Alexander Selkirk

imageScottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued on 2 February 1709, after spending more than four years as-a castaway marooned on an uninhibited island in the South Pacific, events which likely inspired the story Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe., Selkirk . As An unruly youth he joined many buccaneering expeditions to the South Sea, including one commanded by William Dampier, which called in for provisions at the Juan Fernández Islands off Chile. Selkirk judged correctly that his craft, the Cinque Ports, was unseaworthy, and asked to be left there. By the time he was rescued, he had become adept at hunting and making use of the resources found on the island. His story of survival was widely publicised when he returned home, and likely became a source of inspiration for writer Daniel Defoe’s fictional Robinson Crusoe. Which was first published on 25 April 1719. This first edition credited the work’s fictional protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents.

it was published under the considerably longer original title The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer)—a castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.

The story is widely perceived to have been influenced by the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called “Más a Tierra” (in 1966 its name was changed to Robinson Crusoe Island), Chile. However, other possible sources have been put forward for the text. It is possible, for example, that Defoe was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail’s Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, an earlier novel also set on a desert island. another source for Defoe’s novel may have been Robert Knox’s account of his abduction by the King ofCeylon in 1659 in “An Historical Account of the Island Ceylon,” Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons (Publishers to the University), 1911. in his 2003 book In Search of Robinson Crusoe, Tim Severin contends that the account of Henry Pitman in a short book chronicling his escape from a Caribbean penal colony and subsequent shipwrecking and desert island misadventures, is the inspiration for the story. Arthur Wellesley Secord in his Studies in the narrative method of Defoe painstakingly analyses the composition of Robinson Crusoe and gives a list of possible sources of the story, rejecting the common theory that the story of Selkirk is Defoe’s only source.

Despite its simple narrative style, Robinson Crusoe was well received in the literary world and is often credited as marking the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre. Before the end of 1719 the book had already run through four editions, and it has gone on to become one of the most widely published books in history, spawning numerous sequels and adaptations for stage, film, and television.

About Time

Described as a fantastical feel good movie, I would also like to see the time-travelling romantic comedy About Time which is out on DVD and is directed by Richard Curtis  (4 weddings-and a funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually). It stars  Domhall Gleeson As a chap named Tim who at the age of 21 is told an incredible family secret by his father, namely that all the men in his family have the ability to relive the past and can revisit any moment in his life and change things for the better and  Alter events until they are perfect.

During one of his trips into the past he meets someone and decides that she is the girl of his dreams So he decides to use his special new gift to win the heart of Mary (Rachel McAdams) but finds that the course of true love does not run smoothly and can be hilariously difficult, even with the ability to try and try again. The film also stars Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Lydia Wilson and Vanessa Kirby  and is described as a romantic comedy about love, life and time travel, which discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.

Rush

Chequered
imageDirected by academy award winning Director Ron Howard Beautiful Mind) an written byAcademy Award-nominated writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) I would like to see Rush, which has recently been released on DVD. It is a fast paced and spectacular fim set in Formula One’s 1970s heyday, when ‘sex was safe and driving was dangerous’. It is a gripping and spectacular story set against the glamourous age of racing and concerns the merciless and legendary 1970s Formula 1 rivalry between English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth; Thor) and his Austrian opponent, Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl; Inglourious Basterds).
Rush portrays the exhilarating true story of the charismatic Hunt and the methodically brilliant Lauda, two of the greatest rivals the world of sport has ever witnessed. Taking us into their personal lives and clashes on and off the Grand Prix racetrack, Rush follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error.
Culminating  in the summer of 1976, Rush follows the intertwining careers of James Hunt–the English rock ‘n’ roll star of motor racing–and his chief rival Niki Lauda, a prickly newcomer with a head for engineering and a Spartan work ethic. Chris Helmsworth plays Hunt, as sporting a playboy as the late George Best, striding handsomely around Monaco’s sunlit racetrack and. Bankrolled by the aristocratic Lord Hesketh and at ease among the sport’s Riviera set, his career and his popularity are overshadowed when Lauda (made enormously likable by Daniel Brühl) catches the eye of an ambitious Ferrari team on the lookout for a new breed of racing driver.
As Hunt drifts though a string of beds, boozers and petty brawls, Lauda patiently racks up the points, spending long nights obsessing over his car and those precious milliseconds that can mean an eternity at the margin. A deadly rivalry develops between Hunt vs. Lauda which erupts into snaking dogfights around the hazardous circuits of Monza, Silverstone, and near-fatally at the Nürburgring. Hunt is more alive to the alluring danger of racing–references to the famously large number of women he’s meant to have slept with are left out–but it’s Lauda who pays the higher price, and the film’s dramatic heart is Lauda’s psychological comeback, despite devastating injuries, as he prepares for a final showdown. 

Never mind The Sex Pistols here’s the late Sid Vicious

Sid Vicious, English singer and bass player (Sex Pistols, Vicious White Kids, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Flowers of Romance) tragically died 2 February 1979 After overdosing on heroin. Born in 1957 he joined the band after replacing Glen Matlock in the Sex pistols in early 1977 and stayed with them until his tragic death in 1979.

The Sex pistols were formed in London in 1975 and were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. Although their initial career lasted just two-and-a-half years and produced only four singles and one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, they are regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music, and the album is regarded as a classic by many.

They evolved from “The Strand”, a London band formed in 1972 with working-class teenagers Steve Jones on vocals, Paul Cook on drums, and Wally Nightingale on guitar. According to a later account by Jones, both he and Cook played on instruments they had stolen. vocalist Johnny Rotten joined soon after In August 1975, when he was spotted wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt with the words I Hate handwritten above the band’s name and holes scratched through the eyes. The line-up was completed by guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock, who was replaced by Sid Vicious in early 1977.

Under the management of impresario Malcolm McLaren, the band provoked controversies that captivated Britain. Their behaviour, as much as their music, brought them national attention and their concerts repeatedly faced difficulties with organizers and authorities, and public appearances often ended in mayhem. Their 1977 single “God Save the Queen”, attacking Britons’ social conformity and deference to the Crown, precipitated the “last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium”.

Since the spring of 1977, the three senior Sex Pistols had also been returning to the studio periodically with Chris Thomas to lay down the tracks for the band’s debut album. Initially to be called God Save Sex Pistols, it became known during the summer as Never Mind the Bollocks. In January 1978, after a turbulent tour of the United States, Rotten left the band and announced its break-up. Over the next several months, the three other band members recorded songs for McLaren’s film version of the Sex Pistols’ story, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. Vicious died of a heroin overdose in February 1979. In 1996, Rotten, Jones, Cook and Matlock reunited for the Filthy Lucre Tour; since 2002, they have staged further reunion shows and tours. On 24 February 2006, the Sex Pistols—the four original members plus Vicious—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day occurs on February 2, every year to mark the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, called Ramsar Convention, on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.

From 1997 to 2007, the Convention’s Web site has posted reports from more than 95 countries of WWD activities of all sizes and shapes, from lectures and seminars, nature walks, children’s art contests, sampan races, and community clean-up days, to radio and television interviews and letters to newspapers, to the launch of new wetland policies, new Ramsar sites, and new programmes at the national level. On February 2010 World Wetlands day was held in Korea under the Ramsar support. The day is really important, as more awareness is raised on the importance of taking care of  wetlands.

 

Candlemas

Candlemas is celebrated on 2nd February and marks The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple,and celebrates an early episode in the life of Jesus. In the Eastern Orthodox Church and some Eastern Catholic Churches, it is one of the twelve Great Feasts, and is sometimes called Hypapante (lit., ’Meeting’ in Greek). Other traditional names include Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord. In the Roman Catholic Church the “Feast of the Presentation of the Lord” is a Feast Day, the major feast between the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle on 25 January and the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle on 22 February. In some Western liturgical churches, Vespers (or Compline) on the Feast of the Presentation marks the end of the Epiphany season. In the Church of England, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple is a Principal Feast celebrated either on 2 February or on the Sunday between 28 January and 3 February.

In the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. It was also reflected in the former practice of the churching of new mothers, forty days after the birth of a child. Traditionally, Candlemas occurs 40 days after Christmas and is the last feast day in the Christian year that was dated by reference to Christmas. Subsequent moveable feasts are calculated with reference to Easter. Traditionally the Western term “Candlemas” (or Candle Mass) referred to the practice whereby a priest on 2 February blessed beeswax candles for use throughout the year, some of which were distributed to the faithful for use in the home. In Poland the feast is called Święto Matki Bożej Gromnicznej (Święto, “Holiday” + Matka Boska, “Mother of God” + Gromnica, “Thunder”). This name refers to the candles that are blessed on this day, called gromnicy, since these candles are lit  during (thunder) storms and placed in windows to ward off storms. Within the Roman Catholic Church, since the liturgical revisions of the Second Vatican Council, this feast has been referred to as the Feast of Presentation of the Lord, with references to candles and the purification of Mary de-emphasised in favor of the Prophecy of Simeon the Righteous. Pope John Paul II connected the feast day with the renewal of religious vows. This feast never falls in Lent (the earliest Ash Wednesday can fall is 4 February, for the case of Easter on 22 March in a non-leap year). However, in the Tridentine rite, it can fall in the pre-Lenten season if Easter is early enough, and “Alleluia” has to be omitted from this feast’s liturgy when that happens. According to over eight centuries of tradition, the swaddling clothes that baby Jesus wore during the presentation at the Temple are kept in Dubrovnik Cathedral, Croatia. In the United Kingdom, good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later.

“If Candlemas Day is clear and bright,
winter will have another bite.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
winter is gone and will not come again.”

It is also alleged to be the date that bears emerge from hibernation to inspect the weather as  well as wolves, who if they choose to return to their lairs on this day is interpreted as meaning  severe weather will continue for another forty days at least. The same is true in Italy, where it  is called Candelora. In the United States, Candlemas coincides with Groundhog Day, the earliest American reference to which can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin  and Marshall College.

February 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.

In France, Candlemas (French: La Chandeleur) is celebrated with crêpes, which must be eaten only after eight p.m. If the cook can flip a crêpe while holding a coin in the other hand, the family is assured of prosperity throughout the coming year. In Italy, traditionally, it (Italian: La Candelora) is considered the last cold day of winter and In Southern and Central Mexico, and Guatemala City, Candlemas (Spanish: Día de La Candelaria) is celebrated with tamales.

Any Rand

Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter Ayn Rand was born in Russia 2nd February 1905. She is best  known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936. After two early novels that were initially less successful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. In 1957, she published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward she turned to nonfiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected ethical altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism, instead supporting limited government and laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed was the only social system that protected individual rights. She promoted romantic realism in art. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for some Aristotelians and classical liberals. Rand’s fiction was poorly received by many literary critics, and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.

Objectivism’s central tenets are that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (or rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.