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!

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