Sunday, August 17, 2014

What am I bid? $38,115,000? SOLD!

The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta has become the most valuable car in history to be sold at auction when it realized $38,115,000 (£22,843,633 or €28,528,626) moments ago at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California.

Surpassing the current record of the most valuable car sold at auction, which was also set by Bonhams with the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 R F1 Racer that sold for $30-million at Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed Auction last year, the Ferrari GTO had been the subject of intense international interest.

Bidders from around the world were in attendance in the audience and on the telephones. The auction pavilion was filled to total capacity with overflow on the lawns watching the happenings live on the numerous television screens. After the start of a passionate bidding war that at times resembled a tennis match, complete with moments of silence interrupted by cheers, the audience erupted in applause when the fall of the gavel confirmed the final price.

Says Robert Brooks, Chairman of Bonhams, “It’s been a genuine privilege to represent this outstanding car and we are absolutely delighted with today’s results. We’ve always maintained that we would exceed the current world record and that the car would bring between $30-$40-million and today the GTO did just that.”

Demonstrating the confidence in the collector car market and the strength of the Ferrari brand, today’s new world record also reaffirms Bonhams’ position as one of the world’s leading auctioneers of rare and important motorcars.

Other cars from the very special Maranello Rosso Collection of ten important Ferraris also sold extremely well for a combined total $65,945,000 (£39,522,440 or €49,359,559).

Tomorrow promises to be another extraordinary day as Bonhams hosts the second day of its two-day auction at Quail Lodge. Another 107 exquisite automobiles of numerous British, European and American makes and models and every vintage will cross the auction block starting at 11:00am local time.  Complete details can be found at

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall dead at 89

US actress and star of Hollywood's post-war golden age, Lauren Bacall, died Tuesday at her home in New York, her family said. The 89-year-old actress suffered a major stroke, family members said. Bacall starred opposite Humphrey Bogart in some of her most well-known films, including To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948). One of the most famous Hollywood couples of the time, Bogart and Bacall had two children and were married for 11 years until his death in 1957. "With deep sorrow, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall," the Bogart Estate said on Twitter. The actress known for her sultry appeal and low, husky voice appeared in over 70 movies spanning several decades, as well as numerous stage appearances.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - trailer

Release: 26 March 2015

Directed by: John Madden

Cast: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle, Tamsin Greig, Tina Desai, Lillete Dubey with David Strathairn and Richard Gere

Genre: Comedy / Drama

Synopsis: THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it’s making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tena Desae). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy – posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone's secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Release: 1 January 2015
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Cast: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley
Genre: Action/Adventure

From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Robin Williams Dead

Sheriff: Robin Williams dead of apparent suicide

Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead of an apparent suicide on Monday 11 August 2014 in his Tiburon home, near San Francisco, according to the Marin County Sheriff's Office.The news brought an outpouring of mourning - from his family, Hollywood friends and even the White House. Susan Schneider, Williams' wife, asked in a statement for her husband to be remembered by "the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions." "This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings," she said. "I am utterly heartbroken."

Monday, August 4, 2014

This is the craziest thing you will see today. I guarantee.

Click the like button and add a dose of drama to your day (yes, I know it's been on the Internet for a while, but you can't afford to miss this - or see it again)

The true story of Australia's SAS and the soldier who was there from the start

Clint Palmer has spent much of his adult life in the SAS and has fought in this elite military unit as it developed from its fledgling beginnings into the highly trained, specialised fighting force it is today. He is an insider with the long view and this is his unique story of life in the SAS. As a bush kid in the Northern Territory of Australia, growing up in a one dog mining town, Palmer s best friends were mostly Aboriginal kids, and the outside world barely existed. But he always had one driving ambition - the army. Enduring the toughest of tough training, Palmer soon demonstrated his fighting capabilities and became part of the Australian SAS. So began almost thirty years of service. We go with him to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he is at the heart of some of the worst fighting in Operation Anaconda in the Shahi-Kot Valley in 2002. He lets us in on what it s like to have made well over a thousand parachute jumps, many of them in terrible conditions and into treacherous terrain which may have ended not just his career but his life. And he shares with us how this adrenalin fuelled world has become a lifelong commitment. Palmer is the man who knows the Regiment almost better than anyone, so SAS INSIDER really is the inside story of the SAS - and a gripping account of one Australian soldier s life at the sharp end.

Other details
  • ISBN: 9780733629594
  • Publication date: 12 Aug 2014
  • Page count: 368

Survival, heroism, courage and mateship in Ambon, a place of nightmares.

Author: Roger Maynard

In February 1942 the Indonesian island of Ambon fell to the might of the advancing Japanese war machine. Key among the captured Allied forces was a unit of 1150 Australian soldiers known as Gull Force, who had been tasked to defend the island. In one of the most monstrous acts of cruelty of the Second World War, some 300 of the Australian troops held captive were massacred. But it was only the start of a catalogue of horror that would see the men incarcerated, starved and brutalised for the next three and a half years. Sacrificed in pursuit of a military strategy doomed to failure, they endured sickness, bloodshed and death. And such was the trauma that officers and men turned against each other as discipline and morale broke down. Yet their epic struggle also produced heroic acts of kindness and bravery. Just over 300 Australian soldiers lived to tell the tale of those grim days behind barbed wire. In AMBON they speak of not just the horrors, but of the courage, endurance and mateship that got them through. The story of AMBON is one of both the depravity and the triumph of the human spirit. It is also one that's not been widely told. Until now.

Other details ISBN: 9780733630637 Publication date: 29 Jul 2014 Page count: 352

About the author: Roger Maynard is a former BBC reporter and correspondent for The Times, The Independent and CNBC. A past president of the Foreign Correspondents' Association of Australia, he has been a journalist for nearly five decades. He is the author of six books of true crime and military history. For more information visit


This book is a compelling account of a little-known wartime drama played out on the Indonesian island of Ambon involving a unit called Gull Force, a body of 1150 men drawn largely from the 2/21st Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. By the war’s end barely 300 of these men would be alive to tell the tale. The death rate on Ambon was a staggering 77 per cent of all those held in captivity.

While AMBON is essentially about one of the Second World War’s most brutal Prisoner of War camps, it is also a tale of mateship, heroism and the triumph of the human spirit.

Controversially AMBON reveals what happened when Allied officers and men turned against each other. Abandoned on Ambon for the rest of the war, the men of the 2/21st Battalion and sundry smaller units soon fell into a pitiful cycle of forced labour, boredom and plummeting morale. As a desperate and last-ditch effort to hold total chaos at bay, officers built ‘The Cage’, a prison within a prison to incarcerate hungry POWs accused of stealing food and other minor misdemeanours. This home-grown discipline meted out by Allied officers on their own men is one of the most shocking aspects of the Ambon POW experience.

The cage gouged a wound that even after 70 years refuses to heal and epitomises what happens when officers and men turn against each other.

AMBON also details one of the Second World War’s most monstrous acts of cruelty: the massacre of some 300 Australians and Dutch on the island in February 1942. Carried out as retribution for the sinking of a minesweeper in the Bay of Ambon during the opening days of the Japanese invasion, it was an orgy of bloodshed.

‘Death came swiftly for the Australians who were captured at the air base on the island of Ambon in the old Dutch East Indies during the Second World War. One by one their names were called, their hands tied and they were led out of the barracks to meet their fate. Warrant officer Shiego Hamanishi, who helped to oversee the first of the executions, described how ‘death was almost instantaneous. As soon as one execution was over, another followed’.
– from AMBON by Roger Maynard

Ambon is a tragedy which almost certainly could have been avoided had the allied military top brass been of sounder judgment. Instead they pursued a suicidal strategy which involved the sacrifice of Gull Force and its inevitable capitulation. Incredibly, Ambon was even bombed by American planes on a number of occasions when forces knew that Allied POWs were held there. Who was responsible for such a military debacle and could it have been avoided?

Amazingly some prisoners managed to escape the Ambon camp and island-hopped their way back to Australia. How they did it is a story in itself. Others were transferred to the Chinese island of Hainan where some escaped and joined Chinese guerrillas. There is speculation that a few may even have survived after the war, hiding themselves in the jungle. 
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