Posted in books

Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves

I would like to read Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves. It is the eighth murder mystery in the Shetland series of novels and features dysfunctional families and fractured relationships. It features Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and concerns knitwear designer Helena and architect Daniel Fleming and their children, autistic Christopher, and Ellie, who move into a remote community of Deltaness in the north of Shetland, looking for a fresh start away from their busy London lives.

However, they learn that the previous owner of their home, tragically hanged himself in the barn and the Flemings are greeted by hate, resentment and jealousy by the locals, including malicious and vindictive Margaret Riddell who is jealous of and resents the Flemings and the Moncrieffs, and makes matters worse with her malicious gossip and rumours.

Then Helen becomes even more unsettled, when she starts recieving anonymous notes with a hangman, and find Deltaness claustrophobic and gossipy, while Christopher, who is mesmerised by fire, is shunned by fellow pupils and lives a largely solitary existence. Then Christopher makes a rather macabre discovery in the barn concerning Their nanny seventeen year old Emma Moncrief.

Chief Inspector Willow Reeves returns to Shetland with personal news for Perez which he handles rather badly, and despite the tensions that arise between them, they need to find a way of working together if they are to solve the latest case. They discover that Emma Moncrief was a troubled teenage had a traumatic history of family domestic violence who was recommended to Dr Robert Moncrieff as a nanny, and has helped in their home and looked after their four children ever since. With her retro 1950s elegant hand made dresses, she has caught the eyes of a number of men. The Moncrieffs and the Flemings are the main suspects in the wide ranging inquiry.

Posted in Events

International Events and Holidays happening 27 February

  • International Polar Bear Day
  • International Tongue Twister Contest Day
  • National Kahlua Day
  • National Strawberry Day
  • Open That Bottle Night

National Kahlua day takes place annually on 27 February. Kahlúa is a coffee-flavored liqueur from Mexico. The drink contains rum, sugar, vanilla bean, and arabica coffee. Kahlúa is used to make cocktails or drink neat or on ice. Some people use it when baking desserts, and/or as a topping for ice cream, cakes, and cheesecakes. It can be mixed in several ways, often with different combinations of milk, cream, coffee and cocoa.

According to the company, it contains “approximately 10 mg per 100 mL (of caffeine 4.85 mg in each 1.5 oz) drink” or about 25% the amount found in the same volume of coffee Kahlúa is a key ingredient in a number of notable cocktails including Espresso Martini, White Russian, Black Russian, Mind Eraser, B-52, Baby Guinness, Brave Bull, Colorado Bulldog, Dirty Mother, Kahlúa Sour, Moose Milk, Mudslide, Spanish coffee.

Kahlúa’s origins go back to 1936 when Pedro Domecq began producing Kahlúa. It was named Kahlúa, meaning “House of the Acolhua people” in the Veracruz Nahuatl language spoken before the Spanish Conquest. Kahlúa was Hispanicized as Ulúa, forming the name of the modern San Juan de Ulúa fortress. The company merged in 1994 with Allied Lyons to become Allied Domecq. In turn, that company was partially acquired in 2005 by Pernod Ricard, the largest spirits distributor in the world since its merger with the Swedish Vin & Sprit in March 2008.

Since 2004, the alcohol content of Kahlúa is 20.0%; earlier versions had 26.5%. In 2002, a more expensive, high-end product called “Kahlúa Especial” became available in the United States, Canada and Australia after previously being offered only in duty-free markets. Made with arabica coffee beans grown in Veracruz, Mexico, Kahlúa Especial has an alcohol content of 36%, has a lower viscosity, and is less sweet than the regular version.

Posted in books, films & DVD, Humour, Television

Spike Milligan

The late, great Comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor Sir Terence Alan “Spike” Milligan KBE Sadly passed away 27 February 2002. He was born 16 April 1918 in India, and was of Irish and English parentage and Irish nationality. His early life was spent in India where he was born. The majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He disliked his first name and began to call himself “Spike” after hearing the band Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Milligan was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of the popular British radio comedy programme The Goon Show, performing a range of roles including the popular Eccles and Minnie Bannister characters. The Goon Show was originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960, with occasional repeats on the BBC Light Programme. The first series was entitled Crazy People; subsequent series had the title The Goon Show, a title inspired, according to Spike Milligan, by a Popeye character. The scripts mixed ludicrous plots with surreal humour, puns, catchphrases and an array of bizarre sound effects. Some of the later episodes feature electronic effects devised by the fledgling BBC Radiophonic Workshop, many of which were reused by other shows for decades. Many elements of the show satirised contemporary life in Britain, parodying aspects of show business, commerce, industry, art, politics, diplomacy, the police, the military, education, class structure, literature and film.

The show was released internationally through the BBC Transcription Services. It was heard regularly from the 1950s in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India and Canada, although these TS versions were frequently edited to avoid controversial subjects. NBC began broadcasting the programme on its radio network from the mid-1950s.The programme exercised a considerable influence on the development of British and American comedy and popular culture. It was cited as a major influence by The Beatles and the American comedy team The Firesign Theatre as well as Monty Python and many others.

Milligan also wrote and edited many satirical books, including Puckoon and his seven-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. He is also noted as a popular writer of comical verse; much of his poetry was written for children, including Silly Verse for Kids (1959). After success with the groundbreaking British radio programme, The Goon Show, Milligan translated this success to television with Q5, a surreal sketch show which is credited as a major influence on the members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Milligan also appears briefly in the Mony Python film “The Life of Brian”. Spike Milligan claimed a right to Irish citizenship (as a child of an Irish citizen) after the British government declared him stateless. Milligan sadly passed away 27 February 2002 but his work remains popular.

Posted in music

Neal Schon (Journey)

American guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Neal George Joseph Schon was born February 27, 1954 at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma Schon first picked up the guitar at “around the age of five.”A quick learner, he joined Santana as a teenager at 15. Schon has said he was asked by Eric Clapton to join Derek and the Dominos,but that he joined Santana instead, and performed on the album Santana III. Schon also played in Azteca before moving on in 1973 to form Journey, a group he continues to lead as of late 2013.

Schon’s guitar style has been described as soulful, taking inspiration from 1960s-era soul singers such as Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, and blending it with blues runs similar to B. B. King. He was influenced by guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Wes Montgomery. He is best known for his work with the bands Journey and Bad English. He is Journey’s only constant member, having participated in every album and tour to date. He was also a member of the rock band Santana before forming Journey. Schon was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame on August 23, 2013


In addition to his five solo albums and 14 studio albums with Journey, his work also includes: a pair of albums with keyboardist Jan Hammer, short-term collaborations withSammy Hagar (HSAS and Planet Us) and Paul Rodgers, stints with Bad English (a supergroup that featured Journey’s Jonathan Cain and Deen Castronovo and Jonathan Cain’s former Babys bandmates John Waite and Ricky Phillips) and Hardline (which also featured Deen Castronovo). Even as Journey’s latest lineup plays to a still-faithful body of fans, Schon has immersed himself in side projects such as Piranha Blues (1999) and “Black Soup Cracker” a funk outfit that features former Prince associates Rosie Gaines and Michael Bland, and more recently Soul SirkUS with Jeff Scott Soto. Schon can also be heard on other albums including three tracks on Michael Bolton’s The Hunger, with the Schon sound most recognizable on “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”. He also joined Larry Graham to play in an all-star band for cult funk artist and ex-wife of Miles Davis,Betty Davis. In addition, Schon (along with then Journey manager Herbie Herbert) also contributed to Lenny White’s 1977 album “Big City”, specifically the instrumental jam “And we meet again”

Posted in music

Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden)

Adrian Smith, Guitarist with splendidly noisy English Heamy metal band Iron Maiden was born 27th February 1957. Iron Maiden hail from Leyton in east London and were formed in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter, Steve Harris. The band’s discography Includes thirty-eight albums, including sixteen studio albums, eleven live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.

Iron maiden were Pioneers of the new wave of British heavy metal, they were formed 25 December 1975 by bassist Steve Harris shortly after he left his previous group, Smiler. Harris attributed the band’s name to a film adaptation of The Man in the Iron Mask from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, the title of which reminded him of the iron maiden torture device. Iron Maiden made their debut at St. Nicks Hall in Poplar on 1 May 1976, before taking up a semi-residency at the Cart and Horses Pub in Maryland Point, Stratford.

The original line-up included vocalist Paul Day But He was replaced by Dennis Wilcock, a Kiss fan who used make-up and fake blood during live performances.[10] Wilcock’s friend, Dave Murray, was invited to join, much to the dismay of the band’s guitarists Dave Sullivan and Terry Rance. Their frustration led Harris to temporarily disband Iron Maiden in 1976,[ though the group reformed soon after with Murray as the sole guitarist. Harris and Murray remain the band’s longest-standing members and have performed on all of their releases. In 1977 Iron Maiden recruited yet another guitarist in 1977, Bob Sawyer, however he was sacked for embarrassing the band on stage by pretending to play guitar with his teeth. Tension ensued again, causing a rift between Murray and Wilcock, who convinced Harris to fire Murray, abd drummer Ron Matthews.

A new line-up was put together, including future Cutting Crew member Tony Moore on keyboards, Terry Wapram on guitar, and drummer Barry Purkis (better known today as Thunderstick). . Afterwards, Iron Maiden fired Purkis and replaced him with Doug Sampson. Moore was also asked to leave as Harris decided that keyboards did not suit the band’s sound. A few months later, Dennis Wilcock decided to leave Iron Maiden to form his own band, V1, and Dave Murray was immediately reinstated and Wapram was dismissed. Harris, Murray, and Sampson spent the summer and autumn of 1978 rehearsing while they searched for a singer. Then A chance meeting at the Red Lion pub in Leytonstone in November 1978 evolved into a successful audition for vocalist Paul Di’Anno. Murray would typically act as their sole guitarist, Iron Maiden achieved initial success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of UK and US platinum and gold albums, including 1982’s The Number of the Beast, 1983’s Piece of Mind, 1984’s Powerslave, 1985’s live release Live After Death, 1986’s Somewhere in Time and 1988’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Since the return of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the band have undergone a resurgence in popularity, with their 2010 studio offering, The Final Frontier, peaking at No. 1 in 28 countries and receiving widespread critical acclaim. Their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls, was released on 4 September 2015. Despite little radio or television support, Iron Maiden are considered one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history, with The Observer reporting in 2015 that the band have sold over 90 million copies of their albums worldwide. As of October 2013, the band have played over 2000 live shows throughout their career. For the past 35 years, the band have been supported by their famous mascot, “Eddie”, who has appeared on almost all of their album and single covers, as well as in their live show. Iron Maiden have sold over 85 million records worldwide with little radio or television support. The band have also won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002, and were also inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk in Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California during their United States tour in 2005. As of August 2011, the band have played almost 2000 live shows throughout their career.

Posted in music

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Johnny van Zant, the lead singer with Lynyrd Skynyrd was born 27th February 1959. Best known for popularizing the Southern hard rock genre during the 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd were Originally formed In the summer of 1964, when teenage friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington formed the band “The Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida. The band changed in 1965 to “My Backyard”, when Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns joined. In 1968, the group won a local Battle of the Bands contest and the opening slot on several Southeast shows for the California-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. the group eventually settled on the name “Leonard Skinner”, a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair.

During the 1970′s the band experienced many line-up changes and in 1972 the band was discovered at one of their shows at a club in Atlanta, GA. They soon changed the spelling of their name to “Lynyrd Skynyrd”and their fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour in the United States. Their 1974 follow-up, Second Helping, was the band’s breakthrough hit, and featured their most popular single, “Sweet Home Alabama” helping them rise to worldwide recognition.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, was released in 1975 and the fourth album Gimme Back My Bullets was released in January 1976, but did not achieve the same success as the previous two albums. Steve Gaines joined the band in June 1976 and the newly-reconstituted band recorded the double-live album One More From the Road at the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) in Atlanta, and performed at the Knebworth festival, which also featured The Rolling Stones. The next album 1977′s Street Survivors turned out to be a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines and included the iconic rock anthem “Free Bird”

Sadly though, On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and at the peak of their success, three members (Including Gaines and Zant) all died in an airplane crash, Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single “What’s Your Name” reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978. Surviving members re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny as frontman. A version of the band continues to tour and record, with only Gary Rossington of its original members remaining as of 2012. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006

Posted in films & DVD, Science fiction, Television

Leonard Nimoy

Best known for his role as Spock in the original Star Trek series (1966–69), and for his roles in multiple film, television series, Prolific actor, film Director, Poet, Singer and Photographer Leonard Nimoy sadly passed away February 27, 2015. Born March 26, 1931, in Boston, Massachusetts, Nimoy began acting at the age of eight in children’s and neighborhood theater. His parents wanted him to attend college and pursue a stable career, or even learn to play the accordion—with which, his father advised, Nimoy could always make a living—but his grandfather encouraged him to become an actor.His first major role was at 17, as Ralphie in an amateur production of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing! Nimoy took drama classes at Boston College in 1953 but failed to complete his studies, and in the 1970s studied photography at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Nimoy’s film and television acting career began in 1951. After receiving the title role in the 1952 film Kid Monk Baroni, a story about a street punk turned professional boxer, he played more than 50 small parts in B movies, television series such as Perry Mason and Dragnet and portrayed the semi-alien, Narab, one of three Martian invaders in the 1952 movie series Zombies of the Stratosphere. from 1953, until 1955 he served as a sergeant in the United States Army alongside fellow actor Ken Berry and architect Frank Gehry.

He played an Army sergeant in the 1954 science fiction thriller Them! and a professor in the 1958 science fiction movie The Brain Eaters, and had a role in The Balcony (1963), a film adaptation of the Jean Genet play. With Vic Morrow, he produced a 1966 version of Deathwatch, an English-language film version of Genet’s play Haute Surveillance, adapted and directed by Morrow and starring Nimoy.

On television, Nimoy appeared as “Sonarman” in two episodes of the 1957–1958 military drama The Silent Service, based on actual events of the submarine section of the United States Navy. He had guest roles in the Sea Hunt series from 1958 to 1960 and a minor role in the 1961 The Twilight Zone episode “A Quality of Mercy”. In 1959, Nimoy was cast as Luke Reid in the “Night of Decision” episode of the western series Colt .45. Nimoy also appeared in TheWagon Train, portraying Bernabe Zamora in “The Estaban Zamora Story” (1959), “Cherokee Ned” in “The Maggie Hamilton Story” (1960), Joaquin Delgado in “The Tiburcio Mendez Story” (1961), and Emeterio Vasquez in “The Baylor Crowfoot Story” (1962).

Nimoy also appeared in Bonanza (1960), The Rebel (1960), Two Faces West (1961), Rawhide (1961), The Untouchables (1962), The Eleventh Hour (1962), Perry Mason (1963; playing murderer Pete Chennery in “The Case of the Shoplifter’s Shoe”, episode 13 of season 6), Combat! (1963, 1965), Daniel Boone, The Outer Limits (1964), The Virginian (1963–1965; first working with Star Trek co-star DeForest Kelley in “Man of Violence”, episode 14 of season 2, in 1963), Get Smart (1966) and Mission: Impossible (1969–1971). He appeared again in the 1995 Outer Limits series. He appeared in Gunsmoke in 1962 as Arnie and in 1966 as John Walking Fox.

In 1965, he made his first appearance in the rejected Star Trek pilot, The Cage alongside Star Trek co-star William Shatner with whom he had previously worked on an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., “The Project Strigas Affair” (1964). Portraying characters from opposite sides of the Iron Curtain. From 1966 to 1969 Nimoy appeared in Star Trek portraying the half-Vulcan, half-human character Spock which propelled Nimoy to stardom spawning eight feature films and numerous spin offs. The original series is also repeated. The character has garnered Nimoy three Emmy Award nominations; TV Guide named Spock one of the 50 greatest TV characters.

Following Star Trek in 1969, Nimoy immediately joined the cast of the spy series Mission: Impossible, which was seeking a replacement for Martin Landau. Nimoy was cast in the role of Paris, an IMF agent who was an ex-magician and make-up expert “The Great Paris”. He played the role during seasons four and five (1969–71). Nimoy had strongly been considered as part of the initial cast for the show but remained in the Spock role of Star Trek. He co-starred with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna in the Western movie Catlow (1971). He also had roles in two episodes of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery (1972 and 1973) and Columbo (1973) where he played a murderous doctor who was one of the few criminals with whom Columbo became angry. Nimoy appeared in various made for television films such as Assault on the Wayne (1970), Baffled! (1972), The Alpha Caper (1973), The Missing Are Deadly (1974), Seizure: The Story Of Kathy Morris (1980), and Marco Polo (1982). He received an Emmy Award nomination for best supporting actor for the television film A Woman Called Golda (1982), for playing the role of Morris Meyerson, Golda Meir’s husband opposite Ingrid Bergman as Golda in her final role.

He went on to reprise the Spock character in Star Trek: The Animated Series and two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. When a new Star Trek series was planned in the late 1970s, Nimoy was to be in only two out of eleven episodes, but when the show was elevated to a feature film, he agreed to reprise his role. The first six Star Trek movies feature the original Star Trek cast including Nimoy, who also directed two of the films.

PART TWO

In the late 1970s, he appeared in the television series In Search of…, investigating paranormal or unexplained events or subjects and appeared as a psychiatrist Dr.David Kibner in Philip Kaufman’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. he also voiced the character of Galvatron in the animated Transformers Movie in 1986 and was featured as the voice-over narrator for the CBS paranormal series Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories in 1991. He made his directorial debut in 1973, directing the “Death On A Barge” segment for an episode of Night Gallery and also directed the third and fourth Star Trek Installments (Search for Spock and Voyage Home) and Three Men and a Baby and His final directorial credit was in 1995 for the episode “Killshot”, the pilot from the TV series Deadly Games. In 1991, Nimoy produced and acted in a movie with Robert B. Radnitz for TNT about a pro bono publico lawsuit brought by public interest attorney William John Cox on behalf of Mel Mermelstein, an Auschwitz survivor, against a group of organizations engaged in Holocaust denial.

In 1994 he narrated the IMAX documentary film, Destiny in Space, showcasing film-footage of space from nine Space Shuttle missions over four years time. And also performed as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The Pagemaster. In 1998, he had a leading role as Mustapha Mond in the made-for-television production of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and also created Alien Voices alongside John de Lancie, an audio-production venture that specializes in audio dramatizations, which include The Time Machine, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Lost World, The Invisible Man and The First Men in the Moon. He also appeared in several television specials for the Sci-Fi Channel and also narrated Episodes of the the Ancient Mysteries series “The Sacred Water of Lourdes” and “Secrets of the Romanovs”. n 1997, Nimoy played the prophet Samuel, alongside Nathaniel Parker, in The Bible Collection movie David and has also appeared in several popular television series—including Futurama and The Simpsons—as both himself and Spock.In 2000 He appeared in Our 20th Century, which covers world news, sports, entertainment, technology, and fashion using original archive news clips from 1930 to 1975 from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. In 2001, Nimoy voiced the role of the Atlantean King Kashekim Nedakh in the Disney animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire alongside Michael J. Fox.

Nimoy also won acclaim for a series of stage roles. He appeared in such plays as Vincent (1981), Fiddler on the Roof, The Man in the Glass Booth, Oliver!, 6 Rms Riv Vu, Full Circle, Camelot, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The King and I, Caligula, The Four Poster, Twelfth Night, Sherlock Holmes, Equus, and My Fair Lady and also appeared in a short lived Gore Vidal production. Nimoy appeared in the television series Next Wave and the documentary film The Once and Future Griffith Observatory, currently running in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and In 2007, he produced the play, Shakespeare’s Will by Canadian Playwright Vern Thiessen. Starring Jeanmarie Simpson as Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway. In May 2009, he made an appearance as the mysterious Dr. William Bell in the television program Fringe, exploring the existence of a parallel universe. In 2009 Nimoy appeared as a surprise guest on the skit “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live. He also voiced the Zarn in the 2009 film version of Land of the Lost starring Will Ferrell and Anna Friel and has also narrated for “Selected Shorts”, an ongoing series of programs at Symphony Space in New York City which features actors and authors reading works of short fiction and has provided voiceovers for many computer games including Star Trek Online, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as Master Xehanort, the series’ leading villain. In 2011 he provided the voice of Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon and made a cameo appearance in the alternate version music video of Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” he also appears on an episode of The Big Bang Theory called “The Transporter Malfunction” and also made a cameo appearance in the film Star Trek in Darkness.

Nimoy was also a keen photographer, his interest in photography began in childhood. he also owned a camera that he rebuilt at the age of 13 and studied photography at UCLA And His work has been exhibited at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. He has also published two autobiographies The first entitled I Am Not Spock (1975) and the second entitled, I Am Spock (1995), along with several volumes of Poetry some of which were published along with his Photographs Including “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life” (2002). He also adapted and starred in the one-man play Vincent (1981), based on the play Van Gogh (1979) by Phillip Stephens. In 1995, Nimoy was involved in the production of Primortals, a comic book series published by Tekno Comix about first contact with aliens, which was inspired by Isaac Asimov.

Nimoy also released five albums of musical vocal recordings including Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space, and Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy and sang cover versions of popular songs, such as “Proud Mary” and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line”. Nimoy’s voice also appeared in sampled form on a song by the pop band Information Society entitled, “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)”. In 1997, he narrated the documentary A Life Apart: Hasidism in America, about the various sects of Hasidic Orthodox Jews and published The Shekhina Project, a photographic study exploring the feminine aspect of God’s presence, inspired by Kabbalah.

Nimoy revealed that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). On Twitter, he said: “I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP (Live Long and Prosper). In February 19, 2015, Nimoy was rushed to UCLA Medical Center for severe chest pains after a call to 911. According to accounts, he had been in and out of hospitals for the “past several months.”Nimoy died on February 27, 2015 in his Bel Air home from final complications of COPD, according to his wife Susan. He was 83 years old, and is survived by His wife Susan and his two children and six grandchildren from his first marriage

Posted in Events, Health

Anosmia Awareness Day

Anosmia Awareness Day takes place each year on February 27 to spread awareness about Anosmia. Anosmia refers to the loss of the sense of smell, either total or partial. It may be caused by head injury, infection, or blockage of the nose. Creators of this event suggest that since there are fewer visible and practical difficulties associated with olfactory disorders than with visual or auditory impairments, the nature of olfactory dysfunction and its consequences for an individual’s safety and quality of life are not widely understood. Anosmia Awareness Day aims to expose this situation, push for the development of successful treatments, and inform the general public about the serious impact that anosmia can have on a person’s life. Anosmia sufferers have been shown to be susceptible to dangerous situations such as gas leaks, fires, hazardous chemical vapors, and ingesting spoiled food. Additionally, people with smell loss can also experience difficulty with eating due to the close relationship between smell and taste. Studies also indicate that some individuals develop depression in response to feelings of social isolation, fears regarding safety and personal odor management, and a diminished connection to pleasure, emotion, and memory.

Anosmia Awareness Day was first launched by Daniel Schein, an American man with olfactory dysfunction, on February 27, 2012. The event page that he created on Facebook established the date and the practice of wearing red to show support for the cause. Subsequently, smell and taste centers (like The Monell Center in Philadelphia, PA) and charities (like Fifth Sense in the United Kingdom) have thrown their support behind the event, linking it to research and educational initiatives aimed at patients, doctors, and the general public. Fifth Sense, a UK-based charity that provides support and information to people with smell and taste disorders, has connected Anosmia Awareness Day to its international online awareness and fundraising campaign called #LongLostSmell.

Posted in Events, nature

International Polar Bear Day

International Polar Bear Day is an annual event celebrated every February 27 by Polar Bears International. One of the aims of International Polar Bear Day is to raise awareness about the conservation status of the polar bear and raise awareness about the impact of global warming and reduced sea ice on polar bear populations.

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is a large bear, approximately the same size as the omnivorous Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) A boar (adult male) weighs around 350–700 kg (772–1,543 lb), while a sow (adult female) is about half that size. Although it is the sister species of the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice and open water, and for hunting seals, which make up most of its diet. Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time on the sea ice. Their scientific name means “maritime bear” and derives from this fact. Polar bears hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present. Because of their dependence on the sea ice, polar bears are classified as marine mammals.

Climate change has effected the Polar bear greatly with a rise in temperature melting the ice on which the Polar Bear depends for hunting. Consequently this has resulted in habitat loss and the polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with at least three of the nineteen polar bear subpopulations currently in decline. However, at least two of the nineteen subpopulations are currently increasing, while another six are considered stable. For decades, large-scale hunting raised international concern for the future of the species, but populations rebounded after controls and quotas began to take effect. For thousands of years, the polar bear has been a key figure in the material, spiritual, and cultural life of circumpolar peoples, and polar bears remain important in their cultures. Historically, the polar bear has also been known as the white bear.

Another aim of International Polar Bear day is to encourage people to find ways to reduce their carbon output, such as by turning down their thermostat or driving less. The day has also been used to encourage the installation of energy efficient insulation in houses. Many zoos also use the day to educate about polar bear conservation and to encourage visitation to polar bear exhibits. It has also had some political impact. Jack Shapiro, the deputy climate campaign manager under American president Barack Obama, used the day to argue for the need for Congressional action on the issue of climate change. The University of Saskatchewan announced in 2014 that it would be turning its thermostats up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees Celsius in the winter to honor International Polar Bear Day. The decision is expected to reduce the university’s carbon emissions by two-thousand tons and save the university over two-hundred thousand dollars per year.

Posted in books, films & DVD, Television

John Steinbeck

American author John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was Born February 27, 1902 in Salinas California, He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). As the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939 and won the annual National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize and was cited prominently when he won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other “Okies”, they sought jobs, land, dignity, and a future.The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes due to its historical context and enduring legacy. A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was made in 1940.

East of Eden is Often described as Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel East of Eden is set primarily between the beginning of the 20th century and the end of World War I, It is the story of warmhearted inventor and farmer Samuel Hamilton his wife Liza, and their nine children who live on a rough, infertile piece of land in the Salinas Valley, California,. As the Hamilton children begin to grow up and leave the nest, a wealthy stranger, Adam Trask, purchases the best ranch in the Valley, Adam joined the military and then wandered the country until He was caught for vagrancy, escaped from a chain gang and burgled a store for clothing to use as a disguise. Then he learns that his father has died and left him an inheritance of $50,000.

A parallel story introduces a girl named Cathy Ames, who grows up in a town not far from the brothers’ family farm who is cold, cruel, and utterly incapable of feeling for anyone but herself. She leaves home after killing both of her parents. Finally, she is viciously beaten by a pimp and is left close to death on the brothers’ doorstep. Although Charles Hamilton is repulsed by her, Adam, unaware of her past, falls in love with and marries her and goes to California where he settles with the pregnant Cathy in the Salinas Valley, near the Hamilton family ranch. Cathy does not want to be a mother or to stay in California, but Adam is so ecstatically happy with his new life that he does not realize there is any problem. Shortly after Cathy gives birth to twin boys, she shoots Adam in the shoulder and flees. Adam recovers, but remains in a deep and terrible depression until he becomes good friends with Cantonese Cook Lee and Samuel Hamilton and learns the story of Cain & Abel and the Hebrew word “Timshel” which means “thou mayest” suggesting that mankind is neither compelled to pursue sainthood nor doomed to sin, but rather has the power to choose.

Meanwhile, Cathy has become a prostitute and embarks on a devious plan to ingratiate herself with the owner, murder her and inherit the business. She makes her new brothel infamous and is not concerned that Adam might look for her, and has no feelings her children Caleb and Aron – echoing Cain and Abel – who grow up oblivious of their mother’s situation. Aron then meets a girl named Abra and the two fall in love. Soon after Samuel Hamilton passes away but Adam is inspired by the memory of his inventiveness. As the boys reach the end of their school days, Caleb decides to pursue a career in farming and Aron goes to college to become an Episcopalian priest. Soon Caleb discovers that his mother is alive and the head of a brothel. Caleb then goes into business with Will Hamilton, as an automobile dealer and also makes a fortune selling beans grown in the Salinas Valley. A successful Aron returns from Stanford for the holiday. intending to drop out of college and Caleb takes Aron to see their mother, who Wracked with self-hatred, signs her estate over to Aron, who then enlists in the army to fight in World War I, but is killed in battle and Adam is overcome with grief. A now bedridden Adam is asked to forgive his only remaining son, responds by giving Caleb his blessing in the form of the word Timshel.

Of Mice and Men tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in California, USA.Based on Steinbeck’s own experiences as a bindlestiff in the 1920s (before the arrival of the Okies he would vividly describe in The Grapes of Wrath), the title is taken from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”, which read: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.” (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.). John Steinbeck sadly passed away on December 20th, 1968. however his novels are regarded as classics by many, and are Required reading in many schools and Mice and Men, East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath have also been adapted for stage, film amd television. Due to some of the language used Of Mice and Men has also been a frequent target of censors for vulgarity and for using what some consider offensive and racist language; consequently, it appears on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century.