Wolf Hall

I am currently watching the fantastic six part BBC2 Historical drama Wolf Hall. Based on Hilary Mantel’s Best Selling, Multi Award Winning, Historical Novel of the same name, It Is named after the Seymour family seat of Wolfhall or Wulfhall in Wiltshire. Set from 1500 to 1535, During the upheaval of the Reformation, It chronicles the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell, (Mark Rylance) who is the son of a humble blacksmith who escapes his brutal upbringing at the age of fifteen by leaving for Europe, where he fights in the French army, and works as a merchant in Antwerp, Belgium, and in Florence, Italy.

Meanwhile England is on the brink of Civil War, because King Henry’s 20 year marriage to Katherine of Aragon (Joanne Whalley) has failed to produce a Male Heir. So Henry plans to divorce her and marry Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), instead, in the hope of getting a son and Lawful male heir. So he sends envoys to Rome to ask the Catholic Pope to annul the marriage. However the Pope and Most of Europe oppose him, leading to Wolsey being dismissed from his position as Lord Chancellor to the King. Later an emissary from Rome, Cardinal Campeggio organises an Ecclesiastical Court to decide on the matter. Matters are further complicated by A delicate international situation as the Pope has signed a treaty with the Holy Roman Emperor, who is also Queen Katherine’s uncle.

After returning to England Thomas Cromwell’s moves to Austin Friars with his wife Lizzie, and two young daughters, Grace and Anne, his older son, Gregory, and a number of servants. His chief clerk, twenty-one-year-old Rafe Sadler, also lives with Cromwell. Sadly though his family is struck by tragedy and his wife and Both daughters die after contracting the Plague. However Cromwell is joined at Austin Friars by his sisters Bet and Kat, his mother-in-law Mercy, his sister-in-law Johane, and numerous nieces and nephews

Ambitious, Cromwell ingratiates himself into the Tudor Court, during a period of Religious Upheaval, and following the Death of Sir Thomas More (Jonathan Pryce) he becomes the Right Hand man of Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII (Damien Lewis). He also manages to make many devious enemies as he negoitiates the sinister machinations of the Duke of Norfolk (Who is Anne Boleyn’s Uncle) (Bernard Hill), the Duke of Suffolk and Stephen Gardiner, (Mark Gatiss) Master Secretary to the King in the corridors of Parliament, Before rising to become King Henry VIII’s chief Minister.

Spider-Man Homecoming

I have recently watched the entertaining and exciting superhero movie Spider-Man: Homecoming again. Based on the Superhero of the same name by Stan Lee(who makes a cameo appearance in the film) and Steve Ditko, It stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr. It begins shortly after the chaos caused in previous Avenger movies, and sees Tony Stark(Robert Downey jnr) and the federal government deciding to create the U.S. Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.) to recover and take control of all the Chitauri artefacts. Unfortunately salvage company owner Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is not happy about this turn of events as he stands to lose out financially after having previously made a fortune salvaging Chitauri artifacts and selling them to various criminal elements. However Despite this little setback Toomes is Determined not to give up, and decides to carry on stealing Chitauri weapons by using Chitauri technology he scavenged from the Battle of New York and further his criminal agenda.

Meanwhile, Following the Avengers’ internal dispute, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) resumes his studies after Stark tells him that he is not ready to become an Avenger. Despite this, Peter quits his school’s decathlon team in order to spend more time focusing on “the Stark internship”, which is a cover for his crimefighting activities as Spider-Man. Unfortunately after foiling a robbery, Peter’s best friend Ned discovers Spiderman’s identity. Spiderman then discovers that local Gangster Aaron Davis has acquired Chitauri weapons from Toomes’ associates Herman Schultz and Jackson Brice and is almost killed but luckily he is rescued by Iron Man. Peter also manages to Retrieve a Chitauri weapon left behind by Brice. Unfortunately Schultz later manages to track Peter and Ned down and confronts him.

Peter subsequently rejoins the decathlon team and accompanies them to Washington, D.C. for the Nationals. However he is sidetracked Toomes causes more chaos as his alter-ego The Vulture when he attempts to steal more Chitauri technology, However Spider Man tries to prevent Him from stealing them from the DODC. Peter then tracks Ned to the Washington Monument, where Peter, Ned and fellow classmate Liz soon find themselves in great peril thanks to the Vulture. Returning to New York City, Peter Confronts The Vulture and The Shocker, again at the Staten Island Ferry, but Toomes escapes.

Then at the Midtown’s annual homecoming dance, Peter learns that Liz is in fact Toomes daughter, which complicates matters somewhat and worse still Toomes himself begins to suspect Peter Parker may also have something to do with a certain web slinging crime-fighter who keeps foiling his nefarious schemes. During the dance, Peter realizes Toomes is planning to hijack a D.O.D.C. plane transporting weaponry from Avengers Tower to the team’s new headquarters. So he decides to try and stop Toomes, Schultz and Brice in an exciting show-down.

Who Built the Moon-Noel Gallagher

I am currently listening to Noel Gallagher’s third album Who Built the Moon. It was released 24 November 2017 and follows on from the previous albums High Flying Birds and Chasing Yesterday. Musically it ventures even further away from the usual Oasis sound but still sounds fantastic. Here is the track-listing:

Fort Knox
Holy Mountain
Keep on reaching
It’s a Beautiful World
She taught me how to fly
Be careful what you wish for
Interlude (Wednesday part One)
Love is the Law
The Man who built the Moon
End Credits (Wednesday Part Two)
Dead in the Water (Live Bonus Track)

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

November 25 has been designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by the United Nations General Assembly. The date marks the anniversary of the assassination of the Mirabal Sisters (Patria, Minerva,Maria &Dede), who were Dominican political dissidents and activists, who opposed the dictatorship of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961). Rafael Trujillo, was the country’s president from 1930 to 1938 and from 1942 to 1952, but ruled as a dictator from 1930 to his assassination in 1961.

Minerva Mirabal studied law in order to earn a Law Degree and become a Lawyer, and became involved in the political movement against Rafael Trujillo after she was refused a licence to practice law after declining Trujillo’s romantic advances. Her sisters followed suit, first Maria Teresa, who joined after staying with Minerva and learning about their activities, and then Patria, who joined after witnessing a massacre by some of Trujillo’s men . Dedé joined later, due to having been held back by her husband Jaimito, and they formed a group called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June (named after the date of the massacre Patria witnessed), to oppose the Trujillo regime. They distributed pamphlets about the many people whom Trujillo had killed, and obtained materials for guns and bombs to use when they finally openly revolted. Within the group, the Mirabals called themselves Las Mariposas (“The Butterflies”), after Minerva’s underground name. Minerva and Maria Teresa were incarcerated Amid mounting international opposition to Trujillo’s regime. Three of the sisters’ husbands (who were also involved in the underground activities) were incarcerated at La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo. Despite these setbacks, they persisted in fighting to end Trujillo’s leadership. In 1960, the Organization of American States condemned Trujillo’s actions and sent observers. Minerva and Maria Teresa were freed, but their husbands remained in prison.

Sadly On November 25, 1960, while Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and driver Rufino de la Cruz were visiting Patria and Minerva’s incarcerated husbands, they were stopped by Trujillo’s henchmen. The sisters and the driver were separated and were clubbed to death. The bodies were then gathered and put in their Jeep where it was run off the mountain road to look like an accident. After Trujillo was assassinated in May 1961, General Pupo Román admitted to having personal knowledge that the sisters were killed by Victor Alicinio and Peña Rivera, who were Trujillo’s right-hand men. The sisters’ assassinations “had greater effect on Dominicans than most of Trujillo’s other crimes”, noting that “it did something to their machismo” and paved the way for Trujillo’s own assassination six months later.

After the death of her sisters, Dedé Mirabal devoted her life to the legacy of her sisters. She raised her sisters’ six children, including Minou Tavárez Mirabal, Minerva’s daughter, who served as deputy for the National District in the lower House since 2002 and served as deputy foreign minister from 1996 to 2000. Of her own three children, Jaime David Fernández Mirabal, is the current Minister for Environment and Natural Resources and former vice president of the Dominican Republic. In 1992, she founded the Mirabal Sisters Foundation and in 1994 the Mirabal Sisters Museum in her hometown Salcedo. She published a book, Vivas en su Jardín, on August 25, 2009. She lived in the house where the sisters were born in Salcedo until her death.

The Mirabal sisters were eventually recognised as Public Martyrs and there are many homages to the Mirabal sisters, including an exhibition of their belongings at the National Museum of History and Geography and the transformation of Trujillo’s obelisk into a mural dedicated in their honor. Since 1981Women’s activists have marked November 25 as a day to fight violence against women and The UN has invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem which affects Women around the world, who are subject to rape, mental cruelty, domestic violence and other forms of violence. There is more information about the history of this day, and publications relating to violence against women, at the UN’s Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the The UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women).

De Havilland Mosquito/ B-26 Marauder

De Havilland Mosquito

The maiden flight of the de Havilland Mosquito took place 25 November 1940.The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft with a two-man crew that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. The Mosquito was one of the few operational front-line aircraft of the World War II era to be constructed almost entirely of wood and, as such, was nicknamed “The Wooden Wonder” and was known affectionately as the “Mossie” to its crews. Originally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber, the Mosquito was adapted to many other roles during the air war, including low- to medium-altitude daytime tactical bomber, high-altitude night bomber, pathfinder, day or night fighter,fighter-bomber, intruder, maritime strike aircraft, and fast photo-reconnaissance aircraft. It was also used by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) as a transport.When the Mosquito entered production in 1941, it was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world. Entering widespread service in 1942, the Mosquito first operated as a high-speed, high-altitude photo-reconnaissance aircraft, and continued to operate in this role throughout the war.

From mid-1942 to mid-1943 Mosquito bombers were used in high-speed, medium- or low-altitude missions, attacking factories, railways and other pinpoint targets within Germany and German-occupied Europe. From late 1943, Mosquito bomber units were formed into the Light Night Strike Force and used as pathfinders for RAF Bomber Command’s heavy-bomber raids. They were also used as “nuisance” bombers, often dropping 4,000 lb (1,812 kg) “cookies”, in high-altitude, high-speed raids that German night fighters were almost powerless to intercept.As a night fighter, from mid-1942, the Mosquito was used to interceptLuftwaffe raids on the United Kingdom, most notably defeating the German aerial offensive, Operation Steinbock, in 1944. Offensively, starting in July 1942, some Mosquito night-fighter units conducted intruder raids overLuftwaffe airfields and, as part of 100 Group, the Mosquito was used as a night fighter and intruder in support of RAF Bomber Command’s heavy bombers, and played an important role in reducing bomber losses during 1944 and 1945.

As a fighter-bomber in the Second Tactical Air Force, the Mosquito took part in “special raids”, such as the attack on Amiens Prison in early 1944, and in other precision attacks against Gestapo or German intelligence and security forces. Second Tactical Air Force Mosquitos also played an important role operating in tactical support of the British Army during the 1944 Normandy Campaign. From 1943 Mosquitos were used by RAF Coastal Command strike squadrons, attacking Kriegsmarine U-boats(particularly in the 1943 Bay of Biscay offensive, where significant numbers of U-boats were sunk or damaged) and intercepting transport ship concentrations.The Mosquito saw service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other air forces in the European theatre, and the Mediterraneanand Italian theatres. The Mosquito was also used by the RAF in the South East Asian theatre, and by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) based in the Halmaheras and Borneo during the Pacific War.

The Martin B-26 Marauder Also made it’s maiden flight 25 November 1940. This twin-engined medium bomber was built by the Glenn L. Martin Company and was First used in the Pacific Theater in early 1942, it was also used in the Mediterranean Theater and inWestern Europe. After entering service with the U.S. Army, the aircraft received the reputation of a “Widowmaker” due to the early models’ high rate of accidents during takeoff and landings. The Marauder had to be flown at exact airspeeds, particularly on final runway approach and when one engine was out. The 150 mph (241 km/h) speed on short final runway approach was intimidating to pilots who were used to much slower speeds, and whenever they slowed down below what the manual stated, the aircraft would stall and crash.

The B-26 became a safer aircraft once crews were re-trained, and after aerodynamics modifications (an increase of wingspan and wing angle-of-incidence to give better takeoff performance, and a larger vertical stabilizer and rudder).After aerodynamic and design changes, the aircraft distinguished itself as “the chief bombardment weapon on the Western Front” according to a United States Army Air Forces dispatch from 1946. The Marauder ended World War II with the lowest loss rate of any USAAF bomber.A total of 5,288 were produced between February 1941 and March 1945; 522 of these were flown by the Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force. By the time the United States Air Force was created as an independent service separate from the Army in 1947, all Martin B-26s had been retired from US service. The Douglas A-26 Invader then assumed the B-26 designation.

Karl Benz

Generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered automobile, the German engineer & Automotive pioneer Karl Benz was born on November 25, 1844 in Mühlburg (Karlsruhe).Benz attended the local Grammar School in Karlsruhe. In 1853, at the age of nine he started at the scientifically oriented Lyceum. Next he studied at the Poly-Technical University. Benz had originally focused his studies on locksmithing, but went on to locomotive engineering. On September 30, 1860, at age fifteen, he passed the entrance exam for mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe. During these years, while riding his bicycle, he developed a vehicle that would eventually become the horseless carriage.After his formal education, Benz had seven years of professional training in several companies, starting in Karlsruhe with two years of varied jobs in a mechanical engineering company. He then moved to Mannheim to work as a draftsman and designer in a scales factory. In 1868 he went to Pforzheim to work for a bridge building company Gebrüder Benckiser Eisenwerke und Maschinenfabrik. Finally, he went to Vienna to work at an iron construction company.

At the age of twenty-seven, Karl Benz joined August Ritter at the Iron Foundry and Mechanical Workshop in Mannheim, later renamed Factory for Machines for Sheet-metal Working. Karl Benz led in the development of new engines & in 1878 he began to work on new patents. First creating a reliable petrol two-stroke engine. Other German contemporaries, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach were also working on similar engines, but Benz was the first to make the internal combustion engine feasible for use in an automobile. Karl Benz showed genius, through his successive inventions registered while designing what would become the production standard for his two-stroke engine. Benz soon patented the speed regulation system, the ignition, the spark plug, the carburettor, the clutch, the gear shift, and the water radiator.

in 1882 The company became Gasmotoren Fabrik Mannheim, but Benz left in 1883 and got a job at a bicycle repair shop in Mannheim owned by Max Rose and Friedrich Wilhelm Eßlinger. In 1883, the three founded a new company producing industrial machines: Benz & Company Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik, (Benz & Cie) which began producing static gas engines as well. Benz continued his ideas for a horseless carriage. Using a similar technology to that of motorcycles he created an automobile, which had wire wheels with a four-stroke engine of his own design between the rear wheels and a very advanced coil ignition and evaporative cooling rather than a radiator. Power was transmitted by means of two roller chains to the rear axle. Karl Benz finished his creation in 1885 and named it the Benz Patent Motorwagen. This was the first automobile entirely designed to generate its own power, and not simply a motorized-stage coach or horse carriage.

The next year Benz created the Motorwagen Model 2, which had several modifications, and in 1887, the definitive Model 3 with wooden wheels was introduced, showing at the Paris Expo the same year. Benz began to sell the vehicle making it the first commercially available automobile in history, then In Early 1888 another gear was added to The Motorwagen allowing it to climb hills. To generate publicity and demonstrate the feasibility of using the Benz Motorwagen for travel, Benz’s wife Bertha took her first long distance automobile trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim , using one of the vehicles.Having to locate pharmacies on the way to fuel up, and repairing various technical and mechanical problems during the journey, Including adding leather to the brake blocks to make them more effective thus inventing brake lining. She arrived at her destination and sent Karl Benz a Telgram announcing the fact & Today the event is considered world’s first long-distance journey by automobile.

This event is celebrated every two years in Germany with an antique automobile rally called the Bertha Benz Memorial Route and is signposted from Mannheim via Heidelberg to Pforzheim (Black Forest) and back. Benz’s Model 3 made its debut at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. there was a great demand Benz’s vehicles and By 1899 Benz was the largest automobile company in the world. In 1893 Benz created a less expensive vehicle suitable for mass production – the Victoria. This was a two-passenger automobile with a 2.2 kW (3.0 hp) engine, which could reach the top speed of 18 km/h (11 mph) and had a pivotal front axle operated by a roller-chained tiller for steering. The Benz Velo also participated in the world’s first automobile race, the 1894 Paris to Rouen, where Émile Roger finished 14th, after covering the 127 km (79 mi) in 10 hours 01 minute at an average speed of 12.7 km/h (7.9 mph). In 1895, Benz designed the first truck in history, some of these were subsequently modified to become the first motor buses.

In 1896, Karl Benz created the first flat engine. It had horizontally opposed pistons, where the corresponding pistons reach top dead centre simultaneously, thus balancing each other with respect to momentum. Flat engines with four or fewer cylinders are most commonly called boxer engines or horizontally opposed engines. This design is still used by Porsche, Subaru, and some high performance engines used in racing cars (Like the Subaru Impreza WRC) and BMW motorcycles. Competitions between Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in Stuttgart and Benz & Cie became intense. The main designer of DMG, Wilhelm Maybach, built the engine to the specifications of Emil Jellinek, who stipulated the new engine be named Daimler-Mercedes (after his daughter) and began racing the vehicles with great success. So Benz countered with the Parsifil, in 1903 with a vertical twin engine that achieved a top speed of 37 mph (60 km/h). In 1903 Karl Benz announced his retirement from design management but remained as director on the Board of Management through its merger with DMG in 1926 and, remained on the board of the new Daimler-Benz corporation until his death in 1929. Benz son Richard returned to the company in 1904 as the designer of passenger vehicles along with continuing as a director of Benz & Cie.

In 1906 Karl Benz, Bertha Benz, and their son, Eugen, then founded the private company, C. Benz Sons (German: Benz Söhne), producing automobiles and gas engines. The latter type was replaced by petrol engines because of lack of demand. The Benz Sons automobiles were of good quality and became popular in London as taxis.In 1909, the Blitzen Benz was built in Mannheim by Benz & Cie. The bird-beaked vehicle had a 21.5-liter (1312ci), 150 kW (200 hp) engine, and on November 9, 1909 in the hands of Victor Hémery of France, the land speed racer at Brooklands, set a record of 226.91 km/h (141.94 mph). on November 25, 1914, the seventy-year-old Karl Benz was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, the Karlsruhe University, thereby becoming—Dr. Ing. h. c. Karl Benz.

sports car racing became a major method to gain publicity for manufacturers and the Benz Velo participated in the first automobile race: Paris to Rouen. soon Unique race vehicles were being built. Including the Benz Tropfenwagen, which was introduced at the 1923 European Grand Prix at Monza and became the first mid-engine aerodynamically designed Racing car.In 1924 both Benz Cie and DMG started using standardized design, production, purchasing, sales, and advertising— marketing their automobile models jointly—although keeping their respective brands. Then in 1926, Benz & Cie. and DMG finally merged as the Daimler-Benz company, naming all of its automobiles, Mercedes Benz, after ten-year-old Mercédès Jellinek. A new logo was created, consisting of a three pointed star (representing Daimler’s motto: “engines for land, air, and water”) with the laurels from the Benz logo. Sadly On April 4, 1929, Karl Benz passed away at his home in Ladenburg at the age of eighty-four from a bronchial inflammation.The Benz home is historic and is now used as a scientific meeting facility for the Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation, which honors both Bertha and Karl Benz for their roles in the history of automobiles.