Archive for england – Page 2

Three Bullets, Three Leaders, Three Deaths -- In One Day


calendar 1963

November 22, 1963. If you were around back then, you certainly know the significance of that day. Or do you?

We all know that our 35th president was assassinated in Dallas. It's an event that haunts us even today -- nearly fifty years to the moment. It's indelibly imprinted on we survivors -- where we were and how we heard the news.

Yet two other greats died that same day. Within hours of the president. Their loss is hardly mourned, certainly nearly forgotten that it occurred at the same time.

But virtually no one on 22 November 1963 realized—and relatively few realize even now—that that day also saw the departure of the two other major figures, who were also world-shapers in their very different ways.

The two greats that were lost were as far from politics as you can imagine. These two, both men, were visionaries perhaps greater than JFK. Their words were read and their books sold thousands more copies than anything Kennedy wrote, Profiles in Courage included. Their literary works still are great sellers today.

These authors who's passing was glanced over at best, were totally ignored in the big picture despite the fact that they would have made front pages if they had died a day earlier. What is it they say, "Timing is everything?"

The two "ghosts" were C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape LettersThe Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy) and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World).

Philosophically and sociologically, they were titans. Their passing deserved a bit of recognition but sadly, a more instantly shocking sense of despair overtook this country. The presidents murder understandably overshadowed the more peaceful and orderly passing of these two pillars of future thought.

The Daily Beast:

Death had moved remorselessly westward to claim his scalps. Lewis died first, in his brother’s arms, a few minutes after tumbling with a crash from his bed at the foot of the stairs at the Kilns, his house outside Oxford, at 5.30pm. He was just a week shy of 65. One hour later—12.30pm in Texas—the 46-year-old President was shot. At the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, Huxley’s second wife Laura, leaving his bedside with his request for an LSD injection, found the doctor and nurses in shock watching the news of the assassination; Huxley died, aged 69, at 5.20pm local time, just under eight hours after Lewis.

So perhaps in a few weeks, after we've tired of all of the Kennedy conspiracy specials and commemorations, we'll take a moment and hearken back to two of life's most interesting writers. As this post began, things in life (and death) seem to happen in three's. So here's three quotes from the other two missing greats.

C.S. Lewis C.S. Lewis:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'

Aldous HuxleyAldous Huxley:

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.

Maybe this world is another planet's hell.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Wise men of wordsmiths. Come November 22nd, I'll remember their 50th anniversary of passing. Join me?


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500 Years Dead King On The Move.


Richard III recreated head

I've gotta say, I find this story ghoulishly amusing. Where to bury the late king of England? Consider this-- he's been resting for the past 528 years, the last 20 of them under a paved parking lot, in Leicester England and nobody gave a hoot. He was, for lack of a better description, spot 22 in a 300 vehicle mall parking lot.

Richard III bones

Let me capsulize for you. We're talking about the late, great King Richard III, the same one Shakespeare wrote his famous play about. Not a complimentary overview of his life but hey, he was renowned enough to be immortalize by the bard himself.

During his reign there was a civil war in England known as the War of the Roses. No, not the Kathleen Turner/Michael Douglas/Danny DeVito pic. This one played out for real. The final victory went to Henry Tudor, who defeated the last Yorkist king, Richard III. Henry then married Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York to unite the two houses. The House of Tudor subsequently ruled England and Wales. Had Richard III won that war, we might have York style homes instead of  Tudor. But that's another story.

According to The World Report:

Richard was deposed and killed in a battle near Leicester in 1485, and quickly buried without a coffin in a now-demolished church in the city, which is 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of London. A skeleton found under a Leicester parking lot last year was identified as the king through DNA tests, bone analysis and other scientific scrutiny.

I guess the discovery of a long-lost ancestor could stir up some emotions, but really now, enough to start of a War of the Roses part Deux? Well, this true tale has the makings of such a battle.

Progress has its obligations, and nothing can take the place of a new parking lot so something has to be done with the old king's remains. The city of Leicester wants to build a museum and capitalize on the money making potential of displaying his majesty's bones, perhaps a little less majestic than in his day of rule.

Richard's closest relatives differ on what should be done.

The government gave Leicester Cathedral a license to rebury the king, but the relatives' group wants him interred in the northern England city of York, claiming it was Richard's wish.

Yes, Richard's wishes must be taken into account. Now who is this close relative and how does he know the late king's wishes? Why, he's:

Michael Ibsen, the 17th great-grandnephew whose DNA was matched to the skeleton found under the parking lot. He said the case "involves the remarkable, and unprecedented, discovery of remains of a king of England of considerable historical significance, who died fighting a battle which brought to an end a civil war which divided this country. The obvious duty to consult widely arises from this singular fact alone."

I guess it doesn't get much closer than a 17th great-grandnephew for knowing Richard's wishes. Hmm, I'll just have to say that the good/bad king didn't leave a will or he would have been taken back to the family plot after the war.

So what's really at stake here other than history? Money.

The University of Leicester, whose scientists led the search for the king's remains, said it was "entirely proper and fitting that the remains of Richard III, Duke of Gloucester, be buried in the magnificent holy setting of Leicester Cathedral, near where his remains had lain for centuries."

Of course. Why not keep him near the parking lot where he was paved over years ago, long after he was forgotten? After all, Leicester was such a fine guardian of the deceased since his passing.

Leicester is hoping for a tourism boost from its association with the king, and is building a 4 million-pound ($6.3 million) visitor center near the spot where his remains were found.

The city is hoping to rake in some money with curiosity seekers willing to pay to see the old king. All that stands in their way is the Plantagenet Alliance (the King's relatives) who are threatening to take this case to court based on the tentative finding that Richard III can stay in Leicester.

The alliance had no immediate comment on the ruling. The Ministry of Justice said in a statement that it would "vigorously contest" the legal challenge (by the family), if it goes to court.

Well, only time will tell. But it just goes to show you that you must always keep your eyes open when you go shopping. You never know when or where you'll be parking your car on top of some king or queen. They say along with royalty comes privileges. Say, come to think of it, King Richard III was the hunchback King. Does that mean his spot in the parking lot was "Handicap Parking Only?"


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