Marcus Aurelius – Emperor and Philosopher – Changed the World – by Himself

Marcus Aurelius (April 26, 121 – March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.Marcus Aurelius 2

During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East; Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars.

Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

Marcus was taught at home, in line with contemporary aristocratic trends. Marcus thanked Catilius Severus for encouraging him to avoid public schools.

One of his teachers, Diognetus, a painting-master, proved particularly influential; he seems to have introduced Marcus to the philosophic way of life. In April 132, at the behest of Diognetus, Marcus took up the dress and habits of the philosopher: he studied while wearing a rough Greek cloak, and would sleep on the ground until his mother convinced him to sleep on a bed.

After the death of Antoninus Pius, Marcus was effectively sole ruler of the Empire. The formalities of the position would follow. The senate would soon grant him the name Augustus and the title imperator, and he would soon be formally elected as Pontifex Maximus, chief priest of the official cults. Marcus made some show of resistance: the biographer writes that he was “compelled” to take imperial power. This may have been a genuine horror imperii, “fear of imperial power”. Marcus, with his preference for the philosophic life, found the imperial office unappealing. His training as a Stoic, however, had made the choice clear. It was his duty.

Marcus Aurelius acquired the reputation of a philosopher king within his lifetime, and the title would remain his after death. Christians – Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Melita – gave him the title, too. The last named went so far as to call Marcus “more philanthropic and philosophic” than Antoninus Pius and Hadrian, and set him against the persecuting emperors Domitian and Nero to make the contrast bolder.

“Alone of the emperors,” wrote the historian Herodian, “he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life.”

While on campaign between 170 and 180, Aurelius wrote his Meditations in Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. The title of this work was added posthumously—originally he titled his work simply: “To Myself”.

Marcus Aurelius 1He had a logical mind and his notes were representative of Stoic philosophy and spirituality. Meditations is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. The book has been a favorite of Frederick the Great, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, Goethe, Wen Jiabao, and Bill Clinton.

What Are You Doing To Change Your World? Marcus Aurelius apparently did not write Meditations for consumption by others. However, it was of such radiance that it caught the eye of others down through the centuries and influenced their lives. That’s “all” you need to do change your world – something that may influence even just one other in a positive fashion. Get to it.

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Shirley Temple Black Changed the World (With Her Dimples)

She Died On February 10, 2014


Shirley was 85 when she died. Through films and public service work she changed the world … one person.

She certainly helped the U.S.A. fight its way through the Great Depression.


Shirley Temple in 1933

Shirley Temple in 1933

It Started In Santa Monica

Though there was little acting acumen visible within her family, Shirley’s mother groomed her to be in show business. Yet she earned her fame through her own talent and screen presence.

For four years she was the top box office draw across the entire nation. There were even some complaints that the theaters were so full, some adults couldn’t get seats. This sometimes occurred because the children who had attended the previous showing would not leave.

Her merchandise sold in the millions of dollars. Marketers learned that selling to parents through their children’s interest is a sure bet.

On Par With FDR

John F. Kasson wrote the recent book titled The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression. He shows how Shirley Temple and her dynamic portrayals on the big screen paralleled Roosevelt’s turn around the economy.

Shirley Temple was important to the national morale and optimism at a frightening moment in U.S. history. Her impacted upon the country was so great that she was nicknamed the “Temple Recovery Act.” Some were sure that her affect was as huge as a government program in reversing the Great Depression.

Public Service

Temple got her start in foreign service after her failed run for Congress in 1967, when Henry Kissinger overheard her talking about Namibia at a party and was surprised that she knew anything about it.

Shirley Temple at 16

Shirley Temple at 16

She was appointed Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly by President Richard M. Nixon (September – December 1969), and was appointed United States Ambassador to Ghana (December 6, 1974 – July 13, 1976) by President Gerald R. Ford.

She was appointed first female Chief of Protocol of the United States (July 1, 1976 – January 21, 1977), and was in charge of arrangements for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration and inaugural ball.

She served as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (August 23, 1989 – July 12, 1992).

In other words, her service to and for her country and world did not stop after her acting career.

What About Your Service to Your World?

You may not be able to act or even wear your hair in ringlets. But you can do something. You are given the opportunity to build a legacy that will outlast your life. When will you start? How about right now?

Sources: Heather Seggel, John F. Kasson,

Isaac Sidney “Sid” Caesar – One Person – Changed The World With His Humor

Television Pioneer

Sid Caesar who was born on September 8, 1922 and died on February 12, 2014, was an American comic actor and writer, best known for the pioneering 1950s live television series Your Show of Shows, a 90-minute weekly show watched by 60 million people, and its successor Caesar’s Hour, both of which influenced later generations of comedians.Sid Caesar 1

He also acted in movies; he played Coach Calhoun in Grease (1978) and its sequel Grease 2 (1982), and appeared in the films It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Silent Movie (1976), History of the World, Part I (1981), and Cannonball Run II (1984).

Impact on Television and Broadway

It has been concluded that “the Caesar shows were the crème de la crème of fifties television,” as they were “studded with satire, and their sketches sharper, edgier, more sophisticated than the other variety shows.” Likewise, it has been noted that Caesar was “…best known as one of the most intelligent and provocative innovators of television comedy.”

According to actress Nanette Fabray, who acted alongside Caesar, “He was the first original TV comedy creation.” His early shows were the “…gold standard for TV sketch comedy.” In 1951, Newsweek noted that according to “the opinion of lots of smart people, Caesar is the best that TV has to offer.” The Saturday Evening Post, had written in it that “in temperament, physique, and technique of operation, Caesar represents a new species of comedian.”

However, his positive impact on television became a negative one for Broadway. Caesar fans preferred to stay home on Saturday nights to watch his show instead of seeing live plays. “The Caesar show became such a Saturday-night must-see habit – the Saturday Night Live of its day.” “…Broadway producers begged NBC to switch the show to midweek.”

Comedy star Carol Burnett, who later had her own hit TV show, remembers winning tickets to see My Fair Lady on Broadway: “I gave the tickets to my roommate because I said, Fair Lady’s gonna be running for a hundred years, but Sid Caesar is live and I’ll never see that again.”

Pills and Alcohol

After nearly 10 years as a prime-time star of television comedy with Your Show of Shows followed by Caesar’s Hour, his stardom ended rapidly and he nearly disappeared from the spotlight. It has been described in this manner:

“Caesar slid into a personal and career abyss … [he] had no interest in movies … He would live and die by the tube. His career was short-circuited by alcohol and pills … The pressures of sudden stardom, of headlining and co-producing a weekly hit show, crushed him.”

Caesar himself felt, “It had all come too fast, was too easy, and he didn’t deserve the acclaim.” Writer Mel Brooks, who also became his close friend, said, “I know of no other comedian, including Chaplin, who could have done nearly ten years of live television. Nobody’s talent was ever more used up than Sid’s. He was one of the greatest artists ever born. But over a period of years, television ground him into sausages.”

Sid Caesar 2In 1977, after blacking out during a stage performance of Neil Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Caesar gave up alcohol “cold turkey”. In his 1982 autobiography, Where Have I Been?, and his second book, Caesar’s Hours, he chronicled his struggle to overcome his alcoholism and addiction to sleeping pills.

Not Funny All the Time

In a November 2009 article in the Toluca Lake, California, Tolucan Times, columnist Greg Crosby described a visit with Caesar and his wife Florence at their home.

Of the couple’s meeting, Florence said, “Well, I thought he was nice for the summer … I thought he would be just a nice boyfriend for the summer. He was cute-looking and tall, over six feet…. I was in my last year at Hunter College; we were still dating when Sid went into the service, the Coast Guard. Luckily he was stationed in New York so we were able to continue seeing each other, even though my parents weren’t too happy about it. They never thought he would amount to anything, that he’d never have a real career or make any money. But we were married one year after we met, in July of 1943.”

She also pointed out, “You know, he’s not funny all the time. He can be very serious.” At the time of the interview, the couple had been married for 66 years. Florence Caesar died on March 3, 2010, aged 88.

The Ultimate

On Caesar’s death, Carl Reiner said, “He was the ultimate, he was the very best sketch artist and comedian that ever existed.”

Mel Brooks commented, “Sid Caesar was a giant, maybe the best comedian who ever practiced the trade. And I was privileged to be one of his writers and one of his friends.”

Jon Stewart and The Daily Show paid tribute to Caesar at the show’s close on February 12, 2014.

Are You Funny?

No, you don’t have to be comic genius like Sid Caesar. But you can contribute to the mirth in the world and thereby make it a better place. Passing along witty items through social media you may help the world to laugh a little more, just as an example. Help someone smile today and you will have improved your world and your own life.

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The Real McCoy – Elijah McCoy – Changed the World

Free Canadian

Elijah J. McCoy, born May 2, 1844, died October 10, 1929, was a black Canadian–American inventor and engineer, who was notable for his 57 U.S. patents, most to do with lubrication of steam engines. Born free in Canada, he moved as a young child with his family to the United States in 1847, where he lived for the rest of his life and became a U.S. citizen.

Elijah McCoyMcCoy’s parents were fugitive slaves who had escaped from Kentucky to Canada via the Underground Railroad. In 1847, the family returned to the US, settling in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He had eleven siblings.

Engineer and Railroad Fireman

At age 15, McCoy traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland for an apprenticeship and study. After some years, he was certified in Scotland as a mechanical engineer. After his return, he rejoined his family.

In Michigan, McCoy could find work only as a fireman and oiler at the Michigan Central Railroad. In a home-based machine shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan McCoy also did more highly skilled work, such as developing improvements and inventions. He invented an automatic lubricator for oiling the steam engines of locomotives and ships, “Improvement in Lubricators for Steam-Engines” (U.S. Patent 129,843).

Similar automatic oilers had been patented previously; one is the displacement lubricator, which had already attained widespread use and whose technological descendants continued to be widely used into the 20th century. Lubricators were a boon for railroads, as they enabled trains to run faster and more profitably with less need to stop for lubrication and maintenance.

McCoy continued to refine his devices and design new ones; 50 of his patents dealt with lubricating systems. After the turn of the century, he attracted notice among his black contemporaries. Booker T. Washington in Story of the Negro (1909) recognized him as having produced more patents than any other black inventor up to that time.

This creativity gave McCoy an honored status in the black community that has persisted to this day. He continued to invent until late in life, obtaining as many as 57 patents. Most of these were related to lubrication, but others also included a folding ironing board and a lawn sprinkler.

Lacking the capital with which to manufacture his lubricators in large numbers, he usually assigned his patent rights to his employers or sold them to investors. Lubricators with the McCoy name were not manufactured until 1920, near the end of his career. He formed the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company to produce his works.

Historians Disagree

Historians have not agreed on the importance of McCoy’s contribution to the field of lubrication. He is credited in some biographical sketches with revolutionizing the railroad or machine industries with his devices. Early twentieth-century lubrication literature barely mentions him; for example, his name is absent from E. L. Ahrons’ Lubrication of Locomotives (1922), which does identify several other early pioneers and companies of the field.

The Real McCoy

The popular expression “The real McCoy,” was first known to be published in Canada in 1881, however the linguistically similar “The Real McKay” can be traced to Scottish advertising in 1856. In James S. Bond’s The Rise and Fall of the “Union Club”: or, Boy Life in Canada, a character says, “By jingo! yes; so it will be. It’s the ‘real McCoy,’ as Jim Hicks says. Nobody but a devil can find us there.”

This expression, typically used to mean the real thing, has been associated with Elijah McCoy’s oil-drip cup invention. One theory is that railroad engineers’ looking to avoid inferior copies would request it by name, and inquire if a locomotive was fitted with “the real McCoy system”. This possible origin is mentioned as a legend in Elijah McCoy’s biography at the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The original publication of this claim can be traced to the December 1966 issue of Ebony, in an advertisement for Old Taylor publishes the claim, ending in this tag line: “But the most famous legacy McCoy left his country was his name.” The claim was repeated in a 1985 pamphlet printed by the Empak Publishing Company, which did not explain the origin of the expression. The attribution has been disputed, and other origin stories exist for the phrase.

Cultural Legacy

In 1966, an ad for Old Taylor bourbon used a photo of Elijah McCoy and the expression “the real McCoy”, ending in this tag line: “But the most famous legacy McCoy left his country was his name.”

In 2006, the Canadian playwright Andrew Moodie wrote a play called The Real McCoy, which portrays McCoy’s life, the challenges he faced as an African American, and the development of his inventions. It was first produced in Toronto in 2006. It has also been produced in the United States, as in Saint Louis, Missouri in 2011, where it was performed by the Black Rep Theater.

In the book Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman which is set in a fictional racial dystopia where the role of black and white people in society has been reversed, he is mentioned among a list of black scientists, inventors and pioneers when the characters are in a history class.

Well, Here We Are Again

What are you doing in your life to overcome the odds against you? Yes, we all have something or someone standing over against us. Trying to keep you back. Trying to keep you down.

How about standing up for what you believe in? Make the most of your life. No matter from you begin, you can change the world.

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Melvin James Kaminsky – Mel Brooks – Comedian – Changed the World

He Made Us Laugh

Mel Brooks was born on June 28, 1926. He is an American film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies.Mel Brooks 2

He began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows. He became well known as part of the comedy duo with Carl Reiner, The 2000 Year Old Man.

In middle age he became one of the most successful film directors of the 1970s, with many of his films being among the top ten money makers of the year that they were released. His most well known films include The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, History of the World, Part I, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

More recently he has had a smash hit on Broadway with the musical adaptation of his first film, The Producers. He was married to the actress Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death in 2005.

The Short List

Brooks is a member of the short list of entertainers with the distinction of having won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award.

He received the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2013. Three of his films ranked in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 comedy films of all-time, all of which ranked in the top 20 of the list: Blazing Saddles at number 6, The Producers at number 11, and Young Frankenstein at number 13.

On December 5, 2009 Brooks was one of five recipients of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D. C.

On April 23, 2010 Brooks was awarded the 2,406th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The List of Works Goes On and On

The body of Brooks’ work is enormous. Film, stage, television, recordings all have been his artistic playground.

These works never failed to make one laugh sometimes until the tears were rolling one’s cheeks.

So, What Is His Value to the Human Race?

Mel BrooksJust that ability to have people laugh. Laughter helps keep one healthy and happy. Mel Brooks in producing that laughter for humankind has done us all a wonderful service.

And, of course, he had a cast of characters all around him to help make this all happen. No one does anything of significance without others to aid them. However, it is the force of personality and the inspiration of one individual that forges the product – whatever that final ware might be – horseshoes or laughter.

So, What Is Your Value to the Human Race?

Have you helped someone laugh today? Of course, that may not be you talent. Then what is your talent? Develop your endowment until you become useful, first to yourself, then to your sibling human beings.

Make the best horseshoe you can.

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I am only one



Woodrow Wilson – 28th President of the United States – Changed the World

He Did Not Win At Everything

His life-prize was to be the League of Nations. He did not win that prize, in the end. But he did a great deal of good anyway, he changed the world.

First Name – Did You Know? – Was ThomasWoodrow Wilson 1

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, born December 28, 1856, died February 3, 1924, was the presidential  from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he had served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910.

He was Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913. With the Republican Party split in 1912, he led his Democratic Party to control both the White House and Congress for the first time in nearly two decades.

Some of the Good He Accomplished

In his first term as President, Wilson persuaded Congress to pass a legislative agenda that few presidents have equaled, remaining unmatched up until the New Deal in 1933. This agenda included the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and an income tax.

Child labor was curtailed by the Keating–Owen Act of 1916, but the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1918. Wilson also had Congress pass the Adamson Act, which imposed an 8-hour workday for railroads.

Woodrow Wilson 3

Although considered a modern liberal visionary giant as President, Wilson was “deeply racist in his thoughts and politics” and his administration racially segregated federal employees and the Navy.

The War To End All Wars

Narrowly re-elected in 1916 around the slogan, “He kept us out of war”, Wilson’s second term was dominated by American entry into World War I. While American non-interventionist sentiment was strong, American neutrality was challenged in early 1917 when the German Empire began unrestricted submarine warfare despite repeated strong warnings.

In April 1917, Wilson asked Congress to declare war in order to make “the world safe for democracy.” During the war, Wilson focused on diplomacy and financial considerations, leaving the waging of the war itself primarily in the hands of the Army.

On the home front in 1917, he began the United States’ first draft since the American Civil War; borrowed billions of dollars in war funding through the newly established Federal Reserve Bank and Liberty Bonds; set up the War Industries Board; promoted labor union cooperation; supervised agriculture and food production through the Lever Act; took over control of the railroads; and gave a well-known Flag Day speech that fueled the wave of anti-German sentiment sweeping the country.Woodrow Wilson 2

Stroke Ended His Presidency

In the late stages of the war, Wilson took personal control of negotiations with Germany, including the armistice. In 1918, he issued his Fourteen Points, his view of a post-war world that could avoid another terrible conflict. In 1919, he went to Paris to add the formation of a League of Nations to the Treaty of Versailles, with special attention on creating new nations out of defunct empires.

During an intense fight with Henry Cabot Lodge and the Republican-controlled Senate over giving the League of Nations power to force the U.S. into a war, Wilson suffered a severe stroke that left his wife largely in control of the White House until he left office in March 1921.

For his sponsorship of the League of Nations, Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize.

Not Everyone Who Changes the World Has Success Every Try

I understand that some folks don’t start out to change the world because they are afraid of failure. I can empathize. Failure hurts. Failure feels humiliating.

Yet, it is those who face the possibility of failure, or even actual failure itself, who make a real difference. Woodrow Wilson attempt to establish a world body, The League of Nations, to help extend peace and democracy to the world set the stage for the United Nations some years later. Sometimes it takes an idea some time to bear fruit. Some blossoms never turn into apples.

$100,000 Bill
$100,000 Bill

Are going to let that stop you? I hope not. I hope you will face your fear of failure and move on. Move on to change the world. You have that opportunity. You deserve that opportunity. The world deserves that opportunity.

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I am only one

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Never Heard of Her – Ada E. Yonath – But She Changed the World – All By Herself

Another Unknown – Crystallographer

Ada E. Yonath was born on June 2, 1939 and is an Israeli crystallographer best known for her pioneering work on the structure of the ribosome.

Nobel Prize – “No Big Deal”

She is the current director of the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly of the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2009, she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz for her studies on the structure and function of the ribosome.

That made her the first Israeli woman to win the Nobel Prize out of ten Israeli Nobel laureates, the first woman from the Middle East to win a Nobel prize in the sciences, and the first woman in 45 years to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

However, she said herself that there was nothing special about a woman winning the Prize.


She attended college in Jerusalem, graduating from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1962, and a master’s degree in biochemistry in 1964. In 1968, she earned a Ph.D. in X-Ray crystallography at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Yonath accepted postdoctoral positions at Carnegie Mellon University (1969) and MIT (1970). While a postdoc at MIT she spent some time in the lab of subsequent 1976 chemistry Nobel Prize winner William N. Lipscomb, Jr. of Harvard University where she was inspired to pursue very large structures.


Yonath focuses on the mechanisms underlying protein biosynthesis, by ribosomal crystallography, a research line she pioneered over twenty years ago despite considerable skepticism of the international scientific community.

Ribosomes translate RNA into protein and because they have slightly different structures in microbes, when compared to eukaryotes, such as human cells, they are often a target for antibiotics. She determined the complete high-resolution structures of both ribosomal subunits and discovered within the otherwise asymmetric ribosome, the universal symmetrical region that provides the framework and navigates the process of polypeptide polymerization.

Consequently she showed that the ribosome is a ribozyme that places its substrates in stereochemistry suitable for peptide bond formation and for substrate-mediated catalysis. Two decades ago she visualized the path taken by the nascent proteins, namely the ribosomal tunnel, and recently revealed the dynamics elements enabling its involvement in elongation arrest, gating, intra-cellular regulation and nascent chain trafficking into their folding space.

What Does That Mean?

Simply – this understand helps persons and companies develop effective drugs.

Yonath elucidated the modes of action of over twenty different antibiotics targeting the ribosome, illuminated mechanisms of drug resistance and synergism, deciphered the structural basis for antibiotic selectivity and showed how it plays a key role in clinical usefulness and therapeutic effectiveness, thus paving the way for structure-based drug design.

For enabling ribosomal crystallography Yonath introduced a novel technique, cryo bio-crystallography, which became routine in structural biology and allowed intricate projects otherwise considered formidable.

Perhaps You Prefer To Remain Enigmatic

Yes, you probably never heard her name, but you may well have been a “recepient” of her science. Perhaps you took an antibiotic to get over a sinus infection. Perhaps that antibiotic was develop using the techniques of crystallography.

Perhaps you would like to change the world but remain rather anonymous. I am being straightforward when I say you may feel yourself too shy to make a splash that souses the whole world.

That’s more than okay. It may be just what the world needed – someone to change it for the better but who does not rise to unwanted world-celebrity.

If you are such a person – get to changing the world in your own enigmatic way. We need all such persons as this.

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