otherwise no required work.  Even my school residencies were off until a very busy next week of wrapping them up.

All this has given me a very uncharacteristic week when I haven't felt like nor done much!  This is so unlike me -- just ask my family -- that I went looking to find a story with a contest for laziness.

Found it!  This comes from the classic Tales of Laughter that Kate Douglas Wiggin put together back in 1908 and has been a rich resource ever since.
Well, that's certainly a novel way to choose the next king.  After all the hubbub and attention to the British royals and their wedding this past month, I can just picture somebody long ago sitting in a cottage creating the story about how their own royals live!

As for me, I've had my week off and next week promises to be a ZOO!  I will be finishing up six school residencies, complete with final rehearsal and next day performance by one class of their puppet show, then hitting the road for a few days of intense music workshops on my mountain dulcimer.  Guess this week of being a sluggard could be appropriate after all.

Now for the "fine print" about Keeping the Public in Public Domain segments here.
********************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Flanders Fields, Poppies, and Pollinators for Memorial Day

For the U.S. this weekend we have Memorial Day to recognize all our armed forces who died serving our country.

For Canadian neighbors and the rest of the British Commonwealth it's Remembrance Day, but they wait until November 11, the day of the Armistice ending World War I on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour.  (That timing also creates the saying, when something is done at the last minute, that it was done "at the eleventh hour.")

There is some confusion here in the U.S. as November 11 is our Veterans Day, honoring all who have served in our military.  Memorial Day was strictly intended to remember those who gave their lives in the military, not our current military, nor its veterans.

For both the U.S., the British Commonwealth, and even many non-Commonwealth nations, poppies are a visual symbol pointing back to a poem, "In Flanders Fields", by Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, in the spring of 1915, shortly after attending the funeral of a friend in Ypres and seeing poppies growing in battle-scarred fields where the soldiers had been buried.

When I do my World War I program I use a black and white photo (although it started with the hint of
the red that so impressed Dr. McCrae) because that's the photo a veteran, like Oleda Joure Christides, would have.  She also knew about the poem:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance and their bright red color reminds people of all the blood shed.  I was told at the time of the poem it was one of the only things able to bloom in the cemetery there.  The flower is a perfect example of why wildflowers should never be called weeds.  Wikipedia, in an article about it under its scientific name of Papaver rhoeas says, "Due to the extent of ground disturbance in warfare during World War I, corn poppies bloomed in between the trench lines and no man's lands on the Western front."  I was even told lime was used for those graves, so that further eliminated most things from growing there.  In that same article about the flower, Wikipedia states, "Before the advent of herbicides, P. rhoeas sometimes was abundant in agricultural fields."

The picture at the opening of today's article shows the cemetery has changed from the days of preliminary crosses and wildflowers finding their way onto the grounds where so much blood was shed.  The flowers and tombstones look too cultivated to be what was seen in the early Twentieth Century.  I am encouraged that the European Union has banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides because they have proven it has killed bees, butterflies and, more recently, declining bird populations also are being linked to the pesticides.  Pollinators like these are crucial to our own survival because they are needed for our agriculture and food production.  Here's a link to a petition to our own Environmental Protection Agency asking that they, too, ban this war on our own pollinators. The  underlining of the word "Protection" is my own, since that is supposed to be what the agency does.

Both Memorial Day and flowers remind me of that song about "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and how it ends with the repeated phrase "When will they ever learn?"  Personally I wish Memorial Day, wonderful as it always is to have a three day holiday, had stayed on May 30 because moving it to the last Monday in May has changed it to what people now call "the unofficial start of summer."  It was meant to be more than that.

Speaking of summer starting unoffically, here in Michigan's version of the Great Lakes' version of Lake Woebegone we barely gave a nod to springtime before summer arrived with 90 degrees!

As for World War I itself, I keep remembering the commonly used statement "Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it."  My program with me portraying Oleda tries to honor her, our veterans, and Women's History.  I sincerely hope it continues after November 11, 2018 as its message is not just about that "eleventh hour" or even Flanders Field.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Babbitt - 2 Turtle tales (Keeping the Public in Public Domain) & More

Why did the turtle cross the road?

I know that sounds like the start of an old joke, but it's not.  Spring has awakened turtles and they are slowly on the move.  They were made to be fairly unbreakable, but there are limits and that includes being unable to handle a car running them over.  If you see one on the road, please slow down, putting on your emergency flashers and pull over to the side where you can help.  They're fairly determined, so this may help you.
(Nadilyn Beato is an artist at http://reptilearts.com and, while that is copyrighted, it's her public service announcement -- I found it on Facebook.  She has an Etsy store selling her art and is based in New York.)

Please note that those determined turtles are best moved to the other side of the road where they were headed.  Also they aren't going to believe you are helping them, so do it carefully.  Snapping Turtles are particularly difficult and are fast enough with their mouths, so try to approach from the back.

Here in Oakland County, Michigan I often say we should be called Lakeland County as there are lakes, ponds, and wetlands everywhere!  This means rural and suburban roads often have traveling turtles we should protect.  Turtles date back hundreds of millions of years, older even than crocodiles or snakes, so we need to do what we can to keep them safe from our vehicles.

Of course I want to share a pair of brief turtle stories.  The Jatakas; Tales of India as retold by Ellen C. Babbitt keep some of our oldest stories in a short easily enjoyed form.  Both these stories may be familiar in other cultures.  The first will sound rather like Br'er Rabbit and I'm not saying the story traveled from India, but it's probably just human "reverse psychology."  The other first came to my attention in 1968 when Janina Domanska published a Polish version called Look, There Is a Turtle Flying.  I do believe that came from those old Indian tales moving out into other lands.  Either way here they are for us to enjoy.
"Please don't throw me in the briar patch!"  Br'er Rabbit's version is better known, but maybe Turtles did it first.

The next story is so appropriate for me...and maybe you, too.
I confess I sometimes think I was destined to be a storyteller since I got in trouble for talking from my earliest days, especially in school.  Fortunately it never was as catastrophic as it was for poor Turtle.  I often say "I tell for fun and profit", so keep me and the world of storytelling in mind when you look for a program.
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This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!