Twas the night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And Mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap;

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof—
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he look’d like a pedlar just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlfull of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself,
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And fill’d all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Howard Hughes

Wealthy Film maker, Aviator and philanthropist Howard Hughes was born December 24, 1905.  Hughes was the son of Allene Stone Gano and Howard R. Hughes Sr., a successful inventor and businessman from Missouri. He was of English, Welsh and some French Huguenot, ancestry, and was a descendant of John Gano, the minister who baptized George Washington. His father had patented the two-cone roller bit, which allowed rotary drilling for petroleum in previously inaccessible places. The senior Hughes made the shrewd and lucrative decision to commercialize the invention by leasing the bits instead of selling them, obtained several early patents, and founded the Hughes Tool Company in 1909. Hughes’ uncle was the famed novelist, screenwriter, and film director Rupert Hughes.

From a young age, Hughes demonstrated an interest in science and technology. In particular, he had great engineering aptitude and built Houston’s first “wireless” radio transmitter at age 11. He went on to be one of the first licensed ham radio operators in Houston, having the assigned callsign W5CY (originally 5CY).  At 12, Hughes became the first boy in Houston to have a “motorized” bicycle, which he had built from parts from his father’s steam engine. He was an indifferent student, with a liking for mathematics, flying, and mechanics. He took his first flying lesson at 14, and attended Fessenden School in Massachusetts in 1921. He later attended math and aeronautical engineering courses at Caltech. The red brick house where Hughes lived as a teenager at 3921 Yoakum St., Houston today serves as the headquarters of the Theology Department of the University of St. Thomas.

His mother Allene died in March 1922 from complications of an ectopic pregnancy. Howard Hughes Sr. died of a heart attack in 1924. Their deaths apparently inspired Hughes to include the creation of a medical research laboratory in the will that he signed in 1925 at age 19. Howard Sr.’s will had not been updated since Allene’s death, and Hughes inherited 75% of the family fortune. On his 19th birthday, Hughes was declared an emancipated minor, enabling him to take full control of his life.

From a young age, Hughes was a proficient and enthusiastic golfer. He often scored near par figures, played the game to a three handicap during his 20s, and for a time aimed for a professional golf career. He golfed frequently with top players, including Gene Sarazen. Hughes rarely played competitively and gradually gave up his passion for the sport to pursue other interests. Hughes withdrew from Rice University shortly after his father’s death.  Hughes enjoyed a highly successful business career beyond engineering, aviation, and filmmaking, though many of his career endeavors involved varying entrepreneurial roles. The Summa Corporation was the name adopted for the business interests of Howard Hughes after he sold the tool division of Hughes Tool Company in 1972. The company serves as the principal holding company for Hughes’ business ventures and investments. It is primarily involved in aerospace and defense, electronics, mass media, manufacturing, and hospitality industries, but has maintained a strong presence in a wide variety of industries including real estate, petroleum drilling and oilfield services, consulting, entertainment, and engineering. Much of his fortune was later used for philanthropic causes, notably towards health care and medical research.

On June 1, 1925, he married Ella Botts Rice, daughter of David Rice and Martha Lawson Botts of Houston. They moved to Los Angeles, where he hoped to make a name for himself as a filmmaker. His first two films, Everybody’s Acting (1927) and Two Arabian Knights (1928), were financial successes, the latter winning the first Academy Award for Best Director of a comedy picture. The Racket (1928) and The Front Page (1931) were also nominated for Academy Awards. Hughes spent $3.8 million to make the flying film Hell’s Angels (1930). It earned nearly $8 million, and received one Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography. He then produced another hit, Scarface (1932), a production delayed by censors’ concern over its violence. His next film The Outlaw (1943) was completed in 1941 and featured Jane Russell. It also received considerable attention from industry censors, this time owing to Russell’s revealing costumes. Hughes designed a special bra for his leading lady, although Russell said it was uncomfortable and decided against wearing it.  In 1929, Hughes’ wife, Ella, returned to Houston and filed for divorce. Hughes also dated many famous women, including Billie Dove, Faith Domergue, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Ginger Rogers, Janet Leigh, Rita Hayworth, Mamie Van Doren and Gene Tierney and also proposed to Joan Fontaine several times,

During the 1940s to the late 1950s, the Hughes Tool Company ventured into the film industry when it obtained partial ownership of the RKO companies which included RKO Pictures, RKO Studios, a chain of movie theaters known as RKO Theatres and a network of radio stations known as the RKO Radio Network. In 1948, Hughes gained control of RKO, a struggling major Hollywood studio, by acquiring 25% of the outstanding stock from Floyd Odlum’s Atlas Corporation.In 1953, Hughes was involved with a high profile lawsuit as part of the settlement of the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. Antitrust Case. As a result of the hearings, the shaky status of RKO became increasingly apparent. A steady stream of lawsuits from RKO’s minority shareholders had grown to be extremely annoying to Hughes. They had accused him of financial misconduct and corporate mismanagement. Since Hughes wanted to focus primarily on his aircraft manufacturing and TWA holdings during the Korean War years, Hughes offered to buy out all other stockholders in order to dispense with their distractions.

By the end of 1954 Hughes had gained near-total control of RKO at a cost of nearly $24 million, becoming the closest thing to a sole owner of a Hollywood studio seen in three decades. Six months later, Hughes sold the studio to the General Tire and Rubber Company for $25 million. Hughes retained the rights to pictures that he had personally produced, including those made at RKO. He also retained Jane Russell’s contract. For Howard Hughes, this was the virtual end of his 25-year involvement in the motion picture industry. However, his reputation as a financial wizard emerged unscathed. During that time period, RKO became known as the home of film noir classic productions thanks in part to the limited budgets required to make such films during Hughes’ tenure. Hughes reportedly walked away from RKO having made $6.5 million in personal profit. General Tire was interested mainly in exploiting the value of the RKO library for television programming even though it made some attempts to continue producing films. After a year and a half of mixed success, General Tire shut down film production entirely at RKO at the end of January 1957. The studio lots in Hollywood and Culver City were sold to Desilu Productions later that year for $6.15 million.

In additions to his manufacturing, aviation, entertainment, and hospitality industries, Hughes was a successful real estate investor. Hughes was deeply involved in the American real estate industry where he amassed vast holdings of undeveloped land both in Las Vegas and in the desert surrounding the city that had gone unused during his lifetime. In 1968, the Hughes Tool Company purchased the North Las Vegas Air Terminal.

Originally known as Summa Corporation, The Howard Hughes Corporation was formed in 1972 when the oil tools business of Hughes Tool Company, then owned by Howard Hughes Jr., was floated on the New York Stock Exchange under the Hughes Tool name. This forced the remaining businesses of the “original” Hughes Tool to adopt a new corporate name Summa. The name “Summa”—Latin for “highest”—was adopted without the approval of Hughes himself, who preferred to keep his own name on the business, and suggested HRH Properties (for Hughes Resorts and Hotels, and also his own initials). In 1988, Summa announced plans for Summerlin, a master-planned community named for the paternal grandmother of Howard Hughes, Jean Amelia Summerlin.

Initially staying in the Desert Inn, Hughes refused to vacate his room, and instead decided to purchase the entire hotel. Hughes extended his financial empire to include Las Vegas real estate, hotels, and media outlets, spending an estimated $300 million, and using his considerable powers to take-over many of the well known hotels, especially the organized crime connected venues. He quickly became one of the most powerful men in Las Vegas. He was instrumental in changing the image of Las Vegas from its Wild West roots into a more refined cosmopolitan city.

His many ventures helped him become one of the wealthiest people in the world. As a maverick film producer, Hughes gained prominence in Hollywood from the late 1920s, and was also one of the most influential aviators in history: he set multiple world air speed records, built the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 “Hercules” (better known to history as the “Spruce Goose” aircraft), and acquired and expanded Trans World Airlines, which later merged with American Airlines. Following his Air Speed World Record, New York City gave Hughes a ticker-tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes. In 1938, the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, known at the time as Houston Municipal Airport, was renamed Howard Hughes Airport, but the name was changed back after people objected to naming the airport after a living person.

In 1953, Hughes launched the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Miami, Florida, and currently located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, formed with the expressed goal of basic biomedical research, including trying to understand, genesis of life itself,” due to his lifelong interest in science and technology. Hughes’ first will, which he signed in 1925 at the age of 19, stipulated that a portion of his estate should be used to create a medical institute bearing his name. Hughes gave all his stock in the Hughes Aircraft Company to the institute, thereby turning the aerospace and defense contractor into a for-profit entity of a fully tax-exempt charity. Verne Mason, who treated Hughes after his 1946 aircraft crash, was chairman of the institute’s medical advisory committee.The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s new board of trustees sold Hughes Aircraft in 1985 to General Motors for $5.2 billion, allowing the institute to grow dramatically and resulting in a protracted legal battle between Hughes and the Internal Revenue Service. After his death in 1976, many thought that the balance of Hughes’ estate would go to the institute, although it was ultimately divided among his cousins and other heirs, given the lack of a will to the contrary. The HHMI was the fourth largest private organization as of 2007 and the largest devoted to biological and medical research.

Hughes is also remembered for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle in later life, caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder and chronic pain. He sadly passed away April 5, 1976 on board an aircraft en route from his penthouse at the Acapulco Fairmont Princess Hotel in Mexico to the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. His reclusiveness and possible drug use made him practically unrecognizable. His hair, beard, fingernails, and toenails were long—his tall 6 ft 4 in (193 cm) frame now weighed barely 90 pounds (41 kg), and the FBI had to use fingerprints to conclusively identify the body.A subsequent autopsy recorded kidney failure as the cause of death Hughes was in extremely poor physical condition at the time of his death. He suffered from malnutrition. While his kidneys were damaged, his other internal organs, including his brain, were deemed perfectly healthy. Hughes is buried next to his parents at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas. However his legacy is maintained through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and many of his aircraft including the Spruce Goose and H-1 Racer are also on display.

National Eggnog Day

National Eggnog occurs annually on 24 December. Eggnog is a rich, chilled, sweetened, dairy-based beverage traditionally consumed over Christmas. It is made with milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, and egg yolks (which gives it a frothy texture, and its name). In some contexts, distilled spirits such as brandy, rum, whisky or bourbon are added to the drink. eggnog is served throughout Canada and the United States, from late November until the end of the holiday season. Eggnog has also gained popularity in Australia. A variety called Ponche Crema has been made and consumed in Venezuela and Trinidad since the 1900s, also as part of the Christmas season. During that time, commercially prepared eggnog is sold in grocery stores in these countries.

The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make original eggnog drinks are debated. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, nog was “a kind of strong beer brewed in East Anglia”. The first known use of the word “nog” was in 1693. Alternatively, nog may stem from noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol. However, the British drink was also called an Egg Flip, from the practice of “flipping” (rapidly pouring) the mixture between two pitchers to mix it. One dictionary lists the word “eggnog” as being an Americanism invented in 1765-75.

the term ‘Eggnog” is a combination of two colonial slang words — rum was referred to as grog and bartenders served it in small wooden mugs called noggins. The drink first became known as egg-n-grog and later as eggnog.” Ben Zimmer, executive editor for Vocabulary.com, disputes the “egg-n-grog” theory as lacking proof; Zimmer states that the term “nog” may be related to the “Scottish term nugg or nugged ale, meaning “ale warmed with a hot poker.”

The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the term “egg nog” is an American term introduced in 1775, consisting of the words “egg” and “nog”, with “nog” meaning “strong ale”.The first example of the term “eggnog” was in 1775, when Maryland clergyman and philologist Jonathan Boucher wrote a poem about the drink which was not published until 30 years after his death:  The first printed use of the term appeared in the New-Jersey Journal of March 26, 1788, which referred to a young man drinking a glass of eggnog. An 1869 dictionary entry for “egg nog” defines it as a mixture of wine, spirits, eggs and sugar; there is no mention of dairy products.

Eggnog originated from the early medieval” British drink called posset, which was made with hot milk that was curdled with wine or ale and flavoured with spices. In the Middle Ages, posset was used as a cold and flu remedy. Posset was popular from medieval times to the 19th century. Eggs were added to some posset recipes; according to Time magazine, by the “…13th century, monks were known to drink a posset with eggs and figs.” A 17th century recipe for “My Lord of Carlisle’s Sack-Posset” uses a heated mixture of cream, whole cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, eighteen egg yolks, eight egg whites, and one pint of Sack wine (a fortified white wine related to sherry). At the end, sugar, ambergris and animal musk are stirred in. Posset was traditionally served in two-handled pots. The aristocracy had costly posset pots made from silver.

Eggnog is not the only mixed, sweetened alcohol drink associated with the winter season. Mulled wine or wassail is a drink made by Ancient Greeks and Romans with sweetened, spiced wine. When the drink spread to Britain, the locals switched to the more widely available alcohol, hard cider, to make their mulled beverages. During the Victorian era, Britons drank purl, “a heady mixture of gin, warm beer, sugar, bitter herbs, and spices”. In the Colonial era in America, the drink was transformed into an “ale-and-rum-based flip” warmed with a hot poker.

Alcoholic drinks were originally served in wooden cups called “noggins”.
In Britain, the drink was originally popular among the aristocracy. “Milk, eggs, and sherry were foods of the wealthy, so eggnog was often used in toasts to prosperity and good health.” Those who could afford milk and eggs and costly spirits mixed the eggnog with brandy, Madeira wine or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog.

The drink crossed the Atlantic to the British colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Triangular Trade with the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products available to colonists, helped the drink become very popular in America.[18] When the supply of rum to the newly founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon in particular, as a substitute.[9] In places in the American colonies where even bourbon was too expensive, homemade moonshine spirits were added to eggnog. Eggnog “became tied to the holidays” when it was adopted in the United States in the 1700s. Eggnog “…seems to have been popular on both sides of the Atlantic” in the 18th century.

Records show that the first US President, George Washington, “…served an eggnog-like drink to visitors” which included “…rye whiskey, rum, and sherry.” The President’s recipe called for a variety of alcoholic beverages along with the dairy and egg ingredients: “One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, 1/2 pint rye whiskey, 1/2 pint Jamaica rum, and 1/4 pint sherry.” The recipe instructs cooks to “mix the liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.”

“Tom and Jerry is a form of hot eggnog cocktail that was once popular.”The Tom and Jerry was invented by British journalist Pierce Egan in the 1820s, using brandy and rum added to eggnog and served hot, usually in a mug or a bowl. It is a traditional Christmastime cocktail in the United States.

Isaac Weld, Junior, in his book Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797 (published in 1800) wrote: “The American travellers, before they pursued their journey, took a hearty draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together;…” In a similar way to how posset was drunk as a cold remedy in the Medieval era, there is evidence that eggnog was also used as a medical treatment. An 1892 scientific journal article proposes the use of eggnog to treat “grippe”, commonly known as the “flu”, along with ammonium chloride to treat the cough and quinine to cure the illness.

In the American South, eggnog is made with bourbon. Eggnog is called “coquito” in Puerto Rico, where rum and fresh coconut juice or coconut milk are used in its preparation. Mexican eggnog, also known as “rompope”, was developed in Santa Clara. It differs from regular eggnog in its use of Mexican cinnamon and rum or grain alcohol. In Peru, eggnog is called “biblia con pisco”, and it is made with a Peruvian pomace brandy called pisco.”[9] German eggnog, called “biersuppe”, is made with beer. “Eierpunsch is a German version of eggnog made with white wine”, eggs, sugar, cloves, tea, lemon or lime juice and cinnamon. Another recipe dating from 1904 calls for eggs, lemon juice, sugar, white wine, water and rum. In Iceland, eggnog “…is served hot as a dessert.”

Handley Page Victor

The jet powered The Handley Page Victor strategic bomber made its maiden flight 24 December 1952. The Victor was a futuristic-looking, streamlined aircraft, with four turbojet (later turbofan) engines buried in the thick wing roots. Distinguishing features of the Victor were its highly swept T-tail with considerable dihedral on the tail planes, and a prominent chin bulge that contained the targeting radar, nose landing gear unit and an auxiliary bomb aimer’s position. It was originally required by the specification that the whole nose section could be detached at high altitudes to act as an escape pod, but the Air Ministry abandoned this requirement in 1950.

The Victor had a five-man crew, comprising the two pilots seated side-by-side and three rearward-facing crew, these being the navigator/plotter, the navigator/radar operator, and the air electronics officer Unlike the Vulcan and Valiant, the Victor’s pilots sat at the same level as the rest of the crew, thanks to a larger pressurised compartment that extended all the way to the nose. As with the other V-bombers, only the pilots were provided with ejection seats; the three systems operators relying on “explosive cushions” inflated by a CO2 bottle that would help them from their seats and towards a traditional bail out in the event of high g-loading, but despite this, escape for the three backseaters was extremely difficult.

While assigned to the nuclear delivery role, the Victor was finished in an all-over anti-flash white colour scheme, designed to protect the aircraft against the damaging effects of a nuclear detonation. The white colour scheme was intended to reflect heat away from the aircraft; paler variations of RAF’s roundels were also applied for this same reason. When the V-bombers were assigned to the low-level approach profile in the 1960s, the Victors were soon repainted in green/grey tactical camouflage to reduce visibility to ground observation; the same scheme was applied to subsequently converted tanker aircraft.

The origin of the Victor and the other V bombers is heavily linked with the early British atomic weapons programme and nuclear deterrent policies that developed in the aftermath of the Second World War. The atom bomb programme formally began with Air Staff Operational Requirement OR.1001 issued in August 1946, which anticipated a government decision in January 1947 to authorise research and development work on atomic weapons, the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (McMahon Act) having prohibited exporting atomic knowledge, even to countries that had collaborated on the Manhattan Project. OR.1001 envisaged a weapon not to exceed 24 ft 2 in (7.37 m) in length, 5 ft (1.5 m) in diameter, 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) in weight, and suitable for release from 20,000 ft (6,100 m) to 50,000 ft (15,000 m).

At the same time, the Air Ministry drew up requirements for bombers to replace the existing piston-engined heavy bombers such as the Avro Lancaster and the new Avro Lincoln which equipped RAF Bomber Command. In January 1947, the Ministry of Supply distributed Specification B.35/46 to aviation companies to satisfy Air Staff Operational Requirement OR.229 for “a medium range bomber landplane capable of carrying one 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) bomb to a target 1,500 nautical miles (1,700 mi; 2,800 km) from a base which may be anywhere in the world.” A cruising speed of 500 knots (580 mph; 930 km/h) at heights between 35,000 ft (11,000 m) and 50,000 ft (15,000 m) was specified. The maximum weight when fully loaded ought not to exceed 100,000 lb (45,000 kg). The weapons load was to include a 10,000 lb “Special gravity bomb” (i.e. a free-fall nuclear weapon), or over shorter ranges 20,000 lb (9,100 kg) of conventional bombs. No defensive weapons were to be carried, the aircraft relying on its speed and altitude to avoid opposing fighters.

The similar OR.230 required a “long range bomber” with a 2,000 nautical miles (2,300 mi; 3,700 km) radius of action at a height of 50,000 ft (15,000 m), a cruise speed of 575 mph (925 km/h), and a maximum weight of 200,000 lb (91,000 kg) when fully loaded.Responses to OR.230 were received from Short Brothers, Bristol, and Handley Page; however, the Air Ministry recognised that developing an aircraft to meet these stringent requirements would have been technically demanding and so expensive that the resulting bomber could only be purchased in small numbers. As a result, realising that the majority of likely targets would not require such a long range, a less demanding specification for a medium-range bomber, Air Ministry Specification B.35/46 was issued. This demanded the ability to carry the same 10,000 lb bomb-load to a target 1,500 nmi (1,725 mi, 2,800 km) away at a height of 45,000–50,000 ft (13,700–15,200 m) at a speed of 575 mph.

The design proposed by Handley Page in response to B.35/46 was given the internal designation of HP.80. To achieve the required performance, Handley Page’s aerodynamicist Dr. Gustav Lachmann and his deputy, Godfrey Lee developed a crescent-shaped swept wing for the HP.80Aviation author Bill Gunston described the Victor’s compound-sweep crescent wing as having been “undoubtedly the most efficient high-subsonic wing on any drawing board in 1947”. The sweep and chord of the wing decreased in three distinct steps from the root to the tip, to ensure a constant critical Mach number across the entire wing and consequently a high cruise speed. The other parts of the aircraft which accelerate the flow, the nose and tail, were also designed for the same critical mach number so the shape of the HP.80 had a constant critical mach number all over. Early work on the project included tailless aircraft designs, which would have used wing-tip vertical surfaces instead; however as the proposal matured a high-mounted, full tailplane was adopted instead. The profile and shaping of the crescent wing was subject to considerable fine-tuning and alterations throughout the early development stages, particularly to counter unfavourable pitching behaviour in flight.

The HP.80 and Avro’s Type 698 were chosen as the best two of the proposed designs to B.35/46, and orders for two prototypes of each were placed. It was recognised, however, that there were many unknowns associated with both designs, and an order was also placed for Vickers’ design, which became the Valiant. Although not fully meeting the requirements of the specification, the Valiant design posed little risk of failure and could therefore reach service earlier. The HP.80’s crescent wing was tested on a ⅓-scale glider, the HP.87, and a heavily modified Supermarine Attacker, which was given the Handley Page HP.88 designation. The HP.88 crashed on 26 August 1951 after completing only about thirty flights and little useful data was gained during its brief two months of existence. By the time the HP.88 was ready, the HP.80 wing had changed such that the former was no longer representative. The design of the HP.80 had sufficiently advanced that the loss of the HP.88 had little effect on the programme.

Two HP.80 prototypes, WB771 and WB775, were built. WB771 was broken down at the Handley Page factory at Radlett and transported by road to RAF Boscombe Down for its first flight; bulldozers were used to clear the route and create paths around obstacles. Sections of the aircraft were hidden under wooden framing and tarpaulins printed with “GELEYPANDHY / SOUTHAMPTON” to make it appear as a boat hull in transit. GELEYPANDHY was an anagram of “Handley Pyge” marred by a signwriter’s error. On 24 December 1952, piloted by Handley Page’s chief test pilot Hedley Hazelden, WB771 made its maiden flight, which lasted for a total of 17 minutes. Ten days later, the Air Ministry announced the aircraft’s official name to be Victor.

The prototypes performed well; however, design failings led to the loss of WB771 on 14 July 1954, when the tailplane detached whilst making a low-level pass over the runway at Cranfield, causing the aircraft to crash with the loss of the crew. Attached to the fin using three bolts, the tailplane was subjected to considerably more load than had been anticipated, causing fatigue cracking around the bolt holes. This led to the bolts loosening and failing in shear. Stress concentrations around the holes were reduced And The potential for flutter due to shortcomings in the design of the fin/tailplane  joint was also reduced by shortening the fin. Additionally, the prototypes were tail heavy due to the lack of equipment in the nose; this was also remedied Production Victors had a lengthened nose to move the crew escape door further from the engine intakes as the original position was considered too dangerous as an emergency exit in flight. The lengthened nose also improved the c.g. range.

British , developed and produced by the Handley Page Aircraft Company, which served during the Cold War. It was the third and final V-bomber to be operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the other two being the Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant. The Victor had been developed as part of the United Kingdom’s airborne nuclear deterrent. In 1968, it was retired from the nuclear mission following the discovery of fatigue cracks, which had been exacerbated by the RAF’s adoption of a low-altitude flight profile to avoid interception.

A number of Victors were modified for strategic reconnaissance, using a combination of radar, cameras, and other sensors. As the nuclear deterrence mission was given to the Royal Navy’s submarine-launched Polaris missiles in 1969, a large V-bomber fleet could not be justified. Consequently, many of the surviving Victors were converted into aerial refuelling tankers. During the Falklands War, Victor tankers were used in the airborne logistics operation to repeatedly refuel Vulcan bombers on their way to and from the Black Buck raids. The Victor was the last of the V-bombers to be retired, the final aircraft being removed from service on 15 October 1993. In its refuelling role, it was replaced by the Vickers VC10 and the Lockheed Tristar.

Mary Higgins Clark

American suspense novelist Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins Clark Conheeney (née Higgins; Was born December 24, 1929′ known professionally as Mary Higgins Clark, Each of her 42 books has been a bestseller. She began writing at an early age. After Higgins Clark graduated from high school she attended Wood Secretarial School on a partial scholarship. After completing her coursework the following year, she accepted a job as the secretary to the head of the creative department in the internal advertising division at Remington-Rand. She soon enrolled in evening classes to learn more about advertising and promotion. Her growing skills, as well as her natural beauty, were noticed by her boss and others in the company, and her job was expanded to include writing catalog copy (alongside future novelist Joseph Heller) and to model for the company brochures with Grace Kelly. Although she enjoyed her job, Higgins Clark’s imagination was sparked by an acquaintance’s casual comment, “God, it was beastly hot in Calcutta.”

After several years working as a secretary and copy editor, Higgins Clark spent a year as a stewardess for Pan-American Airlines and for most of 1949, she worked the Pan Am international flights, traveling through Europe, Africa and Asia. One of her flights became the last flight allowed into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain fell. On another of her flights, Higgins Clark escorted a four-year-old orphaned child down the steps of the airplane into the waiting arms of her adoptive mother, a scene that was heavily televised.At the end of her year of flying, on December 26, 1949, Higgins Clark married Warren Clark. To occupy herself, she began taking writing courses at NYUand, with some of her classmates, formed a writing workshop in which the members would critique each other’s works-in-progress And Supplemented the family’s income by writing short stories. One of her professors at NYU told the class they should develop plot ideas by reading newspapers and asking themselves prompts such as, “Suppose” “What if and “Why?”she wrote her first short story called “Stowaway”, about a stewardess who finds a stowaway from Czechoslovakia on her plane And, in 1956, Extension Magazine agreed to purchase the story for $100. Their first child, Marilyn, was born in 1950 withWarren Jr. arriving thirteen months later, and a third child, David, born two years after his brother and Carol was born in 1956.Higgins Clark named her fifth and last child after her agent Patricia Schertle Myrer Warren and Higgins encouraged their children to support themselves and all five children eventually took professional acting and modeling jobs.

Sadly in 1959, Warren Clark was diagnosed with severe angina, and, although he curtailed his activities on his doctor’s order, he suffered three heart attacks within the next five years, each time returning from the hospital in poorer health. After the last heart attack in 1964 Warren suffered another fatal heart attack. His mother, who was visiting at the time, collapsed at his bedside upon discovering that he was dead. In one night, Higgins Clark had lost her husband and her mother-in-law. Higgins Clark’ wrote 95 four-minute programs for the Portrait of a Patriot series and was asked to write two other radio series. This experience of fitting an entire sketch into four minutes proved useful for writing a suspense novel. In 1960 The Saturday Evening Post, named Higgins Clark’s short story “Beauty Contest at Buckingham” one of their ten best of the year. Sadly By the late 1960s, Higgins Clark short stories were not selling so she started writing a full-length novel, using her research and experience with the Portraits of a Patriot series, And spent the next three years writing a fictionalized account of the relationship betweenGeorge and Martha Washington, Aspire to the Heavens. Sadly though four months after the publication of the novel, Higgins Clark’s mother Nora Higgins died.

To ensure that her children would not have to struggle financially, Higgins Clark was determined that they should have good educations, and enteredFordham University at Lincoln Center in 1971, graduating summa cum laude in 1979, with a BA in philosophy. Her two eldest children Marilyn and Warren, have become judges, and Patty works at the Mercantile Exchange in New York City. David is the president and CEO of Talk Marketing Enterprises, Inc, and Carol has authored many popular suspense novels. During this time Higgins Clark became increasingly frustrated with her employer, and, although two of her children were partially dependent on her for their college tuition, she quit her job and joined two of her former colleagues in forming their own company to write and market radio scripts. To scrape up the $5000 she needed to start the business, Higgins Clark was forced to pawn her engagement ring, and, for the eight months it took the company to become profitable, she did not receive a salary, further straining the family finances.

Higgins Clark continued writing even during these hard times. Encouraged by her agent to try writing another book, Higgins Clark returned to the suspense stories that she loved as a child and which had provided her first success as a short story writer. While she was in the midst of writing the story, her younger brother Johnny died, leaving her the sole surviving member of her family. To temporarily forget her heartache, Higgins Clark threw herself into her writing, and soon finished the novel. Very quickly after the novel, Where are the Children? was completed, Simon and Schuster agreed to purchase it for the relatively small sum of $3000. Three months later, in July 1974, Higgins Clark received word that the paperback rights for the novel had sold for one hundred thousand dollars. For the first time in many years she had no immediate financial worries.Where Are the Children? became a bestseller and was favorably reviewed.Two years after its publication Higgins Clark sold her second suspense novel for $1.5 million.

In 1978 Higgins Clark married to Raymond Ploetz an experience she describes as a “disastrous” marriage. ln 1996, she remarried again, to John J. Conheeney, the retired CEO of Merrill Lynch Futures, after they were introduced by her daughter, Patty.The couple live in Saddle River, New Jersey, having first moved tonew Jerseyn 1956 when they bought a home in Washington Township, Bergen County, New Jersey and also have homes inManhattan; Spring Lake, New Jersey; and Dennis, Massachusetts. Her debut novel about George Washington, Aspire to the Heavens was retitled Mount Vernon Love Story and rereleased in 2002, the same year as her autobiography, Kitchen Privileges, which relied heavily on the journals she has kept all of her life. in 2006 Higgins Clark published her first children’s book -Ghost Ship and She has also written several Christmas themed mystery novels with her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark.

Lemmy

Heavy Metal Legend Ian “Lemmy” kilmister was Born 24 December 1945 his nickname originated from the phrase “lemmy [lend me] a quid till Friday” because of his habit of borrowing money from people to feed his addiction to fruit machines. He saw The Beatles perform at the Cavern Club when he was 16, then played guitar along to their first album, Please Please Me, learning the chords. He also admired the sarcastic attitude of the group, particularly that of John Lennon Upon leaving school and with his family relocated in Conwy, Lemmy undertook a few temporary jobs including working at the local Hotpoint factory while also playing guitar for local bands, such as The Sundowners, and spending time at a horse riding school. At the age of 17, he met a holidaying girl named Cathy. Lemmy followed her to Stockport, Cheshire, where she had his son Sean.

In Stockport, he joined local bands The Rainmakers and then The Motown Sect who enjoyed playing northern clubs for three years. Wanting to progress further, in 1965 he joined The Rockin’ Vickers who signed a deal with CBS, released three singles and toured Europe, reportedly being the first British band to visit Yugoslavia. With the band living in a Manchester flat, he had a relationship with a girl named Tracy who bore him a son, Paul Inder, although it would not be until the boy was six that Lemmy had any involvement with him.In the film Lemmy he speaks briefly of having another son by an unnamed woman. It appears this child was adopted because the mother has only recently “found him” and “hadn’t got the heart to tell him who his father was”.Wanting to progress, Lemmy relocated to London in 1967. Sharing a flat with Noel Redding and Neville Chesters, he got a job as a roadie for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In 1968 he joined Sam Gopal and recorded the album Escalator and the single “Horse”. At that point Lemmy was thinking about changing his legal name to his stepfather’s surname of Willis, and appeared on the Escalatoralbum as Ian Willis; but he decided changing his birth certificate and passport would be too much hassle, so did not bother.[citation needed]After meeting Simon King in a Chelsea shopping centre in 1969, he joined the band Opal Butterfly, but the group soon folded, having previously failed to raise enough interest with their preceding CBS singles.An attempted reconciliation in 1970 between Lemmy and his birth father broke down, with Lemmy describing him as a “nasty little weasel”.

ln 1972, Lemmy joined the space rock band Hawkwind, as a bassist and vocalist. He had no previous experience as a bass guitarist, but quickly developed a distinctive style that was strongly shaped by his early experience as a rhythm guitarist, often using double stops and chords rather than the single note lines preferred by most bassists. His bass work was a fundamental part of the Hawkwind sound during his tenure, perhaps best documented on Space Ritual. He also provided the lead vocals on a number of songs, including the band’s biggest UK chart single, “Silver Machine”, which reached No.3 in 1972. ln 1975 Lemmy was fired from Hawkwind after he was arrested at the Canadian/US border in Windsor, Ontario on drug possession charges; he spent five days in jail. Lemmy was released without charge as Windsor Police had arrested him for possession of cocaine and after testing the evidence it turned out to be speed. So according to Canadian law at the time, he couldn’t be charged with anything and was released with no charge or conviction.

He went on to form a new band called “Bastard” with guitarist Larry Wallis (former member of the Pink Fairies, Steve Took’s Shagrat and UFO) and drummer Lucas Fox. Lemmy’s connection with Took (formerly of T. Rex) was not limited to Wallis, as they were personal friends and Took was the stepfather to Lemmy’s son, Paul. When his manager informed him that a band by the name of “Bastard” would never get a slot on “Top of the Pops”, Lemmy changed the band’s name to “Motörhead” – the title of the last song he had written for Hawkwind.Lemmy playing bass and singing. The high microphone position has become a Lemmy trademark.Soon after, both Wallis and Fox were replaced with guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor and with this line-up the band began to achieve success.

The band’s sound appealed to both Lemmy’s original fans and to fans of punk rock. he also played with The Damned for a handful of gigs when they had no regular bassist Lemmy’s guttural vocals were unique in rock at that time, and would not be copied until the rise in popularity of punk. The band’s success peaked between 1980 and 1981 with a number of UK chart hits, including the classic single “Ace of Spades”, which is still a crowd favourite and the #1 on the live album No Sleep ’til Hammersmith. Motörhead have since gone on to become one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and although Lemmy is the only constant member, are still performing and releasing records. Despite Motörhead’s many member changes over their 37-year history, the current lineup of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee has remained constant since 1995.

Lemmy has also worked with a number of other musicians over his career and occasionally guests with Hawkwind. He wrote the song “R.A.M.O.N.E.S” for the Ramones, which he still plays in his live sets as a tribute to the band. He was brought in as a songwriter for Ozzy Osbourne’s 1991 No More Tears album, providing lyrics for the tracks “Hellraiser”, (which Motörhead would later record themselves and release a single), “Desire”, “I Don’t Want to Change the World” and the single “Mama I’m Coming Home”. Lemmy has noted in several magazine and television interviews that he made more money from the royalties of that one song than he had in his entire time with Motörhead. After being diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes in 2000, which led to a brief hospitalisation, Lemmy again appeared with Motörhead at WrestleMania 17.

Lemmy published his autobiography, White Line Fever in November 2002. In 2005, Motörhead won their first Grammy in the Best Metal Performancecategory with their cover of Metallica’s “Whiplash”. Since 1990 he has lived in Los Angeles, California, currently resident in a two-room apartment two blocks away from his favourite hangout, the Rainbow Bar and Grill. Unfortunately in 2000, Lemmy was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, and this led to a brief hospitalisation. In 2002 Lemmy published his autobiography, White Line Fever .In 2005, Motörhead won their first Grammy in the Best Metal Performance category with their cover of Metallica’s “Whiplash”. In October 2009 it was announced that he had been involved in recording a cover of “Stand by Me” featuring Lemmy on vocals and bass, Dave Lombardo of Slayer on drums, which was made for professional skateboarder Geoff Rowley. In 2011 Lemmy also appeared on the song Debauchery As A Fine Art from Michael Monroe’s new solo album called Sensory Overload. Sadly though Lemmy tragically died December 28 2015 age 70 after succumbing to an extremely aggressive form of cancer.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Best known as the author of Watership Down, Shardik and The Plague Dogs, English novelist Richard George Adams sadly died 24December 2016. Adams was born on 9 May 1920 in Wash Common near Newbury, Berkshire, England. He attended Horris Hill School from 1926 to 1933, and then Bradfield College from 1933 to 1938. In 1938, he went to Worcester College, Oxford, to read Modern History. In July 1940, Adams was called up to join the British Army. He was posted to the Royal Army Service Corps and was selected for the Airborne Company, where he worked as a brigade liaison. He served in Palestine, Europe and the Far East but saw no direct action against either the Germans or the Japanese.

After being demobbed in 1946, Adams returned to Worcester College to continue his studies for a further two years. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1948, proceeding MA in 1953. After his graduation in 1948, Adams joined the British Civil Service, rising to the rank of Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, later part of the Department of the Environment. It was during this period that he began writing fiction in his spare time.

He began writing his first novel Watership Down in 1970 and published it in 1972 to much international acclaim. Adams had originally begun telling the story of Watership Down to his two daughters, and they insisted that he publish it as a book. It took two years to write. In 1972, after four publishers and three writers’ agencies had turned down the manuscript Rex Collings published the book which gained international acclaim almost immediately and sold over a million copies worldwide. Adams subsequently won both of the most prestigious British children’s book awards, one of six authors to do so: the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

In 1974, two years after Watership Down was published, Adams became a full-time author and published his second novel, Shardik, after which he left the Civil Service to become a full-time author. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1975. Adams also served as writer-in-residence at the University of Florida and Hollins University in Virginia. Adams won the inaugural Whitchurch Arts Award for inspiration in January 2010, presented at the Watership Down pub in Freefolk, Hampshire and In 2015 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Winchester. Watership Down has also been made into a film and remains popular.