Giaochino Rossini

Italian Composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini sadly passed away on he 13th November at the age of 76 from pneumonia at his country house at Passy on Friday, 13 November 1868. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. In 1887, his remains were moved to the Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze, in Florence, at the request of the Italian government. He was Born 29 February 1792 into a family of musicians in Pesaro, a town on the Adriatic coast of Italy, he began his musical training early, and by the age of six he was playing the triangle in his father’s musical group, His father also played the horn in the orchestras of the theatres at which his wife sang and Rossini had three years of instruction in the playing of the harpsichord from Giuseppe Prinetti. He was eventually taken from Prinetti and apprenticed to a blacksmith. In Angelo Tesei, he found a congenial music master, and learned to sight-read, play accompaniments on the piano and sing well enough to take solo parts in the church when he was ten years of age. He was also a capable horn player and Around this time, he composed individual numbers to a libretto by Vincenza Mombelli called Demetrio e Polibio, which was handed to the boy in pieces.Though it was Rossini’s first opera, written when he was thirteen or fourteen, the work was not staged until the composer was twenty years old, premiering as his sixth official opera.

In 1806 Rossini became a cello student and learned to play the cello with ease. his first opera, La cambiale di matrimonio (The Marriage Contract), was produced at Venice when he was 18 years old But two years before this he had already received the prize at the Conservatorio of Bologna for his cantata Il pianto d’Armonia sulla morte d’Orfeo. Between 1810 and 1813 at Bologna, Rome, Venice and Milan, Rossini produced operas of varying success, most notably La pietra del paragone and Il signor Bruschino, with its brilliant and unique overture. In 1813, Tancredi and L’italiana in Algeri were even bigger successes, and catapulted the 20-year-old composer to international fame.Rossini’s most famous opera, ,The Barber of Seville, was produced on 20 February 1816, scholars generally agree that it was written in two or three weeks, although Rossini himself claimed to have written the opera in only twelve days.Perhaps one of the most well known parts of The Barber of Seville is Figaro’s Aria.

Between 1815 and 1823 Rossini produced 20 operas. Of these Othello formed the climax to his reform of serious opera, and offers a suggestive contrast with the treatment of the same subject at a similar point of artistic development by the composer Giuseppe Verdi. In 1823, he came to England, being much fêted on his way through Paris. and was given a generous welcome in England, The next year he became musical director of the Théâtre des Italiens in Paris, between 1824 and 1829, Rossini created the comic opera Le Comte Ory and Guillaume Tell (William Tell). which is a political epic adapted from Schiller’s play about the 13th-century Swiss patriot who rallied his country against the Austrians.

By the age of thirty-eight he had composed thirty-eight operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces. He also became famous for the inspired, song-like melodies which are evident throughout his scores, which mark a transitional stage in the history of opera, the overture serving as a model for romantic overtures throughout the 19th century.Rossini sadly passed away on 13th November at the age of 76 from pneumonia at his country house at Passy on Friday, 13 November 1868. But during his lifetime he recieve many Honors & tributes, He was a foreign associate of the institute, grand officer of the Legion of Honour and recipient of innumerable orders. In 1900 Giuseppe Cassioli created a monument to Rossini in the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence. Rossini remains one of the most popular opera composers in history and The William Tell overture also remains one of the most famous and frequently recorded works in the classical repertoire In 1989 the conductor Helmuth Rilling also recorded a Requiem for Rossini.

World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day is an international observance which takes place on 13 November. Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern and consideration for others. It is considered a virtue, and is recognized as a value in many cultures and religions. In Book II of “Rhetoric”, Aristotle defines kindness as “helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped. Nietzsche considered kindness and love to be the “most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse”. Kindness is considered to be one of the Knightly Virtues. In Meher Baba’s teachings, God is synonymous with kindness: “God is so kind that it is impossible to imagine His unbounded kindness!”

Kindness is also a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race religion, politics, gender and zip codes and the purpose of World Kindness Day is to promote acts of kindness and to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us regardless of boundaries, race and religion. Kindness Cards are also an ongoing activity which can either be passed on to recognize an act of kindness and or ask that an act of kindness be done

World Kindness Day was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of nations’ kindness NGOs. It is observed in many countries, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates. Approaches are being made to the United Nations by the peak global body, the World Kindness Movement, to have World Kindness Day officially recognized and its members unanimously sign a Declaration of Support for World Kindness. In 2009, Singapore observed the day for the first time. Italy and India also observed the day. In the UK, it is fronted by David Jamilly, who co-founded Kindness Day UK. In 2010 at the request of Michael Lloyd-White, the NSW Federation Parents and Citizens Association wrote to the Minister of The NSW Department of Education to place World Kindness Day on the NSW School Calendar. In 2012 At the request of the Chairman of World Kindness Australia, World Kindness Day was placed on the Federal School Calendar and the then Minister of School Education, Early Childhood, and Youth. The Hon Peter Garrett provided a Declaration of Support for World Kindness Australia and placed World Kindness Day on the National School Calendar for over 9000 schools.

Schools across the globe are now celebrating World Kindness Day and work with local NGOs such as the Be Kind People Project and Life Vest Inside In the USA. In 2012 in Australia, Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW, hosted an event for the first time at Government House to celebrate World Kindness Day and accepted a Cool To Be Kind Award from year 3&4 students. Australian Councils representing over 1.3 million residents have also signed Declarations of Support for World Kindness Australia placing World Kindness Day on the Council Calendar of Events. Events include THE BIG HUG, handing out Kindness Cards, Global Flashmob, which was coordinated by Orly Wahba from USA which was held in 15 countries and 33 cities with its images of the event making the big screens in New York City. Canada celebrates with The Kindness Concert and in Singapore in 2009, 45,000 yellow flowers were given away. In 2017 World Kindness day was also celebrated in Slovenia, organised by volunteering organisation Humanitarcek as part of their project Randomised Kindess.


Other Holidays and National Days 13 November include.
• Actor’s Day.
• National Indian Pudding Day.
• National Mom’s and Dad’s Day.
• National Young Reader’s Day.

Excelsior! -Tribute to Stan Lee

American comic book writer editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and Founder of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee tragically passed away 12 November 2018. He was born 28th December 1922 in New York City. As a child Lee was influenced by books and movies, especially Errol Flynn, He was also A voracious reader who enjoyed writing as a teen. During his youth he worked such part-time jobs as writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center; delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center; working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway; and selling subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune newspaper.

He graduated from high school early, at age 16½ in 1939, and joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project.Lee became an assistant at the new Timely Comics, which evolved into Marvel Comics. He made his comic-book debut with the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in Captain America Comics #3, Which introduced Captain America’s trademark ricocheting shield-toss. He graduated from writing filler to actual comics & two issues later. Lee co-created his first superhero the Destroyer.

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Other characters he created include Jack Frost and Father Time. He showed a knack for business that led him to remain as the comic-book division’s editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he became publisher. During In the mid-1950s, Lee wrote stories in a variety of genres including romance, Westerns, humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror and suspense.In the 1950s Lee was assigned to create a new superhero team in response to DC Comics Justice League of America. Lee responded by giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for preteens and introduced complex, naturalistic characters who could have bad tempers, melancholy fits, vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or even were sometimes physically ill.

The first superhero group Lee and artist Jack Kirby created was the Fantastic Four. He also collaborated with several artists, most notably Steve Ditko, and co-created Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and many other fictional characters introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books. wrote a monthly column called “Stan’s Soapbox,” and wrote endless promotional copy, often signing off with his trademark phrase “Excelsior!”

Lee also supported using comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with issues of discrimination, intolerance, prejudice, racism and bigotry. Lee became the figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics & made appearances at comic book conventions around America. He has also been an executive producer for, and has made cameo appearances in various Marvel film adaptations. In the 2000s, Lee did his first work for DC Comics, launching the Just Imagine… series, in which Lee reimagined the DC superheroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash. In 2006, Marvel published a series of one-shot comics starring Lee himself meeting and interacting with many of his co-creations, including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Thing, Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom.

In 2008, Lee wrote humorous captions for the political fumetti book Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying? Lee also collaborated with Hiroyuki Takei on the manga Karakuridôji Ultimo. In 2009, he collaborated with the Japanese company Bones to produced its first manga feature, Heroman, and In 2010 The Stan Lee Foundation was founded which focused on literacy, education and the arts, and In August 2011, Lee announced his support for the Eagle Initiative, a program to find new talent in the comic book field. He was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995.

Stephen Baxter

British hard science fiction author Stephen Baxter was born 13 November 1957 in Liverpool, England and studied mathematics at Cambridge University, obtained a doctorate in engineering at Southampton University, and received an MBA from Henley Management College. Baxter taught maths, physics, and information technology before becoming a full-time author in 1995. He is also a chartered engineer and fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. He has degrees in mathematics and engineering. Strongly influenced by SF pioneer H. G. Wells, Baxter has been a distinguished Vice-President of the international H. G. Wells Society since 2006. His fiction falls into three main categories of original work plus a fourth category, extending other authors’ writing; each has a different basis, style, and tone.

Baxter’s “Future History” mode is based on research into hard science. It encompasses the monumental Xeelee Sequence, which as of September 2015 is composed of seven novels (including the Destiny’s Children trilogy), plus three volumes collecting the 52 short pieces (short stories and novellas) in the series, all of which fit into a single timeline stretching from the Big Bang singularity of the past to his Timelike Infinity singularity of the future. These stories begin in the present day and end when the Milky Way galaxy collides with Andromeda five billion years in the future The central narrative is that of Humanity rising and evolving to become the second most powerful race in the universe, next to the god-like Xeelee.

Character development tends to take second place to the depiction of advanced theories and ideas, such as the true nature of the Great Attractor, naked singularities and the great battle between Baryonic and Dark Matter lifeforms. The Manifold Trilogy is another example of Baxter’s future history mode, even more conceptual than the Xeelee sequence – each novel is focused on a potential explanation of the Fermi Paradox. The two-part disaster series Flood and Ark (followed by three additional stories, “Earth III,” “Earth II,” and “Earth I”) which also fits into this category, where catastrophic events unfold in the near future and Humanity must adapt to survive in three radically different planetary environments. In 2013, Baxter released his short story collection entitled Universes which featured stories set in Flood/Ark, Jones & Bennet and Anti-Ice universe. Baxter released the two latest novels Proxima and Ultima, in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

A second category in Baxter’s work is based on readings in evolutionary biology and human/animal behaviour. Elements of this appear in his future histories (especially later works like the Destiny’s Children series and Flood/Ark), but here it is the focus. The major work in this category is Evolution, which imagines the evolution of humanity in the Earth’s past and future. The Mammoth Trilogy, written for young adults, shares similar themes and concerns as it explores the present, past, and future of a small herd of mammoths found surviving on an island in the Arctic Ocean.

A third category of Baxter’s fiction is alternate history, based on research into history. These stories are more human, with characters portrayed with greater depth and care. This includes his NASA Trilogy, which incorporates a great deal of research into NASA and its history, and the Time’s Tapestry series, which features science-fictional interventions into our past from an alternate-history future. The novel Anti-Ice is an earlier example of Baxter’s blending of alternate history with science fiction. His most recent work in this direction is the Northland Trilogy, an alternate prehistory that begins with Stone Spring, set ten thousand years ago in the Stone Age, followed by Bronze Summer and Iron Winter, set in alternate versions of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. In 2009, Baxter became a judge for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, the first former winner among the panel.

Another category, outside of the main body of Baxter’s independent work, is sequels and installments of science-fiction classics. His first novel to achieve wide recognition (winning three literary awards) was The Time Ships, an authorised sequel to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. The Time Odyssey series, a trilogy co-authored with Arthur C. Clarke, is connected to Clarke’s four Space Odyssey novels. Another novel is based on a synopsis written by Clarke, The Light of Other Days. Baxter has also published a Doctor Who novel, The Wheel of Ice. In 2010, Baxter began working on a new series with Terry Pratchett. This collaboration has produced five books, The Long Earth, The Long War, The Long Mars, The Long Utopia and The Long Cosmos. Stephen Baxter has also written a follow up to War of the Worlds entitled Massacre of Mankind. In addition to writing Science fiction novels Baxter has also written non-fiction essays and columns for such publications as Critical Wave and the British SF Association’s Matrix.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Prolific Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, was Born November 13th 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Robert’s grandfather was the famous Scottish civil engineer and builder of lighthouses Robert Stevenson, FRSE, FGS, FRAS, MSA Scot, MWS, MInstCE. As An only child, strange-looking and eccentric, Stevenson found it hard to fit in when he was sent to a nearby school at age six, and when he went on to the Edinburgh Academy at age eleven. His frequent illnesses often kept him away from his first school, and he was taught for long stretches by private tutors. He learnt to read at age seven or eight, but even before this he dictated stories to his mother and nurse. He compulsively wrote stories throughout his childhood.

His father was proud of this interest; he had also written stories in his spare time. He paid for the printing of Robert’s first publication at sixteen, an account of the covenanters’ rebellion which was published on its two hundredth anniversary, The Pentland Rising: A Page of History, 1666 (1866). In November 1867 Stevenson entered the University of Edinburgh to study engineering. but showed no enthusiasm for his studies, however he formed many friendships with other students in the Speculative Society (an exclusive debating club), particularly with Charles Baxter, and with a professor, Fleeming Jenkin, whose house staged amateur drama in which Stevenson took part, and whose biography he would later write. He also spent much time with His cousin, Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson (known as “Bob”), a lively and light-hearted young man who had chosen to study art.

During the Holidays Stevenson in 1868 travelled the Sottish Isles of Lerwick and Wick and went with his father on his official tour of Orkney and Shetland islands lighthouses in 1869, and spent three weeks on the island of Erraid in 1870. He enjoyed the travels more for the material they gave for his writing than for any engineering interest. The voyage with his father pleased him because a similar journey of Walter Scott with Robert Stevenson had provided the inspiration for Scott’s 1821 novel The Pirate. In April 1871 Stevenson notified his father of his decision to pursue a life of letters. To provide some security, it was agreed that Stevenson should read Law (again at Edinburgh University) and be called to the Scottish bar.

While visiting a cousin in England in 1873, Stevenson met Sidney Colvin and Fanny Sitwell. Colvin became Stevenson’s literary adviser and after his death was the first editor of Stevenson’s letters. Soon after their first meeting, he had placed Stevenson’s first paid contribution, an essay entitled “Roads,” in The Portfolio. Stevenson was soon active in London literary life, becoming acquainted with many of the writers of the time, including Andrew Lang, Edmund Gosse, and Leslie Stephen, the editor of the Cornhill Magazine, who while Visiting Edinburgh in 1875, he took Stevenson with him to visit a patient at the Edinburgh Infirmary, named Ernest Henley, who was an energetic and talkative man with a wooden leg who became a close friend and occasional literary collaborator, and is often seen as the model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island.

In November 1873 Stevenson’s health failed, and he was sent to Menton on the French Riviera to recuperate. He returned in better health in April 1874 and settled down to his studies, but he returned to France several times after that and made long and frequent trips to the neighbourhood of the Forest of Fontainebleau, staying at Barbizon, Grez-sur-Loing, and Nemours and becoming a member of the artists’ colonies there, as well as to Paris to visit galleries and the theatres. He did qualify for the Scottish bar in July 1875. But although his law studies would influence his books, he never practised law as All his energies were now spent in travel and writing. One of his journeys, a canoe voyage in Belgium and France with a friend from the Speculative Society and frequent travel companion, was the basis of his first real book, An Inland Voyage (1878).

Between 1880 and 1887, Stevenson spent his summers at various places in Scotland and England, including Westbourne, Dorset, and It was during his time he wrote the story Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, naming one of the characters Mr Poole after the town of Poole. He also named his house Skerryvore after the tallest lighthouse in Scotland, which his uncle Alan had built. Despite his ill health, he produced the bulk of his best-known work during these years, including Treasure Island, Kidnapped; Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Black Arrow and two volumes of verse, A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods. When his father died in 1887, Stevenson felt free to follow the advice of his physician to try a complete change of climate, and started with his mother and family for Colorado. But after landing in New York, they decided to spend the winter at Saranac Lake, New York, in the Adirondacks & it was here that he wrote some of his best essays, including The Master of Ballantrae

In June 1888 Stevenson chartered the yacht Casco and set sail with his family from San Francisco. The sea air and thrill of adventure restored his health, and for nearly three years he wandered the eastern and central Pacific, stopping for extended stays at the Hawaiian Islands, where he became a good friend of King Kalākaua and his niece, Princess Victoria Kaiulani, who also had a link to Scottish heritage, also spending time at the Gilbert Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand and the Samoan Islands. During this period he completed The Master of Ballantrae, composed two ballads based on the legends of the islanders, and wrote The Bottle Imp. He also intended to write another book of travel writing to follow his earlier book In the South Seas, but it was his wife who eventually published her journal of their third voyage in her account of the 1890 voyage The Cruise of the Janet Nichol.

In 1890 Stevenson purchased a tract of about 400 acres (1.6 km²) in Upolu, an island in Samoa. Here, he established himself in the village of Vailima. He took the native name Tusitala (Samoan for “Teller of Tales”. His influence spread to the Samoans, who consulted him for advice, and he soon became involved in local politics.In addition to building his house and helping the Samoans in many ways, he found time to work at his writing & wrote The Beach of Falesa, Catriona (titled David Balfour in the USA), The Ebb-Tide, and the Vailima Letters during this period and also began work on Weir of Hermiston, which He felt was the best work he had done.

Stevenson sadly died On 3 December 1894 at the age of Forty Four from a suspected cerebral hemorrhage. Upon his death the Samoans insisted on surrounding his body with a watch-guard during the night and on bearing their Tusitala upon their shoulders to nearby Mount Vaea, where they buried him on a spot overlooking the sea.

Incredibles 2

The Pixar film Incredibles 2 is out on DVD. It sees the return of The Parr family, a group of undercover Superheroes. It was Written and directed by Brad Bird, with a score by Michael Giacchino. It is the sequel to The Incredibles (2004). It stars Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell and Samuel L. Jackson with Huckleberry Milner (replacing Spencer Fox), Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener and Jonathan Banks (replacing Bud Luckey).

The film starts with The Incredibles and Lucius Best (Frozone) pursuing the villainous Underminer who is trying to steal vast amount of money from the bank and destroy Metroville’s City Hall with his drill tank. After causing large amounts of damage while letting The Underminer escape The government, concerned by the collateral damage, shuts down the Superhero Relocation Program, leaving the Parrs without financial assistance from agent Rick Dicker. Then Violet’s date Tony Rydinger inadvertantly discovers her superhero identity and has his memory wiped by agent Rick Dicker and subsequently forgets about their date.

However their luck seems to change when Lucius informs Bob and Helen of an offer from Winston Deavor, the owner of DevTech, a telecommunications corporation. Winston and his sister Evelyn who propose a publicity stunt to regain public trust in superheroes and make them legal again. Winston enlists Helen, (Elastigirl) to help, and he provides the Parr family with a new home. Elastigirl rescues passengers aboard a runaway train and also rescues an Ambassodor who supports superheroes, then Elastigirl encounters a mysterious villain named Screenslaver who controls people by projecting hypnotic images via television screens

Meanwhile back at home, Bob’s life is in complete chaos as he faces the challenges of family life, Dash is having trouble with his maths homework, Violet becomes withdrawn after Tony stands her up, and Jack-Jack wreaks havoc with his burgeoning superpowers. Bob gets no sleep until In desperation he brings Jack-Jack to Edna Mode, to help him with Jack Jack’s superpowers.

Elastigirl, Mr Incredible and Frozone are then invited to a party aboard Winston’s luxury ship, where they meet a variety of other superheroes including Voyd and Reflux. Winston announces a summit of world leaders to legalize superheroes. However Elastigirl makes an alarming discovery concerning Evelyn and the superheroes Gazerbeam and Fironic. She also discovers the real genius behind the screenslaver, whose sinister agenda could spell trouble for all superheroes and they all soon find themselves in real danger….