12 December, 2009

Elliot Paul


Elliot Harold Paul, was an American journalist and author.

Born in Linden, a part of Malden, Massachusetts, Elliot Paul graduated from Malden High School then worked in the U.S. West on the government Reclamation projects for several years until 1914 when he returned home and took a job as a reporter covering legislative events at the State House in Boston. In 1917, he joined the U.S. Army to fight in World War I. Paul served in France where he fought in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Following the war's end, he returned home and to a job as a journalist. At this time, he began writing books, inspired in part by his military experiences.

By 1925 Elliot Paul had already seen three of his novels published when he left America to join many of his literary compatriots in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris, France. There, he worked for a time at the International Herald Tribune before joining Eugene and Maria Jolas as co-editor of the literary journal, transition. A friend of James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, Paul defied Ernest Hemingway's maxim that "if you mentioned Joyce twice to Stein, you were dead." Paul was a great enthusiast of Stein's work, equating its "feeling for a continuous present" with jazz.

Paul left the fledgling journal after little more than a year to return to the newspaper business and to write more novels in his spare time. He had completed three more books when he suffered from a nervous breakdown and abruptly left Paris to recuperate in the Spanish village of Santa Eulalia on the island of Ibiza. With virtually no one in the literary community knowing where he was, in her 1933 The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Stein muses over his "disappearance."

Caught in the middle of the Spanish Civil War, he was inspired to write the well received The Life and Death of a Spanish Town. Forced to flee Spain, he returned to Paris produced detective fiction featuring the amateur sleuth Homer Evans, as well as crafting what is considered as one of his best works, The Last Time I Saw Paris.

Back in the United States following the outbreak of World War II, Elliot Paul turned to screenwriting where in Hollywood, between 1941 and 1953, he participated in the writing of ten screenplays, the most remembered of which is the 1945 production, Rhapsody in Blue; he also wrote the screenplay for the Poverty Row production of New Orleans, a fictional history of Storyville jazz featuring Billie Holiday in her only acting role. He also contributed to London Town (1946), one of the most infamous flops in British cinema history.

Contemptuous of the censorship imposed on the studios by the Hays Code, Paul mocked Hollywood's hypocritical puritanism in his satiric book from 1942, With a Hays Nonny Nonny , where he reworked Bible stories so that they complied with the Code. The Book of Esther , for example, becomes a vehicle for Don Ameche, with Groucho Marx as Mordecai.

A talented pianist, he frequently supplemented his income by playing at local clubs in the Los Angeles area.

Married and divorced five times, Paul had one son. He died in 1958 at the Veterans' Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.



Hugh Scott, Jr.


Hugh Doggett Scott, Jr. was a politician from Pennsylvania who served in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, and who also served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

He was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on November 11, 1900 and attended public and private schools. He graduated from Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia, in 1919 and the law department of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1922. He was admitted to the bar in 1922 and commenced practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a brother of the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity.

During World War I he enrolled in the Student Reserve Officers Training Corps and the Students’ Army Training Corps.

Scott served as assistant district attorney of Philadelphia, Pa. from 1926 to 1941 and was a member of the Governor’s Commission on Reform of the Magistrates System (1938–1940). During the Second World War he was on active duty for two years with the United States Navy, rising to the rank of commander.

An author, Scott was also vice president of the United States Delegation to the Interparlimentary Union. He was elected as a Republican to the 77th United States Congress and reelected to the 78th United States Congress (January 3, 1941–January 3, 1945). He failed to be reelected in 1944 to the 79th United States Congress and resumed the practice of law, serving as Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1948 to 1949. He then returned to Congress (the 80th) and was reelected to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1947–January 3, 1959), leaving his seat to run for the Senate.
In 1958 Scott was elected to the United States Senate and was twice reelected, in 1964 and again in 1970, and served from January 3, 1959, to January 3, 1977. He was Republican whip in 1969 and minority leader from 1969 to 1977, serving as Chairman of the Select Committee on Secret and Confidential Documents (92nd Congress).

A memorable quote from Hugh Scott came during the U-2 Incident in 1960, when Senator Scott said that "We have violated the eleventh Commandment — Thou Shall Not Get Caught."
He did not run for reelection in 1976. The same year, he chaired the Pennsylvania delegation to the Republican National Convention.

Scott was a resident of Washington, D.C., and later, Falls Church, Virginia, until his death there on July 21, 1994. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.








10 December, 2009

Edward Atkinson


Edward Leicester Atkinson was a Royal naval surgeon and Antarctic explorer who was a member of the scientific staff of Captain Scott's Terra Nova Expedition, 1910-13. He was in command of the expedition's base at Cape Evans for much of 1912, and led the party that found the tent containing the bodies of Scott, "Birdie" Bowers and Edward Wilson. Atkinson was subsequently associated with two controversies: that relating to Scott's orders concerning the use of dogs, and that relating to the possible incidence of scurvy in the polar party. He is commemorated by the Atkinson Cliffs on the northern coast of Victoria Land, Antarctica.

Atkinson was born on 23 November 1881 in the Windward Isles, where he spent much of his childhood. He was educated at the Forest School, Snaresbrook, and received his medical training at St Thomas's Hospital, London, where he became the hospital's light heavyweight boxing champion. He qualified in 1906 and two years later joined the Royal Navy as a medical officer, based at the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, in Gosport, Hampshire. He was primarily a researcher, and had published a paper on gonorrhoeal rheumatism when he was appointed physician and parasitologist to the Terra Nova expedition.

In 1928 his wife died and he suffered a nervous breakdown. He recovered, however, and within a few months had married again and been promoted Surgeon-Captain. On board ship in the Mediterranean on 20 February 1929, on his way back to England, Atkinson died suddenly, at the age of 47, and was buried at sea.

Joseph Spence


Joseph Spence was on born in August of1910 in Andros, Bahamas; and was a Bahamian guitarist and singer. 

He is well known for his vocalizations and humming while performing on guitar. Spence played a steel-string acoustic guitar, and nearly all of his recorded songs employ guitar accompaniment in a Drop D tuning, so that the guitar sounds, from sixth to first D A D G B E. The power of his playing derives from moving bass lines and interior voices and a driving beat that he emphasized with foot tapping. To this mix he adds blues coloration and calypso rhythms to achieve a unique and easily identifiable sound.

Spence died on March 18, 1984 in Nassau, Bahamas.

02 December, 2009

Owen Barfield



Owen Barfield was a British philosopher, author, poet, and critic.

Barfield was born in London. He was educated at Highgate School and Wadham College, Oxford and during 1920 received a 1st class degree in English language and literature. After finishing his B. Litt., which became the book Poetic Diction, he worked as a solicitor. Because of his career as a solicitor, Barfield contributed to philosophy as a non-academic, publishing numerous essays, books, and articles. His primary focus was on what he called the "evolution of consciousness," which is an idea which occurs frequently in his writings.

He is most famous today as a friend of C. S. Lewis and as the author of Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry. He died in Forest Row in Sussex.

Martin Niemöller



Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller was a prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor. He is best known as the author of the poem First they came....
Although he was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler, he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis' Aryan Paragraph, but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic. For his opposition to the Nazis' state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945. He narrowly escaped execution and survived imprisonment. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis. He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. From the 1950s on, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist, and vice-chair of War Resisters' International from 1966 to 1972. He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.
Martin Niemöller was born in Lippstadt on 14 January 1892 to the Lutheran pastor Heinrich Niemöller and his wife Paula née Müller, and grew up in a very conservative home. In 1900 the family moved to Elberfeld where he finished school, taking his abitur exam in 1910.
He began a career as an officer of the Imperial Navy of the German Empire, and in 1915 was assigned to U-boats. His first submarine was the "Thüringen", and in October of that year he joined the submarine mother ship "Vulkan", followed by training on the submarine U-3. In February 1916 he became second officer on U-73 which was assigned to the Mediterranean Sea in April 1916. There the submarine fought on the Saloniki front, patrolled in the Strait of Otranto and from December 1916 onward planted mines in front of Port Said and was involved in commerce raiding. Flying a French flag as a ruse of war, the U-73 sailed past British warships, and torpedoed two Allied troopships and a British man-of-war.
In January 1917 Niemöller was coxswain of U-39. Later he returned to Kiel, and in August 1917 he became first officer in U-151, which attacked numerous ships at Gibraltar, in the Bay of Biscay, and other places. During this time the U-151 crew set a record by sinking 55,000 tons of Allied ships in 115 days at sea. In May 1918 he became commander of the UC-67. Under his command, UC-67 achieved a temporary closing of the French port of Marseilles by sinking ships in the area, by torpedoes, and by the laying of mines.
For his achievements, Niemöller was awarded the Iron Cross First Class. When the war drew to a close, he decided to become a preacher, a story he later recounted in his book Vom U-Boot zur Kanzel (From U-boat to Pulpit). At war's end, Niemöller resigned his commission, as he rejected the new democratic government of the German Empire that formed after the resignation of the German Emperor William II.
On July 20, 1919 he married Else née Bremer (born July 20, 1890 - died August 7, 1961). The same year he began working at a farm in Wersen near Osnabrück but gave up becoming a farmer as he couldn't afford the money for his own farm. He subsequently pursued his earlier idea of becoming a Lutheran pastor, and studied Protestant theology at the Westphalian William's-University in Münster from 1919 to 1923. His motivation was his ambition to give a disordered society meaning and order through the Gospel and church bodies.
During the Ruhraufstand in 1920 he was battalion commander of the "III. Bataillon der Akademischen Wehr Münster" belonging to the paramilitary Freikorps.
Niemöller was ordained on June 29, 1924, and the united Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union appointed him curate of Münster's Church of the Redeemer. After serving as the superintendent of the Inner Mission in the old-Prussian ecclesiastical province of Westphalia, Niemöller in 1931 became pastor of the Jesus Christus Kirche (comprising a congregation together with St. Anne's Church) in Dahlem, an affluent suburb of Berlin.
Like most Protestant pastors, Niemöller openly supported the right-wing opponents of the Weimar Republic. He even welcomed Hitler's accession to power in 1933, believing it would bring a national revival. However, he decidedly opposed the Nazis' Aryan Paragraph. In 1936, he signed the petition of a group of Protestant churchmen which sharply criticized Nazi policies and declared the Aryan Paragraph incompatible with the Christian virtue of charity. Adopting the Nazi racist attitudes betrayed the Christian sacrament of baptism, according to which this act makes a person a Christian, superseding any other faith, which oneself may have been observing before and knowing nothing about any racial affinity as a prerequisite of being a Christian, let alone one's grandparents' religious affiliation being an obstacle to being Christian.
The Nazi regime reacted with mass arrests and charges against almost 800 pastors and ecclesiastical lawyers. In 1933, Niemöller founded the Pfarrernotbund, an organization of pastors to "combat rising discrimination against Christians of Jewish background." By the autumn of 1934, Niemöller joined other Lutheran and Protestant churchmen such as Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer in founding the Confessing Church, a Protestant group that opposed the Nazification of the German Protestant churches. The author and Nobel Prize laureate Thomas Mann published Niemöller's sermons in the United States and praised his bravery.
However, Niemöller only gradually abandoned his sympathies with National Socialism and even made pejorative remarks about Jews of faith while protecting - in his own church - baptized Christians, persecuted as Jews by the Nazis, due to their or their forefathers' Jewish descent. In one sermon in 1935, he remarked: "What is the reason for [their] obvious punishment, which has lasted for thousands of years? Dear brethren, the reason is easily given: the Jews brought the Christ of God to the cross!"
This has led to controversy about his attitude toward the Jews and to accusations of anti-Judaism. Holocaust scholar Robert Michael notes that Niemöller's statements were a result of traditional antisemitism and that Niemöller agreed with the Nazis' position on the "Jewish question" at that time.[4][13] Werner Cohn, an American sociologist, who lived as a Jew in Nazi Germany, also reports on antisemitic statements by Niemöller.
Thus, Niemöller's ambivalent and often contradictory behavior during the Nazi period makes him one of the most controversial enemies of the Nazis. Even his motives are disputed. The historian Raimund Lammersdorf considers Niemöller "an opportunist who had no quarrel with Hitler politically and only began to oppose the Nazis when Hitler threatened to attack the churches." Others have disputed this view and emphasize the risks that Niemöller took while opposing the Nazis. However, Niemöller's behaviour contrasts sharply with the much more broad-minded attitudes of other Confessing Church activists such as Hermann Maas. The pastor and liberal politician Maas — unlike Niemöller — belonged to those who unequivocally opposed every form of antisemitism and was later accorded the title Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
Arrested on 1 July 1937, Niemöller was brought to a "Special Court" on 2 March 1938 to be tried for activities against the State. He was fined 2,000 Reichmarks and received a prison term of seven months. As his detention period exceeded the jail term, he was released by the Court after the trial. However, immediately after leaving the Court, he was rearrested by Himmler's Gestapo--presumably because Rudolf Hess found the sentence too lenient and decided to take "merciless action" against him. He was interned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945. In late April 1945 he was transferred to Tyrol together with about 140 other prominent inmates, where the SS left the prisoners behind. He was liberated by the Fifth U.S. Army on May 5, 1945.
After his former cell mate, Leo Stein was released from Sachsenhausen to go to America, he wrote an article about Niemöller for The National Jewish Monthly. Stein reports that having asked Niemöller why he ever supported the Nazi Party, Niemöller replied:
"I find myself wondering about that too. I wonder about it as much as I regret it. Still, it is true that Hitler betrayed me. I had an audience with him, as a representative of the Protestant Church, shortly before he became Chancellor, in 1932. Hitler promised me on his word of honor, to protect the Church, and not to issue any anti-Church laws. He also agreed not to allow pogroms against the Jews, assuring me as follows: 'There will be restrictions against the Jews, but there will be no ghettos, no pogroms, in Germany.'"
"I really believed," Niemoeller continued, "given the widespread anti-Semitism in Germany, at that time—that Jews should avoid aspiring to Government positions or seats in the Reichstag. There were many Jews, especially among the Zionists, who took a similar stand. Hitler's assurance satisfied me at the time. On the other hand, I hated the growing atheistic movement, which was fostered and promoted by the Social Democrats and the Communists. Their hostility toward the Church made me pin my hopes on Hitler for a while.
"I am paying for that mistake now; and not me alone, but thousands of other persons like me."
In April 1945 Niemöller was, together with other prominent prisoners, transferred to Tyrol, where he was liberated by the Allies on May 5, 1945. According to Lammersdorf, there had been some attempts to whitewash his past which were, however, soon followed by harsh criticism because of his role as a NSDAP supporter and his attitude toward the Jews. Niemöller himself never denied his own guilt in the time of the Nazi regime. In 1959, he was asked about his former attitude toward the Jews by Alfred Wiener, a Jewish researcher into racism and war crimes committed by the Nazi regime. In a letter to Wiener, Niemöller stated that his eight-year imprisonment by the Nazis became the turning point in his life, after which he viewed things differently.
Niemöller was president of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau from 1947 to 1961. He was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt, signed by leading figures in the German Protestant churches. The document acknowledged that the churches had not done enough to resist the Nazis.
Under the impact of a meeting with Otto Hahn (who has been called the "father of nuclear chemistry") in July 1954, Niemöller became an ardent pacifist and campaigner for nuclear disarmament. He was soon a leading figure in the post-war German peace movement and was even brought to court in 1959 because he had spoken about the military in a very unflattering way. His visit to North Vietnam's communist ruler Ho Chi Minh at the height of the Vietnam War caused an uproar. Niemöller also took active part in protests against the Vietnam War and the NATO Double-Track Decision.
In 1961, he became president of the World Council of Churches. He earned the Lenin Peace Prize in 1966.
He died at Wiesbaden in 1984.

05 June, 2009

John Mills


Sir John Mills was an English actor, who made more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades.


Mills was born at the Watts Naval School in North Elmham, Norfolk, England, and grew up in Felixstowe, Suffolk. He was educated at Norwich High School for Boys (which since its move after World War II to Langley Park, Loddon, is known as Langley School), where it is said that his initials can still be seen carved into the brickwork on the side of the building in Upper St Giles Street. He made his acting debut on the stage of the Sir John Leman School in Beccles in a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream when he played the part of Puck.

Mills took an early interest in acting, making his professional debut at the London Hippodrome in The Five O'Clock Girl in 1929. He also starred in the Noel Coward revue Words and Music. He made his film debut in The Midshipmaid (1932), and appeared as Colley in the 1939 film version of Goodbye, Mr Chips, opposite Robert Donat.

Mills joined-up in September 1939 at the start of World War II, and was posted into the Royal Artillery. He was later commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, and was discharged in 1941 due to medical reasons. He starred in his friend Noel Coward's In Which We Serve.

He took the lead in Great Expectations in 1946, and subsequently made his career playing traditionally British heroes such as Captain Robert Falcon Scott in Scott of the Antarctic (1948). Over the next decade he became particularly associated with war dramas, such as The Colditz Story (1954), Above Us the Waves (1955) and Ice Cold in Alex (1958). He often acted in the roles of people who are not at all exceptional, but become heroes due to their common sense, generosity and right judgement. Altogether he appeared in over 120 films.

For his role as the village idiot in Ryan's Daughter (1970) — a complete departure from his usual style — Mills won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His most famous television role was probably as the title character in Quatermass for ITV in 1979. Also on the small screen, in 1974 he starred as Captain Tommy "The Elephant" Devon in the six-part television drama series The Zoo Gang, about a group of former underground freedom fighters from World War II, with Brian Keith, Lilli Palmer, and Barry Morse.

He also starred as Gus the Theatre Cat in the filmed version of the musical Cats in 1998.

In 2002 Mills released his extensive home movie footage in a documentary/film entitled John Mills' Moving Memories, with interviews with Mills, his children Hayley, Juliet and Jonathon and Richard Attenborough. The film was directed and edited by Marcus Dillistone, and features behind the scenes footage and stories from films such as Ice Cold in Alex and Dunkirk. In addition the film also includes home footage of many of John Mills' friends and fellow cast members including Sir Laurence Olivier, Harry Andrews, Walt Disney, David Niven, Dirk Bogarde, Rex Harrison, Tyrone Power.

He was appointed a CBE in 1960. In 1976 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2002, he received a Fellowship of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the highest award given by the Academy, and was named a Disney Legend by The Walt Disney Company.

In the years leading up to his death, he appeared on television only on special occasions, his sight having failed almost completely in 1992. After that, his film roles were brief but notable cameos.

He died aged 97 on 23 April 2005 in Chiltern, Buckinghamshire, following a chest infection. A few months after Sir John's death, Mary Hayley Bell died on 1 December 2005.

07 May, 2009

Alessandro Corsellini


Alessandro Corsellini, a third generation pipe maker and smoker, started his pipe smoking career at the age of 17. Later, and in 1965, he founded Italy's first and oldest pipe club, "Club della Pipa" (Club of the Pipe), and a year later, he resumed his family's pipe smoking tradition. As a smoker, Alessandro is very well known not only in Italy, but also in Europe and in the world at large for his many achievement and world records in pipe smoking contests. He took part in his first pipe smoking contest in 1967, and in 1969 and 1972 he came out the winner of the European Championship. In in fact, in his first such event of 1969 he set an astounding world record, with a time of 3 hours, 3 minutes and 45 second; that was the first time someone managed to keep his three grams of tobacco lit and going beyond the 3-hour barrier. From 1972 to 1998, Alessandro won the Italian Championship 6 times, and his club team won it 12 times, from 1970 to 2000. His club team won the World Championship in 1985 (Paris), 1989 (Turin), 1997 (Budapest), and 1999 (Brno). Alessandro's hobby of the heart remains pipe making and smoking. He has a wide collection of pipes, and he still prefers natural, English mixtures, with Latakia. Besides pipes, he collects antique pocket watches and motorcycles. He loves animals very much and seizes every possible opportunity to enjoy nature and its charm. Such activities are best enjoyed in the company of his wife, two children and his grandson.

Yul Brynner


Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor of stage and film, best known for his portrayal of the King of Siam in the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The King and I on both stage and screen, as well as Rameses II in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille film The Ten Commandments and as Chris Adams in The Magnificent Seven.

He was noted for his deep, rich voice and for his shaven head, which he kept as a personal trademark after adopting it in his role in The King and I.

He was born Yuliy Borisovich Brynner in Vladivostok, Far Eastern Republic. His father, Boris Brynner, was a mining engineer of Swiss and Mongolian ancestry and his mother Marusya was a housewife.

Brynner exaggerated his background and early life for the press, claiming that he was born Taidje Khan of part-Mongol parentage, on the Russian island of Sakhalin. A biography published by his son Rock Brynner in 1989 clarified these issues.

He claimed to be a quarter Romany and in 1983 was elected to the position of Honorary President of the Roma, an office that he kept until he died. He also infrequently referred to himself as Julius Briner. In addition to his work as a performer, Brynner was an active photographer, and wrote two books.

After Boris Brynner abandoned his family, his mother took Yul and his sister, Vera Bryner, to Harbin, China, where they attended a school run by the YMCA, and in 1934 she took them to Paris.

During World War II, Brynner worked as a French speaking radio announcer and commentator for the U.S. Office of War Information, broadcasting propaganda to occupied France.

Brynner's best-known role was that of King Mongkut of Siam in the Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical The King and I which he played 4,626 times on stage over the span of his career. He appeared in the original production and subsequent touring productions, as well as a 1977 Broadway revival, and another Broadway revival in 1985. He also appeared in the film version for which he won an Academy Award as Best Actor, and in a short-lived TV version (Anna and the King) on CBS in 1972. Brynner is one of only nine people who have won both a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the same role.

He made an immediate impact upon launching his film career in 1956, appearing not only in The King and I that year, but also in major roles in The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston and Anastasia with Ingrid Bergman. Brynner, at 5'10", was reportedly concerned about being overshadowed by Charlton Heston's physical presence in the film The Ten Commandments and prepared with an intensive weight-lifting program.

He later starred in such films as the Biblical epic Solomon and Sheba (1959), The Magnificent Seven (1960), and Kings of the Sun (1963). He co-starred with Marlon Brando in Morituri; Katharine Hepburn in The Madwoman of Chaillot and William Shatner in a film version of The Brothers Karamazov (1958). He starred with Barbara Bouchet in Death Rage, 1976. Among his final feature film appearances were in Michael Crichton's Westworld (1973) and its sequel Futureworld (1976). Brynner also appeared in drag in an unbilled role in the Peter Sellers comedy The Magic Christian (1969).

In addition to his work as a performer, Brynner was an active photographer, and wrote two books. His daughter Victoria put together Yul Brynner: Photographer a collection of his photographs of family, friends, and fellow actors, as well as those he took while serving as a UN special consultant on refugees. Brynner wrote Bring Forth the Children: A Journey to the Forgotten People of Europe and the Middle East (1960) and The Yul Brynner Cookbook: Food Fit for the King and You.

A student of music from childhood, Brynner was an accomplished guitarist and singer. In his early period in Europe he often played and sang gypsy songs in Parisian nightclubs with Aliosha Dimitrievitch. He sang some of those same songs in the film The Brothers Karamazov. In 1967, he and Dimitrievitch released a record album, The Gypsy and I: Yul Brynner Sings Gypsy Songs.


Brynner died of lung cancer on October 10, 1985 in New York City.

Knowing he was dying of cancer, Brynner starred in a run of farewell performances of his most famous role, The King and I, on Broadway from January 7 to June 30, 1985, opposite Mary Beth Peil. He received the 1985 Special Tony award honoring his 4,525 performances in The King and I.

Throughout his life, Brynner was often seen with a cigarette in his hand. In January 1985, nine months before his death, he gave an interview on Good Morning America, expressing his desire to make an anti-smoking commercial. A clip from that interview was made into just such a public service announcement by the American Cancer Society, and released after his death; it includes the warning "Now that I'm gone, I tell you, don't smoke." This advertisement is now featured in the Body Worlds exhibition.

Donald Findlay


Donald Findlay is a well-known senior advocate and Queen's Counsel in Scotland. He has also held positions as a vice chairman of Rangers Football Club and twice Rector of the University of St Andrews.

He is well known for a distinctive style of dress and manner, particularly the smoking of a pipe, as well as his staunch support for Unionism in Scotland and the Conservative Party.

Donald Findlay was born on the March 17, 1951 in Cowdenbeath, Fife. He was subsequently educated at Harris Academy in Dundee, and later at the University of Dundee and at the University of Glasgow. His academic links with the University of St Andrews (of which Dundee was once part) saw him elected as Lord Rector in 1993 and again in 1996. After his retirement from this position, he took the position of Chancellor of the University's Strafford Club.

A combination of high-profile controversies, acute legal skills and a well-cultivated image has generated Findlay a lot of coverage in the Scottish press in recent years and he now has one of the highest legal profiles in Scotland and widely considered to be Scotland's premier criminal law advocate. He took silk, becoming a Queen's Counsel in 1988, but his behavior has been censured by the Faculty of Advocates on more than one occasion. He has served as a defense lawyer in many high-profile murder cases including Jodi Jones, Mark Scott and the Kriss Donald murder trials. He represented Peter Tobin, the murderer of Angelika Kluk in the so-called "body in the church" case.

He is also a noted after-dinner speaker and in 1997 was a high profile campaigner on behalf of the Think Twice campaign which supported a double-no vote in the Scottish devolution referendum.

01 May, 2009

Alan Christopher Deere


Alan Christopher "Al" Deere was a New Zealand Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain and author of Nine Lives.

Deere was born in Westport but his family moved to Wanganui where he grew up in a semi-rural environment and attended Marist Brothers' School and Wanganui Technical College. At the age of eight he saw an aircraft fly overhead and sprinted to see it land on a nearby beach. The pilot allowed him to sit in the cockpit and Deere determined to become a pilot.

After a school career dominated by success in sports, representing his school in rugby, cricket and boxing, Deere spent two years as a law clerk. Encouraged by his family doctor to follow his chosen career, Deere persuaded his mother to sign the under 21 application for entry into the Royal Air Force. He passed selection under Wing Commander R A Cochrane in April 1937 and sailed for England on the Rangitane in September, but was admitted to hospital with high blood pressure.

Deere began flying training on 28 October 1937, at the De Havilland Flying School at White Waltham, the No 13 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School.

On 9 January 1938 he was granted a short service commission as acting Flying Officer and started initial officer training at RAF Uxbridge. He was selected for the RAF boxing team to tour South Africa, but flight training took priority and he was posted to 6 Flight Training School on 22 January. The aircraft he was to have travelled in crashed at Bulawayo with the loss of all on board.

Deere was promoted to Flying Officer on 28 October, and temporarily posted to No. 74 Squadron RAF on 20 August, before joining No. 54 Squadron RAF in September where he was joined by Colin Gray, who was to become New Zealand's top scoring pilot of World War II. Both squadrons operated Gloster Gladiators, the RAF's last biplane fighter.

Until May 1940, the squadron remained in England, tasked with home defense, having converted to Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1s at the beginning of 1940. Deere was enraptured of the Spitfire, like most pilots, describing it as "the most beautiful and easy aircraft to fly." He was later given a chance to fly a captured Bf 109, and found the Spitfire superior:

"In my written report on the combat I stated that in my opinion the Spitfire was superior overall to the Me 109, except in the initial climb and dive; however this was an opinion contrary to the belief of the so-called experts. Their judgement was of course based on intelligence assessments and the performance of the 109 in combat with the Hurricane in France. In fact, the Hurricane, though vastly more manoeuvrable than either the Spitfire or the Me 109, was so sadly lacking in speed and rate of climb, that its too-short combat experience against the 109 was not a valid yardstick for comparison. The Spitfire, however, possessed these two attributes to such a degree that, coupled with a better rate of turn than the Me 109, it had the edge overall in combat. There may have been scepticism by some about my claim for the Spitfire, but I had no doubts on the score; nor did my fellow pilots in 54 Squadron",(the Bf109 was called Me 109 by contemporary Allied pilots).

On 23 May 1940, during the closing phases of the Battle of France, Deere and Pilot Officer J. Allen flew Spitfires escorting Flight Lieutenant James Leathart across the channel in a Miles Magister to rescue 74 Squadron’s commanding officer, who had made a forced landing. In sight of Leathart and White, Deere claimed his first combat victories, shooting down two Messerschmitt Bf 109s. Later the same day he shot down a third Bf 109.

On 24 May he added a Bf 110 over Dunkirk and on the 26th claimed two more in the same area.

On 28 May Deere was shot down by a Dornier Do17 he was attacking near Dunkirk. He was knocked unconscious when making a forced landing on a Belgian beach. Rescued by a soldier, Deere made his way on foot to Oost-Dunkerke where his head injuries were dressed. He hitched a ride on a British Army lorry to Dunkirk, and (after receiving some criticism from soldiers about the effectiveness of the RAF’s fighter cover), boarded a boat to Dover from where he took a train back to London, 19 hours after taking off from Hornchurch with his squadron.

Together with Leathart and Allen, Deere was awarded the DFC on 12 June 1940. The medal was presented at Hornchurch by King George VI on 27 June. The Citation read:

"During May, 1940, this officer has, in company with his squadron, taken part in numerous offensive patrols over Northern France, and has been engaged in seven combats often against superior numbers of the enemy. In the course of these engagements he has personally shot down five enemy aircraft and assisted in the destruction of others. On one occasion, in company with a second aircraft, he escorted a trainer aircraft to Calais Marck aerodrome, for the purpose of rescuing a squadron commander who had been shot down there. The trainer aircraft was attacked by twelve Messerschmitt 109s whilst taking off at Calais, but Pilot Officer Deere, with the other pilot, immediately attacked, with the result that three enemy aircraft were shot down, and a further three severely damaged. Throughout these engagements this officer has displayed courage and determination in his attacks on the enemy." London Gazette – 14 June 1940.

No 54 Squadron took part in the defense of channel shipping against Luftwaffe attacks designed to draw out and destroy Fighter Command.

On 9 July Deere shot down a Bf 109 over the channel, but then collided head on with a Bf 109 of 4 Staffel Jagdgeschwader 51 flown by Oberfeldwebel Johann Illner. The propeller blades of Deere's spitfire "Kiwi" were bent backwards, the engine disabled, and much of the fin and rudder lost. Nevertheless, he managed to glide back to the coast near Manston where his forced landing in a paddock ended against a stone wall.

The colour scheme of this aircraft (P9398, KL-B, named, like all Deere's aircraft, "Kiwi"), was accurately recorded and in consequence it has been a favourite with modellers and manufacturers. The remains of this aircraft have recently been excavated and are to be rebuilt.

After Adler Tag on 11 August he shot down a Bf 109, two more plus a Bf 110 the next day, and on the 15th added another Bf 109 over the Channel. However he was then trapped in an unequal dogfight with Bf 109s which attempted to block his return to England. Deere made the coast but was forced to bail out at low altitude, and was admitted to Victoria Hospital with minor injuries. He discharged himself the following day. Deere was shot down again on the 28 August - this time by a Spitfire - but parachuted to safety. A frustrating combat on the 30th saw him claim a probable Do 17.

The following day the Luftwaffe raided Hornchurch. Deere led a section of three Spitfires which attempted to take off during the raid. A bomb destroyed all three aircraft. Deere's Spitfire was blown on its back, trapping him. Pilot Officer Eric Edsall, though badly injured when his own Spitfire had been destroyed, crawled to Deere’s aircraft and freed him. Seeing Edsall’s injuries, Deere then carried his rescuer to the sick bay.

Deere was critical of the lack of training given to new pilots:

"We were desperately short of pilots.[...] We were getting pilots who had not been on Spitfires because there were no conversion units at that time. They came straight to a squadron from their training establishments. Some of them did have a few hours on the Hurricanes, a monoplane experience, but not on the Spitfire. For example, we got two young New Zealanders into my flight. Chatting to them I found they'd been six weeks at sea coming over. They were trained on some very outdated aircraft, I can't remember, out in NZ. One of the pilots had taken them up to see the handling and brief them on the Spitfire. Then they'd go off for one solo flight and circuit, then they were into battle. The answer of course is that they didn't last. Those two lasted two trips and they both finished up in Dover hospital. One was pulled out of the Channel. One landed by parachute."
Such was the toll on men of 54 Squadron that on 3 September, before the peak of the battle, the squadron was withdrawn from 11 group and moved to the northern airfield at Catterick to rest and recover.

A Bar to his DFC was awarded on 6 September 1940. The Citation read:

"Since the outbreak of war this officer has personally destroyed eleven, and probably one other, enemy aircraft, and assisted in the destruction of two more. In addition to the skill and gallantry he has shown in leading his flight, and in many instances his squadron, Flight Lieutenant Deere has displayed conspicuous bravery and determination in pressing home his attacks against superior numbers of enemy aircraft, often pursuing them across the Channel in order to shoot them down. As a leader he shows outstanding dash and determination." London Gazette – 6 September 1940.

[edit] Squadron Leader, America
While training new replacement pilots in January 1941, Deere collided with one of them, losing most of his tail to the Sergeant pilot's propellor. When bailing out, Deere was trapped against part of his aircraft, and his damaged parachute failed to fully open. Deere landed in an area of open sewerage which broke much of his fall. As a result of this incident he was rested from active flying, but promoted to Acting Squadron Leader and tasked as Operations Room Controller at Catterick. An unusual honour was having his portrait painted by official war artist Cuthbert Orde that February.

On 7 May 1941 he was posted to Ayr as Flight Commander of No. 602 Squadron RAF. On 5 June he suffered engine failure over the North Sea and glided back to another forced landing on the coast, crawling out the small side door after the Spitfire flipped on to its back, destroying the canopy and temporarily trapping him. At the end of July he took over as Squadron commander of 602 Squadron, and on 1 August it moved back to Kenley. On the same day he shot down another Bf 109. On the 10th he was scrambled to investigate a single enemy aircraft flying westwards but could not locate the machine and abandoned the search after being told the aircraft had crashed near Glasgow, so missing the chance to shoot down Rudolf Hess' Bf 110. (See: Rudolf Hess landing for further details.)

In January 1942 he was sent on a lecturing and public relations trip to America teaching American pilots fighter tactics learnt in the Battle of Britain.

Deere returned to action on 1 May, taking command of a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron, No. 403 Squadron RCAF, at North Weald. In August he went on a course at RAF Staff College and was subsequently posted to Headquarters 13 Group on staff duties.

He engineered a return to operations, somewhat unofficially, as a supernumerary with No. 611 Squadron RAF at Biggin Hill. He shot down an Fw 190 soon after, but wrote of his great respect for the type and its pilots.

He was given command of the Kenley fighter wing, but this was changed at the last minute to keep him as Wing Leader at Biggin Hill. While there, Deere was awarded the DSO, the citation reading: "This officer has displayed exceptional qualities of skill, which have played a large part in the successes of formations he has led. His fearlessness, tenacity and unswerving devotion to duty have inspired all with whom he has flown. Wing Commander Deere has destroyed 18 enemy aircraft." London Gazette – 4 June 1943.

Deere led 121 sorties during his six months as Wing Leader, and added another four claims to his total.

On 15 September 1943 he went to Sutton Bridge to command the Fighter Wing of the Central Gunnery School. He received a staff job in March 1944 at 11 Group but at the request of General Valin, abandoned this to take commanded of the Free French fighter wing, leading it over the beaches on D-Day, and subsequently in its pilots' return to France. When the fighter wing moved further into Europe, he was posted to HQ 84 Group Control Centre as Wing Commander Plans until July 1945 when he became Station Commander at Biggin Hill. He was awarded the OBE on 1 June 1945.

At the end of the war Deere was given command of the Polish P-51 Mustang Wing at Andrews Field, Essex, presiding over its disbandment in October, before becoming Commanding Officer at Duxford. Deere received a permanent commission in August 1945, and was promoted to Squadron Leader on 26 March 1946. In 1947 he was on the staff of AHQ Malta, subsequently joining the headquarters of 61 group before becoming Operations Officer, North-Eastern Sector, RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

Alan Deere was promoted to Wing Commander on 1 July 1951, and became Commanding Officer of RAF North Weald the following year. In 1955 he was on the directing staff of the RAF Staff College. He was promoted to Group Captain on 1 January 1958. He was Aide-de-camp to the Queen in 1962, and was appointed Assistant Commandant of the RAF College in 1963. Promoted to Air Commodore on 1 July 1964, Deere took command of (East Anglian) Sector.

On 30 January 1965 he was given the signal honour of leading fellow Battle of Britain fighter pilots in the main funeral cortege for Winston Churchill. In 1966 he commanded No. 1 School of Technical Training at Halton. He was consulted for the movie "Battle of Britain".

Alan Deere retired from the Royal Air Force on 12 December 1977. He died on 21 September 1995 aged 77 years.

29 April, 2009

Dan Rowan


Daniel Hale “Dan” Rowan was an American comedian. He was featured in the television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, where he played straight man to Dick Martin.

Born on a carnival train near the small town of Beggs, Oklahoma, under the name of “Daniel Hale David”, Rowan toured with his parents, Oscar and Nellie David, who performed a singing and dancing act with the carnival. He was orphaned at age 11, spent four traumatic years at the McClelland Home in Pueblo, Colorado, then was taken in by a foster family at age 16 and enrolled in Pueblo's Central High School.

After graduating from high school, he hitchhiked to Los Angeles, California, in 1940 and found a job in the mailroom at Paramount Pictures; quickly ingratiating himself with studio head Buddy DeSylva, a year later he became Paramount's youngest staff writer.

During World War II, Rowan served as a fighter pilot in the United States Army Air Forces. He flew Curtiss P-40s and scored two kills against Japanese aircraft before he was shot down and seriously wounded over New Guinea. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.

Dan Rowan and Dick Martin as caricatured for NBC by Sam BermanAfter his discharge, he returned to California where he teamed with Dick Martin and started a comedy night-club act. The team had appeared on television before, but it was not until the success of a summer special in 1967 that they found fame on Laugh-In.

Rowan retired and spent the remainder of his years between his residence in Florida and his barge in the canals of France. In his 40s he was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, which led him to becoming insulin dependent. He died of lymphatic cancer at the age of 65 in Siesta Key, Florida.

In 1986, a book of letters written between himself and author John D. MacDonald was published entitled A Friendship: The Letters of Dan Rowan and John D. MacDonald, 1967-1974.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco


Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, styled His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco, ruled the Principality of Monaco for more than 50 years, making him one of the longest ruling monarchs of the 20th century. Though he was best known outside of Europe for having married American actress Grace Kelly, he was also responsible for reforms to Monaco's constitution and for expanding the principality's economy beyond its traditional gambling base. Gambling accounts for approximately three percent of the nation's annual revenue today; when Rainier ascended the throne in 1949, it accounted for more than 95 percent.

Rainier III was of French, Mexican, Spanish, German, Scottish, English, Dutch, and Italian ancestry.

Through his great-grandmother Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton, who was briefly Princess of Monaco, he was a descendent of James IV of Scotland. His great-great-great-grandmother was Stéphanie de Beauharnais, the adopted daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte and later the Grand Duchess of Baden. Other ancestors include William Thomas Beckford, the scandalous 18th century English collector, tastemaker, writer, and eccentric.

Rainier was also a descendent of William the Silent of Orange-Nassau, the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Empire and ancestor to the current Dutch Royal Family; Hortense Mancini, the Duchess of Mazarin and mistress of King Charles II of England; Gabrielle de Polignac, a favorite of Marie Antoinette; Joan of Kent, the first Princess of Wales; King Charles IX of Sweden; King Frederick II of Denmark and Norway; Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, Claude, Duke of Guise and Prince Thomas M. Marciano II of Genoa.

Rainier was born in Monaco, the only son of Prince Pierre of Monaco, Duke of Valentinois (né Count Pierre de Polignac) and his wife, Hereditary Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois. Born in Algeria, his mother was the only child of Prince Louis II and Marie Juliette Louvet; she was later legitimized through formal adoption and subsequently named heiress to the throne of Monaco. His father was a half-French, half-Mexican nobleman from Brittany who adopted his wife's surname, Grimaldi, upon marriage and was made a prince of Monaco by his father-in-law.

Rainier had one sibling, HSH Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy, an unpopular figure generally believed to be meddlesome enough regarding her children's place in the line of succession to have forced Princess Grace to demand that she leave the country.

Rainier was first sent to study at Summerfields School in St Leonards-on-Sea, England, and later at Stowe, a prestigious English public school in Buckinghamshire. From there, he went to the Institut Le Rosey in Rolle and Gstaad, Switzerland, before continuing to the University of Montpellier in France, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, and finally to the Institut d'études politiques de Paris in Paris.

Rainier's maternal grandfather, Prince Louis II, had been a general in the French army during World War I. During World War II, Rainier served as an artillery officer in the army. As a second lieutenant, he fought so courageously during the German counter-offensive in Alsace that he won the Croix de Guerre and Bronze Star and was given the rank of Chevalier in the Legion of Honor.

On 9 May 1949, Rainier became the Sovereign Prince of Monaco on the death of Prince Louis II, his mother having renounced her rights to the throne in his favor in 1944.

After ascending the throne, Rainier worked assiduously to recoup Monaco's lustre, which had become tarnished through neglect (especially financial) and scandal (his mother, Princess Charlotte, took a noted jewel thief known as René the Walking Stick as her lover). According to numerous obituaries, the prince was faced upon his ascension with a treasury that was practically empty. The holder of 55 percent of the nation's reserves, the Societé Monégasque de Banques et de Métaux Précieux, was bankrupt. The small nation's traditional gambling clientele, largely European aristocrats, found themselves with reduced funds after World War II. Other gambling centers had opened to compete with Monaco, many of them successfully. To compensate for this loss of income, Rainier decided to promote Monaco as a tax haven, commercial center, real-estate development opportunity, and international tourist attraction. The early years of his reign saw the overweening involvement of the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, who took control of the Société des Bains de Mer and envisioned Monaco as solely a gambling resort. Prince Rainier regained control of the Société in 1964, effectively ensuring that his vision of Monaco would be implemented.

As Prince of Monaco, Rainier was also responsible for the principality's new constitution in 1962 which significantly reduced the power of the sovereign. (He suspended the previous Constitution in 1959, saying that it "has hindered the administrative and political life of the country.") The changes ended autocratic rule, placing power with the prince and a National Council of eighteen elected members.

At the time of his death, he was the world's second longest-serving head of state, ranking just below King Rama IX of Thailand. During the last two or three years of his life, Rainier was in the custom of asking his valet each morning, "Has Rama survived the night? Or did I just move up in the ranks?"

In the last three years of his life, Prince Rainier's health progressively declined. In early 2004 he was hospitalized for coronary problems. In October he was again in hospital with a lung infection. In November of that year, Prince Albert appeared on CNN's Larry King Live and told Larry King that his father was fine, though he was suffering from bronchitis. On 7 March 2005, he was again hospitalized with a lung infection. Rainier was moved to the hospital's intensive care unit on 22 March. One day later, on 23 March, it was announced he was on a ventilator, suffering from renal and heart failure. On 26 March the palace reported that despite intensive ongoing efforts to improve the prince's health, he was continuing to deteriorate; however, the following day, he was reported to be conscious, his heart and kidney conditions having stabilized. His prognosis remained "very reserved".

On 31 March 2005, following consultation with the Crown Council of Monaco, the Palais Princier announced that Rainier's son, Hereditary Prince Albert, Marquis des Baux, would take over the duties of his father as Regent since Rainier was no longer able to exercise his royal functions.

On 1 April 2005, the Palace announced that Rainier's doctors believe his chances of recovery were "slim"; on 6 April it announced that Prince Rainier had died in Monaco at 6:35 am local time at the age of 81. He was succeeded by his only son, who became Prince Albert II.

He was buried on 15 April 2005, beside his wife, Princess Grace, at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the resting place of previous sovereign princes of Monaco and several of their wives, and the place where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace had been married in 1956.

Lord Taylor of Gryfe


Thomas Johnston Taylor, businessman and public servant: born Glasgow 27 April 1912; President, Scottish Co-Operative Wholesale Society 1965-70; created 1968 Baron Taylor of Gryfe; Chairman, Forestry Commission 1970-76; Chairman, Scottish Railways Board 1971-80; chairman, Morgan Grenfell (Scotland) 1973-85; Chairman, Economic Forestry Group 1976-81; FRSE 1977; Chairman, Scottish Action on Dementia 1989-95; married 1943 Isobel Wands (two daughters); died St Andrews 13 July 2001.

From being a 14-year-old school leaver from Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow who had lost his father in France at the age of three in the First World War, to chairmanships of the Forestry Commission and the Scottish Railways Board and membership of the international board of Morgan Grenfell and House of Lords select committees, Tom Taylor's journey was one of constructive achievement. Having to earn a living at 14, he became an office boy in the Scottish Co-Operative Wholesale Society, then the biggest commercial organisation in Scotland; he was eventually to become its president.
When he was 20, in 1932, the SCWS, run by elders who really cared about their junior employees and their personal fulfilment, gave him a scholarship which entitled him to spend a year in Germany on the eve of Hitler's coming to power – and, crucially, to learn German.
He took an active part in the Independent Labour Party, being Jimmy Maxton's proverbial bag carrier, and, at the age of 22, got himself elected as a Glasgow City Councillor, fighting two parliamentary elections as an ILP candidate subsequently, in the second of which, in Edinburgh in 1942, he challenged the wartime consensus to allow the party which held the seat to choose a successor on the death of an incumbent, and was severely trounced.
A contact with Fenner Brockway led to a defining moment in Taylor's life. Brockway, who was Secretary of the Independent Labour Party, recalled in March 1938 that Taylor spoke German and knew Vienna. He pleaded with him to go to Austria to assist the illegal escape of a number of people whose lives were threatened. Having lived in Germany and witnessed the burning of homes and business premises of Jews and the beating up of innocent people in public by brown-shirted storm troopers wielding their truncheons, Taylor needed no convincing of the threat which now faced Austrian opponents of the German invaders.
His superiors in the SCWS were somewhat surprised when their clerk asked for his summer holiday in March to go to Austria but acquiesced, impressed by his idealism. There followed meetings in London with Brockway and in co-operation with exiles in Paris plans were prepared. Forged passports with photographs and signatures of the intended escapees were provided and hidden in Taylor's suitcase. He was given a list of names and telephone numbers of contacts in Vienna. He coded the information, having destroyed the numbers, by marking certain pages in a paperback, which he carried.
At the German-Austrian border he realised how dangerous his situation was. The train stopped – and the storm troopers questioned all passengers and searched some of the luggage. He was able to convince them that he was a harmless British tourist visiting Vienna.
The intended escapees were well-known socialist activists whose telephone numbers would certainly be under the surveillance of the Gestapo; his instructions were to contact intermediaries who had been alerted from Paris, were not suspect and would arrange a safe rendezvous. The meetings took place in a pub or café with friends sitting at a neighbouring table to prevent anyone overhearing the conversation and to warn of any Gestapo raid. Taylor would recall that whenever possible he had to use public telephone kiosks.
His first contact was a young American couple who were studying at the university. That worked well, but another was a doctor with a consulting room in the heart of Vienna. Taylor noted his consulting hours and presented himself as a patient. Announcing that he had come from "mutual friends in Paris", he waited for him to make the next move. The doctor, however, looked at Taylor blankly and said that he had no friends in Paris. He turned out to be a locum, the contact doctor being off for the day. Contact with the Jewish doctor to whom Taylor had been directed was established two days later.
One difficulty Taylor encountered was convincing individuals that they should grasp the opportunity to escape. Some had families who would be left behind. Others had become accustomed to the inefficiency of the existing Austrian dictatorship and did not realise the extent of the brutality of the Nazi regime. It was not unknown under Dollfuss for socialist sympathisers in the police to warn you beforehand in the event of any anticipated raid on your house. Taylor had to warn his friends that under Hitler it would be different.
After 10 days of nervous discussion and planning, eight refugees were on their way by separate routes and on different days. All the main railway stations were being watched by the Gestapo in Paris. Using an international timetable Taylor made plans to avoid them. The journey to the frontier would take several local trains; to avoid suspicion, each ticket was purchased for a relatively short journey.
All missions were successfully completed. Taylor told me of walking in the sunshine on a Sunday morning in Vienna, the beauty of the place shattered by the shouts of "Heil Hitler" and the sharp crash of the jackboots of storm troopers marching in a great Nazi parade. As he made his way out of town he caught a glimpse of Dr Goebbels in a restaurant.
The Second World War presented a considerable dilemma for Taylor – he hated Hitlerism but at the same time was associated with the ILP, which had a long pacifist tradition. He registered as a conscientious objector but took part in relief work in Europe as a member of the United Nations Relief and Reconstruction Administration (Unrra), where he was involved in the resettlement of refugees who wandered homeless in Europe in post-war reconstruction.
During his spell with Unrra, he lived in the United States and observed the changes that took place immediately after the war in modern supermarket retailing. On his return to Scotland, he tried to direct the Co-Operative movement of which, in 1965, he was to become President, to anticipate these dramatic changes. Unfortunately there was little response and he resigned from the service of the Co-Operative Society.
In 1963, on the recommendation of Willie Ross, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Taylor was appointed by Sir Alec Douglas-Home as a Forestry Commissioner. The Forestry Commission had been instituted in 1919 to make good the timber shortages caused by the First World War, but over the 13 years in which Taylor was to serve – confirmed for a second term by Harold Wilson, anointed in 1970 as Chairman by a Labour government, and re-anointed by Ted Heath – came increasingly to recognise its recreational responsibilities.
Taylor worked at constructive bipartisan relations with politicians of different political hues. George Holmes, later to be Director-General, but, in Taylor's time, Research Director and Harvesting and Marketing Commissioner, recalls:
Tom was an extraordinary combination of a hard-headed businessman and a left-wing, socially aware, politician. He worked well with my predecessor as Director-General, the effective Aberdonian John Dickson, partly because he was a chairman who did not fuss. He was a great guy to have at the helm.
An enthusiast for the development of wood processing in Britain, he was proud to visit alongside MPs the Wiggins Teape Corpach development near Fort William. He had played a crucial part in persuading Willie Ross, now the Scottish Secretary, and Harold Wilson to siphon off significant public funds to the project, inaugurated in 1966. He was unapologetic in the 1980s when Corpach ceased to produce pulp, after being acquired by Finnish interests who preferred to produce newsprint in Finland.
As Chairman he was a believer in public access, caravan sites, and forest cabins – though less excited about nature conservation. His first years of chairmanship coincided with reviews of government policy and much cost-benefit analysis. Policies had to be tightened to provide returns on investment; and recreation facilities were subject always to the hot breath of the Treasury. Taylor has been criticised in retrospect for being too keen on what Marion Shoard in her seminal 1980 book The Theft of the Countryside called "the serried ranks of conifers" – an insufficient sensitivity to the claims of broad-leafed trees.
Much of his energy – it was formidable and elastic – was consumed with managing the upheaval of 1974 in which the headquarters of the Forestry Commission was moved by government diktat from London and Basingstoke to Edinburgh. Any such transfer is traumatic for key staff with mortgages and children at secondary school. Taylor won justified plaudits for kindness and good sense at this difficult time for those who worked in the senior echelons of the commission. He inspired loyalty.
Taylor served 10 years, too, on the board of British Rail, serving as Chairman of the Scottish Railways Board from 1971 to 1980, and before leaving warned the Government of the dangers of their proposed structure for the privatised industry. He took a lively interest in Scottish industrial and cultural affairs. He was a member of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, served on the board of Scottish Television and was Vice-Chairman of the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. The last 12 years of his business life were spent in the service of Morgan Grenfell, the leading London merchant bank; he was chairman of Morgan Grenfell (Scotland) and a member of their international board.
In the midst of all this activity he took an active part in the House of Lords, to which he was sent, as Lord Taylor of Gryfe, in 1968, concentrating on forestry, Scottish industry and foreign affairs. In 1977-79 he was one of the staunchest supporters of the Labour Vote No Campaign, which scuppered Scottish devolution. However, by 1995 he had changed his mind and he told the House of Lords on 4 July:
A great deal has been said about preserving the Union. The noble Viscount, Lord Weir, has painted a picture of decline and a slippery slope towards independence. I tell the House, that if we do not respond to the wishes of the Scottish people for an assembly, the descent into the demand for complete independence will grow and will not diminish. The people of Scotland will feel that they have a right to their own assembly. But if they are told that they cannot have it and that the English parliament has decided that they cannot have it, the reaction will be towards more extreme demands for independence than are involved in the document which Lord Ewing [of Kirkford] as Chairman of the Scottish Constitutional Convention has produced.
He left the Labour Party for the SDP in 1981 but returned in 1990.
Tom Taylor believed in the silent form of worship of the Quakers, sharing a belief in pacifism with his devoted wife Isobel, who regularly worshipped with him at the Friends Meeting House in Glasgow and subsequently in St Andrews.


by Tam Dalyell

26 April, 2009

John Friedlander


John Friedlander was a visual effects designer who worked on several different BBC productions, most notably Doctor Who. He created and designed many of the monsters and alien characters in the original series, such as the Ice Warriors, Sontarans, Zygrons, Ogrons, Draconians, Sea Devils and Wirrn.

25 April, 2009

José Manuel Lopes


José Manuel Lopes

Was born in Lisbon in 1954. A graduate of the Lisbon School of Journalism (Escola Superior de Meios de Conumicaçâo Social), he has been a professional journalist since 1982.

A pipe smoker and collector since he was 16 years old, he became a member of the Pipe Club of Portugal in 1995 and is currently its president. He is also Fellow Member of the International Academy of the Pipe, and regularly contributes to the verious areas of the media and to Internet discussion forums specialised in pipes and tobacco, particularly the weekly magasine of the Barcelona Pipa Club/Virtual Pipa Club and the Pipalista, Fumeurs de Pipes, Pipes.org and Alt.smokers.pipes groups. He attends international pipe exhibitions and is a frequent participant in meetings and national and international pipe smoking competitions.

Herschel Burke Gilbert


Herschel Burke Gilbert was a prolific composer of television and film theme songs, including the musical scores of Chuck Connors' The Rifleman, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, Robert Taylor's The Detectives, Gene Barry's Burke's Law, and Bob Denver's Gilligan's Island. Gilbert once estimated that his compositions had been used in at least three thousand individual episodes of various television series.

Gilbert was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the age of nine, he began studying the violin in Shorewood in Milwaukee County. By the time he was fifteen, he had formed his own dance band. He attended Milwaukee State Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and studied for four years, two undergraduate and two graduate, from 1939–1943 at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. After Juilliard, Gilbert won a music scholarship to the Berkshire Music Festival in Massachusetts, where he studied under Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.

After a two-year stint with the Harry James band, as both viola player and arranger, brought him to Hollywood. He arranged and orchestrated for Dimitri Tiomkin on James Stewart's It's a Wonderful Life and Duel in the Sun (both 1946). He composed the scores for some three dozen films throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, including The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), Comanche (1956), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957), and Sam Whiskey (1969).

Gilbert was nominated for three Academy Awards in consecutive years: the original score for The Thief (1952), his title tune for The Moon Is Blue (1953), and for his direction on Carmen Jones (1954). Gilbert assigned opera star Marilyn Horne her first professional job as the voice of Carmen. The Thief, a spy film starring Ray Milland, relied heavily on Gilbert's music because the picture lacked dialogue.

Gilbert was president of the Film Music Society, also known as the Society for the Preservation of Film Music, from 1989–1992. He also served on the society's board until his death. In 1998, Gilbert was presented the organization's "Film Music Preservation Award".

As music director for Dick Powell's Four Star Television, Gilbert also wrote themes for The Dick Powell Show, Robert Taylor's The Detectives, The Westerner starring Brian Keith, and the DuPont Show with Powell's wife, June Allyson. At Four Star, Gilbert supervised the music of an estimated 1,500 television program over a six-year period. Two of his The Dick Powell Show scores were nominated for music Emmy Awards. He also handled the composition for The Rogues and The Gertrude Berg Show. Gilbert also did the music for The Loretta Young Show on NBC. He produced a popular LP entitled Dick Powell Presents Themes from Four Star Television, one of the first television soundtrack albums to feature the actual music heard weekly on various series.

One of his last assignments at Four Star resulted in another memorable television theme: Burke's Law (1963–1966), with its breathy female voice and jazzy brass opening for the Rolls Royce-chauffeured police detective Amos Burke. (Ironically "Burke" was also Gilbert's middle name.) Gilbert thereafter did the theme songs for Gilligan's Island, a series about comical castaways, and Clint Eastwood's Rawhide, both on CBS. He went to Oklahoma City in 1964 to receive the National Cowboy Hall of Fame's "Western Heritage Award" for "Damon's Road", a two-part episode of Rawhide.

While in Europe in the early 1950s, Gilbert composed music libraries. Many of these works became the underscore of classic television programs, including The Adventures of Superman, M Squad starring Lee Marvin, Topper, Sky King, and Ramar of the Jungle. His association with producers Arthur Gardner, Jules Levy, and Arnold Laven led to his music for The Rifleman, which ran on ABC from 1958-1963. In addition to his famous theme, he wrote a library of dramatic music for The Rifleman, which was recorded in Munich, Germany.

Gilbert retired from television in 1966 to form Laurel Records, which eventually produced more than sixty LPs and nearly thirty CDs, mostly of contemporary American chamber music. Laurel became one of the nation's premier classical labels, acclaimed for its outstanding engineering.

In his last years, Gilbert was joined by his son, John Gilbert of Berkeley, to produce more than sixty LPs and twenty-eight CDs featuring the music of Ernest Bloch, Henri Lazarof, Paul Hindemith, David Baker, and Robert Muczynski.

Gilbert was heavily involved in civic affairs. Through his Rotary International chapters in both Hollywood and West Hollywood, he sponsored classical musical competitions for high school students. He was a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts of America.

Gilbert suffered a stroke on March 23, 2003. He died some three months later, at the age of eighty-five, at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Vasily Livanov


Vasily Borisovich Livanov is a notable Russian and Soviet film actor, screenwriter, voice actor and the only one to have been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.

His father Boris Livanov was a prominent actor of the Moscow Art Theatre. Vasily was brought up in the artistic milieu, as many Soviet/Russian actors (such as Olga Knipper and Alla Tarasova) worked with his father and frequented the Livanov house.

Livanov graduated from the Vakhtangov Theatre school and started his film career in 1959. His breakthrough role came in the 1963 adaptation of Vasily Aksyonov's Colleagues, in which he co-starred with Vasily Lanovoy and Oleg Anofriev.

Livanov's rather erratic bohemian lifestyle derailed his film career. He made very few appearances in the movies produced in the late 1960s and 1970s, using his newly acquired hoarse voice to become the voice behind the famous Soviet cartoon characters – Karlsson-on-the-Roof and Crocodile Gena. His other major contribution to the Soyuzmultfilm cartoon industry was writing the modernized adaptation of Town Musicians of Bremen, which went on to become a cult Soviet cartoon film of the 1970s. He also wrote a few more animated films, e.g. The Blue Bird.

In the late 1970s and in the 1980s, Livanov returned to film stardom in what became the greatest success of his acting career: the role of Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles and other Holmes TV series directed by Igor Maslennikov. His other notable roles from the period included Tsar Nicholas I(1975) and Don Quixote(1997) .

Sherlock Holmes short stories and novels that were featured in Livanov's movies included: A Study In Scarlet, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, The Hound of the Baskervilles,The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, The Adventure of the Final Problem, The Adventure of the Empty House, A Scandal In Bohemia, The Sign of Four, The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb, The Adventure of the Second Stain, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans and His Last Bow. Those movies were filmed between 1979 and 1986, and the latter four stories formed the plot of a standalone big-screen feature titled The 20th Century Begins. Vasily Livanov played Sherlock Holmes and Vitaly Solomin played Doctor Watson.

The actors were cast for the roles according to the illustrations by Sidney Paget, a friend of Conan Doyle and the first illustrator of the book The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - their appearance was close to this of the characters of Paget’s illustrations.

New Zealand Mint Ltd. issued a four-coin set to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Sherlock Holmes; the picture of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are easily recognizable as Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin.

Vasily Livanov is also the author of a number of stories, plays, fairy tales for children and memoirs (one of them a book about Boris Pasternak, who was a close friend of his father Boris Livanov).

He lives in Moscow.

Harold Sakata


Toshiyuki "Harold" Sakata was a Japanese American professional wrestler and film actor most famous for his role as the villain "Oddjob" in the James Bond film Goldfinger.

Toshiyuki Sakata was born on July 1, 1920 in Holualoa, Hawaii, of Japanese descent; when he moved to mainland America he began to go by the more Western name "Harold." At the age of eighteen, he only weighed 113 lb (51 kg) at a height of 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m). Wanting to "look as good as the other guys", he started lifting weights. He spent his early life training as a weightlifter and won a silver medal for the United States at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, lifting a total of 410 kg in the Heavyweight division. He also did a stint as a professional wrestler under the name Tosh Togo from the early 1950s until the early 1960s, becoming Canadian Tag Team Champion.

Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli took notice of Sakata because his heavy build--he stood 5 ft 9 in and weighed 284 lb (129 kg)--which when coupled with his intimidating gaze, made him the perfect choice for the part of Oddjob. He had no acting background at all besides pro wrestling, but the film character was mute and required little theatrical skill. Before Sakata had secured the role of Oddjob, another former wrestler, British actor Milton Reid had auditioned for the role. In 1964 Reid challenged Sakata to a wrestling contest and whomever was the winner would be the deciding factor for who would get the role. But since Reid had been in Dr. No and his character killed off, the producers decided to go with Sakata and the wrestling match didn't take place.

As Oddjob, he was bodyguard to Bond villain Auric Goldfinger and his sharpened, steel-brimmed bowler hat became a famous and much-parodied trademark of the Bond series. He appeared in several other movies in similar roles and took on "Oddjob" as an informal middle name.

With time, Sakata's acting skills improved. He co-starred opposite William Shatner in the movie Impulse, in which he played the character Karate Pete. He also guest starred on a Gilligan's Island episode as Rory Calhoun's henchman.

He also appeared in a series of TV commercials for Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup in the 1970s. The ad showed Sakata demolishing his house and frightening his family as his cough spasms grow worse and worse. The ad premise was that a spoonful of Formula 44 would quiet the worst coughs. At the end of the commercial the house is in shambles but everyone is politely (and quietly) bowing to each other. He made an appearance on the Tonight Show on which he parodied the commercial by destroying Johnny Carson's set.

Sakata died on July 29, 1982 in Honolulu, Hawaii, of cancer.

Hans Selye



Hans Hugo Bruno Selye was a Canadian endocrinologist of Austro-Hungarian origin and Hungarian ethnicity. Selye did much important factual work on the hypothetical non-specific response of the organism to stressors. While he did not recognize all of the many aspects of glucocorticoids, Selye was aware of this response on their role. Some commentators considered him the first to demonstrate the existence of biological stress.

Selye was born Vienna, Austria-Hungary on 26 January 1907. He became a Doctor of Medicine and Chemistry in Prague in 1929, went to Johns Hopkins University on a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship in 1931 and then went to McGill University in Montreal where he started researching the issue of stress in 1936. In 1945 he joined the Universite de Montreal where he had 40 assistants and worked with 15,000 lab animals. Kantha (1992), in a survey of an elite group of scientists who have authored over 1,000 research publications, identified Selye as one who had published 1,700 research papers, 15 monographs and 7 popular books. He died October 16, 1982 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Famous Quotes on Pipe Smoking



"There is no composing draught like the draught through the tube of a pipe."

~Captain Frederick Marryat~


I hated tobacco. I could have almost lent my support to any institution that had for its object the putting of tobacco smokers to death...I now feel that smoking in moderation is a comfortable and laudable practice, and is productive of good. There is no more harm in a pipe than in a cup of tea. You may poison yourself by drinking too much green tea, and kill yourself by eating too many beefsteaks. For my part, I consider that tobacco, in moderation, is a sweetener and equalizer of the temper.

~Thomas Henry Huxley~




"A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan."
-Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton



"The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher, and shuts up the mouth of the foolish; it generates a style of conversation, contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent, and unaffected..."
-William Makepeace Thackeray, from The Social Pipe

23 April, 2009

Banjo Paterson


Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson was a famous Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales where he spent much of his childhood. Paterson's more notable poems include "Waltzing Matilda", "The Man from Snowy River" and "Clancy of the Overflow".

Banjo Paterson was born at Narambla, near Orange, New South Wales, the eldest son of Andrew Bogle Paterson, a Scottish immigrant from Lanarkshire and Australian-born Rose Isabella Barton, related to future Prime Minister Edmund Barton. Paterson's family lived on the isolated Buckinbah Station until he was 5. When Paterson's uncle died, his family took over the uncle's farm in Illalong, near Yass, close to the main route between Melbourne and Sydney. Bullock teams, Cobb & Co. coaches and drovers were familiar sights to him. He also saw horsemen from the Murrumbidgee River area and Snowy Mountains country take part in picnic races and polo matches, which led to his fondness of horses and inspired his writings.

Paterson's early education came from a governess, but when he was able to ride a pony, he was taught at the bush school at Binalong. In 1874 Paterson was sent to Sydney Grammar School, performing well both as a student and a sportsman. At this time, he lived in a cottage called Rockend, in the suburb of Gladesville. The cottage is now listed on the Register of the National Estate. Matriculating at 16, he took up the role of an articled clerk in a law firm and on 28 August 1886 Paterson was admitted as a qualified solicitor.

In 25678, Paterson began submitting and having his poetry published in the Sydney edition of The Bulletin under the pseudonym of "The Banjo", the name of a favourite horse. Paterson, like The Bulletin, was an ardent nationalist, and in 1889 published a pamphlet, Australia for the Australians which told of his disdain for cheap labour and his admiration of hard work and the nationalist spirit. In 1890, The Banjo wrote "The Man from Snowy River", a poem which caught the heart of the nation, and in 1895 had a collection of his works published under that name. This book is the most sold collection of Australian Bush poetry and is still being reprinted today. Paterson also became a journalist, lawyer, jockey, soldier and a farmer.

On 8 April 1903 he married Alice Emily Walker in Tenterfield, New South Wales. Their first home was in Queen Street, Woollahra. The Patersons had two children, Grace (born in 1904) and Hugh (born in 1906).

Paterson became a war correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age during the Second Boer War, sailing for South Africa in October 1899. His graphic accounts of the surrender of Bloemfontein (the first correspondent to ride in), the capture of Pretoria and the relief of Kimberley attracted the attention of the press in Britain. He also was a correspondent during the Boxer Rebellion, where he met George "Chinese" Morrison and later wrote about his meeting. He was editor of the Sydney Evening News (1904-06) and of the Town and Country Journal (1907-08).

In World War I, Paterson failed to become a correspondent covering the fighting in Flanders, but did become an ambulance driver with the Australian Voluntary Hospital, Wimereux, France. He returned to Australia early in 1915 and, as an honorary vet, travelled on three voyages with horses to Africa, China and Egypt. He was commissioned in the 2nd Remount Unit, Australian Imperial Force on 18 October 1915.

Paterson died of a heart attack in Sydney on 5 February 1941.