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.

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