Enzo Ferrari

ferrari_166mm_corsa_1950Italian motor racing legend and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and Ferrari automobile marque Enzo Ferrari, was born February 18, 1898 in Modena, Italy. Ferrari grew up with little formal education but a strong desire to race cars. At the age of 10 and seeing 1908 Circuit di Bologna, he decided to become a racing Driver.During World War I he was assigned to the third Alpine Artillery division of the Italian Army. His father Alfredo, as well as his older brother, also named Alfredo, died in 1916 as a result of a widespread Italian flu outbreak. Ferrari became severely ill himself in the 1918 flu pandemic and was consequently discharged from Italian service. Upon returning home he found that the family firm had collapsed. Having no other job prospects, Ferrari eventually settled for a job at a smaller car company called CMN (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali), redesigning used truck bodies into small passenger cars. He took up racing in 1919 on the CMN team, but had little initial success.

Ferrari 335He left CMN in 1920 to work at Alfa Romeo and racing their cars in local races he had more success. In 1923, racing in Ravenna, he acquired the Prancing Horse badge which decorated the fuselage of Francesco Baracca’s (Italy’s leading ace of WWI) SPAD S.XIII fighter, given from his mother, taken from the wreckage of the plane after his mysterious death. This icon would have to wait until 1932 to be displayed on a racing car.In 1924 Ferrari won the Coppa Acerbo at Pescara. His successes in local races encouraged Alfa to offer him a chance of much more prestigious competition. Ferrari turned this opportunity down and did not race again until 1927. He continued to work directly for Alfa Romeo until 1929 before starting Scuderia Ferrari as the racing team for Alfa.Ferrari managed the development of the factory Alfa cars, and built up a team of over forty drivers, including Giuseppe Campari and Tazio Nuvolari. Ferrari himself continued racing until 1932.

Ferrari-250-gto2The support of Alfa Romeo lasted until 1933. Only at the intervention of Pirelli did Ferrari receive any cars at all. Despite the quality of the Scuderia drivers, the company won few victories. Auto Union and Mercedes dominated the era, but Ferrari achieved a notable victory when Tazio Nuvolari beat them on their home turf at the German Grand Prix in 1935.In 1937 Alfa took control of its racing efforts again, reducing Ferrari to Director of Sports under Alfa’s engineering director. Ferrari soon left, but a contract clause restricted him from racing or designing cars for four years.In response, Ferrari organized Auto-Avio Costruzioni, a company supplying parts to other racing teams. Ferrari did manage to manufacture two cars for the 1940 Mille Miglia, driven by Alberto Ascari and Lotario Rangoni. During World War II his firm was forced to undertake war production for Mussolini’s fascist government. Following Allied bombing of the factory, Ferrari relocated from Modena to Maranello. It was not until after World War II that Ferrari could start making cars bearing his name, founding today’s Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947.

ferrari-365-gtb4-daytona-02The first open-wheel race was in Turin in 1948 and the first victory came later in the year in Lago di Garda. Ferrari participated in the Formula 1 World Championship since its introduction in 1950 but the first victory was not until the British Grand Prix of 1951. The first championship came in 1952–53, with Alberto Ascari. The company also sold production sports cars in order to finance the racing endeavours not only in Grands Prix but also in events such as the Mille Miglia and Le Mans.Ferrari’s decision to continue racing in the Mille Miglia brought the company new victories and greatly increased public recognition. However, increasing speeds, poor roads, and nonexistent crowd protection eventually spelled disaster for both the race and Ferrari. During the 1957 Mille Miglia, near the town of Guidizzolo, a 4.0-litre Ferrari 335S driven by the flamboyant Alfonso de Portago was traveling at 250 km/h when it blew a tire and crashed into the roadside crowd, killing de Portago, his co-driver, and nine spectators, including five children. In response, Enzo Ferrari and Englebert, the tyre manufacturer, were charged with manslaughter in a lengthy criminal prosecution that was finally dismissed in 1961. Many of the firm’s greatest victories came at Le Mans (14 victories, including six in a row 1960–65) and in Formula One during the 1950s and 1960s, with the successes of Juan-Manuel Fangio (1956), Mike Hawthorn (1958), Phil Hill (1961) and John Surtees (1964).

In 1969 the problems of reduced demand and inadequate financing forced Ferrari to allow Fiat to take a stake in the company. Ferrari had previously offered Ford the opportunity to buy the firm in 1963 for US$18 million but, late in negotiations, Ferrari withdrew once he realised that he would not have been able to retain control of the company sporting program. Ferrari became joint-stock and Fiat took a small share in 1965 and then in 1969 they increased their holding to 50% of the company. (In 1988 Fiat’s holding rose to 90%). In 1974 Ferrari nominated Luca Cordero di Montezemolo sporting director. Niki Lauda won the championship in 1975 and 1977. After those successes and another title for Jody Scheckter in 1979, the company’s Formula One championship hopes fell into the doldrums.1982 opened with a strong car, the 126C2, world-class drivers, and promising results in the early races. However, Gilles Villeneuve was killed in the 126C2 in May, and teammate Didier Pironi had his career cut short in a violent end over end flip on the misty back straight at Hockenheim in August. Pironi had been leading the driver’s championship at the time. Ferrari remained chairman of the company until his death in 1988 but the team would not see championship glory again during his lifetime.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

HuckleberryMark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published on 18 February 1885 in the United States and 10th December 1884 In the United Kingdom. It is narrated by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer which take place along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism. Finn struggles not only with the challenges of his strenuous journey, but also with the 19th century attitudes concerning his friendship with Jim which is at odds with the prevailing social Attitude towards African American culture.

The story begins in St. Petersburg, Missouri, on the shore of the Mississippi River, between 1835 and 1845 (when the first steamboat sailed down the Mississippi). It features Two young boys, Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn. Huck is currently living with Widow Douglas, and her sister Miss Watson, who are attempting to civilize him and Tom Sawyer helps him to escape one night past Miss Watson’s slave Jim. However, his abusive drunk father “Pap”, sudden reappears, and he moves into a remote cabin, however he dislikes his Father’s drunken violence, so he escapes and sets off down the Mississippi River.While living quite comfortably in the wilderness along the Mississippi, Huck encounters Miss Watson’s slave Jim on an island called Jackson’s Island. Huck learns that Jim has also run away & is trying to make his way to Cairo, Illinois, and then to Ohio. Whilst traveling the Mississippi together Finn learns about Jim’s difficult past and the horrors of slavery.

Huck and Jim take residence In a cavern on a hill on Jackson’s Island, scrounging for food until they find a raft. Later, they encounter an entire house floating down the river and enter it to grab what they can, but they find a dead man, shot in the back while apparently trying to ransack the house. The sheriff learns of this and sends a Posse, then Whilst escaping Finn and Jim become separated. Finn seeks shelter with a prosperous family called the Grangerfords and befriends Buck Grangerford, a boy about his age, but unwittingly gets involved in the Grangerfords blood feud against another family, the Shepherdsons which comes to a head when Buck’s sister, Sophia Grangerford, elopes with Harney Shepherdson. In the resulting conflict, all the Grangerford males from this branch of the family are shot and killed, and Huck narrowly avoids his own death in the gunfight,

Finn and Jim then Sail farther south on the Mississippi River, and rescue two cunning grifters, who join Them on the raft. The younger of the two swindlers, a man of about thirty, introduces himself as a son of an English duke (the Duke of Bridgewater) and his father’s rightful successor. The older one, about seventy, then trumps the Duke’s claim by alleging that he is the Lost Dauphin, the son of Louis XVI and rightful King of France. He continually mispronounces the duke’s title as “Bilgewater” in conversation.The Duke and the King then join Jim and Huck on the raft, committing a series of confidence schemes on the way south. To allow for Jim’s presence, they print fake bills for an escaped slave; and later they paint him up entirely in blue and call him the “Sick Arab”. On one occasion they arrive in a town and advertise a three-night engagement of a play which they call “The Royal Nonesuch”. The play turns out to be only a couple of minutes of hysterical cavorting, not worth anywhere near the 50 cents the townsmen were charged to see it. ThenA drunk called Boggs arrives in town and threatens a southern gentleman by the name of Colonel Sherburn. so Sherburn kills him and almost gets lynched. By the third night of “The Royal Nonesuch”, the townspeople are getting fed up but the Duke and the King have already skipped town, and together with Huck and Jim, they continue down the river.

ln the next town they decide to impersonate two brothers of Peter Wilks, a recently deceased man of property, and manage to convince nearly all the townspeople that he is one of the brothers, a preacher just arrived from England, while the Duke pretends to be a deaf-mute to match accounts of the other brother. One man in town is certain that they are a fraud and confronts them. Afterwards, the Duke, suggests that they should cut and run. The King boldly states his intention to continue to liquidate Wilks’ estate.However Huck likes Wilks’ daughters, who treat him with kindness and courtesy, so he tries to thwart the grifters’ plans by stealing back the inheritance money. The arrival of two new men who seem to be the real brothers throws everything into confusion when none of their signatures match the one on record. The townspeople devise a test, which requires digging up the coffin to check. When the money is found in Wilks’ coffin, the Duke and the King are able to escape in the confusion. They manage to rejoin Huck and Jim on the raft & Huck resolves to free Jim, who is being held at the plantation of Silas and Sally Phelps. Huck intercepts Tom on the road and tells him everything, Tom joins Huck’s scheme & develops an elaborate plan to free Jim…

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

The epic fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, is soon to be joined by a new Trilogy of fantasy novels called the Book of Dust. His Dark Materials was set in many differing alternate realities and comprised of Northern Lights, Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass. The original story reflected the vision of William Blake; “his idea of a fiercely reductive way of seeing things: it’s right or wrong; it’s black or white reductionism, and the merciless reductionism, of doctrines with a single answer. This is far too limiting and that a more complex truer human vision is required when we see things, such as imagination, memories, hopes, expectations and fears.

The first book in the New Trilogy is set 10 years before Northern Lights in the same alternate universe, and centres on Lyra Belacqua, one of the protagonists of the original trilogy. Alethiometers, dæmons and the sinister totalitarian religious Magisterium also return, alongside new characters, including a new hero. The novels also feature the ongoing scientific investigation of the strange matter known as “dust”, which has some very special abilities and which the sinister Magisterium is keen to stop people finding out about for some reason. The Magisterium is also keen to stop any scientific exploration which might yield results which go against any official doctrine sanctioned by them.

The novel also answers questions concerning the genesis of a totalitarian regime like the Magisterium And answers many other important questions. The first installment of The Book of Dust will be out in October and features Lyra, the heroine of the previous books, and other familiar characters and will again include themes like reductive doctrines, totalitarian regimes, religious zealotry, censorship, scientific discoveries, which rings all too true in the current climate of polarised opinion, the rise of fascistic regimes and religious zealotry.

Ruth Rendell CBE

RendellEnglish Author Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE Was born Ruth Barbara Grasemann on 17 February 1930, in South Woodford, London. She was educated at the County High School for Girls in Loughton, Essex. After high school she became a feature writer for her local paper, the Chigwell Times. Even at an early age, making up stories was irresistible to Rendell. As a reporter, she visited a house that was rumoured to be haunted and invented the ghost of an old woman. The owners threatened to sue the newspaper for devaluing their home. Later, she reported on the local tennis club’s annual dinner without attending, so missing the untimely death of the after-dinner speaker in mid-speech. She resigned before she could be fired. Rendell met her husband, Don Rendell when she was working as a newswriter. They married when she was 20, and had a son, Simon, now a psychiatric social worker who lives in Colorado. The couple divorced in 1975, but remarried two years later. Rendell is known best for writing gripping Psychological Murder Mysteries and her best Known creation, Chief Inspector Wexford, is the hero of many popular police stories.

Rendell started her career when she wrote two unpublished novels before finally striking lucky with the 1964 publication of From Doon With Death, which was the first mystery to feature her enduring and popular detective Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford, who is featured in From Doon with Death, a New Lease of Death, Murder being once done, Put on by Cunning, an Unkindness of Ravens, Road Rage, Adam &Eve & Pinch Me and The Monster in the Box. some of her novels have also been adapted for TV.

Rendell also writes crime-fiction that explores the psychological background of criminals and their victims, many of them mentally afflicted or otherwise socially isolated. In addition to these police procedurals starring Wexford, Rendell has written psychological crime novels exploring such themes as romantic obsession, misperceived communication, the impact of chance and coincidence, and the humanity of the criminals involved. Among such books are A Judgement In Stone, The Face of Trespass, Live Flesh, Talking to Strange Men, The Killing Doll, Going Wrongand Adam and Eve and Pinch Me. Many credit her and close friend P. D. James for upgrading the entire genre of whodunit, shaping it more into a whydunit. Rendell’s protagonists are often socially isolated, suffer from mental illness, and/or are otherwise disadvantaged; she explores the adverse impacts of their circumstances on these characters as well as on their victims.

Rendell created a third strand of writing written under her pseudonym Barbara Vine, (the name derives from her own middle name and her grandmother’s maiden name), with the publication of A Dark-Adapted Eye, King Solomon’s Carpet, A Fatal Inversion and Asta’s Book (alternative US title, Anna’s Book), among others, these are similar to her psychological crime novels while further developing themes of human misunderstandings and the unintended consequences of family secrets and hidden crimes. The author is noted for her elegant prose and sharp insights into the human mind, as well as her cogent plots and characters. Rendell injected the social changes of the last 40 years into her work, bringing awareness to such issues as domestic violence and the change in the status of women.

Lady Rendell has received many awards, including the Silver, Gold, and Cartier Diamond Daggers from the Crime Writers’ Association, three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America, The Arts Council National Book Awards, and The Sunday Times Literary Award. A number of her works have been adapted for film or television. She is also a Patron of the charity Kids for Kids, helping children in rural areas of Darfur. she was made a CBE in 1996 and a life peer as Baroness Rendell of Babergh, of Aldeburgh in the County of Suffolk, in 1997. She sits in the House of Lords for Labour. In 1998 Rendell was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the Labour Party.

Iain Banks

BanksScottish author Iain Banks , was born 16 February 1954. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. his first successful novel was The Wasp Factory and following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write on a full-time basis. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, was released in 1987, marking the start of the popular The Culture series. His books have been adapted for theatre, radio and television. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. In April 2013, Banks announced that he had inoperable cancer and was unlikely to live beyond a year and he tragically died on 9 June 2013.

Banks was born in Dunfermline, Fife, to a mother who was a professional ice skater and a father who was an officer in the Admiralty. An only child, Banks lived in North Queensferry until the age of nine, near the naval dockyards in Rosyth where his father was based. his family then moved to Gourock due to the requirements of his father’s work.After attending Gourock and Greenock High Schools, Banks studied English, philosophy and psychology at the University of Stirling (1972–1975). he wrote his second novel TTR during his first year at university.Following graduation Banks chose a succession of jobs that left him free to write in the evenings. These posts supported his writing throughout his twenties and allowed him to take long breaks between contracts, during which time he travelled through Europe, Scandinavia and North America. He was an expediter analyser for IBM, a technician (for British Steel) and a costing clerk for a Chancery Lane, London law firm during this period of his life.

BanksBanks decided to become a writer at the age of 11 and completed his first novel The Hungarian Lift-Jet at 16. Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write full-time. His editor at Macmillan, James Hale, advised him to write one book a year and Banks agreed to this schedule. Banks’s first science fiction book Consider Phlebas was released in 1987. The Crow Road (1992) was adapted as a BBC television series and Espedair Street (1987) was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Banks cited Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, M. John Harrison and Dan Simmons as literary influences. Banks published work under two names. His parents had intended to name him “Iain Menzies Banks”, but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and “Iain Banks” became the officially registered name. Despite this error, Banks continued to use his middle name and submitted The Wasp Factory for publication as “Iain M. Banks”. Banks’ editor enquired about the possibility of omitting the ‘M’ as it appeared “too fussy” and the potential existed for confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a romantic novelist in the Jeeves novels by P.G. Wodehouse; Banks agreed to the omission. Following three mainstream novels, Banks’s publishers agreed to publish his first science fiction (SF) novel Consider Phlebas. To create a distinction between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the ‘M’ to his name and the author’s second title was consequently confirmed. By his death in June 2013 Banks had published 26 novels. His twenty-seventh novel The Quarry was published posthumously.

BanksBanks was also the subject of The Strange Worlds of Iain Banks South Bank Show (1997), a television documentary that examined his mainstream writing, and was also an in-studio guest for the final episode of Marc Riley’s Rocket Science radio show, broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music. aradio adaptation of Banks’s The State of the Art was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2009; the adaptation was written by Paul Cornell and the production was directed/produced by Nadia Molinari. in 1998 Espedair Street was dramatised as a serial for Radio 4, presented by Paul Gambaccini in the style of a Radio 1 documentary. In 2011 Banks was featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live. Banks reaffirmed his atheism during his Saturday Live appearance, whereby he explained that death is an important “part of the totality of life” and should be treated realistically, instead of feared.Banks appeared on the BBC television programme Question Time, a show that features political discussion. In 2006 Banks captained a team of writers to victory in a special series ofBBC Two’s University Challenge. Banks also won a 2006 edition of BBC One’s Celebrity Mastermind; the author selected “Malt whisky and the distilleries of Scotland” as his specialist subject. His final interview with Kirsty Wark was broadcast as Iain Banks: Raw Spirit on BBC2 Scotland on Wednesday 12 June 2013. Banks was involved in the theatre production The Curse of Iain Banks that was written by Maxton Walker and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 1999. Banks wrote the music for some of the songs that were featured in the production and collaborated with the play’s soundtrack composer Gary Lloyd, who also composed the score for a musical production of the Banks novel The Bridge. lloyd explained his collaboration with Banks in a Guardian article prior to the opening of the The Curse of Iain Banks.

Pete Willis (Def Leppard)

DefleppardPete Willis, the current guitarist with Def Leppard was born February 16th 1960. Formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. Def Leppard ’s best success came between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Their 1981 album High ‘n’ Dry was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who helped them begin to define their style, and the album’s stand out track “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” became one of the first metal videos played on MTV in 1982. The band released their  next studio album Pyromania in 1983, this contained the singles Photograph and Rock of Ages, and turned Def Leppard into a household name. In 2004, the album ranked number 384 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Def Leppard’s fourth album Hysteria, released in 1987, became an even bigger success and topped both the U.S and UK album charts. As of 2009 it has 12x platinum sales in the United States, and has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. The album contained loads of great songs, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number one “Love Bites”, alongside Pour Some Sugar on Me , “Hysteria”, Armaggeddon It , “Animal” Rocket“., Gods of War and Women.

Def Leppard’s next studio album was Adrenalize and this reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and UK Album Chart in 1992. It contained several hits including, “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”. Their 1993 album Retro Active contained the acoustic hit song “Two Steps Behind”, while their greatest hits album Vault released in 1995 featured track “When Love & Hate Collide. Def Leppards latest self titled album “Def Leppard” was, released In 2015 and is Def Leppard’s first studio album since the album Songs from the Sparkle Lounge which was released in 2008. The album Def Leppard Contains the tracks Let’s Go” ,”Dangerous”,”Man Enough”,”We Belong”, “Invincible”, “Sea of Love”, “Energized”, “All Time High”, “Battle of My Own”,”Broke ‘N’ Brokenhearted”, “Forever Young”, “Last Dance”, “Wings of an Angel”, “Blind Faith” and was released  together with a limited edition fan pack containing a magazine, prints, a keyring in addition to the CD Itself.

St Valentine’s Day

ValentineSt. Valentine’s Day traditionally celebrates Romance and love and takes place annually on 14 February. Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome. The name “Valentine”, derived from valens (worthy, strong, powerful), was popular in Late Antiquity. Saint Valentine was martyred and buried on the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14. Born April 16, Martyr Valentinus the Presbyter and those with him at Rome” remains in the list of saints proposed for veneration by all Catholics. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Valentine the Presbyter is celebrated on July 6, and Hieromartyr Saint Valentine (Bishop of Interamna, Terni in Italy) is celebrated on July 30. Notwithstanding that, conventionally, members of the Greek Orthodox Church named Valentinos (male) or Valentina (female) celebrate their name on February 14.

The feast of St. Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As Gelasius implied, nothing was known, even then, about the lives of any of these martyrs. The Saint Valentine that appears in various martyrologies in connection with Feb 14 and is described either as: A priest in Rome, A bishop of In Terrama (modern Terni), or A martyr in the Roman province of Africa. The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493); alongside the woodcut portrait of Valentine, the text states that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II, known as Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. At first Claudius took rather a liking to Valentinus and gave him a chance to make amends and redeem himself. However he pushed his luck a bit too far when he tried to convert the Emperor to Christianity, whereupon he was condemned to death. First He was beaten with clubs then he was stoned (and not in a good way), then he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate (which was not particularly good for him either). Being beaten up, stoned and beheaded doesn’t sound particularly romantic to me, anyway….

In the Middle Ages, two Roman churches were dedicated to Saint Valentine. One was the tenth-century church Sancti Valentini de Balneo Miccine or de Piscina, which was rededicated by Pope Urban III in 1186. The other, on the Via Flaminia, was the ancient basilica S. Valentini extra Portam founded by Pope Julius I, though not under this dedication. Hagiographical sources also speak of a Roman priest and a bishop of Terni each buried along the Via Flaminia outside Rome, at different distances from the city, with each venerated on February 14th. The basilica appellatur Valentini, “is called Valentine’s” This, the earlier and by far more important of the churches, is dedicated to the less prominent of the two saints, Valentine, presbyter of Rome. There is also the Basilica S. Valentini extra Portam, the “Basilica of Saint Valentine beyond the Gate” which was situated beyond the Porta Flaminia (the Porta del Popolo.

Many of the current legends that characterise Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love. However there are those who say that the traditions associated with “Valentine’s Day”, documented in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules and set in the fictional context of an old tradition, had no such tradition before Chaucer. In 1836, some remains that were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina, then near (rather than inside) Rome, were identified with St Valentine; placed in a casket, and transported to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland, to which they were donated by Pope Gregory XVI. To this day Many tourists visit the saintly remains on St. Valentine’s Day, when the casket is carried in solemn procession to the high altar for a special Mass dedicated to young people and all those in love.

Dick Francis CBE FRSL

FrancisBritish steeplechase jockey and crime writer, Richard Stanley “Dick” Francis CBE FRSL sadly passed away on 14 February 2010, At his Caribbean home in Grand Cayman. Born 31 October 1920 in Coedcanlas, Pembrokeshire, Wales, He was the son of a jockey and stable manager and grew up in Berkshire, England. He left school at 15 without any qualifications,with the intention of becoming a jockey and became a trainer in 1938. During World War II, Francis volunteered, hoping to join the cavalry. Instead, he served in the Royal Air Force, working as ground crew and later piloting fighter and bomber aircraft, including the Spitfire and Hurricane. He said in an interview that he spent much of his six years in the Air Force in Africa. In October 1945, he met Mary Margaret Brenchley (17 June 1924 – 30 September 2000), at a cousin’s wedding And Dick and Mary were married in June, 1947, in London. She had a degree in English and French from London University at the age of 19, was an assistant stage manager and later worked as a publisher’s reader. She also became a pilot, and her experiences flying contributed to many novels, including Flying Finish, Rat Race, and Second Wind. She contracted polio while pregnant with their first child, a plight dramatized in the novel Forfeit, which Francis called one of his favorites. They had two sons, Merrick and Felix.

imageAfter leaving the RAF in 1946, Francis became a celebrity in the world of British National Hunt racing, winning over 350 races, becoming champion jockey in the 1953–54 season. Shortly after becoming a professional, he was offered the prestige job of first jockey to Vivian Smith, Lord Bicester. From 1953 to 1957 he was jockey to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. His most famous moment came while riding the Queen Mother’s horse, Devon Loch, in the 1956 Grand National when the horse inexplicably fell when close to winning the race. Decades later, Francis considered losing that race his greatest regret and called it “a disaster of massive proportions. Like most jump jockeys, Francis had his share of injuries. He was hospitalized at the age of 12 when a pony fell on him and broke his jaw and nose. Many protagonists in his novels have broken bones and damaged organs . Dick Francis played an important role in 1983, when the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse “stood at the brink of extinction,” So ‘”Britain’s Jockey Club negotiated a $14 million deal to buy the land and save the race forever. by enlisting two prominent racing personalities – Lord Derby and novelist Dick Francis – were selected to raise the money in a worldwide campaign.” Other philanthropists, including Charles C. Fenwick Jr., who rode Ben Nevis to victory in the 1980 Grand National, and Paul Mellon, a breeder and racing enthusiast, also contributed to save the race.

imageAfter retiring from horse racing on the advice of Lord Abergevenny Francis Went onto Write more than 40 international best-sellers. His first book was his autobiography The Sport of Queens (1957), for which he was offered the aid of a ghostwriter, which he spurned. The book’s success led to his becoming the racing correspondent for London’s Sunday Express newspaper, and he remained in the job for 16 years.In 1962, he published his first thriller, Dead Cert, set in the world of racing. Subsequently he regularly produced a novel a year for the next 38 years, missing only 1998 (during which he published a short-story collection). Although all his books were set against a background of horse racing, his male heroes held a variety of jobs including artist (In the Frame and To the Hilt), private investigator (Odds Against, Whip Hand, Come to Grief, Under Orders—all starring injured ex-jockey Sid Halley, investigator who appears in the Jockey Club (The Edge), pilot (Rat Race and Flying Finish), wine merchant (Proof). All the novels are narrated by the hero, who in the course of the story discovers himself to be more resourceful, brave, tricky, than he had thought, and usually finds a certain salvation for himself as well as bestowing it on others. Details of other people’s occupations fascinated Francis, and the reader finds himself or herself immersed in the mechanics of such things as photography, accountancy, the gemstone trade, restaurant service on transcontinental trains—but always in the interests of the plot. Dysfunctional families were a subject which he exploited particularly well (Reflex, a baleful grandmother; Hot Money, a multi-millionaire father and serial ex-husband; Decider, the related co-owners of a racecourse).

His first novel, Dead Cert, was also adapted for film in 1974. Directed by Tony Richardson, it starred Scott Antony, Judi Dench and Michael Williams. It was adapted again as Favorit (a Russian made-for-television movie) in 1977 Francis’s protagonist Sid Halley was featured in six TV movies made for the program The Dick Francis Thriller: The Racing Game(1979-1980), starring Mike Gwilym as Halley and Mick Ford as his partner, Chico Barnes. Three more TV films of 1989 were adaptations of Bloodsport, In the Frame, and Twice Shy, all starring Ian McShane and featuring protagonist David Cleveland, from the novel Slayride.

Francis is the only three-time recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for Best Novel, winning for Forfeit in 1970,Whip Hand in 1981, and Come To Grief in 1996. Britain’s Crime Writers Association awarded him its Gold Dagger Award for fiction in 1979 and the Cartier Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. he was granted another Lifetime Achievement Award .Tufts University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1991. In 1996 he was given the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award, the highest honour bestowed by the MWA. In 2000, he was granted the Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1983 and promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000. Francis has been long accustomed to celebrity as a British sports star, but today he is a worldwide phenomenon, having been published in 22 languages. In Australia, he is recognized in restaurants, from his book-jacket picture. He and Mary will see people reading the novels on planes and trains.”Francis was elected in 1999 a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature’ . In the 1980s, Francis and his wife moved to Florida; in 1992, they moved to the Cayman Islands, where Mary died of a heart attack in 2000. In 2006, Francis had a heart bypass operation; in 2007 his right leg was amputated.

P.G.Wodehouse

English Novelist, humorist and lyricist, Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE sadly passed away on 14th February 1975. Born 15th October 1881. His work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be widely read. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse’s novels are mainly set in pre- and post-World War I English upper-class society, reflecting his birth, education and youthful writing career. An acknowledged master of English prose, Wodehouse has been admired both by contemporaries such as Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Fry, Christopher Hitchens, Douglas Adams, J. K. Rowling, and John Le Carré.

Best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a playwright and lyricist who was part author and writer of 15 plays and of 250 lyrics for some 30 musical comedies, many of them produced in collaboration with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton. He worked with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes (1934), wrote the lyrics for the hit song “Bill” in Kern’s Show Boat (1927), wrote lyrics to Sigmund Romberg’s music for the Gershwin – Romberg musical Rosalie (1928) and collaborated with Rudolf Friml on a musical version of The Three Musketeers (1928). He is also in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and his work continues to enjoy enormous popular success and is still widely read, and the musical comedies to which he contributed also remain popular to this day.

The Grammy Awards 2017

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held on February 12, 2017.The CBS network broadcast the show live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. James Corden hosted the ceremony. The “pre-telecast” ceremony (officially named The Premiere Ceremony) was held on the same day prior to the main ceremony and was hosted by comedienne Margaret Cho.

Album Of The Year
Adele, 25

Song Of The Year
Adele, “Hello”

Best Rap Album
Chance The Rapper, Coloring Book

Best Urban Contemporary Album
Beyoncé, Lemonade

Best Country Solo Performance
Maren Morris, “My Church”

Best Rock Song
David Bowie, “Blackstar”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out”

Best New Artist
Chance The Rapper

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Greg Kurstin

Best Pop Vocal Album
Adele, 25

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Willie Nelson, Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

Best Pop Solo Performance
Adele, “Hello”

Best Musical Theater Album
The Color Purple

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Miles Ahead (Miles Davis and various artists)

Best Metal Performance
Megadeth, “Dystopia”

Best Rap Song
Drake, “Hotline Bling”

Best Rap/Sung Performance
Drake, “Hotline Bling”

Best Rap Performance
Chance the Rapper, “No Problem” [featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz]

Best R&B Album
Lalah Hathaway – Lalah Hathaway Live

Best Comedy Album
Patton Oswalt, Talking for Clapping

Best Reggae Album
Ziggy Marley, Ziggy Marley

Best Regional Roots Music Album

Kalani Pe’a, E Walea

Best Folk Album
Sarah Jarosz, Undercurrent

Best Contemporary Blues Album
Fantastic Negrito, The Last Days of Oakland

Best Traditional Blues Album
Bobby Rush, Porcupine Meat

Best Bluegrass Album
O’Connor Band With Mark O’Connor, Coming Home

Best Americana Album
William Bell, This Is Where I Live

Best American Roots Song
Vince Gill, songwriter (The Time Jumpers), “Kid Sister”

Best American Roots Performance
Sarah Jarosz, “House of Mercy”

Best Tropical Latin Album
Jose Lugo & Guasábara Combo, Donde Están?

Best Regional Mexican Music Album
Vicente Fernández – Un Azteca En El Azteca, Vol. 1 (En Vivo)

Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album
iLe, iLevitable

Best Latin Pop Album
Jesse & Joy, Un Besito Mas

Best Country Album
Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

Best Country Song
Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw) – “Humble and Kind”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Pentatonix – “Jolene” [featuring Dolly Parton]

Best Roots Gospel Album
Joey+Rory – Hymns

Best Latin Jazz Album
Chucho Valdés, Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Ted Nash Big Band, Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom

Best Jazz Instrumental Album
John Scofield, Country for Old Men

Best Jazz Vocal Album
Gregory Porter, Take Me to the Alley

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
John Scofield, soloist, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

Contemporary Instrumental
Snarky Puppy, Culcha Vulcha

Best Dance Recording
The Chainsmokers, “Don’t Let Me Down” [ft. Daya]

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
Dorothea Röschmann; Mitsuko Uchida, accompanist – Schmann & Berg (tie)
Ian Bostridge; Antonio Pappano, accompanist (Michael Collins, Elizabeth Kenny, Lawrence Power & Adam Walker), Shakespeare Songs (tie)

Best Classical Compendium
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer – Daugherty: Tales Of Hemingway; American Gothic; Once Upon A Castle

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

Zuill Bailey; Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor (Nashville Symphony) – Daugherty: Tales Of Hemingway

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
Steve Reich

Best Choral Performance
Krzysztof Penderecki, conductor; Henryk Wojnarowski, choir director (Nikolay Didenko, Agnieszka Rehlis & Johanna Rusanen; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir) – Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Volume 1

Best Opera Recording
James Conlon, conductor; Joshua Guerrero, Christopher Maltman, Lucas Meachem, Patricia Racette, Lucy Schaufer & Guanqun Yu; Blanton Alspaugh, producer (LA Opera Orchestra; LA Opera Chorus) – Corigliano: The Ghosts Of Versailles

Best Orchestra Performance
Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra) – Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow – Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9

Producer of the Year, Classical
David Frost

Best Engineered Album, Classical
Mark Donahue and Fred Vogler, Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles

Best Music Film
The Beatles, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week the Touring Years

Best Spoken Word Album
Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox

Best Children’s Album
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Infinity Plus One

Best World Music Album
Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, Sing Me Home

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
Hillary Scott & the Scott Family, Love Remains

Best Gospel Album
Kirk Franklin, Losing My Religion

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
Hillary Scott & the Scott Family; Bernie Herms, Hillary Scott & Emily Weisband, songwriters – “Thy Will”

Best Gospel Performance/Song
Tamela Mann; Kirk Franklin, songwriter – “God Provides”

Best New Age Album
White Sun – White Sun II

Best Surround Sound Album
Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony, Dutilleux: Sur Le Même Accord; Les Citations; Mystère De L’instant & Timbres, Espace, Mouvement

Best Remixed Recording
André Allen Anjos, remixer (Bob Moses), “Tearing Me Up (RAC Remix)”

Best Historical Album
Steve Berkowitz & Jeff Rosen, compilation producers; Mark Wilder, mastering engineer (Bob Dylan) – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12 (Collector’s Edition)

Best Album Notes
Ken Bloom & Richard Carlin, album notes writers (Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle) – Sissle and Blake Sing Shuffle Alon

Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package
Gérard Lo Monaco, art director (Edith Piaf) – Edith Piaf 1915-2015

Best Recording Package
Jonathan Barnbrook, art director (David Bowie), Blackstar

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals
Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier), “Flintstones”

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella
Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier), “You and I”

Best Instrumental Composition
Ted Nash, composer (Ted Nash Big Band), ”Spoken at Midnight”

Best Song Written for Visual Media
Max Martin, Shellback & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Walt Dohrn, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & Kunal Nayyar), Track from: Trolls, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media
John Williams, composer, Star Wars: the Force Awakens

Best Recording Package
David Bowie, Blackstar

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
David Bowie, Blackstar

Best Gospel Performance/Song
Tamela Mann, Kirk Franklin, “God Provides”

Best Gospel Album
Kirk Franklin, Losing My Religion

Best Music Video
Beyoncé, “Formation”

Best Dance/Electronic Album
Flume, Skin

Best Country Album
Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide To Earth

Best R&B Performance
Solange, “Cranes In The Sky”

Best R&B Song
Maxwell, “Lake By The Ocean”

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