Monday, November 2, 2009


I love the internet! It's such an amazing storehouse of interesting information, much of which is even true. A while ago I stumbled on the website Every week the site features the linguistically embellished biography of some person who lived a legendary life. By and large they are factually correct (in the case of real badasses) or canonically correct (in the case of fictitious ones).

A smattering of the many biographies:
For some reason this site really tickles my fancy. It's the intersection of two things I both love and appreciate: learning and kicking ass. Take this excerpt from the article on Leonardo da Vinci:
I can't overemphasize how goddamned ridiculous it is that Da Vinci conceptualized the freaking helicopter at a time when most people were riding around on donkeys and using a sundial to approximate the time of day. Seriously, the freaking printing press was considered cutting-edge technology in these days, and Da Vinci was one step away from dusting Versailles in a goddamned Apache Gunship.
I suppose I could make some point about how "even you can be a badass," but lets face it. That's probably not true. The whole reason stories about these people are worth telling is that the average person simply cannot do what they did. That's what makes the story legendary, after all. You are not Johann Sebastian Bach. You aren't Prince. You aren't even Hannah Montana, and you never will be. Neither will I.

But that doesn't bother me. Humanity has done some truly impressive things, including walking on the surface of the moon and returning to talk about it. It's worth taking the time to be legitimately impressed, to really understand what makes these feats of strength so difficult and how certain humans triumphed over them anyway.