Words of Wisdom: May

  • May 1

    “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  • May 2

    “We take [L’Enfant’s plan] into account for virtually everything we do. I think he would be pleasantly surprised if he could see the city today. I don’t think any city in the world can say that the plan has been followed so carefully as it has been in Washington.”

    — John Cogbill, chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission from 2001-2009, says the Commission, which oversees development in the city, strives to fulfill L'Enfant's original vision while meeting the demands of a growing region.

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  • May 3

    “Washington is a community of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.”

    ― President John F. Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963) was the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963

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  • May 4

    An Act to incorporate and establish a Society for the cultivation and promotion of Arts and Sciences. Granted May 4, 1780, by an Act of the Legislature of Massachusetts, and amended by the Acts of 1910, 1911, 1931, 1947, and 1974.As the Arts and Sciences are the foundation and support of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce; as they are necessary to the wealth, peace, independence, and happiness of a people; as they essentially promote the honor and dignity of the government which patronizes them, and as they are most effectually cultivated and diffused through a State by the forming and incorporating of men of genius and learning into public societies for these beneficial purposes.

    Be it therefore enacted by the Council and House of Representatives in General Court assembled and by the authority of the same that (sixty-two persons) be, and they hereby are formed into, constituted, and made a body politic and corporate, by the name of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and that they, and their successors, and such other persons as shall be elected in the manner hereafter mentioned, shall be and continue a body politic and corporate, by the same name forever.

    — Charter of Incorporation of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, May 4, 1780

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  • May 5

    “Our castle is not imposing, but is well built, and surrounded by a very fine garden. I live in the bailiff’s house.”

    — Franz Schubert (January 31, 1797 – November 19, 1828) was an Austrian composer who died before his 32nd birthday. He was extremely prolific during his lifetime.

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  • May 6

    “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

    — Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and, during the American Civil War, a Union spy. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends,[2] using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era was an active participant in the struggle for women's suffrage.

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  • May 7

    Discarding the somber Quaker dress after her second marriage, Dolley chose the finest of fashions. A chronicler wrote: “She looked a Queen … It would be absolutely impossible for any one to behave with more perfect propriety than she did.”

    — Dolley Payne Todd Madison, known as "the first first lady,' was wife of James Madison, 4th President of the US from 1809-1817. She was noted for her social gifts, which boosted her husband’s popularity as President (May 20, 1768 – July 12, 1849)

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  • May 8

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia by the captain or commanding officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this act.

    — The Militia Acts of 1792

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  • May 8

    “In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark–the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany. Meanwhile, more than 13,000 British POWs were released and sent back to Great Britain.”

    — V Day

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  • May 9

    “The design of the first Stars and Stripes by Hopkinson had the 13 stars arranged in a staggered pattern technically known as quincuncial because it is based on the repetition of a motif of five units.

    “This arrangement inevitably results in a strongly diagonal effect. In a flag of 13 stars, this placement produced the unmistakable outline of the crosses of St. George and of St. Andrew, as used together on the British flag. Whether this similarity was intentional or accidental, it may explain why the plainer fashion of placing the stars in three parallel rows was preferred by many Americans over the quincuncial style.”

    — usflag.org

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  • May 10

    “He said to me, ‘We are now going toward your friends, and if you attempt to run, or we are insulted, we will blow your brains out.’ When we had got into the road they formed a circle, and ordered the prisoners in the center, and to lead me in the front.”

    — Paul Revere, (December 21, 1734 - May 10, 1818) was an American silversmith, engraver, early industrialist, and a Patriot in the American Revolution. He is best known for alerting the Colonial militia to the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Paul Revere's Ride."

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  • May 11

    “Hospitals are places that you have to stay in for a long time, even if you are a visitor. Time doesn’t seem to pass in the same way in hospitals as it does in other places. Time seems to almost not exist in the same way as it does in other places.”

    — Pedro Almodovar, Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former actor

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  • May 12

    On June 13, 1789, Alexander Hamilton’s wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, served ice cream for dessert to George Washington at a dinner party. Ice cream was a new and upcoming delicacy in the United states.

    After this initial introduction to the desert, it was often served at presidential dinners. George Washington was very fond of ice cream and in the summer of 1790 it was reported that he spent over $200 dollars on the desert. Washington’s false teeth and sensitive gums may have caused his hunger for the soft desert, but regardless of the reason, ice cream made its way into the heart of America.

    — wikipedia/ElizabethSchuylerHamilton

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  • May 13

    “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”

    — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Born in Salzburg, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty.

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  • May 14

    “The doctor made a few scratches on one of James’ arms and rubbed into them some material from one of the pocks on Sarah’s hand. A few days later, James became mildly ill with cowpox, but was well again a week later. So Jenner knew that cowpox could pass from person to person as well as from cow to person.

    “The next step was to test whether the cowpox would now protect James from smallpox. On July 1, Jenner variolated the boy. As Jenner anticipated, and undoubtedly to his great relief, James did not develop smallpox on this occasion nor on the many subsequent occasions when his immunity was tested again.”

    — jennermuseum.org

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  • May 15

    “It seemed to me I was living in an insane asylum of my own making. I went about with all these fantastic figures: centaurs, nymphs, satyrs, gods and goddesses, as though they were patients and I was analyzing them. I read a Greek or Negro myth as if a lunatic were telling me his anamnesis.”

    ― C.G. Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961), a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in philosophy, anthropology, archaeology, literature, and religious studies. He was a prolific writer, though many of his works were not published until after his death.

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  • May 16

    “Racism, xenophobia and unfair discrimination have spawned slavery, when human beings have bought and sold and owned and branded fellow human beings as if they were so many beasts of burden.”

    — Desmond Tutu (born 7 October 1931) is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.

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  • May 16

    “He gave the Regulators a choice — to return peacefully to their homes or be fired upon. They had one hour to decide. After the hour was up Tryon sent an officer to receive their reply. ‘Fire and be damned!’ was their answer. The governor then gave the order, but his men hesitated. Rising in his stirrups, he shouted, ‘Fire! Fire on them or on me!’ The militia obeyed, the Regulators responded in kind, and the battle of Alamance was on.”

    — from "The War of the Regulation and the Battle of Alamance," by William S. Powell. On this site in 1771, an armed rebellion of backcountry farmers — called Regulators — battled against royal governor William Tryon's militia. Visitors can tour the 18th-century Allen Houseand battlefield monuments. These features, together with the visitor center's DVD orientation program, offer a vivid account of this colonial battle, as well as the oppressive British colonial policies that sparked the revolt.

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  • May 17

    “You can’t win the Kentucky Derby unless you’re on a thoroughbred.”

    — Joe Torre, chief baseball officer, Major League Baseball

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  • May 17

    “Every diminution of the public burdens arising from taxation gives to individual enterprise increased power and furnishes to all the members of our happy confederacy new motives for patriotic affection and support.”

    — Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the 7th President of the United States (1829–37). As president, Jackson faced a threat of secession from South Carolina over the "Tariff of Abominations" which Congress had enacted under Adams. In contrast to several of his immediate successors, he denied the right of a state to secede from the union, or to nullify federal law.

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  • May 17

    “The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own.”

    — Gordon Gekko, a fictional character in the 1987 film "Wall Street"

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  • May 18

    “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

    — Abraham Lincoln

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  • May 19

    “By 10 a.m., the sky went dark. … The preternatural night had fallen. All over New England, every farmer, schoolboy, fisherman, maiden, cordwainer, blacksmith, clergyman, and laborer gawked upward for the missing sun and gasped at the remarkable and sudden elimination of light.”

    — Author John Horrigan, from his book, "The Dark Day Over Olde New England: An Unexplained Darkness Cast Upon the Colonies."

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  • May 20

    “Objects are what matter. Only they carry the evidence that throughout the centuries something really happened among human beings.”

    — Levi Strauss (February 26, 1829 – September 26, 1902) was a German-American businessman of German Jewish descent who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm, Levi Strauss & Co., began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.

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  • May 21

    “I could but esteem this moment of my departure as among the most happy of my life.”

    ― Meriwether Lewis (August 18, 1774 - October 11, 1809), American explorer, soldier, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition also known as the Corps of Discovery, with William Clark, whose mission was to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase.

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  • May 22

    “The rule of my life is to make business a pleasure, and pleasure my business.”

    — Aaron Burr (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician. He was the third Vice President of the United States (1801–05); he served during President Thomas Jefferson's first term.

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  • May 23

    “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

    — Benjamin Franklin ( January 6, 1705][1] – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A renowned polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions.[2] He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and a university.

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  • May 24

    “The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.”

    — John Hancock (January 23, 1737 – October 8, 1793) was an American merchant, smuggler, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that the term "John Hancock" has become, in the United States, a synonym for a signature.

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  • May 25

    “There have been applied sciences throughout the ages. … However this so-called practice was not much more than paper in nearly all of these cases, and the various applied sciences were only lacking a bagatelle, namely proper scientific practice. The applied sciences show the application of theoretic doctrines in existing events; but that is precisely what it does, it merely shows. Whereas the scientific practice autonomously puts to use these theories.”

    ― Christian Doppler (November 29, 1803 – March 17, 1853), Austrian mathematician and physicist. He is celebrated for his principle — known as the Doppler effect — that the observed frequency of a wave depends on the relative speed of the source and the observer.

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  • May 25

    “All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.”

    — John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826)

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  • May 26

    “Blockades, to be binding, must be effective–that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy.”

    — James Russell Soley (October 1, 1850 – September 11 , 1911) was a lawyer and Naval historian and in the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the U.S. Navy.

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  • May 26

    “Were it possible that a Society should exist in which every member would, of his own accord, industriously pursue the increase of National property without waste or extravagance, the public Wealth would be impaired by every Species of Taxation, but there never was, and unless human nature should change, there never will be such a Society. In any given number of men there will always be some who are idle and some who are extravagant.”

    — Robert Morris, Jr. (January 20, 1734 – May 8, 1806) was a Founding Father of the United States, was a Liverpool-born American merchant who financed the American Revolution and signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly, became the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, and was chosen as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, where he served as chairman of the "Secret Committee of Trade" and as a member of the Committee of Correspondence.

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  • May 27

    “The British built the fort between 1796 and 1799 as a replacement for Fort Niagara (directly across the river), which they were forced to evacuate in accordance with the terms of Jay’s Treaty. The new post also served as the headquarters of the Right Division of the British army under General Sir Isaac Brock during the War of 1812 and of the British Indian Department in Upper Canada.”

    — eighteentwelve.ca

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  • May 28

    “[The steamboat] will answer for sea voyages as well as for inland navigation, in particular for packets, where there may be a great number of passengers. He is also of opinion, that fuel for a short voyage would not exceed the weight of water for a long one, and it would produce a constant supply of fresh water. … [T]he boat would make head against the most violent tempests, and thereby escape the danger of a lee shore; and that the same force may be applied to a pump to free a leaky ship of her water. … [T]he good effects of the machine, is the almost omnipotent force by which it is actuated, and the very simple, easy, and natural way by which the screws or paddles are turned to answer the purpose of oars.”

    — John Fitch (January 21, 1743 – July 2, 1798) was an American inventor, clockmaker, entrepreneur and engineer. He was most famous for operating the first steamboat service in the United States. This letter was written to Benjamin Franklin on Oct. 12, 1785, before the first steamboat carried a man on Aug. 27, 1787.

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  • May 29

    The Virginia Plan’s 15 resolutions broadened the debate to include what form the structure and power of the national government would take. It was the first document to produce a separation of powers into an executive, legislative, and judicial branch.

    The Virginia Plan also proposed that legislative branch should consist of two houses. In these two houses, each of the states would be represented in proportion to their populations. Thus, states with a large population, like Virginia (which was the most populous state at the time), would have more representatives than smaller states. Naturally, the larger states approved of this notion, but the smaller states did not.

    — The Virginia Plan, constitutionfacts.com

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  • May 30

    “There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.”

    — Napoleon Bonaparte (August 15, 1769 – May 5, 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars.

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  • May 31

    “Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.”

    — Bob Feller (November 3, 1918 – December 15, 2010), nicknamed "The Heater from Van Meter", "Bullet Bob", and "Rapid Robert", was an American baseball pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Cleveland Indians.

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