Ruth Rendell

Having read a number of gripping Psychological Murder Mysteries by English Author Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE including From Doon with Death, a New Lease of Death, Murder being once done, Put on by Cunning, an Unkindness of Ravens, Road Rage and Adam &Eve & Pinch Me, I thought I would write something. Born 17 February 1930. Rendell’s best-known creation, Chief Inspector Wexford, is the hero of many popular police stories, some of them successfully adapted for TV. But Rendell has also generated a separate brand of crime-fiction that explores deeply into the psychological background of criminals and their victims, many of them mentally afflicted or otherwise socially isolated. This theme is developed further in a third series of novels, written under her pseudonym Barbara Vine

Rendell was born Ruth Barbara Grasemann in 1930, in South Woodford, London. She was educated at the County High School for Girls in Loughton, Essex. After high school she became a feature writer for her local paper, the Chigwell Times. Even at an early age, making up stories was irresistible to Rendell. As a reporter, she visited a house that was rumoured to be haunted and invented the ghost of an old woman. The owners threatened to sue the newspaper for devaluing their home. Later, she reported on the local tennis club’s annual dinner without attending, so missing the untimely death of the after-dinner speaker in mid-speech. She resigned before she could be fired. Rendell met her husband, Don Rendell when she was working as a newswriter. They married when she was 20, and had a son, Simon, now a psychiatric social worker who lives in Colorado. The couple divorced in 1975, but remarried two years later.

Rendell wrote two unpublished novels before the 1964 publication of From Doon With Death, which was purchased for £75 by John Long; it was the first mystery to feature her enduring and popular detective Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford. The Monster in the Box, released in October 2009, was widely rumoured to be Wexford’s last case.This was incorrect; however it was the final novel featuring Wexford as an employed policeman; in the novel that followed, The Vault, he has retired. In addition to these police procedurals starring Wexford, Rendell has written psychological crime novels exploring such themes as romantic obsession, misperceived communication, the impact of chance and coincidence, and the humanity of the criminals involved. Among such books are A Judgement In StoneThe Face of TrespassLive FleshTalking to Strange MenThe Killing DollGoing Wrongand Adam and Eve and Pinch Me. Many credit her and close friend P. D. James for upgrading the entire genre of whodunit, shaping it more into a whydunit. Rendell’s protagonists are often socially isolated, suffer from mental illness, and/or are otherwise disadvantaged; she explores the adverse impacts of their circumstances on these characters as well as on their victims.

Rendell created a third strand of writing with the publication in 1986 of A Dark-Adapted Eye under her pseudonym Barbara Vine (the name derives from her own middle name and her grandmother’s maiden name). King Solomon’s CarpetA Fatal Inversion and Asta’s Book (alternative US title, Anna’s Book), among others, inhabit the same territory as her psychological crime novels while further developing themes of human misunderstandings and the unintended consequences of family secrets and hidden crimes. The author is noted for her elegant prose and sharp insights into the human mind, as well as her cogent plots and characters. Rendell injected the social changes of the last 40 years into her work, bringing awareness to such issues as domestic violence and the change in the status of women.Lady Rendell has received many awards, including the Silver, Gold, and Cartier Diamond Daggers from the Crime Writers’ Association, three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America, The Arts Council National Book Awards, and The Sunday Times Literary Award. A number of her works have been adapted for film or television. She is also a Patron of the charity Kids for Kids, helping children in rural areas of Darfur. she was made a CBE in 1996 and a life peer as Baroness Rendell of Babergh, of Aldeburgh in the County of Suffolk, in 1997. She sits in the House of Lords for Labour. In 1998 Rendell was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the Labour Party.

Presidents’ Day

strsstripesFebruary 17 2013 is Washington’s Birthday / Presidents’ Day, a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States. it is also a state holiday in most states where it is known by a variety of names includingPresidents Day and Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthday and officially celebrates, depending upon the state, Washington alone, Washington and Lincoln, or some other combination of U.S. presidents.Colloquially, the holiday is widely known as “Presidents Day” and is often an occasion to celebrate, or at least remember, all presidents and not just George Washington andAbraham Lincoln. whose birthdays were both in February.

A federal holiday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in Washington and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices as the first federal holiday to honor an American President, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. onJanuary 1, 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. this date places it between February 15 and 21.

The first attempt to create a Presidents Day occurred in 1951 when the “President’s Day National Committee” was formed by Harold Stone Bridge Fischer of Compton, California, who became its National Executive Director for the next two decades. The purpose was not to honor any particular President but to honor the office of the Presidency. It was first thought that March 4, the original inauguration day, should be deemed Presidents Day. However, the bill recognizing the March 4 date was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee (which had authority over federal holidays). time, the Governors of a majority of the individual states issued proclamations declaring March 4 to be Presidents’ Day in their respective jurisdictions.An early draft of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act would have renamed the holiday to “Presidents’ Day” to honor the birthdays of bothWashington and Lincoln, which would explain why the chosen date falls between the two, but this proposal failed in committee, and the bill as voted on and signed into law on June 28, 1968, kept the name Washington’s Birthday.

Today, the February holiday has become well known for being a day in which many stores, especially car dealers, hold sales. Until the late 1980s, corporate businesses generally closed on this day, similar to present corporate practices on Memorial Day or Christmas Day. With the late 1980s advertising push to rename the holiday, more and more businesses are staying open on the holiday each year, and, as on Veterans Day and Columbus Day, most delivery services outside of the U.S. Postal Service now offer regular service on the day as well. Some public transit systems have also gone to regular schedules on the day. Many colleges and universities hold regular classes and operations on Presidents’ Day. Various theories exist for this, one accepted reason being to make up for the growing trend of corporations to close in observance of the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The federal holiday Washington’s Birthday honors the accomplishments of the man known as “The Father of his Country”. Celebrated for his leadership in the founding of the nation, he was the Electoral College’s unanimous choice to become the first President; he was seen as a unifying force for the new republic and set an example for future holders of the office.  The holiday is also a tribute to the general who created the first military badge of merit for the common soldier. Revived on Washington’s 200th birthday in 1932, the Purple Heart medal (which bears Washington’s image) is awarded to soldiers who are injured in battle. As with Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Washington’s Birthday offers another opportunity to honor the country’s veterans.

Community celebrations often display a lengthy heritage. Washington’s hometown of historic Alexandria, Virginia, hosts a month-long tribute, including the longest running George Washington Birthday parade, while the community of Eustis, Florida, continues its annual “George Fest” celebration begun in 1902. In Denver, Colorado there is a society dedicated to observing the day. at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and at Mount Vernon, visitors are treated to birthday celebrations throughout the federal holiday weekend and through February 22. In 2007 the country celebrated both Washington’s 275th birthday and the 75th anniversary of the rebirth of the Purple Heart medal. Since 1862 there has been a tradition in the United States Senate that George Washington’s Farewell Address be read on his birthday. Citizens had asked that this be done in light of the approaching Civil War. The annual tradition continues with the reading of the address on or near Washington’s Birthday.


The LEGO Movie

Just for a laugh I would like to watch The LEGO movie, which  starts when the wizard Vitruvius  tries to prevent the evil Lord business acquiring a super weapon called the “Kragle”. Years later, Emmet Brickowski, an ordinary construction worker with no special qualities, meets Wyldstyle, who is searching for something at Emmet’s construction site. When he investigates, Emmet falls into a hole and finds an object called the Piece of Resistance. Compelled to touch it, Emmet experiences vivid visions and passes out. He awakens in the custody of Bad Cop, Lord Business’ lieutenant and learns Business’ plans to destroy the world with the Kragle. Wyldstyle rescues Emmet and takes him to Vitruvius, who explains that he and Wyldstyle are “Master Builders” capable of building anything they need, both with great speed and without instruction manuals. Years ago, when Lord Business rose to power, he banned creativity and captured many Master Builders.

imageLord Business plans to use the Kragle to freeze the universe perfectly in place. Bad Cop chases Emmet and Wyldstyle, who are rescued by her boyfriend, Batman. He takes them to a meeting of the remaining Master Builders. Unimpressed with Emmet, they refuse to fight Lord Business. Bad Cop and his forces attack and capture all the Master Builders except for Emmet and a few others. Emmet believes the Master Builders’ weakness is that their individual creativity prevents them from working together. He devises a team plan to infiltrate Lord Business’ headquarters. As Emmet and his allies are captured and imprisoned, Vitruvius attempts to fight back but is killed. Business throws the Piece of Resistance off the edge of the universe, sets his headquarters to self-destruct, and leaves with the Kragle while leaving Bad Cop behind. Emmet, decides to sacrifice himself for his friends, flinging himself off the edge of the universe. inspired, the Master Builders escape and rally with the help of Bad Cop. Soon, Lego people across the universe are building their own creative weapons. The Master Builders lead the charge against Lord Business

meanwhile in the real world,  the events of the story are being played out within the imagination of a boy, Finn. His father “The Man Upstairs” chastises his son for ruining his father’s Lego set by mixing characters with the wrong playsetss. Finn argues that Lego are for children, but his father prefers to Krazy Glue his perceived perfect creations together permanently, as this is how adults play with Lego. In the Lego world, Lord Business’ forces gain the upper hand. Realizing the father will glue all the Lego in place, Emmet wills himself to move and falls off the table, gaining Finn’s attention. Finn returns Emmet to the Lego set, where Emmet builds a massive robot to assist his friends before confronting Lord Business…

Thanks to the popularity of The Lego Movie, which enjoyed a bumper weekend at the box office, raking in $13.4m in the UK and $69.1m in the US. Lego is recreating an entire episode of The Simpsons out of the building blocks As part of the 25the Season. For the 550th episode of the show, titled Brick Like Me, Homer wakes up to find that everyone in Springfield is made of Lego. He then has to “put together” how he got there and work out how to get home. Other episodes to mark the show’s 25th season include a Halloween special directed by Hellboy film-maker Guillermo del Toro and a collaboration with Simpsons creator Matt Groening’s other series Futurama. The Simpsons Lego episode will air in the UK and US on 4 May.

Just for a laugh I managed to acquire some Lego sets including Star Wars Ninjago, Lord of the Rings and Toy Story Lego which were given away with various newspapers Some time ago. Lego Futurama also sounds like fun, you could build the Planet Express Spaceship, The Nimbus and the Solid gold Death Stars

NationalChip Week

This years National Chip Week takes place Between 17 February until 23 February. During national Chip Week the Potato Council hopes to raise awareness of the humble chip and the potato growing Industry in Britain. National Chip Week also celebrates the British love of chips and There are many websites with hints and tips of how to cook the best chips. The event is ONE of the Potato Council’s biggest annual awareness campaigns of the year and includes the choice chip Awards which are awarded in recognition of the best quality chips being served up by fish and chip shops, pubs and restaurants around the country, as well as promoting their suppliers and processors.The Potato Council is a division of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, and is committed to supporting the British potato industry and is established via the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Order 2008. One of the purposes of National Chip Week is to raise awareness of the challenges facing Potato Growers in Britain.

Another more serious purpose,  is to educate the public how to cook safetly, the dangers of Chip Pan Fires and how to deal with them. According to a report, Fire statistics: Great Britain 2010 – 2011, more than half of accidental fires in the home were due to cooking. As many people will be supporting National Chip Week by cooking chips there is cause for concern regarding household safety. Old fashioned chip pans should be discarded in favour of Fat Fryers, as fat in Chip Pans can become quickly overheated and heating the oil to its autoignition point or by having oil splattering onto the heat source can cause fire

Although The dangers of oil or fat fires (generally flammable substances less dense than water) are well known in industrial processes, Many people do not know how to cope with a chip pan fire and make the situation worse by trying to put the fire out with water. NEVER pour water on to a chip pan fire, Traditional thinking says that you do not use water to extinguish an oil fire, because bulk water sinks below the oil and boils, violently ejecting the burning oil and causing a potentially hazardous boilover where the fat spits out of the pan into the room and causes fire.. When faced with a blazing pan of oil it is best practice to “get out, stay out and dial 999″, as most individuals are not trained to deal with fires and could potentially face severe injury or death if their attempts to extinguish fat or chip pan fires were unsuccessful. The wet tea towel advice is also contrary to all other advice we give to the general public about not tackling fires.

The best way to prevent a kitchen fire is to stay near the cooker whenever you are cooking something. Don’t leave cooking unattended. It only takes a few minutes for a fire to get out of hand. Check regularly on the things cooking in the oven. Be sure to keep your stove and oven clean and be sure to move anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from the heat, and take care if you are wearing loose clothing, it can easily catch fire.When cooking with a chip pan or deep frying dry the food before you put it in oil. If your pan starts to smoke it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool. Never pour water on hot fat and turn pot handles toward the centre of the stove when cooking on the stove top. Pots and handles should never hang over the edge of the hob where someone could bump into them. This is one of the major causes of serious burns in children and the elderl