Tag Archives: botanist

Almanac – April 15

1452 – Leonardo da Vinci born.  Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.

His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination“.

 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.

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1802 – William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy saw a “long belt” of daffodils, on a walk around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater, in the Lake District,  inspiring the former to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud a couple of years later, inspired by Dorothy’s journal entry describing the walk –

When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up — But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about & about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed and reeled and danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever dancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway — We rested again & again. The Bays were stormy & we heard the waves at different distances & in the middle of the water like the Sea.

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1894 – Bessie Smith born. American blues singer. Nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s, and is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on other jazz vocalists.

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1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg. Only 710 of 2,227 passengers and crew on board survived.

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1980 – Jean-Paul Sartre died. French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic.

He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism, and one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism.

His work has also influenced sociology, critical theory, post-colonial theory, and literary studies, and continues to influence these disciplines.

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Almanac – September 24

1534 – Guru Ram Das born. The fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, one of his main contributions to Sikhism was organizing the structure of Sikh society. Additionally, he was the author of Laava, the four hymns of the Sikh Marriage Rites, and he was planner and creator of the township of Ramdaspur which became the Sikh holy city of Amritsar.

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1541 –  Paracelsus  (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) died.  German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist. He is also credited for giving zinc its name, calling it zincum, and is regarded as the first systematic botanist.

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1893 – Blind Lemon Jefferson born. American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled “Father of the Texas Blues”.

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1930 – Angelo Muscat born. Maltese-born film and television character actor,  he appeared in 14 of the 17 episodes of the sixties cult television series The Prisoner, as the notably mute butler. Only 4 ft 3 in tall, he played an Oompa-Loompa in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), and also appeared in the Beatles‘  Magical Mystery Tour and  Doctor Who.

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1993 – A Jehovah’s Witness buttonholed actor James Purefoy outside his London flat. They began a friendly conversation, but then   “I just said I thought it was odd that the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs, and he punched me in the face.”

“At first I tried to laugh it off, but that just incensed him and he kept hitting me.”

Finally, Purefoy lifted his assailant into the air and threw him to the ground, shouting: “I hope Jehovah witnessed that !”

The actor came out of the theological discussion with a black eye and a slipped disc, causing him to have to pull out of Noel Coward’s  Present Laughter at the Globe Theatre.
The fate of the JW isn’t recorded.

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