Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Bit of History and the Birth Day Thing

For the most part yesterday was a rainy day. But the missus and I did manage to get out a bit. I got the back tire fixed early in the morning, then Jo and I visited a couple of open houses. They were nice enough but out of our price range. Still always nice to look around. We picked up some paint, went to the Lazy-Boy store to look at possible rugs for the living room and then picked up some groceries for dinner.

Excellent television last night; Dr. Who, two episodes of Wynonna Earp. It kind of reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Has that feel; enough tension and humour to make a good mix. We then watched the last episode (possibly ever) of Ransom and then caught up a bit with one of the later episodes of Season 2 of 19-2. Excellent, gritty cop show set in Montreal.

This morning I had a reasonable run, watched some football and finished off Tender Death by Annette Meyer. It's the 2nd mystery of hers that I've read. I didn't mind it. It's been on my shelf for ages and I'm glad to finally have given it a try. I may try others of her books, but I won't rush out to find any. Moving on to the letter 'S' in Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone series. I always enjoy them. They are good cozy mysteries and Kinsey and her friends are excellent characters.

A Bit of History

So we move on to the latest excerpt from Great Historical Events from Treasures of Use and Beauty. This excerpt starts with the persecution of the Quakers in the United States and general religious intolerance. Doesn't that sort of sound familiar??


1656. Quakers first arrive in Massachusetts. Their persecution by the Puritans. Religious intolerance was carried to such an extent by these misguided zealots that they actually tormented and put to death, by scores, the only Christian sect in America who advocated the doctrine of peace, and who denied the right of man to take life under any circumstances. (Ed. Note - *sigh*)
1659. Four Quakers executed on Boston Common.
1660. Quakers prohibited from emigrating to Virginia under severe penalties. A duty of 5 per cent was levied by the English government upon all merchandise of import or export in the American colonies.
Great English navigation act established.
1662. Three persons hung for witchcraft in Hartford, Conn.
1663. Remarkable earthquake lasting with short intervals for six months. The face of the country in some localities entirely changed.
First settlement in North Carolina.
1664. Elliot translated and printed the Bible in the language of the American Indians.
First permanent settlement in New Jersey. (Ed. Note - Governor Christie stops traffic on the bridge... oh wait, that wasn't for a little while)
1665. June 12. - New York City incorporated
1666 - 75, Marquette explored the Mississippi River.
1666. Death of Lord Baltimore
1669. First settlement in South Carolina
Foundation of modern Charleston laid, which soon became the port of trade and the capital of Carolina.
A war broke out between the Carolina colonies and the Indians, which was speedily terminated by the Governor offering a bounty upon every captive Indian.
Indians were sold to the West Indies as slaves, in exchange for rum. (Ed. Note - *double sigh*)

Next excerpt will commence in the 1680s with introduction of William Penn.

Letters of Congratulation

The letter which follows was written by a James Hopewell to a friend who had just been elected to Congress.

"Metropolisville, Nov. 5, 1875.

Hurrah! the battle is fought and the victory won! Give me your hand, old friend, while I give it a good squeeze of congratulation on your election. The result has not surprised me in the least. I knew you would be elected, because I knew that you deserved to be, and that the people of your district had sense enough to know it too. Some say, 'Principles, not men;' but I say, 'Principles and men.'. This honor is as much a tribute to your personal worth as to the correctness of your principles. Just such men as you are needed in Congress - never more than now; and I believe you will fulfill every expectation, and honor yourself and your constituents. That such may be the case shall ever be the prayer of -

Yours faithfully,
James Hopewell." (Ed. Note - To all politicians! Words to live by!!)

Next entries will provide a couple of examples of letters of condolence...

The Birth Day Thing - 10 November 1966

US Billboard #1 Song, 10 November 1966
Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkees. The Monkees were originally formed in 1965 for the TV show of the same name. They consisted of Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz. The band was active from 1965 - 1971. Last Train to Clarksville was their first released single and first of 3 US #1s.The song was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.

UK #1 Single, 10 November 1966

Reach Out I'll Be There by The Four Tops. The Four Tops were a quartet out of Detroit, Michigan who helped define the Motown sound. They performed for over 4 decades without a change of personnel, from 1953 - 1997. Reach Out I'll Be There was their first UK #1 and 2nd US. It was written by Holland - Dozier - Holland, as were so many Motown hits. (Fantastic song.)

New York Times #1 Fiction Best-Seller, 10 November 1966

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. Valley of the Dolls was Susann's first novel and currently has sold 31 million copies. I haven't read the novel but I have seen the movie; starring Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins and Sharon Tate. It's definitely a movie of its time but still excellent. I'm sure my mother had a copy of this when it came out.

It tells the story of three young women living in the post - war worlds of Broadway and Hollywood.

Pulitzer Prize Winner - 1966

Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter. The book contained 19 'short stories and long stories' by Porter. Porter was an American writer from Texas who lived from 1890 - 1980. She is also known for her novel, Ship of Fools, but her short stories received much more critical acclaim.

Nobel Prize Laureate - 1966

Shmuel Yosef Agnon (Israel) / Nelly Sachs (Sweden). Agnon was born in the Ukraine in 1888 and died in Israel in 1970 and was one of the central figures of modern Hebrew fiction. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 'for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people'.

The prize was shared with Swedish poet and playwright of German Jewish birth, Nelly Sachs. Sachs lived from 1891 - 1970. On receipt of her Nobel Prize, she observed "that Agnon represented Israel whereas "I represent the tragedy of the Jewish people".

Hugo Award Winner - 1966. The award was shared by two authors.

Dune by Frank Herbert. I read this back during my university years. I'm sure it was one of the books included in my university Science Fiction novel course. I quickly followed it with Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. I have never read the other two books in the series. It was a fascinating series, but after awhile, I have to say that the theme of prescience kind of got to me. Why read the books when you know what is going to happen?

However having said that, Herbert created a fascinating world, economy, religion and a series of novels fraught with tension and intrigue. Well worth reading.

And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny. I have read other works by Zelazny, mainly The Chronicles of Amber which is a fascinating series. And Call Me Conrad is the serialised version of This Immortal. From the description, the story is about an Earth destroyed by nuclear war, with a severely reduced population and overrun by mutated life forms. Sound interesting?

 Edgar Award Winner - 1966

The Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall. Adam Hall was a pseudonym of Elleston Trevor (who also wrote The Flight of the Phoenix). The Quiller Memorandum is a story about a British spy. A Quiller is a word for a British spy. The story was also titled The Berlin Memorandum and was the first of 18 Quiller books. I will have to try this book.

Next excerpt will cover 1967. :0)

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Renos continued and the Normal Stuff

A few updates on this 'so far' mild, sunny Saturday. We're supposed to be getting rain for the next few days. I checked out a yard sale this morning on my way to bringing the car in for a tire check-up and after leaving the yard sale, I discovered another local 'little lending library'. I'll definitely check it out. Didn't want to do so today as I had no books to trade if I found one.

Carpets now removed
Our preparations for receipt of our new wood floors in the hallway, lounge and dining room continued on Thursday. Jo had offered our old carpet, which was still in excellent shape, for free on our local internet buy and sell site. A couple had said they wanted it, the only condition we put was that they were to help remove it. Jo and I started tearing up the carpet early Thursday and she kept trying to contact them to ensure they were going to arrive in the afternoon. By noonish, Jo and I had finished with the dining room, the carpet was all rolled up, the under layer as well. Still no sign of our young couple. Jo phoned and emailed, no response.

It looks pretty empty now, eh?
So what ended up happening was that she and I spent the rest of the day, removing the carpet in the lounge as well and rolling it up. Jo put a new offer on the 'buy and sell' site, asking $100 for the old carpet. It seemed more than fair since we now had to remove the carpet ourselves. Since our floors were going to be delivered Friday sometime, I finished removing the under layer Friday morning and putting it in the garage.

Our new floors
Good thing, as our floor guy, Dean, called at 8 saying he'd be delivering the floor boards around 9:00. Perfect timing. The floors arrived. Dean helped me move the biggest rug into the garage as well. He dropped off the floors. At noon a nice lady and her friend arrived and purchased the old carpet, she planned to install it in her mother's place. Nice to see it being used. So now Jo and I have four days to paint the living room, one room that we never have touched yet and the downstairs hallway. We picked up some paint yesterday and if we can find the energy, will try to do some of the painting today. Then next Wednesday, Dean starts installing the floors. Yay!!! I think the puppies might be spending a couple of days at doggie day care. The hammering might get them a mite excited. By Friday, we hope the floors will be installed and then we can start moving furniture back in from the garage and also finish painting the upstairs hallway and the stair case in preparation for the new upstairs carpet to be installed.. Whew.. We're getting there. :)

A Bit of History

Continuing my excerpts from the featured book, I move along to 1645. I ended up my last excerpt with the passage of the 'Blue Laws' in New England. Today's Great Historical Events excerpt starts in 1645.

"1645. First trial and execution in New England, of four persons for the 'crime of witchcraft.'
Clayborne's rebellion in Maryland
1646. John Elliot preaches to the Indians in their own tongue.
1647. Massachusetts made the support of schools compulsory, and education universal and free. (Ed Note. I should lend this book to the current resident of the White House.)
1647. Stuyvesant arrives at New Amsterdam.
1651. Navigation act passed by England restricting the commerce of the colonies.
The English Parliament attempts to subject the colonies of Virginia, but is defeated by the colonists.
Thirty lashes were inflicted on Obediah Holmes for preaching Baptist doctrines in Massachusetts. (Ed Note. Interesting that so many folks seemed to want to come to the New World to get away from oppression and intolerance (at least, from my limited knowledge of history), and they seemed to find it there as well.)
1652. The first regular book-seller in America was Hezekiah Usher, of Boston. (Ed Note.. Yay!!)"

Next post will start in 1656, with the persecution of the Quakers. Not the uplifting way I was expecting to start it. Yes, that was sarcasm.

Letters of Congratulation

Today's excerpt was written in 1813, from Sir Walter Scott to Robert Southey congratulating him on his investiture as Poet Laureate.

"Edinburgh, November 13, 1813.

I do not delay, my dear Southey, to say my gratulator. Long may you live, as Paddy says, to rule over us, and to redeem the crown of Spenser and of Dryden to its pristine dignity.
I was greatly delighted with the circumstances of your investiture. It reminded me of the porters at Calais with Dr. Smollett's baggage, six of them seizing one small portmanteau and bearing it in triumph to his lodgings.
Adieu, my dear Southey; my best wishes to attend all that you do, and my best congratulations every good that attends you  - yea, even this, the very least of Providence's mercies, as a poor clergyman  said when pronouncing grace over a herring.
My best compliments attend Mrs. Southey and your family.

Ever yours,
Walter Scott."

Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic 'Lake School' period. He was Poet Laureate from 1813 until his death in 1843. He assumed the post after Walter Scott refused it.

The Birth Day Thing - Today's entries focus on November 10, 1965 (my 10th birthday) and the year in general.

US Billboard #1 song, 10 November 1965 / UK #1 Single, 10 November 1965

This is an easy one this time as the US and UK #1's are the same song. This will happen only 3 more times until 2017.

Get Off of My Cloud by The Rolling Stones. The Stones formed in 1962. Their original line-up consisted of Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Ian Stewart. Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963, but did tour with them. Since 1962, they have released 30 studio albums, 23 live albums, 25 compilation albums, 3 extended play singles and 120 singles. I readily admit that they are not my favourite band. I've never bought an album or a single. But, they seem to have survived my lack of support. ;0). Get Off of My Cloud was their 5th #1 single. Not too shabby. It was written by Jagger and Richards as a single to follow (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. You can hear the 1965 version by clicking on the bold title.. Great song, even with my lack of support. ;0)

New York Times #1 Fiction Best - Seller, 10 November 1965

The Source by James Michener. I did have a copy of this book at one time, but I don't know that I ever read it. It is another book of epic proportions by Michener, the second since 10 Nov, 1955 to be #1 on the fiction list. It tells the story of the history of the Jewish people and the land of Israel from the very beginning until the birth of the modern state of Israel.

Pulitzer Prize Winner - 1965

The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau. The Keepers of the House was written in 1964 and tells the story of 7 generations of the Howland family that lived in the same house in rural Alabama. The majority of Shirley Ann Grau's works were set in the Deep South. She was born in Louisiana in 1929. Her most recent work, a collection of stories was published in 2006.

Nobel Prize Laureate - 1965

Mikhail Sholokov (Russia). Mikhail Sholokov was a Russian / Soviet author who lived from 1905 - 1984. His most famous work was And Quiet Flows the Don. He was awarded the Nobel Prize "for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people,"

Hugo Award Winner - 1965

The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber. The Wanderer was the first novel to win the Hugo Award without first being published in a hard copy format or appearing in some form in a genre magazine. It tells the story of a wandering planet that enters the solar system. It follows various groups of people to portray the impact of this planet on the entire population of the Earth.

Edgar Award Winner - 1965

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré. This was le Carré's third novel. I'm so glad to see it on the list of Edgar Award winners. I read it in 2012 and it was one of my favourite novels of the year. This was my review of the book.

"Fantastic story. A classic spy novel, classic le Carré story. His third novel, after Call For The Dead and A Murder of Quality, it features tired spy, Alec Leamas, the British Secret Services Berlin organizer, who is called home for a special mission. I won't get into too many details as there are so many interesting surprises throughout the story, that I wouldn't want to ruin it. There is a brief role for le Carré's most famous spy, George Smiley, but the story revolves mostly around Leamas. The spy craft is interesting, the plot twisting, the story fascinating and one you will have difficulty putting down. An excellent story for those who enjoy spy dramas and also a nicely historical feel for the cold war between the West and East.. Great stuff.."

So there you go, another year complete. Enjoy your weekend. Read a good book.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Renos update and A Bit of History, etc.

The lounge 2 days ago
The lounge this morning

We've had a brief break from our house renovations as we entertained visitors from back East and just lazed around a bit over Easter.

Dining Room 2 days ago
Dining Room this morning

But it's back to work in the next few days. For the past couple of days, we've been cleaning out the lounge and dining room. Today a couple of folks will be coming over to remove the carpeting in both rooms, so we'll be down to bare floor.

Tomorrow, Dean arrives with the wood flooring which will stay in the living room / dining room until next week when he comes to install it in the hallway, living room and dining room. The week after that, new carpeting will be laid in the upstairs hallway and down the stairs.  After that it'll just be the family room which will get new carpeting. I think we're planning to wait until the end of May time frame for that work. Just to give us a bit of a rest and let us finish the reorganisation of the other rooms.

Bonnie watching all from her perch
So there you go. There are more small things happening, such as painting and work in Jo's new office, but we can work those into our schedule and when we have the energy. I keep saying, "we are retired you know"!

A Little Bit of History

Anyway, on to my other regular topics. Starting with excerpts of Great Historical Events, we are now at 1639 and the introduction of the first printing press in North America.

"1639. First printing press in North America set up in Cambridge, Mass., by Stephen Day.
Corn-planting enforced by law in Maryland, and a grist mill erected.
First public hospital founded in America in Quebec.
1640. Montreal founded.
First powder mill in the United States erected.
New England numbered 2,100 inhabitants.
1642 - 45. Indian war in Maryland.
1644 - 45. Rebellion in Maryland and war with the Indians in Virginia.

New England "Blue Laws" (Ed. Note - this title intrigued me)
1644-46. 'Blue Laws' passed among which are to be found these peculiar enactments:
Blasphemy, idolatry, adultery, and witchcraft were punished by death, and for any crime committed on Sunday, the additional punishment of cutting off an ear was added. (Ed question. Was the ear cut off before being put to death or after??) Kissing a woman on the street was punished by flogging, which punishment was actually inflicted about a century later upon an English sea-captain, who saluted his wife on a street in Boston, after a long separation. Intemperance and all immorality were punished with great rigor, and keepers of inns and public houses were required to be persons of approved character, and possessed of a competency, as they were held responsible for the conduct of their guests and the morality of their houses - a ' blue law' which would be well for the country were it now in vogue." (Ed note - And now for that matter)
Well, that was interesting.. Checking ahead a bit, I note that there are many references to witchcraft trials and such in the succeeding years. :)
Letters of Congratulation. I provided an excerpt from the above book which laid out the guidelines and principles which make up a letter of congratulation, according to the editors of this book. Today I'll provide the first example, a letter from Thomas Jefferson to his sister on her marriage.
"My Dear Sister:
Paris, July 12, 1788.
My last letters from Virginia inform me of your marriage with Mr. Hasting Marks. I sincerely wish you joy and happiness into the new state into which you have entered. I have seen enough of Mr. Marks to form a very good opinion of him, and to believe that he will endeavor to render you happy. I am sure you will not be wanting on your part. You have seen enough of the different conditions of life to know that it is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness. This truth I can confirm to you from larger observation and a greater scope of experience.
I should wish to know where Mr. Marks proposes to settle and what line of life he will follow. In every situation I should wish to render him and you every service in my power, as you may be assured I shall ever feel myself warmly interested in your happiness, and preserve for you that sincere love I have always borne you. My daughters remember you with equal affection, and will one of these days tender it to you in person. They join me in wishing you all earthly felicity and a continuance of your love to them.
Accept assurances of the sincere attachment with which I am, my dear sister,
Your affectionate brother,
TH. Jefferson."
The Birth Day Thing, 10 November 1964.
US Billboard #1 Song, 10 November 1964

Baby Love by The Supremes. The Supremes were an American singing group and one of Motown's premier act in the 60's. The founding members were Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Betty McGlown. In 1962, the group consisted of Ross, Ballard and Wilson. In 1964 - 65, they had 5 straight #1 singles, starting with Where Did Our Love Go. Baby Love was their 2nd. It was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland.
UK #1 Single, 10 November 1964
There's Always Something There to Remind Me by Sandie Shaw. Sandie Shaw was one of the most successful British female singers of the '60s. Her version of Puppet on a String in 1967 became the first British song to win the Eurovision song contest. She continued singing and performing until 2013. There's Always Something There to Remind Me was her first UK #1. It was also #1 in Canada. It was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller, 10 November 1964
Herzog by Saul Bellow. Herzog was published in September 1964. It consists of a series of letters by the protagonist, Moses Herzog. It was named one of the best 100 novels in the English language by Time Magazine, since "the beginning of Time 1923 0 2005."
Saul Bellow was born in Quebec, Canada in 1915 and died in Brookline Massachusetts in 2005. I have read one of his books previously, that being Henderson, the Rain King. I liked his story-telling, his humour. I've looked at Herzog a few times. I may have to check it out.
Pulitzer Prize Winner, 1964. No award was given in 1964.
Nobel Prize Laureate - 1964
Jean Paul Sartre (France). Sartre was a French philosopher, playwright and novelist who lived from 1905 - 1980. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1964 but declined it as he did all official honours, stating "a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution". He was the first person to voluntarily decline the award and remains one of only two who have done so.

Hugo Award Winner - 1964

Here Gather the Stars by Clifford D. Simak. The novel later was published as Way Station. I have read a few of Simak's science fiction novels. City remains one of my favourites of the genre. I also enjoyed The Werewolf Principle very much. Way Station (Here Gather the Stars) is a new one for me and I will have to see if I can find it.

Simak was an American science fiction writer who lived from 1904 - 1988. He was awarded 3 Hugo Awards and one Nebula award for his work.

Edgar Award Winner - 1964

The Light of Day by Eric Ambler. I readily admit I have not read any of Ambler's works, although of late I have begun to purchase some of his books to see what I've been missing. Ambler was an English writer, particularly of spy novels, who lived from 1909 - 1998. The Light of Day was published in 1962 (also under the name Topkapi). It was also turned into a movie starring Melina Mercouri, Peter Ustinov and Maximilian Schell.

Other books by Ambler include Cause for Alarm (1938), The Mask for Dimitrios (1939), Journey into Fear (1940), etc.

So there you go. Now I'm going to head upstairs, bring the missus a cuppa and wish her a Happy Birthday.. Have a great day! Read a good book!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A Bit of History and the Birth Day Thing.. + Miscellaneous

While we wait for our young carpenter to show up to do a bit more work for us, I thought I'd squeeze in a quick post. I'll do the normal, History, Letters and Birth Day thing. But first, let's mention Little Free Libraries. Yesterday while the missus was chatting with a friend from over the ocean and catching up, I grabbed the dogs, put them in the car and took a drive around the area to check out some of these little lending libraries that have cropped up here in the Comox Valley. I gather it's not a unique thing, but I think it's a neat idea. I took five or six of my books and went to check out a couple of them that I'd noticed outside some houses.

Basically, if you've not heard of them before, people set these little mail box type units at the ends of their driveways, stock them with books they no longer want. You drive by, stop, check out what's inside and if you like a book or two, you take them and replace with the same number of your books. At least, that's how I assume it works. I knew of at least two nearby and when I stopped at the first one, traded in one of my books for one of theirs, two ladies walking by told me about another one down the road. So while the dogs watched me from the back street, I checked that one out too. I managed to find 3 books I was interested in and switched off 3 of mine. Fair trade, I think.

I think it's a great idea. I considered setting one up at the end of my driveway as well, but, as the missus pointed out, we live on a cul-de-sac and don't really have any passing traffic. So, I'll just continue to use those that are around the area and trade books with them. It kind of reminds me of when I was a kid in Chatham, wandering around the neighborhood, trading comics with our neighbours, so I didn't necessarily have to always buy new ones. I recognize that this sort of thing might be a bit contentious, what with the whole taking business away from local retailers, but, you know, I think it's just another option; libraries, used book stores, new book stores, yard sales and, now, little free libraries. Anything that helps keep books in circulation and people reading, if you ask me.

So, on to Great Historical Events - 1631 and onwards.

"First Iron Works.
1631. First iron works in the U.S. built at Lynn, Mass.
Country north of Hudson Bay explored by Capt. James, an Englishman.
First vessel built in the U.S. and called the Blessing of the Bay.
1632. June. - James I. granted a charter of land to Lord Baltimore, which, in honor of the Queen, he named Maryland.
Canada restored to the French.
1638. Maryland settled by a Roman Catholic colony under Lord Baltimore
First house erected in Connecticut at Windsor.
1634. Maryland settled by Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore.
Roger Williams banished from Massachusetts. (Ed. Note. "Religious dissident Roger Williams is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by the General Court of Massachusetts. Williams had spoken out against the right of civil authorities to punish religious dissension and to confiscate Indian land.")
1636. Hartford, Conn., settled. (Ed. Note - I remember when we were stationed in Chatham NB that my Dad went on a course to Hartford Conn - at least that's where I think he went.. Of course, that wasn't in 1636.. ;0))
July 4. - Providence, R.I., founded by Roger Williams. (Ed. Note. Yup, the same Roger Williams who had been banished from Mass. Turing a sows ear into a silk purse, I guess. "He declared the settlement open to all those seeking freedom of conscience and the removal of the church from civil matters, and many dissatisfied Puritans came. Taking the success of the venture as a sign from God, Williams named the community Providence.")
1637. Mrs. Anne Hutchinson banished from Massachusetts for contending for freedom of debate in religious meetings. A number of prominent ministers were among her followers. (Ed. Note.. Mass. doesn't seem to have been a place where one could express differing opinions, eh?)
Harvard College founded.
1638. A fleet of 20 ships arrives in Massachusetts with 3,000 emigrants.
Another massacre of the colonists of Jamestown, and 500 killed
April. - First settlement in Delaware of Swedes."

Continuing next time with 1639 and the 1st printing press in North America!

In my previous posts, I've excerpted Miscellaneous letters from Eminent Persons. The book now moves on to Letters of Congratulation. These are described as follows -

"A letter of congratulation is one written to a friend who has experienced some good fortune or great joy.
Such a letter should of course be written in a lively, cheerful style suited to the occasion, and should be free from al admixture of envy and foreboding. It should be a rose without a thorn. If there is any unpleasant news to communicate, concerning yourself or any one else, or if you have any advice to give, leave it for a subsequent letter.
Exaggerated expressions of joy have an air of insincerity, and should therefore be avoided. To sum up all, in a word - feel right, and write as you feel."

The book then proceeds to provide examples from Eminent persons to illustrate this description. I'll start showing those in next posts. (Of course, Hallmark and other card companies, of which there are many, have taken this necessity to actually write something nice out of our hands. ;0)

The Birth Day Thing - 10 November, 1963

US Billboard #1 Song, November 10, 1963

Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs. This group were an American band, particularly popular in the '50s and '60s. They formed in New Mexico in 1958. Sugar Shack was their only #1 hit. I've never heard their version, until now that is, but I have heard Nancy Sinatra's, which I quite like. You can hear theirs by clicking on the bolded title.

UK #1 Song - 10 November, 1963

You'll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and the Pacemakers. Gerry and the Pacemakers were an English group from Liverpool, especially popular in the early - mid-60s. They were the first act to reach the UK #1 with their first three singles; How Do You Do It?, I Like It and You'll Never Walk Alone. I remember going to see the movie, Ferry Across the Mersey, which featured the group. You'll Never Walk Alone was originally a show tune written by Rogers and Hammerstein. It is sung by Liverpool FC fans before every home game.

New York Times #1 Fiction Bestseller - November 10, 1963

The Group by Mary McCarthy. The Group is Mary McCarthy's best known novel. It remained on the New York Times best seller list for 2 years. It tells about the lives of 8 graduates from Vassar, post graduation. In 1966, United Artists released a film by Sidney Lumet, starring, amongst others, Candice Bergen and Jessica Walters.

Pulitzer Prize Winner - 1963

The Reivers by William Faulkner. This was Faulkner's last novel. He was also won the Pulitzer in 1955 for A Fable. He was one of only three authors to win the Pulitzer more than once. The book was turned into a film in 1969, starring Steve McQueen in the title role.

Nobel Prize Laureate - 1963

Giorgos Seferis (Greece). Giorgos Seferis lived from 1900 - 1971, was born in the Ottoman Empire. His Nobel Prize award was ""for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture."

Hugo Award Winner - 1963

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. If you scroll back to my original posts, back a few years, when I highlighted my Top 10 all-time favourite books, The Man in the High Castle was on that list. I've read many of Philip Dick's unique science fiction works and this is still my favourite of his.

If you enjoy alternate history, this book sets a fine standard. Basically the premise is, 'what if Japan and Germany won WWII and now ruled a divided United States of America. And what if, in this new world, there was someone who defied their rule, publishing books that people hid under their pillows. He is the man in the high castle. Fascinating story that was also turned into a TV mini-series.

Edgar Award Winner - 1963

Death of the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters. I've read many of Edith Pargeter's (aka Ellis Peters) Cadfael mysteries and have enjoyed them immensely. This book is the 2nd in another series she wrote, featuring Inspector George Felse. I am unfamiliar with this series but once I've completed the Cadfael books, I'll have to check them out. Yay! Another series to try!

There you go. Another day, another year visited. Enjoy your week!

Monday, 17 April 2017

A Bit of History and the Birth Day Thing - 1962

One last day to relax and then tomorrow more renos taking place. It'll soon be over.. lol. On another note, the team my missus cheered for growing up, Brighton & Hove Albion, aka The Seagulls, are one point away from moving up to the Premiership next season. I hesitate to even post this because they still have 3 games left and none of them look like easy ones. I readily accept responsibility if they don't make it; the old broadcaster's jinx and all that. Today they won against Wigan, 2-1, while the team below them, Newcastle, lost. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Brighton for the rest of the season.. It would be so neat to see them competing at the highest level next season and being able to watch some of their games on the Tube. *fingers crossed* Go Seagulls!!!!

Great Historical Events

Today's excerpts start at 1626, with the purchase of Manhattan Island.

"1626. York or Manhattan Island bought of the Indians.
1627. Partnership of American settlers and London merchants dissolved.
1629. Salem, Mass., settled by a colony of Puritans under John Endicot.
Massachusetts charter surrendered by the settlers.
First settlement in New Hampshire.
Charlestown founded by the Massachusetts Bay colony.
Sir John Harvey succeeds Gov. Yeardley over the Virginia colony.
The French having long claimed Newfoundland attempt to conquer it.
Quebec taken by the English, who were led by three refugee French Calvanists.
1630. Boston, Cambridge, Roxbury, and Dorchester founded.
John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay colony.
First General Court held at Boston.
Fifteen hundred Puritans with a fleet of 17 ships, arrive at New England.
1631. The Puritans pass a law restricting all participation in public affairs and all citizenship to church membership."

(Will continue with this next post... First Iron Works.. Woo hoo!)

Miscellaneous Letters of Eminent Persons

Interestingly, for me, this letter is from Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee Nation. The letter is to William Henry Harrison who was to become the 9th President of the United States).


I give you a few words until I will be with you myself

Brother, at Vincennes, I wish you to listen to me whilst I send you a few words, and I hope that they will ease your heart; I know you look on your young men and your women and children with pity, to see them so much alarmed.
Brother, I wish you now to examine what you have from me. I hope that it will be a satisfaction to you, if your intentions are like mine, to wash away all these bad stories that have been circulated. I will be with you myself in eighteen days.
Brother, if I find that I can be with you in less time than eighteen days I will send one of my young men before me, to let you know what time I will be with you.

July 4th, 1811."

The Birth Day Thing - November 10, 1962

On November 10, 1962, I was 7 years old. Below are some of the happenings on that date and on that year.

US Billboard #1 Song, 10 November 10, 1962

He's a Rebel - The Crystals. The Crystals were an American vocal group discovered and produced by Phil Spector. They were active from 1960 - 67, then reformed in 1971 and remain active to this day. He's a Rebel was their only US #1. The song was written by Gene Pitney.

UK #1 Song, 10 November 1962

Lovesick Blues by Frank Ifield. Frank Ifield was an English-born, Australian easy listening, country music performer. He was born in 1937 in Warwickshire. He had 4 #1 hits in the UK. Lovesick Blues, written by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills, was his second.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller, 10 November 1962

A Shade of Difference by Allen Drury. This is the 2nd time that Drury had the #1 book on the NY Times list on November 10th, since 1955. The book is a political novel, the first sequel to his Advise and Consent, which was #1 in 1959. I think I may have to check out these books as I do enjoy a political novel.

Pulitzer Prize Winner - 1962

The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor. The Edge of Sadness deals with a Catholic priest in New England, who returns to his home town. O'Connor was an American author who lived from 1918 - 1968. He published 8 books.

Nobel Laureate - 1962

John Steinbeck (USA). Steinbeck lived from 1902 - 1968 and wrote so many iconic novels; Tortilla Flat, East of Eden, The Red Pony, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, etc. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his, "realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humour and keen social perception." According to Wikipedia,, when the Nobel Prize organisation opened its confidential records in 2012, Steinbeck turned out to be a compromise choice, the best of a bad lot, including writers such as Robert Graves, Laurence Durrell, Jean Anouilh and Karen Blixen. (Interesting! I think they figured he was past his prime. However, if so, his prime was pretty darn impressive.)

Hugo Award Winner - 1962

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Stranger was one of my favourite science fiction novels during my university years. 'I grok' was an expression that I always remember, just like that in Atlas Shrugged, 'Who is John Galt?'. I quite agreed with the philosophy expounded in Stranger, basically that you are god and god is you. God isn't an external being, but more what is inside you. (At least that's how I recall it. It was 40 years ago.) It did start me on a loving voyage through the works of Heinlein, one of my favourite story tellers.

Edgar Award Winner - 1962

Gideon's Fire by J. J. Marric. Gideon's Fire is the 7th book in the Inspector Gideon series by English writer, John Creasey, who wrote these books under the pseudonym, J. J. Marric. John Creasey was an English crime writer who wrote over 600 novels using 28 different pseudonyms. He wrote 21 Gideon books between 1955 and 1976. I've currently read a couple of the books and like his matter-of-fact way of developing his cases. It's an excellent police series.

Have a great day! Tomorrow or when I next get a chance, 1963 beckons. Just to finish on a good note. Huddersfield drew their game today, which means that Brighton is effectively promoted to the Premiership. Now to finish first in the Championship. Wonderful news!!!
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