Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol was one of the most prolific and popular artists of his time,
 using both avant-garde and highly commercial sensibilities.

Andy Warhol

Born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928, in the neighborhood of Oakland in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andy Warhol's parents were Slovakian immigrants. His father, Ondrej Warhola, was a construction worker, while his mother, Julia Warhola, was an embroiderer. They were devout Byzantine Catholics who attended mass regularly, and maintained much of their Slovakian culture and heritage while living in one of Pittsburgh's Eastern European ethnic enclaves.

At the age of 8, Warhol contracted chorea (aka: St. Vitus's Dance) a rare and sometimes fatal disease of the nervous system that left him bedridden for several months. It was during these months, while Warhol was sick in bed, that his mother, herself a skillful artist, gave him his first drawing lessons. Drawing soon became Warhol's favorite childhood pastime. He was also an avid fan of the movies, and when his mother bought him a camera at the age of 9 he took up photography as well, developing film in a makeshift darkroom he set up in their basement.

Warhol attended Holmes Elementary school and took the free art classes offered at the Carnegie Institute (now the Carnegie Museum of Art) in Pittsburgh. In 1942,Warhol's father died from a jaundiced liver. Warhol was so upset that he could not attend his father's funeral and he hid under his bed throughout the wake. Warhol's father had recognized his son's artistic talents, and in his will he dictated that his life savings go toward Warhol's college education. That same year, Warhol began at Schenley High School, and upon graduating, in 1945, he enrolled at the Carnegie Institute for Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) to study pictorial design.

After he graduated from college with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1949, Warhol moved to New York City to pursue a career as a commercial artist. It was also at this time that he dropped the "a" at the end of his last name to become Andy Warhol. He landed a job with Glamour  magazine in September, and went on to become one of the most successful commercial artists of the 1950s. He won frequent awards for his uniquely whimsical style, using his own blotted line technique and rubber stamps to create his drawings.

In the late 1950s, Warhol began devoting more attention to painting, and in 1961, he debuted the concept of "pop art", paintings which focused on mass-produced commercial goods. In 1962, he exhibited the now-iconic paintings of Campbell's soup cans. These small canvas works of everyday consumer products created a major stir in the art world, bringing both Warhol and pop art into the national spotlight for the first time.

Campbell's Soup

British artist Richard Hamilton described pop art as "popular, transient, expendable, low cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, big business." As Warhol himself put it, "Once you 'got' pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought pop, you could never see America the same way again."

Warhol's other famous pop paintings depicted Coca-cola bottles, vacuum cleaners and hamburgers. He also painted celebrity portraits in vivid and garish colors and his most famous subjects include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger and Mao Zedong. As these portraits gained fame and notoriety, his prestige grew.  

Mao Zedong

 Marilyn Monroe

His portrait Eight Elvises eventually resold for $100 million in 2008, making it one of the most valuable paintings in world history.

Eight Elvises

In 1964, Warhol opened his own art studio, a large silver-painted warehouse known simply as "The Factory." The Factory quickly became one of New York City's premier cultural hotspots, a scene of lavish parties attended by the city's wealthiest socialites and celebrities, including musician Lou Reed, who paid tribute to the hustlers and transvestites he'd met at The Factory with his hit song Walk on the Wild Side the verses of which contain descriptions of individuals who were fixtures at the legendary studio/warehouse in the '60s, including Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, "Little Joe" Dallesandro, "Sugar Plum Fairy" Joe Campbell and Jackie Curtis.

Joe Dellesandro

Candy Darling (transgender)

Warhol, who relished his celebrity, became a fixture at infamous New York City nightclubs like Studio 54 and Max's Kansas City. Commenting on celebrity fixation  (both his own and that of the public at large) Warhol observed, "more than anything people just want stars." He also branched out in new directions, publishing his first book, Andy Warhol's Index, in 1967.

On June 3, 1968, Warhol's career almost ended because he was shot by Valerie Solanis, an aspiring writer and radical feminist. Warhol was seriously wounded in this attack. Solanis had appeared in one of Warhol's films and was reportedly upset with him over his refusal to use a script she had written. She also shot art critic Mario Amaya, and attempted to shoot Warhol's manager, Fred Hughes, point blank, but the gun jammed. Solanas then turned herself in to the police. She was charged with attempted murder, assault, and illegal possession of a gun. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and pleaded guilty to "reckless assault with intent to harm", serving a three-year prison sentence, including treatment in a mental hospital. Warhol spent weeks in a New York hospital recovering from his injuries. 

Valerie Solanis

In the 1970s, Warhol continued to explore other forms of media. He published such books as The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again) and Exposures. Warhol also experimented extensively with video art, producing more than 60 films during his career. Some of his most famous films include Sleep, which depicts poet John Giorno sleeping for six hours, and Eat, which shows a man eating a mushroom for 45 minutes.

Warhol also worked in sculpture and photography, and in the 1980s, he moved into television, hosting Andy Warhol's TV and Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes on MTV.
Andy Warhol died on February 22, 1987, at the age of 58. His personal life has been the subject of much debate and consideration. He is widely believed to have been a gay man, and his art was often infused with homoerotic imagery and motifs. However, he claimed that he remained a virgin for his entire life.

Warhol's life and work simultaneously satirized and celebrated materiality and celebrity. On the one hand, his paintings of distorted brand images and celebrity faces could be read as a critique of what he viewed as a culture obsessed with money and celebrity. On the other hand, Warhol's focus on consumer goods and pop-culture icons, as well as his own taste for money and fame, suggest a life in celebration of the very aspects of American culture that his work criticized. Warhol spoke to this apparent contradiction between his life and work in his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, writing that "making money is art and working is art, and good business is the best art."
The Andy Warhol Museum is located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

*             *               *

Andy Warhol Quotes

In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

Fantasy love is much better than reality love.

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.

An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

I'm afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.

Art is what you can get away with.

Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.

Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.

I never understood why when you died, you didn't just vanish, everything could just keep going on the way it was only you just wouldn't be there. I always thought I'd like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I'd like it to say 'figment.'

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The History of Celebrating the New Year

Times Square, New York City
The Most Famous New Year's Celebration in the World

New Year History

New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar, the modern almost universal calendar. As a date in the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church. At present, with most countries now using the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar, New Year's Day is the most celebrated public holiday and it is often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone.

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. The celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Babylon, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March. A variety of other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice. For the Babylonians of Mesopotamia, New Year began with the first visible crescent of the New Moon after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).

The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year because it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun. In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But, tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the new year. However, in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

The first time the new year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C., when the second king of Rome, Numa Pontilius, added the months of January and February.) The new year was moved from March to January because that was the beginning of the civil year, the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls, the highest officials in the Roman republic, began their one-year tenure. But this new year date was not always strictly and widely observed, and the new year was still sometimes celebrated on March 1.

In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new, solar-based calendar that was a vast improvement on the ancient Roman calendar, which was a lunar system that had become wildly inaccurate over the years.

The Julian calendar decreed that the new year would occur with January 1, and within the Roman world, January 1 became the consistently observed start of the new year.Although in the first centuries AD the Romans continued celebrating the new year, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism. But, as Christianity became more widespread, the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations, and New Year's Day was no different.

In medieval Europe, however, the celebrations accompanying the new year were considered pagan and unchristian like, and in 567 the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on December 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter.

Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts on the first day of the new year.

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar created by Pope Gregory the Great reform restored January 1 as new year's day. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire including  their American colonies still celebrated the new year in March.
New Year's Resolutions
 It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions, and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.
Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year's eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them to spectacular effect in their New Year's celebrations.

Auld Lang Syne

The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year's eve, Auld Lang Syne is an old Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum. Burns transcribed it after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area of Scotland, Burns's homeland.

It is often remarked that Auld Lang Syne is one of the most popular songs to which no one knows the lyrics. Auld Lang Syne is Scottish and literally translates as "old long since" and means "times gone by." The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness. The lesser known verses continue this theme, lamenting how friends who once used to "run about the braes,/ And pou'd the gowans fine" (run about the hills and pulled up the daisies) and "paidl'd in the burn/Frae morning sun till dine" (paddled in the stream from morning to dusk) have become divided by time and distance- "seas between us braid hae roar'd" (broad seas have roared between us). Yet there is always time for old friends to get together- if not in person then in memory- and "tak a right guid-willie waught" (a good-will drink).

But it was bandleader Guy Lombardo, and not Robert Burns, who popularized the song and turned it into a New Year's tradition. Lombardo first heard Auld Lang Syne in his hometown of London, Ontario, where it was sung by Scottish immigrants. When he and his brothers formed the famous dance band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, the song became one of their standards. Lombardo played the song at midnight at a New Year's eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, and a tradition was born. After that, Lombardo's version of the song was played every New Year's eve from the 1930s until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria. In the first years it was broadcast on radio, and then on television. The song became such a New Year's tradition that "Life magazine wrote that if Lombardo failed to play Auld Lang Syne, the American public would not believe that the new year had really arrived."

The Words to Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, 
And surely I'll be mine, 
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne!
We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine, 
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit, 
Sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine, 
But seas between us braid hae roar'd 
Sin auld lang syne.
And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine, 
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

Three Poems about Life's Choices

by Allen Steble

We all have a choice
to live a lie
or be ourselves
to laugh and cry
or to follow someone else

to look up and smile
or bow down and frown
to walk the whole mile
or take off our crown

We have a choice
to shout out loud
or chant a whisper
to fly through the clouds
or to be blown like paper

to conquer our fear
or hide in the shadow
to the wise words hear
or be thrown out the window

We all have a choice
to climb our highest mountain
or fall into our deepest hole
to drink from life's fountain
or live life like a troubled soul

*          *           *

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

*         *          *

You Chose 

by Shannon L. Alder

You chose.
You chose.
You chose.

You chose to give away your love.
You chose to have a broken heart. 
You chose to give up. 
You chose to hang on.

You chose to react.
You chose to feel insecure.
You chose to feel anger.
You chose to fight back.
You chose to have hope.

You chose to be na├»ve. 
You chose to ignore your intuition.
You chose to ignore advice.
You chose to look the other way. 
You chose to not listen. 
You chose to be stuck in the past. 

You chose your perspective. 
You chose to blame. 
You chose to be right.
You chose your pride. 
You chose your games.
You chose your ego.
You chose your paranoia. 
You chose to compete.
You chose your enemies.
You chose your consequences.

You chose.
You chose.
You chose.
You chose.

However, you are not alone. Generations of women in your family have chosen. Women around the world have chosen. We all have chosen at one time in our lives. We stand behind you now screaming: 

Choose to let go.
Choose dignity. 
Choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to forgive others.
Choose to see your value.
Choose to show the world you’re not a victim.
Choose to make us proud.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Great Thinkers, Great Thoughts, No. 41: Confucius


The philosopher known to Westerners as Confucius would not have answered to that name. He was born as Kong Qui - family name first and given name last. He is best known in China as Zhongni, which means "Master Kong." This was melded into "Confucius" under Latinization by the sixteenth-century Jesuit missionaries to China, notably Matteo Ricci.

Confucius is also referred to by other names, including "Laudably Declarable Lord Ni," "Great Sage," "First Teacher," and "Model Teacher for Ten Thousand Ages."

The Analects, a book written by followers of Confucius after his death, contains his thoughts and conversations, if not his precise words. Any quote attributed to Confucius must be taken in the proper spirit, as a paraphrase representing his sentiments, not as an exact transcript. Confucius would most likely approve, as he saw himself as a transmitter who invented nothing.

Confucius was born in 551 B.C., in Zou, Lu state, near present-day Qufu, China, during the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. His family belonged to the class of shi, between the aristocracy and the common people. People in this class had to rely on their skills, rather than on nobility of birth.
Some historians speculate that Confucius may have been illegitimate. His father, an officer in the Lu army, was much older than his mother. His father died when Confucius was only three, and the boy was raised by his mother in poverty.

At the age of 19, Confucius married a woman by the surname of Qiguan, and a year later they had their first child, Kong Li. Confucius worked as a shepherd and a clerk.

Confucius' mother died when he was 23, and, per tradition, he mourned for three years. He later credited this seclusion with giving him time for deep thought and intense study of history. Confucius said, "I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there." He also said, "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."

Few details of the life of Confucius are certain, but by the age of 30 he was respected as a great teacher. In 501 B.C., he was appointed as Minister of Justice, sometimes referred to as Minister of Crime, because three Lu ruling families valued his philosophy of proper conduct and righteousness in government. Confucius said, "He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it."

China needed a man such as Confucius at the time. During the sixth century B.C., the Chou Empire, which had held supreme rule for over 500 years, was being undermined by competing Chinese states. The result was a period of moral decline. Confucius stepped in, ready to preach the importance of morality in both personal and political life. As he once said, "To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the proper seasons."

Confucius felt nostalgia for the past. He advocated a revival of a unified royal state, in which rulers were chosen based on royal merit rather than lineage. He believed that the feudal system, which divided China into territories not controlled by the king, was tearing China apart.

Confucius served as a valued adviser to the prince of Lu. Over time, as the state of Lu prospered, the prince grew greedy and disinterested, leaving governmental decisions to Confucius. For Confucius, the prince was a disappointment. Per the teachings of Confucius, "He who acts with a constant view to his own advantage will be much murmured against." As a result, Confucius left Lu and wandered for twelve years, eventually returning in 483 B.C., at the age of 68.

Confucianism is essentially humanistic. It is or is not a religion, depending on how a person defines the term. Confucius was concerned only with earthly issues, not with the nature of souls. For him, true wisdom came from knowledge of these earthly issues.

Ren is the good feeling a person experiences when being virtuous - both the inward and outward expression of Confucian ideals. Everyone is born with a sense of Ren, an innate sense of what is right. To embrace Ren, Confucius advised, "Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety." Ren is achieved through five basic virtues: seriousness, generosity, sincerity, diligence, and kindness.

The concept of Ren is connected with Li and Yi. Li involves ritual, or something that has been approved by society - the outward expression of Confucian ideals. Yi involves righteousness, or the moral path - the inward expression. Confucius said, "If some years were added to my life, I would give fifty to the study of the Yi, and then I might come to be without great faults."

The ideal man, or gentleman, is known as a junzi. Each individual has a role to play in society, from the common man to the king, and success can only be achieved by virtuous actions. Confucius said, "The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it."

Confucius believed that an educated person must be proficient in the Six Arts: archery, calligraphy, computation, music, chariot-driving, and ritual. Regarding music, he said, "How to play music may be known. At the commencement of the piece, all the parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should be in harmony while severally distinct and flowing without break, and thus on to the conclusion."

In general, every man should increase his knowledge to his fullest potential: "To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced."

Confucius advocated strong family connections, even though he reportedly spent little time with his wife and children. He said, "A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies." A virtuous man must also respect his elders and worship his ancestors.

Quotes by Confucius

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Heaven means to be one with God.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.

Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.

You cannot open a book without learning something.

To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.

The cautious seldom err.

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.

Study the past, if you want to know the future.

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.

I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.

Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?

The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Unusual Facts, No. 4

The elephant is the only mammal that can’t jump.
The first known transfusion of blood was performed as early as 1667, when Jean-Baptiste, transfused two pints of blood from a sheep to a young man.
Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!
Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin!
The present population of 5 billion plus people of the world is predicted to become 15 billion by 2080.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian and he had only one testicle.
Honey is the only food that does not spoil. Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs has been tasted by archaeologists and found edible.
Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a "Friday the 13th."
Coca-Cola would be green if coloring weren’t added to it.
On average a hedgehog’s heart beats 300 times a minute.
More people are killed each year from bees than from snakes.
The average lead pencil will draw a line 35 miles long or write approximately 50,000 English words.
More people are allergic to cow’s milk than any other food.
Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.
The placement of a donkey’s eyes in its’ heads enables it to see all four feet at all times.
The six official languages of the United Nations are: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.
Earth is the only planet not named after a god.
It is against the law to burp, or sneeze in a church in the state of Nebraska, USA.
Humans are born with 300 bones, but by the time they become an adult, they only have 206.
Some worms will eat themselves if they can’t find any food.
Dolphins sleep with one eye open.
The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.
Queen Elizabeth I regarded herself as a paragon of cleanliness. She declared that she bathed once every three months, whether she needed it or not.
Slugs have 4 noses.
Owls are the only birds who can see the color blue.
A man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 69 years.
A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue.
The average person laughs 10 times a day!
An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
If  a person farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, that person would create  enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
A pig's orgasm lasts 30 minutes.
A cockroach will live for weeks without its head before it starves to death.
The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off.
The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It's like a human jumping the length of a football field.
The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.

Butterflies taste with their feet.