Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Educated Fish" - Max and Dave Fleischer (1937)

This is a “Stereoptical” cartoon, which was the name of a process meant to give greater clarity to the cartoons of the era. Max and Dave Fleischer had been toying with this process for a few years, and they produced some wonderful cartoons with the process. This is one of those.

Basically the plot revolves around Tommy Cod, who decides to play hooky from the A.B. Sea School, after being thrown in the closet for misbehavior. While out on his own he meets a pretty little worm whom he invites to play “hooky” with him. She readily agrees, but there’s a hook to it, as she takes the term literally. Tommy, predictably, soon finds himself “hooked” and in a struggle for his very life.

Using all the tricks he can think of to elude capture, he soon finds himself in the boat with the fisherman who caught him. But, slippery as he is, he manages to get away, flopping back into the ocean where he makes a beeline for the A.B. Sea School. Once there, he vows to never be a problem again. And even to  this very day, I have never heard a bad word about him.

Seamus Heaney 

"Digging" by Seamus Heaney 1939–2013

Between my finger and my thumb  
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound  
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:  
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds  
Bends low, comes up twenty years away  
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills  
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft  
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.  
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.


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