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Devil's Acre Sprouts a Clockwork Orange

The famous English composer, Henry Purcell, is born this year in a region of England that will becomes known as Devil's Acre. He will begin his first musical composition at 9 years old (though this cannot be verified). He will become one of the greatest composers England has ever produced. Certainly most modern people will hear adaptations by Jethro Tull, The Who, and recognizable background music for movies such as A Clockwork Orange. After his death in 1695, Henry Purcell will be buried next to the organ in Westminster Abbey. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I read the book "A Clockwork Orange," in my careless youth. The author, Anthony Burgess, said that he never intended to write a classic. As a writer, he was simply indulging an inappropriate fantasy. He seemed a little sheepish as he admitted this, but otherwise unrepentant. After all, no one was forced to buy the book. For those unfamiliar with the story, a futuristic England has created a class of cynical, drunken, raping, violent youths on their way to prison after decades of "government-can-solve-all-your-problems" programs. In an experiment to keep these youths out of prison, the state gives a young "volunteer" named Alex the mind-cure for violence. Soon he can no longer rape. He cannot even raise a hand to defend himself. Later, this experiment runs into difficulties, so instead of "curing" these violent youths, the state hires them as policemen to beat up on rival gang members. Problem solved! The movie is visually interesting... I mean... uh... the rape scenes are artfully done. (Oh crap!) The music is great but the book itself is a study in government-gone-wild. It is frightening because you know it could happen. [4]

The Virtue and the Problem with 'Starting at the Bottom' *

Young Issac Newton has made very few friends at school. He outshines the other students so that no one wants to draw a comparison between themselves and this brilliant boy, so Issac has returned home to the family farm to learn to manage the manor. His mother gives him an easy job as a "grazier" which is a shepherd for all practical purposes. Unfortunately for the farm and for Isaac's income potential, he is not a very attentive shepherd. Instead, his active mind pushes him to build various types of waterwheels along the local streams. His sheep drift onto the neighboring property, causing damage to Issac's reputation and his pocketbook. [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I see the value of starting "at the bottom," but for people with an obvious talent, you should start them in areas where they can indulge their interests. Once they are hooked (or once they realize that this stuff is harder than it looks) it is easier to demonstrate how starting "at the bottom" is better. When I was 10 years old I worked with my father on weekends cleaning toilets and waxing floors. My father was teaching me how to be a man and I was glad to work alongside my father. Years later, I was a successful computer engineer, but one day, at the doctor's office, the toilet overflowed. It was after hours and the doctor was in a panic, but I knew what to do. I found the custodian's closet, pulled out the mop and bucket and cleaned up the mess. The doctor thought I was a hero, but it seemed natural to me. My father taught me that every job is a good job when your fellows say, "Thank God you were here."

Optional additional point: A 10 year-old working as a janitor may seem wrong, but in some neighborhoods it is a real virtue if you don't want your kid to become a gang banger, or a prostitute. So next time you hear of an employer being fined for "putting underage children to work," ask if the parents were working alongside their children. If the parents are supervising, then shut-the-F-up. They are trying to save their children. Stay out of their way.

Unconfirmed But Interesting...

* The first check is written in England. (It was for 400 pounds.)
* Tennis is forbidden during church services in New Netherlands. (No serving during services!)
* No 'Fat Tuesday' for French monks eating meat and drinking wine during Lent. They go to prison. [7]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1659, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster. “Henry Purcell, Eng. Composer, b. (d. 1695)” 
  2. The Funeral of Queen Mary Extended-Clockwork Orange. YouTube.com (2015). Retrieved on 13 October 2015.
  3. Henry Purcell - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 October 2015. “The processional section from Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary was adapted for the synthesiser by Wendy Carlos to serve as the theme music for the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange; the music is also featured in the final scene of the 1995 film The Young Poisoner's Handbook.”
  4. A Clockwork Orange (1971) - IMDb. imdb.com (2015). Retrieved on 13 October 2015. “In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan.”
  5. Milo Keynes (January 1995). "The Personality of Isaac Newton". Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London (Royal Society) 49 (1): 1-56. http://www.jstor.org/stable/531881. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  6. Grazier - definition of grazier (2015). Retrieved on 13 October 2015. “a person who grazes cattle for the market.”
  7. 1659 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 October 2015. “Parisian police raid a monastery, sending monks to prison for eating meat and drinking wine during Lent.”

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