Monday, 30 May 2016

Fun Facts About Memorial Day

Memorial Day Facts

Yep, it's Memorial Day in America, and that means a three day holiday weekend. But, as well as a nice long break from work, picnics, parades, family barbeques, it's also a day of remembrance for those who have fallen in battle defending their country against those who meant it harm.

The tradition of commemorating those who died in service can be traced back hundreds, if not thousands of years. The Greek and Romans had their own celebrations, as did the Egyptians.
It wasn't until the US Civil War that the practice became widespread in American.
Watch the video tribute
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day.
After the Civil War, General John A. Logan called for a holiday to commemorate fallen soldiers, and suggested May 30th.
It wasn't until 1971 that Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday in May each year and became a proper holiday.
You're actually legally obligated to observer a minute silence at 3pm.
It's the law. The US Congress passed the law in 2000, requiring every American in the country to stop what they are doing at 3pm local time to remember and honour those who have fallen.
Waterloo, New York, was the first to officially recognise Memorial Day as a holiday.
Although that fact is hotly disputed.
Over 20 towns claim to be Memorial Day's birthplace, but it is Waterloo, New York, that is officially recognised.
It was Lyndon Johnson who dedicated Waterloo as the official birthplace of Memorial Day/Decoration Day, on May 26th 1966.
From the 1950s, the US Infantry placed small American flags on each of the half a million gravestones in the Arlington National Cemetery on the Thursday before Memorial Day.
They then guard the Cemetery to make sure all the flags are still standing and not disturbed.
Around the world each country commemorates those who have fallen on different dates, and in different ways.
In the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and many of the Commonwealth countries, Remembrance Day is commemorated on the 11th November, at 11am, which marks the date and time of the end of the First World War in 1918.
It is often called Poppy Day, as the Poppy has become the emblem of Remembrance Day because of the poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, In Flanders Fields.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Britain's Got Talent: Where are the winners now?

What Happened to the Winners of Britain's Got Talent?
Britain's Got Talent first hit the television screes back in 2007 and has just completed its tenth year. Who were the winners and what did they do after they won?
2007 Winner: Paul Potts
Paul Potts, a former mobile phone salesman, sang Nessun Dorma and shocked the judges with his performance. Since he won the show, Paul has performed at over 800 concerts.
"One Chance", his debut album went double platinum and topped the charts in nine countries. His next three albums did rather moderately in comparison.
In 2013, James Corden starred as Paul Potts in a movie about the life of Paul Potts.
2008 Winner: George Sampson
The 14-year-old George Sampson won BGT in 2008, having failed to get through to the finals the previous year.
After his winning performance dancing to a remix of Singing In The Rain, he became the face of NatWest in a £1million deal. He also appeared briefly in the West End show "Into the Hoods."
He then switched his dance shoes for an acting career, having appeared in Waterloo Road, Mount Pleasant, Casualty, and had a cameo in Emmerdale.
2009 Winners: Diversity
Diversity are the dance group who beat Susan Boyle in the third series of Britain's Got Talent. The group have had huge success around the world and appeared on American television shows such as Larry King Live and The Today Show.
Individually they also did well. Ashley Banjo was a judge on "Got to Dance" and Perri Kiely took part and won the diving show Splash.
Diversity have just announced they will be touring again in 2017.
Don't forget to check out the video: Every Winner of Britain's Got Talent in less than 60 seconds.
2010 Winners: Spelbound
Spelbound were a gymnastic act who have performed at a few top events since they won.
As well as releasing a DVD, they also performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
2011 Winner: Jai McDowall
Jai had previously been on the X Factor, reaching the boot camp stage. He also won The American Idol Experience.
His debut album was released later in 2011, however it didn't do well, only reaching number 54 in the UK Album charts. Due to this, Simon Cowell didn't renew his contract. However, he is apparently working on a new Studio Album to be released next year.
2012 Winners: Ashleigh and Pudsey
The first dog act to win the Britain's Got Talent show, the Flintstones routine impressed not only the judges but the whole nation.

The girl and dog act went on to star in a few pantomimes and Pudsey (the dog), released his first official autobiography in a £100,000 book deal.
And, in case you forgot how talented the little dog was, he also starred in his very own movie: Pudsey the Dog: The Movie.
2013 Winners: Attraction
Just to prove Britain's Got Talent, in 2013 the winners were Hungarian shadow theatre act, Attraction.
Since they won they have travelled the world performing their Shadow Act to impressed audiences and are touring again in 2017.
2014 Winners: Collabro
The boy band with a difference wowed the judges with their melodies and boyish charms.
Their first album hit the charts at number one, their second album almost doing as well, but just fell short, reaching number two.
They are currently on tour in the UK, and tickets are still available.
2015 Winners: Jules O'Dwyer and Matisse
For the second time in the talent show's history a dog act beat all competitors to win the title.
It was not free of controversy, though. It was revealed after the show that Matisse, the dog, didn't actually perform one of the tricks. A stunt dog was used instead.
Viewers felt duped and Ofcom investigated. They ruled Britain's Got Talent had misled viewers, but the act wasn't stripped of their title and they got to keep their prize money.
Neither Jules or Matisse have done much, other than appearing on the Royal Variety Performance, which all winners do, and performing in one of 2016's semi-final shows.

Monday, 23 May 2016

History Fact May 23rd

Historical Fun Fact - May 23rd
On this day in history in 1701, Captain William Kidd was executed for Piracy on the High Seas.
Captain William Kidd was a famous 17th century pirate.
That's Captain William Kidd. Not to be confused with Billy The Kid, who was a cowboy, not a pirate. Although Captain William Kidd's level of piracy is very much disputed.
Kidd was employed by the Governor of the Island of Nevis to sail his ship, Blessed William, with a small fleet of likeminded Captains, to protect the English settlement against the French.
They were given permission and the authority to pillage the French ships of whatever plunder they wanted.
Kidd was later tasked with hunting enemy pirates and capturing or destroying their ships.
So, far from being a pirate himself, he was actually hunting them down. He did this for a number of years and had a reputation for being a cruel Captain who didn't think twice about killing his crew or captives.
Kidd came unstuck when he captured an American flagged ship, carrying French papers. Normally, it would have been a good prize (at the time England was at war with France and an American ship carrying French passes was basically a French ship).
Unfortunately, the ship was actually captained by an Englishman.
Word got around and his actions were considered to be piracy on the high seas.
A fleet was sent after him and he was captured and brought back to England to stand trial in front of Parliament itself.
It didn't go well for Captain William Kidd.
He was tried, found guilty, and executed on the 23rd May 1701.
His body was then gibbeted over the river Thames for three years as a warning to anyone else that would dare to be a pirate.
Fun Pirate Fact
Out of all the pirates you know and don't know, Kidd is the only documented pirate who is confirmed as having hidden buried treasure.
He hid it when he found out he was being hunted and planned to use it as a bargaining tool at his trial.
The loot has yet to be found.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

History facts May 15th

On this day in history in 392, the Roman Emperor Valentinian II was assassinated at his house in Vienne. The 17-year-old was found hanging from the end of a rope attached to a beam.
On this day in history in 1252, Pope Innocent IV issued his papal bull ad extirpanda (some people have weird names for their fun sticks) which authorized the torture of heretics in the Inquisition. Because it's not about love thy neighbour, it's about torturing those who don't share the same views.
On this day in history in 1536, Anne-My-Head-Feels-Loose-Boleyn's trial began in London. She was charged with treason, adultery, incest, and revealing spoilers about Game of Thrones before her husband, King Henry VIII, had seen the latest episode.
On this day in history in 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, married her 3rd husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, just three months after her second husband, Lord Darnley was assassinated.
On this day in history in 1800, King George III of he United Kingdom survived two separate assassination attempts. That's crazy. But not as crazy-bonkers-nutso as the king, who was whacko-jacko.
Ironically, James Hadfield, who unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate the king that day, was later tried and then acquitted by reason of insanity.
On this day in history in 1928, Walt Disney introduced one of his most famous creations, Mickey Mouse, in his first cartoon - Plane Crazy.