Ocean vs. Sea

Courtesy of Wikipedia
If you've read many articles on the waters of our world, specifically the larger bodies of water, you most likely have ran across both words "ocean" and "sea" in your travels, and often referring to the same thing. Upon casual examination of both words they do mean the same. But you might point out that when using the word sea it is also referring to the smaller bodies of water that are partially or fully surrounded by land, such as the Caspian Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Red Sea and others. And seas are in essence, the smaller sections of water within the four (or five) oceans. But what about the deep sea, sea foam, and the sea floor, all of which is located in or about the ocean? Are these not referring to the ocean itself?

So I asked myself, why do two words describe the same thing; and is there any significant difference? Keep reading, for that is what I shall try to clarify today.

When attempting to define something that has been a part of culture from the beginning of time, one must start with the very basis of the word. According to the Websters dictionary from 1997, ocean literally means "the great body of salt water that covers approximately 72% of the earth's surface". This body of water is split into four sections by their basins, (large depressions in the seafloor), Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic. (Some say the Antarctic, or Southern, ocean is also to be included in this list). "These four (the ocean basins) are connected to various shallower seas" so says Sherri Seligson of Exploring Creation with Marine Biology.

Sea, from the same source, also refers to the "continuous body of salt water covering the greater part of the earth's surface". But the second definition goes on to define it as "a large body of salt water wholly or partly enclosed by land". So here we are back at the beginning, understanding that they both can and do mean the same thing, but sea can also be used more definitively.

Furthermore, we get our word "ocean" from the Greek "okeanos". The ancient Greeks considered the waters surrounding their archipelago the ocean. Sea comes from the Germanic word "saiws" originally indicating a stagnant body of water and later the great body of water itself. It all goes to show the progression of the worlds languages. I've noticed that in the past, the word ocean was rarely used and instead sailors and pirates alike used the word sea.

Now I will attempt to answer the questions of before, namely, why are there two words and what significance are they to our culture today. I believe that the Germanic "saiw" or sea proved more popular due to its proximity to the English-speaking world of the past and was therefore the predominant term for the majority of the past, at least in terms of the English language. The King James version of the bible is evidence of this in that sea is used over and over but ocean is never used. With closer inspection of the two words in the more recent past, ocean eventually started to grow in popularity as a broader term. This would explain why we still use sea for ocean and not just the seas themselves, and why we have terms like deep sea, sea floor, sea foam, sea stars, and seamount, to name a few. There's an unforgettable history in every word we use and all one has to do is just search for it. Isn't it exhilirating?

If this post has been enlightening, then I have succeeded in my purpose for writing. I hope you have enjoyed reading and will come back for more. Thanks for reading!

Good Reading

During our school years, my siblings and I were required to read a little of a book of our choice each day. To some this was agonizing, but I loved it, though I've never been a fast reader. When we visited the library, which we did weekly, I'd grab stacks of books but rarely did I have them read by the next library visit. My older sister, on the other hand, read a book a day. I always accused her of not being able to understand what she read. But of course, the speed you read at is your way, no one should criticize you for that.

Now that I'm older, responsibilities keep me from reading as much as I would like. To be completely honest, it takes me months to read an average-sized fiction novel. But reading is very important; one should never stop reading. It broadens the mind and the verbal scope, not too mention it works the brain, encouraging thought and strengthening thinking skills. For a writer like myself, it is all the more important if I ever wish to progress.

I believe in a healthy balance of fiction and non-fiction, but I must admit, I'm a hard critic of fiction writing. That's why one of my top favorite fiction authors is Michael Phillips!

Presently, I am reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy by Eric Metaxas, a book I've been dying to read since it came out in 2010. But before that I read Phillips Angel Harp and, like everything I've read from him, loved it.

Here's a quick synopsis:  

After the death of her husband, Marie decides to take the trip to Scotland she and he always wanted to make. there, she meets people who are kind and make her welcome, but not all welcome her arrival after a while. One of the people she meets is an unorthodox curate witha  knack for putting his finger right on the dot of any situation. Another is an uncertain duke, with an intriguing and rumour-filled reputation that also involves the curate. But the person that captures her heart most is a sweet little girl some of the "auld" folk believe has occultic powers and second sight. As time goes by, Marie comes to consider Scotland more than just a nice vacation spot and realizes she has feelings for both of the men in her life. Afraid of the replaying the past, she must come to terms with her feelings and the mysteriousness of the land.

Michael Phillips has the incredible ability to take an interesting story and orchestrate clear human circumstances that opens the eyes. The characters he creates often ask the questions we all would like to know and therefore, as they discover the answer, we feel as though we have discovered the same treasure.

Have you ever noticed while reading an average novel the empty spots? An accomplished literary expert might have a more specific way of terming this, but I don't boast any such ability. The story carries you along but there are occasional nagging feelings as if you missed something or as if you can't fully visualize what the author is trying to describe. Phillips' writing fills in the blanks. It's deep, yet clearly understandable; thought-provoking yet highly entertaining.

For many people in this day and age, Michael Phillips' writing may seem unappealing and too involved for relaxation. They are used to most modern fiction novels which follows a pretty straight line when considering plot development, as well as other elements. But not so with Phillips. His story developments are rarely, if ever, predictable and always fascinating. If you haven't read any of his works, be sure and check them out! But if you have, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Thinking Reasonably

Well, hello again. Obviously, I've been a little quiet around here for the last week or so, and unfortunately I don't have anything much to show for it. I was working on my next post on marine biology when I got an idea for another post, one that I thought would give me a chance to write something more technical. The pure and simple of it is I failed to get to it in time. Oh, I got the information and everything I needed but I failed to complete it. Old news is not good news in this day and age. So I dropped it. Something I hate resorting to with all my might.

I still struggle between my responsibilities and my love, writing. As I've said, I may be a crocheter, a cook, and a slew of other things, but I'll always be first and foremost, a writer. Unfortunately, my writing gets pushed aside for more demanding things, like crocheting. And I've been all through this so I won't reiterate.

When I do write however, I want to be perfect. I want my work to be noticeably creative and still technical. On the first draft. ...Yes. I know.

Even though I understand that one has to work long and hard to establish their writing platform and shouldn't expect it to come easy, I guess in a way, I do expect it to come easy. I'm not afraid of hard work and long hours. Only I think I've kind of been kidding myself.

Don't be afraid to dream, they say, but you mustn't ignore the logic that follows, you shouldn't expect to get your dream easy. Without really thinking about it, I suppose what I have been doing is writing and hoping someone will read one of my articles and just snap me up. "Oh, hey, I like your style. Want to come write for us?" Not impossible, but highly unlikely.

I understand completely that I have a lot to learn but I figured I could still get noticed and learn along the way. And maybe I could, but I shouldn't survive on that rare possibility.

I suppose my main drive should be to learn, find my voice, and grow my writing platform. I need to shift my focus from getting discovered to actually writing worthwhile content. Writing method and style should be established and content should be new. I need to prove, even if only to myself, that I can be consistent and dependable.

Honestly, I hesitate to open up like this publicly. "Good" writers don't appear to have these flaws and definitely never show them. Therefore, this admittance to my failures makes me, well, human. And vulnerable to criticism. But the first step to growing and becoming a better person, I believe, is being willing to openly admit your faults.

So to you who are reading, I hope that you will bear with me and understand that I am just another person in this universe trying to make heads or tails of her life. Unlike the impression you get from other people's blogs, I do not have it altogether and pretending I do only complicates my life.

Ultimately, my life and future are in God's hands. If He wanted me to land a writing job right off He would have provided it. It takes me some time to see what it is He is trying to tell me but when I do, I know I can trust Him to give me His best. What more can I ask for?

The Glass Slipper (1955) - Movie Review

If I haven't told you already, my favorite fairy-tale is Cinderella. I can't really say why, but I've loved her story all my life. As a little girl, I would watch the Disney cartoon with my siblings over and over. If you asked them now they would definitely say I ran it in the ground but at the time they didn't mind.

I consider myself a Cinderella expert/historian and have made it a point to see every film version that looks like it might be accurate. When it comes to books, I can't say that I've come upon many specifically, but I do tend to gravitate toward the Cinderella plot. But I must say right now that I am an incredible critic. I don't approve of just any Cinderella-story. It has to have just the right elements to attain my approval; it's never guaranteed.

Today I am going to introduce to you one of my favorites. The Glass Slipper. When I was growing up I watched this one recorded on VHS. It was poor quality which resulted in my watching it often alone. To this day, there are a few in my family that say I have been endowed with the gift of interpreting poor (vocal) quality movies. But it all boils down to the fact that I never liked to say no to a movie I loved watching, no matter how hard it was to hear what they were saying.

After our VHS player stopped working some years ago, I've been dying to get this one, and a few others (e.g. The Desert Song), on DVD, Blu-Ray, or on download. I was pleasantly surprised when I got it for Christmas last year and soon after, I made my family watch it with me. They didn't mind since they could understand it this time.

And that is the reason for today's review!

Story Synopsis

This is the classic story of Cinderella in that, still part of the family, she is made to work as a servant and in the end rises to riches. But as all Cinderella stories go this version has its differences.

Ella, as she is originally called, works day and night taking care of her stepmother's household but she is spirited. She despises how they treat her and truly wishes instead to be accepted by them and the townspeople. In her heart she tells herself she doesn't want their approval and dreams of one day living in the palace, a prediction her mother was given by a gypsy woman before she was born. Her actions are not always kind in response to theirs and so leads the people to despise her even more. Their jeers threaten to make her lose all hope of a better life.

One day when she has slipped away to her special place in the woods she meets an old lady who calls herself Mrs. Toquet. The lady is so congenial that Ella likes her. Soon Ella realizes she now has a friend. But when she mentions Mrs. Toquet to her step-family, they criticize the old lady, accuse her of stealing, though it's obviously harmless enough, and laugh at Ella for befriending for her. Angry at them for laughing at her only friend, Ella runs to the clearing to get away.

Near that same time, the Duke's son, Charles, having just returned from years of study in Paris, comes upon Ella's clearing. Charles speaks of a time when he was young and saw a little girl weeping and running through the streets. He notes her big, dark eyes to Kovin, his friend, who listens with mild interest.

Just then Ella arrives and sees the two men. When Charles in turn sees her he immediately recognizes her as the weeping girl. She mistakes his response and pushes him in the pond, running away once again. Kovin and Charles have a good laugh and Charles sends Kovin to find out what he can about Ella.

What Kovin finds out makes him less than happy about the Prince's interest. He reports that no one in town has anything good to say about her, but unlike the townspeople, Charles recognizes her struggles as hurt and the desire to be loved.

Some time later, Cousin Loulou is visiting Ella's step-family but when she sees Ella's barefeet, Ella is sent to get her shoes at once. Having left them at the clearing after pushing Charles, whom she believes to be the son of the palace cook, she returns to get them.

She is surprised to find Charles already there. He kindly apologizes for the misunderstanding and offers her an invitation to the Duke's ball. Ella says she can't possibly go because she doesn't dance. A problem easily remedied in the Prince's eyes, he takes her in his arms and teaches her a few of the latest dances. When he concludes the lesson, he kisses her. Ella is shocked and not sure how to respond to these new and sudden feelings.

The night of the ball arrives and Ella is busy assisting her stepsister's in their preparations. Once they leave, Ella prepares to spend the evening alone. Only she is not alone for Mrs. Toquet suddenly appears. She takes Ella out to the garden where she has left a beautiful gown, all white with rose petals and diamonds. Ella recognizes the dress as one Cousin Loulou mentioned and realizes the old woman pinched something rather serious. Mrs. Toquet assures her she will return it before it is missed and quickly gets Ella dressed and ready for the ball.

When she arrives at the ball, Ella is noticed by everyone. She dances with almost every man there but refuses to heed their constant questions by not speaking a single word. Instead she watches the servants, looking for the son of the cook. The next gentleman takes her in his arms to dance and she hardly notices. But when he calls her name, Ella sees Charles. He explains then that he is not the son of the cook but the son of the Duke.

Without much of a chance to respond, Ella notices her step-family and knows that it is time for her to leave. Cousin Loulou suddenly spots Ella's dress and tries to get a better look at it. Charles assists her escape until he is caught by the entourage.

The carriage hastily gets underway, but soon their speed becomes perilous. The carriage topples and sends Ella onto the ground, unconscious. When she awakes she is in her own bed and Mrs. Toquet is there. No worse for wear, she sighs happily at her memories and goes back to sleep.

After the ball has concluded, Charles muses while sitting in a parlor with his father and Kovin. The Duke is discussing the mysterious princess with Kovin who tries to cover her real identity. Suddenly Charles interrupts and asks his father what he would say if he decided to marry someone not of the peerage. His father quickly reminds him of his duties and Charles begins to grow angry. But then the Duke good-naturedly admits that he knows who the mysterious "Egyptian princess" really is and grants Charles his wish.

The next day the whole town is abuzz with the news that the Prince has chosen someone to be his wife. When Ella hears the news that the Prince is going to marry an Egyptian princess she is heartbroken. Her hopes are dashed, as unreasonable as they may have been. She sets her mind to leave the town for good, though she has no idea where she should go. Making one last trip to her place in the forest, she finds Mrs. Toquet and pours out her feelings. The old lady tries to comfort her in her own way, but nothing can help the hurt she feels. Mrs. Toquet leaves her sobbing on the grass.

Some time later, she is brought back to the present by a voice she never thought she'd hear again. Charles raises her from the ground with a loving smile and drapes a royal robe around her shoulders. Realizing the truth now, Ella watches with joy as Charles puts her on a horse and leads her to the castle while the townspeople and her step-family follow behind.

A Musical Adaptation

One of the main differences in this movie compared to most others is that it is a musical. There are two ballets performed in this film, both the courtesy of the Ballet de Paris, of which Leslie Caron was a part. They are set during her dreams. The first she dreams of Charles as the son of the cook showing her around the palace kitchen. Following the typical ballet set and style of imagination over reality, Caron dances with some assistance from Michael Wilding. There is nothing I have been able to dig up about his dancing abilities and therefore am guessing he had none. I even heard someone say he was poor at it but since it is apparent Caron is the star of the ballet I have always assumed they didn't want a distracting partner for her. He may not be trained in ballet, but I have always thought he did a good job. Of course, I may be biased since I like the movie and the feeling it gives.

The second ballet is more dramatic and happens after Ella hears that Charles is going to be married. They dance together contentedly until he is reminded of his responsibilities as the heir to the principality. He leaves her and stoically walks away with the Egytian princess Tehara, played by another French ballerina and member of the Ballet de Paris, Liliane Montevecchi. Caron sorrowfully ends the scene as if she has died. With a great deal more to do with this ballet, Michael Wilding at least plays a convincing part, with Caron still center stage.

A Ballerina From the Start

I find it humorous when Ella tells the Prince that she doesn't know how to dance during the forest scene before the ball. Caron was a big part of the Ballet de Paris when she was as young as sixteen. Roland Petit, the ballet's choreographer, was also the choreographer for the ballets in the film. Caron went on to play Lili in 1953, Daddy Long Legs in 1955, which Liliane Montevecchi also starred in, and a number of other musicals. But her acting abilities were not limited to music as she played dramas well too.

The Scenario and The Costumes

Some Cinderella retellings are made to be realistic while others do not attempt to move past fairy-tale status. I find that this one borders on fairy-tale while still convincing you it's supposed to be real.

Helen Rose and Walter Plunkett did an excellent job in reconstructing period costume. The most astonishing is Ella's ball dress. Incredibly large and obviously heavy, it still had delicacy and femininity. And then Charles' silver suits and gold-lined jackets lent him that perfect amount of nobility. Kovin's robe in this scene (see picture to the ? ) is a rich burgundy. My siblings often say they want me to make such and such outfit for them and this robe is one on their list. 

My Take - The Cinderella Elements

There are a few elements in this version I do not like though. For instance, Ella's childishness. There are times when her actions are particularly childish, for example, she pushes a boy down when he calls her "Cinder-Ella" and then runs away, and when the Prince treats her tenderly she bursts out with "Look what I can do!" as if she were a child. This almost makes you wonder why the Prince would fall in love with her. The basic character of Cinderella is loving and good-natured, as well as more mature due to her difficulties, and this version eliminates those concepts. Another is the fact that she has such short hair. What "Cinderella" looks like can be anything really, but her hair is at first hard to get over. Having seen it enough, I eventually accept it as part of the movie, but in no way do I approve. My strongest reason is probably because it makes Caron's face look rounder and, of course, more childish.

As for what I like, there really isn't much that just pops out at me. I like it because, 1) I'm a Cinderella fan and always on the lookout for more versions, and 2), I've always like Michael Wilding and Leslie Caron's dancing. Also, the stepsisters have a little more character than other stories give them, and Elsa Lanchester, the Widow Sonder, did an excellent job at being nasty. Though not her most amenable role, she did good at anyway. The Duke turns out to be a good egg with more sense than would at first appear, and the fact that the Prince has a friend to add some advice and dialogue is a new one as well.

But that's as much as I should go on. I've been quite long-winded in this post because it's obviously one of my favorite movies but I'll leave the rest for you to see for yourself.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and will come back soon for more! If you have any comments be sure and make them. I'd love to hear from you!