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  • feedwordpress 08:01:14 on 2019/05/27 Permalink
    Tags: , Daniel Defoe, handbook, , , Moll Flanders, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Robert Ripley, Robinson Crusoe, The Complete English Tradesman,   

    “I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”*… 


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    Defoe

    During his long life, Daniel Defoe was confidant to a king and victim of the pillory.

     

    A writer of astonishing productivity, Defoe is mainly known to modern audiences for such novels as Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders. But he was also arguably history’s greatest business writer, and his output includes probably the first English business manual, The Complete English Tradesman, from which, even today, you can learn a great deal about commerce, credit, and capitalism. It first appeared in 1726 — when Adam Smith was roughly 3 years old — and was reprinted in the colonies by no less a figure than Benjamin Franklin, himself a comparably entrepreneurial polymath and man of many faces. For a while it was a popular handbook for merchants on both sides of the Atlantic…

    The author of Robinson Crusoe, who dealt with ups and downs as an entrepreneur, also penned one of history’s most useful business manuals: “Daniel Defoe’s hard-earned lessons on business and life.”

    * Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband

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    As we consider the source, we might spare a thought for LeRoy Robert Ripley; he died on this date in 1949.  A cartoonist, entrepreneur, and publisher, he created and parlayed Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, a successful panel series in daily newspapers into a radio series then a TV series, and into a string of museums, or Odditoriums as he billed them.

    220px-Robert_Ripley source

     

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:05 on 2015/09/30 Permalink
    Tags: aid, Defoe, , , , Near East Relief, , Robinson Crusoe, Syria, ,   

    “While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary”*… 


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    … In the meantime, let us remember that, as history repeats itself, so does the call on us all to do what we can to help.

    The American Committee for Relief in the Near East, which put these posters in circulation in the last years of World War I, began in 1915 as the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief and was formed as a humanitarian response to the Armenian genocide and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. As World War I developed, the group began to offer food and shelter to displaced people in Syria, Persia (now Iran), and Greece.

    The American Committee for Relief in the Near East’s posters often used the image of a child, or a young woman, to appeal to passers-by. Throughout the war, Americans also donated to relief campaigns for Belgian and French children, and the image of hungry young people and frightened mothers came to symbolize the plight of civilians caught up in the war.

    In Syria, after the war, shelters run by Near East Relief (which was renamed and granted a Congressional charter after the end of the war) housed 45,000 orphans. The organization operated these facilities until 1930, when the last war orphans aged out of the need for care…

    More at “The Heartbreaking Posters That Convinced Americans to Help Displaced Syrians During WWI.”

    * Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah

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    As we reach deep, we might we might recall that it was on this date in 1659 that Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” was shipwrecked and marooned on the desert island that was his home for the next 28 years.  Defoe called his novel, based in part on the true story of shipwrecked sailor Alexander SelkirkThe Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates.

    Title page of the first edition

    source

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:44 on 2015/02/02 Permalink
    Tags: Alexander Selkirk, catchy, Cowper, , , , Robinson Crusoe, Spice Girls,   

    “The interesting question would be whether there’s a Darwinian process, a kind of selection process whereby some memes are more likely to spread than others, because people like them, because they’re popular, because they’re catchy or whatever it might be”*… 


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    The Spice Girls released their first single, Wannabe, in 1996 but its legacy clearly lives on. Researchers at Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England, and the University of Amsterdam named it the catchiest song of all time in a test of how quickly people can name a tune.

    The researchers created an interactive site, Hooked on Music, to ask 12,000 people to listen to the 40 best-selling songs from each decade, beginning with the 1940s. People could identify Wannabe in 2.29 seconds, placing it at the top of the pile. Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley all have two songs in the top 20—though Billie Jean is only 15th, with some listeners taking 2.97 seconds to identify its iconic beat. (Who are these people?)…

    See–and hear– the 10 catchiest songs at “Science: This is the catchiest song of all time.”

    * Richard Dawkins

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    As we battle earwigs, we might recall that it was on this date in 1709 that Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued after spending four years marooned on a desert island (Juan Fernandez, in the South Pacific, just over 400 miles off the coast of Chile).  Selkirk’s sojourn in a meme-free zone inspired Daniel Dafoe to create Robinson Crusoe, and William Cowper to coin an immortal phrase in his poem “The Solitude Of Alexander Selkirk”:

    I am monarch of all I survey,
    My right there is none to dispute;
    From the centre all round to the sea,
    I am lord of the fowl and the brute.

    source

     
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