" All honor and reverence to the divine beauty of form! Let us cultivate it to the utmost in men, women, and children—in our gardens and in our houses. But let us love that other beauty too, which lies in no secret of proportion, but in the secret of deep human sympathy. "
George Eliot

Back in the day


Queen Victoria Creates the Victoria Cross

Queen Victoria created the Victoria Cross—the highest British military award for valor—on January 29, 1856, in the late stages of the Crimean War. The impetus for a new medal arose during the war—one of the first with modern reporting—as correspondents documented many acts of bravery by British servicemen that went unrewarded. Thus, Victoria instituted her eponymous award for acts of devotion and valor in the presence of the enemy. From what was the Victoria Cross originally made?



The Cloud of Unknowing

The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the 14th century. This spiritual guide on contemplative prayer counsels a young student to seek God not through knowledge but through intense contemplation motivated by love and stripped of all thought. According to the author, through this method God's true nature will be revealed. "The Cloud of Unknowing" has remained a popular concept, even appearing in what famous 1961 fictional work?

Born on a day like today


William Claude Dukenfield, AKA W. C. Fields

An archetypal American comedian, Fields started out as a vaudeville juggler. With his inimitable raspy voice completing his characterization of a habitually tipsy misanthrope, he became a major star in talking films and radio. His real-life personality was quite similar—he was an inveterate drinker who deeply distrusted most established institutions and even went so far as to keep his money in savings accounts in scores of banks, under fictitious names. What did he call alcohol while on set?

Last updated on Wednesday, 29th January 2014

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