Tribute to Ford Madox Ford

English novelist, poet, critic and editor Ford Madox Ford was born 17 December 1873. to Catherine and Francis Hueffer, the eldest of three; his brother was Oliver Madox Hueffer. His father, who became music critic for The Times, was German and his mother English. His paternal grandfather Johann Hermann Hüffer was first to publish the fellow Westphalian poet and author Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, a Catholic aristocrat. He used the name of Ford Madox Hueffer and in 1919 changed it to Ford Madox Ford (allegedly, in the aftermath of World War I because “Hueffer” sounded too German in honour of his grandfather, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, whose biography he had written. In 1894 he married his school girlfriend Elsie Martindale and together they had two daughters Christina (born 1897) and Katharine (born 1900).

Between 1918 and 1927 he lived with Stella Bowen, an Australian artist twenty years his junior. In 1920 they had a daughter, Julia Madox Ford One of his most famous works is The Good Soldier (1915), a novel set just before World War I which chronicles the tragic lives of two “perfect couples” using intricate flashbacks. In the “Dedicatory Letter to Stella Ford”, his wife, that prefaces the novel, Ford reports that a friend pronounced The Good Soldier “the finest French novel in the English language!” Ford pronounced himself a “Tory mad about historic continuity” and believed the novelist’s function was to serve as the historian of his own time.

Ford was involved in British war propaganda after the beginning of World War I. He worked for the War Propaganda Bureau, managed by C. F. G. Masterman, with other writers and scholars who were popular during that time, such as Arnold Bennett, G. K. Chesterton, John Galsworthy, Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Murray. Ford wrote two propaganda books for Masterman, namely When Blood is Their Argument: An Analysis of Prussian Culture (1915), with the help of Richard Aldington, and Between St Dennis and St George: A Sketch of Three Civilizations (1915).After writing the two propaganda books, Ford enlisted at 41 years of age into the Welch Regiment on 30 July 1915, and was sent to France, His combat experiences and his previous propaganda activities inspired his tetralogy Parade’s End (1924–1928), set in England and on the Western Front before, during and after World War I.

Ford also wrote dozens of novels as well as essays, poetry, memoirs and literary criticism, and collaborated with Joseph Conrad on three novels, The Inheritors (1901), Romance (1903) and The Nature of a Crime (1924, although written much earlier). During the three to five years after this direct collaboration, Ford’s best known achievement was The Fifth Queen trilogy (1906–1908), historical novels based on the life of Katharine Howard, which Conrad termed, at the time, “the swan song of historical romance.”His poem,Antwerp (1915), was praised by T.S. Eliot as “the only good poem I have met with on the subject of the war”.Ford’s novel Ladies Whose Bright Eyes (1911, extensively revised in 1935) is, in a sense, the reverse of Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.In 1908, he founded The English Review, in which he published works by Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Henry James,May Sinclair, John Galsworthy and William Butler Yeats, and gave debuts to Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence and Norman Douglas. In 1924, he founded The Transatlantic Review, a journal with great influence on modern literature. Staying with the artistic community in the Latin Quarter of Paris, he befriended James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound[and Jean Rhys, all of whom he would publish (Ford is the model for the character Braddocks in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises).  Ford says, “I helped Joseph Conrad, I helped Hemingway. I helped a dozen, a score of writers, and many of them have beaten me. I’m now an old man and I’ll die without making a name like Hemingway.” Hemingway devoted a chapter of his Parisian memoir A Moveable Feast to an encounter with Ford at a café in Paris during the early 1920s.

During a later sojourn in the United States, he was involved with Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Katherine Anne Porter and Robert Lowell (who was then a student). Ford was always a champion of new literature and literary experimentation. In 1929, he publishedThe English Novel: From the Earliest Days to the Death of Joseph Conrad, a brisk and accessible overview of the history of English novels. He had an affair with Jean Rhys, which ended acrimoniouslyFord spent the last years of his life teaching at Olivet College in Michigan, and died in Deauville, France, 26 June 1939 at the age of 65l, However his journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature. He is now remembered best for his publicationsThe Good Soldier (1915), the Parade’s End tetralogy (1924–28) and The Fifth Queentrilogy (1906–08). The Good Soldier is frequently included among the great literature of the 20th century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer’s “100 Greatest Novels of All Time”, and The Guardian’s “1000 novels everyone must read”.

Saturnalia

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn Which Was held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and acarnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gamblingwas permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves.The poet Catullus called it “the best of days.”In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of social egalitarianism. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.[3]Although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects.The Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name byMacrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for the holiday. In one of the interpretations in Macrobius’s work, Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth.The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25.The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, and as the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, some of its customs may have influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and the New Year.

The statue of Saturn at his main temple normally had its feet bound in wool, which was removed for the holiday as an act of liberation.The official rituals were carried out according to “Greek rite” (ritus graecus). The sacrifice was officiated by a priest hose head was uncovered; in Roman rite, priests sacrificed capite velato, with head covered by a special fold of the toga.This procedure is usually explained by Saturn’s assimilation with his Greek counterpart Cronus, since the Romans often adopted and reinterpreted Greek myths, iconography, and even religious practices for their own gods. But the uncovering of the priest’s head may also be one of the Saturnalian reversals, the opposite of what was normal. Following the sacrifice the Roman Senate arranged a lectisternium, a ritual of Greek origin that typically involved placing a deity’s image on a sumptuous couch, as if he were present and actively participating in the festivities. A public banquet followed (convivium publicum).The day was supposed to be a holiday from all forms of work. Schools were closed, and exercise regimens were suspended. Courts were not in session, so no justice was administered, and no declaration of war could be made. After the public rituals, observances continued at home. On December 18 and 19, which were also holidays from public business, families conducted domestic rituals. They bathed early, and those with means sacrificed a suckling pig, a traditional offering.

Mike Mills (REM)

REM_Collapse Into Now_COVERThe founding member of the alternative rock group R.E.M. Michael Edward “Mike” Mills was born on this day  December 17, 1958 in Orange County, California). Though known primarily as a bass guitarist, backing vocalist, and pianist, his musical repertoire also includes keyboards, guitar, and percussion instruments, and has contributed to many of the band’s musical compositions.As a young boy, Mills  attended Northeast High School in Macon, Georgia. Mills’ father Frank was a singer whose appearances included The Ed Sullivan Show, while his mother Adora was a piano teacher, which helped him develop a love of music at an early age. He met and formed a band with drummer friend Bill Berry in high school. later, While attending the University of Georgia they also met Peter Buck and Michael Stipe and the four of them decided to form a band together. Mills, Berry, Buck, and Stipe then decided to drop out of college and focus on their band, now named R.E.M. The band quickly developed a following and were soon signed to I.R.S. Records.   Mills is credited with being the chief composer behind many of R.E.M.’s songs, including “Nightswimming”, “Find the River”, “At My Most Beautiful”, “Why Not Smile”, “Let Me In”, “Wendell Gee”, “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”, “Beat a Drum”, “Be Mine” and “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”. In particular, R.E.M.’s 2004 album Around the Sun was heavily shaped by Mills’ piano and keyboard contributions. Mills is also responsible for the prominent backing vocal and harmony parts found within the band’s back catalogue, with his vocal contributions arguably being most noticeable on 1986′s Lifes Rich Pageant and 2008′s Accelerate. In addition to providing backing melodies, he has also sung lead vocals on the songs “Texarkana”, “Near Wild Heaven”, The Clique cover “Superman” and The Troggs cover “Love is All Around”. Mills also recorded a brief piano part for the song “Soma” from The Smashing Pumpkins’ 1993 album Siamese Dream, which was recorded in Georgia

He also Provided backing Vocals for I992′s Automatic For The People,  A more sombre, reflective album that features string arrangements by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. This album was also to yeild some wonderful songs like “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight” and “Everybody Hurts”. The band’s next two albums Monster and New Adventures In Hi-Fi were largely recorded live – some tracks taken from soundchecks taken during the massive stadium tour, and featured some new classics, such as Let Me In, a tribute to the recently deceased Kurt Cobain. .Mills is also known for his collection of Nudie suits, which he often wears on stage, these are named after a Russian-born American tailor named Nudie Cohn who designed decorative rhinestone-covered suits, known popularly as “Nudie Suits”, and other elaborate outfits for some of the most famous celebrities of his era. Mills was first seen wearing one of these suits in the 1994 video for “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” and then throughout the band’s subsequent 1995 tour.

R.E.M. – Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=paScSVUDRSE#

Unfortunately drummer Bill Berry suffered a brain aneurysm and quit the band in 1997, and things never quite returned to the giddy heights of “Out of Time” and Moments of brilliance, such as The Great Beyond or Imitation Of Life, became less frequently. Leading some band members to pursue side-projects, Stipe increasingly pusued his film work,while Peter Buck concentrated more on his country supergroup Tired Pony.   Despite this REM continued to be unbeatable live performers to the end and their final album, Collapse Into Now, was hailed, like many of its predecessors, as a return to form. Certainly, the band sounded rejuvenated and a lot more energetic than on some of the previous work which was released in the mid-2000s. In addition They also recently re-released an earlier album ”Lifes Rich Pageant” which is also a great album. Then on November 14th 2011 , REM released a definitive greatest hits Double CD album, entitled: “R.E.M., PART LIES, PART HEART, PART TRUTH, PART GARBAGE, 1982 – 2011. ″ through Warner Bros, the album contained tracks from the band’s entire back catalogue, including tracks from both the IRS and Warner years plus three brand-new songs, as a final farewell.

 

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers – Orville and Wilbur are credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight in the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight & noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and maneuver. They believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing. The Wright Brothers designed their first aircraft: a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test their solution for controlling the craft by wing warping. Wing warping is a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance. Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville designed a series of gliders  flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley, and Langley, and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve.

Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider & selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location. They successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk, in both unmanned and piloted flights. In fact, it was the first piloted glider. Based upon the results, the Wright Brothers planned to refine the controls and landing gear, and build a bigger glider. In 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown, with a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. However, many problems occurred: the wings did not have enough lifting power; forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch; and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control.  In spite of the problems with their last attempts at flight, the Wrights reviewed their test results and determined that the calculations they had used were not reliable. They decided to build a wind tunnel to test a variety of wing shapes and their effect on lift.Based upon these tests, the inventors had a greater understanding of how an airfoil (wing) works and could calculate with greater accuracy how well a particular wing design would fly. They planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it. So during 1902, the brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and the Wright Brothers connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns. With successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft. After months of studying how propellers work the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer. The brothers built a movable track to help launch the Flyer. This downhill track would help the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. This was the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.