Saturday, August 15, 2009

Short but .......

Today's hero is the short, but stocky man above. Napoleon I born this day in 1769 on the lovely isle of Corsica which was owned by the French at the time. Thus, one of the world's greatest military geniuses was, by the accident of birth French rather than Italian. Not sure he really came out ahead or behind in that particular lottery. Huge biographies have been written on him, but I suggest David Chandler's "The Campaigns of Napoleon" as required reading. It is a weighty tome of about 1100 pages, but well worth the read. Our boy above had to be a genius after all he led the French in conquering the majority of Europe. This was presumably before they became cheese eating surrender monkeys that got their asses handed to them three times by the stinking Germans. Pretty large task getting the French to fight like real men, but he managed it for about 20 years of so. Of course, as any of us who have had to beat up a really short man in a bar know, he is also the "origin" of the famous Napoleon complex. Seems he was really about 5 foot 7, and the whole complex thing was created by Alfred Adler. Still the name persists, and people like Tanner of the Bad News Bears continue to try to prove their manhood by fighting the entire world. Since our boy above eventually had the whole of Europe ranged against him, I guess the name is not that far off base. Amongst all his warring he did find time to establish the Napoleonic code which is in effect in a quarter of the world's jurisdictions. Not bad for a man whose reputation is mainly based on war. He also emancipated the Jews in France, quite the modern thing to do at the time. Not a man of peace certainly, but a restless genius that had an interest in almost everything. Slept only about 6 hours a night, and was quite incapable of "doing nothing." Perhaps this boundless energy was gained at the cost of his star burning out at the fairly young age of fifty-one. There are many theories on the cause of his death, including poison by arsenic, but the official cause at the time was listed as stomach cancer. Napoleon Bonaparte August 15, 1769- May 5, 1821, you are my hero of the day.

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