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