International pixel Stained technopeasant Day

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day is a commemoration declared by author Jo Walton, held on April 23 and first celebrated in 2007, in response to remarks made by Howard V. Hendrix stating that he was opposed “to the increasing presence in our organization the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free”. The purpose of the day, according to Walton was to encourage writers to post “professional quality” works for free on the internet. The name of the day originates from the assertion by Hendrix that the “webscabs” are “converting the noble calling of Writer into the life of Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch.”

Many notable authors contributed to International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day 2007, including Chaz Brenchley, Steven Brust, Emma Bull, Debra Doyle, Diane Duane, Naomi Kritzer, Jay Lake, David Langford, Sharon Lee, Beth Meacham, Steve Miller, Andrew Plotkin, Robert Reed, Will Shetterly, Sherwood Smith, Ryk Spoor, Charles Stross, Catherynne M. Valente, Jo Walton, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Martha Wells and Sean Williams.

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William Wordsworth

English Romantic Poet William Wordsworth sadly died 23 April 1850. He was born 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland, in the Lake District. His sister was the poet and diarist Dorothy Wordsworth and his eldest brother Richard, became a lawyer; while his brother John, died at sea in 1805 when the ship of which he was captain, the Earl of Abergavenny, was wrecked off the south coast of England. His younger brother Christopher, entered the Church becoming Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Wordsworth was taught to read by his mother and attended, first, a tiny school of low quality in Cockermouth, then a school in Penrith for the children of upper-class families, where he was taught by Ann Birkett. Wordsworth was taught both the Bible and the Spectator, but little else. It was at the school in Penrith that he met the Hutchinsons, including Mary, who later became his wife. After the death of his mother, in 1778, Wordsworth’s father sent him to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire (now in Cumbria) and sent Dorothy to live with relatives in Yorkshire.

Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine and began attending St John’s College, Cambridge. He received his BA degree in 1791. He returned to Hawkshead for the first two summers of his time at Cambridge, and often spent later holidays on walking tours, visiting places famous for the beauty of their landscape. In 1790 he went on a walking tour of Europe, visiting France, Switzerland, and Italy. In November 1791, Wordsworth visited Revolutionary France supporting the Republican movement. He fell in love with a French woman, Annette Vallon, who in 1792 gave birth to their daughter Caroline. However Financial problems and Britain’s tense relations with France forced him to return to England alone in 1793. When the Peace of Amiens again allowed travel to France, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy visited Annette and Caroline in Calais in 1802. Afterwards he wrote the sonnet “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,” recalling a seaside walk with Caroline.

Wordsworth first poems were published in 1793, in the collections An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches. In 1795 he received a legacy of 900 pounds from Raisley Calvert and became able to pursue a career as a poet. he also met Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Somerset. The two poets quickly developed a close friendship. In 1797, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to Alfoxton House, Somerset, just a few miles away from Coleridge’s home in Nether Stowey. Together Wordsworth and Coleridge produced Lyrical Ballads, which contained Wordsworth’s poem Tintern Abbey”, along with Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. A second edition, was published in 1800 and the next edition, of Lyrical Ballads was published in 1802 In which Wordsworth gives his famous definition of poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility,”. A fourth and final edition of Lyrical Ballads was published in 1805. Between 1795-97, Wordsworth wrote his only play, The Borderers, a verse tragedy set during the reign of King Henry III of England, when Englishmen in the North Country came into conflict with Scottish rovers. He attempted to get the play staged in November 1797, but but was thwarted by Thomas Harris, the manager of the Covent Garden Theatre. In 1798 Wordsworth, Dorothy and Coleridge travelled to Germany. Between 1798–99 Wordsworth lived with Dorothy in Goslar, and, despite extreme stress and loneliness, began work on the autobiographical piece titled The Prelude and also wrote a number of other famous poems in Goslar, including “The Lucy poems”.

In 1799, Wordsworth and his sister returned to England and visited the Hutchinson family at Sockburn. When Coleridge arrived back in England he travelled to the North with their publisher Joseph Cottle to meet Wordsworth and tour the Lake District. They settled at Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the Lake District, with poet, Robert Southey nearby. Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey became known as the “Lake Poets”. Between 1798–99 he started an autobiographical poem, “poem to Coleridge” as an appendix or prologue to a larger work called The Recluse. In 1804 he began expanding this autobiographical work. He completed the first version of The Prelude, in 1805, but did not publish it until he had completed The Recluse. The death of his brother John, in 1805, also affected him deeply. In 1807 Wordsworth published Poems in Two Volumes, including “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”. In 1813, he and his family, moved to Rydal Mount, Ambleside (between Grasmere and Rydal Water). Sadly In 1810, Wordsworth and Coleridge fell out over Coleridge’s opium addiction, and in 1812, his son Thomas died at the age of 6, six months after the death of 3-year-old Catherine. The following year he received an appointment as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland. In 1814 Wordsworth published The Excursion as the second part of the three-part work The Recluse, he also wrote a poetic Prospectus to “The Recluse”. By 1820, he was enjoying considerable success accompanying a reversal in the contemporary critical opinion of his earlier works.

Following the death of his friend the painter William Green in 1823, Wordsworth also mended his relations with Coleridge and in 1828 they toured the Rhineland together. Sadly Dorothy suffered from a severe illness in 1829 that rendered her an invalid for the remainder of her life. In 1838, Wordsworth received an honorary doctorate in Civil Law from the University of Durham and the following year he was awarded the same honorary degree by the University of Oxford. In 1842, the government awarded him a Civil List pension of £300 a year. Following the death of Robert Southey in 1843 Wordsworth became Poet Laureate After assurances from Prime Minister, Robert Peel, Wordsworth thus became the only poet laureate to write no official verses. Sadly His daughter Dora suddenly died in 1847 at the age of only 42 and in his depression, he completely gave up writing new material. Then William Wordsworth died at home at Rydal Mount from an aggravated case of pleurisy on 23 April 1850. He was buried at St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere.

Roy Orbison

Known by the nickname ‘The Big O’ and remembered for his distinctive, powerful voice,the American singer, guitarist, and songwriter Roy Orbison was Born April 23, 1936 Roy Kelton Orbison, he grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country and western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success came with Monument Records between 1960 and 1964, when 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top Forty, including “Only the Lonely”, “Crying”, and “Oh, Pretty Woman”. His career stagnated through the 1970s, but several covers of his songs and the use of “In Dreams” in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet revived his career in the 1980s. In 1988, he joined the supergroup Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne and also released a new solo album.

His life was marred by tragedy, including the death of his first wife and his two eldest sons in separate accidents.Orbison was a natural baritone, but music scholars have suggested that he had a three- or four-octave range. The combination of Orbison’s powerful, impassioned voice and complex musical arrangements led many critics to refer to his music as operatic, giving him the sobriquet “the Caruso of Rock”. Elvis Presley and Bono have stated his voice was, respectively, the greatest and most distinctive they had ever heard. While most men in rock and roll in the 1950s and 1960s portrayed a defiant masculinity, many of Orbison’s songs instead conveyed a quiet, desperate vulnerability. He was known for performing dark emotional ballads while standing still and solitary, wearing black clothes and dark sunglasses which lent an air of mystery to his persona.

Roy Orbison – Black & White Night Live http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HWCBwaNvHbE

Unfortunately on December 6 1988 Orbison sadly died during a resurgence in his fortunes as part of the Travelling Wilbury’s, after suffering a heart attack. Nevertheless he produced many classic songs during his career and gained many plaudits. He was initiated into the second class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 by longtime admirer Bruce Springsteen. The same year he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame two years later. Rolling Stone placed Orbison at number 37 on their list of The Greatest Artists of All Time, and number 13 on their list of The 100Greatest Singers of All Time. In 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at number 74 in the Top 600 recording artists

 

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I am currently watching the BBC Adaptation of Wilkie Collins fifth novel “The Woman in White”. It was written and published in 1859 and was Preceded by The Dead Secret and Followed by No Name.

It concerns a young art teacher named Walter Hartright, who encounters a mysterious and distressed woman dressed entirely in white, in London. She asks him if he lives in London, Walter replies he is leaving for Limmeridge, Cumberland to work as a drawing master to two sisters living at Limmeridge House. She reveals that she also once lived at Limmeridge and yearns to see the village and Limmeridge House again. Walter is greatly surprised by the coincidence. however before Walter can question the woman further, she becomes agitated and disappears. Later he learns that the woman in white has escaped from a lunatic asylum, Leaving Walter unsettled and perplexed,

Soon afterward, he travels to Limmeridge House in Cumberland, having been hired as a drawing master on the recommendation of his friend, Pesca, an Italian language master. The Limmeridge household comprises Frederick Fairlie, and Walter’s students: Miss Halcombe’s younger and very beautiful half-sister, Laura Fairlie, Mr. Fairlie’s niece, and Marian Halcombe, an intelligent and sensible young woman, devoted half-sister and elder of the two women. Walter discovers that Laura bears a strong resemblance to the woman in white; who he learns is Anne Catherick: a mentally disabled child who formerly lived near Limmeridge, and was devoted to Laura’s mother, who first dressed her in white

Walter is Intrigued by this and Laura’s engaging personality, and finds himself falling in love with Laura. However Laura is engaged to be married to Sir Percival Glyde, Baronet. Then Laura receives an anonymous letter warning her against marrying Glyde. Walter suspects Anne sent the letter and learns that Sir Percival, had her committed to a mental asylum. The family lawyer also starts having misgivings over the financial terms of the marriage settlement, which will give the entirety of Laura’s fortune to Glyde if she dies without leaving an heir.

Nevertheless Sir Percival and Laura Marry and return to his house, Blackwater Park in Hampshire; accompanied by Glyde’s friend, Count Fosco (who is married to Laura’s aunt). Marian also moves to Blackwater meanwhile Walter decides to move away. Glyde starts taking an unhealthy interest in Laura’s inheritance, and they begin to suspect he is not the gentleman they thought him to be. Sure enough he attempts to coerce Laura into giving him £20,000. Meanwhile Anne, also travels to Blackwater Park and contacts Laura concerning Glyde and Fosco. Miriam later discovers Fosco and Glyde plotting a devious scheme concerning Laura and Anne. Then Walter returns and investigates and learns that Glyde is hiding a big secret and finds himself embroiled in a convoluted web involving family secrets, dodgy dealing, financial troubles, Mistaken identity, betrayal and death….

Troy:Fall of a City

The exciting eight part BBC historical epic Troy: Fall of a City has been released on DVD. It is based on the Trojan War and the love affair between Paris and Helen and is told from the perspective of the Trojan family at the heart of the events. The series is a co-production between BBC One and Netflix. It stars Louis Hunter as Paris, Bella Dayne as Helen of Troy, David Threlfall as Priam, Frances O’Connor as Hecuba, Tom Weston-Jones as Hector, Joseph Mawle as Odysseus, Chloe Pirrie as Andromache, Johnny Harris as Agamemnon, David Gyasi as Achilles, Jonas Armstrong as Menelaus, Alfred Enoch as Aeneas, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Cassandra, Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Zeus, David Avery as Xanthius, Lex King as Aphrodite’ Amy Louise Wilson as Briseis, Inge Beckmann as Hera.

The war originated from a quarrel between the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, after Eris, the goddess of strife and discord, gave them a golden apple, sometimes known as the Apple of Discord, marked “for the fairest”. Zeus sent the goddesses to Paris, who judged that Aphrodite, as the “fairest”, should receive the apple. In exchange, Aphrodite made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus, fall in love with Paris of Troy who took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta back to Troy. This angered Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and the brother of Helen’s husband Menelaus, who led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy. Then launched an invasion force of approximately one thousand ships against Troy, which were full of the finest soldiers including Achilles, in an attempt to recover Helen, and they besieged the city for ten years.

The siege caused widespread destruction and claimed the lives of thousands of innocent and not so innocent people including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris. Things finally came to a head thanks to a cunning ruse involving a wooden horse. The Achaeans managed to slaughter the Trojans (except for some of the women and children whom they kept or sold as slaves) and desecrated the temples, thus earning the gods’ wrath. Consequently Few of the Achaeans returned safely to their homes and many died or founded colonies in distant shores.

The Trojan war is included in many important works of Greek literature, most notably Homer’s Iliad which relates four days in the tenth year of the decade-long siege of Troy; the Odyssey describes the journey home of Odysseus, one of the war’s heroes. Other parts of the war are described in a cycle of epic poems, which have survived through fragments. Episodes from the war provided material for Greek tragedy and other works of Greek literature, and for Roman poets including Virgil and Ovid. The Romans later traced their origin to Aeneas, one of the Trojans, who was said to have led the surviving Trojans to modern-day Italy. The ancient Greeks believed that Troy was located near the Dardanelles and that the Trojan War was a historical event of the 13th or 12th century BC, however by the mid-19th century, both the war and the city were widely seen as mythological. Then In 1868, Frank Calvert convinced the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann that Troy was a real city at what is now Hissarlik in Turkey.

Whether there is any historical reality behind the Trojan War remains an open question. Many scholars believe that there is a historical core to the tale, and the Homeric stories may be a fusion of various tales of sieges and expeditions by Mycenaean Greeks during the Bronze Age. The Trojan War may also be derived from a specific historical conflict during the 12th or 11th centuries BC. The Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist Eratosthenes of Cyrene, mentions the date 1194–1184 BC.

William Shakespeare

Often referred to England’s national poet, the “Bard of Avon”, and widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent dramatist and greatest writer in the English language. The Prolific English poet and playwright William Shakespeare was believed to have been born on ths day 23rd April1564 (based on his baptism 26 April 1564). Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men.

His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. The first recorded works of Shakespeare include Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI, written in the early 1590s during a vogue for historical drama. He then wrote Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Cardenio. During the mid-1590s Shakespeare wrote his most acclaimed comedies A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a witty mixture of romance, fairy magic, and comic lowlife scenes. The equally romantic Merchant of Venice, which contains a portrayal of the vengeful Jewish moneylender Shylock, which reflects Elizabethan views but may appear derogatory to modern audiences. He also wrote the Plays Much Ado About Nothing which is full of wit and wordplay, As You Like Which is set in a charming rural setting of and Twelfth Night which contains lively merrymaking. Shakespeare also infused many of his works with prose comedy

Next Shakespeare wrote Richard II, which was written almost entirely in verse, He then wrote Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. He also wrote two tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, the famous romantic tragedy of sexually charged adolescence, love, and death and Julius Caesar—based on Sir Thomas North’s 1579 translation of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. During the early 17th century, Shakespeare wrote the so-called “problem plays” such as Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus. In his final period, Shakespeare turned to romance or tragicomedy and completed three more major plays: Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, as well as the collaboration, Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Less bleak than the tragedies, these four plays are graver in tone than the comedies of the 1590s, but they end with reconciliation and the forgiveness of potentially tragic errors.

His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. He was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare was probably educated at the King’s New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile (400 m) from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were largely similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, although there is some speculation that he was also married to his childhood sweetheart Anne Whately, who may have been The Dark Lady referred to in the sonnets. He had three children with Hathaway: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49.

Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare’s.

During his life Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the 19th century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare’s genius, and the Victorians worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called “bardolatry”. In the 20th century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. Sadly though Shakespeare passed away on 23rd April 1616 but he left behnd an endurng legacy and his books Sonnets & plays remain highly popular today and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world and have been adapted for film and Television numerous times and remain as popular today as they’ve always been.

Saint George’s Day

April 23rd is Saint George’s Day. according to tradition, George was a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a soldier in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic (Western and Eastern Rites), Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox churches. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April, and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.

Many Patronages of Saint George exist around the world, including: Georgia, England, Egypt, Bulgaria, Aragon, Catalonia, Romania, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Iraq, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine and Russia, as well as the cities of Genoa, Amersfoort, Beirut, Fakiha, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Kumanovo, Ljubljana, Pomorie, Preston, Qormi, Rio de Janeiro, Lod, Lviv, Barcelona, Moscow, Tamworth and the Maltese island of Gozo, as well as of the Scout Movement and a wide range of professions, organizations and disease sufferers. It is likely that Saint George was born to a Christian noble family in Lod, Syria Palaestina during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD, and he died in Nicomedia. His father, Gerontius, was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother, Polychronia, was from Palestine. They were both Christians and from noble families of Anici, so the child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgius (Latin) or Georgios (Greek), meaning “worker of the land”. At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George’s mother, Polychronia, died.

Then George decided to go to Nicomedia, the imperial city of that time, and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius — one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia. In the year AD 302, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. George loudly renounced the Emperor’s edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George never accepted.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda in Palestine for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.

St George & The Dragon

Eastern Orthodox depictions of Saint George slaying a dragon often include the image of the young maiden who looks on from a distance. The standard iconographic interpretation of the image icon is that the dragon represents both Satan (Rev. 12:3) and the Roman Empire. The young maiden is none other than the wife of Diocletian, Alexandra. Thus, the image as interpreted through the language of Byzantine Iconography, is an image of the martyrdom of the saint. The episode of St George and the Dragon was a legend brought back with the Crusaders and retold. The earliest known depiction of the legend is from early eleventh-century Cappadocia, (in the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church, George had been depicted as a soldier since at least the seventh century); the earliest known surviving narrative text is an eleventh-century Georgian text.

In the Western version, a dragon or crocodile makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene in Libya or the city of Lydda in the Holy Land). Consequently, the citizens have to distract the dragon from its nest for a time, in order to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but Saint George arrives on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.