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Monday, September 30, 2013

Fairy Tale ~ Folklore in Advertising

fair•y (ˈfɛər i) n., pl. fair•ies, adj. n. 1. (in folklore) "one of a class of supernatural beings, generally conceived as having a diminutive human form and possessing magical powers."

"Fairy tales have as their basis this wish for happiness and bliss, where all wishes come true, and where everybody lives happily ever after. By using traditional fairy‐tale motifs and by adapting them to the modern world of consumerism and the instantaneous gratification syndrome, advertising agencies create the perfect medium with the irresistible message. When advertising started to gain ground at the beginning of the 20th century, fairy‐tale titles, certain poetic verses, and short allusions to well‐known fairy tales began to be used as manipulative bait. The reader would be reminded of the happy and satisfied fairy‐tale ending, thus deciding subconsciously that the advertised product must be the perfect choice.

As time went on, ever more glamorous illustrations were added to the verbal messages, combining the advertisement for a necklace or a piece of clothing, for example, with a beautiful woman standing in front of the mirror asking that eternal question, ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?’ And who would not want to be the most beautiful, especially since, in the modern world of advertising and consumerism, everything is possible. All that it takes is fairy‐tale formulas and allusions together with manipulative texts and glittering illustrations. Naturally sophisticated television advertisements can create a state of enchantment which barely leaves the viewer any choice but to accept the message as the ultimate wish fulfillment."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Skeleton City - Detroit


A few years ago, you could find incentives to obtain a free house, and the City of Detroit would pay you a good chunk of change to take one of these abandoned houses. In circa 2009, there were around 100 houses that were up for grabs, but apparently, dangling this free house carrot did not seem work. You can see photos of all the abandoned houses (at that time)here.

The article I read, said: " Mayor Dave Bing is trying to save Detroit by offering incentives to lure residents back to abandoned neighborhoods.

One program offers $150,000 in housing renovation money and requiring only $1,000 down to police officers who are willing to relocate to the city. Another offers college graduates $2,500 to rent and $20,000 forgivable loan to buy properties.

Potential home buyers can choose from plenty of cheap or free homes, especially in the blighted neighborhoods of Woodward Ave. and Brush Park." - Kamelia Angelova

Abandoned Detroit 1
Abandoned Detroit 2
Abandoned Detroit 3

"Scrappers" are warned by signs through out various neighborhoods to "Stay away.  Scrappers will be shot."  But apparently, the temptation was to great, as seen in some of these photos.  "Signs like these are a common sight in neighborhoods all across Detroit, where more than 78,000 homes sit abandoned and falling apart. Now, the Motor City is getting a $52 million boost to fight the blight with wrecking balls and dump trucks under a plan to demolish more than 4,000 vacant homes across the city." - Fox News

These empty houses are like "magnets for squatters, scrappers, and criminals," says resident Robert Couch.
Abandoned Detroit 4

Abandoned Detroit 5

Now, the Motor City is getting a $52 million boost to fight the blight with wrecking balls and dump trucks under a plan to demolish more than 4,000 vacant homes across the city.

“By eliminating the blight in a neighborhood, we increase the property values, give the folks an incentive to stay in their homes, and therefore maybe they won’t get into a foreclosure problem,” explains Scott Woosley, executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

With $100 million in federal funding from Troubled Asset Relief Program’s Hardest Hit Fund, officials are hoping the massive demolition project will reduce foreclosures and stabilize neighborhoods in five of Michigan’s largest cities.

Abandoned and blighted homes lead to an increase in crime, depressed home values for surrounding properties, and strain community resources, according to Woosley. For instance, he says, 60 percent of Detroit’s roughly 12,000 fires each year occur in abandoned properties.

“By taking those down, we’re taking that out of the equation," Woosley said. "The fire department doesn’t have to show up, they don’t have to expend the funds to put out the fires, and that’s a big plus, a big positive for the city. That’s a cost they don’t have to incur.”
Abandoned Detroit 6
Abandoned Detroit 7
Abandoned Detroit 8
Abandoned Detroit 9

The Motor City’s recent financial woes are no secret. The city is currently going through bankruptcy court to deal with the nearly $20 billion it owes to creditors. 

The new blight removal program the largest in state history, and the first of its kind in the nation, according to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

With so many abandoned homes across Detroit though, this pilot program’s projected goal of demolishing over 4,000 properties is just a small drop in the bucket. Officials estimate it would cost around $600 million to eliminate all of the blight throughout the city. 

But if this initiative works as well as expected, Woosley says the state will be able to ask for more funding to expand its efforts.

“We think we’re going to be able to transform those neighborhoods, tip them in the direction of increasing property values, decrease in crime rates, and just make it entirely better for the neighborhood.”  - Fox News
Abandoned Detroit 10
Abandoned Detroit 11
Abandoned Detroit 12
Abandoned Detroit 13

According to a online forum that I read, some of the issues that deterred any potential buyers from purchase, was the fact that many were built from the 1930's through post WWII, and asbestos was commonly used during construction.  You shouldn't just bull doze these homes due to the air born ramifications, the asbestos would have to be properly removed.  

Secondly, the housing contain antiquated knob and tube wiring, and old cast plumbing - expensive to replace.  

Third, is the general state of these buildings are beyond repair.  Most have been vandalized, stripped, burnt or otherwise destroyed - so liability would be an issue for anyone considering the task of renovation.  

Finally, Ye Olde Taxes.  Who would want to pay taxes on any of these properties?  It is very sad, but demolition makes the most sense....Strip the flesh and bones - begin anew.

Friday, September 27, 2013


The "ghost town" of Glastenbury and Glastenbury Mountain lies in the center of what is known as the "Bennington Triangle"  in Southern Vermont, which is surrounded by Bennington, Shaftsbury, Somerset and Woodford.  What exactly makes up the mysterious Bennington Triangle is not all together clear, but the area obtained it's name because many people have disappeared over the years; most, never to be heard from again!

Glastonbury, chartered in 1761 and founded by New Hampshire Governor, Benning Wentworth.  Though several families attempted to live in this region, they did not stay for long.  Nearly a century later, by 1872, the town's lumber resource was discovered and a railroad was constructed into Glastenbury Mountain.  Many transient workers settled in the surrounding region to tap this natural resource for logging.   Apparently, dozens of kilns were built as the town began to produce charcoal (converting it's lumber into charcoal, which "fed" the iron industry in nearby towns).

"By the late 1880s, however, the mountain had been cleared of nearly all of its mature trees, and the town’s economy dipped dramatically. In 1889 the railroad operation ceased. It was revived briefly in 1894 as an electric passenger trolley run by the Bennington & Woodford Railroad and a brief and initially promising effort was made to convert South Glastenbury to a tourist attraction. A small fortune was spent to convert the area into a mountain resort area which opened in the summer of 1898. Unfortunately, a "freshet" wiped out the railroad tracks that winter, marking the beginning of the end of Glastenbury as a functioning town. Population dwindled in the early twentieth century, down to only seven in 1937, when the legislature unincorporated the town." - Wikipedia

..."Stories of strange happenings had been told about Glastenbury and the surrounding area for many years prior to the disappearances in the 1940s, the best-known of which is probably that of Paula Jean Welden.

Between 1945 and 1950 five people disappeared in the Bennington area. The first occurred on November 12, 1945 when 74-year-old Middie Rivers disappeared while out hunting. Rivers was guiding a group of four hunters up the mountains. On the way back Rivers got ahead of the rest of the group and was never seen again. An extensive search was conducted and the only evidence found was a single rifle shell that was found in a stream. The speculation was that Rivers had leaned over and the shell had dropped out of his pocket into the water. The disappearance had occurred in the Long Trail Road area and U.S. Route 9. Rivers was an experienced hunter and fisherman and was familiar with the local area.

Paula Welden, 18, disappeared about a year later on December 1, 1946. Welden was an a sophomore at Bennington College. She had set out for a hike on the Long Trail. Many saw her go, including Ernest Whitman, a Bennington Banner employee who gave her directions. She was alleged to have been seen on the trail itself by an elderly couple who were about a 100 yards (91 m) behind her. According to them, she turned a corner in the trail, and when they reached the same corner, she had disappeared.  When Welden never returned to her college an extensive search was conducted which included the posting of a $5,000 reward and help from the FBI, however, no evidence of her was ever found. Unconfirmed rumors speculated that she had moved to Canada with a boyfriend or that she become a recluse living in the mountains.

The third occurrence took place when a veteran James E. Tedford (also spelled as Teford or Tetford) disappeared on December 1, 1949, exactly three years after Paula Welden had disappeared. Tedford was a resident of the Bennington Soldiers' Home. He had been in St. Albans visiting relatives. He was returning home on the local bus when he vanished. According to witnesses, Tedford got on the bus and was still on the bus at the last stop before arriving in Bennington. Somewhere between the last stop and Bennington, Tedford vanished. His belongings were still in the luggage rack and an open bus timetable was on his vacant seat.

The fourth person to vanish was eight-year-old Paul Jepson. On October 12, 1950, Jepson had accompanied his mother in a truck. She left her son unattended while she fed some pigs. His mother was gone for about an hour. When she returned her son was nowhere in sight. Search parties were formed to look for the child. Nothing was ever found, though Jepson was wearing a bright red jacket that should have made him more visible.  According to one story, bloodhounds tracked the boy to a local highway, where, according to local legend, four years earlier Paula Welden had disappeared.

The fifth and last disappearance occurred sixteen days after Jepson had vanished. On October 28, 1950, Freida Langer, 53, and her cousin Herbert Elsner left their family campsite near the Somerset Reservoir to go on a hike. During the hike Langer slipped and fell into stream. She told Elsner if he would wait, she would go back to the campsite, change clothes and catch up to him. When she did not return, Elsner made his way back to the campsite and found Langer had not returned and that nobody had seen her since they had left. Over the next two weeks a total of five searches were conducted involving aircraft, helicopters and up to 300 searchers. No trace of the woman was found then. On May 12, 1951, her body was found near Somerset Reservoir, in an area that had been extensively searched seven months previously. Because of the long time the body had been exposed to the elements, no cause of death could be determined.

Langer was last person to disappear and the only one whose body was found. No direct connections have been identified that tie these cases together – other than general geographic area and time period." - Wikipedia

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Destination Hope

What better place than the "Granite Capital of the World" to see some of the most interesting and inspiring stone sculpture immortalizing those at rest, than at the Hope Cemetery, in Barre, Vermont? 

I took a stroll through Hope last Sunday afternoon, and was awe-struck with not only the incredible artistry, but was touched by the symbolism and profound expression of love, loss and immortality. 

I hope you enjoy my photography, and I will not add any further comment other than my thought that perhaps the cemetery should be renamed "Hope, Faith and Love". At the end of the photographs posted below is a brief history of Hope, provided by examiner.com.  I will now let the graves speak for themselves.  Peace.


This young lady was a victim of a lightening strike.  Previous to this monument was a plain stone.  Friends and family donated a community headstone, in all of it's grandeur, in loving memory of Amy.

Note "face of death" sculptured into right lower side of memorial.


See below for more on the Brussa Angel

Barre (pronounced Barry) Vermont is the source of granite for much of the country. Its fine quality stone and artisans who turned granite into sculpture are known nation-wide. But nowhere is their skill better showcased than in the place where their loved ones rest.
Barre granite became famous for its unique ability to resist discoloration - neither time or weather changes the color of the stone. One of the most common uses has been for monuments and memorials. The Barre Granite Association estimates:  one-third of the public and private monuments and mausoleums in America -- and they are millions in number -- are products of the Barre quarries and Barre's "international" community of sculptors, artisans, mechanics and laborers.
The grounds of the lushly landscaped Hope Cemetery contain some of the finest examples of memorial sculpture in the country. Innovative, touching, horrifying but always filled with humanity. Each grave and monument depicts a story and together they illuminate the history of the city and the granite industry.The stone memorials themselves have become the epitaphs, visually representing the lives of those interred.
Many of those buried in Hope Cemetery were of Italian heritage, the result of a wave of immigration to work in the stone cutting industry after the Hope Cemetery had opened.
The famous Brusa angel, carved by Louis Brusa,  is one of the cemetery’s most striking monuments. She is an enigma as she sits between columns her head on her chin, and wings flowing behind her.
The memorial for Brusa himself depicts the carver dying of silicosis being comforted by his wife. Brusa was a victim of the lung disease resulting from years of stone-cutting. It even extended to their families as the men brought the granite dust home on their clothes. As a result of tireless efforts for worker safety, ventilators and dust filtering systems were added to granite sheds to reduce exposure to the tiny particulars that destroyed workers lungs. But not before many died.
Elia Corti was a sculptor shot during a fight, having stepped between the shooter and Corti’s brother-in-law. It was the brother-in-law who carved the monument, all from one piece of granite. Corti looks pensive and his arm rests on a broken column, indicating a life cut short. On the base of the memorial lie stone versions of his carving tools.
The Ceppi memorial in which Albert Ceppi depicts himself at work, the Halvosa monument of a husband and wive holding hand across their stone beds and numerous others make this one of the country’s most unusual sculpture destinations. And a very moving one.