Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Renos and the Other Daily Updates

It's mid-week and the puppies are at Doggie - Day - Care. The sun is shining into the house and everything looks very nice. Since we had some of our big fir trees removed last fall, the morning sun shining into the master bedroom and the bathroom on that side of the house is fantastic. It really brightens up everything.

Original front door

When we first moved into our home, that was the front door. At one point when we were doing our first batch of renovations, one of the things we did was update that front door and basically replace all of the other doors in the house.

Updated front door and closet door

It was a relatively simple change to the front door. A local contractor, took out the double windows on the door itself and also the window beside the door and replaced with new ones we saw in his shop. It added a nice quality to the door and also helped brighten the front hallway. It's kind of neat looking out the window as well. It's like looking through a prism

You can also see one of the new closet doors we had added. Basically we replaced all the doors to the rooms and where we had bi-fold doors, we replaced with normal doors.

Finally painted, just like new

One thing we never really ever got around to doing was painting the new doors. Yesterday as part of our last bit of painting before the floor guy arrives today, we did all of the doors in the downstairs hallway.

At least, we finished that portion that faces outward. Jo got a bit brave with the colour selection for the front door. I think it looks great, adds a really nice splash of colour to the front hallway. We're going to put a different clock above the door now, one that is a similar colour to the door. We bought it a couple of years ago and never found the perfect spot for it.

So things are progressing nicely so far. Dean is a bit late today as he was delayed on another flooring job he was working on. The puppies are enjoying themselves (of course they are!) at day care for today and Dean is supposed to show up at noon to start on the floors. One step at a time and things progress a bit each day. While he's working on the floors downstairs, we'll probably continue painting upstairs in preparation for the new carpeting to be installed next week.

OK, now onto other things.

Great Historical Events

Today's excerpt begins in 1690.

"First Paper Money

1690. First paper money issued in Massachusetts.
1691. Trial and execution of Leisler and Milbourne, at New York, on a charge of treason.
(Ed. Note - Jacob Leisler and a group of associates took control of New Amsterdam and the whole province in what became known as Leisler's Rebellion.  When the rebellion was overthrown, he and his son-in-law, Milbourne were tried and executed.)
New England contained 150,000 inhabitants

1692. Massachusetts made a royal province, and Pennsylvania taken from William Penn.

A Plague Ascribed to Witchcraft
Witchcraft in Salem, and many people put to death. A strange and epidemical distemper, resembling epilepsy, appeared in Salem, which baffled the skill of physicians, who, failing to account for it, or produce a cure, persuaded the poor victims to ascribe it to 'Witchcraft'. Impelled by a dark and cruel superstition, the 'Christian people,' declared these unfortunate creatures to be 'possessed of the devil.' Accordingly, solemn fasts and assemblies for extraordinary prayer were held by the clergy. Inflamed by a fanatical zeal, and inspired by a spirit which was a relic of the dark and barbarous ages they were just emerging from, these deluded yet truly conscientious and pious people, resorted to the most cruel punishments and death, to exterminate a plague which their solemn fasts and long-continued prayers and protestations had failed to cure." (Ed. Note. Interesting stuff, eh?)

Letters of Condolence - The excerpt which follows is a letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams on the death of Mrs. Adams.

"[The following is probably one of the finest models of a letter of condolence that this kind of literature affords.]

Monticello, November 13, 1818.

The public papers, my dear friend, announce the fatal event of which your letter of October the 20th had given me ominous foreboding. Tried myself in the school of affliction, by the loss of every form of connection which can rive the human heart, I know well, and feel what you have lost, what you have suffered, are suffering, and yet have to endure. The same trials have taught me that for ills so immeasurable time and silence are the only medicine. I will not, therefore, by useless condolences, open afresh the sluices of your grief, nor, although mingling sincerely my tears with yours, will I say a word more where words are in vain, but that it is of some comfort to us both that the time is not very distant at which we are to deposit in the same cerement our sorrows and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence to an ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and lost, and whom we shall still love and never lose again. God bless you and support you under your heavy affliction.

TH. Jefferson"

(Ed. Note. I'd like to see something as heartfelt and honest be put down in a Tweet. Ain't gonna happen.)

The Birth Day Thing - 10 November 1969

US Billboard #1 Single - 10 November 1969

Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension.  The Fifth Dimension formed in 1965 as The Versatiles and changed to their more popular name in 1966. They were well-known in the '60s for such great hits as Up, Up and Away, (Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep at All and Wedding Bell Blues, amongst others. The group consisted of Billy Davis, Jr., Marilyn McCoo, Florence LaRue, Lamonte McLemore and Ronald Townson. Wedding Bell Blues was their second #1 single in 1969, after Aquarius / Let The Sun Shine In. I love Wedding Bell Blues. It was written by the great Laura Nyro and both versions, hers and The Fifth Dimensions are wonderful.

UK #1 Single - 10 November 1969

Sugar, Sugar by The Archies. The Archies were a fictional band based on the Archie comics. The band that actually performed the songs had reasonable success. Sugar, Sugar was their only #1 hit in the UK. Jingle, Jingle was also a #1 for them, in Canada. Sugar, Sugar was written by Andy Kim and Jeff Barry. I readily admit that this was one of the first '45s I ever bought. I was only 14 years old!!

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller - 10 November 1969

The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I've never read any other books by Mario Puzo but I enjoyed (if that is the word to use for a crime book) this one very much. It's a fascinating look at the world of the Mafia in New York.

The book was also turned into a successful, acclaimed movie, which was nominated for 7 Golden Globe awards and 11 Oscars, amongst others. I think it is one of those rare combinations where the book and the movie were both excellent.

Mario Puzo lived from 1920 - 1999. He wrote 11 fiction novels and other non-fiction and short stories.

Pulitzer Prize Winner - 1970

My wife asked me what a Hugo Award was yesterday and it made me realise that I had neglected to actually say what the various book awards I'm checking out are for. Let me correct that today. I take the description of the Pulitzer Prize. "The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition in the United States." It was established in 1917 by provisions of the will of American, Joseph Pulitzer, who made his fortune as a newspaper publisher and it is administered by Columbia University. Prizes are awarded yearly in 21 categories and a prize of $15,000 is given in 20 of them, with a gold medal being awarded for the public service category of the journalism award. I am focused on the Pulitzer prize for Fiction.

House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday. This novel was credited with opening the doorway for Native American fiction into the mainstream.

It was initially conceived of as poems, then as a collection of stories and finally turned into a novel. It is focused on life on the reservation and outside, with the protagonist growing up on the reservation and attending school and university outside.

N. Scott Momaday is a Kiowa born in 1934 in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature - 1969

The Nobel Prizes are awarded annually in Sweden. They are awarded in six disciplines including Literature. The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded by the Academy to authors for outstanding contributions in the field of literature.

Samuel Beckett (Ireland) - Samuel Beckett was an Irish avant-garde playwright and novelist who lived from 1906 - 1989. His Nobel Prize was awarded 'for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation.'

 Hugo Award Winner - 1969

The Hugo Awards are a set of awards given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The awards are named after Hugo Gernsback who founded the Amazing Stories magazine. Currently the Hugo Awards are given in more than a dozen categories. I am focused on Best Novel, which started in 1953 and consists of stories of 40,000 words or more.

 Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner. This is one of my favourite Science Fiction novels. I've read at least twice. I have tried to read it in various ways; as a traditional novel, from beginning to end and also by sticking to the various chapter sub-headings - context, the happening world, tracking with close-ups, etc. Either way, it is a fantastic story.

Brunner was an English author who lived from 1934 - 1995. I've read many of his books and enjoyed most of them; especially The Shockwave Rider, The Sheep Look Up and The Whole Man.

Edgar Award Winner - 1969

The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (commonly called the Edgars) are awarded each spring by the Mystery Writers of America. They honor mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film and theatre from the previous year.

A Case of Need by Jeffery Hudson (AKA Michael Crichton). This was Michael Crichton's 4th novel. It was adapted into a 1972 movie, The Carey Treatment, starring James Coburn and Jennifer O'Neill. The book was re-released under Crichton's own name in 1993.

I've seen the movie but never read the book. The novel tackles the issues of abortion and racism as they were in the US in the 1960s.

Man Booker Award

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. From its inception, only Commonwealth, Irish and South African (later Zimbabwean) citizens were eligible. In 2014, any English - language novel was accepted. 1969 is the first year of the award.

Something To Answer For by P.H. Newby. This novel by English writer P.H. Newby was the first Man Booker Prize winner. It is the only Booker prize winning novel currently not in print.

Newby lived from 1918 - 1997 and was an English novelist and broadcast administrator. His fiction work spans 1945 - 1995. This is the synopsis.

"It was 1956 and Townrow was in Port Said - of these two facts he is reasonably certain. He had been summoned by the widow of his deceased friend Elie Khoury. She is convinced Elie was murdered, but nobody seems to agree with her. What of Leah Strauss, the mistress? And of the invading British paratroops? Only an Englishman, surely, would take for granted that the British would have behaved themselves. In this disorientating world Townrow must reassess the rules by which he has been living his life - to wonder whether he, too, may have something to answer for?"  

So there you go. As an update, it turns out the flooring guy can't come until tomorrow. The puppies are probably having fun but ultimately didn't need to spend the day at Day Care. Ah well.. It's been a nice relaxing day so far. Tomorrow I move on to the '70s.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Renos Update, The History and the Birth Day Thing, etc

Well, it's official. Painting and other house renovation type work are bad for your health. What other reason could there be for all these aches and pains my body is whining about? And don't you dare say anything about old age! OK, there you go, whine out of the way... I do ache though

New hallway pre-painting
A new coat of paint
So as you may have guessed from the above, our home renovation work
is progressing. For the past two days, the missus and I have been busy painting the living room and front hallway in preparation for the installation of the new floors in the dining room, living room and hall. Yesterday we put an initial coat on the hall. The panelling looks quite nice now that it has a coat of paint on it. I think the colour is officially called Antarctic Ice. Jo can correct me if I'm wrong.

Living room pre-painting
A fresh coat
The day before we did the living room. It's difficult to tell the difference but trust me, it's fairly noticeable when you look at it closely. At any rate, even without the final touching up, both the hall and living room look excellent and freshly painted.

Today is our final day of painting before the floor installer comes tomorrow. So our plan today is to do the trim in the hallway and all the doors. Dean arrives first thing tomorrow. At least that's the plan. The puppies will be spending tomorrow and Thursday at doggie - day - care. All the hammering would probably be a bit stressful for them.

So, on to other things.

Last night, Jo and I caught up with the most recent episode of Anne, CBC's latest iteration of the Anne of Green Gables saga. We're really caught up in it. Excellent cast and so well told. Jo thinks that it's a bit grittier than the original Megan Follows version, going into Anne's past as an orphan more. I think she's right.

We also enjoyed the 2nd episode of Angie Tribeca with Rashida Jones. Very funny show.

Great Historical Events

I left this yesterday in 1687 with news of the first printing press near Philadelphia. Today, I believe we turn to things like witchcraft trials.

"A Woman Executed for Witchcraft

1688. A woman executed in Boston for witchcraft, after a long and solemn investigation, and a book was published with a full account of the proceedings, to which was added a preface by the Rev. Richard Baxter, in which he declared, 'that any one who disbelieved the truthfulness of the account was a Sadducee.'
1689. Sir Edmund Andros seized and imprisoned in Boston, and sent home to England. The people rise in mass and resort to arms.

(Ed. Note. Andros was a colonial administrator in North America, but his authoritarian and turbulent views especially towards the Puritans lead to his overthrow in the Boston revolt of 1689.)

1689 - 97. King William's war between the French, with their Indian allies and New England.
1690. The colonies attack Quebec, under Phipps; reinforcements failing him, he retreats with a loss of 1,000 men."

Next excerpt covers paper money and witchcraft induced plagues. What an exciting place it must have been during these times.

Letters of Condolence

Yesterday, I provided an excerpt explaining the proper way to write a letter of condolence. Today, I provided an example of a letter from La Fayette, noted American Revolutionary War General to Thomas Jefferson.)

"La Fayette to Jefferson, announcing the death of Madame de La Fayette.)

[The following sadly beautiful letter, though not strictly a letter of condolence, relates to the subject of death, and therefore belongs to this class.]

My Dear Friend:

The constant mourning of your heart will be deepened by the grief I am doomed to depart to it. Who better than you can sympathize for the loss of a beloved wife? The angel who for thirty-four years has blessed my life, was to you an affectionate grateful friend. Pity me, my dear Jefferson, and believe me, for ever, with all my heart,

La Fayette"

The Birth Day Thing, 10 November 1968

US Billboard #1 Song, 10 November 1968

Hey Jude by The Beatles. There isn't much to say about The Beatles, one of the most successful, if not the most successful rock band in history. Active from 1960 - 1970 as a group, they also had successful solo careers and are oft - imitated by other bands and artists. As they say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. (Is that what they say or am I mixing metaphors again?). Hey Jude was their 18th #1 single in the US. I have to say it's not my favourite song of theirs, probably heard it too many times. I do recall hearing it on school bus trips when my Dad was stationed in Germany.

UK #1 Single, 10 November 1968

With a Little Help From My Friends by Joe Cocker. Joe Cocker was an English musician who lived from 1944 - 2014. He released albums from 1969 - 2012. Technically this is the 2nd Beatle song on my list today as Cocker may have sung it, but it was written by Lennon and McCartney. Cocker also sang the song at Woodstock in 1969. His album version was a radical re-arrangement of the original Beatle version and featured Procol Harum's B.J. Wilson on drums and Jimmy Page on guitar.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best - Seller, 10 November 1968

The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes. The Salzburg Connection was Helen MacInnes' 15th novel. MacInnes was an American writer of spy novels who lived from 1907 - 1985.

So far the only book of MacInnes' that I've read has been Snare of the Hunter which was excellent. This is the synopsis of The Salzburg Connection.

"In 1945, with their thousand-year empire falling around them and the Allies on their heels, the Nazis hide a sealed chest in the dark, forbidding waters of the Finstersee - a lake surrounded by the brooding peaks of the Austrian Alps. There it lies for twenty-one years, almost forgotten, until a British agent decides to raise it from the depths. The secrets he uncovers are far- reaching and lethal, and in Salzburg, Bill Mathison, a New York attorney on the trail of a missing colleague, finds himself drawn into the shadowy underworld of international espionage. Not knowing who to trust amidst the chaos, he is drawn to two beautiful women, one of whom will betray him."

Pulitzer Prize Winner, 1968

OK, I was very confused for a minute. I was sure I'd already written about this book yesterday. In fact, I had. The Pulitzer Prize winner for 1968 was also the New York Times #1 Fiction novel on 10 November, 1967. I won't say any more about it (you can check yesterday's post by clicking on 'post'.. ) The winner, by the way, was The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron.

Nobel Prize Laureate, 1968

Yasunari Kawabata (Japan). Yasunari Kawabata was a Japanese novelist and short story writer who lived from 1899 - 1972. His Nobel Prize was awarded 'for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind'.

Hugo Award Winner, 1968

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. I know that this was one of the books we were to read in my Science Fiction novel course back in my university days. I also know that I never read it. You want an excuse? We were assigned two books a week for the course plus I also was taking other English courses and also partying a little bit. I had to pick and choose. How's that?

This is the synopsis.

"Earth is long since dead. On a colony planet, a band of men has gained control of technology, made themselves immortal, and now rule their world as the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Only one dares oppose them: he who was once Siddhartha and is now Mahasamatman. Binder of Demons, Lord of Light."

I have read Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber fantasy series and loved it. So I'm sure this is also excellent. I may have to try.

Edgar Award Winner, 1968

God Save the Mark by Donald E. Westlake. Donald Westlake was an American writer with over 100 books to his credit. God Save the Mark was his first Edgar Award. He also won awards for best short story, Too Many Crooks and for best screenplay, The Grifters.

Westlake lived from 1933 - 2008. Over 20 of his books were turned into movies and he was also responsible for The Father Dowling Mysteries TV series.

The synopsis for God Save the Mark is below -

"An Edgar Award winner, this comic novel of suspense is about a man born to be conned, who inherits a small fortune . . . and who becomes someone's target for murder."

Well, there is today's entry. Tomorrow we move on to 1969. The Man Booker Awards started in 1969, so there will be another book added to this list of award winners.

Monday, 24 April 2017

The History Thing / The Birth Day Thing and Other stuff

Monday morning and two days until the floor install commences. The missus and I had a productive day yesterday. We worked in the lounge; removed the baseboards and gave the walls a good coat of paint. It all looks pretty good so far. I've not taken any pictures yet as the change isn't drastic, but it looks nice and fresh. I told Jo we should hire ourselves out as painters; Two (or Too) Slow Painters, but she didn't seem to warm up to the idea. 😏

Today we'll do some more painting. I'm not sure what's next; either another coat in the lounge of we'll move on to the hallway. I'll wait for my instructions.

I mentioned that I'd discovered another of those Little Free Libraries in the neighbourhood. During a break in the painting, the pups and I drove over to check it out and I found 3 books that interested me. So I gave three books and acquired three books. The pups didn't find anything of interest.
What did I find you ask? Well, one by a new author for me, 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson. I also found a couple of books from series that I follow; The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver (a Lincoln Rhyme mystery) and Broken Prey by John Sanford (a Lucas Davenport thriller). I was very happy with my find and hope the books I left also find a good home.

Sunday was an excellent night of TV. We watched the season / series finale of Broadchurch. It was much more satisfying than Season 2. We also watched Call the Midwife. For the life of me, I don't know why we watch it. We always end up in tears. We also watched Madam Secretary and Top Chef Canada (well, I fell asleep before the end, but Jo told me who got voted out of the kitchen.)

So more painting today and we also plan a trip to the grocery store. And we'll see what else. For now, it's time for my regular posts.

Great Historical Events. Today we start in 1681.

"1681. March 14. Pennsylvania granted to Wm.Penn, who colonized it.
Penn starts a colony on the Delaware River. (Ed. Note. I am currently reading The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper and now find it interesting to note that his friend Chingachgook is a Delaware Indian. OK, maybe not that interesting a coincidence)
1682. Oct. 24. Penn arrives in America.
Penn makes a treaty with the Indians, and pays them for their lands.
The city of Philadelphia is founded.
De La Salle takes possession of the country on both sides of the Mississippi River, calling it Louisiana.
1683. First Legislative Assembly held in New York.
Second Assembly held in Philadelphia, and a new Constitution adopted and new laws passed.
Roger Williams dies in his 84th year. (Ed. Note. I mentioned Williams previously. He was a Puritan who had to flee the Massachusetts colony in 1636. He was the founder of the First Baptist Church of America.)
1685. King James, through Governor Arnold, cancels the charter of Rhode Island, and extends the royal government of New England to that dependency.
Arnold proceeds to Hartford with a body of troops and demands the surrender of their charter. The Assembly were in session. They artfully conceal the charter, and refuse to give it up.
1687. First printing-press established near Philadelphia by William Bradford."

Next excerpt starts with executions for witchcraft... I bet you can't wait!

Letters of Condolence.

The books defines Letters of Condolence as -

"A letter of condolence is one written to a friend who has suffered some grievous loss or bereavement.
To write a good letter of condolence, one that shall comfort and console the sufferer, requires good taste and fine feeling. Persons, often by injudicious words, probe afresh the wound they are trying to heal. In offering condolence, do not call up the harrowing details of the sad event, nor attempt to argue the sufferer out of his (or her) sorrow. Reasons that appeal to the head cannot touch the heart. Above all, do not reflect any blame, directly or indirectly. What the bleeding heart most needs, in the first gush of grief, is sympathy - that genuine, tearful sympathy that lessens another's grief by sharing it. The expression of this in a few loving words, and a pious reference to the great source of consolation, are all that a letter of condolence requires."

The next couple of posts provide examples from historical personages.

The Birth Day Thing, 10 November 1967.

US Billboard #1 Single, 10 November 1967

To Sir With Love by Lulu. I loved the movie and also the song. Lulu was born in 1948 in Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Besides To Sir With Love, she is also known for the theme song of The Man With the Golden Gun and the Eurovision winning entry, Boom Bang-a-Bang. She has been singing and performing since the late '60s. To Sir With Love was her first US #1. Oddly it was not rated in the UK. The song was written by Don Black and Mark London. Just listening to it again, I get choked up.

UK #1 Single, 10 November 1967

Baby, Now That I've Found You by The Foundations. The Foundations were a British soul band active from 1967 - 1970. Their two biggest hits were Baby, Now That I've Found You and Build Me Up, Buttercup. Baby, Now That I've Found You was co-written by Tony Macaulay and John MacLeod.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller, 10 November 1967

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron.
This novel is written as a first person account of the slave revolts in Virginia in 1831. Time Magazine includes the book in its list of the Top 100 English - language novels from 1923 - 2005.

William Styron lived from 1925 - 2006 and was also known for Lie Down in Darkness and Sophie's Choice.

Pulitzer Prize Winner - 1967

The Fixer by Bernard Malamud.
The Fixer is a fictionalised account of the Menahem Mendel Bailis case, that of a Jew who was unjustly imprisoned in Czarist Russia. The book was also adapted into a movie starring Alan Bates, for which he was Oscar nominated.

Bernard Malamud was born in Brooklyn, New York and lived from 1914 - 1986. He also wrote The Natural, amongst his many works.

Nobel Prize Laureate - 1967

Miguel Angel Asturias (Guatemala). Asturias was a Guatemalan - born poet and novelist who lived from 1899 - 1977. He was awarded the Nobel Laureate ' for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America'.

Hugo Award Winner - 1967

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.
I read this many years ago when I was definitely going through a Heinlein phase in my science fiction writing. It tells the story of the Moon colonies revolt against the Earth's rule.
It once again demonstrates Robert Heinlein's excellent story - telling abilities and his philosophical ideas.

Edgar Award Winner - 1967.

King of the Rainy Country by Nicholas Freeling.
Nicholas Freeling was a British crime novelist who lived from 1927 - 2003. The King of the Rainy Country was one of his Van der Valk series.

The series became a TV ITV series in the 1970s, starring Barry Foster as the lead character. I read this book in 2011 and enjoyed it, but it wasn't one of my all-time favourites.

So there you go. Continuing this march through time, tomorrow we move on to 1968.

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.
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