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The Melancholy Deaths of Edward Gorey's Children

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Legendary author-illustrator Edward Gorey -- most famous for animating the timeless intro to PBS' Mystery! -- never had any children of his own, though he drew plenty of them. Delving into his complete works for a project recently, it dawned on me how my impression of this prolific writer had been cemented by my familiarity with just one or two of his books -- like The Gashleycrumb Tinies, a deliciously morbid, alphabetical catalog of 26 children's deaths. As it turns out, this is fairly representative of the fates of children throughout Gorey's work -- they nearly always meet a tragic end. Having gone through most of his books over the weekend, I wanted to share some of Gorey's most striking (and sometimes shocking) panels involving kids -- many of them creepier and more morbid than I had ever given Gorey credit for being.

We'll start off with a classic, from the much-beloved Gasheycrumb Tinies:
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Can you imagine a contemporary cartoon book depicting an axe-murdered child like this? In some ways, our culture has become much more permissive since Gashleycrumb was written in the early 60s; but these days unspeakable things happening to children seems a rarely-crossed taboo. (Also, the fact that Gorey channels a 19th century aesthetic probably allows him to get away with more of this than if his style were modern -- what with the memento mori and general morbidness of the Victorian era, tragically-killed children don't seem so out of place.)

From The Willowdale Handcar, this haunting image:
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The following two are from The Fatal Lozenge, another of Gorey's alphabetical catalogs -- in this case, the object of each panel is the letter that progresses alphabetically ("Orphan" and "Zouave").
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The Hapless Child is the tragic story of a little orphaned girl who runs away from the mistresses at her cruel boarding school, only to be kidnapped and sold to "a brute" who makes her his slave. She escapes, on the brink of death, and is run down and killed in the street -- by a wagon driven by her father, who's back from the war, the rumors of his demise greatly exaggerated.
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These are the first and last panels of The Pious Infant, a strange and morbid little tale:
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The Beastly Baby is the story of the world's fattest, noisiest and most loathsome baby (which perhaps explains, apart from his being gay, why Gorey never had any of his own). His treatment of Beastly is pitiless:
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This is perhaps Gorey's darkest panel, also from The Fatal Lozenge:
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Space
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

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Art
Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]

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