Archive for October, 2009

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

October 31, 2009

Ben Franklin

File:Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis.jpg

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705[1]] – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, soldier,and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass ‘armonica’. He formed both the first public lending library in America and the first fire department in Pennsylvania. He was an early proponent of colonial unity, and as a political writer and activist, he supported the idea of an American nation. As a diplomat during the American Revolution, he secured the French alliance that helped to make independence of the United States possible.

Franklin is credited as being foundational to the roots of American values and character, a marriage of the practical and democratic Puritan values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of Henry Steele Commager, “In Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat.” To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin, “the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become.”

Franklin became a newspaper editor, printer, and merchant in Philadelphia, becoming very wealthy writing and publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was interested in science and technology, and gained international renown for his famous experiments. He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin & Marshall College and was elected the first president of the American Philosophical Society. Franklin became a national hero in America when he spearheaded the effort to have Parliament repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. From 1775 to 1776, Franklin was the Postmaster General under the Continental Congress and from 1785 to 1788, the President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Toward the end of his life, he became one of the most prominent abolitionists.

His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and status as one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored on coinage and money; warships; the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, namesakes, and companies; and more than two centuries after his death, countless cultural references.

Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive.. the risk to be alive and express what we really are.

October 29, 2009

Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz was born into a family of healers, and raised in rural Mexico by a curandera (healer) mother and a nagual (shaman) grandfather. Although the family anticipated that Ruiz would embrace their centuries-old legacy of healing and teaching, Ruiz chose to attend medical school and become a surgeon. However, a near-death experience in the early 70s changed his life. Stunned by this experience, he began an intensive practice of self-inquiry; devoting himself to the mastery of the ancient ancestral wisdom. Ruiz, a nagual from the Eagle Knight lineage, is dedicated to sharing his knowledge of the teachings of the ancient Toltec. For more than a decade, he has worked to impart this wisdom to his students through book and audio publications, workshops, and journeys to sacred sites around the world.

A smart man only believes half of what he hears, a wise man knows which half.

October 28, 2009

Jeff Cooper

It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet.

October 26, 2009

Kojiro Tomita

With a wave of his straw hat, gracious, gangling Director George Harold Edgell, of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts stepped into the gondola of a police motor-cycle at Cunard’s Pier in East Boston last month and went popping through the Sumner Tunnel to Huntington Avenue and the Museum. Behind him in two bunting-draped trucks rumbled the most valuable collection of Japanese art ever to have left Japan. It was the nucleus of an exhibition which opened this week, and which should rival in importance London’s great Chinese art exhibition of last winter.

When Professor Edgell, dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Architecture and an outstanding authority on Sienese painting, finally broke his longtime connection with Harvard University to take over a full-time job as Director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, he realized that the Museum, which cannot compete with New York’s Metropolitan in most departments, had acquired during the past 50 years the finest collection of Oriental art in the U. S. The section of Japanese art was particularly strong and the Curator of Asiatic Art, Kojiro Tomita, was one of the greatest authorities on Japanese art in the U. S. The Museum did not have space to exhibit more than a quarter of its Oriental collection.

Thinking of ways to call Boston’s attention to all this, Curator Tomita and Director Edgell hit upon the notion of borrowing a lot more Japanese Art and giving a big show in conjunction with Harvard’s Tercentenary. President Count Kentaro Kaneko (Class of 1878) of the Harvard Club of Tokyo collaborated enthusiastically. So did the Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai, the Society for International Cultural Relations. Curator Tomita, who knows all the first-rank collectors in Japan, went to Tokyo in April. Director Edgell arrived in May, charmed the Japanese by laying flowers on the tomb of Professor Ernest Fenollosa, who gave the Museum of Fine Arts some of its earliest and best Japanese items, turned Buddhist, went to Japan to die.

Messrs. Edgell and Tomita knew their project was a success when Emperor Hirohito let it be known that he was willing to lend several of his own personal pieces to Boston, would permit the exporting of a certain number of “National Treasures” from state museums. A deluge of offers followed. Director Edgell, whose personal knowledge of Japanese art is rudimentary, left the selection to his associate Mr. Tomita, spent 26 days drinking tea and saki with Japanese wrestlers, silk tycoons, bankers, enjoyed himself immensely.

One hundred and thirty-eight different objects were finally selected, packed in special cases by Yamanaka & Co.’s two most expert packers, shipped to Boston on the Katsuragi Mam. A large proportion of the objects were uninsured. “Money does not interest us,” the wealthy owners insisted. “What we want is to get our things back, uninjured.”,9171,756636,00.html

With the most primitive means the artist creates something which the most ingenious and efficient technology will never be able to create.

October 25, 2009

Kasimir Malevich

The Aviator 1914

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich (Russian: Казимир Северинович Малевич, Polish: Kazimierz Malewicz, Ukrainian: Казимир Северинович Малевич [kazɪˈmɪr sɛʋɛˈrɪnoʋɪtʃ mɑˈlɛʋɪtʃ], German: Kasimir Malewitsch, Belarusian: Казіме́р Мале́віч), (February 23, 1879, previously 1878: see below – May 15, 1935) was a painter and art theoretician, pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the Avant-garde Suprematist movement. Malevich worked in Russia, although he was of Polish descent.

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

October 24, 2009

Will Durant

William James Durant (5 November 1885 – 7 November 1981) was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for the 11-volume The Story of Civilization, written in collaboration with his wife Ariel and published between 1935 and 1975. He was earlier noted for his book, The Story of Philosophy, written in 1926, which was considered “a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy.”

They were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1968 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.

He who offends others, does not secure himself.

October 23, 2009

Lenoardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci ( pronunciation (help·info), April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man, a man whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and “his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote”.

Born the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice and spent his last years in France, at the home awarded him by Francis I.

Leonardo was and is renowned primarily as a painter. Two of his works, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, are the most famous, most reproduced and most parodied portrait and religious painting of all time, respectively, their fame approached only by Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. Leonardo’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on everything from the Euro to text books to t-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings survive, the small number due to his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, comprise a contribution to later generations of artists only rivalled by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, the double hull and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. As a scientist, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics.

All mankind’s inner feelings eventually manifest themselves as an outer reality.

October 22, 2009

Stuart Wilde

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.

October 21, 2009

Pablo Picasso











Three Musicians 1921

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, draughtsman, and sculptor. Commonly known simply as Picasso, he is one of the most recognized figures in 20th-century art. He is best known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles embodied in his work. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937), his portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

Picasso demonstrated uncanny artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner through his childhood and adolescence; during the first decade of the twentieth century his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. Picasso’s creative genius manifested itself in numerous mediums, including painting, sculpture, drawing, and architecture. His revolutionary artistic accomplishments brought him universal renown and immense fortunes throughout his life, making him the best-known figure in twentieth century art. His fame has continued after his death, firmly establishing his status as one of the greatest artists in Western history.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

October 20, 2009

Anatole France

Anatole France (16 April 1844—12 October 1924), born François-Anatole Thibault, was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature.