“Ay Caramba Dude!”

Animated Shorts of The Simpsons first aired on The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. Created by Matt Groening and producer James L. Brooks for the Fox Broadcasting Company, The Simpsons is a satirical depiction of a dysfunctional middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family who live in a fictional middle American Town of Springfield and it parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition. The Simpsons consist of Homer, the father, who works as a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, a position at odds with his careless, buffoonish personality. Homer’s wife Marge Simpson, a stereotypical American housewife and mother, and three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker; Lisa, a precocious eight-year-old activist; and Maggie, the baby of the family who rarely speaks, but communicates by sucking on a pacifier. Although the family is dysfunctional, they are often shown to care about one another.

The show also includes an array of quirky supporting characters: co-workers, teachers, family friends, extended relatives, townspeople and local celebrities. The creators originally intended many of these characters as one-time jokes or for fulfilling needed functions in the town. A number of them have gained expanded roles and subsequently starred in their own episodes.

Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not age between episodes (either physically or in stated age), and generally appear just as they did when the series began. The series uses a floating timeline in which episodes generally take place in the year the episode is produced even though the characters do not age. Flashbacks/forwards do occasionally depict the characters at other points in their lives, with the timeline of these depictions also generally floating relative to the year the episode is produced.

The Simpsons takes place in the fictional American town of Springfield in an unknown and impossible-to-determine U.S. state. The show is intentionally evasive in regard to Springfield’s location. Springfield’s geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountains, or whatever the story or joke requires.Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up. The name “Springfield” is a common one in America and appears in 22 states. Groening has said that he named it after Springfield, Oregon, and the fictitious Springfield which was the setting of the series Father Knows Best.An astronomer and fan of the show, Phil Plait, noticed that The Simpsons could be set in Australia, because the moon in Springfield faces the wrong way to be an American location. It is drawn facing the right, as it would in the Southern Hemisphere.

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, the show has broadcast 569 episodes, and the 26th season began on September 28, 2014. The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American scripted primetime television series. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released on July 27, 2007.

The Simpsons has received widespread critical acclaim. Time magazine named it the 20th century’s best television series, and The A.V. Club named it “television’s crowning achievement regardless of format”. On January 14, 2000, the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. Homer’s exclamatory catchphrase “D’oh!” has been adopted into the English language, while The Simpsons has influenced and parodied many television sitcoms.

Lawn Chair Larry

Larry Walters (Better known as “Lawn Chair Larry”), was born 19th April in 1949. He is best remembered as the American truck driver who took flight on July 2, 1982, in a homemade airship Dubbed Inspiration I, which consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Walters had always dreamed of flying, but was unable to become a pilot in the United States Air Force because of his poor eyesight. Walters had first thought of using weather balloons to fly at age 13 and 14, after seeing them hanging from the ceiling of a military surplus store. Twenty years later he decided to do so. His intention was to attach a few helium-filled weather balloons to his patio chair, cut the anchor, and then float above his backyard at a height of about 30 feet (9.1 m) for several hours. He planned to use a pellet gun to burst balloons to float gently to the ground.

So in mid-1982, Walters and his girlfriend, Carol Van Deusen, purchased 45 eight-foot weather balloons and obtained helium tanks from California Toy Time Balloons, by using a forged requisition from his employer, FilmFair Studios, saying the balloons were for a television commercial. Walters then attached the balloons to his lawn chair, filled them with helium, put on a parachute, and strapped himself into the chair in the backyard of his home at 1633 W. 7th St. in San Pedro. He took his pellet gun, a CB radio, sandwiches, cold beer, and a camera.

However When his friends cut the cord that tied his lawn chair to his Jeep, Walters’ lawn chair rapidly shot up to a height of about 15,000 feet (4,600 m). At first, he did not dare shoot any balloons, fearing that he might unbalance the chair and fall out. He slowly drifted over Long Beach and crossed the primary approach corridor of Long Beach Airport, causing widespread chaos. After 45 minutes in the sky, he shot several balloons, and then accidentally dropped his pellet gun overboard.

As He descended slowly, he caused even more chaos when his balloons’ dangling cables got caught in a power line, causing a 20-minute blackout in a Long Beach neighborhood. Eventually though, Walters was able to climb to the ground, whereupon He was immediately arrested by waiting members of the Long Beach Police Department; when asked by a reporter why he had done it, Walters replied, “A man can’t just sit around.” Regional safety inspector Neal Savoy was reported to have said, “We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, some type of charge will be filed. If he had a pilot’s license, we’d suspend that. But he doesn’t.” Walters received the top prize from the Bonehead Club of Dallas for his adventure, and also gets an honourable mention on the Darwin Awards website His flight was also widely reported in many newspapers.

Lord Byron FRS

English poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS sadly passed away 19 April 1824 after developing a violent fever caused by sepsis. Born 22 January 1788. Byron spent his childhood in Aberdeenshire. When Byron’s great-uncle, the “wicked” Lord Byron, died on 21 May 1798, the 10-year-old boy became the 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale and inherited the ancestral home, Newstead Abbey, in Nottinghamshire. His mother Catherine took him to England”.Upon the death of Byron’s mother-in-law Judith Noel, the Hon. Lady Milbanke, in 1822, he changed his surname to “Noel” in order for him to inherit half of her estate and obtained a Royal Warrant allowing him to “take and use the surname of Noel only”. He was also sometimes referred to as “Lord Noel Byron”, as if “Noel” were part of his title, and likewise his wife was sometimes called “Lady Noel Byron”. Lady Byron eventually succeeded to the Baronetcy of Wentworth, becoming “Lady Wentworth”. Byron received his early formal education at Aberdeen Grammar School, and in August 1799 entered the school of Dr. William Glennie, in Dulwich. Then In 1801 he was sent to Harrow, where he remained until July 1805. And represented the school during the very first Eton v Harrow cricket match at Lord’s in 1805. Byron fell in love with Mary Chaworth, whom he met while at school, and she was the reason he refused to return to Harrow in September 1803. However Byron finally returned in January 1804,a more settled period which saw the formation of a circle of emotional involvements with other Harrow boys, which he recalled with great vividness: “He later wrote  Childish Recollections about his Harrow friendships, He then attended Trinity College, Cambridge. where he met and formed a close friendship with the younger John Edleston for whom Byron composed Thyrza, a series of elegies.

while at Cambridge he formed lifelong friendships with John Cam Hobhouse and Francis Hodgson, a Fellow at King’s College. While not at school or college, Byron lived with his mother in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Where, he cultivated friendships with Elizabeth Pigot and her brother, John, with whom he staged two Plays and was encouraged to write his first volumes of poetry. Fugitive Pieces, which contained poems written when Byron was only 14. He then wrote Hours of Idleness, which collected many of the previous poems, along with more recent compositions. This attracted savage, anonymous criticism in the Edinburgh Review and prompted his first major satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809). The work so upset some of his critics they challenged Byron to a duel; however gradually it became a mark of prestige to be the target of Byron’s pen.

After his return from his travels, the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, was published. The first two cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage were published in 1812, and were well received. He followed up his success with the poem’s last two cantos, as well as four equally celebrated “Oriental Tales”: The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair and Lara. About the same time, he met future biographer, Thomas Moore. Byron racked up numerous debts as a young man. His Mother lived at Newstead during this time, in fear of her son’s creditors. He had planned to spend early 1808 cruising with his cousinGeorge Bettesworth, who was captain of the 32-gun frigate HMS Tartar.  However Bettesworth’s unfortunate death at the Battle of Alvøen in May 1808 made that impossible. So from 1809 to 1811, Byron went on the Grand Tour. The Napoleonic Wars obliged him to avoid most of Europe, and he instead turned to the Mediterranean.Attraction to the Levant was probably a motive in itself; he had read about the Ottoman and Persian lands as a child, was attracted to Islam (especially Sufi mysticism), ”He travelled from England over Portugal, Spain and the Mediterranean to Albania and spent time at the court of Ali Pasha of Ioannina, and in Athens. For most of the trip, he travelled with John Cam Hobhouse.

Byron began his trip in Portugal from where he wrote a letter to his friend Mr. Hodgson in which he describes his mastery of the Portuguese language, consisting mainly of swearing and insults. Byron particularly enjoyed his stay in Sintra that is described in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage as “glorious Eden”. From Lisbon he travelled overland to Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Gibraltar and from there by sea on to Malta and Greece.While in Athens, Byron met 14-year-old Nicolò Giraud, who became quite close and taught him Italian. It has been suggested that the two had an intimate relationship involving a sexual affair. Byron sent Giraud to school at a monastery in Malta and bequeathed him a sizeable sum of seven thousand pounds sterling. The will, however, was later cancelled. 1810 in Athens Byron wroteMaid of Athens, ere we part for a 12-year-old girl, Teresa Makri [1798–1875], and reportedly offered £500 for her. The offer was not accepted.Byron made his way to Smyrna, where he and Hobhouse cadged a ride to Constantinople on HMS Salsette. While Salsette was anchored awaiting Ottoman permission to dock at the city, on 3 May 1810 Byron and Lieutenant Ekenhead, of Salsette‘s Marines, swam the Hellespont. Byron commemorated this feat in the second canto of Don Juan. He returned to England from Malta in June 1813 aboard HMS Volage. Byron left England again until he returned after his death, despite his dying wishes). He passed through Belgium and continued up the Rhine River. In the summer of 1816 he settled at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva, Switzerland, with his personal physician, the young, brilliant, and handsome John William Polidori. There Byron befriended the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Shelley’s future wife Mary Godwin. He was also joined by Mary’s stepsister,Claire Clairmont, with whom he had had an affair in London. Kept indoors at the Villa Diodati by the “incessant rain” of “that wet, ungenial summer” over three days in June, the five turned to reading fantastical stories, including Fantasmagoriana, and then devising their own tales. Mary Shelley produced what would become Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, and Polidori was inspired by a fragmentary story of Byron’s, Fragment of a Novel, to produce The Vampyre, the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre. Byron’s story fragment was published as a postscript to Mazeppa; he also wrote the third canto of Childe Harold. Byron wintered in Venice, pausing his travels when he fell in love with Marianna Segati, in whose Venice house he was lodging, and who was soon replaced by 22-year-old Margarita Cogni; both women were married .Cogni could not read or write, and she left her husband to move into Byron’s Venice house.Their fighting often caused Byron to spend the night in his gondola; when he asked her to leave the house, she threw herself into the Venetian canal.Ultimately, Byron resolved to escape the censure of British society (due to allegations of sodomy and incest) by living abroad, thereby freeing himself of the need to conceal his sexual interests.Byron left England in 1816 and did not return for the last eight years of his life.

In 1816, Byron visited San Lazzaro degli Armeni in Venice, where he acquainted himself with Armenian culture with the help of the abbots belonging to the Mechitarist Order. With the help of Father H. Avgerian, he learned the Armenian language,and attended many seminars about language and history. He wrote English Grammar and Armenian(Kerakanutyun angğiakan yev hayeren) in 1817, and Armenian Grammar and English(Kerakanutyun hayeren yev angğiakan) in 1819, where he included quotations fromclassical and modern Armenian. Intrigued by the language and its efficacy as a spoken tongue, Byron affirmed in his memoirs that “God spoke to the world in Armenian.” Byron also participated in the compilation of the English Armenian dictionary (Barraran angghieren yev hayeren, 1821) and wrote the preface in which he explained the relationship of the Armenians with and the oppression of the Turkish “pashas” and the Persian satraps, and their struggle of liberation. His two main translations are the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, two chapters of Movses Khorenatsi’s History of Armenia and sections of Nerses of Lambron’s Orations. His fascination was so great that he even considered a replacement of the Cain story of the Bible with that of the legend of Armenian patriarch Haik.He may be credited with the birth of Armenology and its propagation.His profound lyricism and ideological courage has inspired many Armenian poets, the likes of Ghevond Alishan, Smbat Shahaziz, Hovhannes Tumanyan, Ruben Vorberian and others. In 1817, he journeyed to Rome. On returning to Venice, he wrote the fourth canto of Childe Harold. About the same time, he sold Newstead and published Manfred, Cain and The Deformed Transformed. The first five cantos of Don Juan were written between 1818 and 1820, during which period he made the acquaintance of the young Countess Guiccioli, who found her first love in Byron, who in turn asked her to elope with him.

Led by the love for this local aristocratic and married young Teresa Guiccioli, Lord Byron lived in Ravenna between 1819 and 1821. Here he continued the Don Juan and wrote the Ravenna Diary, My Dictionary and Recollections. It was about this time that he received a visit from Thomas Moore, to whom he confided his autobiography or “life and adventures” which was,burned in 1824, a month after Byron’s death.From 1821 to 1822, he finished Cantos 6–12 of Don Juan at Pisa, and in the same year he joined with Leigh Hunt and Percy Bysshe Shelley in starting a short-lived newspaper, The Liberal and started giving dinner parties; his guests included the Shelleys, Edward Ellerker Williams, Thomas Medwin, John Taaffe and Edward John Trelawney. Shelley and Williams rented a house on the coast and had a schooner built. Byron decided to have his own yacht, and engaged Trelawny’s friend, Captain Daniel Roberts, to design and construct the boat. Named the Bolivar, it was later sold to Charles John Gardiner, 1st Earl of Blessington, and Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, when Byron left for Greece in 1823. Byron attended the funeral of Shelley, which was orchestrated by Trelawny after Williams and Shelley drowned in a boating accident on 8 July 1822. His last Italian home was Genoa, where he was still accompanied by the Countess Guiccioli, however, in 1823, while growing bored with his life there, he accepted overtures for his support from representatives of the movement for Greek independence from theOttoman Empire.With the assistance of his banker and Captain Daniel Roberts, Byron chartered the Brig Hercules to take him to Greece. On 16 July, Byron left Genoa arriving atKefalonia in the Ionian Islands on 4 August. His voyage is covered in detail in Sailing with Byron from Genoa to Cephalonia.

Byron chartered the Hercules And Between 1815 and 1823 the vessel was in service between England and Canada. Suddenly in 1823, the ship’s Captain decided to sail to Genoa and offer the Hercules for charter. After taking Byron to Greece, the ship returned to England, never again to venture into the Mediterranean. “The Hercules ran aground on 21 September 1852, aground near Hartlepool, only 25 miles south of Sunderland, where in 1815, her keel was laid.”Byron spent £4000 of his own money to refit the Greek fleet, then sailed for Missolonghi in western Greece, arriving on 29 December, to join Alexandros Mavrokordatos, a Greek politician with military power.When the famous Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen heard about Byron’s heroics in Greece, he voluntarily resculpted his earlier bust of Byron in Greek marble. Mavrokordatos and Byron planned to attack the Turkish-held fortress of Lepanto, at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth. Byron employed a fire-master to prepare artillery and took part of the rebel army under his own command, despite his lack of military experience, but before the expedition could sail, on 15 February 1824, he fell ill, and the usual remedy of bloodletting weakened him further.He made a partial recovery, but in early April he caught a violent cold which was treated with therapeutic bleeding. It is suspected this treatment, carried out with unsterilised medical instrumentation, may have caused him to develop sepsis. He developed a violent fever, and died on 19 April 1824.

Had Byron had lived and gone on to defeat the Ottomans, he might have been declared King of Greece. Alfred, Lord Tennyson would later recall the shocked reaction in Britain when word was received of Byron’s death. Greeks mourned Lord Byron deeply, and he became a hero.The national poet of Greece, Dionysios Solomos, wrote a poem about the unexpected loss, named To the Death of Lord Byron and a suburb of Athens is called Vyronas in his honour. Byron’s body was embalmed, but the Greeks wanted some part of their hero to stay with them. According to some sources, his heart remained at Missolonghi.His other remains were sent to England for burial in Westminster Abbey, but the Abbey refused for reason of “questionable morality”.Huge crowds viewed his body as he lay in state for two days in London.He is buried at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. At her request, Ada Lovelace, the child he never knew, was buried next to him. In later years, the Abbey allowed a duplicate of a marble slab given by the King of Greece, which is laid directly above Byron’s grave. Byron’s friends raised the sum of 1,000 pounds to commission a statue of the writer; Thorvaldsen offered to sculpt it for that amount.However, for ten years after the statue was completed in 1834, most British institutions turned it down, and it remained in storage. The statue was refused by the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and theNational Gallery.Trinity College, Cambridge, finally placed the statue of Byron in its library. In 1969, 145 years after Byron’s death, a memorial to him was finally placed in Westminster Abbey.

Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning DBE

English author and playwright Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning DBE sadly passed away aged 81 at her home in Cornwall, on 19 April 1989, which had been the setting for many of her books. Her body was cremated and her ashes scattered at Kilmarth,

Born 13 May 1907. Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca (which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1941) and Jamaica Inn and the short stories The Birds and Don’t Look Now. The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the latter by Nicholas Roeg. she is considered a first-rate storyteller, a mistress of suspense and Her ability to recreate a sense of place is much admired, and her work remains popular worldwide.The novel Rebecca, which has been adapted for stage and screen several times, is generally regarded as her masterpiece. In the U.S. she won the National Book Award for favourite novel of 1938, voted by members of the American Booksellers Association. One of her strongest influences here was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Her fascination with the Brontë family is also apparent in The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë, her biography of the troubled elder brother to the Brontë girls. Other significant works include The Scapegoat, The House on the Strand, and The King’s General. The last is set in the middle of thefirst and second English Civil Wars. Though written from the Royalist perspective of her adopted Cornwall, it gives a fairly neutral view of this period of history.Several of her other novels have also been adapted for the screen, including Jamaica Inn, Frenchman’s Creek, Hungry Hill, and My Cousin Rachel (1951). The Hitchcock film The Birds (1963) is based on a treatment of one of her short stories, as is the film Don’t Look Now (1973). Of the films, du Maurier often complained that the only ones she liked were Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and Nicolas Roeg’sDon’t Look Now. Hitchcock’s treatment of Jamaica Inn involved a complete re-write of the ending to accommodate the ego of its star,Charles Laughton. Du Maurier also felt that Olivia de Havilland was wrongly cast as the anti-heroine of My Cousin Rachel.

Frenchman’s Creek fared rather better in a lavish Technicolor version released in 1944. Du Maurier later regretted her choice of Alec Guinness as the lead in the film of The Scapegoat, which she partly financed. In 1989, Indian director Pavithran adapted her short story “No Motive” from the collection The Rendezvous and Other Stories (1980) for his critically acclaimed mystery thriller Utharam(Answer).Du Maurier was often categorised as a “romantic novelist” (a term she deplored), though most of her novels, with the notable exception of Frenchman’s Creek, are quite different from the stereotypical format of a Georgette Heyer or a Barbara Cartland novel. Du Maurier’s novels rarely have a happy ending, and her brand of romanticism is often at odds with the sinister overtones and shadows of the paranormal she so favoured. In this light, she has more in common with the “sensation novels” of Wilkie Collins and others, which she admired. Du Maurier’s novel Mary Anne (1954) is a fictionalised account of the real-life story of her great-great-grandmother, Mary Anne Clarkenée Thompson (1776–1852). From 1803 to 1808, Mary Anne Clarke was mistress of Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827). He was the “Grand Old Duke of York” of the nursery rhyme, a son of King George III and brother of the later King George IV.The central character of her last novel, Rule Britannia, is an ageing and eccentric actress who was based on Gertrude Lawrence andGladys Cooper (to whom it is dedicated).It was in her short stories that she was able to give free rein to the harrowing and terrifying side of her imagination; “The Birds”, “Don’t Look Now”, “The Apple Tree” and “The Blue Lenses” are exquisitely crafted tales of terror that shocked and surprised her audience in equal measure.

Daphne du Maurier wrote three plays. Her first was a successful adaptation of her novel Rebecca, she also wrote the autobiographically inspired drama The Years Between about the unexpected return of a senior officer, thought killed in action, who finds that his wife has taken his seat as Member of Parliament and has started a romantic relationship with a local farmer.Better known is her third play, September Tide, about a middle-aged woman whose bohemian artist son-in-law falls for her. She also wrote family novels/ biographies about her own ancestry, of which Gerald, the biography of her father, was most lauded. Later she wrote The Glass-Blowers, which traces her French ancestry and gives a vivid depiction of the French Revolution. The du Mauriers is a sequel of sorts describing the somewhat problematic ways in which the family moved from France to England in the 19th century and finally Mary Anne, the novel based on the life of a notable, and infamous, English ancestor – her great-grandmother Mary Anne Clarke, former mistress of Frederick, Duke of York.Her final novels reveal just how far her writing style had developed. The House on the Strand (1969) combines elements of “mental time-travel”, a tragic love affair in 14th century Cornwall, and the dangers of using mind-altering drugs. Her final novel, Rule Britannia, written post-Vietnam, plays with the resentment of English people in general and Cornish people in particular at the increasing dominance of the U.S.