BBC

Sir Thomas Sean Connery

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Sean Connery Far Out Magazine UK Image One
August 25, 1930 ~ October 31, 2020
Bond. James Bond.
Photo Credit: Far Out Magazine UK

I just found out about the passing of actor Sean Connery. There are certain actors I have a thing for and he is one of them. Our birthdays are five days apart and we both have Scottish (and Irish) ancestry. He enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 16, was assigned to the HMS Formidable as an Able Seaman and was medically discharged at 19 for ulcers.

Darby O'Gill Connery Time Magazine Image Two
Darby O’Gill & The Little People
Image Credit: Time

One of his early endeavors was as an artist’s model. He was into bodybuilding and was in a Mr. Universe contest, though the actual year is disputed. He was a footballer, playing for Bonnyrigg Rose and was once offered a contract to play professionally:

“[I] realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30 and I was already 23. I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves.”

He was a member of the Scottish National Party and campaigned for Scottish Independence, financially supporting the party until the UK passed legislation to prohibit overseas funding. One of his two tattoos was “Scotland Forever.”

He managed to make it all the way to 90 but, according to his son Jason, he had been unwell for some time. He passed peacefully in his sleep at his home in the Bahamas. I think it altogether fitting and proper that Sir Sean left on Halloween during a full Blue Moon. Godspeed. ~Vic

Sean Connery Hunt For Red October
The Hunt for Red October
Image Credit: Reddit

Career Highlights:
His acting debut (uncredited) was in the UK film Lilacs in the Spring (titled Let’s Make Up in the US) in 1954, a British musical starring Errol Flynn. On UK TV, he played MacBeth, Alexander the Great and Count Vronsky. His first appearance on US TV was on The Jack Benny Program in 1957. His first credited film roll in the US was a UK/US collaboration in the movie Action of the Tiger, also in 1957. He was the first James Bond (and some say the only one), he played a savage in the distant future, became Robin Hood, was a Marshal in outer space, was King Agamemnon, was a sword-wielding immortal, did a turn as a Franciscan friar, was an Untouchable, a Provost Marshall in San Francisco, was the father of Indiana Jones, a Russian submarine Captain, appeared as King Richard, became a doctor, was a detective, a professor, played King Arthur, played an ex-con & an art thief, was a reclusive author and, was the voice of The Last Dragon. He was only in one Western in 1968. His last time on the big screen was in 2003 playing Allan Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and his last time on TV was playing character John Muir in an episode of the documentary Freedom: A History of US, also in 2003. He did voice work up to 2012.

Awards:
1987 Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor/The Untouchables)
1987 BAFTA (Best Actor/The Name of the Rose)
1998 BAFTA Fellowship
1972 Golden Globe (Henrietta Award/World Film Favorite-Male)
1987 Golden Globe (Best Supporting Actor/The Untouchables)
1995 Golden Globe (Cecil B. DeMille Award)

Indiana & Henry, Sr., Pinterest Image Four
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Nominations:
1987 BAFTA (Best Supporting Actor/The Untouchables)
1989 BAFTA (Best Supporting Actor/Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
1990 BAFTA (Best Actor/The Hunt for Red October)
1965 Golden Globe (Henrietta Award/World Film Favorite-Male)
1968 Golden Globe (Henrietta Award/World Film Favorite-Male)
1989 Golden Globe (Best Supporting Actor/Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

www.seanconnery.com (Web Archive)

Additional Reading & Sources:
BBC News
Belly Buzz (Web Archive of Connery’s Military Service)
List of Work (IMDb)
List of Work (Wikipedia)
Muscle Memory (As Tom Connery)
Scottish Junior Football Association (Web Archive)
Scottish Roots
Talk-Talk UK (Archive Today Copy of Connery’s Biography)

Tune Tuesday: I Will Always Give Thanks 1665

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John Blow Image One
Artist: Robert White (Engraver)
18th Century
Collection: National Library of France
Source: Gallica Digital Library
Photo Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Three hundred, fifty-five years ago, John Blow, an English Baroque organist, composed the “club anthemI Will Always Give Thanks, collaborating with Pelham Humfrey and William Turner. There is not a lot written about this song but, there are two suggestions of it either being an honoring of the victory over the Dutch in 1665 or a simple commemoration of the three men working together.

In late 1668, Blow was appointed to Westminster Abbey as its organist and three of his students were William Croft, Jeremiah Clarke and Henry Purcell. In 1685, he became the private musician to King James II. He was the choir-master at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1687 and became Composer to the Chapel Royal in 1699.

As a side note, 1665 was a bad year. Sounds familiar. ~Vic

Additional Reading & Sources:
Choral Evensong/John Blow Death Anniversary (BBC October 1, 2008)
John Blow Biography (encyclopedia.com)
Tales for Our Time (Mark Steyn Online)
John Blow Anthems (The Gramophone Newsletter Site)
John Blow Commemoration (Westminster Abbey Site)
A Journal of the Plague Year (Wikipedia)
Battle of Lowestoft (Wikipedia)
Great Plague of London (Wikipedia)

Diane Baker: The Best That It Can Be…

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An Article From: The Chris Thomas Files

Honey Bee Shot Image One
06-28-2020

The Best That It Can Be…
On the face of it, this is a good statement: the positive approach to our life and the way we live it. Why should it, our life, not be the best that it can be?

Three events occurred and, together, they drove my patience out the window. First of all, a friend chatted to me about her concern for her son and daughter-in-law, about how they were working all hours to buy new furniture for their new house and, that every time they came to stay, she had to take all the packaging off the food in her fridge, otherwise, they would throw it out if it was anywhere near its date. Then, I watched Countryfile on the BBC and they were showing how a whole new industry was growing around waste food collection and its use to create energy for our homes. Then, I read an article in Positive News where a tribe in India stood to lose their land because a huge conglomerate wished to mine for bauxite (raw aluminum). This is such a toxic substance that mining for it poisons all the land and the people. The article was in Positive News because the tribe won their case. Sadly, there are many other stories where the outcome is not so happy.

We humans, mostly in the west (I regret to say our influence is spreading), have come to believe we deserve the best. We have interpreted the best it can be into all aspects of our lives. This means we should aspire to the best house, best kitchen, the best car, furniture, clothes, television, computer, mobile phone and, of course, the best food. Our food has Best Before written on it so, subconsciously, we see it is not good enough for us if it is near that date or, that the apple has a blemish or, the potato and cucumber are a bit knobbly…so, we throw it away. [A]re we not worthy of the best?

How Much Does Best Cost?
The consequences of all of these choices are that, currently, the world is at war over mineral rights, (Darfur is only one example of genocide and destruction based on the greed of the west for [minerals] used in mobile phones and other electrical equipment). [M]en and women are used as slave labour to make our clothes, the planet is being carved up and, the rivers polluted for the copper, zinc, etc…to go into our newest, and best, electronic toys […]. Billions of tons of food is thrown away each year because it is considered not to be the best it can be, whilst those that live in the countries that grow our food starve.

Bumblebee Image Two
09-14-2019

I am not advocating a hair shirt, sleeping under a hedge or eating rotten food and starving but, in all things, there is a balance. And, yes, I do have a mobile phone which is second-hand, over six years old and works perfectly for the rare emergency calls I make. The balance is, I do not feel I need to change it every time a new, improved model comes on the market. Millions of mobile phones are put into landfill and are not recycled. The price we may pay for misunderstanding best that it can be… is monumental. There are many people affected by our choices that we never see or think of. The people who grow the food or mine the mineral do so at a very high price. If a people [live] on a land that is rich in minerals, that land will be torn away from them, they will be placed in camps and the reason why, is…you. Our misunderstanding of what makes us special, a success [or] admired, is, now, tightly bound up with possessions, material goods and if I do not have the best and newest of everything, I will be judged a failure.

A Complete Consciousness
It is the best that we can be, as a human and, as a complete consciousness. The best that we are is not made up of, or lack of, possessions. It is about how we live our lives in relation to the rest of the universe and, in particular, with each other. It is we, the so called civilised world, who are so insecure in who we are as souls that we need the third world to be plundered so that we can surround ourselves with our props and say to the world Look. I am worthy. I have the best that there can be.

Think About It
In his book The Human Soul, my husband, Chris Thomas, asks that we Think About It. Think about the consequences your actions will have on others and, then, make the choice that feels right to you. It is your choice and you cannot blame the consequences on anyone else. Everything we buy is made from the planet, itself. This is the planet which has given us the choice of physical life rather than a free-floating soul. Chris has said in his book that we are here to prove that it is possible to have a full soul in physical form and, that, the whole of our existence has been to prove that that is possible. Everything that is happening on Earth, our solar system, our galaxy and the universe beyond, is currently happening in order to help us to be the best human beings we can whilst remaining on Earth. The Human Soul can help you to determine where you are within that process. With Christmas fast approaching, your love and affection to your family without buying something that would cause another family [on] the other side of the world pain and suffering? Think about it. Are you the best that you can be?

Best Wishes,
Diane

© Diane Baker 2010

Cygnus Review Magazine (Issue 12, Page 12, December 2010/Download & Share)
The Blog Post (Cygnus Review Blog…with the wrong author credited)

TV Tuesday: It’s Not Me, It’s Them! 1965

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BBC2 Image
Image Credit: BFI

Up until this point, the only TV shows I have been posting were American. I will be branching out a bit. Naturally, the first non-American show I choose doesn’t have a lot of information written about it…or a video. ~Vic

Fifty-five years ago, today, the British comedy mini-series It’s Not Me, It’s Them! debuted on BBC2. Produced by Graeme Muir and written by Donald Churchill (The Hound of the Baskervilles), it starred Churchill, Norman Bird (Fawlty Towers), Jack Bligh (Doctor Who), George Betton (Coronation Street) and Anthony Dawes (Fawlty Towers).

Synopsis:

[This was] an early series from the pen of actor/writer Donald Churchill, focused on Albert Curfew, […] a young man unable to hold down a job for any length of time. The title came from a regular saying of Curfew’s every time he lost his job. Churchill (who also starred as well as wrote the scripts) claimed he based the series on a close friend of his. Guest stars in the single season show included Liz Fraser, Bill Kerr and Kate O’Mara.

BBC Genome Beta
BFI
British Comedy Guide
Episodes
Memorable TV

Wayback Wednesday: Treaty of Union 1706

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Articles of Union Image One
Author: Queen Anne
Source: University of Aberdeen
Image Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Three hundred, fourteen years ago, today…

The Treaty of Union is the name usually, now, given to the agreement which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain [.] [It stated] that England, which already included Wales, and Scotland were to be “United into one Kingdom by the name of Great Britain[.]” At the time it, was more often referred to as the Articles of Union. The details of the treaty were agreed on [July 22], 1706 and separate Acts of Union were then passed by the parliaments of England and Scotland to put the agreed articles into effect. The political union took effect on [May 1], 1707.

Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland, last monarch of the Tudor dynasty, died without issue on [March 24], 1603 and the throne fell at once […] to her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland, a member of House of Stuart and the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots. By the Union of the Crowns in 1603, he assumed the throne of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Ireland as King James I. This personal union lessened the constant English fears of Scottish cooperation with France in a feared French invasion of England. After [the] union, the new monarch, James I and VI, sought to unite the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England into a state which he referred to as “Great Britain”. Nevertheless, Acts of Parliament attempting to unite the two countries failed in 1606, 1667 and 1689.

The Negotiations
The Articles
The Commissioners
Scots History Online
Union with England (UK Legislation)
Union with Scotland (UK Legislation)
Scottish Referendums (BBC)
Mob Unrest and Disorder (Web Archive/Parliament UK)

Wayback Wednesday: Tybee Island Bomb Accident 1958

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Tybee Bomb Image One
Image Credit: cafepress.com
Silkscreen Image For T-shirts

America lost a bomb. I’m not kidding. Sixty-two years ago, today, the United States Air Force dropped a nuclear bomb in the water off the coast of Tybee Island, very close to Savannah, Georgia. A North American Aviation F-86 Sabrejet fighter plane and a Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber collided during practicing exercises and, in fear of a detonation in the event of a crash, the crew jettisoned the bomb. They still haven’t found it and it is assumed to be somewhere at the bottom of Wassaw Sound.

Midair Collision:

The B-47 bomber was on a simulated combat mission from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. It was carrying a single 7,600-pound bomb. At about 2:00am EST, an F-86 fighter collided with the B-47. The F-86 crashed after the pilot ejected from the plane. The damaged B-47 remained airborne, plummeting 18,000 feet from 38,000 feet when [the pilot] regained flight control. The crew requested permission to [drop] the bomb in order to reduce weight and prevent the bomb from exploding during an emergency landing. Permission was granted and the bomb was jettisoned at 7,200 feet […]. The crew did not see an explosion when the bomb struck the sea. They managed to land the B-47 safely at […] Hunter Air Force Base. The pilot, a Colonel Howard Richardson, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after this incident.

Tybee Bomb Image Two
Image Credit: npr.org

The Bomb:

Some sources describe the bomb as a functional nuclear weapon but, others describe it as disabled. If it had a plutonium nuclear core installed, it was a fully functional weapon. If it had a dummy core installed, it was incapable of producing a nuclear explosion but, could still produce a conventional explosion. […] The Air Force maintains that its nuclear capsule, used to initiate the nuclear reaction, was removed before its flight aboard B-47. […] the bomb contained a simulated 150-pound cap made of lead. However, according to 1966 Congressional testimony by Assistant Secretary of Defense W.J. Howard, the Tybee Island bomb was a “complete weapon, a bomb with a nuclear capsule” and one of two weapons lost that contained a plutonium trigger. Nevertheless, a study of the Strategic Air Command documents indicates that Alert Force test flights in February 1958 with the older Mark 15 payloads were not authorized to fly with nuclear capsules on board.

The collision, and its aftermath, also drives the plot of the novel Three Chords & The Truth by Craig McDonald, published in November 2016.

Missing For 50 Years (BBC News)
This Day In Aviation (This site claims the bomber was from MacDill Air Force Base)
Lost H-Bomb: RIP (Savannah Now Archive)
The Case of the Missing H-Bomb (Counterpunch Archive)
The Colonel and the Bomb (The Atlantic)

Movie Monday: Leisurely Pedestrians 1889

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Leisurely Pedestrians Image One
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

I am going WAY back this time…back to the days of moving pictures and short films. Sticking with my five year increments, one-hundred & thirty years ago, William Friese-Greene, an English inventor, and professional photographer, shot a silent, actuality film in the Autumn of 1889. It was titled Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses.

From Wikipedia:

[…] shot by inventor and film pioneer William Friese-Greene on celluloid film using his ‘machine’ camera, the 20 feet of film […] was shot […] at Apsley Gate, Hyde Park, London. [It] was claimed to be the first motion picture [but] Louis Le Prince successfully shot on glass plate before 18 August 1887 and on paper negative in October 1888. It may, nonetheless, be the first moving picture film on celluloid and the first shot in London.

It is now considered a lost film with no known surviving prints and only one possible still image extant.

Leisurely Pedestrians Image Two
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

An article in This Is Bristol UK from December 17, 2009, (via The Wayback Machine) has an interview with David Friese-Greene, the great-grandson. From the article:

My great-grandfather was an idealist and a brilliant inventor, with 71 patents to his name but, he was a dreadful businessman. He died without ever having made a penny out of his inventions. He married his first wife Helena Friese when he was just 19 and incorporated her surname with his, because he felt it sounded more impressive. Tragically, Helena died at the age of 21 […].

It was during the late 1880s, shortly after Helena’s death, that Friese-Greene first began to experiment with the idea of creating moving pictures. […] in 1890, he patented [a] new device, which he dubbed the chronophotographic camera. Unfortunately, he was so pleased with his creation that, he wrote to the great American inventor, Thomas Edison, telling him what he had come up with and, even, included plans and designs […]. William never heard back from the inventor of the electric light bulb, though, the following year, Edison patented his own version of a movie camera and went down in many history books as the inventor of cinema.

In fact, William died a pauper but, [was] still passionate about his most famous creation. He was at a cinema industry meeting in London, which had been called to discuss the poor state of the British film industry in 1921. He had got to his feet to speak about his vision of how film could be used to create educational documentaries when he fell down dead. It is said he had just 21 pence in his pockets when he died.

In 1951, the movie The Magic Box was released. Starring Robert Donat, it was a biographical piece about Friese-Greene’s life.

There is additional information on this WordPress blog: William Friese-Greene & Me

Weird S*** Wednesday: Ancient Egyptian Statue Moves

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Update:
Moving Statue Mystery Solved

An ancient Egyptian statue appears to have started moving on its own, much to the amazement of scientists and museum curators. The statue of Neb-Senu, believed to date to 1800 B.C., is housed in the Manchester Museum in England, at least for now. But, if the statue keeps moving, there’s no telling where it will end up. “I noticed one day that it had turned around,” museum curator Campbell Price told the Manchester Evening News. “I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key. I put it back but, then, the next day, it had moved again […]. We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate.”

Neb-Senu Image One
Image Credit: Manchester Museum

The [10in. (25cm)] statue was acquired by the museum in 1933, according to the New York Daily News. The video clearly shows the artifact slowly turning counterclockwise during the day but, remaining stationary at night. This daytime movement led British physicist Brian Cox to believe the statue’s movement is due to the vibration created by museum visitors’ footsteps. “Brian thinks it’s differential friction, where two surfaces, the stone of the statuette and glass shelf it is on, cause a subtle vibration, which is making the statuette turn […]. But, it has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before […]. And, why would it go around in a perfect circle?” said Price.

On his blog, Price […] speculates that the statue “was carved of steatite and, then, fired [which] may imply that it is now vulnerable to magnetic forces.” Steatite, also known as soapstone, is a soft stone often used for carving. Oddly, the statue turns 180 degrees to face [backwards], then turns no more. This led some observers to wonder if the statue moves to show visitors the inscription on its back which asks for sacrificial offerings consisting of bread, beer, oxen and fowl.

Neb Senu Image Two
Photo Credit: Cavendish Press &
Stories My Mummy Told Me

None of the proposed explanations satisfies Price. “It would be great if someone could solve the mystery,” he said. But, Paul Doherty (d. 2017), senior scientist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, believes the statue’s movement isn’t caused by any supernatural force but, by something quite ordinary…vibrational, stick-slip friction, sometimes called stick-slip vibration. As Doherty told LiveScience, “[If] the glass shelf, on which the statue rests, vibrates even slightly, […] the vibrating glass moves the statue in the same direction, […] causing it to turn around.” An everyday example can occur when someone uses an electric blender on a kitchen countertop […]. The vibration of the blender can cause a nearby coffee cup to walk across the countertop.

But, why would the statue stop moving after turning 180 degrees? Doherty believes the statue stops turning because it’s asymmetrically weighted […]. “One side of the statue has more weight than the other side,” [Doherty said]. After turning around on the shelf, the statue’s uneven bottom reaches a more stable position and stops turning. Besides the footsteps of passing museum visitors, the source of the stick-slip vibration “…could be some trolley that goes by during the day or a train that passes during the day,” Doherty said.

Marc Lallanilla
LiveScience
June 24, 2013