Thursday, December 23, 2010

Funny Quotes by Sports Commentators

"And here's Moses Kiptanui, the 19 year old Kenyan, who turned 20 a few weeks ago." (David Coleman)

“It’s so different from the scenes in 1872, at the Cup Final none of us can remember.” (John Motson)

Jimmy Hill: "Don't sit on the fence Terry. What chance do you think Germany has of getting through? Terry Venables: "I think it's 50-50."

"I was in a no-win situation, so I'm glad that I won rather than lost." (Frank Bruno)

"Just under 10 seconds for Nigel Mansel. Call it 9.5 seconds in round numbers." (Murray Walker)

"I can't tell who's leading. It's either Oxford or Cambridge." (John Snagge - Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge)

'I would not say he (David Ginola) is the best left winger in the Premiership, but there are none better'. (Ron Atkinson).

He dribbles a lot and the opposition don't like it - you can see it all over their faces.' (Ron Atkinson)

'I never comment on referees and I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat' (Ron Atkinson)

'For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip' (John Motson)

Other than his mistakes, he hasn't put a foot wrong. (Brian Johnston)

Fred Titmus has two short legs, one of them square. (Brian Johnston)

"As you look at the first four, the significant thing is that Alboreto is 5th" (Murray Walker)

“I am sitting here with my chin on the counter, my mouth open like a great big whale scooping up plankton. I am gobsmacked!” (David Duffield, cycling)

This is like Wimbledon., Ascot and Silverstone all wrapped in together and plonked in the middle of Paris: amazing! (David Duffield, cycling)

If you’ve got a grandmother in a wheelchair, now’s the time to take her for a walk so she needn’t see this! (David Duffield, cycling)


Great Sports Commentators

David Coleman athletics
Harry Carpenter boxing
Eamon Andrews boxing
Barry Davies football
Peter O'Sullevan horse racing
John Motson Football
Dan Maskell tennis
Bill McClaren rugby union
Eddie warring rugby league
peter Alliss golf
Richie Benaud cricket
Top 10 Sportsmen of all time

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quotes Aristotle

Aristotle, polymath, philosopher and key figure in development of western civilisation.
One swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.
Aristotle (Ethics (I.1098a18)

The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.

Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics (I.1096a5)
Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.
- Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics I.1096a16)
Man is by nature a political animal. (I.1253a2)
- Aristotle Politics (IV.1291b34)

The basis of a democratic state is liberty.
- Aristotle Politics (IV.1291b34)

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.
- Aristotle Politics (IV.1291b34)

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.
- Aristotle Politics (IV.1291b34)

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.
- Aristotle Poetry (1451b6)

If, then, God is always in that good state in which we sometimes are, this compels our wonder; and if in a better this compels it yet more. And God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God's self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal.
Aristotle (Metaphysics - XII.1072b24)

Robin Hood Fact or Fiction?

From the fourteenth century, there are definitely ballads that refer to a character, known as 'Robin Hood'.

These ballads were surviving in the 15th or early 16th Century.
* A Gest of Robyn Hode
* Robin Hood and the Monk
* Robin Hood and the Potter

They depict an outlaw who was in conflict with the law, an in particular, the Sheriff of Nottingham.

In the medieval period, the names Robin and Hood were both very common. Looking at registers, there are many people called Robin Hood. Some of these Robin Hood's were also wanted by the law.

It is quite likely, these ballads were based on a real person, who exhibited, at least, some of the characteristics we associate with the modern version of Robin Hood.

It would be very surprising if there wasn't a real person who was in conflict with the law and the then Sheriff of Nottingham.

However, these early ballads were often vague about details and specifics of Robin Hood. Over the Centuries, play writes, authors and movie producers have added and adapted different characters and ideas to the legend of Robin Hood.

It is likely that the Robin Hood referred to in the early ballads was not a dispossessed aristocrat, but just a yeoman, which was basically a commoner. These early ballads also placed Robin Hood in the thirteenth or fourteenth century so he wouldn't have had any national political role such as supporting King Richard III.

In a way Robin Hood has become a symbol of a character we would like to idealise. Someone fighting injustice, standing up for women and the poor, being loyal to the rightful King, being physically strong and skilled. Writers have had full scope to create Robin Hood in their own image. But, back in history, there would have been someone with at least some of these attributes and characteristics.
Wharfedale Autumn
One thing is certain, that there is no historical 'Robin Hood' who is recorded as doing everything portrayed in movies. If someone had played such a key role in leading Saxons to revolt over Normans (1937 Errol Flynn) he would have had greater historical mention.

Also many ideas such as Maid Marion, Friar Tuck, were conveniently added many centuries after Robin Hood was first mentioned. Maid Marian was not associated with Robin Hood, until the book, Thomas Love Peacock in 1822.

However, though modern versions have added colour, ideas and characters, there are still certain similarities with early versions and perhaps the real Robin Hood. Robin Hood is still a man of his time seeking to create a better life, amidst the injust and cruelty of those in power.

View: Robin Hood Biography

Monday, December 6, 2010

Beethoven's Greatest Works

Beethoven was a composer of extraordinary versatility and genius. It is hard to pick his greatest works, but these are some of the best known and most famous pieces.

Piano Sonatas

  • Sonata in C sharp minor, op. 27, nr. 2 “The Moonlight Sonata”
  • Sonata in F minor, op. 57, “Appassionata”
  • Sonata in C minor, op. 13, “Pathetique”
  • "Für Elise" Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (WoO 59 and Bia 515) for solo piano,


  • Symphony No. 3 "Eroica"; in E flat major (Op. 55)
  • Symphony No. 5 in C minor
  • Symphony No. 9 in D minor, including well known "Ode to Joy".


  • 'Fidelio'


  • Missa Solemnis D Major, Op. 123


  • Concerto for violin in D by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Piano Concerto no. 5 “Emperor” in E flat major op. 73

String Quartets

  • Beethoven: String Quartets Op 131 & 135 / Bernstein by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven's Greatest Hits at

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quotes David Livingstone

David Livingstone - Christian missionary, explorer and campaigner against slave trade.

In reply to the famous question by Henry Morton Stanley, spoken on November 10, 1871, in Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania.
"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

"Cannot the love of Christ carry the missionary where the slave-trade carries the trader? I shall open up a path to the interior or perish."
- David Livingstone

"Fear God and work hard."

"I am immortal till my work is accomplished," he wrote. "And although I see few results, future missionaries will see conversions following every sermon. May they not forget the pioneers who worked in the thick gloom with few rays to cheer, except such as flow from faith in the precious promises of God's Word."

"I will place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of Christ. If anything will advance the interests of that kingdom, it shall be given away or kept only as by giving or keeping of it I shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time and eternity."

"People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay?"
Biography David Livingstone

Quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christian theologian and symbol of German resistance to Hitler.

"In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts…"

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)

"There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler."
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts…"

"Who stands firm? Only the one for whom the final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all these, when in faith and sole allegiance to God he is called to obedient and responsible action: the responsible person, whose life will be nothing but an answer to God's question and call."

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others."
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)

"Music... will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you."
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
always post: reviews user statuses

"time is the most valuable thing that we have, because it is the most irrevocable."
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)

Famous Last Words

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
~Jesus Christ - Luke 23:46

'Patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness to anyone.'
- Edith Cavell

'Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.'
~ John Cranmer to his friend Nicholas Ridley, as they were both about to be burned as heretics for their teachings and beliefs outside Balliol College, Oxford (16 October 1555);

'I see heaven open and Jesus on the right hand of God'
~ Thomas Cranmer 1556 Burnt at Stake for heresy.

'Fancy being remembered around the world for the invention of a mouse.'
~ Walt Disney 1966. Said during last illness.

'Am I dying or is this my birthday?'
When she woke briefly during her last illness and found all her family around her bedside.
~~ Lady Nancy Astor, d. 1964

'I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.'
~~ Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, d.1170

'Friends applaud, the comedy is finished.'
~ Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, d. March 26, 1827

'This is no time to make enemies'
~ Voltaire (when asked to forswear Satan)

Et tu, Brute?
~~ Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman Emperor, d. 44 BC

I must go in, the fog is rising.
~~ Emily Dickinson, poet, d. 1886

Sister, you're trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I'm done, I'm finished, I'm going to die.
~~ George Bernard Shaw, playwright, d. November 2, 1950

Thomas Jefferson--still survives...

~John Adams, US President, d. July 4, 1826 (Actually, Jefferson had died earlier that same day.)

This is the last of earth! I am content.
~~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848

See in what peace a Christian can die.
~ Joseph Addison, writer, d. June 17, 1719

I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.
~~ Leonardo da Vinci, artist, d. 1519

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
~~Oscar Wilde, writer, d. November 30, 1900

Book Cover

Immortal last words - Terry Breverton

Dying Words

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Edith Cavell Quotes

Edith Cavell, was a British nurse who helped Allied servicemen to escape occupied Belgium. She was found guilty of treason and executed.

'Patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness to anyone.'

"I have no fear nor shrinking; I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me."

"I thank God for this ten weeks' quiet before the end. Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty. This time of rest has been a great mercy. They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards any one."

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. III, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923, as quoted at

"Someday, somehow, I am going to do something useful, something for people. They are, most of them, so helpless, so hurt and so unhappy. "

"Nothing but physical impossibility, lack of space and money would make me close my doors to Allied refugees."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quotes on Dreams


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
— Mark Twain
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one."
— John Lennon

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."
— Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)

"Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."
— Oscar Wilde (The Critic as Artist)

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."
— Edgar Allan Poe

Trust your dreams.
They are sweet and beautiful.
Trust your visions.
They are soulful and powerful.
Trust your aspiration.
It is your earth-friend
Trust your realisation.
It is your Eternity's real Self.
- Sri Chinmoy

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
— Eleanor Roosevelt

"I dream my painting and I paint my dream."
— Vincent van Gogh


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Persistent People

"Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance."
- Samuel Johnson
"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. "
- Louis Pasteur
"If you are going through hell, keep going."
- Winston Churchill

"Man can accept his fate,
He can refuse.

"Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will."

- Sri Aurobindo, Savitri

I do not give up,
I never give up,
For there is nothing
In this entire world
That is irrevocably unchangeable.

- Sri Chinmoy

"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on."
- Thomas Jefferson

"I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right."
- Albert Einstein

There is a famous saying - 'genius is one % inspiration and 99% perspiration' Great people tend to be persistent, determined and unperturbed by set back and defeat. If we look at people who changed the world, we see great characters who persisted even in the most difficult circumstances. For example, Nelson Mandela who spent most of his life in jail or fighting the injustice of the apartheid system. He could easily have chosen an easier option in life.

Persistence should not be a stubborn persistence that ignores when you have made a mistake or are in the wrong. Persistence is valuable when we never give up dreaming of becoming a better person and making the world a better place.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Most Inspirational People

Who would you vote as being most inspirational person of all time?

If you'd like to suggest a person who you find inspirational, you can leave a comment at the bottom of this post. It may be a famous person from history or someone less well known who inspires you for some reason.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hope Quotes


What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving,
or being loved.

- Meister Eckhart

Knows no fear.

Hope dares to blossom
Even inside the abysmal abyss.

Life without hope
Is no life at all.

Hope passes beyond,
Far beyond,
The abyss of despair.

- Sri Chinmoy

"We live by admiration, hope and love."

- William Wordsworth

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.

- Martin Luther King, Jr

I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy.

-Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Examples of Inspired People

Some characteristics and examples of inspired people.

Leave a comment, if you'd like to suggest a person who inspires you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Britain's Finest Hour

Britain's finest hour came in the Second World War. In the summer and winter of 1940 Britain, alone, stood against Nazi Germany. In the preceding 15 months, the Nazi war machine had steam-rolled through Western Europe. First carving up Poland with the Soviet Union, and then capturing the low countries and spectacularly defeating France. In the summer of 1940, there were people in the British cabinet who thought Britain could not hold out alone, and the best thing was to sue for peace with Hitler, perhaps similar to Vichy France. However, Churchill stood firm against the likes of Lord Halifax saying there could be no compromise with Hitler. The outlook was certainly bleak, but, the inspirational speeches of Churchill helped firm up British resolve to keep fighting against the tyranny of Hitler's Germany.

Unexpectedly, 1941 and 1942, saw the tide of war change as Germany invaded Russia, and Japan bombed Pearl Harbour. This effectively brought Britain two much more powerful allies and after years of hard fighting, Germany was eventually, comprehensively and decisively beaten. The Thousand Year Reich was destroyed and the top leaders were mostly either killed, arrested or committed suicide at their own hands. It was only at the defeat of Nazi Germany that the true scale and horror of the Nazi state were fully revealed. Though, allied intelligence knew about the persecution of Jews, it was only pictures of concentration camps and the mass extermination of people that brought home the evils of a regime that had sought to conquer the whole of Europe, if not the world.

One irony of the Second World War is that though it was Britain's final hour, it came at a high cost. The war bankrupted Britain creating a national debt of nearly 200% of GDP (by end of 1940s).

The war was also a turning point, no longer would Britain have an Empire, soon countries which had been part of Britain's Empire were given their freedom, such as India in 1947.

From one perspective, Britain gained nothing and lost materially. But, in fighting the Nazi Empire, it was as if Britain learnt that ruling countries against their will was wrong. After fighting fascism in Europe, Britain could no longer morally hold out against other countries claim for self-determination.

By fighting Hitler's Germany, fascist tendencies in Britain were reduced. Before the war, Oswald Mosley's black shirts were a potential political force. The war changed all that. Before the war, Churchill despised the idea of giving India independence. After 1947, even Churchill gave up the pretence of trying to maintain an Empire.

The Second World War also had a profound impact on Britain's society. The war gave the ordinary working people greater expectations, they no longer wanted a return to the staid class ridden society complete with mass unemployment of the 1930s. In 1945, the British even voted against the Conservative war hero - Winston Churchill. Instead there was a Labour landslide and a manifesto for a National Health Service, a Welfare State and a socialist government.


Inspirational Christian Sayings

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes in all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
- 1 Corinthians Ch. 13
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Deuteronomy 6
"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the world and loses his own soul?"
- Matthew 24:14,
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tounges, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present, we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
- 1 Corinthians Ch. 13 New American Standard Bible
Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven
18:3-20 (KJV)
It is not how much we do,
but how much love we put in the doing.
It is not how much we give,
but how much love we put in the giving.
If we really want to love
we must learn how to forgive.
We can do no great things;
only small things with great love.
Love cannot remain by itself -- it has no meaning.
Love has to be put into action, and that action is service

Strengthen the bonds that unite us and eliminate all that has divided us in the past."
- Pope John Paul II

"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway."
From The Paradoxical Commandments, by Dr. Kent M. Keith. Mother Teresa quoted this often. I wrote a commentary on this text.


Inspirational Blogs

  1. Zen Habits Leo Babuta's Zen habits is one of the most popular blogs on the internet. It has a range of articles on simplicity, health and self-improvement. It is ad free and has a simple, frugal design. Posts at Zen habits are thought provoking and give ideas for how life could be made more enjoyable and simple. Whatever your perspective there are likely to be some articles that appeal.
  2. Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Another blog on the them of self-improvement. Practical ideas for the secret of happiness. Articles include Seven Steps to Inner Peace, How to Stop Negative Thoughts and How to learn to meditate.
  3. Perfection Journey. A unique blog in offering coverage of the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race - the world's longest race!
  4. Ashrita Furman - the world record breaking Guinness World Record Breaker - + 300 records and counting. Also offers interesting perspective on how meditation has helped him break records.
  5. The Change Blog - great blog with inspirational articles on how to change your life by Peter and a team of contributors
  6. Pick The Brain - articles on health, self-improvement and self-growth
  7. Spirit Blog


Inspirational People

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Beautiful Architecture

Radcliffe Camera Square

Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera Oxford

The Sheldonian Theatre in distance

Merton College Chapel

Ashmoleum museum in snow.

Front of Ashmoleum


Radcliffe Camera and Brasenose College

Random Interesting Facts

French subway stations aren't usually used as parking places
  • Coca Cola was invented by John Pemerton in 1886. It used to be made from coca leaves and could contain traces of cocaine (from 0.1% to 0.9% depending on where grown) Though it is no longer made with cocaine.
  • The Guinness World Record for holding the most Guinness Records is set by Ashrita Furman. Ashrita has set - 303 - official Guinness Records since 1979 and currently holds - 121 (sept 2010)
  • A googol is a large number. the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros: 10,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000.
  • TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
  • The most common name in the world is Mohammed.
  • 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
  • The 57 on Heinz ketchup bottles represents the number of varieties of pickles the company once had.
  • There are more than 1,700 references to gems and precious stones in the King James translation of the Bible.
  • The bagpipe was originally made from the whole skin of a dead sheep.
  • No piece of normal-size paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.
  • 2,520 can be divided by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 without having a fractional leftover
  • It is unknown if odd perfect numbers exist
  • A perfect number is a number whose divisors add up to itself such as 28: 1+2+4+7+14=28
  • 5% of the world population lives in the US but 22% of the world's prisons population are held in the US.
  • If you walk outside George Orwell's old house in London you are now captured on surveillance cameras 33 times.
  • Approximately 105 million bicycles are made every year. This is double the number of motor cars made every year.
  • In Chinese the words for 'crisis' and 'opportunity' are the same.
  • The Netherlands has the highest rate of cycling with an average of 2.5 Km per day per person. In the US, this rate is 0.1 Km per person. In the UK 0.2Km (cycling facts)
  • The Rhubarb Triangle is a small area in West Yorkshire between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell. At one time, the 'Rhubarb triangle' produced 90% of the world's forced winter rhubarb. (Yorkshire Facts)
  • Everything weighs one per cent less at the equator.
  • The mosquito has killed more human beings than any other animal.
  • Birmingham(UK) has 22 more miles of canals than Venice.
  • 9 out of every 10 living thing lives in the ocean.
  • Honey is the only food that does not spoil. Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharoahs has been tasted by archaeologists and found edible.
  • HThere have been over 2,00 known nuclear bomb explosions since World War Two.
  • A snail's reproductive organs are in it's head.
  • An adult giraffe´s kick is so powerful it can decapitate a lion.
  • The largest toy distributor in the world is Mcdonalds.
  • The shortest war in history was between Zanzibar and Britain in 1896.Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.
  • Each king in a pack of playing cards represents a great king from history: Spades-King David , Clubs-Alexander the Great ,Hearts-Charlemagne and Diamonds-Julius Caesar.

A random photo I took in Oxfordshire.

More bizarre facts try: Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Extraordinary Book of Facts: And Bizarre Information (Bathroom Readers)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why We Love Character of Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle always wished to be known as a great author of historical novels. He never warmed to his own creation - Sherlock Holmes - as much as the reading public who loved this eccentric detective.

What is it about Sherlock Holmes which makes him such a great Character?

Analysis of Sherlock Holmes Character

Great self-confidence

Sherlock Holmes has great confidence in his abilities and capacities. This confidence doesn't come across as egotistic and proud. It is a confidence based on his undoubted abilities in his chosen profession of detective work.


It is perhaps a paradox that someone with so much confidence and belief in his deductive powers can at the same times have a humble modest approach, which doesn't need the praise of the world. There are numerous times, when he is happy to play down his role and give more (or all the ) credit to the police. To Holmes, the satisfaction comes not from worldly and financial reward, but, the satisfaction of solving a crime mystery. He is a true believer in crime detection. His work is his greatest reward. When he throws himself into a crime it is with the best motives.

The Outsider.

We always admire someone just outside the orthodox establishment. Because Holmes is not a real policemen he can do things outside the law. He is willing to bend the law in order to get a bigger prize. It is hard to criticise this approach when he is so successful in getting the bigger prize. At least once a detective notes 'I could never get away with your approach'. It is Holmes willingness to place his own personal safety at risk which we admire.

True Friend

Holmes is not the emotional type given to expressing his emotions. In fact he works hard to display a cold exterior. But, underneath his approach, we know Holmes is a steadfast friend to his Beloved Watson. He is also loyal and willing to sacrifice everything for clients who come to him and he is willing to take on their case.

The Eccentric.

Holmes is no dedicated follower of fashion. He sets his own way of life and appears content with or without society's approval. He is the long tradition of the English eccentric with his own foibles, genius and eccentricity.

A Great Judge of Character.

It seems Holmes can weigh up a person's life, personality and character from the flimsiest of external evidence. But, often he is proved right.

By far the best media representation of Sherlock Holmes is Jeremy Brett in the ITV series. He captures the mood and character of Holmes to perfection and with a considerable degree of flair.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Leonardo Da Vinci Facts

  • Leonardo da Vinci born April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519
  • Da Vinci was an Italian polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, botanist and writer.
  • Da Vinci is probably most famous for his painting the Mona Lisa - now on display in the Louvre, Paris.
  • Da Vinci was commissioned to paint the Mona Lisa, but, he never handed the painting over, and never sold it. He carried it around with him for the last 20 years of his life.
  • Da Vinci had a great interest in anatomy. He painted a simple sketch of the Vitruvian Man which shows the simple symmetry of man. It is also regarded as a cultural icon.
  • Much of Da Vinci's investigations into human anatomy were lost, as cutting up human bodies was frowned upon in that decade. Some of Da Vinci's discoveries were not made re-invented for 200 years.
  • Another famous painting was his last supper, depicting Christ's last meal with his disciples.
  • Da Vinci made sketches and concepts for devises as diverse as a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, the double hull and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics.
  • Leonardo was apprenticed to the artist Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio in Florence. He also spent time in Verona, Rome and France.
  • A suggested tale is that Leonardo collaborated with his Master Verrocchio on his painting - the Baptism of Christ. Allegedly, Da Vinci's contribution of the young angel holding Jesus's robe was so far superior to his master's that Verrocchio put down his brush and never painted again.
  • Da Vinci was a contemporary of Raphael and Michelangelo, though Da Vinci was born two decades before these. It was a period known as the High renaissance.
  • Da Vinci was a vegetarian. He often bought caged birds in order to release them.
  • The novelist Matteo Bandello observed Leonardo at work and wrote that some days he would paint from dawn till dusk without stopping to eat, and then not paint for three or four days at a time
  • Da Vinci wrote extensive journals. As a left hander he devised a mirror-image cursive way of writing from right to left.
  • He was a great inventor and created items from musical instruments, hydraulic pumps, reversible crank mechanisms, finned mortar shells, to a steam cannon.
  • His political contempories included Lorenzo Medici (il Magnifico)

Book Cover Leonardo Da Vinci at


Book CoverLeonardo Da Vinci at

General Patton Facts

General George Patton
  • Date of birth: Nov 11, 1885
  • Date of death: Dec 21, 1945 (age 60 years)
  • Patton was involved in North Africa, Sicily, and the European Theater of Operations.
  • Patton participated in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm in the first-ever modern pentathalon. He placed sixth out of 37
  • Patton was involved in First World War and helped pioneer the use of tanks during the Battle of Cambrai and later
  • One of greatest moments in the Second World War was at Bastogne, when Patton rapidly disengaged his army from fighting in another sector and moved it over 100 miles in 48 hours to relieve the siege at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.
  • Nickname Old Blood and Guts - He was well known for his uncompromising passionate speeches to his soldiers
  • Died in Car crash just after end of war.
  • He nearly got sacked for slapping and insulting a soldier suffering from battle fatigue.
His awards include:
  • Distinguished Service Cross (2)
  • Distinguished Service Medal (3)
  • Silver Star (2)
  • Legion of Merit
  • Bronze Star
  • Purple Heart
  • Order of the Bath
  • Order of the British Empire
  • He was seen as undiplomatic - often upsetting US allies such as Russia and Great Britain.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spirituality and Religiosity

"Religion is our conscious or unconscious response to the beckoning Light. Religion is our firm belief in the lofty experiences of our predecessors. Religion is our great satisfaction in our glorious past.

Spirituality is in the aspiring heart. Spirituality is of the liberating soul. Spirituality is for the fulfilling and immortalising God."

- Sri Chinmoy from Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mark Twain Quotes

"I was sorry to have my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead, Spencer is dead, so is Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I’m not feeling so well myself."

• The History of the Savage Club, speech (1899).

"[A] classic - something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read."
* quoting "Professor Winchester"

"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest."

"To put it in rude, plain, unpalatable words — true patriotism, real patriotism: loyalty not to a Family and a Fiction, but a loyalty to the Nation itself!

..."Remember this, take this to heart, live by it, die for it if necessary: that our patriotism is medieval, outworn, obsolete; that the modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism, is loyalty to the Nation ALL the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it." [Czar Nicholas II]

"The only reason why God created man is because he was disappointed with the monkey. "

"I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough. "

"Always acknowledge a fault frankly. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you opportunity to commit more."

"Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world — and never will. "

- Mark Twain

Mark Twain Biography

Quotes on Writing

" A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book." - Ernest Hemingway

"The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life — and one is as good as the other." - Ernest Hemingway

"If a writer … knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows…. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water." - Ernest Hemingway

"It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way." - Ernest Hemingway

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~ Mark Twain

“I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit.” - P.G.Wodehouse

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~ Mark Twain

When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don't state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint.
~Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

"A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?"

George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language", 1946

"In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning."

- George Orwell

"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink."

- George Orwell

Writers Biographies

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ernest Hemingway Quotes

" A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."

"My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements."

"God knows, people who are paid to have attitudes toward things, professional critics, make me sick; camp-following eunuchs of literature."

"The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life — and one is as good as the other."

"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn... American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."

"Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called by the Masai "Ngàje Ngài," the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude."

"It wasn't by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. "

If a writer … knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows…. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.

- Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway Biography

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Napoleon Bonarparte Facts

  • Napoleon Bonaparte 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821 born in Corsica, France.
  • In 1799, he staged a coup d'état amidst the turmoil of post revolutionary France and installed himself as First Consul.
  • In 1804 he was proclaimed Emperor by French Senate
  • In 1784, Napoleon was admitted to the elite École Militaire in Paris
  • At one time he did to consider an application to the British Royal Navy to further his naval ambitions, but chose against it.
  • Bonaparte was put under house arrest in August 1794 for his association with the Robespierre brothers.
  • In October 1795 he helped defeat a Royalist insurrection, which caused him to rise rapidly to fame.
  • By 1812, Napoleon had wiped out the last traces of the Holy Roman Empire and conquered most of Europe.
  • However, his next invasion of Russia proved very costly as his army suffered in the harsh winter near Moscow.
  • On 18 March 1814, the allies marched into Paris and Napoleon was forced to abdicate on 6 April 1814.
  • Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba, but, a year later broke away with a 1,000 men and reclaimed the leadership of France.
  • Napoleon was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo by the allied armies commanded by the Duke of Wellington.
  • His second exile was to the island of Saint Helena, where he died six years later.

How Tall Was Napoleon?

  • His autopsy states that by the French measure he was five foot two (5' 2"),This actually translates into five feet six and one half inches (5' 6.5")
  • The Napoleonic code, which he introduced forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven initially dedicated his third symphony, the Eroica (Italian for "heroic"), to Napoleon in the belief that the general would sustain the democratic and republican ideals of the French Revolution.
  • But, after Napoleon's imperial ambitions became clear he renamed the symphony "Sinfonia Eroica, composta per festeggiare il Sovvenire di un grand'Uomo", or in English, "composed to celebrate the memory of a great man".

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Facts John Wesley

  • John Wesley (1703-1791), was a preacher and founder of Methodism
  • He attended Charterhouse school, where he was bullied by fellow pupils.
  • It is estimated he rode 250,000 miles, gave away 30,000 pounds, . . . and preached more than 40,000 sermons. - John Wesley: A Biography, by Edward T. Oakes, Copyright (c) 2004 First Things (December 2004)
  • John Wesley opposed slavery
  • His last words were quoted as The best of it all is, God is with us.
  • He is often credited with the phrase: 'Agree to disagree. ' - It stems from his disagreement with Calvinist George Whitfield. They shared certain shared valued - preaching in open air. But, John Wesley disagreed with his calvinist doctrines
John Wesley Biography

Friday, February 12, 2010

John Wesley Quotes

" I observed, "Love is the fulfilling of the law, the end of the commandment." It is not only "the first and great" command, but all the commandments in one. "Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise," they are all comprised in this one word, love."
- John Wesley quoting his own sermon on "The Circumcision of the Heart" (1 January 1733)

"I look on all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation."- Journal (11 June 1739)

" We believe the written word of God to be the only and sufficient rule, both of Christian faith and practice; and herein we are fundamentally distinguished from those of the Romish church. We believe Christ to be the eternal, supreme God; and herein we are distinguished from the Socinians and Arians. " - The Character of a Methodist" (1739)

"Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees." - Letter (27 June 1760), published in The Works of the Rev. John Wesley (1813) Vol. XVI, p. 109

"The longer I live, the larger allowances I make for human infirmities. I exact more from myself, and less from others. Go thou and do likewise!" - Letter to Reverend Samuel Furley (25 Janurary 1762), P

"Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge." - Letter to Joseph Benson (7 November 1768);

"Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under the name of reason. It is our part, by religion and reason joined, to counteract them all we can." - Letter to John Benson (5 October 1770); published in Wesley's Select Letters (1837), p. 207

"In returning I read a very different book, published by an honest Quaker, on that execrable sum of all villanies, commonly called the Slave-trade." - Journal (12 February 1772) after reading Some historical accounts of Guinea by Anthony Benezet
Source: Wikiquote - John Wesley

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spike Milligan Quotes

"A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree."

"All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy."

"And God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected."

"I thought I'd begin by reading a poem by Shakespeare, but then I thought, why should I? He never reads any of mine. " - Spike Milligan

"Are you going to come quietly, or do I have to use earplugs?"
On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
And the Monkeys all say Boo!
There's a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots Jibber Jabber Joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang!
And you just can't catch 'em when they do!

Spike Milligan
On the Ning Nang Nong, from Silly Verse for Kids

"For ten years Caesar ruled with an iron hand. Then with a wooden foot, and finally with a piece of string."

"How long was I in the army? Five foot eleven."

"I can speak Esperanto like a native."

"I shook hands with a friendly Arab. I still have my right arm to prove it."

Friday, February 5, 2010

P.G.Wodehouse Quotes

"There are some things a chappie's mind absolutely refuses to picture, and Aunt Julia singing 'Rumpty-tiddley-umpty-ay' is one of them."

The Man with Two Left Feet (1917)

"He wore the unmistakable look of a man about to be present at a row between women, and only a wet cat in a strange backyard bears itself with less jauntiness than a man faced by such a prospect."

Piccadilly Jim (1918)

"And she's got brains enough for two, which is the exact quantity the girl who marries you will need."

-The Adventures of Sally (1922)

"He was not a man who prattled readily, especially in a foreign tongue. He gave the impression that each word was excavated from his interior by some up-to-date process of mining."
The Clicking Of Cuthbert (1922)

"As a rule, you see, I'm not lugged into Family Rows. On the occasions when Aunt is calling Aunt like mastodons bellowing across premieval swamps and Uncle James's letter about Cousin Mabel's peculiar behaviour is being shot round the family circle ('Please read this carefully and send it on Jane') the clan has a tendency to ignore me. It's one of the advantages I get from being a bachelor - and, according to my nearest and dearest, practically a half-witted bachelor at that."

"It was my Uncle George who discovered that alcohol was a food well in advance of modern medical thought."

"I turned to Aunt Agatha, whose demeanour was now rather like that of one who, picking daisies on the railway, has just caught the down express in the small of the back."

" Jeeves lugged my purple socks out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of his salad."
  • The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)
"The Right Hon. was a tubby little chap who looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and had forgotten to say `When!'"

" My Aunt Dahlia has a carrying voice... If all other sources of income failed, she could make a good living calling the cattle home across the Sands of Dee.:

"She fitted into my biggest armchair as if it had been built round her by someone who knew they were wearing armchairs tight about the hips that season."

"Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove."
  • Very Good, Jeeves (1930)
"I don't want to seem always to be criticizing your methods of voice production, Jeeves," I said, "but I must inform you that that 'Well, sir' of yours is in many respects fully as unpleasant as your 'Indeed, sir?' Like the latter, it seems to be tinged with a definite scepticism. It suggests a lack of faith in my vision. The impression I retain after hearing you shoot it at me a couple of times is that you consider me to be talking through the back of my neck, and that only a feudal sense of what is fitting restrains you from substituting for it the words 'Says you!'"

Right Ho, Jeeves (1934)

"There is only one cure for grey hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roald Dahl Facts

  • Roald Dahl was very tall - 6 feet 5 and three-quarter inches tall (1.96 metres).
  • As well as being a best selling author he also wrote two successful screenplays - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the James Bond film You Only Live Twice - He became friends with Ian Fleming during the war.
  • He married Patricia Neal on 2 July 1953 in New York
  • He could speak three languages English, Norwegian and Swahili - learnt whilst working for Shell in Africa in the 1930s
  • Dahl excelled at sport and won cups for Football, Rugby and Fives.
  • Despite his sporting prowess he wasn't made a school prefect because he was seen as something of a rebel.
  • At school, in his last years, he used to go racing around the countryside on a motorbike
  • Some of his most popular stories include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Esio Trot, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox, Danny the Champion of the World, George's Marvellous Medicine, and The Witches.
  • 20 April 1941, Dahl took part in the "Battle of Athens", alongside the highest-scoring British Commonwealth ace of World War II, Pat Pattle. Dahl was officially credited with 5 'kills' but probably was more.
  • There he fell in and out of love with a nurse, Mary Welland.
  • His first published work, in the 1 August 1942 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, was "Shot Down Over Libya" - even though he wasn't actually shot down. It was later renamed to "A Piece of Cake"
  • He acquired a traditional Romanichal Gypsy wagon in the 1960s in which he wrote "Danny The Champion of the World"
  • Roald Dahl died in November 1990 at the age of 74 of a rare blood disease, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS, or "pre-leukemia")
  • He is buried at the parish church of Saint Peter and Paul in Great Missenden.
  • He was buried with various items including HB pencils

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Muhammad Ali Greatest Speeches

Muhammad Ali The Greatest Video

"I'm not the greatest; I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round."
- Muhammad Ali

Mary Seacole Facts

Mary Seacole - Jamaican nurse

  • Mary Seacole was a nurse in the Crimean war who gained a great reputation for helping injured British soldiers.
  • During her lifetime, her renown rivalled Florence Nightingale, but, after her death, she was largely overshadowed by her illustrious fellow nurse.
  • She was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805
  • Her father was Scottish and an officer in the British army. Her mother was a free Jamaican lady, making her of mixed race.
  • On hearing of a call for nurses to travel to the Crimea, she was initially refused. She went on her own initiative and using her own funds.
  • Mary Seacole often visited soldiers on the front line to offer food, drinks and medicine. She was known as Mother Seacole amongst the troops.
  • Shortly after 7 September 1855, Seacole fulfilled a bet, and became the first woman to enter Sevastopol after it fell
  • Florence Nightingale was a contemporary of Mary Seacole. But, Florence did not offer much praise for her work and in some later letters cast doubts over her character.
  • When she returned to London bankrupt and ill, a charity gala was held for her over four nights attended by more than 80,000 people.
  • A campaign to erect a statue of Seacole in London was launched on 24 November 2003, chaired by MP Clive Soley, Baron Soley .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Top 10 Great Explorers

  1. Christopher Columbus
 (1451 – 20 May 1506) Said to be the first Westerner (apart from Viking exploration) to come to the new World of the American continent. Initiated widespread contact with native Indians.
  2. Sir Ernest Shackleton - (1874–1922) Antarctic explorer
 who attempted to cross the Antarctic from one side to the other via the South Pole.
  3. Captain James Cook - (1728 – 14 February 1779) The great 18th Century explorer and adventurer who joined the British navy and made great progress in mapping the Pacific Islands and the continent of Australasia.
  4. Captain Scott - Antarctic explorer -Great Antarctic explorer who explored the Antarctic extensively. Became the second person to reach the south pole on his tragic last mission in 1912.
Sir Edmund Hilary. With Sherpa Tensing, Sir Edmund Hilary became the first person to climb Mount Everest.
  6. David Livingstone - explored the heart of the African subcontinent. Becoming the first westerner to come across the Victoria Falls
  7. Sir Francis Drake, 1542-1596 - Made the first successful circumnavigation of the world by boat. 

  8. Sir Walter Raleigh, (1554-1618) 
During his own lifetime, Walter Raleigh (Raleigh) was one of the best-known men in England. He was a courtier, politician, soldier, seaman, explorer, businessman, philosopher, historian and poet.
  9. Marco Polo (c. 1254 – January 8, 1324) Made legendary exploration through Acre, into China and to the Mongol court.
  10. Alexander the Great - Led his army over Asia into heart of India

Victoria Falls and David Livingstone

Victoria Falls was discovered by British explorer, David Livingstone

Until, Livingstone, the falls was called the great waterfall Mosi-oa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders") waterfall by local Africans.

- author Zest-pk CC license

The Victoria falls is located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It is claimed to be the largest waterfall in the world with a width of 1,708 metres (5,600 ft)[4] and height of 108 meters (360 ft)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Enoch Powell Facts

  • Enoch Powell Voted for the Labour Party in 1945 in protest over the Conservative party's policy of appeasement to Hitler's Germany in the late 1930s
  • Enoch Powell learnt 12 languages during his lifetime, his last language he learnt was Hebrew.
  • Enoch Powell was a staunch critic of American Foreign Policy, criticising war and foreign policy in Vietnam, Iraq, Iran and other the nuclear deterrent.
  • Powell described the American boycott of the 1980s Moscow Olympics 'pathetic to the point of farce' - over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
  • Powell voted against the death penalty and for reform on homosexual law.
  • In 1939, Powell returned to England to join the armed forces. He bought a Russian dictionary saying "Russia would hold the key to our survival and victory, as it had in 1812 and 1916"
  • In 1941, he helped plan the attack on Rommel's forces in Africa at the Battle of El Alamein.
  • At the end of the war Powell had been promoted to brigadier.
  • As a youngster, his greatest ambition was to be viceroy of India
  • After Indian independence in 1947, Powell changed his mind over the British Empire, he now thought Britain should give up the whole Empire.
  • In 1959, Powell gave an emotional defence of Mau Mau Kenyans that some MPs had described as sub human
  • Denis Healey, MP later said that speech was "the greatest parliamentary speech I ever heard... it had all the moral passion and rhetorical force of Demosthenes".
  • In 1960 Powell was made health minister. He took little if any action over babies deformed by the drug thalidomide,
  • Powell is best remembered for his "Rivers of Blood" Speech made in 1968
  • "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'.
  • In 1968, Powell also spelt out a radical free-market economic policy in Morecambe - foreshadowing the Monetarist experiment of the 1980s.
  • At the age of 80, he was diagnosed as having Parkinson's disease.
  • Powell produced four published collections of poetry: First Poems; Casting Off; Dancer's End; and The Wedding Gift. His Collected Poems appeared in 1990
  • Between Oct 1974–1987 Enoch Powell was Ulster Unionist Member of Parliament for South Down, Northern Ireland.
  • In 1974 Powell turned down an invitation to stand for the National Front

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quotes about the Desert

"This creed of the desert seemed inexpressible in words, and indeed in thought."
- T.E.Lawrence
"All sunshine makes a desert"
- Arab Proverb
In the desert water is worth more than gold
-Arab Proverb
"It is the sandstorms that shape the stone statues of the desert
It is the struggles of life that form a person's character."
-Native American Proverb
"The sun gives life to everything;
but in the desert it is the angel of death.:

- Traditional Bedouin saying
"In the desert of the heart,
Let the healing fountain start;
In the prison of his days,
Teach the free man how to praise.

- W.H.Auden

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lawrence of Arabia Quotes

T.E.Lawrence, often popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia was a unique character and influential military leader. Winston Churchill described him as one of the greatest living people he knew.
"The world looks with some awe upon a man who appears unconcernedly indifferent to home, money, comfort, rank, or even power and fame. The world feels not without a certain apprehension, that here is some one outside its jurisdiction; someone before whom its allurements may be spread in vain; some one strangely enfranchised, untamed, untrammelled by convention, moving independent of the ordinary currents of human action."
-Winston Churchill (3 October 1936); as quoted in Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence (1989) by Jeremy M Wilson

Yet, for all his fame T.E. Lawrence remained modest of his achievements.
"I've been & am absurdly over-estimated. There are no supermen & I'm quite ordinary, & will say so whatever the artistic results. In that point I'm one of the few people who tell the truth about myself."
- T.E.Lawrence

and Lawerence sought to hide from the glare of the media spotlight - even it meant changing his name.
"To have news value is to have a tin can tied to one’s tail."
Letter (1 April 1935); published in The Letters of T.E. Lawrence (1988), edited by Malcolm Brown.

Selected Quotes by T.E.Lawrence
"You wonder what I am doing? Well, so do I, in truth. Days seem to dawn, suns to shine, evenings to follow, and then I sleep. What I have done, what I am doing, what I am going to do, puzzle and bewilder me. Have you ever been a leaf and fallen from your tree in autumn and been really puzzled about it? That's the feeling."
- Letter to Eric Kennington (6 May 1935)

"Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them. Actually, also, under the very odd conditions of Arabia, your practical work will not be as good as, perhaps, you think it is."
The Evolution of A Revolt (1920)

"Nine-tenths of tactics are certain, and taught in books: but the irrational tenth is like the kingfisher flashing across the pool, and that is the test of generals."

Article in The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal (October 1920) Full text online

"The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander..."

"In fifty words: Granted mobility, security (in the form of denying targets to the enemy), time, and doctrine (the idea to convert every subject to friendliness), victory will rest with the insurgents, for the algebraical factors are in the end decisive, and against them perfections of means and spirit struggle quite in vain."
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922)

"This creed of the desert seemed inexpressible in words, and indeed in thought."

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did."

◦ Introductory Chapter. Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922)

"Some Englishmen, of whom Kitchener was chief, believed that a rebellion of Arabs against Turks would enable England, while fighting Germany, simultaneously to defeat Turkey. Their knowledge of the nature and power and country of the Arabic-speaking peoples made them think that the issue of such a rebellion would be happy: and indicated its character and method. So they allowed it to begin..."

"The desert was held in a crazed communism by which Nature and the elements were for the free use of every known friendly person for his own purposes and no more."

"Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances. For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, under the indifferent heaven. By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. We were a self-centred army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man's creeds, a purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in its glare."

- Seven Pillars of Wisdom

"The Beduin could not look for God within him: he was too sure that he was within God."

"Feisal asked me if I would wear Arab clothes like his own while in the camp. I should find it better for my own part, since it was a comfortable dress in which to live Arab-fashion as we must do. "

Quotes on T.E.Lawrence

"There is no other man I know who could have achieved what Lawrence did. As for taking undue credit for himself, my own personal experience with Lawrence is that he was utterly unconcerned whether any kudos was awarded him or not."

* Edmund Allenby, commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force to Lowell Thomas.

"I deem him one of the greatest beings alive in our time... We shall never see his like again. His name will live in history. It will live in the annals of war... It will live in the legends of Arabia."

- Winston Churchill

Wiki quote T.E.Lawrence

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Greatest Cricket Catch

An amazing piece of athleticism. Paul Collingwood of England scopes a ball from over his head and catches Matthew Hayden

Friday, January 15, 2010

Top 10 Achievements of Mankind

What are the greatest achievements of humanity? It is hard to choose but here are 10 achievements which are examples of some of the finest achievements of mankind. Undoubtedly there are many more we could have chosen. For example, not least, would be the more intangible achievements of lasting peace of mind and peace between peoples.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of humanity is exemplified by the greatest sages and saints such as the Lord Buddha quietening his mind under the Bodhi Tree. But, here are ten more worldly achievements.

  1. Declaration of Human Rights. - The idea of equality, liberty, and justice
  2. Understanding Nature of Human existence - From Aristotle, to Newton and Einstein. The greatest minds have helped better understand the place of human beings in the greater cosmos through the laws of gravity and other scientific discoveries.
  3. Climbing Mount Everest - Symbolising the adventurous spirit of man
  4. Development of Modern Medicine and Vaccinations
  5. Moon Landing
  6. Ave Maria Bach / Schubert
  7. Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa
  8. Building the Great Pyramids
  9. The Works of William Shakespeare
  10. The First Flight by the Wright brothers 1901
Further Reading - more detailed explanation of some of the greatest achievements of mankind

Suggest a Great achievement of mankind in comments section below.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

People Who Made a Difference in Health Care

  1. Hippocrates  460BC - 377BC) - Hippocrates was a great doctor of ancient Greece. Through his careful examination of patients, treatments and success rates he was able to vastly improve medical practise and treatment. He built up one of the great libraries of medical science in Kos. Also credited with the Hippocratic oath which is still sworn today by medical practitioners which includes among other things to do everything in the doctors power to save a life.
  2. Florence Nightingale (1820-191) - Pioneering nurse who helped change attitudes to nursing and the treatment of the wounded. Also undertook statistical analysis of different hospital procedures.
  3. Clara Barton (1821-1912) - A nurse in the civil war, Clara Barton helped improve treatment of wounded soldiers. After working with the international Red cross in Europe, she returned to US where she set up the American Red Cross.
  4. Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) - Through her work as a nurse in New York's Lower east side in 1912, Margaret Sanger worked hard to improve birth control practise to prevent unwanted pregnancies. This ground breaking shift in attitude led to the foundation of the American Birth Control League.
  5. Mary Seacole (1805-1881) A pioneering nurse from Jamaica who travelled to England and eventually funded her own passage to the Crimea to help in the treatment of the wounded soldiers on both sides.
  6. Marie Curie (1867-1934) - Development of Radiotherapy and X Ray
  7. Alexander Fleming - Discovery of Penicillin
  8. Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield's. Taken together for their joint invention in magnetic resonance imaging, which allows doctors to see inside a patient's body without cutting it open first.
  9. Sir James Young Simpson - discovered use of chloroform - one of first anaesthetics and used it in medical practise
  10. Louis Pasteur - Developed many antidotes to dangerous illness' such as rabies
  • Edward Jenner - developed inoculation for smallpox, which led to future inoculations for many infectious diseases.
  • Elizabeth Fry - Although best known for her work in improving conditions in prison, Elizabeth Fry also set up a pioneering operation to train nurses in Victorian Britain. This


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top 10 Famous Outlaws

A list of 10 Famous Outlaws

  1. Billy The Kid (1859-1881) It is said he killed 21 people, for each year of his life. This included his first killing at the age of 12. He was convicted of four murders, including two officers of the law.
  2. Butch Cassidy. Butch Cassidy led a notorious including Kid Curry and the Sundance Kid. They became famous for the huge sums they managed to steal over $200,000.
  3. Robin Hood (13th Century) A famous legend of an outlaw who - "stole from the rich and gave to the poor" - fighting the Sheriff of Nottingham. Difficult to know how much is legend and how much is true.
  4. Sam Bass (1851-1878) - held up Trains in Texas taking a huge haul of cash
  5. Thomas Dun - An outlaw in Bedforshire, England robbing travellers on the Great North Road. Escaped justice for 20 years, in part because of sympathies of the local peasants who Dun was generous to.
  6. Henry Plummer (1832-1864). Henry Plummer became a sheriff in Montana and helped to clean up crime in the area. All crime except a notorious highway robbery gang who Henry Plummer was the secret leader of. Eventually caught, Henry was sent to the gallows.
  7. Juro Janosik (1690-1713) - Described as the Slovak Robin Hood. He served in the Hapsburg army before deserting and becoming leader of a bandit gang who stole from Hapsburg officials distributing some to local peasants.
  8. Jesse James (1847-1882) On the outbreak of civil war, Jesse James joined a confederate guerrila army which terrorised the north. After the war, Jesse James led a gang which made many bank robberies, before being shot by a fellow gang member seeking the high price on Jesse James' head.
  9. Bonnie and Clyde - A pair of lovers who became famous in depression hit America as they travelled through America holding up banks and being involved in many crimes.
  10. Dick Turpin. Famous English highwayman.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10 Famous Spies

A list of 10 famous spies.
  1. Mata Hari (1876-1917) famous exotic dancer known to have had relationships with military officers. She came from neutral Netherlands. She was arrested by the British in 1916, who were convinced she worked for the French. She was later arrested by the French as a German spy. She was tried and executed. There is considerable doubt as to her guilt. She is said to have said before her execution 'Harlot yes, but traitor, never'
  2. Garbo - One of the most successful British agents who double crossed the Germans sending false information to German intelligence. Helped fool Germany into thinking main invasion would be at Calais and not Normandy. Masterminded by John Cecil Masterman.
  3. Guy Burgess (1911-1963). Cambridge student who became a committed Communist and a spy for the Soviet Union. He fled to the Soviet Union in 1951
  4. Donald Maclean (1913-1983) Another member of the British spy ring. Donald Maclean was at the heart of the British establishment and a noted art critic.
  5. Kim Philby The most active member of the Cambridge spy ring.
  6. Richard Sorge (1895-1944) Half russian, half German. He became a committed Communist and spied for the Soviet Union in Japan. He famously discovered Japan's plan to attack Pearl Harbour in December 1941
  7. John Walker (1937. A US naval officer who spied for the Soviet Union from 1968 to 1985, selling state secrets to fund his gambling debts. His said to have earned over $1million. Eventually caught by FBI and sentenced to life imprisonment.
  8. Rose O'Neal Greenhow (1817-1864) Rose O'Neal lived in Washington when the civil war broke out. However, she sympathised with the confederacy and used her contact to pass on information to the Southern armies.
  9. Odette Sanson was one of many female secret agents who risked their lives to enter into occupied France during WW2. Worked as radio operator before being captured by the Nazi's and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp where she survived the war.
  10. Violette Szabo another British female agent sent to occupied France during World War

Friday, January 1, 2010

Top 10 Dutch Artists


The City of Delft by Jan Vermeer

A list of the top 10 Dutch Artists (including Dutch and Flemis)
  1. Rembrandt
  2. Jan Vermeer
  3. Vincent Van Gogh
  4. Piet Mondriaan
  5. Jacob van Ruisdael
  6. Jan van Scorel
  7. Frans Hals
  8. Pieter de Hooch
  9. Theo van Doesburg
  10. Pieter Claesz