Monthly Archives: February 2013

Michel de Montaigne 2.28.13 Thought of the Day

“Stubborn and ardent clinging to one’s opinion is the best proof of stupidity.” –Michel de Montaigne

Painting by Thomas de Leu (Franco-Flemish pain...

Painting by Thomas de Leu (Franco-Flemish painter and engraver, 1560–1612, active 1580-1610). An engraving of this painting was published in the first edition of Montaigne’s Essais, 1617. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was born on this day in Château de Montaigne,  near Bordeaux, France  in 1533. Today is the 460th anniversary of his birth.

He was born into a very wealthy French family, but as a toddler he lived with a peasant family for three years. This, his father thought, would give him an appreciation for the conditions of the poor.

The fourteenth-century château, in which Miche...

The fourteenth-century château, in which Michel de Montaigne was born and died, was burnt down in 1885. But soon after rebuilt in a similar style by the Montaign family. Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (February 28, 1533 – September 13, 1592) was an influential French Renaissance writer, generally considered to be the inventor of the personal essay. Michel de Montaigne Another view: Flickr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When he returned to the Chateau he was taught by a German tutor and only spoken to in Latin and (eventually) in Greek. So Latin, not French, was his first language. “So the young Montaigne grew up speaking Latin and reading Vergil, Ovid, and Horace on his own. At the age of six, he was sent to board at the Collège de Guyenne in Bordeaux, which he later praised as the best humanist college in France.” [] In 1546 he went to the University of Toulouse. He studied law and became a counselor of the Court des Aides of Périgueux before being appointed counselor to Parlement and serving as a courtier to Charles IX.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, statue sur l'Espla...

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, statue sur l’Esplanade des Quinconces, Bordeaux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While at Parlement he became close friends with the  humanist poet Etienne de La Boëtie whose early death greatly effected Montaigne. “the void left by La Botie’s death in 1563 likely led Montaigne to begin his writing career.” [] He retired to the Château de Montaigne to study and write. Although he traveled a bit and served as Mayor of Bordeaux, but his primary office was as a writer.

He was…

one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. … He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes and autobiography — and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as “Attempts”) contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers the world over, from William Shakespeare to René Descartes, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Stephan Zweig, from Friedrich Nietzsche to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. []

He died in his home in Montaigne of quinsy, a  complication of tonsillitis at the age of 59, in 1592.

Français : Essais, éd de Bordeaux.

Français : Essais, éd de Bordeaux. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


John Steinbeck 2.27.13 Thought of the Day

“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” — John Steinbeck

English: John Steinbeck

English: John Steinbeck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was born on this day in Salinas, California in 1902. Today is the 111st anniversary of his birth.

John Steinbeck home

John Steinbeck home (Photo credit: sjb4photos)

His father was the treasurer for Monterey County, California. His mother, who had been a school teacher, instilled a love a reading and writing in he young Steinbeck. He graduated from high school in 1919 and went to Stanford University.
He worked his way through college at Stanford University but never graduated. In 1925 he went to New York, where he tried for a few years to establish himself as a free-lance writer, but he failed and returned to California. [Nobel]
Back on California he met and married his first wife,Carol Henning, but he struggled to find work as a writer. For the first few years of the Great Depression his parents supported the junior Steinbecks and gave them a cottage to live in.  “Steinbeck first became widely known with Tortilla Flat (1935), a series of humorous stories about Monterey paisanos.” [Ibid]
Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 1930s was …
his most productive decade, he wrote several novels about his native California, including Tortilla Flat (1935), set in Monterey; In Dubious Battle (1936), about fruit-pickers on strike in a California valley; and Of Mice and Men (1937), set on a ranch in Soledad, southeast of Steinbeck’s birth town. [Writer’s Almanac]
He had worked on local farms and ranches during the summers when he was growing up and he wrote from that first hand observation of the  struggles of migrants and farm workers in his novels.
Cover of "The Grapes of Wrath"

Cover of The Grapes of Wrath

In 1939 he published what is considered his best work, The Grapes of Wrath, the story of Oklahoma tenant farmers who, unable to earn a living from the land, moved to California where they became migratory workers. [Nobel]
He won a Pulitzer Prize for the novel.
Steinbeck became a war correspondent for the  New York Herald Tribune during World War II. He wrote from the Mediterranean and North Africa. He collected some of those stories in There Was a War.
Cover of "Viva Zapata! [Region 2]"

Cover of Viva Zapata! [Region 2]

After the war he wrote Cannery Row and  the screenplay for Lifeboat for Alfred Hitchcock. He recycled his characters from Tortilla Flat for the film A Medal for Benny. And he wrote The Pearl, which also was turned quickly into a movie. Followed by the screenplay for  Viva Zapata!
East of Eden (novel)

East of Eden (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He considered his next novel, East of Eden, his masterpiece. Other late works include …
The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), and Travels with Charley (1962), a travelogue in which Steinbeck wrote about his impressions during a three-month tour in a truck that led him through forty American states. He died in New York City in 1968. [Nobel]
Steinbeck won “Nobel Prize in literature for his “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception.” [Writer’s Almanac] in 1962.
He died six years later, in 1968,  of congestive heart failure in New York City.

Victor Hugo 2.26.13 Thought of the Day

“To love another person is to see the face of God.” — Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo, by Alphonse Legros.

Victor Hugo, by Alphonse Legros. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Victor Marie Hugo was born on this day in Besançon, France in 1802. Today is the 211th anniversary of his birth.

He was the third son of Joseph and Sophie Hugo. He was  born during a time of national turmoil in France.  His father supported Napoleon, his mother was a royalist. The family traveled often when he was young because of his father’s military postings. His mother separated from his father in 1803 and took the boys to Paris. There she raised them as Catholic Royalist.

Though a committed conservative royalist when he was young, Hugo grew more liberal as the decades passed; he became a passionate supporter of republicanism, and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. [Sony ReaderStore]

He began to write as a teenager. He created “tragedies and poetry, and translated Virgil. Hugo’s first collection of poems, Odes Et Poesies Diverses gained him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. [The Literature]

Bug-Jargal (1818) by Victor Hugo (1840-1902)

Bug-Jargal (1818) by Victor Hugo (1840-1902) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His first novel, Han D’Islande, came out in 1823 followed by  Bug-Jargal  in 1826. The later book “describes the friendship between the enslaved African prince Bug-Jargal and Leopold D’Auverney, a French military officer, during the slave revolt in Santo Domingo of August, 1791.” []

His reputation grew with the play Hernani in 1830 [Click here for the Project Gutenberg link] (The play later inspired Verdi to write his opera Ernani. )

Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton (Photo credit: twm1340)

Hugo’s literary breakthrough was with The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831.

The novel, set in 15th century Paris, tells a moving story of a gypsy girl Esmeralda and the deformed, deaf bell-ringer, Quasimodo, who loves her. Esmeralda aroses passion in Claude Frollo, an evil priest, who discovers that she favors Captain Phoebus. Frollo stabs the captain and Esmeralda is accused of the crime. Quasimodo attempts to shelter Esmeralda in the cathedral. Frollo finds her and when Frollo is rejected by Esmeralda, he leaves her to the executioners. In his despair Quasimodo catches the priest, throws him from the cathedral tower, and disappears. Later two skeletons are found in Esmeralda’s tomb – that of a hunchback embracing that of a woman. [books and writers]

For 20 more years Hugo continued to write lyrical poetry — he is considered France’s greatest poet — plays, novels and essays. He was a visual artist and statesman as well as a  human rights activist.

English: Woodburytype of Victor Hugo

English: Woodburytype of Victor Hugo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the political landscape shifted in 1851 and Louis Bonaparte began to gain power. Hugo opposed the man, coining the phrase “we have had Napoleon the Great, now we have to have Napoleon the Small” []. When Napoleon grabbed power by way of a coup d’etat in December of that year Hugo fled the country for Brussels. Eventually he wound up on the island of Guernsey.

There, he wrote at a fast pace. And he wrote standing up, at a pulpit, looking out across the water. He had strict minimums for himself: 100 lines of poetry or 20 pages of prose a day. It was during this time that he wrote his masterpiece, Les Misérables (1865), about a poor Parisian man who steals a loaf of bread, spends 19 years in jail for it, and after his release becomes a successful small businessman and small-town mayor — and then is imprisoned once again for a minor crime in his distant past. [WritersAlmanac]

After Louis Bonaparte’s fall in 1870 Hugo returned home to Paris. He resumed his interest in politics and was elected to the National Assembly.

Les Mis

Les Mis (Photo credit: mgstanton)

Hugo died in 1885 at the age of  83. Two million people attended his funeral procession.


George Harrison PART TWO

[George Harrison PART TWO

English: George Harrison in the Oval Office du...

English: George Harrison in the Oval Office during the Ford administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

]In 1968 Harrison’s interest in Indian music …

extended into a yearning to learn more about eastern spiritual practices. In 1968, he led the Beatles on a journey to northern India to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. []

That year the group’s White Album came out. Harrison penned “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Piggies,” “Long, Long, Long” and “Savoy Truffle.” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” is ranked as #7 Greatest Guitar Song of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine.

On Yellow Submarine he  penned “Only A Northern Song” and “It’s All Too Much” both of which — like the rest of the album — were self indulgent and over produced.

He bounced back with Abbey Road which has two of Harrison’s best songs, “Something” and  “Here Comes The Sun”

Let It Be had “I Me Mine Mine” and “For You Blue.” While recording Let It Be Harrison grew frustrated with the poor working conditions of the film studio as well as with the Lennon-McCartney lock on creative input on songs. He walked way from the recording sessions on January 10th, 1969. The other Beatles convinced him to return 12 days later but the writing was on the wall. The end was near for the super group.

When Beatles broke up in April of 1970 Harrison had a back log of music written and ready to produce. His first post-Beatles album was a triple disk, All Things Must Pass. The album yielded two hits “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life”

In 1971  he organized a charity concert at Madison Square Garden to raise money and awareness for the refugees in Bangladesh. The Concert for Bangladesh (and the concert film) was a fore runner to other multi-band high-profile charity concerts to come a decade later like Live Aid.

His next Album, Living in the Material World went Gold  with in a week of its release. The single from the album, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” became an international  best seller.

But then things began to flatten out musically–sales wise at least. Harrison continued to write and experiment musically.

He “started his own film production company, Handmade Films. The outfit underwrote Monty Python’s Life of Brian and would go on to put out 26 other movies before Harrison sold his interest in the company in 1994.” []

In 1987 released Cloud Nine and began to work with a collection of rockers who formed the group the Traveling Wilburys.

The Traveling Wilburys, 1988. L–R: Roy Orbison...

The Traveling Wilburys, 1988. L–R: Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Tom Petty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“In 1998, Harrison, a longtime smoker, reportedly was successfully treated for throat cancer.” [Ibid] Two years later the cancer returned, this time it had spread to his brain. He died in Los Angeles in November of 2001.



Oy! Yesterday was full of frustration WordPress wise. I could NOT get a YouTube song/vid to successfully link.(And believe me I had TONS of great George clips to share.) So I’m trying again to day… with fresh optimism. … Here Comes the Sun…

George Harrison PART ONE 2.25.13

“I think people who can truly live a life in music are telling the world, “You can have my love, you can have my smiles. Forget the bad parts, you don’t need them. Just take the music, the goodness, because it’s the very best, and it’s the part I give”– George Harrison

[Image courtesy: IMDb]

[Image courtesy: IMDb]

George Harrison was born on this day in Liverpool, England in 1943. today is the 70th anniversary of his birth.

Harrison was the youngest of four children born to Harold, a school bus driver, and Louise as shop assistant and stay a home mother. He went to school at Dovedale Primary School until he was 11 when he transferred to the prestigious Liverpool Institute.

By his own admission, Harrison was not much of a student and what little interest he did have for his studies washed away with his discovery of the electric guitar and American rock ‘n roll. []

He was riding his bike through the streets of Liverpool one day when he heard Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel coming through a window. Harrison said it was an epiphany. His father bought him an acoustic guitar and he taught himself how to play.  He formed a pop, jazz, blues, folk, roots band with his older brother Peter and their friend Arthur Kelly called the Rebels.

Harrison knew Paul McCartney from school and in 1958 he auditioned for McCartney and John Lennon’s band The Quarrymen. Lennon was reluctant to bring on the 14-year-old Harrison, but after a second audition — this on the upper deck of a bus — he was sufficiently wowed by Harrison’s rock and roll guitar that the younger guitarist began to fill in with the group.

By 16 Harrison had left school and was working as an apprentice electrician as well as a musician both for the Quarrymen and for the Les Stewart Quartet.

By 1960 Harrison’s music career was in full swing. Lennon had renamed the band the Beatles and the young group began cutting their rock teeth in the small clubs and bars around Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. Within two years, the group had a new drummer, Ringo Starr, and a manager, Brian Epstein,… Before the end of 1962, Harrison and the Beatles recorded a top 20 U.K. hit, Love Me Do. []

They followed that with Please, Please me and produced an album (also called Please, Please Me.) Harrison sang lead on two songs, Chains, a cover of  the Little Eva hit by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and Do You Want to Know a Secret by Lennon and McCartney. The album (literally) rocked the UK charts

Given that the UK album chart in those days tended to be dominated by more ‘adult’ tastes such as film soundtracks and easy listening vocalists, it was a surprise when Please Please Me hit the top of the chart in May 1963 and remained there for thirty weeks before being replaced by With The Beatles. []

The 1963 UK release of With The Beatles, hosted the first Harrison penned song to make it to vinyl;  Don’t Bother Me.

It wasn’t until Help! that another Harrison song made it onto a Beatles album. He contributed “I Need You” and “You Like Me Too Much” to Help!

Harrison’s influence grew in the band with the release of Rubber Soul. Again he has two songs on the album, Think For Yourself and If I Needed Some One. He brought both a folk rock flavor to the group and an interest in classical Indian music.

Harrison soon developed a deep interest in Indian music.He taught himself the sitar, introducing the instrument to many western ears on John Lennon’s song, “Norwegian Wood.”” []

By bringing sitar player Ravi Shankar to the attention of the Western World Harrison introduced the instrument to other rock groups (like the Rolling Stones.) And his willingness to stray from the traditional western rock instruments (guitar, bass, drums, piano) helped “pave the way for such groundbreaking Beatles albums as Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” [Ibid]

He scored with three singles on Revolver, “Taxman,” “Love You To” and “I Want to Tell You.” You can really hear the Eastern influence on “Love You To”

He only contributed one song to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “Within You Without You.”  He’s the only Beatle to play on the song.

[Continued in PART TWO]

Steve Jobs 2.24.13 Thought of the Day

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference Español: Presentación del iPhone 4 por Steve Jobs en la Worldwide Developers Conference del año 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)*

Steven Paul Jobs was born on this day in San Francisco, California, USA in 1955. Today is the 58th anniversary of his birth.

Adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs when he was a baby, he was five when the family moved to Mountain View, California. His parents later adopted a second child, his sister Patty. His dad worked with Steve on electronics and woodworking projects  in the family’s garage.

My father was a machinist, and he was a sort of genius with his hands. … I started to gravitate more toward electronics, and he used to get me things I could take apart and put back together. –Steve Jobs []

He was a bright, inquisitive child, but he lacked focus and motivation. Because he was bored he became a class prankster. Then he met Imogene Hill, his fourth grade advanced class teacher, who “kindled a passion in me for learning things. I learned more that year than I think I learned in any year in school.” [Ibid] He scored so well in standardized testing that he could have skipped two grades (his parents let him skip one grade.)

He began Homestead High School in 1971. When he was a teen he met another electronics enthusiast, Steve  “Woz” Wozniak. They two became friends over their shared interest in computer chips and electronics.


jobs_woz (Photo credit: Revolweb)

After High School  Jobs went to Reed College but dropped out after a half a year. He felt the school was taking to much of his parent’s nest egg and he wasn’t getting enough from it. He continued to take creative classes for another year and a half, most notably calligraphy, which sparked his interest in typography. Then in 1974 he took a job with video game designer Atari.

An original Apple I Computer. [Image courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons]

An original Apple I Computer. [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

In 1976 he and Wozniak formed Apple Computer Company to sell circuit boards. The company was housed in the Jobs family garage. Wozniak invented the Apple 1 computer. They displayed it in July at he Homebrew computer Club in Palo Alto. To finance the  production of the computer Jobs sold his VW Microbus and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator. The price of the computer was $666.66. About 200 computers were produced, about 50 of which are documented to still be in existence.

Jobs and Wozniak are credited with revolutionizing the computer industry by democratizing the technology and making the machines smaller, cheaper, intuitive and accessible to everyday consumers. []

In April of 1977 the Apple 11 came out. The Apple 11 ran at a lightning fast 1MHz with a whopping 4kb of RAM. The next improvement involved a floppy disk drive and a color monitor.

Apple 11 with floppy disk drive [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

Apple 11 with floppy disk drive [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

Apple Computer became a publicly traded company in 1980. John Scully, formerly of Pepsi, came on board as Apple’s president.

But as the 80’s dawned so did IBM’s dominance in the personal computing world.

Steve Jobs - Placard

Steve Jobs – Placard (Photo credit: The Seg)

“In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh, marketing the computer as a piece of a counter culture lifestyle: romantic, youthful, creative.”[] Apple has always had a certain attitude and style to their marketing. This is especially evident with the famous “1984” Apple ad …

Despite Jobs’ creative influence in including things like a WYSIWYG screen interface (vs the PC’s coded  approach) choices in typography and a drawing package the Mac couldn’t compete with Big Blue’s stronghold in the business world. Sales were still strong, especially among the graphic design and art world, but Mac executives began to see Jobs as “hurting Apple” and began “to phase him out.” [Ibid]

This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners...

This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN and became the world’s first Web server. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He resigned in 1985 and started a new company called NeXT. In 1986 he joined with George Lucas to form what became Pixar Animation (“Jobs invested $50 million of his own money into the company.” [Ibid]) Pixar became one of the most successful animation studios in Hollywood history. It was eventually bought by Disney and Jobs became Disney’s largest shareholder.

Apple bought our NeXT in 1997 for $429 million and “Jobs returned to his post as Apple’s CEO.” [Ibid]

For much of the 90’s Apple, Inc. was a follower. It’s designed resembled IBM PCs and PC clones. a lot of the Apple magic was squandered.

With a new management team, altered stock options and a self-imposed annual salary of $1 a year, Jobs put Apple back on track. His ingenious products such as the iMac, effective branding campaigns, and stylish designs caught the attention of consumers once again. [Ibid]

An iMac looked nothing like the tower, keyboard and screen of its competitors. (Yes, I have one.)

An iMac looked nothing like the tower, keyboard and screen of its competitors.*

The Macbook Air, iPod, iPhone and iPad followed. As did 2008s music and media download service iTunes.

English: Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad...

English: Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San Francisco on 27th January 2010. Version without watermark and with reduced noise in the background. Deutsch: Steve Jobs stellt das iPad in San Francisco am 27. Januar 2010 vor. Version ohne Wasserzeichen und reduziertem Bildrauschen im Hintergrund. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)*

in 2003 Jobs was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. He had it successfully removed in 2004, but battled pancreatic cancer for nearly a decade until his death in 2011.

My first Mac was a Mac SE with dual floppy drive. It still sits on my shelf, and it still works (though the software and cables are so antiquated it can't communicate to anything.)

My first Mac was a Mac SE with dual floppy drive. It still sits on my shelf, and, as I found out  in 2011,  it still works.  However, the software and cables are so antiquated it can’t communicate to anything.*


So are you a Mac or a PC?

Apple Product Timeline [Image courtesy: Innovations In Newspapers]

Apple Product Timeline [Image courtesy: Innovations In Newspapers]

* Yeah, I got that.

Apple Logo created in 1977 by Rob Janoff. [Image courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons]

Apple Logo created in 1977 by Rob Janoff. [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

Secondary Character Saturday — Matthew Cuthbert

Matthew Cuthbert had never been known to volunteer
information about anything in his whole life.”

Richard Farnsworth played Matthew in the CBC miniseries.

Richard Farnsworth played the ultimate Matthew in the  1985 CBC miniseries of Anne of Green Gables.

WHO:  Matthew Cuthbert

FROM:  Anne of Green Gables

BY: Lucy Maude Montgomery


Matthew is a bachelor farmer who lives at Green Gables with his spinster sister Marilla. They decided to bring an orphan boy on board to help him with chores around the farm. But the orphanage made a mistake and sent Anne instead. He

PROS: Matthew is shy, hard workings, a good listener, loyal, caring, moral, and he thinks about others.

CONS He’s SO shy he’s almost socially paralyzed.  He could stand up to Marilla more.

MOST SHINING MOMENT: He puts aside his extreme shyness and goes into town to buy a dress with puffy sleeves for Anne. It is an incredibly embarrassing experience for him but he does it because he loves her, and he knows it will make her happy.

When Anne comes into his life, he treats her like a rare treasure that he can’t believe he is lucky enough to be around. []

Be sure to leave a comment of you are a Matthew fan!

Click HERE to get to the Project Gutenberg on-line copy of Anne of Green Gables.

Click HERE to get the Kindle version of the Anne Stories (all the stories of $.99).

Or go to you local bookstore or library and get a hardbound paper version and enjoy reading this classic page by lovely page.

English: Cover of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy...

English: Cover of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, published 1908. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Related articles


Next Month: So…. a while back we were discussing who to “honor” in Secondary Character Saturday and we kept coming up with characters played by Alan Rickman. So the Saturdays in March will feature Alan Rickman Characters! PLEASE send me a thoughts regarding your favorite Rickman characters and why you love/hate them (you know the formula by now.) Cheers, Rita

George Washington 2.22.13 Thought of the Day

“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.”-George Washington

1795 - 1823

1795 – 1823 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

George Washington was born on this day in Westmoreland County, Virginia, USA in 1732. Today is the 281st anniversary of his birth.

Did you know that if your name is George and you went to Mt. Vernon–Washington’s home south of Alexandria Virginia — today you’d get in at a reduced rate?

So much has been said and written about our first president that that (the “George” Discount) is about the only thing I can bring to the table that is new.

Therefor  I decided that for today’s blog I’d focus on images of Washington.

For an excellent biography of the surveyor, soldier, statesman, farmer and cherry-tree-chopper I refer you to the bio. Another terrific bio can be found on the Mount Vernon site at Indeed if you are anywhere near the Northern Virginia area I strongly suggest a trip to Mount Vernon where you can not only tour Washington’s house and the grounds of his estate, but can explore Ford Orientation Center and the The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. If you have a little extra time you might want to drive over to the Washington Grist Mill and Distillery.

Washington was one of the most successful liquor distributors in the new nation. He built a state-of-the-art distillery at Mt. Vernon, where he made rye whiskey, apple brandy and peach brandy. The distillery has been restored in recent years, and is now open to visitors. []

George Washington dollar

George Washington dollar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps the best known image of George Washington is this one done by Gilbert Stuart.

Perhaps the best known image of George Washington is this one done by Gilbert Stuart.

Gilbert Stuart was another artist who was inspired to paint Washington. [Image courtesy: The Library of Congress]

Stuart was inspired by Washington and painted him several times . [Image courtesy: The Library of Congress]

Tompkins H. Matteson's Washington at Valley Forge. [Image courtesy the Pocontico Hills School Washington site]

Tompkins H. Matteson’s Washington at Valley Forge. [Image courtesy the Pocontico Hills School Washington site]

General of the Armies [Image courtesy: the US Military Hall of Fame.]

General of the Armies [Image courtesy: the US Military Hall of Fame.]

A young George Washington [Image courtesy: The History Channel.]

A young George Washington [Image courtesy: The History Channel.]


An etching showing George Washington addressing the troops in 1775 [Image courtesy: The National Archives]

An etching showing George Washington addressing the troops in 1775 [Image courtesy: The National Archives]

Emanuel Leutze's famous (and highly stylized) version of Washington crossing the Delaware river.

Emanuel Leutze’s famous (and highly stylized) version of Washington crossing the Delaware river.

Washington at Valley Forge. [Image courtesy: the Library of Congress]

Washington at Valley Forge. [Image courtesy: the Library of Congress]

Washington was one of artist John Trumbull's favorite subjects. Here he is  resigning as commander and chief.

Washington was one of artist John Trumbull’s favorite subjects. Here he is resigning as commander and chief.

[Image courtesy]

[Image courtesy]

George Washington at Mt. Vernon. George Washin...

George Washington at Mt. Vernon. George Washington seated, half-length, with Martha Washington, and two children. (cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An older Washington [Image courtesy: The Independent]

An older Washington [Image courtesy: The Independent]

English: The equestrian sculpture of George Wa...

English: The equestrian sculpture of George Washington at the center of Washington Circle, a traffic circle and public park, located on the boundary of the Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Click HERE to see a forensic model of what George Washington looked like.

John Henry Newman 2.21.13 Thought of the Day

“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often” –John Newman

English: Portrait painting of John Henry Newman

English: Portrait painting of John Henry Newman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Henry Newman was born on this day in London, England in 1801. Today is the 212th anniversary of his birth.

Newman was the oldest of six children, three boys and three girls, born to John Newman and  Jemima Fourdrinier Newman. He went to Trinity College, Oxford then attended Oriel College.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Oriel in 1820 and became a fellow then tutor at the school.

He had held academic and pastoral assignments simultaneously for several years, serving first as both fellow of Oriel and curate of St. Clement’s and later as both tutor and vicar of St. Mary’s. He remained in his pastoral office until 1843, attracting hundreds of students, university officials, and townspeople to St. Mary’s [this church’s UK site] with his scholarly yet earnest preaching. [The Victorian Web]

He was a leader in the Oxford Movement —  a “19th-century movement centred at the University of Oxford that sought a renewal of “catholic,” or Roman Catholic, thought and practice within the Church of England in opposition to the Protestant tendencies of the church.” [Encyclopedia Britannica] .

Newman…was the Movement’s primary spokesman, promoting its doctrinal and moral concerns through his editorship of the British Critic, his contributions to Tracts for the Times, and his weekly sermons at St. Mary’s. [The Victorian Web]

However, “In 1839, Newman began to lose confidence in the cause… and he soon became convinced that Rome, not Canterbury, was the home of the true Church.” [Ibid] He withdrew from Anglican life and left Oxford. He took back anti Catholic and anti Papal statements he’d said and written  in his youth. In 1845 he converted to Catholicism and became a preist.

Newman worked just as energetically for the Catholic Church as he had for the Anglican. He was instrumental in the creation of the Catholic University of Ireland, and he wrote…

Cover of "Parochial and Plain Sermons"

Cover of Parochial and Plain Sermons

The 1870s brought Newman special recognition for his work as both an Anglican and a Roman Catholic. In 1877 he became the first person elected to an honorary fellowship of Trinity College; two years later, Pope Leo XIII awarded him a place in the College of Cardinals.[The Victorian Web]

Cardinal Newman died of pneumonia in August of 1890.

He wrote the lyrics to the hymn Lead Kindly Light. Here’s the Wells Cathedral Choir singing the song…

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