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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Samuel Johnson


Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709 to Michael Johnson, a poor bookseller, and his wife, Sarah Ford. He spent his early tears in an old house, above his father’s bookshop in Market Square, Lichfield, Staffordshire. It is now a museum.

At the age of three he suffered from scofula, a tubercular swelling of the glands.

Samuel was an avid reader with a photographic memory and a nervous tic. He grew into a nervous, twitchy youth.

On October 31, 1728, a few weeks after he turned 19, Johnson entered Pembroke College, Oxford.

After thirteen months, a shortage of funds forced Johnson to leave Oxford without a degree, and he returned to Lichfield.


Large and powerfully built, Johnson had poor eyesight and was hard of hearing. His face was deeply scarred from his childhood scrofula.

At the age of 26, Johnson married a 46-year-old widow, Elizabeth "Tetty" Porter. They tied the knot at St Werburgh Church, Derby on July 9, 1735.

They were devoted to each other even though according to some of Johnson's contemporaries, Tetty was a drowsy, fat drunkard, who was renowned for her girlish levity and disgusting affection. She died on March 17, 1752.

Elizabeth "Tetty" Porter

After losing Tetty, Johnson met a pious, well-born woman, Miss Boothby, but his marriage hopes were dashed when she died. His middle years were sad ones due to the deaths of these two loved ones.

Johnson had a good many friends including some of the most celebrated wits of his time.  A depressive, he tended to seek out company to ward off his black moods.

James Boswell was a close friend. They first met in a London bookshop on May 16, 1763, when Johnson was 53 and Boswell a mere 21. Their friendship inspired one of the greatest biographies ever written

Mrs Boswell, James' wife, was scornful of her husband’s devotion to this lumbering, ungainly man whose manners displeased her. She said of Johnson "I have seen many a bear led by a man, but I never before saw a man led by a bear."

Around the same time, Johnson formed "The Club", a social group that included his friends Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, David Garrick and Oliver Goldsmith.

A literary party, 1781, of Johnson (second from left) and other members of "The Club".

In 1765, Johnson met Henry Thrale, a wealthy brewer and member of Parliament, and his wife Hester Thrale. They quickly became friends, and soon Johnson became a member of the family. He stayed with the Thrales for fifteen years until Henry's death in 1781.


After leaving Oxford, Johnson did no work for a few years.

In 1732 he wrote some essays for the Birmingham Journal and translated from French a Portuguese Jesuit's travels in Abysinnia.

In the autumn of 1735, Johnson opened Edial Hall School as a private academy at Edial, near Lichfield. He had only three pupils: Lawrence Offley, George Garrick, and the 18-year-old David Garrick, who later became one of the most famous actors of his day. Due to his twitches and spasms Johnson was a failure as a schoolmaster.

Johnson left for London with his former pupil David Garrick on March 2, 1737 to make their fortunes. They had four pence between them and took turns to ride their one horse.

Johnson found employment with Edward Cave, writing for The Gentleman's Magazine. For the next three decades, Johnson wrote biographies, poetry, essays, pamphlets, and even for a time was a House of Commons reporter.

Despite being the doyen of London Literary Society and having been given an advance of 1500 guineas, six months after compiling and writing his dictionary in 1755, Johnson was arrested for debt for £5 and 18 shillings. He was saved from prison by a gift from the successful novelist, Samuel Richardson.

In 1762, Johnson was awarded a crown pension of £300 a year, largely through the efforts of Thomas Sheridan and the Earl of Bute, after which  he devoted himself to conversation.


It is his prowess as a talker for which Johnson is mainly remembered today but in his time he was considered the most brilliant literary man of his age.

Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in London on April 15, 1755. Johnson’s dictionary was the first work to try to include all English words with definitions and examples.
Title page from the second edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

His patron, Chesterfield, to whom the dictionary is dedicated, was not a very good one. Johnson completed his dictionary without any help from Chesterfield and only later on recognized it.

Johnson's entry under "patron" obviously refers to this: A patron is defined as "commonly a wretch who suffers with insolence & is paid with flattery."

When two old ladies complimented Johnson on the omission of coarse words from his dictionary, his reaction was "What! My Dears! Then you have been looking for them!"

Although his dictionary was widely praised and enormously influential, Johnson did not profit from it much financially, He thought his dictionary would take three years to complete, bit it eventually took nine years.and he had to bear the expenses of its long composition.

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, was Johnson's only novel. A satirical book in which  he romanticized what is now Ethiopia, he wrote it in a week in 1759 to pay for his mother's funeral.

In 1775 Dr Samuel Johnson published his Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, which recorded his visit with his friend James Boswell to Scotland.

First published a year after the death of Samuel Johnson, Prayers and Meditations is a devotional classic.


Johnson said of Italy, "Sir, a man who has not been to Italy is always conscious of an inferiority. The grand object is to see the shores of the Mediterranean."

Johnson had a low opinion of Scotland. On one occasion when Boswell admitted he came from Scotland but " I cannot help it", Johnson responded, "That sir, I find is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help."

As an adult would often return to Lichfield, staying with Boswell at the Three Crowns Inn two doors away from his birthplace.


Dr Johnson was keen on his lie-ins, often sleeping in until noon.

Dr Johnson was often slovenly dressed. He wore an uncombed, un-powdered, ill-fitting wig wrinkled stockings and a rusty waistcoat.

Dr Samuel Johnson had no great feeling for music. He once complained "All animated nature loves music except myself.”  His impression of a celebrated violinist's performance was "difficult do you call it sir? I wish it were impossible."

Johnson did confess on his trip to the Hebrides to a liking to the bagpipe and also that "Had I learnt to fiddle, I should have done nothing else."

Dr Johnson was a cat lover, a favorite being Hodge for whom he bought oysters. He once said of Hodge "I have had cats whom I liked better than this…but he is a very fine cat."

In 1748 he moved into Gough House, 17 Gough Square, just off Fleet Street, London. Johnson compiled his dictionary in the attic there.

Johnson often felt obliged to do a jig before entering his home.


At the age of three young Samuel Johnson suffered from scrofula and he was taken as was the custom, to Queen Anne to be touched. It was a wonder to everyone that he survived, though he grew up half blind.

As a result of his childhood illness, Johnson was afflicted with nervous tics and compulsive head waggings which intensely embarrassed him.

Reynolds' 1769 portrait depicting Johnson's "odd gesticulations"

Johnson suffered from "a vile melancholy and a horrible hypochondria." After leaving Oxford University, he became almost permanently depressed due to his lack of prospects.

He was prone to lyssophobia (a fear of insanity). Johnson often begged his wife to lock him in his room and shackle his legs as he was convinced he was going mad.

According to his friend James Boswell, Johnson suffered from an obsessive compulsive disorder. The Doctor had "an anxious care to go out or in at a door or passage by a certain number of steps from a certain point."


A generous man, Johnson was often seen putting pennies into the hands of homeless children sleeping in the streets.

Johnson hated the slave trade. He would raise his glass to toast "The next rebellion of the slaves in the West Indies." This shocked Boswell.

He kept a much loved black man servant at home, a freed slave called Francis Barber.

Dr Johnson was a traditional Anglican churchman; William Law's religious book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life was inspirational for the young Samuel and made him think about Christianity seriously for the first time. He was against enthusiasms but also opposed the intellectual and moral weakness of the church.

Johnson had regular private devotions and insisted that prayer is as natural as exercise, so that we pray first and discuss the theology of prayer afterwards.

The curmudgeonly Samuel Johnson had mixed feelings about the Wesleys, the founders of Methodism. He knew John at Oxford, and said of him, "John Wesley's conversation is good, but he is never at leisure. He is always obliged to go at a certain hour. This is very disagreeable to a man who loves to fold his legs and have out his talk, as I do."

Johnson later applauded Oxford's expulsion of six Methodist students, which could hardly have endeared him to the movement's founding family. Yet at the end of his life, he wanted to invite John's brilliant but financially restricted sister Martha to live at his house. Unfortunately, Johnson died before his wish could be carried out.


A lover of good food, but not cucumbers, Johnson claimed whilst in the Hebrides, "A cucumber should be well sliced and dressed with pepper and vinegar and then thrown out, as good for nothing."

He disliked fish as due to his poor eyesight Johnson had to eat them with his fingers in order to locate the bones.

Johnson's favorite dish, which he took at the Cheshire Cheese inn off Fleet Street, was a vast pudding containing beefsteaks, kidneys, mushrooms, oysters and larks. He once claimed "There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn."

Dr Johnson once drank 36 glasses of port without moving from his seat, which is remarkable in more ways than one.

He once claimed "Claret is the liquor for boys: port for men: but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy."

On the whole, Johnson preferred tea to alcohol. He consumed large quantities of mainly Twinings tea, from tiny teacups.


Johnson confided to Boswell that he hoped his cemetery slab would be placed at a sufficient height from his coffin so as to avoid damage to his body. He wanted his body intact to meet his maker.

In 1783 Dr Johnson had a stroke which resulted in loss of speech. The scared doctor prayed in Latin verse that God would spare his understanding. On realizing he could pray aloud in Latin verse he recognized his prayers had been answered.

When ill with his last illness, Johnson asked his doctor to tell him honestly if he would recover. The doctor said he could not without a miracle, to which Johnson responded: "I will take no more physic; not even opiates, for I have prayed that I may render up my soul to God unclouded.”

Johnson's last words were addressed to a Miss Morris, "God Bless you my dear." he mumbled. He died on December 13, 1784 and was buried seven days later at Westminster Abbey.

"Here lies poor Johnson. Reader! have a care
Tread lightly, lest you rouse a sleeping bear
Religios, moral, gen'rous and humane
He was, but self conceited, rude and vain
Ill-bred and overbearing in dispute,
A scholar and a Christian, yet a brute
Would you know all his wisdom & his folly,
His actions, sayings, mirth & melancholy,
Boswell and Thrale, retailers of his wit
Will tell you how he wrote and talk'd and 'spit." Soame Jenyns 1704-87

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson was born August 27, 1908 in Stonewall, Texas, in a small farmhouse on the Pedernales River. He was the oldest of five children born to Samuel Ealy Johnson Jr, and Rebekah Baines.

His father was a politician who had worked for the Texas state government.

With his trademark cowboy hat‍—‌age seven

In 1926, Johnson enrolled at SWTSTC (now Texas State University). The college years refined his skills of persuasion and political organization. He graduated in 1930.

In 1928, Lyndon B. Johnson paused his studies to teach Mexican-American children, and used his own salary to buy volleyballs and softball bats for them.

Johnson taught in Pearsall High School in Pearsall, Texas, and afterward took a position as teacher of public speaking at Sam Houston High School in Houston.

Lyndon Baines Johnson married Claudia Alta Taylor, better known as "Lady Bird" on November 17, 1934.

Lady Bird Johnson was the first president's wife to have become a millionaire in her own right before her husband was elected to office.

After teaching in Houston, Johnson entered politics. He was elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1937, then to the Senate in 1948. He won the Senate election by just 87 votes.

Senator Johnson

In the Senate, Johnson very quickly became powerful and following the 1954 election became leader of the Senate, the youngest to have ever held that position. Johnson's duties were to schedule legislation and help pass measures favored by the Democrats.

Johnson campaigned for the Democratic nomination in the 1960 presidential election. He was unsuccessful, but was chosen by Senator John F. Kennedy to be his running mate. They went on to win the election and Johnson was sworn in as Vice President on January 20, 1961.

Johnson took over as President after Kennedy was assassinated. He finished Kennedy's term as president then in 1964 he ran for re-election and won easily against Barry Goldwater. He was elected President with 61.1% of the vote on November 3, 1964, the highest percentage of the vote ever won by someone running for President since 1820.

Johnson is sworn in on Air Force One by Judge Sarah Hughes as Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Kennedy look on.

President Lyndon Johnson struck on the idea of giving the 1965 State of the Union speech in prime time so as to maximize the television audience, rather than at the then-traditional midday time.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, on July 2, 1964, which was intended to prohibit segregation in public places. Johnson said it would "close the springs of racial poison."

Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Lyndon Johnson was famously frugal. Even as President, White House tapes recorded him asking a photographer to take his family portraits for free, saying he was a poor man living on a pay check and had a great deal of debt. In truth, Johnson was quite wealthy, but he did receive the portraits for free.

The White House press corps would make jokes at Johnson's frugality, regarding his habit of turning off all lights in the White House when the rooms were not in use.

Back in Johnson's ranch in Texas several visitors had the frightening experience of being driven by the president at close to 100 miles an hour down country roads, whilst he drunk scotch whisky from an old plastic cup. The notoriously frugal Johnson often washed and reused plastic cups.

Johnson owned an amphibious car which he would use to prank his guests by driving into a lake while screaming about brake failure.

Photo portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Oval Office, leaning on a chair.

Lyndon Johnson had a weakness for pop and had a soda tap installed in the Oval Office. He had a particular weakness for Fresca, a citrus flavored soft drink which was introduced by Coca Cola.

During his time at the White House Johnson had as a pet Yuki, a mongrel, and two beagles, Him and Her.

Johnson was a competitive womanizer, and whenever people mentioned Kennedy's many affairs, LBJ would bang the table and declare that he had more women by accident than Kennedy ever had on purpose.

Citing the growing division within the country over the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson decided not to seek re-election. Once his time as president ended in January 1969, Johnson went back to Texas to live his ranch in Stonewall.

Johnson died at his ranch on January 22, 1973, at the age of 64 after having a heart attack.  The day before his death, he had learned that peace was at hand in Vietnam.

His funeral took place at the National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C.

A memorial wreath at President Johnson's grave in Texas

President Lyndon B. Johnson, his father, and his grandfather all died of heart failure at the age of 64.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson was born in a log cabin in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 29, 1808, to town constable Jacob Johnson and Mary ("Polly") McDonough.

Johnson's boyhood home  Mikehelms at English Wikipedia -

Jacob Johnson died of an apparent heart attack while ringing the town bell, shortly after rescuing three drowning men when his son Andrew was three. Polly Johnson worked as a washerwoman and became the sole support of her family.

Unable to attend school, young Andrew was hired out to a tailor at an early age. He learned the trade but was so unhappy at his job that he ran away two years later. The tailor put out a reward of $10 for their capture, but they were never apprehended. Johnson later became a successful tailor.

Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1843, became Governor of Tennessee in 1853, and was elected to the Senate in 1857.

When Tennessee and ten other Southern slave states declared they were no longer part of the United States, Johnson was the only member from such a state to not quit his seat in the U.S. Congress.

The only U.S. president never to have gone to school, Andrew Johnson was later taught to read by his wife, Eliza McCardle Johnson.

Andrew Johnson is the only tailor ever to be president. As president, he would typically stop by a tailor shop to say hello. He would wear only the suits that he made himself.

As Southern states, including Tennessee, seceded to form the Confederacy, Johnson remained firmly with the Union. As a War Democrat in 1864, he was a logical choice as running mate for President Abraham Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity.

Johnson was sworn in as vice president in March 1865. He made a name for himself in Washington as vice president-elect when he arrived inebriated at the inauguration. Johnson had been suffering from typhoid fever and feeling weak, he self-medicated with some whiskey. He slurred his way through a drunken speech. When Johnson tried to swear in the new senators, he became so confused that he had to turn the job over to a Senate clerk.

Six weeks after being sworn in vice president, the assassination of Lincoln made Johnson president. Congress was then run by Republicans, and after Lincoln's assassination, they wanted stricter terms than Johnson did for the Reconstruction of the Southern states that had rebelled. As a result, he vetoed 29 bills passed by Congress, and is the president to have the most vetoes overridden (15) by Congress.

Andrew Johnson became the first U.S. President to be impeached on February 24, 1868 after he tried to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in possible violation of the Tenure of Office Act. Johnson was impeached by the House of Representatives, and avoided removal from office by one vote.

Johnson sought nomination by the 1868 Democratic National Convention in New York in July 1868, but his support fell away as the ballots passed. On the 22nd ballot, former New York governor Horatio Seymour was nominated.

On March 3, 1869, Johnson hosted a large public reception at the White House on his final full day in office.

Johnson died of a stroke on July 31, 1875 at the age of 66. He was buried with his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the U.S. Constitution placed under his head, according to his wishes in Greeneville, Tennessee.

Senator Andrew Johnson in 1875 (age 66)

The burial ground was dedicated as the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in 1906, and with his home and tailor's shop, is part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded the assassinated Abraham Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who like Andrew Johnson was a southerner, succeeded the assassinated John F. Kennedy and was born in 1908.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Pope Saint John Paul II


Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in the Polish town of Wadowice on May 18, 1920. He was the youngest of three children born to Karol Wojtyła, an ethnic Pole and Emilia Kaczorowska.

Emilia, who was a schoolteacher, died in childbirth in 1929.

As a child, Karol was run over twice, once by a tram and once by a truck.

Wojtyła's first, and possibly only girlfriend was a Jewish girl, Ginka Beer, who was described as "slender" and "having stupendous dark eyes and jet black hair".

In mid-1938, Wojtyła and his father left Wadowice and moved to Kraków, where he enrolled at the Jagiellonian University. While studying such topics as philology and various languages, he learned as many as 12 foreign languages, nine of which he used extensively as pope.

Karol Wojtyla was ordained to the priesthood by Kraków's archbishop, Adam Sapieha on November 1, 1946.


At the age of 38, Karol Wojtyła became the youngest bishop in Poland. Six years later he was appointed archbishop of Kraków, Poland on January 13, 1964.

The Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II on October 16, 1978, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, when he was inaugurated in a mass at St. Peter's Square. (The previous non-Italian pope was the Dutch Pope Adrian VI, who served from 1522 to 1523.) The photograph below produced by Agência Brasil, shows him in Brazil in 1997.

Pope John Paul II mafe his first official visit to his native Poland on June 2, 1979, becoming the first Pope to visit a Communist country.

The Turkish assassin Mehmet Ali Agca, after a lifetime of rejection and hatred pointed a gun at John Paul II as the Pope entered St. Peter's Square to address an audience on May 13, 1981. John Paul was shot and critically wounded. The Pope glimpsed a poster of our Lady of Fátima in the crowd and when he found that he was still alive, he was convinced she spared him from death. The shooting took place on the feast day of Our Lady of Fátima and The Pope kept himself conscious on route to the hospital by concentrating on her. The gunman was arrested and locked up in Rome's Rebibbia Prison.

Two and a half years after being shot by Mehmet Ali Agca, Pope John Paul II showed what Christian forgiveness is about when on December 27, 1983, he sat in his would-be assassin's cell holding the hand that held the gun.

A new updated Catechism was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1984, the first since 1566. It was the product of years work by 12 cardinals. The 690–page document covered Catholic belief about God, the Sacraments, prayer and morality based on the Ten Commandments. It significantly lengthened a long list of existing sins. Among the new transgressions were speeding, artificial insemination, embryo research and taking too many aspirin.

After several visits to his homeland, Poland, Pope John II was proving to be a rallying point for opponents of the communist regime, forcing democratic elections to be promised. Other Eastern European countries, encouraged by this and Gorbachev's reforming policies were also proceeding to overthrow their Communist regimes. The culmination of this was the symbolic breaking up of the Berlin Wall.

In a 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II stated in unequivocal terms his opposition to abortion, birth control, genetic manipulation, and euthanasia, and employs the church's strongest language to date against capital punishment.

John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver, Colorado

On the first Sunday in the first Lent of Christianity's third millennium. at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Pope John Paul II apologized for Catholicism's history of "violence in the service of truth." He declared "that the Church "should kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters."

On a visit in 2000 to Portugal for the beatification of the Fátima shepherd children Jacinta and Francisco (Lúcia was still alive), Pope John Paul II made a declaration about the third secret revelation that were given by the Virgin Mary. He announced that he believes it refers to the failed assassination attempt on him in 1981.

Pope Saint John Paul II was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his 27 years as Pope.


When he became pope in 1978 at the age of 58, John Paul II was an avid sportsman. He was extremely healthy and active, jogging in the Vatican gardens, weight training, and hiking in the mountains.

The newly elected John Paul had a swimming pool installed in his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome. He argued that the expense of the pool was justified in terms of deferring the cost of ferrying in a conclave of cardinals to elect a successor.

The pontiff is a former soccer player (his nickname was 'Lolek the Goalie' when he played in goal for his local team in Wadowice, Poland).

John Paul II had been a theater goer from childhood in his native Poland, he even at one time considered becoming an actor. A play, which the former Karol Wojtyla wrote when he was auxiliary Bishop of Krakowl, was translated into English as The Jeweller's Shop and performed at London's Westminster Theatre in 1982.

 His popularity resulted in a TV channel dedicated entirely to the Pope.

John Paul II became the first pope to release an album when he dropped Santo Subito! in 2007.


By the new millennium, John Paul's physical health had declined. In 2001 he was diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson's disease. International observers had suspected this for some time, but it was only publicly acknowledged by the Vatican in 2003.

Despite difficulty speaking more than a few sentences at a time, trouble hearing, and severe osteoarthrosis, the pope continued to tour the world for the next few years, although rarely walking in public.

On April 2, 2005, John Paul II spoke his final words in Polish, "Pozwólcie mi odejść do domu Ojca" ("Allow me to depart to the house of the Father"), to his aides, and fell into a coma about four hours later. He died in his private apartment that evening of heart failure from profound hypotension and complete circulatory collapse, 46 days before his 85th birthday.

The Requiem Mass held on April 8, 2005 was the single largest gathering of heads of state in history, surpassing the funerals of Winston Churchill (1965) and Josip Broz Tito (1980). Four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers, and more than 14 leaders of other religions attended alongside the faithful.

It was also the largest single pilgrimage of Christianity ever with numbers estimated in excess of four million mourners gathering in and around Vatican City.

John Paul II was beatified on May 1, 2011 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to his intercession, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson's disease.

A second miracle attributed to John Paul II's intercession was approved on July 2, 2013, and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later (two miracles must be attributed to a person's intercession to be declared a saint). John Paul II was declared a saint on April 27, 2014, together with Pope John XXIII. It was the first papal canonization since 1954.

The tomb of John Paul II in the Vatican Chapel of St. Sebastian within St. Peter's Basilica

It is traditional to celebrate saints' feast days on the anniversary of their deaths, but that of John Paul II (October 22nd) is celebrated on the anniversary of his papal inauguration.

His family home in Wadowice just outside of Kraków is now a famous site of Christian pilgrimage in Poland.

Source Daily Mail

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Saint John of the Cross

John of the Cross (1542– 1591) was a Carmelite priest, who along with Teresa de Ávila was active in the reform of the Carmelite order. Imprisoned  for several months by some unreformed monks. John spent a difficult time, locked away in a narrow, windowless cell, with a ceiling so low he was unable to stand up. He remained in his stifling, stone cell for close to 24 hours a day during which he was barely fed and received a weekly public lashing.

However, John came to the realization that in his present state things were made easier because the enforced solitude was making contemplation almost necessary. In his cell he wrote some remarkable mystical poetry such as Cántico Espiritual (The Spiritual Canticle), a mystical love poem between a soul, representing John of the Cross and Christ, the Bridegroom, and La Noche Oscura del Alma (Dark Night of the Soul), which told of his search for holiness during this dark period of his own life.

John was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the thirty-six Doctors of the Church.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Elton John

Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex, the eldest child of Stanley Dwight, who served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force and only child of Sheila Eileen (Harris). His parents did not marry until he was 6-years-old.

Reginald started playing the piano at the age of 3, and within a year, his mother heard him picking out Winifred Atwell's "The Skater's Waltz" by ear. He started formal piano lessons at the age of 7.

At the age of 11, Reginald won a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.

In 1964, Dwight formed the band Bluesology with friends. By the mid-60s, the band was backing a number of US soul and R&B acts, including The Isley Brothers and Patti LeBelle and the Bluebells.

Dwight changed his name to Elton John to honor Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean and vocalist Long John Baldry in 1967. For a middle name, he picked Hercules, which was the name of the horse in the British comedy series Steptoe and Son.

Elton John was only the second rock act (after the Beatles) to be honored with a statue in Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London. His waxwork was unveiled on March 7, 1976.

Elton John became the first Western rock star to play in Israel in 1979 when he performed a concert in Jerusalem.

Elton John lost his voice in 1986 while on tour in Australia. He was admitted to a hospital in Sydney, for emergency throat surgery in January of the following year, and forbidden from performing for four months. Several non-cancerous polyps were removed from his vocal cords, resulting in a change in his singing voice.

Elton held a four-day "garage sale" in 1988 where the items sold included the boots he wore in the movie Tommy and his Statue of Liberty stage costume that the musician felt he had outgrown. The take was $6.2 million.

John didn't win a Grammy until 1986. It was for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal, for his collaboration with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight on "That's What Friends Are For."

Elton John achieved a US Top 40 single every year from 1970 to 1996. When he cracked the Top 40 with "The Last Song," it made 23 consecutive years he'd had a song on the charts, breaking Elvis Presley's previous record of 22.

John wrote the music for the Disney movie, The Lion King, which became a Broadway musical in 1997. It has become the highest grossing Broadway production of all time, with grosses of more than $1 billion.

His biggest selling single is "Candle in the Wind." Originally written in 1973 as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, John sang it at Princess Diana's funeral and released a revised version, with proceeds going to charity. It sold 33 million copies.

John was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1996. Two years later, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music and charitable services," making him Sir Elton.

As a child, John didn't need glasses, but wore them anyway to look like Buddy Holly. They damaged his eyes so much that he was soon forced to wear them.

Elton John performs at the Skagerak Arena in Skien, Norway, June 2009. By Ernst Vikne  Wikipedia Commons

In 2010, John told BBC Radio that he owned 250,000 pairs of glasses. "I don't have a iPod or a mobile phone or a computer. I do have a quarter of a million pairs of glasses but I don't even have a mobile phone. If people want to get hold of me they can. The Internet doesn't interest me either apart from getting sports scores."

In 2005, Elton and his longtime partner David Furnish were one of the first couples in the UK to form a civil partnership after the Civil Partnership Act came into effect. Exactly nine years later, they married after gay marriage became legal in England.

Elton and David’s first son, Zachary, was born by surrogacy on December 25, 2010, and their second son, Elijah, was born by surrogacy on January 11, 2013.

Elton's cousin, Reg Dwight, was a professional footballer, who opened the scoring for Nottingham Forest in the 1959 FA Cup Final against Luton Town. However after 33 minutes, Dwight was carried off the Wembley pitch after breaking his leg in a tackle. Ten-man Forest held on, winning the match 2-1 to become the only team reduced to 10 men by injury to win the trophy.

Having supported Watford Football Club since growing up locally, Elton became the club's chairman and director in 1976, appointing Graham Taylor as manager and investing large sums of money as the club rose three divisions into the English First Division.

On December 13, 2014, Elton appeared at Watford's Vicarage Road with David Furnish, and his sons Zachary and Elijah for the opening of the "Sir Elton John Stand".

Elton has a number of famous godchildren, including Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono; and Brooklyn and Romeo Beckham, the children of David and Victoria Beckham.


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Pope Saint John XXIII


Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in a stone farm house on November 25, 1881 in Sotto il Monte, a small country village 40 miles from Milan.

He was the eldest son of Giovanni Battista Roncalli and his wife Marianna Giulia Mazzoll and fourth in a family of 13.

His father was a share cropper who had saved enough money to buy a plot of his own. “Italians come to ruin most generally three times - women, gambling and farming,” Roncalli later said. “My family chose the slowest one.”

At the age of 11 Angelo told his father he wanted to become a priest.

Angelo studied at Bergamo seminary then went onto Rome where he graduated from Apollinare Seminary aged 25.

Roncalli (middle) in 1901.

In addition to Italian, Greek and Latin he spoke fluent French and some Turkish.


In 1905, Roncalli was ordained a priest in the Roman Church of Santa Maria in Monte Santo.

As a young Priest, he spent a year teaching the life and thought of the early Church Fathers at the Pontifical Lateran Seminary in Rome. His views did not endear him to authority. As a result Roncalli languished as a letter copier in the oriental congregation of the Vatican.

The future Pope John XXIII was drafted into the Royal Italian Army as a sergeant for World War 1, serving in the medical corps and as a chaplain.

After the war, Roncalli founded Italy’s first student home for poor youths.

He was Papal Nunciol, a sort of Papal visitor, to first of all Bulgaria, then Turkey between 1924-44.

During World War II, Roncalli used his position to help thousands of Jewish refugees escape persecution.

In 1944 Roncalli was made Papal Nunciol to the recently liberated France. When he heard of his appointment he thought there had been some mistake saying, “I am not worthy of the job.”

When he was Papal Nunco to France, the future Pope John XXIII  was invited to a banquet. His dinner partner wore an extremely low cut dress, which the prelate affected not to notice. During the meal when dessert was offered however, he selected an apple and offered it to the lady. She refused. He urged "please take it madam. It was only after Eve ate the apple that she became aware of how little she had on."

Of his time in France, Pope John later related in a humorous account that, when a woman wearing a daringly low-cut dress arrived at a reception which he was attending, the people assembled in the room did not watch the woman, but, rather, him to see if he was watching the woman.

On January 12, 1953, he was appointed Patriarch of Venice and, accordingly, raised to the rank of Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca by Pope Pius XII.

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Patriarch of Venice (1953–1958)


On November 4, 1958 Angelo Roncalli was elected pope. He chose his father's name, John, and became Pope John XXIII thus making his views known on the disputed legitimacy of the 15th century Pope John XXIII.  He was crowned wearing the 1877 Palatine Tiara.

After being elected, Pope John XXIII appeared to cheering masses wearing his new papal robes of white silk cassock, red velvet and white ermine lined cape and gold silk stole.

He was aged seventy-six when elected and was considered a caretaker pope but instead he ushered in a new era in the Roman Catholic Church. Within three months of his election as pope, John XXIII proclaimed to the world his plan for a Vatican Council Two. The idea was inspired, he declared, by the Holy Spirit to "aggriornamento" (which means "bring up to date").

On December 25, 1958, John XXII undertook the first papal pastoral visit off Vatican territory since 1870, when he visited children infected with polio at the Bambino Gesù Hospital and then visited Santo Spirito Hospital.

The following day, he visited Rome's Regina Coeli prison, where he told the inmates: "You could not come to me, so I came to you."

In 1960 John XXIII met with Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher, primate of the Church of England, the first meeting of a bishop of Rome and Archbishop of Canterbury for over 400 years.

In 1961 Pope John XXIII issued an encyclical Mater et Magistra in which he sought reconciliation, unity and co-operation between individuals, social groups and denominations. For the first time the papacy is stressing the need for technologically advanced countries to help emerging nations by using their technological skills.

At the Second Vatican Council, which began meeting in 1962, great movements were set in train. Celebration in Latin was replaced by the use of the local language, relations with other denominations were relaxed, the role of the laity was enhanced, and the pope was made more 'one among equals'. Also evangelization and the reading of the Bible by the laity was encouraged.

John XXIII died in 1963 so he did not live to see the completion of his plans.


Pope John XXIII died in his bed on June 3, 1963, after a long struggle with stomach cancer. He passed away minutes after 100,000 people had attended a sunset Mass in St Peters Square. When news reached them the departing congregation started weeping, crying "Papa, poor Papa".

During his five years as pope, John XXIII succeeded in bringing the Catholic Church into the 20th century. His successor, Pope Paul VI commented on his predecessor's reforms, "This holy old boy doesn't realize what a hornets nest he is stirring up."

On September 3, 2000, John XXIII was declared "Blessed" alongside Pope Pius IX by Pope John Paul II, the penultimate step on the road to sainthood after a miracle of curing an ill woman was discovered. He was the first pope since Pope Pius X to receive this honor.

On July 5, 2013, Pope Francis approved Pope John XXIII for canonization without the traditional second miracle required. Instead, Francis based this decision on John XXIII's merits for the Second Vatican Council.

The canonization ceremony of John XXIII and John Paul II. By Jeffrey Bruno from New York City, Wikipedia

The date assigned for the liturgical celebration of John XXIII is not June 3rd, the anniversary of his death as would be usual, but October 11th, the anniversary of his opening of the Second Vatican Council.

Source Faber Book of Anecdotes 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

King John of England


King John of England was born on December 24, 1167 at Beaumont Palace, which had been built outside the north gate of Oxford to serve as a royal palace conveniently close to the royal hunting-lodge at Woodstock.

John was born to Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Neither parent played a part in his very early life.

He was always his father's favorite son, though as the youngest, he could expect no inheritance (hence his nickname, "Lackland").

Henry II had at first intended that John receive an education to go into the Church, which would have meant Henry did not have to give him any land, but in 1171 Henry began negotiations to betroth John to Alais the daughter of Count Humbert III of Savoy. As part of this agreement John was promised the future inheritance of Savoy, Piedmont, Maurienne, and the other possessions of Count Humbert. After that, talk of making John a churchman ceased.

In  the 1968 movie Lion in Winter, Alais complains about the prospect of marrying 16-year-old John, saying, "He smells of compost."

Alais made the trip over the Alps and joined Henry II's court, but she died before marrying John, which left the prince once again without an inheritance.

John enjoyed reading and, unusually for the period, built up a travelling library of books. Some of the books the records show he read included: De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei by Hugh of St. Victor, Sentences by Peter Lombard, The Treatise of Origen, and a history of England—potentially Wace's Roman de Brut, based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae.


After his brother Richard I's death there were two potential claimants to the Angevin throne: John, whose claim rested on being the sole surviving son of Henry II, and young Arthur of Brittany, who held a claim as the son of Geoffrey, John's elder brother. John was supported by the bulk of the English and Norman nobility and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on May 27, 1199, backed by his mother, Eleanor.

Many of his English subjects felt that Arthur was the rightful heir to the English throne. However, John had him killed and the prince's wife, Eleanor, the "Fair Maid of Brittany" locked up in Bristol Castle, then sent to a nunnery at Amesbury. She remained there until her death in 1241.

After usurping the throne following his brother's death, John realized he was unpopular among many. Concerned to gain his subject's affection he suggested a second coronation. According to Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John, the Earl of Salisbury rejected this as utterly futile. To have another crowning would be like "painting the lily", which is where that phrase comes from.

King John once ordered his horsemen to ride down some Cistercian monks in Lincoln. Later the King had a dream ordering him to repent. As a result he gave 10,000 acres of New Forest land to the Cistercian monks at Beaulieu. This became Beaulieu Abbey.

13th-century depiction of John with two hunting dogs

King John refused to sanction the Pope Innocent III 's choice of Simon Langton as the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1207 and expelled the Canterbury monks. In response, the pope suspended all public worship in England, which was a cause of tremendous grief for the pious peasants. The raging king retaliated by confiscating church property and giving the ecclesiastics an almost starvation allowance of food and clothing, leading to many churchmen fleeing abroad. He screamed that if he found any of the pope's clerks in England, he would send them home to Rome with their eyes torn out and their noses split that they might be known there from other people.

The consequence of the king's rage was that he was excommunicated. However, Innocent was concerned about the potential loss of faith so he allowed some English churches to privately hold Mass.

In 1213 King John, under attack from the Barons, agreed to surrender the Kingdom of England to God, received back England as a fief and pay the Pope a handsome annual tribute. In return England got its public worship and the sacraments back.

As far as the administration of his kingdom went, John functioned as an efficient ruler, but he won the disapproval of the English barons by taxing them in ways that were outside those traditionally allowed by feudal overlords. The tax known as scutage, a penalty for those who failed to supply military resources, became particularly unpopular.

In 1215, as a result of the King's demands for excessive feudal taxes, and attacks on the privileges of the church, the Barons forced him to seal the Magna Carta at Runnymede, a broad riverside meadow near Egham, Surrey. This charter gave the Barons more power and is the foundation of England's liberty.

The Magna Carta was basically a restatement of an earlier charter, the 1100 Charter of Liberties. It had 63 clauses including one that the King could not demand taxes without the great council's consent. Copies were sent to every shire. The King never actually signed the Magna Carta, (he just placed his seal on it).

In his own time, King John was known disparagingly as ‘Softsword’ for his shambolic military adventures.


John grew up to be around 5 ft 5 in (1.68 m) tall, plump, balding with a clump of curly dark red hair and a full beard. He was said to have possessed a menacing voice.

King John Wikipedia

In 1176, John's father disinherited the sisters of Isabella of Gloucester, contrary to legal custom, and betrothed John to the now extremely wealthy Isabella. (She is given several alternative names by history, including Isabelle, Hawise, Joan, and Eleanor.) They married on August 29, 1189 at Marlborough Castle, Wiltshire.

Their marriage was childless and Isabella would habitually lie in bed until noon reading romances. (John liked getting up late as well.)

When he found out Isabella had taken a lover, the king had him killed and his corpse strung up over Isabella’s side of the bed.

John had their marriage annulled on the grounds of consanguinity, some time before or shortly after his accession to the throne, and Isabella was never acknowledged as queen. (She then married Geoffrey de Mandeville as her second husband and Hubert de Burgh as her third).

On August 24, 1200 King John married Isabella of Angoulême, who was twenty years his junior, in Bordeaux Cathedral. Blonde and blue-eyed 12-year-old Isabella was already renowned by some for her beauty. John had kidnapped her from her fiancee, Hugh IX of Lusignan.

Isabella eventually produced five children, including two sons (Henry and Richard), Joan, Isabella and Eleanor.

In 1220, four years after John's death, Isabella married Hugh X of Lusignan, Count of La Marche, by whom she had another nine children.

Isabella died on June 4, 1246, having outlived her royal husband by 30 years.

Isabella of Angoulême, tomb in the church of Fontevraud Abbey (France)

John is given a great talent for lechery by the chroniclers of his age, and even allowing some embellishment, he did have many illegitimate children.


King John was the first English monarch to have a dressing gown.

King John dressed very well in coats made of fur from sable and ermine and other exotic furs such as polar bear.

According to records of payment made to King John's bath attendant, William Aquarius, the king bathed on average about once every three weeks, which cost a considerable sum of 5d to 6d each, suggesting an elaborate and ceremonial affair. Although this may seem barbaric by modern standards, it was civilized compared to monks who were expected to bathe three times a year, with the right not to bathe at all if they so chose.

John owned 72 castles and a dozen hunting lodges, including a royal castle at Rochester.

King John of England, Illuminated manuscript, De Rege Johanne, 1300-1400 {{PD-US}} 

He employed a Royal Head Holder to counter seasickness. Whenever the king took to sea, his servant Solomon Attefeld was on hand to hold the royal head steady.


The English king enjoyed hunting in the New Forest. John was the first monarch to keep racing horses in his stables.

He traveled unceasingly between his castles and hunting lodges, accompanied by among others several hundred hunting dogs and an officer charged with drying his wet clothes.

King John, finding insufficient game for his personal falconry, issued a proclamation in 1209 forbidding the taking of wild fowl by any means.

King John treasured greyhounds so much that he gladly accepted them instead of money for the payment of fines or the renewal of grants.

He enjoyed gambling, in particular at backgammon.


John lost his treasure whilst fording the Crosskeys Wash in Lincolnshire on October 12, 1216. Among the items lost were his crown and baggage, 52 rings encrusted with rubies and sapphires, 132 silver cups, and plenty of swords and trinkets.

Shortly after losing his treasure, John died at Trent Castle, Newark in the early hours of October 19, 1216 of dysentery, possibly after eating too much. According to some accounts the town’s folk of Lynn in Norfolk were so delighted at being awarded a handsome contract by the king, that they laid on a sumptuous feat in his honor, they rounded it off with his favorite dessert, peaches in cider. But he ate too much, suffered violent stomach pains and died a few days later.

John's body was escorted south by a company of mercenaries and he was buried in Worcester Cathedral in front of the altar of St Wulfstan.

He was succeeded by his nine-year-old son, Henry. As a result of John losing his crown, Henry III had to be crowned with his mother's bracelet.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Johannesburg was named and established in 1886 following the discovery of gold on what had been a farm. Within ten years, Johannesburg's population was 100,000 inhabitants.

"Jameson's raiders," a group of British mercenaries and Bechuanaland policemen unsuccessfully tried to take over Johannesburg, the capital of Transvaal, over the New Year weekend of 1895–96. They failed, but it was an inciting factor in the Second Boer War and the Second Matabele War.

The Johannesburg Zoo was established in 1904, and historically, it has been owned and run by the city of Johannesburg. It houses the only two polar bears in Africa.

Mohandas Gandhi established a commune near Johannesburg based on Tolstoy's ideas, It was a farm of 1,100 acres where he pitched in with the manual work along with everyone else.

Nelson Mandela studied law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and opened the nation's first black law firm in the city in 1952.

The first scheduled jet airliner passenger service began with a BOAC Comet flying between London and Johannesburg in 1952.

Johannesburg is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. The city is nicknamed Egoli, which means "place of gold."

Forty percent of all the gold ever mined in the world has been dug up from a 200 mile-long basin that includes the city of Johannesburg.

In 2011, the population of the city of Johannesburg was 4,434,827, making it the largest city in South Africa.

Johannesburg houses the tallest office block in Africa, the Carlton Centre (50 stories) and the tallest tower, the Hillbrow Tower (270 metres, or 90 stories).

In Johannesburg, the average car will be involved in an accident once every four years. 

Monday, 21 September 2015


The jockey's cap dates back to the head covering of Roman charioteers. Their fast motion along the racing track, with its repeated turns around the pillars at either end, in itself could cause vertigo. In addition, the rays of the burning sun reflected by the sands of the arena could easily blind them. To avoid this, the Romans added to their bronze head cover the peak. It was this peaked cap which became the modern jockey's headgear.

Alicia Meynell became Britain's first woman jockey in 1804. She rode the odds-on favorite Vingarillo in a race at York, but lost because she was obliged to ride side-saddle.

Frank Hayes (1888–1923) had never won a race before and in fact by profession was not actually a jockey but a horse trainer and longtime stableman. On June 4, 1923 he rode a 20-1 outsider called Sweet Kiss in a steeplechase at Belmont Park in New York State, USA. Hayes suffered a fatal heart attack somewhere in the middle of the race, but his body remained in the saddle throughout. Sweet Kiss eventually crossed the finish line, by a head with Hayes technically still atop her back, making him the first, and thus far only, deceased jockey to win a race.

John Faulkner, the world’s oldest jockey, rode his last race at the age of 74, a steeplechase in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England. He died on January 25, 1933 aged 104 having fathered 32 children.

On May 8, 1936 jockey Ralph Neves was involved in a racing accident at Bay Meadows Racetrack in San Mateo, California and mistakenly pronounced dead by three different doctors. After a minute’s silence from the spectators his body was removed to a morgue in the nearest town. Neves revived however, shortly after and wearing only a hospital gown took a taxi back to the racetrack where he alarmed the crowd with his miraculous reappearance. He was not allowed to compete in any of the remaining races because of his 'death,'  but rode again on the next day's racing card.

Penny Ann Early (born May 30, 1943) became the first licensed female jockey in the United States in 1968. In protest, male jockeys unanimously refused to ride in the first few races in which Early was slated to appear at the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky to prevent her from competing.

Barbara Jo Rubin became the first female jockey to win a horse race in the US on February 22, 1969. She rode Cohesian to victory at Charlestown Racetrack in West Virginia.

Bill Shoemaker's 6,033rd victory on September 7, 1970 set the record for most lifetime wins as a jockey (passing Johnny Longden). Win number 8,833, Shoemaker's last, came at Gulfstream Park, Florida on January 20, 1990 aboard Beau Genius. Shoemaker's own record of 8,833 career victories was broken by Panamanian-born Laffit Pincay Jr.; the record is currently held by Russell Baze.

Bill Shoemaker Photograph by Mike Powell, 1986. Wikipedia Commons.

Charlotte Brew, at the age of 21, became the first woman to compete in the Grand National on April 2, 1977.  Her ride, Barony Fort, was an eighteenth birthday gift from her parents. She didn't finish the course as her horse was hampered and refused four fences from home.

Frankie Dettori won all seven races that were on the card at Ascot Racecourse on September 28, 1996. The feat that was previously regarded as unachievable and may never be repeated.

When Michelle Payne won the 2015 Melbourne Cup on November 3, 2015, riding the 100-1 outsider Prince of Penzance, she became the first female jockey to win the event. She was also the fourth woman to ride in the race and was coincidentally wearing the colours of the suffragette movement: purple, green and white.

Source Europress Encyclopedia

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs was born on February 24 1955, in Los Altos, California.

Jobs was half Arab by his biological father, Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, who grew up in Homs, Syria. His mother, Joanne Sociable Simpson was Swiss-American.

Jobs was adopted at birth by the Bay Area blue collar couple Paul and Clara Jobs, neither of whom had a college education. Schieble refused to sign the adoption papers, as she wanted Steve to be brought up by college graduates. She only consented to releasing the baby to Paul and Clara after they promised that he would attend college.

During his high school years, Jobs worked summers at Hewlitt-Packard, it was there that he first met his future business partner Steve Wozniak.

Steve Jobs had a high school GPA of 2.65.

Jobs started studying physics, literature, and poetry, at Reed College, Oregon. However, he only formally attended one semester before dropping out.

As a college student, Steve Jobs stopped showering because he believed he could eliminate his body odor by only eating fruit

He spent 18 more months dropping in on more creative classes, including a calligraphy class, which he attributes as being the reason Apple computers had such elegant typefaces.


After returning to California, Steve Jobs started working for Atari , an early pioneer manufacturer of personal computers. Jobs' close personal friend Steve Wozniak was also working for Atari, and the future founders of Apple teamed together to design games for Atari computers.

When Steve Jobs started working at Atari, he was assigned the night shift because his strong odor disturbed his colleagues.

In 1976, Steve Wozniak invented the Apple I computer. Wozniak showed it to Steve Jobs, who suggested that they sell it, after which they and Ronald Wayne formed Apple Computer in the garage of Jobs's Los Altos home on Crist Drive. The company was founded on April 1, 1976, and incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. on January 3, 1977.

In the early 1980s, still at Apple, Jobs was one of the first to see the commercial potential of using a mouse to use with the graphical user interface.

In 1984, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and others co-invented the Apple Macintosh computer, the first successful home computer with a mouse-driven graphical user.

Apple's Board of Directors fired Jobs from his position with the company the following year. He then started NeXT, a computer platform development company which dealt with higher education and business markets.

During this period, Jobs bought a computer animation studio from film director George Lucas called Pixar. Jobs later sold Pixar to Disney and gained a seat on the Disney board of directors.

Apple's 1997 buyout of NeXT brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded where he worked as the CEO of Apple. He returned to Apple Inc. as a consultant on February 7, 1997.

Only 1 dollar was annually withdrawn by Steve Jobs from Apple's accounts as his annual salary when he was CEO.

On January 9 2007, Jobs unveiled the iPhone, calling it a "revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone."

Jobs holding an iPhone 4 in 2010. By Matthew Yohe, Wikipedia

Steve Jobs did not let his kids use iPads and limited their use of technology to a minimum.

When once asked what market research went into the iPad, Jobs' response was: "None. It's not the consumers' job to know what they want."

The original iPad in its black case. By Yutaka Tsutano Wikipedia

When a secretary at Apple was late because of car trouble, Steve Jobs gave her a Jaguar and said, "Don't be late anymore."

Steve Jobs discovered a loophole that allowed a 6-month grace period before requiring a license plate on a leased car, He would lease the same Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG every six months in order to avoid having a plate.

Steve Jobs believed that his commitment to vegan diets meant his body was flushed of mucus and he was free from body odor, so he didn't need to wear deodorant or shower regularly. His former coworkers quote that he was "very, very wrong."

Steve Jobs held important business meetings while walking, knowing that brains worked better while the body was physically active.

On August 24, 2011, Jobs retired as CEO of Apple. He suggested Tim Cook as his successor. Following Jobs' request, Jobs continued as the chairman of the Apple Inc.'s Board of Directors.


Steve Jobs had health problems for his last few years and had a liver transplant.

Jobs refused to wear his oxygen mask while sick because he did not like the way it was designed.

Before his death, Steve Jobs was listed as the inventor and/or co-inventor on 342 United States patents. His last patent was issued for the Mac OS X Dock user interface and was granted the day before he died.

Steve Jobs died at his Palo Alto, California, home around 3 p.m. on October 5, 2011, due to complications from a relapse of pancreatic cancer, resulting in respiratory arrest. His last words were "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

File:ProjectRED Grouppicture.jpg: Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA
When Jobs died he was worth $8.3 billion.

Most of Steve Jobs' wealth was from his shares in Disney, not Apple.

Bill Gates wrote Steve Jobs a letter as he was dying—Jobs was touched and kept it by his bed.

Steve Job may have survived if he had sought scientifically proven medical treatments earlier rather than the alternative remedies and juice cleanses that he tried first. It was one of his most notable regrets.

Steve Jobs is buried in an unmarked grave at the only non-denominational cemetery in Palo Alto.

Source About,com