Sunday, 30 June 2019


Tunguska, The X Files, 1996
The terrible heat wave continues and The Grandma doesn't want to go out. She is better at home with her air conditioning.

Today, she has decided to watch an interesting documentary about the Tunguska event, the largest explosion and impact event on Earth in recorded history.

First time The Grandma listened to Tunguska was in November 1996 when she watched an episode of her favourite TV Series, The X Files. The episode talked about this mysterious event and proposed more questions than answers offered. It was a double episode Tunguska-Terma belonged to the fourth season of the series.

Some years later, she listened to Tunguska in a conference about climate change and its consequences. The documentary explained how humans are helping to destroy the Earth and how many menaces from outer space exist.

More information: CNET

On a day like today in 1908, a large explosion occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate, the unsolved mystery about Tunguska started...

The heat wave that Europe is living during these days, the fires that are destroying our forests, the drought that some parts of the continent are suffering, the images of Polar bears without food and outside their habitat are evidences of a climate change that nobody wants to accepts, and the worst, nobody -who has the power to do it- is doing nothing to stop it.

The Tunguska event was a large explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate, now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, on the morning of 30 June 1908 (NS).

The explosion over the sparsely populated Eastern Siberian Taiga flattened 2,000 square kilometres of forest, yet caused no known human casualties. The explosion is generally attributed to the air burst of a meteor.

It is classified as an impact event, even though no impact crater has been found; the object is thought to have disintegrated at an altitude of 5 to 10 kilometres rather than to have hit the surface of the Earth.

The Tunguska event is the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history. Studies have yielded different estimates of the meteoroid's size, on the order of 60 to 190 metres, depending on whether the body was a comet or a denser asteroid.

Fallen trees from the impact focus, Tunguska
Since the 1908 event, there have been an estimated 1,000 scholarly papers, most in Russian, published on the Tunguska explosion.

In 2013, a team of researchers published analysis results of micro-samples from a peat bog near the center of the affected area showing fragments that may be of meteoritic origin.

Early estimates of the energy of the air burst range from 10–15 megatons of TNT, 42–63 petajoules, to 30 megatons of TNT, 130 PJ, depending on the exact height of burst estimated when the scaling-laws from the effects of nuclear weapons are employed.  However, modern supercomputer calculations that include the effect of the object's momentum find that more of the energy was focused downward than would be the case from a nuclear explosion and estimate that the airburst had an energy range from 3 to 5 megatons of TNT, 13 to 21 PJ. A newer finding suggests the explosive power may have been around 20–30 megatons.

The 15-megaton (Mt) estimate represents an energy about 1,000 times greater than that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan -roughly equal to that of the United States' Castle Bravo (15.2 Mt) ground-based thermonuclear detonation on 1 March 1954, and about one-third that of the Soviet Union's Tsar Bomba explosion on 30 October 1961, which at 50 Mt, is the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated.

More information: BBC

It is estimated that the Tunguska explosion knocked down some 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 km2, and that the shock wave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter magnitude scale.

An explosion of this magnitude would be capable of destroying a large metropolitan area, but, due to the remoteness of the location, no human fatalities were officially documented. Several reports have indicated that two people may have died in the event, but those deaths remain unofficial. The Tunguska event has helped to spark discussion of asteroid impact avoidance.

On 30 June 1908, at around 07:17 local time, Evenki natives and Russian settlers in the hills north-west of Lake Baikal observed a column of bluish light, nearly as bright as the Sun, moving across the sky.

About ten minutes later, there was a flash and a sound similar to artillery fire. Eyewitnesses closer to the explosion reported that the source of the sound moved from the east to the north of them.

The sounds were accompanied by a shock wave that knocked people off their feet and broke windows hundreds of kilometres away.

The size of the Tunguska explosion in Russia, 1908
The majority of witnesses reported only the sounds and tremors, and did not report seeing the explosion. Eyewitness accounts vary regarding the sequence and duration of the events.

The explosion registered at seismic stations across Eurasia, and air waves from the blast were detected in Germany, Denmark, Croatia, the UK, and as far away as Batavia and Washington, D.C. It is estimated that, in some places, the resulting shock wave was equivalent to an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter magnitude scale. Over the next few days night skies in Asia and Europe were aglow, with contemporaneous reports of photographs being successfully taken at midnight in both Sweden and Scotland.

It has been theorized that this effect was due to light passing through high-altitude ice particles that had formed at extremely low temperatures—a phenomenon that many years later would be produced by space shuttles.

In the United States, a Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory program at the Mount Wilson Observatory observed a months-long decrease in atmospheric transparency consistent with an increase in suspended dust particles.

More information: The Guardian

It was more than a decade after the event before any scientific analysis of the region took place.

In 1921, the Russian mineralogist Leonid Kulik led a team to the Podkamennaya Tunguska River basin to conduct a survey for the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

Although they never visited the central blast area, the many local accounts of the event led Kulik to believe that the explosion had been caused by a giant meteorite impact. Upon returning, he eventually persuaded the Soviet government to fund an expedition to the suspected impact zone, based on the prospect of salvaging meteoric iron.

Kulik was finally able to lead a scientific expedition to the Tunguska blast site in 1927. He hired local Evenki hunters to guide them to the center of the blast area, where they expected to find an impact crater. To their surprise, there was no crater to be found at ground zero. Instead they found a zone, roughly 8 kilometers across, where the trees were scorched and devoid of branches, but still standing upright. The trees farther away had been partly scorched and knocked down in a direction away from the center.

Leonid A. Kulik
Much later, in the 1960s, it was established that the zone of levelled forest occupied an area of 2,150 km2, its shape resembling a gigantic spread-eagled butterfly with a wingspan of 70 km and a body length of 55 km. Upon closer examination, Kulik located holes that he erroneously concluded were meteorite holes; he did not have the means at that time to excavate the holes.

During the next ten years there were three more expeditions to the area. Kulik found several dozens of little pothole"bogs, each some 10 to 50 metres in diameter, that he thought might be meteoric craters.

After a laborious exercise in draining one of these bogs the so-called Suslov's crater, 32 min diameter, he found an old stump on the bottom, ruling out the possibility that it was a meteoric crater.

In 1938, Kulik arranged for an aerial photographic survey of the area covering the central part of the levelled forest, 250 square kilometres. The negatives of these aerial photographs -1,500 negatives, each 18 by 18 centimetres- were burned in 1975 by order of Yevgeny Krinov, then Chairman of the Committee on Meteorites of the USSR Academy of Sciences, as part of an initiative to dispose of hazardous nitrate film. Positive prints were preserved for further study in the Russian city of Tomsk.

More information: The Conversation

Expeditions sent to the area in the 1950s and 1960s found microscopic silicate and magnetite spheres in siftings of the soil. Similar spheres were predicted to exist in the felled trees, although they could not be detected by contemporary means.

Later expeditions did identify such spheres in the resin of the trees. Chemical analysis showed that the spheres contained high proportions of nickel relative to iron, which is also found in meteorites, leading to the conclusion they were of extraterrestrial origin. The concentration of the spheres in different regions of the soil was also found to be consistent with the expected distribution of debris from a meteoroid air burst. Later studies of the spheres found unusual ratios of numerous other metals relative to the surrounding environment, which was taken as further evidence of their extraterrestrial origin.

Chemical analysis of peat bogs from the area also revealed numerous anomalies considered consistent with an impact event.

The isotopic signatures of stable carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen isotopes at the layer of the bogs corresponding to 1908 were found to be inconsistent with the isotopic ratios measured in the adjacent layers, and this abnormality was not found in bogs located outside the area.

The region of the bogs showing these anomalous signatures also contains an unusually high proportion of iridium, similar to the iridium layer found in the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary.
Flattened trees from the Tunguska Event
These unusual proportions are believed to result from debris from the falling body that deposited in the bogs. The nitrogen is believed to have been deposited as acid rain, a suspected fallout from the explosion. The leading scientific explanation for the explosion is the air burst of an asteroid 6–10 km above Earth's surface.

Meteoroids enter Earth's atmosphere from outer space every day, travelling at a speed of at least 11 km/s. The heat generated by compression of air in front of the body, ram pressure, as it travels through the atmosphere is immense and most meteoroids burn up or explode before they reach the ground.

Since the second half of the 20th century, close monitoring of Earth's atmosphere through infrasound and satellite observation has shown that asteroid air bursts with energies comparable to those of nuclear weapons routinely occur, although Tunguska-sized 5-15 megaton events are much rarer.

Eugene Shoemaker estimated that 20 kiloton events occur annually and that Tunguska sized events occur about once every 300 years. More recent estimates place Tunguska-sized events at about once every thousand years, with 5 kiloton air bursts averaging about once per year. Most of these air bursts are thought to be caused by asteroid impactors as opposed to mechanically weaker cometary materials based on their typical penetration depths into the Earth's atmosphere. The largest asteroid air burst to be observed with modern instrumentation was the 500 kiloton Chelyabinsk meteor of 2013, which shattered windows and produced meteorites.

More information: Atlas Obscura

In 1930, the British astronomer F. J. W. Whipple suggested that the Tunguska body was a small comet. A comet is composed of dust and volatiles, such as water ice and frozen gases, and could have been completely vaporised by the impact with Earth's atmosphere, leaving no obvious traces. The comet hypothesis was further supported by the glowing skies or skyglows or bright nights observed across Europe for several evenings after the impact, possibly explained by dust and ice that had been dispersed from the comet's tail across the upper atmosphere. The cometary hypothesis gained a general acceptance amongst Soviet Tunguska investigators by the 1960s.

In 1978, Slovak astronomer Ľubor Kresák suggested that the body was a fragment of Comet Encke. This is a periodic comet with an extremely short period of 3 years that stays entirely within the orbit of Jupiter. It is also responsible for the Beta Taurids, an annual meteor shower with a maximum activity around 28-29 June. The Tunguska event coincided with the peak activity of that shower, and the approximate trajectory of the Tunguska object is consistent with what would be expected from a fragment of Comet Encke. 

The Tunguska Crater, nowadays
It is now known that bodies of this kind explode at frequent intervals tens to hundreds of kilometres above the ground. Military satellites have been observing these explosions for decades. During 2019 astronomers hope to search for hypothesized asteroids ~100 meters in diameter from the Taurid swarm between July 5-11, and July 21-August 10.

In 1983, astronomer Zdeněk Sekanina published a paper criticising the comet hypothesis. He pointed out that a body composed of cometary material, travelling through the atmosphere along such a shallow trajectory, ought to have disintegrated, whereas the Tunguska body apparently remained intact into the lower atmosphere.

Sekanina argued that the evidence pointed to a dense, rocky object, probably of asteroidal origin. This hypothesis was further boosted in 2001, when Farinella, Foschini, et al. released a study calculating the probabilities based on orbital modelling extracted from the atmospheric trajectories of the Tunguska object. They concluded with a probability of 83% that the object moved on an asteroidal path originating from the asteroid belt, rather than on a cometary one, probability of 17%.

More information: All That Is Interesting

In June 2007, scientists from the University of Bologna identified a lake in the Tunguska region as a possible impact crater from the event. They do not dispute that the Tunguska body exploded in mid-air but believe that a ten-metre fragment survived the explosion and struck the ground.

Lake Cheko is a small, bowl-shaped lake approximately 8 km north-northwest of the hypocentre. The hypothesis has been disputed by other impact crater specialists.

A 1961 investigation had dismissed a modern origin of Lake Cheko, saying that the presence of metres-thick silt deposits at the lake's bed suggests an age of at least 5,000 years, but more recent research suggests that only a metre or so of the sediment layer on the lake bed is normal lacustrine sedimentation, a depth consistent with an age of about 100 years.

Acoustic-echo soundings of the lake floor provide support for the hypothesis that the lake was formed by the Tunguska event. The soundings revealed a conical shape for the lake bed, which is consistent with an impact crater. Magnetic readings indicate a possible metre-sized chunk of rock below the lake's deepest point that may be a fragment of the colliding body.

The Tunguska Event Epicenter
Finally, the lake's long axis points to the hypocentre of the Tunguska explosion, about 7.0 km away. Work is still being done at Lake Cheko to determine its origins.

The scientific consensus is that the explosion was caused by the impact of a small asteroid; however, there are some dissenters.

Astrophysicist Wolfgang Kundt has proposed that the Tunguska event was caused by the release and subsequent explosion of 10 million tons of natural gas from within Earth's crust.

The basic idea is that natural gas leaked out of the crust and then rose to its equal-density height in the atmosphere; from there, it drifted downwind, in a sort of wick, which eventually found an ignition source such as lightning. Once the gas was ignited, the fire streaked along the wick, and then down to the source of the leak in the ground, whereupon there was the explosion.

More information: Sputnik News

The similar verneshot hypothesis has also been proposed as a possible cause of the Tunguska event. Other research has supported a geophysical mechanism for the event.

The Tunguska event is not the only example of a great unobserved explosion event. For example, the 1930 Curuçá River event in Brazil was an explosion of a superbolide that left no clear evidence of an impact crater.

Modern developments in infrasound detection by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and infrared DSP satellite technology have reduced the likelihood of undetected airbursts.

A smaller air burst occurred over a populated area in Russia on 15 February 2013, at Chelyabinsk in the Ural district of Russia. The exploding meteoroid was an asteroid that measured about 17 to 20 metres across, with an estimated initial mass of 11,000 tonnes, and inflicted over 1,200 injuries, mainly from broken glass falling from windows shattered by its shock wave.

More information: 7News

Tunguska is the only hard evidence
we have of a recent impact on planet Earth. 
So we can look at that and say ...
if that was a city underneath there,
it would be completely obliterated.

Bill McGuire

Saturday, 29 June 2019


Heat Wave
An incredible and insufferable heat wave is affecting Central and Mediterranean Europe. Barcelona is under this terrible effect.

The Grandma is an old person and she must prevent high temperatures to keep her health in good conditions.

Today, The Grandma has decided to stay at home and avoid high temperatures. She has connected the air conditioning and she is reading an interesting novel written by Richard Castle and titled Heat Wave.

Richard Edgar Rick Castle, born Richard Alexander Rodgers, is a fictional character on the ABC crime series Castle.

The name Richard Castle is also used as a pseudonym under which a set of real books about the characters Derrick Storm and Nikki Heat, based on the books mentioned in the television series, are written. These books have achieved success, becoming New York Times bestsellers.

More information: Castle Wiki

Actor Nathan Fillion appears as the face of Richard Castle on the books and on the official website, and participates in book signings. The Castle book series was actually written/ghost-written by screenwriter Tom Straw.

According to Fillion, the character's name Rick Castle was noted by the show creator as sounding like Rich Asshole and says that this reflects his character. He describes Castle as being a bit of a douche with a Peter Pan syndrome stemming from a lack of a real male adult role model in his life.

Andrew Marlowe explained that he designed Castle's character as one that presents a storytelling point of view as a counterpoint to Beckett's evidence-based police work.

Castle Cast
On casting Fillion to fill the role, Marlowe described Castle as the right vehicle for the right personality.

Castle is the father of Alexis Castle and the son of Martha Rodgers, both of whom live with him. His father is a CIA operative who has used the aliases Jackson Hunt and Anderson Cross". Castle's birth name is Richard Alexander Rodgers; he uses Richard Edgar Castle as his nom de plume, Edgar in honor of Edgar Allan Poe, though he still considers Alexander his middle name.

Fillion describes the family dynamic as unconventional because Castle is very much mothered by his 15-year-old daughter, and at the same time he turns around and mothers his own mother.

As a child, he never knew who his father was. He reasoned that he never missed having a father as he never had anything to miss, and it allowed him to imagine that his father could be anyone he wished. He was looked after by a nanny who spent most of her time watching daytime television.

More information: Mystery Scene

One Life to Live was the inspiration to write his first novel. He was further inspired to become a writer when a man, later revealed to be the father he never knew, handed him a copy of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale at the New York Public Library when he was ten years old.

He also claims to have been kicked out of all of New York's finer academic institutions at least once, and to have picked up speed reading while spending his days as a child in the New York Public Library.

Heat Wave is the first in a series of mystery novels featuring the characters Nikki Heat, an NYPD homicide detective, and Jameson Rook, a journalist.

Kate Beckett & Richard Castle
The novel and its sequels are published by Hyperion Books as a tie-in to the U.S. crime series Castle, and are attributed to that show's lead character Richard Castle.

Heat Wave was published in 2009 and has been followed by Naked Heat (2010), Heat Rises (2011), Frozen Heat (2012), Deadly Heat (2013), Raging Heat (2014) and Driving Heat (2015). The title of the book refers to a heat wave that gripped the city, the heat that is inside the characters’ attraction for each other, and the character’s surname. Castle's protagonist is NYPD homicide detective, Nikki Heat.

Ms Heat is attractive, tough and means business when she’s on a case. Ms Heat is good at her job and is the leader of her team investigating murders. Heat's boss, the commissioner, assigns Jameson Rook, a reporter, to be attached to her to do research on his article. Rook proves to be a challenge to Heat as he has a mind of his own.

As much as Heat hates Rook, she also feels a compelling force that draws him to her. Heat feels the heat between them. Ms Heat tries to handle her professional work, as well as answer to the call of nature as she falls for her handsome, magnetic shadow. In her work, Heat has to dig into the case of a real estate millionaire who fell to his death. His widowed wife was attacked but survived the confrontation.

More information: Fantastic Fiction

 Behind every picture hides the true story.
You just have to be willing to look.

Richard Castle

Friday, 28 June 2019


The Grandma & her Mercedes-Benz
Today, The Grandma has gone to the Transport Inspection to check her car. She has got a beautiful Mercedes-Benz and she was a little worried about the possibility of not getting over the mechanical test.

The Grandma loves her car and she decided to buy it some decades ago because she is a great fan of Mercedes-Benz marque, synonymous of elegance and security. The Grandma wants to remember the story of this great enterprise while she is waiting for her turn in the mechanical workshop.

Mercedes-Benz is a German global automobile marque and a division of Daimler AG. The brand is known for luxury vehicles, buses, coaches, and trucks. The headquarters is in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg. The name first appeared in 1926 under Daimler-Benz.

In 2018, Mercedes-Benz was the biggest selling premium vehicle brand in the world, having sold 2.31 million passenger cars.

Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft's 1901 Mercedes and Karl Benz's 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which is widely regarded as the first gasoline-powered automobile. The slogan for the brand is the best or nothing.

Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Karl Benz's creation of the first petrol-powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, financed by Bertha Benz and patented in January 1886, and Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach's conversion of a stagecoach by the addition of a petrol engine later that year.

The Mercedes automobile was first marketed in 1901 by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (Daimler Motors Corporation).

Emil Jellinek, a European automobile entrepreneur who worked with DMG, created the trademark in 1902, naming the 1901 Mercedes 35 hp after his daughter Mercedes Jellinek.

Jellinek was a businessman and marketing strategist who promoted horseless Daimler automobiles among the highest circles of society in his adopted home, which, at that time, was a meeting place for the Haute Volée of France and Europe, especially in winter.

His customers included the Rothschild family and other well-known personalities. But Jellinek's plans went further: as early as 1901, he was selling Mercedes cars in the New World as well, including US billionaires Rockefeller, Astor, Morgan and Taylor.

At a race in Nice in 1899, Jellinek drove under the pseudonym Monsieur Mercédès, a way of concealing the competitor's real name as was normal and very regularly done in those days. The race ranks as the hour of birth of the Mercedes-Benz brand.

More information: Mercedes-Benz

In 1901, the name Mercedes was registered by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) worldwide as a protected trademark.

The first Mercedes-Benz brand name vehicles were produced in 1926, following the merger of Karl Benz's and Gottlieb Daimler's companies into the Daimler-Benz company on 28 June of the same year.

Gottlieb Daimler was born on 17 March 1834 in Schorndorf. After training as a gunsmith and working in France, he attended the Polytechnic School in Stuttgart from 1857 to 1859. After completing various technical activities in France and England, he started working as a draftsman in Geislingen in 1862. At the end of 1863, he was appointed workshop inspector in a machine tool factory in Reutlingen, where he met Wilhelm Maybach in 1865.

Throughout the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz produced the 770 model, a car that was popular during Germany's Nazi period. Adolf Hitler was known to have driven these cars during his time in power, with bulletproof windshields. Most of the surviving models have been sold at auctions to private buyers. One of them is currently on display at the War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. The pontiff's Popemobile has often been sourced from Mercedes-Benz.

In 1944, 46,000 forced laborers were used in Daimler-Benz's factories to bolster Nazi war efforts. The company later paid $12 million in reparations to the laborers' families.

Mercedes-Benz has introduced many technological and safety innovations that later became common in other vehicles.  

Karl Benz & Gottlieb Daimler
Mercedes-Benz is one of the best-known and established automotive brands in the world. As part of the Daimler AG company, the Mercedes-Benz Cars division includes Mercedes-Benz and Smart car production.

The two companies which were merged to form the Mercedes-Benz brand in 1926 had both already enjoyed success in the new sport of motor racing throughout their separate histories.

A single Benz competed in the world's first motor race, the 1894 Paris–Rouen, where Émile Roger finished 14th in 10 hours 1 minute. Throughout its long history, the company has been involved in a range of motorsport activities, including sports car racing and rallying.

More information: The Hew York Times

On several occasions Mercedes-Benz has withdrawn completely from motorsport for a significant period, notably in the late 1930s, and after the 1955 Le Mans disaster, where a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR rammed another car (An Austin-Healey), took off into the stands, and killed more than 80 spectators. Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson made history by winning the 1955 Mille Miglia road race in Italy during a record-breaking drive with an average speed of almost 98 mph in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR.

Although there was some activity in the intervening years, it was not until 1987 that Mercedes-Benz returned to front line competition, returning to Le Mans, Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM), and Formula One with Sauber.

The 1990s saw Mercedes-Benz purchase British engine builder Ilmor, now Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines, and campaign IndyCars under the USAC/CART rules, eventually winning the 1994 Indianapolis 500 and 1994 CART IndyCar World Series Championship with Al Unser, Jr. at the wheel.

The 1990s also saw the return of Mercedes-Benz to GT racing, and the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, both of which took the company to new heights by dominating the FIA's GT1 class.

Mercedes-Benz is currently active in four motorsport categories, Formula Three, DTM, Formula One and GT3.

More information: Daimler

 You have to think about whether that Mercedes-Benz
you have is actually worth how much it costs to you.

Kristin Scott Thomas

Thursday, 27 June 2019


Albert R. Broccoli
After visiting L'Aranyó, a beautiful town in La Segarra, Lleida, The Grandma has returned to Barcelona. During her travel she has been reading about Albert R. Broccoli, the American film producer well-known as the producer of many of the James Bond films.

The Grandma loves James Bond's books and films and she wants to discover more things about Broccoli and his influence in 007 films.

Albert Romolo Broccoli (April 5, 1909-June 27, 1996), nicknamed Cubby, was an American film producer who made more than 40 motion pictures throughout his career. Most of the films were made in the United Kingdom and often filmed at Pinewood Studios. Co-founder of Danjaq, LLC and Eon Productions, Broccoli is most notable as the producer of many of the James Bond films.

He and Harry Saltzman saw the films develop from relatively low-budget origins to large-budget, high-grossing extravaganzas, and Broccoli's heirs continue to produce new Bond films.

Broccoli was born in the borough of Queens, New York City, the younger of two children of immigrants from the Calabria region of Italy, Giovanni Broccoli and Kristina Vence. He acquired his nickname after his cousin, mobster Pat DiCicco, began calling him Kabibble, after a similarly-named cartoon character. This was eventually shortened to Kubbie and adopted by Broccoli as Cubby. The family later bought a farm in Smithtown, New York, on Long Island, near their relatives the DiCiccos.

The family moved to Florida, and on the death of his father Giovanni, Broccoli moved to live with his grandmother in Astoria, Queens, in New York City. Having worked many jobs, including casket maker, Broccoli then became involved in the film industry.

Albert R. Broccoli & Roger Moore
He started at the bottom, working as a gofer on Howard Hughes' The Outlaw (1941), which starred Jane Russell. Here he met his lifelong friend Howard Hughes for the first time, while Hughes was overseeing the movie's production after director Howard Hawks was fired.

Broccoli rose quickly to the level of assistant director by the time the U.S. entered World War II. At the beginning of the 1950s, Broccoli moved once more, this time to London, where the British government provided subsidies to film productions made in the UK with British casts and crews. Together with Irving Allen, Broccoli formed Warwick Films that made a prolific and successful series of films for Columbia Pictures.

When Broccoli became interested in bringing Ian Fleming's James Bond character into features, he discovered that the rights already belonged to the Canadian producer Harry Saltzman, who had long wanted to break into film, and who had produced several stage plays and films with only modest success. 

More information: 007

When the two were introduced by a common friend, screenwriter Wolf Mankowitz, Saltzman refused to sell the rights, but agreed to partner with Broccoli and co-produce the films, which led to the creation of the production company EON Productions and its parent company Danjaq, LLC, named after their two wives' first names—Dana and Jacqueline.

Saltzman and Broccoli produced the first Bond movie, Dr. No, in 1962. Their second, From Russia with Love, was a break-out success and from then on the films grew in cost, action, and ambition. With larger casts, more difficult stunts and special effects, and a continued dependence on exotic locations, the franchise became essentially a full-time job.

Broccoli made one notable attempt at a non-Bond film, an adaptation of Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968, and due to legal wrangling over the rights to story elements, ceded producer credit on Thunderball to Kevin McClory. 

Nonetheless, by the mid-1960s, Broccoli had put nearly all of his energies into the Bond series. Saltzman's interests continued to range apart from the series, including production of a loose trilogy of spy films based on Len Deighton's Harry Palmer, a character who operates in a parallel universe to Bond, with all the danger but none of the glamour and gadgets.

Albert R. Broccoli & Moonraker Cast
Saltzman and Broccoli had differences over Saltzman's outside commitments; however, in the end, it was Saltzman who withdrew from Danjaq and EON after a series of financial mishaps.

While Saltzman's departure brought the franchise a step closer to corporate control, Broccoli lost relatively little independence or prestige in the bargain. From then until his death, the racy credits sequence to every EON Bond film would begin with the words Albert R. Broccoli Presents

Although from the 1970s onward the films became lighter in tone and looser in plot -and, at times, less successful with critics- the series distinguished itself in production values and continued to appeal to audiences.

More information: James Bond 007

In 1966, Albert was in Japan with other producers scouting locations to film the next James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Albert had a ticket booked on BOAC Flight 911. He cancelled his ticket on that day so he could see a ninja demonstration. Flight 911 crashed after clear-air turbulence.

Broccoli married three times. In 1940, at the age of 31, he married actress Gloria Blondell, the younger sister of Joan Blondell. They later divorced amicably in 1945 without having had children.

In 1951, he married Nedra Clark, widow of the singer Buddy Clark, and the couple were told they had fertility problems and would never have children. They adopted a son, Tony Broccoli, after which Nedra became pregnant. She died in 1958, soon after giving birth to their daughter, Tina.

In 1959, Broccoli married actress and novelist Dana Wilson. They had a daughter, Barbara Broccoli. Albert Broccoli became a mentor to Dana's teenage son, Michael G. Wilson. The children grew up around the Bond film sets, and his wife's influence on various production decisions is alluded to in many informal accounts.

Michael Wilson worked his way up through the production company to co-write and co-produce. Barbara Broccoli, in her turn, served in several capacities under her father's tutelage from the 1980s on. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have co-produced the films since Albert Broccoli's death.

More information: Getty Images

I love looking at the old Bond films.
Maybe it's purely out of reminiscence,
the nostalgic things you think about.
But there were some very good films made,
and I think that the public has enjoyed them, too.

Albert R. Broccoli

Wednesday, 26 June 2019


Manuel de Pedrolo
Today, The Grandma has visited L'Aranyó, in La Segarra county, Lleida the birthplace of Manuel de Pedrolo, one of the best Catalan writers.

The Grandma admires Manuel de Pedrolo and loves his works and she wants to homage him on the 29th anniversary of his death.

Manuel de Pedrolo i Molina (April 1, 1918-June 26, 1990) was a Catalan writer, author of novels, short stories, poetry and plays. He's mostly known for his sci-fi novel Mecanoscrit del segon origen, Typescript of the Second Origin.

Manuel de Pedrolo was born in 1918 in L'Aranyó, in La Segarra county, in Catalonia. After the Spanish Civil War he settled down in Barcelona, where he worked at a great number of jobs while writing as a background activity.

From 1974, he was able to devote himself to literature, creating works, translating, and doing other minor editorial tasks. He died in Barcelona, in 1990, after suffering a long illness.

Despite the fact that he is considered one of the most ambitious writers in Catalan, having cultivated virtually all literary genres, Manuel de Pedrolo is especially known for his vast production of prose, with more than 72 novels published between 1949 and 1985, many of which were detective novels.

The Grandma visits L'Aranyó, La Segarra, Lleida
Most of them were thoroughly censored under the following terms: catalanism, political opinions, religion, sexual morality and indecorous language. He also translated into Catalan works by John Dos Passos, William Faulkner and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Throughout his life, he had several run-ins with Spanish fascists around censorship issues. He also received many awards and was bestowed with the highest honors in Catalan literature.

More information: Visat

Pedrolo's name will remain forever attached to the title of his most popular work, his first attempt at the sci-fi genre, Mecanoscrit del Segon Origen, Typescript of the Second Origin. First published in 1974, it became the most broadly disseminated Catalan fiction book in the following decade, with 26 editions and more than 270,000 copies sold in 1986.

The novel narrates the story of two children from a little country village named Benaura in Catalonia. Alba, a fourteen-year-old girl, and Dídac, a black nine-year-old boy, become the two only remaining humans on Earth after they accidentally survive an alien holocaust that eradicates all mammal life on the planet.

As Alba and Dídac bravely recover from the catastrophe, they not only insist on living in a post-apocalyptic world, inhabited by myriads of corpses and deranged, psychotic survivors, but they also take up the mission of preserving human culture and repopulating the Earth.

Although the novel was not addressed to youngsters, the dramatic and yet romantically attractive position of the main characters made the Mecanoscrit very popular among teenagers, and even though it is compulsory reading in many Catalan highschools today, many young people will have already read it at an earlier age.

From an adult perspective, Alba & Dídac's will to survive makes this novel a wonderful chant to life and hope. The well-documented scientific data and the use of cultured-but-readable language are just two of the reasons for the success of this book, which has had a deep impact on Catalan culture.

Cal llegir llibres no recomanables.
You must read books not recommended.

Manuel de Pedrolo

Tuesday, 25 June 2019


Purple Rain
Today, The Grandma has gone to the music shop to buy a new guitar for her. Her electric guitar is too old to sound well and she has decided to have got a new one. Choosing an electric guitar is a difficult task, because of this she has gone to visit the best experts in the city and she has followed their advice.

It has not a question of luck. The Grandma has chosen today, June 25, because she has wanted to homage one of her favourite musicians, Prince, on the anniversary of one of his masterpieces, Purple Rain.

Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958-April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor and filmmaker. With a career spanning four decades, Prince was known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant fashion sense, and wide vocal range. A multi-instrumentalist, he was considered a guitar virtuoso and was also skilled at playing the drums, percussion, bass, keyboards, and synthesizer.

Prince pioneered the Minneapolis sound, which is a subgenre of funk rock with elements of synth-pop and new wave, in the late 1970s.

Prince was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and developed an interest in music as a young child; he wrote his first song, Funk Machine, at the age of seven. He signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records at the age of 17, and released his debut album For You in 1978. His 1979 album Prince went platinum, and his next three albums -Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982) -continued his success, showcasing his prominently explicit lyrics and blending of funk, dance, and rock music.

In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as The Revolution and released Purple Rain, the soundtrack album to his film debut. It quickly became his most critically and commercially successful release, spending 24 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200 and selling 25 million copies worldwide. After releasing the albums Around the World in a Day (1985) and Parade (1986), The Revolution disbanded, and Prince released the double album Sign o' the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting The New Power Generation band in 1991.

In 1993, while in a contractual dispute with Warner Bros., he changed his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol, also known as the Love Symbol, and began releasing new albums at a faster rate to remove himself from contractual obligations. He released five records between 1994 and 1996 before signing with Arista Records in 1998. In 2000, he began referring to himself as Prince again. He released 16 albums after that, including the platinum-selling Musicology (2004). His final album, Hit n Run Phase Two, was first released on the Tidal streaming service on December 2015.

Four months later, at the age of 57, Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

More information: Prince

Prince's innovative music integrated a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, seven Brit Awards, six American Music Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for the 1984 film Purple Rain and a Golden Globe Award.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and 2016 respectively.

Purple Rain is the sixth studio album by American singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Prince. It is the first to feature his band the Revolution, and is the soundtrack to the 1984 film of the same name. The album was released on June 25, 1984, by Warner Bros. Records.

In the United States the album debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 the week of July 14, 1984 with approximately 1.5 million copies sold. After four weeks on chart, it reached No. 1 on August 4, 1984.

Purple Rain was present on the Billboard 200 for a total of 122 weeks.

Prince and the Revolution won a 1984 Grammy Award for Purple Rain, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, the four composers (Nelson, Coleman, Prince, and Melvoin) won Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, and the album was nominated for Album of the Year.

Purple Rain also won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985. As of 2008, it has sold over 25 million copies worldwide, making it the third-best-selling soundtrack album of all time. The album was certified 13-times platinum (diamond) by the RIAA. Purple Rain is regularly ranked among the best albums in music history and is widely regarded as Prince's magnum opus along with his 1987 double album Sign o' the Times.

In 2012, the album was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of sound recordings that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important.

More information: Pitchfork

Purple Rain was released by Warner Bros. Records on June 25, 1984. Prince wrote all of the songs on the album, some with the input of fellow band members. I Would Die 4 U, Baby I'm a Star and Purple Rain were recorded live from a show on August 3, 1983, at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis, with overdubs and edits added later. The show was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater and featured the first appearance of guitarist Wendy Melvoin in Prince's band, The Revolution.

Purple Rain was the first Prince album recorded with and officially credited to his backing group the Revolution, though he had teased the name two years earlier on 1999, writing and the Revolution backwards on the album cover. The band had been performing and recording with Prince without an established name.

Purple Rain was musically denser than Prince's previous albums, emphasizing full band performances, and multiple layers of guitars, keyboards, electronic synthesizer effects, drum machines, and other instruments.

Musically, Purple Rain remained grounded in the R&B elements of Prince's previous work while demonstrating a more pronounced rock feel in its grooves and emphasis on guitar showmanship. As a soundtrack record, much of the music had a grandiose, synthesized, and even -by some evaluations- a psychedelic sheen to the production and performances. The music on Purple Rain is generally regarded as the most pop-oriented of Prince's career, though a number of elements point towards the more experimental records Prince would release after Purple Rain.

As with many massive crossover albums, Purple Rain's consolidation of myriad styles, from pop rock to R&B to dance, is generally acknowledged to account in part for its enormous popularity.

In the week following Prince's death, the album sold 69,000 equivalent copies, 62,000 in pure album sales, thus allowing the album to re-enter the Billboard 200 at number 2. The next week it dropped to number three with 150,000 units sold.

The album has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. The album further established him as a figurehead for pop music of the 1980s.

More information: Sogna e Condividi

Purple Rain sold over 1.5 million copies its first week in stores, and sold over 13 million copies in the United States alone, with a total of 25 million copies sold worldwide.

April 2016, the album re-charted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 after Prince's death, selling over 69,000 copies in the following week, and one of the best-selling albums of the year in the US with 487,000 sold in 2016.

According to Billboard, within less than a month after Prince's death, four of the top ten songs on the Hot Rock Songs belonged to tracks off Purple Rain, with the title track coming in at No. 1. Purple Rain posthumously won Soundtrack of the Year at the American Music Awards in 2016.

Purple Rain was the thirteenth best selling album of 2016 with 487,000 album sales. After a deluxe edition was released in 2017, Purple Rain re-entered many top-ten charts around the world including the US, UK and Austria. It debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 with 52,000 copies sold. 

More information: Voa News

To create something from nothing
is one of the greatest feelings, and I would 
I don't know, I wish it upon everybody. It's heaven.