“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” – Muhammad Ali
- Muhammad Ali was a largely popular professional boxer, and was considered one of the greatest boxers to live.
- Muhammad Ali was an African American, born in Kentucky’s Louisville, in the United States, on 17th January 1942 as ‘Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr’.
- Muhammad Ali became interested in boxing and subsequently began training at twelve years of age, after encouragement from police officer and boxing coach Joe Martin, when Ali was seeking revenge on the thief that stole his new bicycle.
- In the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, Muhammad Ali won the gold medal for the light heavyweight category in boxing, as an amateur, and afterwards in the same year, boxed his first professional match.
- In February 1964 in Miami, United States, Muhammad Ali defeated Sonny Liston for the title of World Boxing Champion, and later regained the title in 1974 and 1978.
- Muhammad Ali converted to the Islam religion in the late 1950s/early 1960s, and consequently in 1964, changed his name from his ‘slave name’ of Cassius Clay, to his commonly known name.
- On 3rd June 2016, at age 74, Muhammad Ali died from septic shock caused by respiratory problems, in Arizona USA; and in his lifetime he developed Parkinson’s disease, and was married four times, and produced a total of nine children.
- Muhammad Ali was known for his unique boxing style, which he described as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”; and he extensively taunted his opponents both during and outside matches.
- Muhammad Ali was drafted in 1967 to join the US military for the Vietnam War, however he opposed this on the basis of religious and political beliefs, and was convicted and suspended from boxing until 1971, when the Supreme Court overturned the conviction on appeal.
- Muhammad Ali was only defeated five times in his professional career, which lasted until 1981, and he remained undefeated during his first ten years of boxing.
Do you remember the days when toy soldiers were the bomb?
- Toy soldiers, also known as ‘tin soldiers’ are small figurine toys, typically based on members of combat or military groups.
- Folk depicted as toy soldiers range from those of modern to historical armies, pirates, cowboys and knights, among others, sometimes in both genders.
- Modern toy soldiers are most commonly made of plastic, although resin, as well as metal ones are also available – typically made of tin, antimony or pewter; while wood, lead, rock and clay ones were produced in the past; and while they are typically three dimensional, sometimes flat two dimensional soldiers were made from tin in the 1700s and 1800s.
- Toy soldiers are often used for child’s play, though some figurines are designed for collecting, however before they were reinvented as toys, they were made for and used by the military and/or rulers to plan attacks against enemies.
- Generally, toy soldiers are of a scale ratio of 1:28 to 1:35, with 1:32 is the most common and thus they are an average height of 5.4 centimetres (2.1 inches), though larger and smaller scale ones are available.
- Figurines depicting army men were sometimes used as part of burial practices in Ancient Egypt thousands of years ago, while toy soldiers created for the purpose of play started appearing around the early 1700s, and were made by Germans.
- Toy maker William Britain from the United Kingdom invented hollow metal toy soldiers in 1893, which due to their greater affordability because of less metal used, led to an increase in popularity of the play soldiers.
- Toy soldiers can be purchased either painted or not, while the unpainted ones can be painted by the buyer, or they can be left unpainted, with green being the stereotypical base colour, as depicted in the Toy Story animation films.
- Popular games using toy soldiers are often orientated around war themes, especially involving the knocking down of said soldiers using cheap, home-made weapons.
- Toy soldiers are most commonly sold in bulk, often in barrels, buckets or boxes from toy shops, large department stores, or specialty outlets, however, collectible figurines are often sold individually.
Plate armour has saved the lives of millions.
- Plate armour is an invention designed as a body covering, that was worn to defend against attacks, and was most commonly used for humans, but it was also used on horses.
- The stereotypical image of plate armour is often known as a ‘suit of armour’.
- The Ancient Greeks and Romans were major innovators in using plate armour, with the torso most protected, although full body coverings were relatively non-existent during this time.
- Plate armour was reinvented in Medieval Europe around the 1200s, and reached a full suit by the 1400s, capable of protecting the entire body.
- A full suit of plate armour, including the helmet, generally weighed around 15 to 29 kilograms (33 to 64 pounds) and only minimally restricted movement.
- The development of plate armour led to the redevelopment of weaponry, with such weapons aimed at penetrating the weakest points of the armour.
- Plate armour declined in viability by the late 1600s due to the introduction of practical and portable fire-powered weapons, which most armour was useless in defending against.
- A suit of plate amour typically consisted of a helmet, a torso covering, leg and arm coverings, and a pair of gauntlets to cover the hands.
- Plate armour ranged in quality and price, from those available to commoners, to those commissioned by royalty, and they are still available for sale today, mainly as collector’s item or used for medieval festivities.
- Either steel or iron was normally used to craft plate amour, and higher quality armour was generally well-tempered.
Arms and Armor—Common Misconceptions and Frequently Asked Questions, 2015, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/aams/hd_aams.htm
“Loneliness comes with life” – Whitney Houston
- Whitney Houston was a very successful pop and gospel singer, actress, and model, and through her achievements, she became one of the primary contributors in opening up music industry opportunities to ‘black’ women.
- On the 9 August, 1963, in New Jersey’s Newark, in the United States, Whitney Houston was born to African American parents, and was named Whitney Elizabeth Houston.
- Whitney Houston is listed among the top-selling music artists in history, with 170 to 200 million records sold worldwide, and was recognised as the most awarded female artist by the Guinness World Records in 2009, and in her lifetime is said to have won up to 600 or more awards, including two Emmy Awards, six Grammys and 30 Billboards, and has continued to accumulate awards since her death.
- Each of the ten albums, including six studio produced albums, recorded by Whitney Houston, has received a high level of recognition, some reaching the honours of diamond.
- In her life, Whitney Houston had the honour of featuring the most number one singles on the Billboard in a row, with seven, while her 1985 self-titled debut album was the biggest selling debut album ever (at the time) for a female.
Amazon: Whitney Houston
- Whitney Houston’s first performances were in her local Baptist church choir, while as a young teenager she sometimes accompanied her mother, famous gospel singer Emily ‘Cissy’ Houston, who sung at local night clubs, and in 1977 and 1978 she was backup singing.
- During Whitney Houston’s later teenage years she was a successful model, and later signed to music company Arista Records, in 1983, after rejecting numerous offers due to school commitments.
- Whitney Houston became addicted to drugs in the 1990s, which became noticeable in her appearance and performances, and negatively affected her career; and she died on 11 February, 2012, in a hotel bathroom in California’s Beverly Hills, in the US, most likely due to accidental drowning, possibly from excessive drug use.
- Whitney Houston was married to singer and rapper Robert Barisford “Bobby” Brown from 1992 to 2007, and had a daughter named Bobbi Kristina Brown in 1993.
- Whitney Houston had a significant acting career, featuring in several films including a leading role in her first film The Bodyguard in 1992, and The Preacher’s Wife in 1996.
“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean
- James Dean was an actor of American birth, who became a legendary teenage icon.
- James Dean was born in Indiana’s Marion, in the United States, on 8 February, 1931, and was named ‘James Byron Dean’.
- James Dean’s mother died in 1938 due to cancer, when Dean was nine years of age, and so his father sent him to live with his aunt and uncle who were Quakers.
- The first commercial appearance James Dean made was in an advertisement for Pepsi Cola, in the early 1950s.
- James Dean had a significant interest in automobile racing, had ownership of various car models, and competed in a number of races, in which he earned high placings.
- The fame of James Dean arose from his work in the films East of Eden (1955), Rebel without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956).
- James Dean died on 30 September, 1955, at 24 years of age, in a car crash at an intersection with another vehicle.
- James Dean received a nomination for the Best Actor Academy Award in East of Eden, that he received posthumously, making him the first actor to do so; and a second nomination followed, as well as other awards.
- Sight was not one of James Dean’s strong points, as he was short sighted and had difficulty seeing without his glasses.
- James Dean never married, however he dated and had close relationships with a number of people, notably Pier Angeli, an Italian actress.
“If you’re presenting yourself with confidence, you can pull off pretty much anything.” – Katy Perry
- Katy Perry is a famous, internationally successful singer, actress, guitarist and songwriter, with a net worth of more than 40 million USD as of 2014, and has donated financially to causes such as health, welfare and animal cruelty.
- Katy Perry was born on 25 October, 1984, as Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, in California’s Santa Barbara, in the United States, to Christian parents who were both pastors in a Pentecostal church, and ‘Perry’ was her mother’s maiden name.
- Rock and popular music are Katy Perry’s main genres, and she has released the top singles ‘Roar’, ‘Dark Horse’, ‘Firework’, ‘E.T.’, ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)’, ‘Wide Awake’ and others, and by the end of 2014, she had released four albums.
- Katy Perry was raised with music choices being limited to gospel style, although she discovered her friends’ secular music during her teenage years and is said to have smuggled the albums into her home.
- The first album released by Katy Perry was named ‘Katy Hudson’, in 2001, and ultimately was a failure; the gospel-themed album selling roughly 200 copies before the record company closed.
Amazon: Katy Perry
- Katy Perry became an international sensation in 2008 on release of her controversial and number one song ‘I Kissed a Girl’, followed up by a top three hit, ‘Hot n Cold’.
- Katy Perry is complimented on her skillful social media use, and in 2014, the number of her Twitter followers reached 50 million, making her the most followed member ever, at the time, and by early 2015, her followers had reached 67 million.
- Katy Perry was briefly married to Russell Brand from 2010 until he divorced her just over a year later, which is said to have caused temporary suicidal thoughts on Perry’s part.
- Katy Perry first entered the film industry when she was chosen for the voice of Smurfette from The Smurfs (2011), and she has also featured in a self-titled autobiographical film.
- Katy Perry’s third album ‘Teenage Dream’ of 2010 produced five top singles, which was unheard of since the legendary Michael Jackson, and Perry has received 5 American Music Awards, 3 Guinness World Records and 14 People’s Choice Awards, among others.