Sons of the Dragon, Song of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones author George RR Martin is currently writing a new short story called Sons of the Dragon which set in his Westeros universe. It focuses on the bloody and incestuous Targaryen family history. The Sons of the Dragon will be published in a fantasy anthology called The Book of Swords in October. It will Chronicle the reigns of the second and third Targaryen kings, Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel, and explore what happened to their families, friends and enemies during their time in power. In the world of Westeros, both kings reigned roughly 250 years before the main storyline of Game of Thrones begins, when their descendent Daenerys begins her attempt to reclaim power.

In the Game of Thrones reference book The World of Ice and Fire, written in the voice of historian Yandel, Aenys I is described as being a dreamer, alchemist and womaniser. Weak and indecisive as a ruler, Aenys flees the throne in the midst of a religious uprising, spawned from the populace’s disgust at his having arranged the marriage of his son and daughter to one another. His half-brother, Maegor, (The Cruel) inherits the throne and embarks on a series of brutal acts of revenge on those who question his right to rule, using torture, execution and his enormous dragon to keep would-be dissenters in line. “His reign began with blood and ended in blood.” The Book of Swords anthology will be edited by Gardner Dozois. George R.R. Martin also intends to write a longer history book, called Fire and Blood and is currently writing the long-awaited sixth and seventh installments in the Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

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Game of Thrones (Season Three)

I have recently finished Season three of Game of thrones. It begins shortly after the White Walkers attack and the Survivors, including Tarly and Jeor, pledge to return to the Wall to warn the Seven Kingdoms. Snow is brought before Rayder, the “King beyond the Wall”, and pledges his loyalty to the Wildlings. A scarred Tyrion tries to get Casterly Rock from Tywin. Margaery engages in charity work with the orphans of King’s Landing. Baelish offers to help Sansa escape King’s Landing. Ros advises Shae not to trust him. Davos is rescued by Saan, and returned to Dragonstone, where he unsuccessfully tries to kill Melisandre, and is imprisoned. In Essos, Targaryen arrives in the city of Astapor to buy an army of brutally-trained slave soldiers, the “Unsullied”. She is saved from an assassination attempt by the warlocks of Qarth by Selmy, the former Kingsguard commander, who pledges his loyalty.

Brienne continues escorting Jaime across the Riverlands to King’s Landing they encounter Bolton soldiers. After receiving the news of the sack of Winterfell and the disappearance of Bran and Rickon, Robb attends the funeral of Catelyn’s father’s in Riverrun, angering Karstark, who seeks vengeance for his sons who were killed by the Lannisters. Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie also make for Riverrun, but are waylaid by a rebel group, the “Brotherhood without Banners”. Meanwhile Margaery and her grandmother Olenna, the “Queen of Thorns”, convince Sansa to tell them about Joffrey. Theon is tortured by unknown captors. Bran, Rickon, Osha and Hodor encounter the siblings Jojen and Meera, children of the Stark bannerman Howland. Jojen, tells Bran that he is a warg, able to enter the minds of animals.

Robb and Catelyn attend the funeral in Riverrun. Tywin decides to send Baelish to Lysa intending to have them married in order to secure her alliance, making Tyrion the new Master of Coin. While Hot Pie decides to stay at the inn, Arya and Gendry follow the Brotherhood. Learning of the massacre at the Fist of the First Men, Rayder sends Snow with a band of Wildlings to scale the Wall and attack the Watch. The surviving men of the Night’s Watch arrive back at Craster’s Keep, where Tarly witnesses Gilly give birth to a son. Theon is freed by an unknown man, who later rescues him again. Melisandre leaves Dragonstone stating that the blood of a King is required for victory. Targaryen agrees to buy all the 8,000 Unsullied and the translator Missandei for one of her dragons. Jaime tries to save Brienne, but pays a heavy price.

Theon is betrayed by the rescuer, who returns him to the prison. After a failed escape attempt, Jaime almost gives up; but Brienne supports him  Varys advises Tyrion to be patient for vengeance. At Craster’s keep, the surviving Night’s Watchmen, argue with their host. Craster and Jeor are slain in the struggle and Tarly flees with Gilly and her son. Arya and Gendry are taken to the secret cave of the Brotherhood, meeting their leader, Dondarrion, who later sentences Sandor Clegane to trial by combat with him.  Targaryen meets with Kraznys to complete the trade of a dragon for the Unsullied army. She tests the Unsullied, then orders them to kill their former masters, reclaims her dragon and frees the Unsullied, who all decide to follow her freely.

Tyrion convinces Olenna to pay for part of the royal wedding. Sansa tells Baelish about her decision to stay in King’s Landing. The Lannisters discover the Tyrells’ plot to marry off Sansa to Loras. To prevent the union, Tywin plans to marry Sansa to Tyrion, and Cersei to Loras. Stannis confesses his infidelity to his wife, Selyse, meanwhile His daughter, Shireen, sneaks into the dungeon to visit Seaworth and starts teaching him to read. Sandor Clegane kills Dondarrion and is released. However, Dondarrion is resurrected seemingly by the power of the Lord of Light. Gendry decides to stay with the Brotherhood, and Thoros and Dondarrion plan to ransom Arya to Robb. After being delivered to Bolton, Jaime confesses to Brienne why he killed Aerys. Robb executes Karstark for the murder of two captive Lannister boys. With the Karstarks abandoning him, Robb plans to make a desperate alliance with Frey. Snow and Ygritte have sex. The Unsullied select a warrior called Grey Worm as their leader.

In King’s Landing, Tywin coerces Olena into agreeing to marry Loras to Cersei, who reveals to Tyrion that it was Joffrey who tried to have him killed during the siege. Tyrion confesses to Shae and Sansa about the upcoming marriage. Baelish tells Varys that he has caught Ros as Varys’ informant and has given her to Joffrey, who kills her. In the Riverlands, Melisandre buys Gendry from the Brotherhood, foretelling that Arya will kill many people. Robb gives Harrenhal to Frey and betroths his uncle Edmure to Frey’s daughter, Roslin. Bolton plans to send Jaime to King’s Landing, but refuses to send Brienne with him. Meanwhile Theon is still being held captive. In the North, tension arises between Osha and Meera. Beyond the Wall, Tarly continues his flight with Gilly and her son, while Snow and Ygritte manage to climb the Wall with two other Wildlings.

In the North, Jojen tells Bran they must go beyond the Wall to find the raven, against Osha’s wishes. Snow and Ygritte’s relationship deepens, making fellow Wildling Orell angry.  Talisa reveals to Robb that she is pregnant. Arya runs away from the Brotherhood, and is captured by Sandor Clegane Melisandre reveals to Gendry that his father was Robert. Shae tells Tyrion that she will not continue their relationship once he marries Sansa. Tywin counsels Joffrey and discusses Daenerys, who has reached the city of Yunkai. Bolton departs Harrenhall for Edmure’s wedding while Jaime says farewell to Brienne and departs for King’s Landing. On the road, he finds out that Locke refused Brienne’s father’s ranso so he returns to Harrenhall and rescues Brienne.

King’s Landing hosts Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding and Tyrion gets drunk. Meanwhile Sandor Clegane reveals to Arya that they are heading for the Twins to ransom her to Robb. Stannis releases Seaworth, demanding he respect Melisandre, who arrives in Dragonstone with Gendry, whom she seduces and extracts blood from. Stannis names three usurpers: Robb, Balon and Joffrey. Daenerys is joined by the Second Sons in Yunkai  after a lieutenant named Naharis kills the other leaders and pledges the company’s loyalty.

Tarly and Gilly are attacked by a White Walker but eventually arrive at the Wall. During a thunderstorm, Bran enters Hodor’s mind to calm him down. Nearby, Snow refuses to kill a farmer, whom Ygritte kills before Snow is attacked by the other Wildlings. Bran uses his warg ability to save Snow, who kills Orell before escaping, leaving a furious Ygritte behind with chief Giantsbane. Osha, Rickon and his direwolf depart for the Last Hearth, while Bran and his remaining company plan to go beyond the Wall. Meanwhile Daenerys sends Mormont, Naharis and Grey Worm to infiltrate Yunkai and open the city gate for her army. Yunkai soon falls to her forces. Robb arrives at the Twins and apologizes to Walder Frey. Edmure marries Roslin and they leave to consummate their marriage. However Walder’s men murder Catelyn, Talisa and most of the Stark bannermen, while Bolton, kills Robb. Arya also arrives at the Twins and witnesses a part of the massacre.

The mastermind of the massacre offers Walder Frey the Seat of Riverrun and appoints Bolton as the Warden of the North meanwhile Theon’s captor is revealed and Yara Greyjoy decides to rescue him. Arriving in the capital with Brienne, Jaime is reunited with Cersei. In the North, Tarly’s party encounters Bran’s and gives them the Dragonglass weapons before arriving back at Castle Black, where he and Maester Aemon send ravens to alert the Seven Kingdoms to the White Walkers. Jon also returns to Castle Black. In Dragonstone, Seaworth helps Gendry escape, while Stannis heads north to aid the Watch against the White Walkers.

Piet Mondrian


Mondrian_CompRYBDutch Painter Pieter Cornelis “Piet” Mondriaan, sadly died 1 February 1944 after contracting pneumonia. He was born March 7, 1872. in Amersfoort, Netherlands. He moved to Winterswijk when his father, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was appointed Head Teacher at a local primary school. Mondrian was introduced to art from a very early age: his father was a qualified drawing teacher; and, with his uncle, Fritz Mondriaan. Piet often painted and drew along the river Gein. In 1892, Mondrian entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam. He already was qualified as a teacher. He began his career as a teacher in Primary Education, but he also practiced painting. Most of his work from this period is Naturalistic or Impressionistic, consisting largely of landscapes, depicting windmills, fields, and rivers, initially in the Dutch Impressionist manner of the Hague School and then in a variety of styles and techniques. These paintings illustrate the influence various artistic movements had on Mondrian, including Pointillism and the vivid colors of Fauvism. On display in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague are a number of paintings from this period, including The Red Mill and Trees in Moonrise. Another painting, Evening (Avond) (1908), a scene of haystacks in a field at dusk, uses a palette consisting almost entirely of red, yellow, and blue And is the earliest of Mondrian’s works to emphasize the primary colors. The earliest paintings that show an inkling of the abstraction to come are a series of canvases from 1905 to 1908, which depict dim scenes of indistinct trees and houses with reflections in still water. In 1908, he became interested in the theosophical movement launched by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Mondrian’s later work were influenced by the 1911 Moderne Kunstkring exhibition of Cubism in Amsterdam. His search for simplification is shown in two versions of Still Life with Ginger Pot (Stilleven met Gemberpot). The 1911 version is Cubist; in, the 1912 version, it is reduced to a round shape with triangles and rectangles. In 1911, Mondrian moved to Paris and changed his name (dropping an ‘a’ from Mondriaan., in 1913, Mondrian began combining his art and his theosophical studies into a theory that signaled his final break from representational painting. While Mondrian was visiting home in 1914, World War I began, forcing him to remain in The Netherlands for the duration of the conflict. During this period, he stayed at the Laren artist’s colony, there meeting Bart van der Leck and Theo van Doesburg. Van der Leck’s use of only primary colors in his art greatly influenced Mondrian. Mondrian published “De Nieuwe Beelding in de schilderkunst” (“The New Plastic in Painting”) in twelve installments during 1917 and 1918. This was his first major attempt to express his artistic theory in writing.

In 1918, Mondrian returned to France and he flourished in the atmosphere of intellectual freedom and artistic innovation. In 1919 Mondrian began producing grid-based paintings and in 1920, the style for which he came to be renowned began to appear. In the early paintings of this style the lines delineating the rectangular forms are relatively thin, and they are gray, not black. The forms themselves, are smaller and more numerous than in later paintings, are filled with primary colors, black, or gray, and nearly all of them are colored; only a few are left white. Around 1920 Mondrian’s started painting thick black lines separating larger forms, which Were fewer in number, with more Spaces being left white. the rectangular forms remain mostly colored. such as in the “lozenge” works that Mondrian began producing with regularity in the mid-1920s. The “lozenge” paintings are square canvases tilted 45 degrees, so that they hang in a diamond shape. Typical of these is Schilderij No. 1: Lozenge With Two Lines and Blue (1926), also known as Composition With Blue and Composition in White and Blue, which is currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. One of the most minimal of Mondrian’s canvases, this painting consists only of two black, perpendicular lines and a small triangular form, colored blue. As the years progressed, lines began to take precedence over forms in his painting. In the 1930s, he began to use thinner lines and double lines more frequently, punctuated with a few small colored forms, if any at all.

In September 1938, Mondrian left Paris in the face of advancing fascism and moved to London. After the Netherlands were invaded and Paris fell in 1940, he left London for Manhattan, where he would remain until his death. works from this later period demonstrate an unprecedented business, however, with more lines than any of his work since the 1920s, placed in an overlapping arrangement that is almost cartographical in appearance. Mondrian produced Lozenge Composition With Four Yellow Lines (1933), a simple painting that included thick, coloured lines instead of black ones, as well as Composition (1938) and Place de la Concorde (1943). The new canvases that Mondrian began in Manhattan are even more startling. New York City (1942) is a complex lattice of red, blue, and yellow lines, occasionally interlacing to create a greater sense of depth than his previous works. His painting Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942–43) was highly influential in the school of abstract geometric painting. The piece is made up of a number of shimmering squares of bright color that leap from the canvas, then appear to shimmer, drawing the viewer into those neon lights. Mondrian replaced former solid lines with lines created from small adjoining rectangles of color, created in part by using small pieces of paper tape in various colors. Larger unbounded rectangles of color punctuate the design, some with smaller concentric rectangles inside them. While Mondrian’s works of the 1920s and 1930s have an almost scientific austerity about them, these are bright, lively paintings, reflecting the upbeat music that inspired them and the city in which they were made.

Piet Mondrian returned to Paris in 1919, and set about making his studio a nurturing environment for paintings which expressed Neo-Plasticism. In 1943, Mondrian moved into his second and final Manhattan studio but Tragically died in February 1944. He is interred in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.On February 2, 1944, a memorial, attended by nearly 200, was held for Mondrian, at the Universal Chapel on Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street in Manhattan.

Mary Shelley (Frankenstein)

FrankensteinsMonsterBest known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus, the English Novellist, short story writer essayist, biographer and travel writer Mary Shelley (née Wollstonecraft Godwin) Sadly died On 1 February 1851, at Chester Square, at the age of fifty-three from a suspected brain tumour. Born 30 August 1797, When Mary was four, William Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father’s political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe. In 1816, the couple famously spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. which remains popular to this day and has been adapted for theatre, Film and Television numerous times. During her prolific writing career Shelley also wrote the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826), and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837). Together with lesser-known works such as the travel book Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844) and the biographical articles for Dionysius Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1829–46)

Upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy’s child, who tragically died prematurely. They married in 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley’s first wife Harriet. Sadly the marriage was dogged with tragedy, their first second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence.  In 1818 The Shelleys left Britain for Italy, sadly though In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm near Viareggio. year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son Percy and a career as a professional author.

During 1840 and 1842, mother and son travelled together on the continent, journeys that Mary Shelley recorded in Rambles in Germany and Italy in 1840, 1842 and 1843 (1844). In 1844, Sir Timothy Shelley finally died at the age of ninety. In 1848, Percy Florence married Jane Gibson St John. The marriage proved a happy one, and Mary Shelley and Jane were fond of each other. Mary lived with her son and daughter-in-law at Field Place, Sussex, the Shelleys’ ancestral home, and at Chester Square, London, and accompanied them on travels abroad and in order to fulfil Mary Shelley’s wishes, Percy Florence and his wife Jane had the coffins of Mary Shelley’s parents exhumed and buried with her in Bournemouth. In the mid-1840s, Mary Shelley found herself the target of three separate blackmailers. In 1845, an Italian political exile called Gatteschi, whom she had met in Paris, threatened to publish letters she had sent him. Shortly afterwards, Mary Shelley bought some letters written by herself and Percy Bysshe Shelley from a man calling himself G. Byron and posing as the illegitimate son of the late Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s cousin Thomas Medwin approached her claiming to have written a damaging biography of Percy Shelley.

Mary Shelley’s last years were blighted by illness. From 1839, she suffered from headaches and bouts of paralysis in parts of her body, which sometimes prevented her from reading and writing. . According to Jane Shelley, Mary Shelley had asked to be buried with her mother and father; but Percy and Jane, judging the graveyard at St Pancras to be “dreadful”, chose to bury her instead at St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth, near their new home at Boscombe.On the first anniversary of Mary Shelley’s death, the Shelleys opened her box-desk. Inside they found locks of her dead children’s hair, a notebook she had shared with Percy Bysshe Shelley, and a copy of his poem Adonaïs with one page folded round a silk parcel containing some of his ashes and the remains of his heart.

Terry Jones (Monty Python)

PythonBritish comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director and author Terry Jones was born 1 February 1942 in the seaside town of Colwyn Bay, on the north coast of Wales. The family home was named Bodchwil. His father was stationed with the RAF in India. When Jones was 4½, the family moved to Surrey in England.Jones was educated at the Royal Grammar SchoolGuildford, where he was head boy in the 1960-61 academic year. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, but “strayed into history”.He graduated with a 2:1.While there, he performed comedy with future Monty Python castmate Michael Palin in The Oxford Revue.

Jones appeared in Twice a Fortnight with Michael Palin, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Jonathan Lynn, as well as the television series The Complete and Utter History of Britain. He appeared in Do Not Adjust Your Set with Palin, Eric Idle andDavid Jason. He wrote for The Frost Report and several other David Frost programmes on British television. Along with Palin, he wrote lyrics for the 1968 Barry Booth album “Diversions”. Early on, Jones was interested in devising a fresh format for the Python TV shows, and it was largely he who developed the stream-of-consciousness style which abandoned punchlines and encouraged the fluid movement of one sketch into another, allowing the troupe’s conceptual humour the space to “breathe”. Jones took a keen interest in the direction of the show. As demonstrated in many of his sketches with Palin, Jones was interested in making comedy that was visually impressive, feeling that interesting settings augmented, rather than detracted from, the humour. His methods encouraged many future television comedians to break away from conventional studio-bound shooting styles, as demonstrated by shows such as Green Wing, Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen. Of Jones’ contributions as a performer, his depictions of middle-aged women are among the most memorable and his humour, in collaboration with Palin, tends to be conceptual in nature. A typical Palin/Jones sketch draws its humour from the absurdity of the scenario. For example, in the “Summarise Proust Competition”, Jones plays a cheesy game show host who gives contestants 15 seconds to condense Marcel Proust’s lengthy work À la recherche du temps perdu. Jones was also noted for his gifts as aChaplinesque physical comedian. His performance in the “Undressing in Public” sketch, for instance, is done in total silence.

Jones co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam, and was sole director on two further Monty Python movies, Life of Brian and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. As a film director, Jones finally gained fuller control of the projects and devised a visual style that complemented the humour. His later films include Erik the Viking (1989) and The Wind in the Willows (1996). In 2008, Jones wrote and directed an opera titled Evil Machines. in 2011, he was commissioned to direct and write the libretto for another opera, entitled The Doctor’s Tale. On the commentary track of the 2004 “2 Disc Special Edition” DVD for the film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Terry Jones stated that to his knowledge Ireland had banned only four movies, three of which he had directed: The Meaning of Life, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Personal Services. He was the creator and co-producer of the animated television program Blazing Dragons, which ran for two seasons. set in a fantasy medieval setting, the series’ protagonists are dragons who are beset by evil humans, reversing a common story convention. When the series was broadcast on US television, several episodes were censored due to minor cursing and the implied sexuality of an overtly effeminate character named “Sir Blaze”. itwas turned into a game for the Sega Saturn in 1994, which starred Jones’s voice. He co-wrote Ripping Yarns with Palin, and wrote the screenplay for Labyrinth (1986), although his draft went through several rewrites and several other writers before being filmed; much of the finished film wasn’t written by Jones at all. He has also written numerous works for children, including Fantastic Stories, The Beast with a Thousand Teeth, and a collection of Comic Verse called The Curse of the Vampire’s Socks.

He has written books and presented many award nominated television documentaries on medieval and ancient history and the history of numeral systems. such ad Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives (2004) (for which he received a 2004Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming”) and Terry Jones’ Barbarians (2006) which presents the cultural achievements of peoples conquered by theRoman Empire in a more positive light than Roman historians typically have, while criticising the Romans as the true “barbarians” who exploited and destroyed higher civilisations. He has written numerous editorials for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer condemning the Iraq war. Many of these editorials were published in a paperback collection titled Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror. Chaucer’s Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary (1980) offers an alternative take on the historical view of Geoffrey Chaucer’sThe Knight’s Tale as being a paragon of Christian virtue. His most recent book, Evil Machines, was launched by the online publishing house Unbound at the Adam Street Club in London on 4 November 2011. Evil Machines is the first book to be published by a crowd funding website dedicated solely to books. Jones provided significant support to Unbound and also a member of the UK Poetry Society, his poems have also appeared in Poetry Review.

Jones has performed with The Carnival Band and appears on their 2007 CD Ringing the changes. In January 2008, the Teatro São Luiz, in Lisbon, Portugal, premiered Evil Machines – a musical play, written by Jones (based on his book) and with original music by Luis Tinoco. Jones was invited by the Teatro São Luiz to write and direct the play, after a very successful run of Contos Fantásticos, a short play based on Jones’ Fantastic Stories, also with music by Luis Tinoco. In January 2012, it was announced that Jones is working with songwriter/producer Jim Steinman on a heavy metal version of “The Nutcracker.” Apart from a cameo in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky and a memorable minor role as a drunken vicar in BBC sitcom The Young Ones, Jones has rarely appeared in work outside of his own projects. Since January 2009, however, he has provided narration for The Legend of Dick and Dom, a CBBC fantasy series set in the Middle Ages. He also appears in two French films by Albert Dupontel : Le Créateur (1999) and Enfermés dehors (2006). In 2009 Jones took part in the BBC Wales programme Coming Home about his Welsh family history. Unfortunately Jones was sadly recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

National bird feeding month

House_SparrowFebruary has been designated National Bird-Feeding Month. This celebratory month was created to educate the public on the wild bird feeding and watching hobby. Because of National Bird-Feeding Month, February has become the month most recognized with wild bird feeding promotions and activities. The month is an ideal time for promoting and enjoying the bird feeding hobby, which is home-based and nature-oriented. February was proclaimed National Bird-Feeding Month in, 1994 after John Porter (R-Il) entered the following resolution into the Congressional Record

“February is one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds (it’s difficult for wild birds everywhere), During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to help wild birds survive. This assistance benefits the environment by supplementing wild bird’s natural diet of weed seeds and insects. Currently, one third of the U.S. adult population feeds wild birds in their backyards. In addition, backyard bird feeding is an entertaining, educational, and inexpensive pastime enjoyed by children and adults.

Bird feeding provides a needed break from today’s frantic lifestyles. Adults enjoy the relaxation and peacefulness afforded by watching birds — nature serves to relieve the stress and can get one’s day going on a tranquil note.Young children are naturally drawn to the activities involved in feeding wild birds, which can serve as excellent educational tools. Children can identify different species of birds with a field guide and can learn about the birds’ feeding and living habits. These observations can then provide excellent research opportunities for school projects and reports.Feeding wild birds in the backyard is an easy hobby to start and need not overtax the family budget. It can be as simple as mounting a single feeder outside a window and filling it with bird seed mix. For many people, the hobby progresses from there. They discover the relationship between the type and location of feeders, and the seeds offered in them, and the number and varieties of birds attracted. Parents can challenge an inquisitive child’s mind as they explore together these factors in trying to encourage visits by their favorite birds.”

Black History Month

February 1st marks the start of Black History Month, which is also known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February and the United Kingdom in October.

Black History Month had its beginnings in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”. This week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.Woodson created the holiday with the hope that it eventually be eliminated when black history became fundamental to American history.[4] Negro History Week was met with enthusiastic response; it prompted the creation of black history clubs, an increase in interest among teachers, and interest from progressive whites. Negro History Week grew in popularity throughout the following decades, with mayors across the United States endorsing it as a holiday.

In 1976, the federal government acknowledged the expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February of 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month occurred at Kent State in February of 1970. Six years later during the bicentennial, the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month was recognized by the U.S. government. Gerald Ford spoke in regards to this, urging Americans to

“seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987. This establishment of Black History Month is generally attributed to the work of Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, as well as the Greater London Council. In 1995, after a motion by politician Jean Augustine, Canada’s House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month. In 2008, Senator Donald Oliver moved to have the Senate officially recognize Black History Month, which was unanimously approved.