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VIII Random Facts About Henry VIII

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I am normally not one for historical fiction, but a couple of years ago I read The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory and thoroughly enjoyed it. So much, in fact, that I immediately went and bought the rest of the series. Now the movie version with Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman is coming out and I'm going to have to check that out to see if it measures up to the book.

The whole thing really roused my interest in the Tudors (The Tudors the TV series is currently in my Netflix queue) and I spent an embarrassingly large amount of time on Wikipedia reading about them. Prior to the books, all I really knew about Henry VIII is that he got married to the widow next door and she'd been married seven times before (I kid, I kid).

In honor of the recent anniversary of his death (January 28, 1547), I give you eight random facts about Henry VIII.

1. Henry was never supposed to be King.

It was always intended that Henry's older brother Arthur would take over from their father as the King of England. While Henry was merely the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the Earl Marshal of England, Arthur held the Prince of Wales title. Arthur died rather unexpectedly at the age of 15, not long after getting married to Catherine of Aragon from Spain. Thus began Henry's rein "“ he pretty much just stepped in and picked up where Arthur left off, including Catherine. Prior to his brother's death, it was assumed that Henry would have a prosperous career with the Church. Pretty funny, considering how cavalierly he played with the Church's rules to suit his marriages and divorces later in life.

2. He apparently compared his fourth wife to a horse.

anne of cleves

Fast forward through Henry's annulment with Catherine, the beheading of Anne Boleyn, and the death of Jane Seymour and we have wife #4, Anne of Cleves. His motives for marrying her were purely political "“ she was the sister of the Duke of Cleves, who was Protestant. The Duke was an important friend to have in case the Roman Catholics decided to invade England, and so the marriage was arranged. The problem? The picture that Henry based a large part of his decision on was apparently more than a little flattering. When he met her in person just prior to their marriage, he apparently compared her to a horse. They got married anyway, and by all accounts it was pretty miserable. The marriage was annulled and she received the title of "The King's Sister," which totally baffles me. If anyone can explain this to me, please do.

3. He had an affair with Anne Boleyn's sister.

mary
One of the plots in The Other Boleyn Girl is about Henry having an affair with Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary. This really happened when Mary served as Catherine of Aragon's lady-in-waiting for ten years. Her first two children are rumored to be Henry's, but this was never proven. After her first husband died, Mary wed a commoner with no social status and was thus disowned by Anne. She is the ancestor of Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York (among others).

4. He was a sickly fellow.

Henry's health problems were vast. Although he was athletic in his youth, a jousting mishap left him unable to exercise. As a result, his waistline climbed to 54 inches. He had severe migraines and suffered from terrible insomnia. It's speculated that he also suffered from gout, and eventually the jousting wound in his thigh became ulcerated (which may have actually helped to cause his death). Modern doctors suggest that Henry probably had type II diabetes.

5. Supposedly his last words were "Monks, monks, monks!"

This is also the name of a Houston-area law firm (well, almost: Monks, Monks, Monks & Hiran).

6. He was buried with his third wife.

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Henry was buried at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle with third wife Jane Seymour. He considered her his only "true" wife, since she was the only one of the six to bear him a son.

7. He could be haunting Hampton Court Palace.

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In October 2003, security at the Palace checked their surveillance tapes to see why one of the fire doors kept opening. As they watched, a strange figure appeared in the doorway and closed the doors. The figure appears to be wearing period dress. If Hampton Court is haunted, it's with good reason: Jane Seymour died there after giving birth and fifth wife Catherine Howard was arrested there in 1542 for cheating on King Henry (which was treason at the time). When she found out she was being arrested, she fled down the long Gallery screaming for the King to save her.

8. He left his mark.

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Despite his many marriages and his rage issues, Henry left quite a legacy. He, Alfred the Great and Charles II are traditionally referred to as the founders of the Royal Navy. He invested quite heavily in shipmaking, including the Mary Rose, which he named after his sister (although some speculate he was trying to impress Mary Boleyn).

By the way, one of the ways to keep track of Henry's six wives and how they came to be separated from him is to use this little rhyme: Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived (even though they were technically annulments and not divorces).

What do you guys think? Fabulous leader or horrible tyrant? Both?

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entertainment
10 Surprising Facts About The Babadook
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In 2014, The Babadook came out of nowhere and scared audiences across the globe. Written and directed by Aussie Jennifer Kent, and based on her short film Monster, The Babadook is about a widow named Amelia (played by Kent’s drama schoolmate Essie Davis) who has trouble controlling her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who thinks there’s a monster living in their house. Amelia reads Samuel a pop-up book, Mister Babadook, and Samuel manifests the creature into a real-life monster. The Babadook may be the villain, but the film explores the pitfalls of parenting and grief in an emotional way. 

“I never approached this as a straight horror film,” Kent told Complex. “I always was drawn to the idea of grief, and the suppression of that grief, and the question of, how would that affect a person? ... But at the core of it, it’s about the mother and child, and their relationship.”

Shot on a $2 million budget, the film grossed more than $10.3 million worldwide and gained an even wider audience via streaming networks. Instead of creating Babadook out of CGI, a team generated the images in-camera, inspired by the silent films of Georges Méliès and Lon Chaney. Here are 10 things you might not have known about The Babadook (dook, dook).

1. THE NAME “BABADOOK” WAS EASY FOR A CHILD TO INVENT.

Jennifer Kent told Complex that some people thought the creature’s name sounded “silly,” which she agreed with. “I wanted it to be like something a child could make up, like ‘jabberwocky’ or some other nonsensical name,” she explained. “I wanted to create a new myth that was just solely of this film and didn’t exist anywhere else.”

2. JENNIFER KENT WAS WORRIED PEOPLE WOULD JUDGE THE MOTHER.

Amelia isn’t the best mother in the world—but that’s the point. “I’m not a parent,” Kent told Rolling Stone, “but I’m surrounded by friends and family who are, and I see it from the outside … how parenting seems hard and never-ending.” She thought Amelia would receive “a lot of flak” for her flawed parenting, but the opposite happened. “I think it’s given a lot of women a sense of reassurance to see a real human being up there,” Kent said. “We don’t get to see characters like her that often.”

3. KENT AND ESSIE DAVIS TONED DOWN THE CONTENT FOR THE KID.

Noah Wiseman was six years old when he played Samuel. Kent and Davis made sure he wasn’t present for the more horrific scenes, like when Amelia tells Samuel she wishes he was the one who died, not her husband. “During the reverse shots, where Amelia was abusing Sam verbally, we had Essie yell at an adult stand-in on his knees,” Kent told Film Journal. “I didn’t want to destroy a childhood to make this film—that wouldn’t be fair.”

Kent explained a “kiddie version” of the plot to Wiseman. “I said, ‘Basically, Sam is trying to save his mother and it’s a film about the power of love.’”

4. THE FILM IS ALSO ABOUT “FACING OUR SHADOW SIDE.”

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Kent told Film Journal that “The Babadook is a film about a woman waking up from a long, metaphorical sleep and finding that she has the power to protect herself and her son.” She noted that everybody has darkness to face. “Beyond genre and beyond being scary, that’s the most important thing in the film—facing our shadow side.”

5. THE FILM SCARED THE HELL OUT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE EXORCIST.

In an interview with Uproxx, William Friedkin—director of The Exorcist—said The Babadook was one of the best and scariest horror films he’d ever seen. He especially liked the emotional aspect of the film. “It’s not only the simplicity of the filmmaking and the excellence of the acting not only by the two leads, but it’s the way the film works slowly but inevitably on your emotions,” he said.

6. AN ART DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SCORED THE ROLE AS THE BABADOOK.

Tim Purcell worked in the film’s art department but then got talked into playing the titular character after he acted as the creature for some camera tests. “They realized they could save some money, and have me just be the Babadook, and hence I became the Babadook,” Purcell told New York Magazine. “In terms of direction, it was ‘be still a lot,’” he said.

7. THE MOVIE BOMBED IN ITS NATIVE AUSTRALIA.

Even though Kent shot the film in Adelaide, Australians didn’t flock to the theaters; it grossed just $258,000 in its native country. “Australians have this [built-in] aversion to seeing Australian films,” Kent told The Cut. “They hardly ever get excited about their own stuff. We only tend to love things once everyone else confirms they’re good … Australian creatives have always had to go overseas to get recognition. I hope one day we can make a film or work of art and Australians can think it’s good regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.”

8. YOU CAN OWN A MISTER BABADOOK BOOK (BUT IT WILL COST YOU). 

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In 2015, Insight Editions published 6200 pop-up books of Mister Babadook. Kent worked with the film’s illustrator, Alexander Juhasz, who created the book for the movie. He and paper engineer Simon Arizpe brought the pages to life for the published version. All copies sold out but you can find some Kent-signed ones on eBay, going for as much as $500.

9. THE BABADOOK IS A GAY ICON.

It started at the end of 2016, when a Tumblr user started a jokey thread about how he thought the Babadook was gay. “It started picking up steam within a few weeks,” Ian, the Tumblr user, told New York Magazine, “because individuals who I presume are heterosexual kind of freaked out over the assertion that a horror movie villain would identify as queer—which I think was the actual humor of the post, as opposed to just the outright statement that the Babadook is gay.” In June, the Babadook became a symbol for Gay Pride month. Images of the character appeared everywhere at this year's Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles.

10. DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR A SEQUEL.

Kent, who owns the rights to The Babadook, told IGN that, despite the original film's popularity, she's not planning on making any sequels. “The reason for that is I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it’s not that kind of film,” she said. “I don’t care how much I’m offered, it’s just not going to happen.”

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Space
NASA Is Posting Hundreds of Retro Flight Research Videos on YouTube
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Bruce Weaver / Stringer / Getty Images

If you’re interested in taking a tour through NASA history, head over to the YouTube page of the Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base, in southern California. According to Motherboard, the agency is in the middle of posting hundreds of rare aircraft videos dating back to the 1940s.

In an effort to open more of its archives to the public, NASA plans to upload 500 historic films to YouTube over the next few months. More than 300 videos have been published so far, and they range from footage of a D-558 Skystreak jet being assembled in 1947 to a clip of the first test flight of an inflatable-winged plane in 2001. Other highlights include the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight over Los Angeles and a controlled crash of a Boeing 720 jet.

The research footage was available to the public prior to the mass upload, but viewers had to go through the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection on the research center’s website to see them. The current catalogue on YouTube is much easier to browse through, with clear playlist categories like supersonic aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. You can get a taste of what to expect from the page in the sample videos below.

[h/t Motherboard]

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