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Charles William Eliot & Harvard University - A Storehouse Of Knowledge
At a dinner held in his honor one evening, Harvard president Charles W. Eliot was regaled by toasts from several professors. "Since you became president," one colleague enthused, "Harvard has become a storehouse of knowledge.""What you say is true, but I can claim little credit for it," Eliot replied. "It is simply that the freshmen bring so much in and the seniors take so little away!" [The original admission requirements for Harvard required that scholars be "able to understand Tully, or such like classical author, extempore and make and speak true Latin in verse and prose, and decline perfectly the paradigms of nouns and verbs in the Greek tongue." ]
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Dionysius - Time Well Wasted
The tyrant Dionysius was dining one day with Philip II of Macedon, who took to scorning the tyrant's father for having squandered his leisure hours writing poetry and plays. "How could a king find time to write such trifles?" he asked. "In those hours," Dionysius replied, "which you and I spend in drunkenness and debauchery."
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Mario Puzo - Who Inspired The Godfather?
In 1965, a Putnam editor happened to stop by the magazine offices where Mario Puzo was working and overheard him telling Mafia stories. The editor offered him a $5,000 advance for a book on the subject and The Godfather was born. Puzo later revealed the model for the character of Don Vito Corleone. It was this person's voice, Puzo declared, that he heard whenever the Godfather spoke: "My mother was a wonderful, handsome woman," Puzo explained, "but a fairly ruthless person." [On Christmas Eve, 1971, Puzo had a severe gall bladder attack. "I had to take a cab to the hospital, got out, and fell into the gutter," Puzo told Time magazine. "There I was, lying there, thinking, 'Here I ...
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Nellie McClung - battling sexist insurance policies
"I remember one day when I was leaving for a ten-day lecture tour," the famous feminist Nellie McClung recalled, "I bought an Accident Insurance Policy for five thousand dollars at the railway wicket, paying two dollars and a half for ten days' insurance. I had often done this before but had never really read the blue slip which I had received. But on this day I went over it carefully. It contained some excellent clauses, all beginning: 'If the insured be male.' It told how much he would be paid in case of total disability, partial disability, the loss of a hand or a foot or an eye, but always the sentence began in that ominous way: 'If the insured ...
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William Gladstone asks Benjamin Disraeli for a joke about the Queen
William Gladstone once observed that Benjamin Disraeli enjoyed an enviable reputation of being able to make a joke on any subject. Disraeli replied that it was indeed quite possible. "Then I challenge you," Gladstone said. "Make a joke about Queen Victoria.""Sir," Disraeli replied. "Her Majesty is not a subject."[Victoria's verdict of a 1898 meeting with Gladstone? "He addresses me as if I was a public meeting."][Gladstone was something of a cold fish. "Mr Gladstone read Homer for fun," Churchill once remarked, "which I thought served him right."]
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Lance Armstrong - Young Fireball
Even as a child, Lance Armstrong was bent upon testing the boundaries. "When I was a boy I invented a game called fireball," he recalled in his autobiography.Fireball? Yes... The game "entailed soaking a tennis ball in kerosene, lighting it on fire, and playing catch with it."["I have loved him every minute of his life," his mother once declared, "but, God, there were times when it was a struggle."]
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Garcelle Beauvais - Worth 1000 Words?
Garcelle Beauvais was once asked whether she would ever appear nude on film. "If I ever actually do, it will be strictly for me," she declared. "To immortalize my body because, hey, it ain't gonna be like this forever." And if she were never to appear on celluloid? "For now," she replied, "a few Polaroids will do just fine!"[Acting, Beauvais once agreed, is not brain surgery: "People always go, 'Oh, God, another model trying to become an actress.' But what do you expect? That I would go to medical school? It's a natural progression."]
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How Darius Rucker named Hootie and the Blowfish
Where did Darius Rucker get the name for his band? There was a kid in his high school who looked like an owl—and another kid with puffed up cheeks who they used to call Blowfish.[Such was Darius Rucker's love of the Miami Dolphins that he had their emblem tattooed on his body. The location of this tattoo remains the subject of some speculation.]
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Moshe Dayan: Jewish Contradiction
Michael B. Oren, the author of Six Days of War: "When Moshe Dayan first got appointed chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] in November 1953, he traveled to the Pentagon in Washington, and they asked him, 'What is your assessment? What will happen if war breaks out in the Middle East?' And Moshe Dayan said, 'If war breaks out in the Middle East, Israel will be in danger of destruction—and our troops will be in Damascus [Syria] in eight days.' In the same breath... Israelis suffered from this bifurcation in worldview... It's the view that holds that 'We are invincible. Our army is the most powerful army on the block. But we're also on the verge of ...
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When Loren Smith Declined An Ashtray
U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Loren A. Smith, a maverick cigar smoker, became a legend at a meeting on election law. The other participants, in an elegant, white-carpeted conference room, watched in disbelief as Smith repeatedly declined an ashtray for use with his eight-inch cigar—which he calmly smoked until seven inches of perfect ash bedecked its end. "I was testing something Clarence Darrow used to do," he later explained. "I had inserted a straightened-out paper clip before I lit up..."