Thursday, 13 April 2017

A Brief History and The Birth Day Thing - Back Once Again

The panoramic view from our Hotel balcony
The missus and I had a very nice visit to Victoria this past few days. We drove down on Saturday, as I mentioned in my previous post, and had a very nice dinner at Il Terrazzo. On Sunday morning, my nephew Patrick, came over. He had spent the previous night with his wife, Lindsay, who was working at the Canadian National Swimming championships. She had to finish off the day's swimming, then head up to Bear Mountain for a Monday's worth of swimming related conferencing. Hence, Patrick was spending Sunday and Monday with Jo and I.

The night time view
The three of us went downstairs for brekkie, then Patrick and I wandered over to Russell Books, while Jo relaxed and waited for us. I did manage to find a few books. I'll do a post about that tomorrow.. :) The three of had a nice afternoon, we went to a few Open Houses, just to see what's selling in Victoria and what we can't afford. Then we went to a nice Tea House in Saanich and proceeded on to the final night of swimming, met Lindsay, and afterwards headed back to the hotel. We weren't hungry to go out for dinner, and it was a bit late, so we just stopped off at the Market on View and bought some snacks for the evening.

Monday, we had a nice drive around Victoria, while Lindsay worked hard at her meetings. We visited Fisherman's Wharf (had never been before), enjoyed the harbour seals, checked out the neat houseboats. It was a nice surprise. We did a bit of wandering about down town, then that evening had a nice dinner at a new restaurant for us.

The ferry from Seattle, disgorging a few tourists
Tuesday, we packed up, headed for Bear Mountain to get Lindsay, then came back to Comox. We had great weather for the drive back, so Patrick and Lindsay managed to enjoy some of the scenery.

The puppies seem to like the kids
We picked up the puppies at the doggie day care on Wednesday morning. They seemed to like the kids. At least the normal barking wasn't quite as extensive as normal... as long as Pat and Lindsay didn't move!! :) Unfortunately, the weather didn't really hold for Wednesday, so, because of the steady drizzle, we couldn't take them up Mount Washington or watch the Snowbirds do their daily practice. Now that they've headed off to Vancouver (this morning, that is), the rain has stopped and, as I'm typing this, I can hear them (the Snowbirds) flying by overhead.

I hope she doesn't drop me on my head!!
Anyway, we enjoyed their visit very much and hope they have a nice couple of days in Vancouver. For Jo and I, it's back to painting and preparing the place for the impending laying of new carpet and floors.

But first, it's time to do my next post of excerpts Treasures of Use and Beauty from the Great Historical Events and Miscellaneous Letters from Eminent Persons sections.

Great Historical Events

Continuing with the 1600's with some facts about Henry Hudson's last voyage and other things.

"1610. Hudson sailed on his last voyage, and before he had been a month at sea he discovered mutiny among his crew, which, with great difficulty, he suppressed. After sailing two months he entered the great bay which has since been called by his name, and which he supposed was the long-sought passage to the Pacific. Here he soon found himself hemmed in, and discovering the fact too late to return to the Atlantic, he saw he must winter in that desolate region, with little provision and a mutinous crew.
He remained there eight months before the ice broke up around his ship so that he could leave. Utterly forlorn, and apprehending the worst results, he prepared for them as best he could. He gave each of his men a certificate of his services and a statement of wages due him, and divided the remaining provisions equally among the crew. During these preparations he was often affected to tears. The leader of the mutiny was a man named Henry Green, a protégé of Hudson, who owed all he had to the captain's bounty, and whose life he had saved. This man instigated a majority of the crew to aid him in seizing Hudson and his friends, and the son of Hudson, a mere boy; and thrusting them in a boat, they threw in some ammunition, a fowling-piece, an iron pot, and a bag of meal. They then cast off the rope, made sail, and left them to their fate. Nothing more was ever heard from them, and they must have miserably perished in a few days, as it was too early for birds to be seen in that frozen region.
Green and his chief abettor were, a few days after, killed in a fight with some Indians, and another died from hunger, and the miserable remnant, emaciated to the last degree, reached England in September, where two of their number revealed what had been done.

1612. The nefarious lottery scheme was enacted and put into practice in the Virginia colony, bringing 29,000 pounds into the treasury of the London Company.
Pocahontas was taken prisoner by Capt. Argyl.

1613-1755. During this period, Nova Scotia was three times nearly depopulated, through the effect of war between England and France.

1613. April. - Pocahontas was married to John Rolfe.

1614. New York settled by the Dutch on Manhattan Island (now New York city)
Two English vessels under command of Capt. John Smith and Thos. Hunt prospected the shores of New England from Cape Cod to Penobscot. They drew a map of the coast and presented it to Prince Charles, who gave the country the name New England.
Capt. Argyl makes a raid upon the settlement of New York and demands their surrender to English authority. The colony being unable to resist was for one year tribute to the colony of Virginia."

We'll continue this with my next post.

Miscellaneous Letters from Eminent Persons

(The letter which follows is from Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women and Little Men.)

"My Dear Little Men:

I was very much pleased to get such a fine batch of letters, and much surprised at the curious coincidences of my imaginary and your real school. I am glad you like my boys, for you are the best judges of the truth of the pictures I drew of them. If I had known of your school before I wrote the book, I should have been tempted to ask Mr. Beck to let me come and study you a little, and put you into the story. I wrote it in Rome, and had not a boy anywhere to refresh myself with, so I recalled many of my own early scrapes, and got some artists and gentlemen to tell me theirs, and just popped the pranks into my book.

With best wishes to you, every one, and regards to Mr. and Mrs. Beck, I am, my dear lads, very sincerely your friend,

L. M. Alcott"

And, finally.... The Birthday Thing

I am now moving along to 1958. The two songs below were Number on the US Billboard and the UK Charts the week of Nov 10.

US Billboard Charts

It's Only Make Believe by Conway Twitty. Conway Twitty lived from 1933 - 1993. He was born in Helena, Arkansas. He had success in country, rock and roll, R&B and the pop genre. It's Only Make Believe was his first Number 1, but he continued to have hits into the 90's. It's Only Make Believe was written by Twitty and Jim Nance. You can click on the title to hear the song.

UK Charts

It's All in the Game by Tommy Edwards. Tommy Edwards was an American R&B and jazz singer from Richmond, Virginia. He lived from 1922 - 1969. It's All in the Game was originally released in 1951 and reached only #18 in the US charts. A new version was released in 1958 and reached # 1 in the US and UK charts. The original song was co-written in 1911 by the Vice President of Calvin Coolidge, Charles D. Dawes, and remains the only #1 song to have been written by a US Vice-President and Nobel Prize Laureate. In 1958, Edwards had one session left on his MGM contract. It was decided to record a stereophonic Rock and roll version of the song, It hit #1 in the UK and helped revive Edwards' career for another two years.

New York Times Fiction Best Seller, week of 10 November, 1958

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. This is the first of the Pulitzer Prize books I've listed so far that I've actually read. I must say I found it somewhat underwhelming. Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg and lived from 1899 - 9177. Lolita was probably his most noted work. It ranked #4 on the Modern Libraries All-Time Best novel list.  It was first turned into a movie in 1962 by Stanley Kubrick and then again in 1997 by Adrian Lynne.

Pulitzer Prize Winner - 1958

A Death in the Family by James Agee. James Agee began writing this novel, biographical in nature, in 1948. It was not quite complete when he died in 1955 but was edited and released posthumously in 1957. Agee's family were left with little on his death and the publisher wanted to try and help them by publishing the book.

Nobel Prize Laureate - 1958

Boris Pasternak (Russia). Pasternak was born in Moscow and lived from 1890 - 1960. His most famous work was Doctor Zhivago, published in 1957. He won the Nobel Prize in 1958 and it enraged the Communist Party, forcing him to decline to accept the award. The citation read "The citation credited Pasternak's contribution to Russian lyric poetry and for his role in, "continuing the great Russian epic tradition." His family were able to accept it much later.

Hugo Award Winner - 1958

The Big Time by Fritz Leiber. I have read other books by Leiber, especially some featuring Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, two swashbuckling adventurers. I have not read The Big Time, but will check it out.

Edgar Award Winner - 1958

Room to Swing by Ed Lacy. Ed Lacy lived from 1911 - 1968 and, although white, he was credited with creating the first credible African - American PI in fiction, that being Toussaint "Touie" Marcus Moore. Room to Swing introduced Moore.

So there you go, 1959 will follow.

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