Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Missus' Music Challenge, the History and Science Excerpts and the Birth Day Thing

Finally, it's a mite cooler. Yes, I know, it's not even officially summer and I'm complaining about the warm few days we've already had. But as a true Canadian, that is what I'm supposed to do, complain about the weather. Anyway, it's a bit cooler and cloudier and we're supposed to get a couple of days of rain.... Maybe. Wait an hour and the forecast might change.

Since my last post, we've had two more days of my wife's Music Challenge on Facebook.

Day 7 was Songs to Drive to. My choice was Zedd featuring Foxes - Clarity. Great voice, great beat, great song. Some other choices were Carrie Underwood - Get Outta this Town (the missus), Tom Robinson Band - 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Tracy Chapman - Fast Car, Oliver Cheatham - Get Down Saturday Night, etc. Great mix as always. It would probably make a nice driving tape.

Day 8 was Songs about Drugs or Alcohol. I picked one of my all-time favourite songs, Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit. Some of the other choices were The Stranglers - Golden Brown, Billy Joel - Scenes from an Italian Restaurant (the missus), Amy Winehouse - Rehab, D'Angelo - Brown Sugar, Neil Young - The Needle and the Damage Done, etc.

Today's selection was Songs that Make you Happy. I'll post that next time.

Great Historical Events

Today we start with the June 17, 1775.

"Battle of Bunker Hill

June 17. - Battle of Bunker's Hill fought. The American Commanders order 1,000 men to intrench on Bunker's Hill the night of the 16th. By mistake Breed's Hill was selected, and before morning a redoubt of eight rods square was thrown up.
The British began firing upon them at daylight from their vessels. At noon they landed a force of 8,000 men under Gen. Howe, and marched towards Breed's Hill. They kept up a constant artillery fire, under which the American's continued work on the intrenchments.
The British set fire to Charlestown on their way, and the citizens of Boston and the surrounding country view the awful scene from every pinnacle and height, and the hill-tops are covered with thousands of anxious inhabitants."

Science of Common Things (the latest excerpt from Prof. L.G. Gorton)

"What is heat? Heat is a form of energy. It consists of vibratory motions of the particles of matter or results from such motions, and gives rise to the well known sensations of warmth and cold. What are its effects? Expansion, fusion, evaporation, and decomposition. What are the principal sources of heat? The sun, chemical action, mechanical action, sound, light and electricity."

The next question to be answered by our noted Prof will deal with why burning glasses can cause fire.

The Birth Day Thing 10 November 1984 (yes, I lived through George Orwell's fateful year. It seems closer than ever now in 2017)

US Billboard #1 Single 10 November 1984

Caribbean Queen  by Billy Ocean. Billy Ocean is a Trinidadian-born British recording artist with a number of successful songs to his résumé. Caribbean Queen was his first US #1 single. It also reached #1 in Canada and #6 in the UK. I remember it very fondly. The song was co-written with Keith Diamond.

UK #1 Single 10 November 1984

I Feel For You by Chaka Khan. Interesting the #1 US single was by a British artist and the #1 UK single by a US singer. Khan was the front woman of funk band, Rufus in the '70s. In 1984, she began a successful solo career. Her first UK #1 was I Feel For You, a song originally written by Prince.

New York Times #1 Fiction Novel 10 November 1984

The Talisman by Stephen King / Peter Straub. I was so happy to see that this year's #1 book on my birthday wasn't by James Michener. And, also, that it was a book that I not only read but enjoyed immensely. I was really into Stephen King at this time and had also enjoyed Straub's Ghost Story, so this seemed like a perfect match to me.

The book has had a sequel written in 2001, Black House, which I have yet to try. The original story features a teenage boy, Jack Sawyer and his journey through a parallel universe, the Territories, in a bid to save his mother, who is dying of cancer. This universe has 'twinners', persons who are twins to those on Jack's main universe.

As I recall, I loved this story. I will have to read again if I want to try Black House.

Pulitzer Prize Winner 1984

Ironweed by William Kennedy. This is the 3rd book in Kennedy's Albany cycle. I haven't read before. I haven't read anything by American writer, Kennedy. The Albany cycle consisted of 8 books. He also wrote the screenplay for Ironweed, a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

The story is set during the Great Depression and tells the story of alcoholic vagrant, Francis Phelan.

Nobel Prize Laureate 1984

Jaroslav Seifert (Czechoslovakia). Jaroslav Seifert was a Czech novelist, poet and journalist who lived from 1901 - 1986. He was awarded the Nobel Prize 'for his poetry which endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man.'

Hugo Award Winner 1984

Startide Rising by David Brin. Startide Rising is the second book in the Earthclan Science Fiction series by David Brin, also known for The Postman, one of my Top 10 favourite books at one time. I initially bought Startide Rising from the SciFi Book Club, when I was still a member. It also had The Uplift War, the 3rd book. The Uplift novels consisted of Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore and Heaven's Reach. I did prefer the 1st three books, but I loved the whole series.
Startide Rising (1983) tells the story of the Terran spaceship Streaker, crewed by a mixture of humans (in the minority), uplifted dolphins and one uplifted chimpanzee. The discovery of an abandoned fleet of 50,000 ships of the 'first race' causes great tension amongst the other races of the universe and makes for a fascinating story.

Edgar Award Winner 1984

La Brava by Elmore Leonard. I have never read any of Elmore Leonard's books, but have seen quite a few of the movie adaptations of his works; Twenty-six of his novels and short stories have been adapted for the screen; either movies or TV. He started out writing westerns and then turned to mysteries and suspense stories.

La Brava came out in the middle of his extensive career (Leonard lived from 1925 - 2013). It tells the story of Joe La Brava, a former Secret Service agent. Dustin Hoffman was to appear in a movie based on the book but it was cancelled due to a contract dispute.

Man Booker Prize Winner

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. Hotel du Lac is a novel by English writer Anita Brookner. It tells the story of romance novelist, Edith Hope, who is staying at the Hotel du Lac in Geneva and while there interacts with various other English visitors.

Anita Brookner lived from 1928 - 2016 and was an art historian and novelist.

Next entry will be for 1985 my 30th birthday.

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