Friday, March 27, 2009

Arctic Drift - Book Review

Arctic Drift
By Clive Cussler
G P Putnam & sons

This book is set in the Canadian Arctic. The basis of this story is that the USA and Canada are on the brink of war. And as always, this war is over resources.

A potential breakthrough discovery to reverse global warming
A series of unexplained sudden deaths in British Columbia
A rash of international incidents between the United States and Canada that threatens to erupt into an actual shooting war

NUMA director Dirk Pitt and his children, Dirk. Jr. and Summer, have reason to believe there's a connection here somewhere, but they also know they have very little time to find it before events escalate out of control. Their only real clue might just be a mysterious silvery mineral (ruthenium) traced to a long-ago expedition in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. But no one survived from that doomed mission, captain and crew perished to a man - and if Pitt and his colleague Al Giordino aren't careful, the very same fate may await them.

This book does include Dirk junior and his twin sister Summer in the first section of the book. They are in BC testing the innner passage waters for unexplained toxins. Their results lead them to a plant near Kitimat, which is turning CO2 into water and hydrogen, in an attempt to aleviate the global warming crisis.

When the twins results point back to the discovery of the mineral ruthenium, Dirk senior and his pal Al Giordino head to the Canadian arctic north to find some answers.

An excellent and exciting novel as always. I could not put this down and despite attending class, I managed to finish this in just 1 day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sweet Poison - Book Review

Sweet Poison
By Janet Starr Hull
New Horizon Press
HB 1999
PB 2004
Janet's website

This is the story of Janet Starr Hull, a Texas Nuitrionist, who fell ill during the 1980s and was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Janet began having ongoing sharp headaches, which the doctors said were just migraines. No medicine was helping. And she was eating healthy foods - including sugar-free yogurts, sugar free gum, sugar free everything, and drinking diet sodas.

Her doctor had told her that she had Graves disease and that her thyroid would have to be irradiated (or destroyed) and that she would be on medication for the rest of her life. But there was one problem that the doctor could not explain. One of the symptoms of graves disease is unexplained weight loss. Janet was putting ON weight, not losing it. This is why she refused to allow her doctor to irradiate her thyroid.

It took Janet some time to associate her headaches with the diet drinks she was drinking. It took even longer to discover that aspartame was the culprit and why. So she went to a nutritonist who told her to stop drinking al diet sodas and to stop eating any and all "sugar free" foods. She did so, and in just a few months, her headaches stopped, her weight gain stopped and her general health improved.

After some time of investigation, Janet discovered that Aspartame was made up of 1 amino acid and 2 chemicals. In the human body, both chemicals break down to substances that are very toxic to the human body.

"Methanol [one of the breakdown products of aspartame] has no therapeutic properties and is considered only as a toxicant. The ingestion of two teaspoons is considered lethal in humans" (Monte, Woodrow, "Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health", Journal of Applied Nutrition, Vol. 36, Number 1, 1984, p. 44).

There have been 92 symptoms reported to the FDA in connection with Aspartame. but the FDA refuses to recall aspartame or make it illegal.

Whats this I hear about Graves Disease and Aspartame
How safe is Aspartame

Mark Gold is another person who has been reseaching and investigating Aspartame for a numnber of years.

What you should know about Aspartame.

Can aspartame cause visual damage?

Official answer - No. Scientists know that only huge quantities of methanol can affect vision. A small amount of methanol is formed when aspartame is digested or when its components separate. However, the amount of methanol one could possibly consume from aspartame is well within safe levels, and is actually less than that found in many fruit and vegetable juices.

Unofficial answer - Stuff and nonsense. These "Scientists" are industry scientists who are talking about acute poisoning of methanol as opposed to chronic poisoning. The EPA admits that the effects of chronic low-level administration of methanol have never been tested in long-term experiments (EPA 1994). A recent, double-blind experiment of short-term methanol exposure showed small, but key changes in brain response and energy level after exposure to methanol equivalent of that found in two liters of diet soda for an adult or 1 liter of diet soda for a child (Cook 1991). One would hope that there would have been long-term, independent studies on this issue long before aspartame was approved. A methanol expert and eye specialist, Dr. Morgan B. Raiford, M.D., Ps, Msc Med. Ophthalmology testified before U.S. Congress about one of the many persons he had seen with eye damage from aspartame (Raiford 1987):

Can persons with diabetes consume aspartame?

Official answer - Yes. The American Diabetes Association has stated that aspartame is acceptable as a sugar substitute and can be included in a diabetic meal plan.

Unofficial answer - There is no properly conducted research that shows that medium- or long-term administration of aspartame is safe for diabetics. There are some poorly-designed, industry studies which were relatively short-term. Considering that fact that significant numbers of diabetics have reported severe health problems from aspartame in the relatively short time that it has been on the market, and considering that fact that proper tests have not been conducted, and considering the fact that the American Diabetes Association gets significant amounts of money from Monsanto, one should not take their wishful thinking too seriously

How is aspartame handled by the body?

Official answer - Aspartame is digested just like any other protein. Upon digestion, aspartame breaks down into it basic components and is absorbed into the blood. Neither aspartame nor its components accumulate in the body over time.

Unofficial answer - This is an outright falsehood. Even the industry researchers admit that it is not handled like any other protein. Chapter two in the industry's own book on aspartame proves this "information" wrong.

I have to admit, though, saying that it is handled like any other protein makes good PR, but it would be laughed out of any reputable scientific journal.

Saying that aspartame's components don't accumulate in the body is based on a few poorly conducted animal tests and wishful thinking. Formic acid (a toxic metabolite of methanol) likely can accumulate in the organs (Liesivuori 1991). No one knows if DKP or a metabolite of DKP accumulates in the body over time. Proper tests have not been conducted. Aspartic acid may accumulate for a significant amount of time like another excitotoxic amino acid, glutamic acid (Toth 1981). Much of the damage caused by aspartic acid and glutamic acid ingested orally is clearly laid out by Dr. Russell Blaylock, Professor of Neurosurgery, in his well-referenced book, "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills." Either way, gradual damage can be caused by aspartame breakdown products even when they do not accumulate. A chemical does not have to accumulate to cause damage.

And now the yogurt companies are petitoning the FDA to be excused from listing chemical ingredients added to the yogurt, on their containers. This is so they do not have to state the presence o aspartame, nutra-sweet, equal, etc. This article is dated March 2009. Why do yogurt producers even NEED to add ANY chemicals?

If you or your family, consume products with aspartame, Nutra, Equal, artifical sweeteners in them, PLEASE Please STOP drinking/eating them now. Switch to water. Not only will you lose the extra weight you are carrying, you will also lose the symptoms you may be exhibiting, and you will become much healthier as well.

I have started a new blog about Aspartame Safety.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to Historia's Blog

I grew up with the knowledge that in my family, March 21st is a very important date. That date is my mother's birthday. And this year (2 days ago) I remembered to send her an email saying Happy Birthday to her. Usually I forget.

But this month I forgot another anniversary I should have been celebrating. This blog is now 2 years - and 5 days old. And I have posted around 550 posts. I forgot this same anniversary last year as well.

On March 17th next year, I MUST REMEMBER that this is the birthday anniversary of this blog. And that my mothers birthday comes AFTER this blog's birthday - not before it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hacker Cracker - Book Review

Hacker Cracker
by Ejovi Nuwere and David Chanoff
Harper Collins

By age 21, Nuwere had grown from a precocious child in Brooklyn's embattled Bedford -Stuyvesant neighborhood to a well-established Internet security specialist for a major investment bank.

In between, he served a long stint as a renegade though ultimately benign hacker, an experience that gave him much-needed background for his professional career.

Written with Chanoff, his memoir is an appealing primer to hacker culture matched with the personal story of being raised by an extended family (due to Nuwere's mother's death from AIDS) in an impoverished environment.

Nuwere's adventures in the computing underworld primarily include phishing, or conning Internet users into divulging credit card information; making free phone calls using stolen 800 numbers; and exploring the computer systems of major corporations in order to better understand their intricacies.

Unfortunately, much of the drama is mitigated by the blacking out of the name of the company most seriously hacked by Nuwere, as well as the name of the project in development that he was busted for entering ("We kept going deeper and deeper into [blacked out] until we reached the computers that actually controlled the [blacked out] that was all over the news").

This continues for some pages, making it difficult for readers to maintain interest in this pivotal episode. Superfluous details about Nuwere's high school experiences and martial arts tournaments are not well integrated with the more compelling hacker narrative. Nonetheless, this is an empathetic, revealing account of a new breed of insurgents.

At the end of the book, Ejovi was working for a major Financial institute out of the Jersey City office. On September 11 (2001), Ejovi was in Manhattan still on his way to work, when the towers fell. The next day when he went to the Jersey City office, the employees had to spend several days hurriedly putting togteher a network of computers and hooking them up to the company intranet and databases. This had to be done because many of the company's networks and databases were lost when the towers fell. He worked for Lehman Brothers. (see below)

One of the hacking groups that Ejovi joined while he was in high school was called
Ejovi attended the High School for Graphic Arts in Manhattan.
The first job Ejovi got out of high school was with TGIX - aka Thaumaturgix. He was at this company for two and a half years.

Video Interview by Ejovi Nuwere

Ejovi's blog - but he does not post too often.

Ejovie now runs his own company - Security Labs. On the website it mentions that he used to work for Lehman brothers out of Jersey City. Lehman Brother's equities e-commerce office, was located on the 40th Floor in One World Trade Center.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Natasha Richardson - Death

We are all shocked and saddened by the sudden death of English actress Natasha Richardson this week. The reason I mention this, is because one of the most recent reports about her death, mentions the fact that she starred in a movie based on a book I read and reviewed some time ago.

Though she starred in a host of films over the years, including the film adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Richardson was perhaps most celebrated for her stage career.
Source - Richardson death ruled an accident

I was told that the movie was rather graphic, but now that Natasha has gone, I would like to find it and watch it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Around the World in 80 Dates - Book Review

Around the World in 80 Dates
by Jennifer Cox
Penguin Canada 2005
Book Website

Jennifer was a publicist for Lonely Planet Books. Based in England, she had a great job but NO love life. so using her contacts from her jobs, she contacted them adn asked them to find men that she could date. Then she went around the world, meeting and dating the men. she had 80 dates lined up. Somewhere in that lot, she figured, she should find her soul mate.

She did find him. He was number 55. Although he was from Seattle, he and Jennifer actually met in Nevada. She spent a week with him in Nevada and they clicked immediately. The sparks were there right from the start when they laid eyes on each other. Love at first sight does work.

So Jennifer visited him in Seattle and then she continued on around the world to finish dating the last 25 men on her list - well almost the whole list. Jennifer stopped after date 76. She actually met a second soul mate, and decide that two soul mates was one too many. So Jennifer stopped the dating tour and flew back to Seattle.

This is date number 55 - the soul mate.

I will let you read the book to find out his name and why they are on a boat.
Another excellent book that I could not put down until I had finished it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gifted to Learn - Book Review

Gifted to Learn
by Gloria Mehlmann
University of Alberta Press 2008

This book not a chronological biography. Instead it consists of a series of stories about various students that Gloria was lucky enough to teach and how each of these students taught Gloria something about herself or about the world. Gloria is a Native Indian and yes, she grew up on an Indian reserve.

The biggest thing I learnt from this book was the deplorable and discriminatory state of Canadian Federal Indian and Treaty laws before 1985.

In 1960s Regina, Saskatchewan, when racial discrimination often went unchallenged, and the education system needed visionary reform, Gloria Mehlmann struggled to embrace her Cree/Saulteaux identity and sustain her passion for learning and teaching.

According to the 1895 Indian Act, indigenous women who married white men, lost their treaty status, and their children would not get status at all. In the reverse situation (indigenous men married to white women), men could keep their status, and their children would also get treaty status.

In the 1970s, the Indian Rights for Indian Women and National Native Women's Association groups campaigned against this policy on the grounds that it discriminated against women and failed to fulfill treaty promises. They successfully convinced the federal government to change the section of the act with the adoption of Bill C-31 on June 28, 1985.

Women who had lost their status and children who had been excluded were then able to register and gain official Indian status. Despite these changes, First Nations women who married white men could only pass their status on one generation; their children would gain status, but (without a marriage to a full status Indian) their grandchildren would not.

A First Nations male who married a white woman retained status as did his children, but his wife did not gain status, nor his grandchildren.


While Gloria herself was lucky enough NOT to be sent to the notorious Indian Residential Schools, her older siblings were not so lucky. Gloria grew up hearing stories of the atrocious and violent acts committed in the schools. This was why the reserve demanded a school of its own. Gloria's formal education did not begin until the reserve finally got its own school. She was 10 years old when she started school.

At age 14 Glorias parents decided to send her away from the reserve to Regina, Saskatchewan, where she attended a local high school. Gloria later attended University in Regina as well as a Teachers Training College and by the early 1960's she was a qualified teacher and began teaching.

Gloria married a German immigrant (Peter Mehlmann) in 1960 and gave birth to a daughter Gabrielle around 1962. Gloria lost her treaty status as an Indian when she married Peter - just because he was not an Indian. Therefore she was never able to access federal funds to pay for her education. The family lived off student loans and other grants. They were always poor.

Under the Federal law, Gabrielle was not entitled to call herself a First Nations Indian - not until 1985 when the law was finally changed and both Gloria and Gabrielle has their Treaty Indian status restored.

Gabrielle graduated from Campbell Collegiate High School in Regina in 1980. Which makes her roughly two years older than me. If Gabrielle later married an non-Indian man and had children (even under the 1985 law) - because they are Gloria's grandchildren, they will NOT be entitled to any Indian treaty status, and they will not be entitled to any federal funds. They would only be entitled to treaty status and federal funds IF Gabrielle married a treaty status Indian man.

This is still a very discriminatory law. The only reason it was changed in 1985, was because an Indian woman took her case all the way to the United Nations which agreed that a woman losing her status in marrying a non-status man was discriminatory. Treaty status should NOT STOP after just one generation. Indian blood does not suddenly stop. One can have Indian blood down to the 128th part - that is, down to the 6th generation.

Residential schools

Rights of First Nations Women

Native Women's Rights March - 2008

Assembly of First Nations - Native Status FAQ (scroll down)

I read this book for the second Canadian book challenge - under the Biography (ABM) genre.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Daring to Dream - Book Review

Daring to Dream
by Diane Dupuy
(self published by) Beyond Backlight Inc 2004

This is the story of the foundation and creation of the Famous PEOPLE Players theatre.

We have heard of the Famous Players Theatre, right?
This is the group that does the fluorescent puppets and black light plays.

Well this book is about the Famous People Players written by Diane Dupuy who dreamed up this group, founded it and got it started.

In the late 1960s Diane was doing Puppet shows at the CNE - the canadian exhibition - held every August. Diane investigated blacklight and discovered that noone else in Canada was using Blacklight, so she decided to fill a niche. Bill Cosby visted the CNE one year. It was Bill Cosby's suggestion to Diane that she try black light.

Diane describes how the group began with Liberace - using a Liberace puppet moving in blacklight to a Liberace song. It was a hit with audiences and Diane eventually managed to catch the interest of Liberace himself. He supported the group financially and emotionally. The FPP also performed with Liberace in his Las Vegas shows for a number of years.

The FPP began in 1974 and this year (2009) the group will celebrate its 35th birthday. One of the shows currently taking place is their own story. The FPP has been supported by a number of celebrities - inculding Liberace in the beginning and more recently Paul Newman - for 20 years until his death in September last year.

Now Playing
The Story of Famous PEOPLE Players
January 13 - May 2009

Voiced by legendary actors Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Andrea Martin, Nathan Lane, Eugene Levy, Al Waxman, Catherine McKinnon, Michael Burgess and special performances featuring Diane Dupuy as herself. Music composed by the late and great Dr. Music Doug Riley.

This musical is performed under the illumination of black light with animal puppets portraying the roles of each member of Famous PEOPLE Players.

This show is an inspiring musical based on the true evolution of Famous PEOPLE Players. Troubled youngster Chloe, a wildflower, is sent to perform community service with the troupe. Through her eyes, we watch Diane Dupuy not only rehearsing her special cast, but providing the support and discipline they need to overcome the daily challenges in their lives. Chloe's relationship with Diane and Famous PEOPLE Players, though difficult at times, shows her that hope can survive and flourish in the most unexpected of places. Something as small as the beam from a single porch light can make the difference to a soul searching for care and guidance.

I have not been to this theatre at all. But then the reservations are rather prohibitive. Mind you - these prices DO include dinner as well. All prices DO NOT include taxes.

Adults $54.50
Seniors $47.50
Children $39.95 (Children ages 12 and under)

The FPP have performed on Broadway, and at Radio City Hall in New York City.
They have also been to China and a few other countries.

The really interesting part of this story is that the players are for the most part mentally handicapped. Diane herself seems to have had a disability of sorts - either Dyslexia or ADHD - going by what she describes about herself. However she never puts a name to her own disability.

Diane describes the frustrations of teaching handicapped people how to hold a puppet, how to move to music, how to act and how to wear the black all enveloping clothing they must wear under the black light. This includes a black hood over the head with small black screen openings for the mouth, nose and eyes. It is easy to feel claustrophobic inside this hood.

I dont mean to be advertsing, but I really really enjoyed the book.
It's 400 pages long and I read it in 2 days - I could NOT put it down.

My copy of this book has been signed by Diane Dupuy.
On the title page right after Daring to Dream, she added - means never giving up

I read this book for the second Canadian Book Challenge.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thumbs up - Book Review

Thumbs up
by Elizabeth Manley
MacMillan 1990

This is the story of Canada's darling of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Her name was Elizabeth Manley.

Elizabeth had a hard life in her skating career. She was skating at age 10 and winning competitions at age 14. Her parents divorced when she was young. Liz stayed with her mother who had to make work doubly hard to pay for Elizabeths skating lessons and trips.

Elizabeths father was in the Canadian military and was based in Germany so she did not see much of him. Her older brothers chose to move to Germany with their father so she literally grew up as an only child.

Elizabeth started skating while the family were living in Winnipeg. But she grew up mainly in Trenton Ontario near the Trenton CFB - canadian forces base - where her father was stationed at the time. After her parents divorced, Liz and her mother eventually moved to Carleton in Ottawa while Liz continued to skate.

When Elizabeth was 15, she came second in the Canadian National championships in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1980. She placed in the top 4 positions (except 1st) for the next 4 years until 1985 when she finally won the Canadian National Championships.

In 1982 the decision was made to send Liz to Lake Placid for training before the 1984 Olympics, but this decision turned into a disaster. Latet that year, Elizabeth started losing her hair. The financial committments that her mother had to make to pay for her lessons became stressful. Elizabeth was also putting on weight. She was later diagnosed with depression.

So Elizabeth decided to hang up her skates and for all intents and purposes, she quit. She went into hiding at her mothers apartment and worked on her correspondence lessons in order to graduate from high school. This only lasted for a few months.

Elizbeth never lost her love of skating. In 1983 when she found new skating coaches - Peter and Sonya Dunfield from NYC - she started skating again. The Dunfields had trained Dorothy Hamill, Roslyn Summers and Elaine Zayak.

In 1984 Elizabeth skated at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, However because this was her first time attending such a prestigious event, she spent her time partying with other team members and not doing the required skating practice. In the 1984 Olympics Womens Figure Skating event, Elizabeth ended up in 13th place.

But as her coach told her - I know you are upset by what happened to you at sarajevo, but you must remember that it was NOT a disaster. You finished 13th, which is very respectable for your first time out at the Olympics. This was great praise indeed and Elizabeth had all the incentive she needed to get back into serious training.

At each of the 4 world championship events (84-87) after Sarajevo, Elizabeth improved her placing and slowly crept up from 9th and 8th place to 5th and 4th. Finishing consistently in the top 10 at a world championships is VERY respectable indeed.

Then came 1988. The Calgary Olympics in Canada. All the Pressure was on Katarina Witt (from East Germany) and Debi Thomas (USA). They were both skating to the same music - Carmen. Katarina won the gold on a technically well executed program but with no emotion. Debi lost her nerve while she waited for Elizabeth to finish her program - which means Debi skated badly and ended up in third place.

This was Elizabeth's long program at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Elizabeth won the long program. If Katarina had come 3rd in the long program instead of 2nd, Elizabeth would have won the Gold medal. She ended up winning the silver medal with this program. She came out of nowhere to split the Carmens. The media had been calling this show-down between Debi and Katarina, the Battle of the Carmens. But noone expected a long shot like Elizabeth to completely overshadow them.

Two weeks after the Olympics Elizabeth went out and skated the same program and won a second silver medal at the world championships. Elizabeth then turned professional and spent some time with the Ice Capades.

Skating professionally for eleven years, Elizabeth Manley has experienced every facet of the figure skating and entertainment worlds. Dubbed "Canada's Sweetheart" after winning the silver medal at the 1988 Olympics, she quickly became one of the country's most popular figure skaters, and her first autobiography, Thumbs Up, released in 1989, was a Canadian bestseller.

In her new book, As I Am, Liz takes readers through her tumultuous years as the star of the Ice Capades, including battles with her weight, depression, skating injuries, accusations of substance abuse and her shocking dismissal from a major skating tour. Liz also reveals the story of her obsessive and abusive relationship with one man, focusing as well on the image problems that female skaters face, which often lead to low self-esteem and eating disorders. With startling candour, Liz relates how she hit rock bottom and details her long struggle back to the top of the professional figure skating world, where she now competes and performs alongside an elite few. As I Am is a painfully honest account that will appeal to figure skating fans and women everywhere. The latest book from Elizabeth Manley. I must find it and read it.

I read this book for the second Canadian book Challenge.

Elizabeth Manleys Statistics

Depression - Elizabeth Manley

Friday, March 13, 2009

If Only - Book Review

If Only
by Geri Halliwell
Doubleday Canada 1999

This is Geri's biography of her childhood, her time with the Spice Girls and the details of why she abruptly left the Spice Girls in the middle of a world tour.

Because Geri has been in the public eye for a few years, there is not much about her, that we dont know. But in this biography, she adds a few extra details that make for some intereating reading. I found this biography to be very enjoyable.

March Break

I am now officially on March Break. Which means I have all of next week off school.

But then so does every other school in Ontario as well. Which means my son is also on March break. But at least he will be at daycare for most of the week.

In the meantime I hope to be able to read some more books and get closer to catching up on some of the challenges I have fallen behind on.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home - Book Review

By Julie Andrews
Hyperion Books

Julia Elizabeth Wells was born in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, eighteen miles south of London, on 1 October 1935. She was named after her two grandmothers.

Her father, Edward C. "Ted" Wells was a teacher of woodwork and metalcraft in a state school. Her mother, Barbara Morris Wells was a part-time pianist for an evening dance school run by her sister, Joan. When Barbara Wells played the piano for the dance classes, she took the infant Julie along with her in a pram.

Joan gave Julie her first parts on stage. When she was two she appeared in the dancing school's pageant in the non-speaking role of a fairy. The next year Julie had her first singing and speaking part: as Nod in the school's production of Winken, Blicken and Nod. Ted Wells built the nursery set and Barbara Wells played the piano, as usual.

In the summer of 1939, Barbara Wells took a job as the pianist for a variety show and met a Canadian, Ted Andrews, who had emigrated to England as a vaudeville entertainer.

When World War II erupted in Europe in September of that year, both Barbara Wells and Ted Andrews joined ENSA, the volunteer organization that entertained British troops. The marriage between Barbara and Ted Wells collapsed, and shortly afterwards, Barbara became Mrs. Ted Andrews.

Ted and Andrews as a second act in vaudeville began to achieve greater success. By the time Julie was eight, the family had moved to Beckenham, Kent. The Andrews occasionally joined their neighbors in air raid shelters whenever German bomber planes appeared to be approaching the area. The crowd would sometimes joined Ted Andrews in an a cappela chorus. Julie's voice drew attention when she unwittingly sang an octave above the crowd's.

Ted Andrews was delighted with Julie's newly discovered talent, and he literally forced her to develop it. He sent her to a new voice teacher, Madame Lilian Stiles-Allen. Ted Andrews pushed hard. To avoid overstraining her young voice, Julie was made to practise singing only half an hour a day.

Sometimes Julie attended the Cone-Ripman School in London, which taught acting and ballet in the morning and more conventional subjects in the afternoon.

In 1945, when Julie was ten, the War ended. The next year the Andrews family moved back to Walton-on-Thames. Soon thereafter, Julie made her first public singing appearance in her parents' vaudeville act. She was allowed to do this occasionally during the next few years.

In 1946, Julie made her first radio broadcast, singing a duet with Ted Andrews on a BBC variety show called Monday Night at Eight. On December 5, 1946, she performed alone for the first time in a royal command performance at London's Stage Door Canteen. The Queen and Princess Margaret were in attendance.

In Fall, 1947, Ted introduced Julie to Val Parnell of the well known theatrical booking firm, Moss Empires. Parnell signed Julie on the spot for her first professional stage appearance without her parents. She made her debut in the Starlight Roof and sang "Polonaise" from the opera Mignon. That night, she was a success. She reached F above high C with ease.

Starlight Roof did lead to Julie's being requested to appear at a Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium. The performance, on November 1, 1948, was played to an impressive audience, most notably Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. The same year Julie first met Tony Walton. She was appearing in Humpty Dumpty at the London Casino. The two of them began corresponding and visiting each other whenever possible.

In 1950, Julie began apearing regularly on a very popular BBC radio show Educating Archie. She archieved fame throughout England for her work on the show, which she continued until 1952, when she left the cast.

In 1951, Julie was back at the London Casino for the Christmas pantomime Aladdin, she played Princess Balroulbadour.

Aladdin closed in February 1952. Then she was cast in a touring revue called Look In. In May, she joined her parents in a variety show at the Victoria Palace in London; she was featured in a BBC radio series, Here Comes the Pleasure Boat; and she ended the year at the Conventry Hippodrome playing Princess Bettina in another Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Julie's voice was used in an animated feature, The Rose of Baghdad, which was released in Britain in 1952. The cartoon was produced in Italy in 1949, then redubbed into English, with Julie as the voice of Princess Zeila. The movie was retitled The Singing Princess and released in US in 1967.

In 1953, Julie toured for three months in a revue called Cap and Belles, singing as well as dancing with the elaboratedly costumed corps de ballet. On June 5, 1953, Julie sang for a BBC radio show with the Roy Terry Orchestra and the George Mitchell Mariners. On November 21, Julie appeared in a BBC television program Puzzle Corner.

Same year in December, Julie played the title role in a pantomime, Cinderella. During the run of show, Julie was seen by theater director Vida Hope and composer Sandy Wilson, who were casting a Broadway production The Boy Friend. They offered her a two-year contract, but Julie turned them down.

In 1954, Vida Hope and Cy Feurer (director of The Boy Friend) visited Julie after the show Mountain Fire and again brought up the proposition of her Broadway debut. Ted Wells strongly encouraged her to seize this opportunity. Julie relented, but only for a one-year contract. On September 30, The Boy Friend opened and the entire performance was excellently received.

Less than a month before Julie's scheduled return to England, an agent of the famed composer / lyricist team Alan Jay Lerner / Frederick Loewe called to invite Julie to audition for their upcoming musical My Fair Lady. Julie auditioned for them and was awaiting their reaction, when she got another impressive call. This was to audition for Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for their upcoming musical Pipe Dream.

Julie was offered the starring female lead role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, opposite Rex Harrison. Before rehearsals of My Fair Lady, Julie was cast in a major American network television special High Tor costar with Bing Crosby.

On January 3, 1956, Julie began rehearsals with director Moss Hart and the cast of My Fair Lady. The show was the biggest challenge that Julie had faced up to that time. My Fair Lady opened on March 15. It was an instant hit, an instant classic, and it catapulted Julie into a whole new category of international stardom.

While still performing My Fair Lady, Julie worked on an original musical for television Cinderella, created by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1957.

Julie remained in the Broadway production of My Fair Lady for two years, then opened the show in London on April 30, 1958. On 10 May, 1959, during a three-week vacation, Julie married Tony Walton at St. Mary's village church of Oatlands, Weybridge, Surrey.

In 1960, Julie played Queen Guinevere in Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot. Julie appeared in this show for almost two years.

In Spring 1962, Julie taped a special Julie and Carol at the Carnegie Hall, for broadcast that June. She costarred with her good friend Carol Burnett in the hour of song, dance and comedy sketches.

Walt Disney had seen Julie in Camelot on Broadway, and then offered her the role as Mary Poppins. Tony and Julie returned to England in September 1962 to enjoy a rest and await the birth of their child. Emma Kate Walton was born on November 27, 1962 in London.

The Book ends right before Julie starts filming Mary Poppins in the Spring of 1963.

Julie Andrews Forum

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Six Sacred Stones - Book Review

The Six Sacred Stones.
By Matthew Reilly
Pocket Books 2008 (PB)

This is the second book in a series of books by this author, starring soldier for hire Jack West junior. In the first book (Seven Deadly Wonders) Jack led a team of soldiers and historians in finding the Golden Capstone and placing it on the top of the Great Pyramid to prevent a catastophe happening to Earth.

In the Six Sacred Stones, 2 years have passed since that first race to save the world, and now the race is on again. This time the hunt is on for the 6 sacred stones (large square diamonds) and for certain tablets belonging to Thoth the Egyptian God of Knowledge, in order to prevent another major solar event from causing havoc and destruction on or to Earth.

This book only covered half the story - the hunt for the first 2 diamonds and placing them in the right place on the great machine (Earth). The next book (I hope) will be the rollicking adventure of the team finding the last 4 stones and the race against their enemies, to save the world, again.

One of the interesting concepts that came out of this book is the idea that we are NOT the only humans to have inhabited this planet. That there have been numerous other humans before us, but they destroyed themselves (or were destroyed) in some catastrophe, allowing for the human race to rise again.

This actually does make sense. One of the ancient legends we have is of Atlantis being destroyed by a flood. Some people think this is just a story and others beleive it to be based on fact.

What if it was true, and that there were several rises and falls of human civiliastions (epochs) and that each time, the human race was almost wiped out by some world catastrophe and that humans have had to rise up again, over and over for the millions of years since the dinosaurs died out. The current humans species is less than 10,000 years old.

The dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. They were around over 200 million years ago. There are supposedly human footprints mixed in with dinosaur prints in Texas, and the scientists of today say that this is all fake and false and does not fit with "official" history. Well that's true if we still dont know (or refuse to admit) what really happened long before our epoch began.

But what if these anomalies were true. What if those footsteps belonged to humans from the previous epoch. The Antikythera Computer for example. What if it too belong to the previous epoch or maybe even to the people of Atlantis? There are other mysteries as well - such as carvings on the walls of egyptian temples showing (what look like) planes and helicopters flying. There has never been any satisfactory explanation for any of these anomalies.

If the planets evolved millions of years ago - then WHY did it take so long for humans (homo sapiens) to rise up out of the primordial mud to populate the world.

So perhaps if a number of epochs of humans lived, and died and created various civilisations and were all eventually destroyed - between the time of the dinosaurs and now. All this would explain the "forbidden archaeology" and the mysteries that abound on this planet.

Over the past two centuries researchers have found bones and artifacts showing that people like ourselves existed on earth millions of years ago. But the scientific establishment has ignored these remarkable facts because they contradict the dominant views of human origins and antiquity. Forbidden Archaeology.

I am not saying that this is all true. After all this is just a fictional novel. BUT the idea does sound very plausible and most of the facts mentioned above do fit.