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. Credit: Jacques-Louis David (Public domain)
. Credit: Jacques-Louis David (Public domain)
After attending lectures on Napoleon as a young man, Santa Anna modelled himself upon the French emperor, even adopting Napoleon's hairstyle (combed from the back toward his forehead). Nonetheless, he scarcely resembled his portly hero, either on or off the battlefield. Santa Ana was tall and skinny, had only one leg, and was painfully deficient in tactical brilliance. Indeed, during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), he lost every campaign in which he fought. In one particularly inspired 'surprise attack' the general foolishly dressed all of his troops in enemy uniforms. The chaos was indescribable and the plan an abject failure.
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Portrait of Ronald Firbank, ca. 1917. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Portrait of Ronald Firbank, ca. 1917. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Ronald Firbank once gravely offended the writer Eddie Marsh with his disrespectful comments about the poet Rupert Brooke. One day several weeks later, when Marsh spotted Firbank in a theater lobby. he abruptly turned his back and pointedly thrust his right hand into a pocket. Firbank surreptitiously crept up behind his fellow writer, gently removed his hand from the pocket, shook it, slipped it back again, and silently departed.
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. Credit: Unknown author (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
. Credit: Unknown author (CC BY-SA 3.0)
"As a plunger on horses—horses that ran oh so badly—Edgar Wallace became the favourite client of practically every large bookmaker in London," Leonard Russell reported in The Daily Telegraph in 1932. "'Let us celebrate,' he said on receiving £1,000 for a serial—the first big money he had ever had from a publisher. The celebration carried him to Newmarket and when the last race was over he had twenty-three shillings out of his original £1,000."
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Photograph Jean Piaget at the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. Credit: Unidentified (Ensian published by University of Michigan) (Public domain)

Photograph Jean Piaget at the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. Credit: Unidentified (Ensian published by University of Michigan) ...(more)

Jean Piaget, famed for his studies of cognitive development in children, was himself a child prodigy. His early observations led to questions which could be answered only by access to a university library. Hoping to persuade the librarian to stop treating him like a child, he wrote and published a short article on the sighting of an albino sparrow. He was ten years old. [After thousands of interactions with children—many of them barely old enough to talk—Jean Piaget began to suspect that behind their seemingly illogical utterances lay thought processes guided by a certain order and peculiar logic. Einstein called it a discovery "so simple that only a genius could have thought of it."]
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Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz (in December, 1805) over the combined forces of Britain, Sweden, Austria, and Russia, left him the uncontested master of Europe. Upon receiving news of the devastating loss, William Pitt pointed to a large map of Europe on the wall. "Roll up that map," he ordered. "It will not be wanted these ten years." [Pitt's prediction was perfect; Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo ten years later.]
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Sir William Stephenson, passport photo. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Sir William Stephenson, passport photo. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
"In January 1901, the future spy-master [Sir William Stephenson], who would become known in the popular press by the code-name Intrepid, saw the streets of Winnipeg draped in black, owing to the recent death of Queen Victoria. The five-year-old mistook the sight as mourning for his father, who had been killed in the South African war a few weeks earlier..."
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Italiano: Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902). Credit: Unknown (Public domain)
Italiano: Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902). Credit: Unknown (Public domain)
Famed feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was once reproached by a married clergyman for speaking in public at a women's rights convention in Rochester, New York. "The apostle Paul enjoined silence upon women," he declared. "Why don't you mind him?" "The apostle Paul also enjoined celibacy upon the clergy," Stanton retorted. "Why don't you mind him?"
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Ben Harper, famed for his slick wardrobe, was once asked about the inspiration for his personal style. "It'a all a cross," he replied, "between [rappers] Run-DMC and Gram Parsons." [Harper once called Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright' (I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road, babe / Where I'm bound, I can't tell / But goodbye's too good a word, gal / So I'll just say fare thee well) the best song ever written. "I've always wondered what Bob did right after that song was done. Did he hop in his car and get a burger or something?"]
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. Credit: Robert F. Sargent (Public domain)
. Credit: Robert F. Sargent (Public domain)
At one point during the Normandy invasion on D-Day in 1944, the ratio of enlisted men to officers approached an astounding level of 5 to 1. "Never in the history of human combat," General Maxwell Taylor wryly declared, "have so few been led by so many." * A play on Winston Churchill's famous comment on the battle of Britain in 1940: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."