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Sunday, 31 January 2016



The first known record of the name of Lithuania appeared in an entry in the annals of the monastery of Quedlinburg (in modern Germany) on March 9, 1009.

In 1219, twenty-one Lithuanian dukes signed a peace treaty with Galicia–Volhynia – the first proof that the Baltic tribes were uniting.

After continuous warfare with two Christian orders, the Livonian Order and the Teutonic Knights, the Lithuanian lands were united in the 1230s by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania. The first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on July 6, 1253.

Lithuania State Day is a national holiday observed on July 6. On this day, Lithuanians honor the coronation of Mindaugas.

In 1261, Mindaugas broke the peace with the Livonian Order, and his assassination two years later by Treniota ended the early Christian kingdom in Lithuania.

King Mindaugas was the only King Lithuania has ever had. For most of the middle ages its ruler was a Grand Duke.

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a pagan empire for the next 120 years, fighting against the Teutonic and Livonian Orders during the Northern Crusades.

During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy.

The Christianization of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania took place in 1387. It was initiated by the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Władysław II Jagiełło and his cousin Vytautas and signified the official adoption of Christianity by Lithuanians, the last pagan nation in Europe.

The Treaty of Melno was signed on September 22, 1422, establishing the Prussian–Lithuanian border, which afterwards remained unchanged for about 500 years.

The Lithuanian Civil War of 1431–1435 was a conflict over the succession to the throne of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, after Vytautas the Great died in 1430 without leaving an heir.

The first Lithuanian-language book, Simple Words of Catechism, was published in Königsberg on January 8, 1547.

The first Lithuanian printed book Catechism of Martynas Mažvydas (1547, Königsberg)

Lithuania was taken over by the Russian Empire in 1795.

Realizing that the Russification of Lithuania was not working, the Russian Empire lifted in 1904 the 40-year-old ban on publications using the Lithuanian language.

Twenty Lithuanian men signed the Act of Independence of Lithuania on February 16, 1918. After Lithuania lost its independence during World War II, six of the surviving signatories were sent to prison or executed by the Soviet government, and six others went into exile.

The original 20 members of the Council of Lithuania after signing the Act of Independence of Lithuania, 16 February 1918. Owned by Lietuvos nacionalinis muziejus (National Museum of Lithuania), CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikipedia Commons

Lithuania was taken over by the Soviet Union on June 16, 1940, by Nazi Germany from 1941-1944 and again the Soviet Union from 1944-1990.

Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara signed transit visas in Lithuania for more than 6,000 Jews in 1940. He wrote visas for 18-20 hours every day, continuing to sign them through the window of a train and throw them into the crowd as he fled Lithuania.

Of the approximately 220,000 Jews who lived in the Republic of Lithuania in June 1941, almost all were entirely annihilated during the Holocaust. The community numbered about 4,000 at the end of 2009.

Lithuanian Jews and a German Wehrmacht soldier during the Holocaust in Lithuania. By Bundesarchiv, 

On March 11, 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare itself independent, resulting in the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania.

The flag of Lithuania was first used in Lithuania's first period of independence (in the 20th century) from 1918 to 1940. It was re-adopted on March 20, 1989, a year before the re-establishment of Lithuania's independence.

The colors of the Lithuanian flag are yellow (at the top), for The Sun, green (in the middle), for the fields, and red (at the bottom), for the blood of Lithuanians fighting for its independence.

Lithuania became the 19th member of the Eurozone on January 1, 2015.


In Lithuania, Midsummer Day (June 24) is a public holiday.

After a re-estimation of the boundaries of the continent of Europe in 1989, Jean-George Affholder, a scientist at the Institut Géographique National determined that the Geographic Centre of Europe is located in Lithuania, specifically 16 miles (26 kms) north of its capital city, Vilnius.

The Geographic Centre of Europe is in Lithuania. By Wojsyl 

There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 0.2 million abroad.

Of all languages spoken today, Lithuanian is the closest to ancient Sanskrit.

Lithuanian is believed to be the linguistically most conservative living Indo-European tongue, retaining many archaic features otherwise found only in ancient languages such as Sanskrit or Ancient Greek.

As per the 2011 census, 77.2% of Lithuanians belonged to the Roman Catholic Church. The Church has been the majority denomination since the Christianisation of Lithuania at the end of the 14th century.

Lithuania ranked first as of October 30, 2011 in the world by the internet upload speed and download speed. The high speeds are largely due to the fact that Lithuania has Europe's most available FTTH network. According to a study published by the FTTH Council Europe,  by 2013 the country had connected 100% of households to the FTTH network.

Lithuania was the first country to introduce Local Breakout (LBO) technology offering cheap mobile internet for travelers which allows to avoid big data roaming charges.

Lithuania is the only country in the world with its own official scent called, appropriately enough, the Scent Of Lithuania.

Basketball is the national sport of Lithuania. The Lithuania national basketball team has won the EuroBasket on three occasions (1937, 1939 and 2003), as well a total of 8 other medals in the Eurobasket, the World Championships and the Olympic Games.

Source Daily Express

Saturday, 30 January 2016


Lithium is the lightest metal in nature and the least dense solid element.

Because lithium is so light, it must be stored in petroleum jelly. Sodium and potassium can be stored in oil but lithium will just float on the oil and not be protected by it.

Lithium floating in oil By W. Oelen -, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Johan August Arfwedson, then working in the laboratory of the chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius, detected the presence of a new element while analyzing petalite ore in 1817. Berzelius gave the alkaline material the namet "lithium" (Greek lithos, meaning "stone") because it was discovered from a mineral, while other common alkali metals were first discovered in plant tissue.

The first major application of lithium was in high-temperature lithium greases for aircraft engines or similar applications in World War II and shortly after. This use was supported by the fact that lithium-based soaps have a higher melting point than other alkali soaps, and are less corrosive than calcium based soaps.

Half of the world's known reserves of lithium are located in Bolivia. The country's Uyuni Desert has 5.4 million tonnes of lithium.

The largest producer of lithium in the world is Chile, which extracts it from brine at the Atacama Salt Flat.

In the United States lithium is recovered from brine pools in Nevada.

An average laptop has five grams of lithium, and a cell phone has about half a gram of lithium.

Batteries using lithium have twice the capacity of traditional nickel cadmium batteries.

Friday, 29 January 2016


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "literacy" was not used until 1886, though "illiteracy" had been around since 1660.

According to Unesco, there are 757 million illiterate adults in the world.

In Yemen, 85.1 per cent of adult males are literate but only 55 per cent of females. This is the world’s highest male-female discrepancy rate.

In Lesotho, 88.3 per cent of women can read and write but only 70.1 per cent of men.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Niger has the lowest adult literacy rate at only 19.1 per cent.

Source Daily Express


Ancient Egyptian literature was written in the Egyptian language from Ancient Egypt's pharaonic period until the end of Roman domination. Along with Sumerian literature, it is considered the world's earliest literature. Writing in Ancient Egypt first appeared in the late 4th millennium BC.
The earliest known work of literature is the Epic of Gilgamesh an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia. It was written about the time of Haminurabi, that is the eighteenth century BC. 

The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian

Lopado­temacho­selacho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­hypo­trimmato­silphio­parao­melito­katakechy­meno­kichl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opte­kephallio­kigklo­peleio­lagoio­siraio­baphe­tragano­pterygon is the longest ever word used in literature. It is a fictional dish mentioned in Aristophanes' comedy Assemblywomen.

Blank verse, poetry without rhymes was characteristic of the greatest English literature of the 16th and 17th centuries. The most frequently used form was the iambic pentameter – a line of five feet or ten syllables, theoretically stressed on every other syllable but in practice much more fluid. First used in the 1540s, it became the standard line of Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare and John Milton in his longer poems
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was his first unserialized work of literature and sold 15,000 copies within the first year of publication.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the current longest sentence in English literature is 13,955 words, in Jonathan Coe's The Rotters Club. The book was inspired by Bohumil Hrabal's Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age: a Czech language novel that consisted of one great sentence.

By Source, Fair use,

Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf became the first female writer on December 10, 1909 to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She was awarded it, "in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings".

Selma Lagerlöf receives the Nobel Prize in Literature. Illustration from Svenska Dagbladet, 11 December 1909.
Literature was part of an Arts competition during the 1912 Stockholm Olympics; there were medals in painting, sculpture, and town planning.

France has won more Nobel Prizes for Literature than any other country with 15 awards. The UK and USA share second place on ten each.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Franz Liszt


Franz Liszt was born on October 22, 1811, in the village of Doborján in Sopron County, in the Kingdom of Hungary.

Franz's parents were his Hungarian father Ádám Liszt and Austrian-born mother Anna Liszt, née Lagen.

Franz's father played the cello, guitar, piano and violin. He had been in the service of Prince Nikolaus II Esterházy and knew Haydn and Beethoven personally

Franz displayed a huge musical talent at a young age, easily sight-reading multiple staves at once.

Franz made his first public performances at the age of 9.  They were  such a success that on one occasion Beethoven, who was in the audience, rushed up on stage and kissed him.

After the concerts, a group of wealthy sponsors offered to finance Franz's musical education abroad, so he went with his family to Vienna.

In Vienna he was educated in the technical domain by Carl Czerny. His father had wanted him to be taught by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778–1837), but Hummel's fees were too high.

Antonio Salieri (Mozart's supposed rival.) taught Franz the technique of composition and fostered the youngster’s common musical taste.

By the age of 11 Franz had claimed Beethoven amongst his many admirers. The famed composer referred to young Liszt as "a happy fellow."

After his father's death in 1827, Liszt moved to Paris; for the next five years he lived there with his mother in a small apartment.


After attending an April 20, 1832 charity concert, for the victims of a Parisian cholera epidemic, by the virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini, Liszt became motivated to be the greatest pianist of his day. He often took to seclusion in his room, and was heard practicing for over ten hours a day.

The flamboyant pianist typically begun a concert by tossing his long blonde hair and throwing his green gloves to the floor. Liszt then proceeded with hair flopping over his eyes, thumping his piano to pieces.

At some concerts, Liszt could not find musicians to share the program with, and consequently was among the first to give solo piano recitals in the modern sense of the word.

The term piano recital was coined by the publisher Frederick Beale, who suggested it for Liszt's concert at the Hanover Square Rooms in London on June 9, 1840. It was introduced at Liszt's London performance to great bemusement. One pundit sniped, "What does he mean?  How can one recite upon the piano?"

Liszt giving a concert for Emperor Franz Joseph I on a Bösendorfer piano

In 1848 Liszt gave up public performances on the piano and went to Weimar, remaining there until 1861. During this period he acted as conductor at court concerts and on special occasions at the theater, gave lessons to a number of pianists, including the great virtuoso Hans von Bülow, who married Liszt's daughter Cosima in 1857.

Pope Pius on hearing Liszt play in 1862 said: "The law... ought to employ your music... in order to lead hardened criminals to repentance."


Despite being the most famous performer of his day, Liszt was not so known for his composing . However the Hungarian was pretty prolific, producing 400 original compositions and 900 transcriptions for piano in his lifetime.

"Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2," is the second and by far the most famous in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by Liszt. Composed in 1847, the year he retired from the concert platform, the rhapsody was first published as a piano solo in 1851. Its immediate success and popularity on the concert stage soon led to an orchestrated version. In addition to the orchestral version, the composer arranged a piano duet version in 1874.

Liszt invented a new orchestral form called a symphonic poem, later known as a tone poem. A groundbreaking way of getting the orchestra to tell a story, it was often based upon a poem or a literary excerpt and was symphonic in spirit, rather than in form.


Franz Liszt was regarded as one of the most handsome men of his time in the 1830s. Women worshiped him, fought over him and collapsed in orgasmic swoons while he played.The most charming women vied with one another for his favor.

Franz Liszt, portrait by Hungarian painter Miklós Barabás, 1847

The German romantic literary figure Heinrich Heine coined the term "Lisztomania" to describe the huge public response to Lizst's piano performances.

A brochure published at the time referred to Berlin under Liszt thus "The whole city was electrified. Everyone who could crowded into the holy of holies of the temple of art (opera house) to hear this modern Orpheus.”

Liszt received so many requests for locks of his hair that he bought a dog and sent his admirers clippings of its fur instead.

Lizst was the first performer to whom women threw their underwear at during concerts.

At the age of 30 Liszt went for a rest to the island of Nonnenworth on the Rhine, but a river steamer with 340 philharmonic musicians arrived at the island from Cologne and he was carried to Cologne in triumph to the accompaniment of song and the firing of a cannon.


In 1833 Liszt began an affair with Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, former wife of the Comte d'Agoult. She is better known by her pen name, "Daniel Stern". They had two daughters and one son. One of their daughters, Cosima, became the wife of Richard Wagner.

On December 13, 1859, Liszt lost his 20-year-old son Daniel, and on September 11, 1862, his 26-year-old daughter Blandine passed away.

In 1847 Liszt met Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. The couple had intended to marry at some point in the early 1860s, but since the Princess had been married before to another, she and Liszt could not openly wed with the approval of the Roman Catholic authorities in the Vatican.
Liszt never recovered from being unable to marry her although they remained friends.

Liszt and Frédéric Chopin were friends early in life, but later, due to fierce competition for better compositions, turned into rivals.

He was friendly with Johann Strauss who played Liszt compositions at concerts. They once partnered each other in a game of whist.

Liszt also fraternized with Robert Schumann, and his future son-in-law Richard Wagner.


During his Weimar years, Liszt wrote a biography of Frédéric Chopin, Life of Chopin, as well as a chronology and analysis of Gypsy music in Hungary (which later inspired Béla Bartók).

Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was an author, whose one work was published in 16 volumes, each having over 1600 pages. Her long-winded writing style had some effect on Liszt himself. His biography of Chopin and his chronology of Gypsy music were both written in the Princess' loquacious style.

First known photograph of Liszt in 1843, at the height of his career

Liszt kept the original death mask of Beethoven at home.

Despite being born in Hungary Liszt never spoke Hungarian, (French was his first language.) His later letters and diaries show that he came to regret this deeply.


On several occasions Liszt contemplated becoming a monk. He eventually joined the Third Order of St. Francis on June 23, 1857.

After the loss of his son and daughter, Liszt announced that he would retreat to a solitary living. He found it at the monastery Madonna del Rosario, just outside Rome, where on June 20, 1863, he took up quarters in a small, spartan apartment.

Liszt, photo by Franz Hanfstaengl, June 1867

In 1865 Franz Liszt became a secular Franciscan priest. After his ordination on July 31, 1865, he was often called Abbé Liszt. Fourteen years later. he was made an honorary canon of Albano.


Abbé Liszt divided his time between Rome, Weimar and Budapest. During this time, his daughter Cosima left her first husband, Hans von Bülow, as he had been abusing her. She hooked up with Richard Wagner. The intensely devout Catholic was personally repulsed by his new son-in-law, but continued to champion his music, and regularly attended the Bayreuth Festivals.

From 1876 up until his death, Liszt taught for several months every year at the Hungarian Conservatoire of Budapest.

Liszt a few months before his death.

Liszt died in Bayreuth on July 31, 1886 as a result of pneumonia which he contracted during a Wagner festival hosted by his daughter, Cosima.

Liszt had requested in his will that he buried in his Franciscan cassock and that a requiem mass be played at his funeral. However as he died during the Wagnerian musical festival at Bayreuth, his wishes were forgotten.

Sources My entry for Songfacts, Comptons Encyclopedia

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister

Joseph Lister, the 'Father of Antiseptic Surgery' was born on April 5, 1827. He came from a prosperous Quaker home in West Ham, Essex, England.

His father, Joseph Jackson Lister, was a very successful wine merchant and amateur scientist. Joseph Jackson Lister’s design of a microscope lens which did not distort colors opened the way for the microscope to be used as a serious scientific tool.

Lister graduated with honors as Bachelor of Medicine, subsequently entering the Royal College of Surgeons at the age of 26.

In 1854, Lister became both first assistant to and friend of surgeon James Syme at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in Scotland.

Joseph Lister c. 1855

Lister married Syme's daughter, Agnes. On their honeymoon, they spent three months visiting leading hospitals and medical universities in France and Germany.

Throughout the Listers’ long and happy, but childless, marriage, Agnes assisted her husband in the laboratory helping him with experiments and writing up his notes.

After marrying Agnes, Lister joined her as a member of the Episcopal church. A committed Christian, he remained a faithful member of that denomination for the remainder of his life.

By 1865, Lister was a professor of surgery at the University of Glasgow. He was well aware that nearly half of his amputation cases died from infection in his male accident ward. Lister became aware of a paper published by the French chemist, Louis Pasteur outlining his pioneering work on pasteurization. From this he believed that the infections might be caused by a pollen-like dust carried through the air. Although Lister was not correct in his thinking in 1865, he decided to use a coal-tar product called carbolic acid to protect the area of operation from infection by the surgeon's hands and instruments.

The first patient to benefit from Lister's antiseptic, was eleven-year-old James Greenlees who fell while playing and suffered a compound fracture of the tibia. Six weeks later the young patient returned home with his leg perfectly healed. Lister adopted this procedure for all his operations using carbolic acid as a powerful antiseptic for dressings and instruments, and as a spray in the air of the operating theater.

Lister spraying carbolic acid over a patient.

On March 13, 1867 Joseph Lister published an article in The Lancet outlining his discovery that sterilizing wounds reduced post-operative infections and his methods were soon adopted in Germany. Britain was slower at adopting his techniques, some surgeons were utilizing them in the 1870s but many were still ignoring elementary sanitary precautions and by 1890 half of the hospitalized cases were still dying of infections caught in the hospital.

One one occasion, Joseph Lister had to perform a delicate operation to remove a fishbone, which was stuck in a rich lord's throat. The extremely thankful patient asked the great surgeon how much he owed. Lister replied, with a smile "My lord, maybe we could settle for half of what you would give me if the bone was still fixed in your throat."

The surgeon Joseph Lister in 1902.
Lister retired in 1893 after a long and outstanding career.  He died on February 10, 1912, at his country home in Walmer, Kent at the age of 84. After a funeral service at Westminster Abbey, he was buried at West Hampstead Cemetery, London in a plot to the south-east of central chapel.

The World Book Encyclopedia says of Lister that ‘Throughout his life, he remained a gentle, shy, unassuming man, firm in his purpose because he humbly believed himself to be directed by God."


Tuesday, 26 January 2016


Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest capital city in Western Europe, predating others such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries.

The name of Lisbon can be traced back to Phoenician times when it was an ancient autochthonous settlement (Roman oppidum) that maintained commercial relations with the Phoenicians.

Julius Caesar made the Lisbon settlement a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo.

Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, Lisbon was captured by the Moors in the 8th century

The only success of the Second Crusade came to a combined force of 13,000 Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders in 1147. Travelling from England, by ship, to the Holy Land, the army stopped and helped the smaller (7,000) Portuguese army in the capture of Lisbon, expelling its Moorish occupants.

The Moorish surrender to King Afonso at the 1147 Siege of Lisbon.

June 13th is Lisbon´s holiday in honor of the city´s saint, Anthony of Lisbon (1195 – June 13, 1231), also known as Saint Anthony of Padua. The most popular and effective preacher of his day (he had studied under Francis of Assisi), he attracted crowds of up to 30,000, Anthony earned the title "hammer of the heretics" for converting so many of the dualistic Cathari.

Francisco de Zurbarán - Sto Antonio de Padua

Christopher Columbus worked as a Cartographer in Lisbon in the late 1470s with his brother, Bartholomew.

When a rhinoceros arrived in Lisbon in 1515, it was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times.

One of Lisbon's most famous features is its tower, Torre de Belém, whose image is much used by citys tourist board. The tower was built as a fortified lighthouse late in the reign of Dom Manuel l (1515–1520) to guard the entrance to the port.

Torre de Belém. By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

An earthquake killed about thirty thousand people in the city of Lisbon on January 26, 1531. Approximately one third of structures in the city were destroyed, including the Ribeira Palace and São João Church.

Lisbon was destroyed on November 1, 1755 by a massive earthquake and tsunami. Between sixty thousand and ninety thousand people lost their lives.

Voltaire the French Writer and Enlightenment advocate, wrote the short satirical book, Candide, at the time of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake  In his satire all manner of adversities are heaped upon Candide and his cheerful tutor Dr Pangloss, who stand up to them philosophically. Candide was intended to satirize philosophical optimism and to question the goodness of God.

The Lisbon Metro begun operation on December 29, 1959. It is now Lisbon's main artery, connecting the city center with the upper and eastern districts and reaching the suburbs.

The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon inaugurated on May 1998  is almost 11 miles long. It is the longest bridge in Europe.

Aerial view of Bridge Ponte Vasco da Gama. By Till Niermann 
Lisbon has never been officially declared the capital of Portugal. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention.

Lisbon is continental Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast.

Monday, 25 January 2016


One of the first spirits to be distilled by Europeans was made in early thirteenth century Italy where liqueurs were being produced from wine and aromatic herbs. At that time liqueurs were principally being used for medical purposes.

The Italian painter Bernardino Luini was commissioned in 1525 to paint a fresco of the Madonna for the local shrine of Our Lady of the Miracles. Luini used as his model for Madonna a young tavern keeper, with whom he was having an affair. She was so impressed with the picture that she created for him a Christmas gift, an amber red liqueur made with almonds and apricots from her garden. It was named Amaretto, which is Italian for "a little bitter".

Chartreuse is a French liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737.The liqueur is named after the monks' Grande Chartreuse monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains in the general region of Grenoble in France.  The recipe came from instructions set out in a chemical manuscript given to them by François Annibal d'Estrées in 1605. The 130 herbs, plants and flowers used to prepare chartreuse liqueur may be known today to as few as three monks

By Infrogmation of New Orleans - Photo by Infrogmation, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

After Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated by the English government forces at Culloden, the young pretender fled for his life and was befriended by Captain John Mackinnon. The prince was so grateful that he gave Mackinnon his personal recipe for his favorite concoction, made from a French formula, of Scotch whisky laced with heather, herbs, honey, and spices. He called it Drambuie, which means "a drink that satisfies" in Gaelic.

An orange flavored liqueur named Cointreau was created in 1849. It was made from unripe, sweet and bitter oranges two French confectioner brothers, Adolphe and Edouard-Jean Cointreau, in the Angers region of France.

The French Marnier-Lapostolle family firm developed in 1880 a new 40% alcohol liqueur made from a blend of cognacs and oranges. César Ritz (1850–1918) reportedly came up with its name "Grand Marnier" for Marnier-Lapostolle, who in return helped him purchase and establish the Hotel Ritz Paris.

Jägermeister is a digestif made with 56 herbs and spices at a strength of 35% alcohol by volume. German Curt Mast came up with Jäger’s original recipe in 1935.  It was originally used medicinally for easing flu symptoms from coughs to sore throats.

 R. J. Bailey and Co of Dublin, Ireland, created in 1974 a new type of drink, a blend of dairy cream and Irish whiskey, which they called Baileys Irish Cream. Such was its success that several other manufacturers were soon working on their own cream liqueur imitations.

In the United States and Canada, where spirits are often called "liquor", there is often confusion over liqueurs and liquors, especially as many spirits today are available in flavored form. The most reliable rule of thumb is that liqueurs are quite sweet and often syrupy in consistency, while liquors are not.

Sunday, 24 January 2016



Red has been universally a protective color since time immemorial to stop evil forces. As one of man's most dangerous zones was thought to be his mouth, lips were originally painted red to stop evil forces entering the body and taking possession of it.

In the ancient Babylonian Epic of Creation it is told that the god Marduk smeared red ochre on his lips before engaging in deadly battle against the dragon Tiamat.

In ancient Greece, red lipstick was a sign that a woman was a prostitute.

In ancient Rome, lipstick was a mark of social rank and was seen as a sign of status for both men and women.

70,000 beetles were necessary to yield the one pound of the carmine dye used by Cleopatra to paint her lips.

Around the turn of the thirteenth century, regal Italian women wore pink lipstick to show they could afford synthetic makeup.

Crimson-stained lips were popular during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England and the queen herself painted on cochineal blended with gum arabic, egg white and fig milk.

The names of 16th century lipsticks included ape’s laugh, chimney-sweep and dying monkey.

The eighteenth century English church denounced lip painting as altering God's most precious gift. In 1770 the English Parliament passed a law stating, “women found guilty of seducing men into marriage by a cosmetic means could be tried for witchcraft.”

French cosmetics company Guerlain introduced the first commercially successful lipstick, a pomade of grapefruit mixed with butter and wax in 1880. Until then lip color had been made in the home.

By 1915, lipstick was being sold in America in cylinder metal containers, which had been invented by Maurice Levy. Women had to slide a tiny lever at the side of the tube with the edge of their fingernail to move the lipstick up to the top of the case.

Red lipstick was one of the few things not to be rationed during World War II in the UK, as Churchill believed it boosted morale.

 The U.S. chemist and entrepreneur Hazel Bishop invented the first long-lasting lipstick in the Forties. Marketed as ‘kiss-proof’, its slogan was: "Stays on you . . . not on him."

The government of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia introduced in 1996 a ban against excessive use of lipstick, claiming "such practices were a prelude to illicit sex."


Lipstick can still contain lead, but no more than 20 parts per million; arsenic, but no more than three parts per million; and mercury, but no more than one part per million.

By Idhren - originally posted to Flickr as Lipstick face,Wikipedia commons

Fish scales are used in lipstick to make it shimmer and reflect light.

Known as the "lipstick effect," lipstick sales tend to increase during economic recessions—as well as on rainy days.

The average woman uses her height in lipstick every five years.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia,

Saturday, 23 January 2016


10,000 years ago Lions were the second most widespread land mammal, after humans. They existed across Africa, Eurasia and America.

The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament recounts how Daniel was raised to high office by his royal master Darius the Mede, the King of Babylon. However, jealous rivals trick Darius into issuing a decree which condemns Daniel to death. Hoping for Daniel's deliverance, but unable to save him, the king has him cast into the pit of lions. Surrounded by the big cats in the den, God sends an angel to close their jaws and save Daniel. From this story comes the phrase "The lion's den" meaning a undemanding, intimidating or unpleasant place or situation.

Painting by Briton Rivière in the Manchester Art Gallery

In Roman times, lions inhabited Syria, Arabia, and Southeastern Europe; still earlier, they roamed through Western Europe.

The Greek text Physiologus described the lion as the King of Beasts - inspiring medieval heraldry.

The theologian and historian Saint Jerome kept a pet lion which he left to guard his donkey.

The Chinese, during the reign of Kublai Khan, used lions on hunting expeditions. They trained the big cats to pursue and drag down massive animals – from wild bulls to bears – and to stay with the kill until the hunter arrived.

When a lioness called Elizabeth passed away in the Royal menagerie at the Tower of London during Queen Elizabeth I’s final illness in 1603, it was seen as an omen that the Queen would also die.

An African lion was exhibited in the American colonies for the first time on November 26, 1716. Sea captain and merchant Arthur Savage displayed the exotic animal at his Boston home where a hand painted sign declared, "The lion King of beasts is to be seen here."

A lioness died of old age in the Royal menagerie at the Tower of London on September 4, 1733. She had produced a litter of cubs every year for several years. A special post of Keeper of the Lion Office had been created for a Mr Martin. the man who looked after her.

Leo the MGM Lion, first roared for the debut of the movie White Shadows of the South Seas on July 31, 1928. It was MGM’s first talking picture.

The lions used for MGM's logo over the years were named Slats, Jackie, Tanner, George, and Leo.

CS Lewis’ great lion in his Narnia books is named Aslan after the Turkish or Mongolian word for "lion."

Once, having suffered a nightmare in which he was chased by an angry lion, King Farouk of Egypt (1920-65) went to Cairo Zoo and shot all the lions in their cages.

During the filming of the 1972 movie, Tarzan and the Brown Prince, the actor Steve Sipek was tied down in a scene, when some spilled fuel began a blaze that panicked the film crew. The lion in the film who had been trained to remove Sipeks' bonds freed him and dragged him to safety. Sipek then adopted the lion out of gratitude, and started an animal sanctuary in Florida.

The lion cub which appears in Disney’s Lion King animated movie is named Simba after the Swahili word for lion.

Between 1987- 2017, the number of lions in Africa halved to 34,000.


An average male lion weighs about 500 pounds and grows to 8ft in length.

Lions are the second largest big cat species in the world (behind tigers).

No two lions have the same whisker pattern.

If a male lion is neutered it's mane will fall out.

Lions can get hairballs the size of footballs.

The phrase 'lick into shape' is derived from a tradition that lion cubs are born shapeless, remaining so until the mother licks them into shape.


Lions are very social compared to other cat species, often living in prides (a group of lions) that feature females, offspring and a few adult males. A pride usually consists of 10 or 15 animals.

Although the lion is called "king of the jungle" they live on plains and grassland, not in jungles.

A lion's roar can be heard from five miles (eight kms) away.

Lion’s can’t roar until the age of two.

Some lions mate over 50 times a day.

Lions eat 18 pounds of meat a day.

Mountain Lions will bury and leave their prey, then return to it when they are hungry.


Most lions found in the wild live in southern and eastern parts of Africa.

The country with most lions is Tanzania, a long way ahead of Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Lions in the wild live for around 12 years. They live up to 25 years in captivity.

African lion

Only about one in eight male lions make it to adulthood.

Scientists estimate that, while there were around 100,000 lions in the world in the early 1990s, only 30,000 exist today.

There are more statues of lions in the world than there are real wild lions.

Source Daily Express

Friday, 22 January 2016

Charles Lindbergh


Charles Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902 in his grandfather’s home in Detroit, Michigan.
He was the only child of Charles August Lindbergh, a lawyer and later an U.S. congressman who opposed the entry of the U.S. into World War I and Evangeline Lodgehand, a pretty chemistry teacher.

Charles grew up on the family farm in Little Falls, Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi. He was brought up in a house of discord, his parents were incompatible and his father left his mother. when he was seven-years-old.

As a child Charles was friendless and self absorbed. He hunted, fished and had a special interest in machinery.

Charles Lindbergh and his father

Charles graduated from Little Falls Senior High School (where his mother taught) on June 5, 1918. Lindbergh also attended over a dozen other schools during his childhood and teenage years (none for more than a year or two), including the Force School and Sidwell Friends School while living in Washington D.C. with his father, and Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, California, while residing there with his mother.

Charles enrolled in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in late 1920, but dropped out in the middle of his sophomore year and then headed for Lincoln, Nebraska, to begin flight training.


Lindbergh enrolled as a student at the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation's flying school in Lincoln in March 1922 and flew for the first time in his life on April 9, 1922, when he took to the air as a passenger in a two-seat Lincoln Standard "Tourabout" biplane trainer piloted by Otto Timm.

Lindbergh reported to Brooks Field on March 19, 1924, to begin a year of military flight training with the United States Army Air Service both there and later at nearby Kelly Field.

Lindbergh graduated first overall in his class in March 1925, thereby earning his Army pilot's wings and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Service Reserve Corps.

2nd Lt. Charles A. Lindbergh, March 1925

In October 1925, Lindbergh was hired by the Robertson Aircraft Corporation (RAC) in St. Louis to first lay out, and then serve as chief pilot for the newly designated Contract Air Mail Route #2 between St. Louis and Chicago.

Because of his to reckless flying, Lindbergh came close to being grounded. Four times he had to parachute out from crashes in his capacity as a mail pilot.

Daredevil Lindbergh" in a re-engined Standard J-1,

Lindbergh continued on as chief pilot of CAM-2 until mid-February 1927, when he left for San Diego, California, to oversee the design and construction of the Spirit of St. Louis.


The $25,000 Orteig Prize was designated as an award to the pilot of the first successful nonstop flight made in either direction between New York City and Paris. It was first offered by the French-born New York hotelier (Lafayette Hotel) Raymond Orteig on May 19, 1919.

Six well-known aviators had already lost their lives in pursuit of the Orteig Prize when Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on his successful attempt in at 7.50 am on May 20, 1927.

The still boyish-looking Lindberg was a relative latecomer to the race, and his efforts were being financed only by a single $15,000 bank loan, a $1,000 donation from his employer as an Air Mail pilot, and his own modest savings. He had never been abroad before.

The fabric-covered, single-seat, single-engine high-wing monoplane Spirit of St. Louis had a specially large fuel tank built onto its nose , so that Lindbergh wouldn't be crushed in a crash. This meant that he had to sit on a wicker basket to save weight.

Lindbergh with the Spirit of St. Louis – 1927

Because of its large fuel tank, the Spirit of St Louis barely got off the ground on take off and it barely cleared the trees at the end of the runway.

The large fuel tank also made visibility difficult, so Lindbergh had to use a combination of a periscope, navigating by the stars and dead reckoning to see where he was going.

Over the next 33.5 hours, Lindbergh and the Spirit—which he referred to as "WE"—faced many challenges, including skimming over both storm clouds at 10,000 ft (3,000 m) and wave tops at as low at 10 ft (3.0 m), fighting icing and. flying blind through fog for several hours.

During his epic flight across the ocean, Lindburgh survived on a pile of home-made sandwiches and half a glass of water. He didn't drink any of the doped coffee, which he had on board to keep him awake, as at no time on his flight did he feel sleepy.

When Lindbergh landed  at Le Bourget Airport at 10:22 pm (22:22) on May 21, 1927, his first words on French soil were "well, I made it".

As he had arrived well ahead of his flight plan,Lindbergh assumed no one would be there to greet him. He was wrong, a crowd of 150,000 surged around the plane. Lindbergh was carried shoulder high to the pavilion.

The American newspapers followed his progress of his solo flight from New York to Paris. Originally he was called "The Flying Fool" but when he made it to France he was nicknamed "The Lone Eagle."

A ticker-tape parade was held for Lindbergh down 5th Avenue in New York City on June 13, 1927.

1,750 tons of ticker tape were used. Then he made a whirlwind 48-city tour in the Spirit of St Louis.

The feat made Lindbergh the most famous person in the world, the first global celebrity and the prototype of the All American hero. However, he was a reluctant hero.

Lindbergh was selected as the first Time magazine "Man of the Year" (for 1927), appearing in its cover on January 2, 1928, and remains the youngest individual (age 25) to receive the designation.

He was awarded the U.S.'s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.

A 1930s dance, the Lindy Hop, a forerunner of the 50s jive,was named after Lindbergh in celebration of his flight across the Atlantic.

The tenor, Vernon Dalhart, had two hits in 1927 paying tribute to him “Lindbergh (The Eagle Of The USA” and “Lucky Lindy.”

Lindbergh's public stature following this flight was such that he became an important voice on behalf of aviation activities until his death.

Following his famous solo transatlantic flight, Lindbergh worked with Longines to create a time based navigational device which could be worn on the wrist and served his exact needs while flying. The  Hour Angle watch was manufactured to his design and is still produced today.

The Hour Angle watch

Soon after Pan Am set up the world's first ever passenger service between two countries in 1928, Lindbergh joined them as a technical adviser.

In 1929, Lindbergh was named Aviation Adviser to the Aero branch of the US dept of Commerce.


Lindbergh married the bookish, shy author Anne Morrow at her parents home in Englewood, New Jersey on 27 May, 1929. Her father was Ambassador to Mexico.

Before they'd met Lindbergh had been too shy to ask out any girl. Their first date was a spin in his plane.

It was a happy marriage Lindbergh taught Anne how to fly and they did much of the exploring and charting of air-routes together.

Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. PD-US, $2

The two had six children: Charles Augustus III (born 1930), Jon (1932), Land (1937), Anne (1940), Scott (1942) and Reeve (1945).

From 1957 until his death in 1974, Lindbergh had an affair with a woman 24 years his junior, the German hat maker Brigitte Hesshaimer. They had three children together: Dyrk (born 1958), Astrid (born 1960), and David (born 1967). The pair managed to keep the affair completely secret; even the children did not know the true identity of their father, whom they met sporadically when he came to visit.


Lindbergh was a lanky, good looking blue eyed blonde. He had a child like gaze even as an old man.

Until he married Anne, Lindbergh had many disgusting habits such as blowing his nose without a handkerchief.

He was quiet, solitary, painfully shy. Some called it a chilly remoteness.

In early life, Lindbergh was a cruel practical joker. He once buried kerosene into a fellow pilot’s water jug, which hospitalizing him.


20-month-old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr.  was abducted from his home on the evening of March 1, 1932, in what the press of the time came to sensationally refer to as "The Crime of the Century." Such was the public outcry even Al Capone offered a $10,000 reward for the return of baby Lindy.

On May 12, 1932 Charles jnr was found dead in a shallow grave by a truck driver five miles from his father's home.

Cole Porter originally included references to Lindbergh and his wife (they were acquaintances) in his classic song "I Get a Kick Out Of You", but when Charles jnr was kidnapped and murdered he removed the lines.
I wouldn't care 
For those nights in the air 
That the fair 
Mrs. Lindbergh went through.

For four years the Lindbergh case was a worldwide obsession. Sadly several lunatics sent abusive letters threatening the Lindbergh’s second child.

The kidnapping eventually led to the Lindbergh family being "driven into voluntary exile" in Europe, to which they sailed in secrecy from New York under assumed names in late December 1935 to get away from the public hysteria. The Lindberghs returned to the United States in April 1939.

Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a 34-year-old German immigrant carpenter, was arrested for the crime near his home in the Bronx, New York, on September 19, 1934.  Hauptmann was executed in the electric chair at the New Jersey State Prison on April 3, 1936, proclaiming his innocence to the end.

Mugshot taken of Bruno Hauptmann, taken following his arrest.


The Lindbergh lived at Highfields, a secluded house at Hopewell, near Princeton, in rural New Jersey for several years in the early 1930s.

After fleeing to Europe, the Lindberghs rented "Long Barn" in Sevenoaks Weald, Kent, England, spending three years there. In 1938, the family moved to Île Illiec, a small four-acre island Lindbergh purchased off the Breton coast of France.

Long Barn, the Lindberghs' rented home in England

When the Lindberghs finally returned to reside again in the United States in April 1939, they settled in a rented seaside estate at Lloyd Neck, Long Island, New York.

After a friend of Lindbergh's introduced him to the Hawaiian island of Maui, he and his wife Anne Morrow built a simple home tin a remote corner there.  In the beginning they spent about six to eight weeks a year in their Maui home. As time went on they visited more often and for longer periods of time.


In 1930, Lindbergh's sister-in-law developed a fatal heart condition. Lindbergh began to wonder why hearts could not be repaired with surgery. Starting in early 1931 at the Rockefeller Institute and continuing during his time living in France, Lindbergh studied the perfusion of organs outside the body with Nobel Prize-winning French surgeon Dr. Alexis Carrel.

With the help of Dr. Carrell, Lindbergh developed and made, a glass perfusion pump, named the "Model T" pump.  Lindbergh's pump was further developed by others, eventually leading to the construction of the first heart-lung machine.

A Lindbergh perfusion pump, circa 1935. By Sage Ross - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

In 1938, Lindbergh and Carrel described a mechanical heart that was able to keep other organs going in their book, The Culture of Organs.


Lindbergh traveled several times to Germany at the behest of the U.S. military, to report on German aviation and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) from 1936 to 1938.

In 1938 Lindbergh unwisely accepted a Service Cross medal from the Nazi German government. On returning to the US in 1939 the conciliatory pilot resigned his military commission. From then on many Americans considered him to be an anti-Semitic as well.

Lindbergh wrote of Hitler: “Undoubtedly a great man who has done much for the German people.”

Göring presenting Lindbergh with a medal on behalf of Adolf Hitler in October 1938

Lindbergh pressed for peace in the early 1940s. He formed a "American First Committee" which said the U.S. couldn't win the war for England so it was pointless sacrificing American soldiers in it.

Charles Lindbergh's Des Moines Speech on September 11, 1941, accused the British, Jews and the Roosevelt administration of pressing for war with Germany.

Once America entered the war, Lindbergh flew as a civilian pilot in combat missions in the Pacific. By the end of the war he’d flown 50 combat missions.

While serving in the Philippines during the Second World War, Lindbergh discovered a hitherto unknown tribe, the Tasaday.


After the Second World War, Lindbergh dedicated his life to environmental concerns rescuing a number of threatened animal species including whales.

The Spirit of St. Louis, an autobiographical account by Charles Lindbergh about the events leading up to and including his 1927 solo trans-Atlantic flight, was published on September 14, 1953, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1954.

Wikipedia Commons


In 1974 Lindbergh flew from a New York hospital to Hana, Maui, to spend his last days in solitude with his family. Wracked with incurable cancer, Lindbergh had planned all the details of his simple funeral. He died there on August 26, 1974.

He was buried on the grounds of the Palapala Ho'omau Church. His epitaph, which quotes Psalm 139:9, reads: “Charles A. Lindbergh Born: Michigan, 1902. Died: Maui, 1974. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea.”

Lindbergh's grave. By User Yurivict on en.wikipedia - Yurivict, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

In the 1976 movie, The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case, Anthony Hopkins plays the abductor of Charles Lindbergh jr,, Bruno  Hauptmann, for which he won an Emmy. Cliff De Young played Lindbergh