Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdote George Harrison – English rock musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer and lead guitarist of The Beatles (1943 – 2001)

In 1966, George Harrison (the quiet, spiritual Beatle) began to study the teachings of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. One day, the "quiet one" drove from France to Portugal chanting "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna" for 23 consecutive hours - and claimed to have been transcendentally guided to his destination after foregoing the use of road directions.

Some time later, Harrison found himself passing through a nasty storm aboard a turbulent flight. He promptly pressed his feet into the seat before him and started shouting, "Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna!"

"I know for me," Harrison declared after the plane touched down, "the difference between making it and not making it was chanting the mantra."

Anecdote Sai Baba – Indian Guru, mystic, philanthropist and educator (1926 – 2011)

Swami often asks young boys, "How many brothers do you have?" Boys invariably reply along expected lines by saying two, or three, etc., as is the case. Swami then smiles and softly whispers, "All are your brothers!" After this He asks of another boy, "How many friends do you have?" Taking the cue from the earlier conversation, this second boy would say, "Swami, all are my friends." Swami would again smile, and gently say, "No, all are not your friends; God alone is your friend!"

Anecdote Peter Sellers – British actor (1925 – 1980)

Late one night, following a disappointing day wrestling with a troublesome scene in one of the Pink Panther films, director Blake Edwards was roused by a call from the film's star, Peter Sellers. "I just talked to God!" he exclaimed. "And He told me how to do it!"
The next day, Edwards humored Sellers - and the result was an unmitigated disaster. "Peter," Edwards suggested, "next time you talk to God, tell Him to stay out of show business!"

Anecdote about learning

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about wanting to learn Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfill! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," said the master.

Anecdote Lauritz Melchior – Danish and later American opera singer (1890 – 1973)

Gift from Heaven

"When I was a struggling musical student," the famed heroic tenor Lauritz Melchior once recalled, "living in a small pension in Munich, I was sitting in the garden one day, learning the words of a new opera. As I sang the words, 'Come to me, my love, on the wings of light,' there was a flutter, a flash of white, and there sitting at my feet, was a beautiful little creature who had dropped right out of the blue.
"It was Maria Hacker, a diminutive Bavarian actress. Stunting for a movie thriller, she had jumped from an airplane and landed, parachute and all, practically in my arms. And that was She. I thought that she came to me from heaven. I still think so..."
[They were married between 1925 and Hacker's death in 1963.]

Anecdote Louis XIV – King of France and of Navarre, also known as the Sun King (1638—1715)

Louis XIV once solicited Nicolas Boileau's opinion of several poems which he had composed. Though hardly impressed with the king's poetry, Boileau, an honest man to a fault, was in a tight spot. What to say...? "Sire, nothing is impossible for Your Majesty," Boileau ventured tactfully. "Your Majesty has set out to write bad verses - and has succeeded!"

Anecdote Angela Merkel – Current Chancellor of Germany

A popular anecdote is of when the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel met Vladimir Putin, Putin brought Koni, Putin’s female black Labrador Retriever, to their meetings. On 21 January 2007, the two leaders met at Bocharov Ruchei, the President's summer residence in Sochi and at the beginning of their meeting Koni wandered into the room, leading Putin to ask Merkel, who was afraid of dogs, "The dog does not bother you, does it? It's a friendly dog and I'm sure it will behave itself." Merkel responded in Russian, a language in which she is fluent, "It doesn't eat journalists, after all." Koni then proceeded to sniff the German Chancellor, and sat at her feet. Merkel was reported to have shown "apparent discomfort", but the two quickly became friends.

Anecdote Edward Kennedy – United States Senator from Massachusetts and member of the Democratic Party (1932—2009)

Joseph Califano, the former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, tells a story about Ted Kennedy’s sense of humor: “In the Carter Administration, Senator Kennedy was proposing a nationalization of health insurance. We were proposing a lesser bill that would simply mandate employer coverage and when I announced our bill to the Administration, and then the next day Kennedy announced his, and I went on television…and said ‘Senator Kennedy’s bill has about as much chance of passing as putting an elephant through a keyhole.’ The next morning when I arrived in my office, there was a huge board with a keyhole cut in the middle of it and a baby stuffed elephant hanging from a string, swinging back and forth, and a note on the top: ‘Joe-it looks like it fits.’

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