Christmas

1495511_722474054449676_1712107220_nChristmas (Old English: Crīstesmæsse, meaning “Christ’s Mass”) is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed cultural holiday, celebrated generally on December 25 by billionsof people around the world.A feast central to theChristian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth nightChristmas is acivil holiday in many of the world’s nations,is celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians and is an integral part of theChristmas and holiday season.While the birth year of Jesus is estimated among modern historians to have been between 7 and 2 BC, the exact month and day of his birth are unknown His birth is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels. By the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25, a date later adopted in the East,although some churches celebrate on the December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which corresponds to January in the modern-day Gregorian calendar. The date of Christmas may have initially been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believedJesus to have been conceived,or with one or more ancient polytheistic festivals that occurred near southern solstice (i.e., the Roman winter solstice); a further solar connection has been suggested because of a biblical versidentifying Jesus as the “Sun of righteousness”.The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins.Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Christmas musicand caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, aspecial meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes,garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus,Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore.Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

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1526269_722470527783362_1179691680_nThe Chronography of 354 AD contains early evidence of the celebration on December 25 of a Christian liturgical feast of the birth of Jesus. This was in Rome, while in Eastern Christianity the birth of Jesus was already celebrated in connection with the Epiphany on January 6The December 25 celebration was imported into the East later: in Antioch by John Chrysostom towards the end of the 4th century, probably in 388, and in Alexandria only in the following century.Even in the West, the January 6 celebration of the nativity of Jesus seems to have continued until after 380.In 245, Origen of Alexandria, writing about Leviticus 12:1–8, commented that Scripture mentions only sinners as celebrating their birthdays, namely Pharaoh, who then had his chief baker hanged (Genesis 40:20–22), and Herod, who then had John the Baptist beheaded (Mark 6:21–27), and mentions saints ascursing the day of their birth, namely Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:14–15) and Job (Job 3:1–16).[43] In 303, Arnobius ridiculed the idea of celebrating the birthdays of gods, a passage cited as evidence that Arnobius was unaware of any nativity celebration since Christmas does not celebrate Christ’s birth “as God” but “as man”, this is not evidence against Christmas being a feast at this time. The fact the Donatists of North Africa celebrated Christmas may indicate that the feast was established by the time that church was created in 311.Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus’ birth, with certain elements having origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity. These elements, including the Yule log from Yule and gift giving from Saturnaliabecamesyncretized into Christmas over the centuries. The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has also continually evolved since the holiday’s inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival-like state in the Middle Agesto a tamer family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century reformationAdditionally, the celebration of Christmas was banned on more than one occasion within certain Protestant groups, such as the Puritans, due to concerns that it was too pagan or unbiblical

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Christmas Day is also celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. In some non-Christian countries, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration (e.g. Hong Kong); in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday. Countries such as Japan, where Christmas is popular despite there being only a small number of Christians, have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas, such as gift-giving, decorations, and Christmas trees.Countries in which Christmas is not a formal public holiday includeAfghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, China(excepting Hong Kong and Macao), Comoros, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kuwait,Laos, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic,Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen. Christmas celebrations around the world can vary markedly in form, reflecting differing cultural and national traditions.Among countries with a strong Christian tradition, a variety of Christmas celebrations have developed that incorporate regional and local cultures. For Christians, participating in a religious service plays an important part in the recognition of the season. Christmas, along with Easter, is the period of highest annual church attendance. In Catholic countries, people hold religious processions orparades in the days preceding Christmas. In other countries, secular processions or parades featuring Santa Claus and other seasonal figures are often held. Family reunions and the exchange of gifts are a widespread feature of the season. Gift giving takes place on Christmas Day in most countries. Others practice gift giving on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day, and January 6, Epiphany.

61299_512159765482253_851543363_nChristians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament’s Messianic prophecy The Bible contains two accounts which describe the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Depending on one’s perspective, these accounts either differ from each other or tell two versions of the same story. These biblical accounts are found in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18, and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26 and 2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.in a stable, surrounded by farm animals. A manger(t feeding trough) is mentioned in Luke 2:7, where it states Mary “wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (KJV); and “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” (NIV). Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child Popular tradition also holds that three kings or wise men (named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) visited the infant Jesus in the manger, though this does not strictly follow the biblical account. The Gospel of Matthew instead describes a visit by an unspecified number of magi, or astrologers, sometime after Jesus was born while the family was living in a house (Matthew 2:11), who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the young child Jesus. The visitors were said to be following a mysterious star, commonly known as the Star of Bethlehem, believing it to announce the birth of a king of the Jews.The commemoration of this visit, the Feast of Epiphany celebrated on January 6, is the formal end of the Christmas season in some churches.Christians celebrate Christmas in various ways. In addition to this day being one of the most important and popular for the attendance of church services, there are other devotions and popular traditions. In some Christian denominations, children re-enact the events of the Nativity with animals to portray the event with more realism or sing carols that reference the event. A long artistic tradition has grown of producing painted depictions of the nativity in art. Nativity scenes are traditionally set in a stable with livestock and include Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus in the manger, the three wise men, the shepherds and their sheep, the angels, and the Star of Bethlehem.Some Christians also display a small re-creation of the Nativity, known as a Nativity scene or crèche, in their homes, using figurines to portray the key characters of the event. Prior to Christmas Day, the Eastern Orthodox Churchpractices the 40-day Nativity Fast in anticipation of the birth of Jesus, while much of Western Christianity celebrates four weeks ofAdvent. The final preparations for Christmas are made on Christmas Eve, and many families’ major observation of Christmas actually falls in the evening of this day.

Christmas Eve

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Christmas Eve is the evening or day before Christmas Day, the widely celebrated annual holiday. It occurs on December 24 in Western Christianity,and is considered one of the most culturally significant celebrations in Christendom and the Western world, where it is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day.One reason celebrations occur on Christmas Eve is that the traditional Christian liturgical day starts at sunset, an inheritance from Jewish tradition.This practice is based on the story of Creation in the Book of Genesis: “And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.”This structure for the liturgical day is followed for all feast days throughout the year in the Eastern rite and is retained for Christmas (as well as for Sundays and other major festivals) in the West, where the liturgical day ordinarily begins at midnight. Many churches still ring their church bellsand hold prayers in the evening before holidays; for example, the NordicLutheran churches. In some languages, such as the Scandinavian, Christmas Eve is simply referred to as “Christmas Evening”.Since Christian tradition holds that Jesus was born at night (based in Luke 2:6-8), Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve, traditionally at midnight, in commemoration of His birth. The idea of Jesus being born at night is reflected in the fact that Christmas Eve is referred to as “Heilige Nacht” (“Holy Night”) in German, “Nochebuena” (“the Good Night”) in Spanish and similarly in other expressions of Christmas spirituality, such as the song “Silent Night, Holy Night”

Christmas Eve is celebrated in different ways around the world, varying by country and region. Elements common to many areas of the world include the attendance of special religious observances such as a midnight Mass or Vespers, and the giving and receiving of presents. Along with Easter, Christmastime is one of the most important periods on the Christian calendar, and is often closely connected to other holidays at this time of year, such as Advent, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, St. Nicholas Day, St. Stephen’s Day, New Year’s, and the Feast of the Epiphany.

Roman Catholics and Anglicans traditionally celebrate Midnight Mass, which begins either at or sometime before midnight on Christmas Eve. This ceremony, which is held in churches throughout the world, celebrates the birth of Christ, which is believed to have occurred at night.In recent years some churches have scheduled their “Midnight” Mass as early as 7 pm. In Spanish-speaking areas, the Midnight Mass is sometimes referred to as Misa de Gallo, or “Missa do Galo”, in Portuguese (“Rooster’s Mass”). In the Philippines, the custom has expanded into the nine-daySimbang Gabi, when Filipinos attend dawn Masses (traditionally beginning around 04:00 to 05:00 PST) from 16 December, continuing daily until Christmas Eve. In 2009 Vatican officials scheduled the Midnight Mass to start at 10 pm so the 82 year old Pope Benedict XVI would not have too late a night.[12]Whilst not performing any kind of Mass per se, the Church of Scotland has a service beginning just before midnight, wherein carolsare sung. The Church of Scotland no longer holds Hogmany sevices on New Years Eve, however, The Christmas Eve Sevices are still very popular

Lutherans traditionally practice Christmas Eve Eucharistic traditions typical of Germany and Scandinavia. “Krippenspiele” (Nativity plays), special festive music for organ, vocal and brass choirs and candlelight services make Christmas Eve one of the highlights in the Lutheran Church calendar. Christmas Vespers are popular in the early evening, and midnight services are also widespread in regions which are predominately Lutheran. The old Lutheran tradition of a Christmas Vigil in the early morning hours ofChristmas Day (Christmette) can still be found in some regions. In eastern and middle Germany, congregations still continue the tradition of “Quempas singing”: separate groups dispersed in various parts of the church sing verses of the song “He whom Shepherds once came Praising” (Quem pastores) responsively.Methodists celebrate the evening in different ways. Some, in the early evening, come to their church to celebrate Holy Communion with their families. The mood is very solemn, and the only visible light is the Advent Wreath, and the candles upon the Lord’s Table. Others celebrate the evening with services of light, which include singing the song “Silent Night” as a variety of candles (including personal candles) are lit. Other churches have late evening services at 11 pm, so the church can celebrate Christmas Day together with the ringing of bells at midnight. Others offer Christmas Day services, as well.The annual “Nine Lessons and Carols” broadcast from King’s College, Cambridge, on Christmas Eve, has established itself as one of the signs that Christmas has begun in the United Kingdom. lt IS broadcast outside the UK via the BBC World Service, and is also bought by broadcasters around the world

During the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.[16] It is the night when Santa Claus makes his rounds delivering gifts to good children.In the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary, where St. Nicholas (sv. Mikuláš/szent Mikulás) gives his sweet gifts on December 6, the Christmas gift-giver is the Child Jesus (Ježíšek in Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian, Ježiško in Slovak and Isusek inCroatian).In most parts of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, presents are traditionally exchanged in the evening of December 24. Children are commonly told that presents were brought either by the Christkind (German for: Christchild),[18] or the Weihnachtsmann (German name of Santa Claus). Both leave the gifts, but are in most families not seen doing so.In Finland, Joulupukki, and in Sweden Jultomten, personally meets children and gives presents in the evening of Christmas Eve.[]In Argentina, Austria, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg,Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Uruguay, Sweden, and the Czech Republic, Christmas presents are opened mostly on the evening of the 24th, – this is also the tradition among the British Royal Family, due to their mainly German ancestry – while inItaly, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, English Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, this occurs mostly on the morning of Christmas Day. Except in Italy and the United States, countries that open gifts on the morning of Christmas Day also have Boxing Day as a secondary holiday (this day is celebrated as St. Stephen’s Day in Ireland) where some gift giving is involved.In other Latin American countries, people stay awake until midnight, when they open the presents.In Spain, gifts are traditionally opened on the morning of January 6, Epiphany day (“Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos”),though in some other countries, like Argentina and Uruguay, people receive presents both around Christmas and on the morning of Epiphanyday.In Belgium and the Netherlands they also celebrate Sinterklaas on December 5

Some Jews observe Christmas Eve as “Nittel Nacht”, a minor folk (sad) holiday with its own unique customs.Beginning no later than the 1500s, a number of Jewish customs developed around Christmas Eve, often reflecting feelings of mourning over the historic birth of Christianity and fear of pogroms by contemporary Christian neighbors. By the 17th century, European Jews began referring to the night as “Nittel Nacht” and treating it as a kind of minor day of mourning.[24]Most prominent among these customs is the tradition to not engage in Torah study on Nittel Nacht. Some have theorized that this custom developed out of fear of heightened antisemitic persecution on Christmas Eve, with Jews avoiding synagogues and study halls where they would be easy targets, and instead opting to spend the night safe at home.Less popular is a custom to not engage in marital relations on Nittel Nacht. This custom, as well as that to not study Torah, are similar to the traditions of mourning practiced on Tisha B’av.With Torah study (and, for some, sex) off the table for the evening, a number of traditions developed as to how to spend one’s night. Most well known is a custom to play cards, dreidel, chess or other table games. (Some modern synagogues hold poker nights on Christmas Eve, in a continuation of this once home-bound tradition.) The Lubavitcher Rebbe was known to spend his Nittel Nacht’s sewing. Some spend the night ripping a year’s worth of toilet paper and paper towels, an errand helpful for observing certain Sabbath laws. Today, where most Jews do not fear antisemitic attacks on Christmas Eve, and most Jews hold a more ecumenical view towards the birth of Christianity, observance of Nittel Nacht is less popular than once was. That said, many yeshivas still do not conduct Torah classes on Christmas Eve, and card-playing remains a well known Nittel Nacht past time.

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Christmas Movies & Carols

CBSO Festive Favourites

I recently went to see the City of Birmingham symphony Orchestra’s  annual Festive Favourites concert  at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham between 19 and 23 December 2013. It was conducted by Simon Halsey and  Hosted by presenter and actor Mark Williams,  with the city of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and the City of Birmingham Youth Chorus singing

Carols were interspersed by christmas themed readings from Harry Potter, A Christmas Carol and many others, plus festive jokes and monologues read by Mark Williams (The Fast Show, Harry Potter, Industrial Revelations, Doctor Who and many more.)

Carols featured during the concert  included Once in Royal David’s city, Away in a Manger, Carillon angelus ad Virginem, On Christmas Night (The Sussex Carol), Messa Brevis -Sanctus & benedictus, I am Christmas Day, the Snow, Hark! The Herald Angels sing,, The Sheperd and the King, Lute book Lullaby, Joy to the World, Bright was the Star, North Pole Rock n Roll, Come Colours Rise and, O Come all ye Faithful. I’d like to go again when something good is on.

Mary Higgins Clark

WhereAreTheChildrenAmerican suspense novelist Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins Clark Conheeney (née Higgins; Was born December 24, 1929′ known professionally as Mary Higgins Clark, Each of her 42 books has been a bestseller in the United States and various European countries, and all of her novels remained in print as of 2007, with her debut suspense novel, Where Are The Children, in its seventy-fifth printing. .Higgins Clark began writing at an early age. After several years working as a secretary and copy editor, Higgins Clark spent a year as a stewardess for Pan-American Airlinesbefore leaving her job to marry and start a family. She supplemented the family’s income by writing short stories. After her husband died in 1964, Higgins Clark worked for many years writing four-minute radio scripts, until her agent convinced her to try writing novels. Her debut novel, a fictionalized account of the life of George Washington, did not sell well, and she decided to leverage her love of mystery/suspense novels. Her suspense novels became very popular, and as of 2007 her books had sold more than 80 million copies in the United States alone. Her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark, and former daughter-in-law Mary Jane Clark are also suspense writers.Higgins Clark graduated from high school and chose to attend Wood Secretarial School on a partial scholarship. After completing her coursework the following year, she accepted a job as the secretary to the head of the creative department in the internal advertising division at Remington-Rand.She soon enrolled in evening classes to learn more about advertising and promotion. Her growing skills, as well as her natural beauty, were noticed by her boss and others in the company, and her job was expanded to include writing catalog copy (alongside future novelist Joseph Heller) and to model for the company brochures with  Grace Kelly. Although she enjoyed her job, Higgins Clark’s imagination was sparked by an acquaintance’s casual comment, “God, it was beastly hot in Calcutta.”

Inspired to become a flight attendant like her acquaintance, Higgins Clark underwent rigorous interviews to earn a position as a flight attendant (then known as stewardess) for Pan American Airlines, making five dollars fewer a week than her secretarial job. Her supervisor at Remington-Rand hosted a goodbye dinner for her, and Higgins Clark invited her neighbor, Warren Clark, whom she had admired for years, to be her date. By the end of the evening Warren Clark had informed her that he thought she should work as a stewardess for a year and then they should be married the following Christmas. Higgins Clark accepted the somewhat unorthodox proposal.For most of 1949, she worked the Pan Am international flights, traveling through Europe, Africa and Asia. One of her flights became the last flight allowed into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain fell. On another of her flights, Higgins Clark escorted a four-year-old orphaned child down the steps of the airplane into the waiting arms of her adoptive mother, a scene that was heavily televised.At the end of her year of flying, on December 26, 1949, Higgins Clark happily gave up her career to marry Warren Clark.To occupy herself, she began taking writing courses at NYUand, with some of her classmates, formed a writing workshop in which the members would critique each other’s works-in-progress. The workshop, which persisted for almost forty years, met weekly. At each meeting two members would have twenty minutes each to present their latest work. The other members would then have three minutes each to offer constructive criticism.

One of her professors at NYU told the class they should develop plot ideas by reading newspapers and asking themselves prompts such as, “Suppose…?” and “What if…?”.Higgins Clark says she still gets many of her ideas by utilizing said prompts, along with “Why?”. For her first NYU writing assignment she used this method to expand her own experiences into a short story called “Stowaway”, about a stewardess who finds a stowaway from Czechoslovakia on her plane.Although her professor offered high praise for the story, Higgins Clark was continually frustrated in her attempts to find a publisher. Finally, in 1956, after six years and forty rejections, Extension Magazine agreed to purchase the story for $100.Whilst those six years were devoid of professional milestones, on a personal level Higgins Clark and her husband were very busy. Their first child, Marilyn, was born nine months after their wedding, with Warren Jr. arriving thirteen months later, and a third child, David, born two years after his brother. Two months after Higgins Clark’s short story sold, the fourth baby made her appearance and was promptly named Carol, after the heroine in her mother’s story.After selling that first short story, Higgins Clark began regularly finding homes for her works. Through the writer’s workshop she met an agent, Patricia Schartle Myrer, who represented Higgins Clark for twenty years until her retirement, and became such a good friend that Higgins Clark named her fifth and last child for her.While Warren worked and Higgins Clark wrote, they encouraged their children to find ways to earn money as well, with all five children eventually taking professional acting and modeling jobs. Young Patty served as a Gerber Baby, while David was featured in a national United Way ad. Higgins Clark herself filmed a television commercial for Fab laundry detergent. The commercial, which aired during the I Love Lucy show, earned her enough money that she and Warren were able to take a trip to Hawaii.In 1959, Warren Clark was diagnosed with severe angina, and, although he curtailed his activities on his doctor’s order, he sufferedthree heart attacks within the next five years, each time returning from the hospital in poorer health. After the last heart attack in 1964 they felt that Warren would be unable to work again, so Higgins Clark called a friend who wrote scripts for radio shows to see if there were any job openings. The day that she accepted a job writing the radio segment “Portrait of a Patriot,” Warren suffered a fatal heart attack. His mother, who was visiting at the time, collapsed at his bedside upon discovering that he was dead. In one night, Higgins Clark had lost her husband and her mother-in-law.

Higgins Clark’s initial contract to be a radio scriptwriter obligated her to write 65 four-minute programs for the Portrait of a Patriot series. Her work was good enough that she was soon asked to write two other radio series. This experience of fitting an entire sketch into four minutes taught Higgins Clark how to write cleanly and succinctly, traits that are incredibly important to a suspense novel, which must advance the plot with every paragraph. Despite the security offered by her new job, money was tight in the beginning as she strove to raise five children aged five to thirteen alone. For their first Christmas without Warren, Higgins Clark’s only gifts to her children were personalized poems describing the things she wished she could have purchased for them. By the late 1960s, the short story market had collapsed. The Saturday Evening Post, which in 1960 named Higgins Clark’s short story “Beauty Contest at Buckingham” one of their ten best of the year, had decided to stop publishing fiction, and many of the popular ladies magazines were focusing on self-help articles instead] Because her short stories were no longer able to find a publisher, Higgins Clark’s agent suggested that she try writing a full-length novel. Leveraging her research and experience with the Portraits of a Patriot series, Higgins Clark spent the next three years writing a fictionalized account of the relationship betweenGeorge and Martha Washington, Aspire to the Heavens. It is also about George Washington and the love for his house.The book did sell, and although the advance was small, it gave Higgins Clark confidence that she could indeed finish a full-length book and find a publisher. The novel “was remaindered as it came off the press,” and, to make matters worse, four months after the publication of the novel, Higgins Clark’s mother Nora Higgins died.

To ensure that her children would not have to struggle financially, Higgins Clark was determined that they should have good educations. To provide a good example she enteredFordham University at Lincoln Center in 1971, graduating summa cum laude in 1979, with a BA in philosophy.[Her children followed her example. The two eldest, Marilyn and Warren, have become judges, and Patty works at the Mercantile Exchange in New York City. David is the president and CEO of Talk Marketing Enterprises, Inc, and Carol has authored many popular suspense novels. During this time Higgins Clark became increasingly frustrated with her employer, and, although two of her children were partially dependent on her for their college tuition, she quit her job and joined two of her former colleagues in forming their own company to write and market radio scripts. To scrape up the $5000 she needed to start the business, Higgins Clark was forced to pawn her engagement ring, and, for the eight months it took the company to become profitable, she did not receive a salary, further straining the family finances. Higgins Clark continued writing even during these hard times. Encouraged by her agent to try writing another book, Higgins Clark returned to the suspense stories that she loved as a child and which had provided her first success as a short story writer. While she was in the midst of writing the story, her younger brother Johnny died, leaving her the sole surviving member of her family. To temporarily forget her heartache, Higgins Clark threw herself into her writing, and soon finished the novel. Very quickly after the novel, Where are the Children? was completed, Simon and Schuster agreed to purchase it for the relatively small sum of $3000. Three months later, in July 1974, Higgins Clark received word that the paperback rights for the novel had sold for one hundred thousand dollars. For the first time in many years she had no immediate financial worries.Where Are the Children? became a bestseller and was favorably reviewed.Two years after its publication Higgins Clark sold her second suspense novel for $1.5 million

Higgins Clark’s debut novel about George Washington, Aspire to the Heavens was retitled Mount Vernon Love Story and rereleased in 2002, the same year as her autobiography, Kitchen Privileges, which relied heavily on the journals she has kept all of her life.]In 2006 Higgins Clark announced that she would be fulfilling one of her dreams by publishing her first children’s book. Ghost Shipwas published by Simon and Schuster, who have also published her suspense novels. She has also written several Christmas themed mystery novels with her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. Although popular with readers, some critics have complained that the books are of lesser quality than the bulk of Mary’s work, partly because the tone is much lighter than her solo output.

Higgins Clark dated throughout her widowhood. She was married to Raymond Ploetz from 1978 to 1986, an experience she describes as a “disastrous” marriage. ln 1996, she remarried again, to John J. Conheeney, the retired CEO of Merrill Lynch Futures, after they were introduced by her daughter, Patty.The couple live in Saddle River, New Jersey, having first moved tonew Jerseyn 1956 when they bought a home in Washington Township, Bergen County, New Jersey and also have homes inManhattan; Spring Lake, New Jersey; and Dennis, Massachusetts.In 1981, Higgins Clark happened to be in Washington, D.C. the day President Ronald Reagan was shot. Because she had a press pass she was able to join the media waiting to hear the President’s prognosis. When the doctor finally arrived to start the press conference, Higgins Clark was one of the few people chosen to ask a question.Before beginning the actual writing of her books, Higgins Clark prefers to develop an outline and perhaps detailed character biographies. Each chapter is continuously revised as she writes, so that when she is ready to move on to the next chapter, the current chapter is considered done and is sent directly to her editor. By the time the editor receives the last chapter, the book is primarily done.Creativity abounds in Higgins Clark’s office, a tower-like room featuring skylights and windows, located on the third floor of her house. Every morning after a light breakfast, Higgins Clark arrives in her office around 8 a.m. and works until about 2 pm, unless she is near the end of her book, when she might extend her schedule to work up to 17 hours per day.

Lemmy (motorhead & Hawk Wind)

Sonic_Attack_-_HawkwindBest known as bassist, vocalist, songwriter and member of rock bands Motörhead &  Hawkwind, The heavy metal musician Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister was born on this day 24 December 1945, in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. The family moved to a farm in Benllech, Anglesey, North Wales and it was during this time that he started to show an interest in rock and roll music, girls and horses. He attended Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones school in Amlwch, where he was nicknamed Lemmy, although he is unsure why and it would later be claimed that it originated from the phrase “lemmy [lend me] aquid till Friday” because of his habit of borrowing money from people to feed his addiction to fruit machines.He saw The Beatles perform at the Cavern Club when he was 16, then played guitar along to their first album, Please Please Me, learning the chords. He also admired the sarcastic attitude of the group, particularly that of John Lennon Upon leaving school and with his family relocated in Conwy, Lemmy undertook a few temporary jobs including working at the local Hotpoint factory while also playing guitar for local bands, such as The Sundowners, and spending time at a horse riding school. At the age f 17, he met a holidaying girl named Cathy. Lemmy followed her to Stockport, Cheshire, where she had his son Sean.

In Stockport, he joined local bands The Rainmakers and then The Motown Sect who enjoyed playing northern clubs for three years. Wanting to progress further, in 1965 he joined The Rockin’ Vickers who signed a deal with CBS, released three singles and toured Europe, reportedly being the first British band to visit Yugoslavia. With the band living in a Manchester flat, he had a relationship with a girl named Tracy who bore him a son, Paul Inder, although it would not be until the boy was six that Lemmy had any involvement with him.In the film Lemmy he speaks briefly of having another son by an unnamed woman. It appears this child was adopted because the mother has only recently “found him” and “hadn’t got the heart to tell him who his father was”.Wanting to progress, Lemmy relocated to London in 1967. Sharing a flat with Noel Redding and Neville Chesters, he got a job as a roadie for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In 1968 he joined Sam Gopal and recorded the album Escalator and the single “Horse”. At that point Lemmy was thinking about changing his legal name to his stepfather’s surname of Willis, and appeared on the Escalatoralbum as Ian Willis; but he decided changing his birth certificate and passport would be too much hassle, so did not bother.[citation needed]After meeting Simon King in a Chelsea shopping centre in 1969, he joined the band Opal Butterfly, but the group soon folded, having previously failed to raise enough interest with their preceding CBS singles.An attempted reconciliation in 1970 between Lemmy and his birth father broke down, with Lemmy describing him as a “nasty little weasel”.

Space_Ritual_Sundown_V._2_-_Hawkwindln 1972, Lemmy joined the space rock band Hawkwind, who were based in Ladbroke Grove, London, as a bassist and vocalist. He had no previous experience as a bass guitarist, but quickly developed a distinctive style that was strongly shaped by his early experience as a rhythm guitarist, often using double stops and chords rather than the single note lines preferred by most bassists. His bass work was a fundamental part of the Hawkwind sound during his tenure, perhaps best documented on Space Ritual. He also provided the lead vocals on a number of songs, including the band’s biggest UK chart single, “Silver Machine”, which reached No.3 in 1972. ln 1975 Lemmy was fired from Hawkwind after he was arrested at the Canadian/US border in Windsor, Ontario on drug possession charges; he spent five days in jail. Lemmy was released without charge as Windsor Police arrested him for possession of cocaine and after testing the evidence it turned out to be speed. So according to Canadian law at the time, he couldn’t be charged with anything and was released with no charge or conviction.

He went on to form a new band called “Bastard” with guitarist Larry Wallis (former member of the Pink Fairies, Steve Took’s Shagrat and UFO) and drummer Lucas Fox. Lemmy’s connection with Took (formerly of T. Rex) was not limited to Wallis, as they were personal friends and Took was the stepfather to Lemmy’s son, Paul. When his manager informed him that a band by the name of “Bastard” would never get a slot on “Top of the Pops”, Lemmy changed the band’s name to “Motörhead” – the title of the last song he had written for Hawkwind.Lemmy playing bass and singing. The high microphone position has become a Lemmy trademark.Soon after, both Wallis and Fox were replaced with guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor and with this line-up the band began to achieve success. The band’s sound appealed to both Lemmy’s original fans and, eventually, to fans of punk rock. In fact, he asserts that he generally feels more kinship with punks than with heavy metal; he even played with The Damned for a handful of gigs when they had no regular bassist and Lemmy’s guttural vocals were unique in rock at that time, as they would not be copied until the rise in popularity of punk. The band’s success peaked between 1980 and 1981 with a number of UK chart hits, including the classic single “Ace of Spades”, which is still a crowd favourite and the #1 on the live album No Sleep ’til Hammersmith. Motörhead have since gone on to become one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and although Lemmy is the only constant member, are still performing and releasing records. Despite Motörhead’s many member changes over their 37-year history, the current lineup of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee has remained constant since 1995.

Lemmy has also worked with a number of other musicians over his career and occasionally guests with Hawkwind. He wrote the song “R.A.M.O.N.E.S” for the Ramones, which he still plays in his live sets as a tribute to the band. He was brought in as a songwriter for Ozzy Osbourne’s 1991 No More Tears album, providing lyrics for the tracks “Hellraiser”, (which Motörhead would later record themselves and release a single), “Desire”, “I Don’t Want to Change the World” and the single “Mama I’m Coming Home”. Lemmy has noted in several magazine and television interviews that he made more money from the royalties of that one song than he had in his entire time with Motörhead. After being diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes in 2000, which led to a brief hospitalisation, Lemmy again appeared with Motörhead at WrestleMania 17. Lemmy published hisautobiography, White Line Fever in November 2002. In 2005, Motörhead won their first Grammy in the Best Metal Performancecategory with their cover of Metallica’s “Whiplash”. Since 1990 he has lived in Los Angeles, California, currently resident in a two-room apartment two blocks away from his favourite hangout, the Rainbow Bar and Grill. Unfortunately in 2000, Lemmy was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, and this led to a brief hospitalisation. In 2002 Lemmy published his autobiography, White Line Fever .In 2005, Motörhead won their first Grammy in the Best Metal Performance category with their cover of Metallica’s “Whiplash”.  In October 2009 it was announced that he had been involved in recording a cover of “Stand by Me” featuring Lemmy on vocals and bass, Dave Lombardo of Slayer on drums, which was made for professional skateboarder Geoff Rowley. In 2011 Lemmy also appeared on the song Debauchery As A Fine Art from Michael Monroe’s new solo album called Sensory Overload.