Archive for December, 2013

The Last Post – Of 2013.

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Current Events, Factoids
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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Last Post Of 2013

31st December has rolled round again and so it’s time to bring 2013 to a close.

This is always an appropriate time to reflect on what has happened during the previous twelve months.

These are just some of the things I remember about 2013. It’s a personal choice and you may have thought of other things that could have been mentioned, but, in spite of the fact that the time seems to fly, a lot happens in the space of a year so only so much can be included.

Hope you find something of interest.

Enjoy.

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The Weather

As good a place as any to start since the weather is a constant topic of conversation at all times of the year.

Statistically 2013 appears to have been a year where major weather events were at a minimum. Not much comfort to those at the extreme end of that distribution curve and who suffered hardship and discomfort as the result of extreme weather.

But here are some of what I think are the most memorable weather events of 2013.

In January Malaysia, Indonesia and South-East Africa saw major flooding events caused by monsoon and other heavy rainstorms. It also saw Australia’s hottest month on record.

Malaysia floods

February saw the largest snowfall from a single storm ever recorded in the North-eastern United States. Major winter storms also affected central US states and even the Texas panhandle.

snow-snow-snow

In March New Zealand saw its worst drought in more than 30 years. China had its second warmest recorded March temperature, while in usually sunny Spain they had their wettest March on record with three times the average for the previous three decades.

New Zealand drought 2013

Contrast was the name of the game in the US in April with California experiencing drought conditions while in the Central US there was widespread flooding.

May was the wettest ever seen in China for forty years. Indeed it was a month of extremes with more than 1 million people evacuated from their homes as Tropical Cyclone Mahasan struck Bangladesh, while in the US the widest ever observed tornado hit Oklahoma bringing more than 20 deaths and widespread devastation.

oklahoma-tornado-wallpaper-2013

June was the hottest ever, Portugal, China, Hungary, Finland, and Britain, all recorded heat-waves, and the temperature in Death Valley, California hit 129.2F (54.0C), the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth during June.

In July in the US 19 firefighters were killed trying to contain wildfires in Prescot Arizona.

Arizona firefighters

More contrasts later in the year with the 2013 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season being one of the weakest recorded in 50 years, with no major hurricanes in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic basin. Only Ingrid and Humberto out of the 13 named storms reached hurricane strength.

In the western-north Pacific on the other hand, 30 major storms had been recorded by early November, 13 of them typhoon-strength. The biggest was typhoon Haiyan, possibly the most powerful tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history, which smashed into the southern Philippines, killing at least 6,000 people and wreaking massive damage.  

typhoon Haiyan 2013

The end of the year saw the focus change to Europe, where a major depression moved eastwards from northwest Scotland to southern Sweden bringing strong winds of up to 142 mph and a massive tidal surge that affected coastal areas around the North Sea. In the UK thousands of people had to evacuate their homes along the east coast, where the coastal surge was the worst since 1953 with local flooding and some houses being washed into the sea as cliffs gave way. At least six people died by the time the winds moved finally down over northeast Europe.

storms uk 2013

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Scandals

2013 has been noted as a great year for scandal and corruption. Here are some of the highlights (or low lights perhaps?).

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In the food industry we had the Aflatoxin scandal, where throughout much of Europe contaminated milk and other food products were found to be ‘infested’ with this toxin.

Major supermarket retailers were the subject of another major scandal in the UK when they were found to be selling meat products labeled “100% beef” which were actually horse meat.

horse meat scandal

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In sport several Major League Baseball players were accused of obtaining performance-enhancing drugs, specifically human growth hormone, from the now-defunct rejuvenation clinic Biogenesis of America.

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However, undoubtedly the biggest scandal of 2013 was perpetrated by the US Government.

It was discovered during 2013, as the result of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, that US Government agencies, in particular the NSA, had been guilty of a widespread snooping and spying campaign, even on its own citizens.

It was reminiscent of the old Soviet Union and the KGB, but it was happening in the “Land of the Free”. The snooping projects included “PRISM”, a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining program that collects stored Internet communications based on demands made to Internet companies such as Google; “Dropmire”, a secret surveillance program of surveillance of foreign embassies and diplomatic staff, including those of NATO allies; “Fairview”, a secret mass surveillance program used to collect phone, internet and e-mail data in bulk from the computers and mobile telephones of foreign countries’ citizens; “Hemisphere”, a mass surveillance program conducted by US telephone company AT&T and paid for by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug Enforcement Administration; “MUSCULAR”, a surveillance program jointly operated by Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the NSA that was used to secretly break into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world; and “XKeyscore”, a formerly secret computer system used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data about foreign nationals across the world.

nsa-spying-scandal

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In 2013, the United States Department of Justice, under Attorney General Eric Holder, also came under scrutiny from the media and some members of Congress for subpoenaing phone records from the Associated Press and naming Fox News reporter, James Rosen, a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917 in order to gain access to his personal emails and phone records.

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And the IRS was also condemned when it was revealed that it had targeted political groups applying for tax-exempt status for closer scrutiny based on their names or political themes.

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All in all a bad year for the reputation and standing of the US Government.

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In other countries perhaps the worst scandal of 2013 was “Danielgate”, a political scandal in which Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, issued a pardon for a Spanish convicted serial child-rapist named Daniel Galván who was serving a 30 years prison sentence for the rape of at least 11 Moroccan children in Kenitra—a city where he had been living in since 2004.

The Pardon sparked unprecedented popular outrage in Morocco where several protests were held denouncing the monarch’s decision.

It was revealed later that this wasn’t the first time Mohammed VI had pardoned a convicted foreign paedophile, having pardoned Hervé Le Gloannec, a French citizen convicted of child rape and child pornography in 2006.

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In India a Ponzi scheme operated by the Saradha Group financial Group, a consortium of Indian companies that was believed to be running a wide variety of collective investment schemes, collapsed causing an estimated loss of INR 200–300 billion (US$4–6 billion) to over 1.7 million depositors.

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In politics there was the usual sex and drugs scandals during 2013. In May videos were exposed that showed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine and commenting on political issues. Rob Ford consistently denied the existence of the video, and denied that he uses crack cocaine, remaining Mayor despite calls for him to step down. On November 5, 2013, Ford eventually admitted to smoking crack cocaine “probably in one of my drunken stupors”, and to hiding his drug abuse from his family, his staff and the people of Toronto, but pledged to continue on as Mayor.

Toronto Mayor Bob Ford

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Back in the US former member of the United States House of Representatives from New York City,  Anthony Weiner, was involved in another sexual scandal relating to sexting, or sending explicit sexual material by cell phone. First caught in the Weinergate scandal in 2011 that led to his resignation as a congressman, this idiot has learned nothing. During his attempt to return to politics as candidate for mayor of New York City,  Weiner admitted having sexted again, after more explicit pictures were published in July 2013.

Weiner Scandal Headlines

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Departures

As every year, 2013 saw many departures. Here are some of the better known faces that passed on during the year.

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Astronauts, C. Gordon Fullerton and Scott Carpenter.

astronauts fullerton-carpenter

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From politics, Ed Koch, U.S. Representative from New York (1969–1977) and Mayor of New York City (1978–1989), later a television judge in “The People’s Court”.

ed_koch 

Margaret Thatcher aka “The Iron Lady”, daughter of a greengrocer who became the first woman Prime Minister of the UK. 

 Margaret Thatcher

Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan politician and military officer and President since 1999.

Chavez

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Television and the movies also lost many well known characters including,

Conrad Bain, Canadian born and usually cast as the erudite gent, advice-spouting father or uptight, pompous neighbor, included roles in “Diff’rent Strokes”.

conrad-bain 

Michael Winner a director best known for dramatic and violent movies like “Death Wish” starring Charles Bronson.

Michael Winner 

Richard Briers, television comedy actor well known on British sitcoms such as “The Good Life” and “Ever Decreasing Circles”.

Richard Briers 

Dale Robertson who, after service during WWII in North Africa and Europe, became an actor and made his name in television Westerns in the 1950s and ’60s.

dale-robertson 

Richard Griffiths, a British character actor who came from radio and the classical stage.

Richard Griffiths 

Steve Forrest began his screen career as a small part contract player with MGM and made his name as an action man in the 1960′s and 70′s. He is a brother of star Dana Andrews.

Steve Forrest 

New Jersey-born James Gandolfini began acting in the New York theater, making his Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. James’ breakthrough role was his portrayal of Virgil the hitman in Tony Scott’s “True Romance”, but the role that made him a household name was as Tony Soprano in the award winning television series “The Sopranos”.

James-Gandolfini 

Gary David Goldberg was born in Brooklyn, New York but moved to Hollywood to try to make it as a writer. He was responsible for the hit series “Spin City”.

gary_david_goldberg 

Although Dennis Farina did not start acting until he was 37 years old, he achieved success as a character actor, often being cast as a cop or gangster.

Dennis Farina 

Eileen Brennan was a supremely gifted, versatile player who could reach dramatic depths, as exemplified in her weary-eyed, good-hearted waitress in “The Last Picture Show”, or comedy heights, as in her sadistic drill captain in “Private Benjamin”. Perhaps one of her best remembered performances was in the hit movie “The Sting” with Paul Newman and Roberts Redford and Shaw.

Eileen Brennan 

Lisa Robin Kelly first made her acting debut, at age 21, in a 1992 episode of “Married with Children”, and went on to guest-star in many popular television shows, such as “Murphy Brown”, “The X Files”, “Sisters and Silk Stalkings”. She got her biggest break in “Days Of Our Lives”.

Lisa Robin Kelly 

David Frost achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic, first in the UK and then in America. He is most remembered for his political interviews, particularly those with former US President Richard Nixon.

David_Frost 

In a film career that has extended for over four decades, Ed Lauter has starred in a plethora of film and television productions since making his big screen debut in the western “Dirty Little Billy”.

ed-lauter 

Hal Needham was the highest paid stuntman in the world. In the course of his career suffered many injuries breaking 56 bones, including his back twice, punctured a lung and knocked out a few teeth. His career has included work on 4500 television episodes and 310 feature films as a stuntman, stunt coordinator, 2nd unit director and ultimately, director. He wrote and directed some of the most financially successful action comedy films.

Hal Needham 

Robin Sachs, 61, was an English actor who made it into American television series such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Galaxy Quest” and “Babylon 5″.

Robin Sachs 

Frank Thornton, was a British actor best remembered fot his role as “Captain Peacock” in the long running sitcom “Are You Being Served?”. He also appeared in “Last of the Summer Wine” and “Gosford Park”.

frank-thornton-capt-peacock 

Bryan Forbes, was another Briton and an accomplished actor (“The League of Gentlemen”), director (“The Stepford Wives”) and screenwriter (“Chaplin”)

brian_forbes 

Lewis Collins, was most famous and best loved for his role as action man “Bodie” in the television series “The Professionals”. He also starred in the terrorist hostage movie “Who Dares Wins” loosely based on the dramatic Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980.

Lewis-Collins 

Paul William Walker who was killed in a car accident was an American actor and the founder of Reach Out Worldwide. He became famous in 1999 after his role in the hit film “Varsity Blues”, but later garnered fame as “Brian O’Conner” in “The Fast and the Furious” film series. His other well known works are “Eight Below”, “Running Scared”, “The Lazarus Project”, “Into the Blue”, “Joy Ride”, “She’s All That”, “Takers”, and “Hours”.

Paul-Walker 

Peter O’Toole, was a British-Irish actor with a reputation as a bit of a hell-raiser. Among his movie credits he starred in “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The Lion in Winter”, “Becket”, and “Troy”.

Peter O'Toole

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The music scene too has lost a few well known names during 2013. They include,

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Patti Page (born Clara Ann Fowler) toured the US in the late 1940s with Jimmy Joy, and notably sang with the Benny Goodman band in Chicago.

patti-page 

Patty Andrews and her sisters, Maxene and Laverne, were “The Andrews Sisters”, an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. They accumulated 19 gold records and sales of nearly 100 million copies.

 patty_andrews_sisters

Lou Reed formed the group “The Velvet Underground” with Welsh multi-instrumentalist John Cale, second guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen Tucker in New York in 1965. The group soon became a part of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, which housed a great number of experimental artists at the time.

 lou-reed

Never as famous as his namesake Elvis, Reg Presley was a British singer and songwriter. His group was called “The Troggs” and among many other hits, he composed “Love Is All Around” which was first a hit for the Troggs but made real fame by the group “Wet Wet Wet” when it featured in the movie “Four Weddings And A Funeral” and spent 15 weeks at number one in the UK charts in 1994.

reg-presley

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Sports best known departure during 2013 was former WBC world heavyweight champion boxer Ken Norton, remembered for his trilogy of fights with Muhammad Ali. He defeated Ali in their first bout by a fifteen round split-decision, a fight in which Norton famously broke Ali’s jaw. Norton also fought a classic battle with Larry Holmes over fifteen brutal rounds in 1978, a fight which ranks as one of the greatest heavyweight contests in boxing history. 

KEN_NORTON

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The world of Pubishing & Books saw several famous departures during 2013.

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Tom Clancy whose fiction works, “The Hunt for Red October”, “Patriot Games”, “Clear and Present Danger”, and “The Sum of All Fears”, have been turned into commercially successful movies with actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck as Clancy’s most famous fictional character “Jack Ryan”.

Tom_Clancy_at_Burns_Library 

Robert Kee, British writer, journalist and broadcaster best known for his historical works on World War II and Ireland.

Robert Kee 

Steven Utley, was an American writer of poems, humorous essays and other non-fiction, but best known for his science fiction stories.

Steven Utley 

Dave Hunt was a Christian Evangelist speaker, radio commentator and author, in full-time ministry from 1973 until his death. He wrote numerous books on theology, prophecy, cults, and other religions, including critiques of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, and Calvinism, among others.

dave hunt 

Richard Matheson, was an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. Known best as the author of “I Am Legend”, a 1954 horror novel that has been adapted for the screen four times, five more of his novels or short stories have also been adapted as major motion pictures, namely “The Shrinking Man”, “Hell House”, “What Dreams May Come”, “Bid Time Return” (filmed as “Somewhere in Time”), “A Stir of Echoes” and “Button, Button”. Matheson also wrote numerous television episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for Rod Serling, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Steel”. He later adapted his 1971 short story “Duel” as a screenplay which was promptly directed by a young Steven Spielberg, for the television movie of the same name.

Richard Matheson

William Stevenson, was a British-born Canadian writer, whose 1976 book “A Man Called Intrepid” was a best-seller and made into a 1979 mini-series starring David Niven. Stevenson followed it up with a 1983 book titled “Intrepid’s Last Case”. He published his autobiography in 2012. Stevenson is also noted for having set a record with another 1976 book, “90 Minutes at Entebbe”, about Operation Entebbe where Israeli commandos secretly landed at night at Entebbe Airport in Uganda and succeeded in rescuing the passengers of an airliner hi-jacked by Palestinian militants, while incurring very few casualties. The remarkable record is that in the pre-internet age Stevenson’s “instant book” was written, edited, printed and available for sale within weeks of the event it described.

Wm Stevenson

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Other notable people who died during 2013 include,

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Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Russian arms designer responsible for the AK-47 rifle, millions of which have been produced.

Mikhail Kalashnikov 

Roy Brown Jr., an American car design engineer responsible for designs such as the Edsel, and the much more successful Ford Consul and Ford Cortina

Roy Brown Jr with the Edsel

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Fasab’s Mammoth End Of The Year Quiz!

Posted: December 30, 2013 in Current Events, Factoids, Questions, Tests
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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”  

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If you are anything like me, sometimes you’ll have trouble remembering what you were doing yesterday, let alone what happened several months ago.

If so, this quiz should be a bit of a challenge.

There aren’t any difficult or trick questions. The answers are all events that happened during the year 2013 and all were reported widely at the time they happened on the television, radio, internet and newspapers.

Let’s see if you were paying attention and how much of it you can recall now.

As usual the answers can be found waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please, NO cheating!

Good luck, and enjoy.

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Fasab's Mammoth End Of Year Quiz 2013

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Q.  1:  What former resident of Robben Island died late this year?

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Q.  2:  What country landed a rover vehicle on the Moon in 2013? 

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Q.  3:  Who won the 2013 NBA Finals? (Bonus points for their opponents and for the score) 

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Q.  4:  In what country did terrorists attack a shopping mall killing 59 people and injuring 175? (Bonus point if you can also name the city.) 

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Q.  5:  What mobile phone company did Microsoft buy in 2013 for $7.2 billion? 

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Q.  6:  In 2013 what city had the winning bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games?

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Q.  7:  What major American city filed for bankruptcy during 2013? 

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Q.  8:  What former British Prime Minister died during 2013 at the age of 87? 

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Q.  9:  A huge tornado hit which American city in 2013 causing massive devastation? 

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Q. 10:  What internet social media company did Yahoo buy for $1.1 billion during 2013? 

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Q. 11:  A factory collapsed in which Asian country killing over 700 people? 

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Q. 12:  Terrorists attacked a marathon race in which city during 2013? 

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Q. 13:  2013 saw which country become the first to make plans to tax bank deposits?

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Q. 14:  In what country in 2013 did meteorites injured hundreds of people? 

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Q. 15:  What world leader announced a shock resignation during 2013? 

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Q. 16:  A fire in a nightclub killed about 230 people in what country?

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Q. 17:  Which soccer player won the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or for the third consecutive year? 

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Q. 18:  130 wildfires across the east coast of which country forced thousands to evacuate their homes? 

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Q. 19:  In 2013 which of the world’s major cities was declared to have air pollution levels that are hazardous to human health?

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Q. 20:  Calcium deposits were discovered on what planet by NASA’s Curiosity Rover?  

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Q. 21:  What country unveils plans to build the world’s largest wind farm near the site of a former nuclear reactor plant? 

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Q. 22:  Who succeeded Hillary Rodham Clinton as the United States Secretary of State during 2013? 

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Q. 23:  Who won Super Bowl XLVII? (Bonus points for their opponents and for the score.)  

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Q. 24:  Where did a massive blizzard result in 15 deaths, 5,300 cancelled flights, and loss of power for 900,000 people during 2013?  

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Q. 25:  Which country confirmed that it had successfully tested a nuclear device that could be weaponized and also declared war on its neighboring state?   

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Q. 26:  $50 million worth of diamonds were stolen in an armed robbery at an airport in which European city? 

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Q. 27:  Who was elected to a second term as the President of Cuba? 

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Q. 28:  Who won the 2013 Daytona 500? 

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Q. 29:  Who in 2013 became the first male Monarch of Netherlands in 123 years?  

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Q. 30:  In 2013 what company announced a $17 billion bond offering, the largest ever from a private company? 

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Q. 31:  Who won the 77th Golf Masters Championship?

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Q. 32:  What bunch of politicians passed a bill intending to enable the taxing of online sales? 

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Q. 33:  Who announced his retirement as Manchester United’s manager at the end of the 2012-2013 soccer season?

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Q. 34:  Who regained his position in 2013 as the world’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $72.7 Billion? 

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Q. 35:  What country won the 2013 World Ice Hockey Championship? (Bonus point if you know who they beat.)  

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Q. 36:  Which world leader announced his divorce with his wife on national TV in June 2013? 

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Q. 37:  Which golfer won the 113th US Open in 2013? 

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Q. 38:  Which Middle Eastern President is deposed in a military coup during 2013? 

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Q. 39:  €103 million of diamonds is stolen from the Carton Intercontinental Hotel in which well known festive French city?  

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Q. 40:  Who became Prime Minister of Australia in September 2013, after a Liberal-National Coalitions wins the election?  

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Q. 41:  Who won the 2013 US Tennis Open? 

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Q. 42:  What country switched off its last working nuclear reactor in 2013?

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Q. 43:  What was the largest company by revenue on the 2013 Fortune 500 list?    

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Q. 44:  12 people were killed after a gunman opens fire at a naval yard in what major American city? 

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Q. 45:  Who became the first British man to win a Wimbledon tennis title since 1936? 

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Q. 46:  What computer/console game became the fastest entertainment product to reach $1 billion in sales during 2013? 

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Q. 47:  Who set a new MLB record with 24 Grand Slam home runs for the New York Yankees? 

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Q. 48:  Who won a third term with their best result since 1990 in German Federal elections? (A point each for the name of the Party and it’s leader.)

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Q. 49:  Who is named PGA Tour’s player of the year for the 11th time? 

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Q. 50:  It was perhaps the biggest joke of the year and started in the United States on October 1st and ended on October 16th – what was it? 

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What former resident of Robben Island died late this year?

A.  1:  Nelson Mandela

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Q.  2:  What country landed a rover vehicle on the Moon in 2013? 

A.  2:  China.

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Q.  3:  Who won the 2013 NBA Finals? (Bonus points for their opponents and for the score) 

A.  3:  Miami Heat, beating San Antonio Spurs 4-3.

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Q.  4:  In what country did terrorists attack a shopping mall killing 59 people and injuring 175? (Bonus point if you can also name the city.) 

A.  4:  Nairobi, Kenya.

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Q.  5:  What mobile phone company did Microsoft buy in 2013 for $7.2 billion? 

A.  5:  Nokia.

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Q.  6:  In 2013 what city had the winning bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games?

A.  6:  Tokyo, Japan.

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Q.  7:  What major American city filed for bankruptcy during 2013? 

A.  7:  Detroit.

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Q.  8:  What former British Prime Minister died during 2013 at the age of 87? 

A.  8:  Margaret Thatcher.

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Q.  9:  A huge tornado hits which American city causing massive devastation? 

A.  9:  Oklahoma.

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Q. 10:  What internet social media company did Yahoo buy for $1.1 billion during 2013? 

A. 10:  Tumblr.

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Q. 11:  A factory collapsed in which Asian country killing over 700 people? 

A. 11:  Bangladesh.

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Q. 12:  Terrorists attacked a marathon race in which city during 2013? 

A. 12:  Boston.

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Q. 13:  2013 saw which country become the first to make plans to tax bank deposits?

A. 13:  Cyprus.

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Q. 14:  In what country in 2013 did meteorites injured hundreds of people? 

A. 14:  Russia.

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Q. 15:  What world leader announced a shock resignation during 2013? 

A. 15:  Pope Benedict XVI.

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Q. 16:  A fire in a nightclub killed about 230 people in what country?

A. 16:  Brazil.

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Q. 17:  Which soccer player won the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or for the third consecutive year? 

A. 17:  Lionel Messi.

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Q. 18:  130 wildfires across the east coast of which country forced thousands to evacuate their homes? 

A. 18:  Australia.

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Q. 19:  In 2013 which of the world’s major cities was declared to have air pollution levels that are hazardous to human health?

A. 19:  Beijing, China.

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Q. 20:  Calcium deposits were discovered on what planet by NASA’s Curiosity Rover?  

A. 20:  Mars.

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Q. 21:  What country unveils plans to build the world’s largest wind farm near the site of a former nuclear reactor plant? 

A. 21:  Japan, near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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Q. 22:  Who succeeded Hillary Rodham Clinton as the United States Secretary of State during 2013? 

A. 22:  John Kerry.

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Q. 23:  Who won Super Bowl XLVII? (Bonus points for their opponents and for the score.)  

A. 23:  The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers by 34–31.

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Q. 24:  Where did a massive blizzard result in 15 deaths, 5,300 cancelled flights, and loss of power for 900,000 people during 2013?  

A. 24:  In the US and Canada.

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Q. 25:  Which country confirmed that it had successfully tested a nuclear device that could be weaponized and also declared war on its neighboring state?  

A. 25:  North Korea.

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Q. 26:  $50 million worth of diamonds were stolen in an armed robbery at an airport in which European city? 

A. 26:  Brussels, Belgium.

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Q. 27:  Who was elected to a second term as the President of Cuba? 

A. 27:  Raúl Castro.

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Q. 28:  Who won the 2013 Daytona 500? 

A. 28:  Jimmie Johnson.

.

.

Q. 29:  Who in 2013 became the first male Monarch of Netherlands in 123 years?  

A. 29:  Willem-Alexander.

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.

Q. 30:  In 2013 what company announced a $17 billion bond offering, the largest ever from a private company? 

A. 30:  Apple.

.

.

Q. 31:  Who won the 77th Golf Masters Championship?

A. 31:  Adam Scott.

.

.

Q. 32:  What bunch of politicians passed a bill intending to enable the taxing of online sales? 

A. 32:  The US Senate.

.

.

Q. 33:  Who announced his retirement as Manchester United’s manager at the end of the 2012-2013 soccer season?

A. 33:  Sir Alex Ferguson.

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.

Q. 34:  Who regained his position in 2013 as the world’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $72.7 Billion? 

A. 34:  Bill Gates.

.

.

Q. 35:  What country won the 2013 World Ice Hockey Championship? (Bonus point if you know who they beat.)  

A. 35:  Sweden, beating Switzerland.

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Q. 36:  Which world leader announced his divorce with his wife on national TV in June 2013? 

A. 36:  Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Q. 37:  Which golfer won the 113th US Open in 2013? 

A. 37:  Justin Rose.

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Q. 38:  Which Middle Eastern President is deposed in a military coup during 2013? 

A. 38:  Egypt’s president, Mohammed Morsi.

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Q. 39:  €103 million of diamonds is stolen from the Carton Intercontinental Hotel in which well known festive French city?  

A. 39:  Cannes, France.

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Q. 40:  Who became Prime Minister of Australia in September 2013, after a Liberal-National Coalitions wins the election?  

A. 40:  Tony Abbott.

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.

Q. 41:  Who won the 2013 US Tennis Open? 

A. 41:  Rafael Nadal, beating Novak Djokovic.

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Q. 42:  What country switched off its last working nuclear reactor in 2013?

A. 42:  Japan.

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Q. 43:  What was the largest company by revenue on the 2013 Fortune 500 list?    

A. 43:  Wal-Mart.

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Q. 44:  12 people were killed after a gunman opens fire at a naval yard in what major American city? 

A. 44:  Washington DC.

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Q. 45:  Who became the first British man to win a Wimbledon tennis title since 1936? 

A. 45:  Andy Murray,  beating Novak Djokovic.

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.

Q. 46:  What computer/console game became the fastest entertainment product to reach $1 Billion in sales during 2013? 

A. 46:  Grand Theft Auto.

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.

Q. 47:  Who set a new MLB record with 24 Grand Slam home runs for the New York Yankees? 

A. 47:  Alex Rodriquez.

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.

Q. 48:  Who won a third term with their best result since 1990 in German Federal elections? (A point each for the name of the Party and it’s leader.)

A. 48:  The Christian Democrats, led by Angela Merkel.

.

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Q. 49:  Who is named PGA Tour’s player of the year for the 11th time? 

A. 49:  Tiger Woods.

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.

Q. 50:  It was perhaps the biggest joke of the year and started in the United States on October 1st and ended on October 16th – what was it? 

A. 50:  The Federal Government shutdown as a result of politicians squabbling over spending.

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==============================================

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy” .

.

Hi everyone.

Thanks for dropping by my blog this Christmas week.

If you are a regular visitor thank you for you continued support throughout the year.

A bit of a change from the usual offerings this week.

A musical treat in fact.

Here are a few Christmas Classics from bygone years. I hope you have time to listen to and enjoy them all, but even if you just want to try a few I think there will be something in this selection that you’ll like no matter what your musical tastes may be.

A Very Merry Christmas to everyone.

And, of course, enjoy the music!

.

. musical Santa

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. Dean Martin – Jingle Bells

.

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Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You

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B. B. King – Merry Christmas Baby

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Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day

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The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York

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John Lennon – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

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Boney M – Mary’s Boy

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Wham! – Last Christmas

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Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas

.

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Michael Buble – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

.

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Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby

.

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Gunter Kallmann Choir – Winter Wonderland

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Jim Reeves – Silent Night

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Andrea Bocelli – Adeste Fideles

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Sheryl Crowe And Eric Clapton – Merry Christmas Baby

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Lady Gaga – Christmas Tree

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U2 – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

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Iron Maiden – Another Rock And Roll Christmas

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again

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Coldplay – Christmas Lights

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The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)

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Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon Rock

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=========================================

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Fasab’s Feast Of Festive Facts

Posted: December 24, 2013 in Factoids
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

You probably thought by now that you knew all there was to know about Christmas.

But there might be a few things in here that may be new to you.

Enjoy.

.

.

Each year more than 3 billion

Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.

Christmas Cards

.

.

The actual date of the birth of Jesus is not known

and for hundreds of years was not celebrated by Christians.

The decision to use December 25 was made in 350AD by pope Julius I

and was chosen because it was the same date used in pagan festivals

such as Saturnalia (December 17-December 23),

the Kalends (January 1 -5, the precursor to the Twelve Days of Christmas),

and Deus Sol Invictus or Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun (December 25).

Christmas-a-Pagan-Ritual .

.

According to the Guinness world records,

the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir

that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.

tall Christmas tree .

.

The word ‘Mistletoe’ actually means “little dung twig”

because the plant spreads though bird droppings.

Pagans, such as the Druids, considered mistletoe sacred because it remains

green and bears fruit during the winter when all other plants appear to die.

They even thought it had the power to cure infertility

and nervous diseases and to ward off evil.

Even today a hanging sprig is a fertility or virility symbol

and kissing under the Mistletoe at Christmas or even standing under it

is a signal that the person is sexually available – so be very careful!

Mistletoe_Kiss_by_bittenhard .

.

Although Santa Claus may have been based on a fourth-century bishop from Patara,

in the modern-day country of Turkey, St. Nikolas of Myra,

the modern day Santa Claus that we know first appeared as a recognizable entity

was in a newspaper ad for toys and “gift books” in the mid 19th century.

Originally Santa wore Green colored robes, green signifying the coming spring,

but another ad, this time from the Coco Cola company,

used their own color scheme of red and white which has become the accepted color today.

Green Santa .

.

It is only in very recent times that Christmas has become a “family” holiday.

Even in the late 1800′s December 25 was not a legal holiday in New England,

so stores were open, business were open, and children were expected to attend school.

Christmas was originally celebrated as an adult form of “trick or treat,”

with the “treat” consisting of an alcoholic beverage and

the threatened “trick” consisting of bodily harm or destruction of property.

drunk_christmas

.

.

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” was originally a threat.

The ever-popular song was originally sung, loudly and repeatedly,

by crowds of rowdy, lower-class servants demanding booze from their masters… or else. 

(I.e. “We won’t go until we get some!”)

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

.

.

Victorian intellectuals invented the tradition of the Christmas tree

as part of a social movement to consciously reform Christmas

away from its tradition of raucous drinking.

Free-Wallpaper-Christmas-Tree

.

.

Many people mistakenly believe that the character ‘Scrooge’

from Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’,

celebrates Christmas at the home of his clerk Bob Cratchit.

However, in Victorian times this would not have been socially acceptable so,

whilst the reformed ‘Scrooge’ does send the Cratchits a turkey,

he celebrates instead with his middle-class nephew.

scrooge with nephew

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All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.

It’s not 78 as some people say,

it’s an accumulative song with each verse building on the last.

The first verse has 1 gift, the second verse has 2 + 1 gifts.

The third verse has 3 + 2 etc.

12 days gifts

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.

The traditional three colors of Christmas are green, red, and gold.

Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth;

red symbolizes the blood of Christ,

and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.

Christmas colors red green and gold

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.

The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 51 m 35 cm (168 ft 5.65 in) in length

and 21 m 63 cm (70 ft 11.57 in) in width (heel to toe)

and was produced by the volunteer emergency services organization

Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Sezioni (Italy) in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy, on 5 January 2011.

largest christmas stocking

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Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850.

Christmas Tree

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People in many European countries believed that spirits,

both good and evil, were active during the Twelve Days of Christmas.

These spirits eventually evolved into Santa’s elves.

santa's elves

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Each year there are approximately 20,000 “rent-a-Santas” across the United States.

rent-a-santa

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Bolivians celebrate Misa del Gallo or “Mass of the Rooster” on Christmas Eve.

Some people bring roosters to the midnight mass, a gesture that symbolizes

the belief that a rooster was the first animal to announce the birth of Jesus.

misa_de_gallo__copy

.

.

The British wear paper crowns while they eat Christmas dinner.

The crowns are stored in a tube called a “Christmas cracker.”

jane-burton-golden-retriever-puppy-with-christmas-crackers-wearing-paper-hat

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In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations

because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus.

In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas.

spider's web in Christmas tree

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In the United States Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday until June 26, 1870.

Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836

and Oklahoma was the last state the declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1907.

happy holidays

.

.

Because they viewed Christmas as a decadent Catholic holiday,

the Puritans in America banned all Christmas celebrations from 1659-1681

with a penalty of five shillings for each offense.

Some Puritan leaders condemned those who favored Christmas

as enemies of the Christian religion.

Likewise Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector of England

banned Christmas celebrations.

puritan christmas

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Christmas purchases account for 1/6 of all retail sales in the U.S.

Retail sales

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.

The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs,

who called the plant Cuetlaxochitl (“flower which wilts”).

For the Aztecs, the plant’s brilliant red color symbolized purity,

and they often used it medicinally to reduce fever.

Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but holly berries are.

poinsettia-flower

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.

In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.

first christmas postage stamp

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Santa Claus, or St Nicholas, is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint.

He is, for example, the patron saint of banking, pawnbroking, pirating,

butchery, sailing, thievery, orphans, royalty, and New York City.

Artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary.

pawnbroker-symbol

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.

There are two competing claims as to which president was

the first to place a Christmas tree in the White House.

Some scholars say President Franklin Pierce did in 1856;

others say President Benjamin Harrison brought in the first tree in 1889.

What isn’t disputed is the fact that President Coolidge started

the White House lighting ceremony in 1923.

White House Christmas lights

.

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President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist,

banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1912.

He needn’t have worried though, these days there are in excess of

400 million trees with tens of millions of Christmas trees planted each year.

Christmas tree farm in Iowa.

.

.

It is estimated that the single “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin

is the best selling single of all time, with over 100 million sales worldwide.

.

.

===================================

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A Festive Bumper Edition Of Our Monday Quiz!

Posted: December 23, 2013 in Questions, Tests
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Yes folks, this being Christmas week we have a bumper Christmassy edition of the quiz.

All the questions have a Christmas theme and there are plenty of them this week, so this quiz should keep you going over the holidays.

As usual, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but NO cheating please!

Merry Christmas and enjoy.

.

Christmas Quiz

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Q.  1:  If you were born on Christmas day, what would be your Zodiac sign?

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Q.  2:  In which century was Christmas first celebrated?

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Q.  3:  What significance is holly in celebrating Christmas?

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Q.  4:  In the familiar song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, what is the gift on the fourth day?

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Q.  5:  In the 1998 movie what actor whilst out Christmas shopping suddenly finds himself an “Enemy of the State”?

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Q.  6:  Who discovered Christmas Island in 1777?

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Q.  7:  Who wrote the song “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?

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Q.  8:  Plus or minus one year, how long does it take a Scotch Pine Christmas tree to reach a typical retail height of 6 to 7 feet?

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Q.  9:  One of the most popular floral gifts at Christmas is the Poinsetta, but what country did Poinsettias originally come from?

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Q. 10:  At the end of the war in Vietnam, when Saigon fell, the signal for all Americans to evacuate was what song by Bing Crosby being played on the radio?

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Q. 11:  What was Scrooge’s business partner called?

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Q. 12:  When exactly is ‘The Twelfth Night’?

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Q. 13:  Why was Boxing Day so named?

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Q. 14:  Who composed the music for the festive season ballet ‘The Nutcracker’?

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.

Q. 15:  Which Italian cake, popular at Christmas, belongs to Tony?

.

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Q. 16:  What job was first taken by James Edgar in 1890?

.

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Q. 17:  In which celebrated movie does James Stewart attempt suicide one Christmas?

.

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Q. 18:  The Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. Pope Julius I made this decision in which year? 

            a) 50 AD      b) 350 AD      c) 750 AD      d) 1250 AD

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Q. 19:  Mr and Mrs Hilton had a little boy who was born on Christmas Day 1887, and went on to found of one of the world’s largest Hotel chains, but what was his first name?

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Q. 20:  The names of which two reindeer mean ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’?

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Q.  21:  What is the name of the fruit sauce which is a traditional accompaniment to the Christmas Turkey?

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Q.  22:  The American ad writer Robert L. May invented which colorful Christmas character in 1939?

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Q.  23:  The German Christmas song ‘Tannebaum’ is translated into English as what?

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Q.  24:  What does the word ‘Bethlehem’ mean?

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Q.  25:  Before Pope Julius I decided that December 25th was the day Jesus was born, on which day did early Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus?  

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Q.  26:  Coca Cola made our modern Father Christmas for an advertising campaign, but prior to that, what color robes did he wear?

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Q.  27:  Which ‘Christmas’ word means ‘turning of the sun’?

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Q.  28:  Complete the title of each of the following Christmas movies.

            a) Holiday… b) We’re No… c) The Bells of… d) It’s A Wonderful…

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Q.  29:  What was the name of Scrooge’s clerk in a Christmas Carol?

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Q. 30:  Advent candles are a popular Christmas tradition in many cultures. What does the word advent mean?

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Q. 31:  Which nickname for Hollywood sounds Christmassy?

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Q. 32:  Which pudding with a misleading name was banned by English Puritans because it was deemed to be ‘sinfully rich’?

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Q. 33:  The Greek word for ‘Messiah’ was ‘Xristos’(Christ). What do all of these words mean translated?

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Q. 34:  In the movie ‘Die Hard 2′, which airport did the terrorist take over on Christmas Eve?

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Q. 35:  Many people claim that the first unofficial football (soccer) international between Germany and a Scotland-England side was played on a Christmas Day. The pitch or playing field was found between what?

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Q. 36:  In which country does an ugly old witch named ‘Bafana’ deliver presents on the 6th of December?

           a) Australia      b) Austria      c) Italy       d) Mexico

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Q. 37:  There are two ‘Christmas islands’, in which oceans are they located?

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Q. 38:  In which city is Kevin left ‘Home Alone’ at Christmas? (the first Home Alone)

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Q. 39:  “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan”.  What is the name of the country where Wenceslas was king? (Will accept either the ‘old’ or ‘modern’ name of the country.)

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Q. 40:  Which Christmas tradition, said to have originated in Germany, was banned in the Soviet Union until 1935?

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Q.  41:  In which country is St. Nick called ‘Sinterklaas’?

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Q.  42:  Which Christmas gift of the very highest quality, also known as ‘Oil of Lebanon’, comes from Oman?

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Q.  43:  Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

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Q.  44:  Who said, “You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose “?

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Q.  45:  Which popular poem did Clement Clark Moore write for his six children in 1822?

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Q.  46:  The following all mean ‘Merry Christmas’ in which language? (A point for each!)

             a) Hyvaa joulua    b) sung tan chuk ha    c) froehliche weihnacten   

             d) mele kalikimaka    e) god jul    f) boas festas    g) kala christouyenna

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Q.  47:  Superstition dictates that when making mince pies for Christmas one should always stir in which direction?

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Q.  48:  Which Christmas tradition did the very busy Sir Henry Cole introduce in 1843?

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Q.  49:  The Christmas movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ has been remade many times. Who won a best supporting actor Oscar for the role of Kris Kringle in the original 1947 movie and which two time Oscar winner played Kris in the 1994 remake?

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Q. 50:  Which song begins with “Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall”?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  If you were born on Christmas day, what would be your Zodiac sign?

A.  1:  Capricorn.

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.

Q.  2:  In which century was Christmas first celebrated?

A.  2:  In the 4th century.

.

.

Q.  3:  What significance is holly in celebrating Christmas?

A.  3:  The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted.

.

.

Q.  4:  In the familiar song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, what is the gift on the fourth day?

A.  4:  4 Calling Birds.

.

.

Q.  5:  In the 1998 movie what actor whilst out Christmas shopping suddenly finds himself an “Enemy of the State”?

A.  5:  Will Smith

.

.

Q.  6:  Who discovered Christmas Island in 1777?

A.  6:  Captain Cook.

.

.

Q.  7:  Who wrote the song “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?

A.  7:  Irving Berlin.

.

.

Q.  8:  Plus or minus one year, how long does it take a Scotch Pine Christmas tree to reach a typical retail height of 6 to 7 feet?

A.  8:  7 years.

.

.

Q.  9:  One of the most popular floral gifts at Christmas is the Poinsetta, but what country did Poinsettias originally come from?

A.  9:  Mexico.

.

.

Q. 10:  At the end of the war in Vietnam, when Saigon fell, the signal for all Americans to evacuate was what song by Bing Crosby being played on the radio?

A. 10:  White Christmas.

.

.

Q. 11:  What was Scrooge’s business partner called?

A. 11:  Jacob Marley.

.

.

Q. 12:  When exactly is ‘The Twelfth Night’?

A. 12:  The evening of the 5th of January.

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.

Q. 13:  Why was Boxing Day so named?

A. 13:  After the custom of giving Christmas Boxes/Tips to workmen/tradesmen.

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.

Q. 14:  Who composed the music for the festive season ballet ‘The Nutcracker’?

A. 14:  Tchaikovsky.

.

.

Q. 15:  Which Italian cake, popular at Christmas, belongs to Tony?

A. 15:  Panettone. (Anthony or Tone’s bread).

.

.

Q. 16:  What job was first taken by James Edgar in 1890?

A. 16:  He was the first department store Santa.

.

.

Q. 17:  In which celebrated movie does James Stewart attempt suicide one Christmas?

A. 17:  It’s A Wonderful Life.

.

.

Q. 18:  The Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. Pope Julius I made this decision in which year? 

            a) 50 AD      b) 350 AD      c) 750 AD      d) 1250 AD

A. 18:  Answer b) 350 AD.

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.

Q. 19:  Mr and Mrs Hilton had a little boy who was born on Christmas Day 1887, and went on to found of one of the world’s largest Hotel chains, but what was his first name?

A. 19:  Conrad.

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.

Q. 20:  The names of which two reindeer mean ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’?

A. 20:  Donner and Blitzen.

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.

Q.  21:  What is the name of the fruit sauce which is a traditional accompaniment to the Christmas Turkey?

A.  21:  Cranberry.

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.

Q.  22:  The American ad writer Robert L. May invented which colorful Christmas character in 1939?

A.  22:  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

.

.

Q.  23:  The German Christmas song ‘Tannebaum’ is translated into English as what?

A.  23:  Christmas Tree.

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.

Q.  24:  What does the word ‘Bethlehem’ mean?

A.  24:   House of meat (Arabic) or House of bread (Hebraic)

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.

Q.  25:  Before Pope Julius I decided that December 25th was the day Jesus was born, on which day did early Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus?  

A.  25:  The 6th of January or feast of the epiphany. (Greek for appearance or revelation).

.

.

Q.  26:  Coca Cola made our modern Father Christmas for an advertising campaign, but prior to that, what color robes did he wear?

A.  26:  Green. (As a sign of the returning Spring.)

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.

Q.  27:  Which ‘Christmas’ word means ‘turning of the sun’?

A.  27:  Yuletide (Yule means wheel in old Norse language).

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.

Q.  28:  Complete the title of each of the following Christmas movies.

            a) Holiday… b) We’re No… c) The Bells of… d) It’s A Wonderful…

A.  28:  a) …Inn        b) …Angels     c) …St. Marys     d) …Life

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.

Q.  29:  What was the name of Scrooge’s clerk in a Christmas Carol?

A.  29:  Bob Cratchit.

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.

Q. 30:  Advent candles are a popular Christmas tradition in many cultures. What does the word advent mean?

A. 30:  Arrival.

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.

Q. 31:  Which nickname for Hollywood sounds Christmassy?

A. 31:  Tinseltown.

.

.

Q. 32:  Which pudding with a misleading name was banned by English Puritans because it was deemed to be ‘sinfully rich’?

A. 32:  Plum pudding. (Incidentally, there are no plums in plum pudding, just sugar, raisons, suet, flour and various spices boiled in a bag till ‘plum’)

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Q. 33:  The Greek word for ‘Messiah’ was ‘Xristos’(Christ). What do all of these words mean translated?

A. 33:  The ‘annointed’ one.

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.

Q. 34:  In the movie ‘Die Hard 2′, which airport did the terrorist take over on Christmas Eve?

A. 34:  Dulles International Airport (Washington DC).

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.

Q. 35:  Many people claim that the first unofficial football (soccer) international between Germany and a Scotland-England side was played on a Christmas Day. The pitch or playing field was found between what?

A. 35:  Between the trenches in no mans land, Christmas 1914.  (No match report is available but it seems the Germans won 3-2.)

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.

Q. 36:  In which country does an ugly old witch named ‘Bafana’ deliver presents on the 6th of December?

           a) Australia      b) Austria      c) Italy       d) Mexico

A. 36:  Answer c) Italy. 

.

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Q. 37:  There are two ‘Christmas islands’, in which oceans are they located?

A. 37:  The Pacific and Indian oceans.

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Q. 38:  In which city is Kevin left ‘Home Alone’ at Christmas? (the first Home Alone)

A. 38:  Chicago.

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Q. 39:  “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan”.  What is the name of the country where Wenceslas was king? (Will accept either the ‘old’ or ‘modern’ name of the country.)

A. 39:  Bohemia, now known as the Czech Republic.

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Q. 40:  Which Christmas tradition, said to have originated in Germany, was banned in the Soviet Union until 1935?

A. 40:  Christmas trees.

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Q.  41:  In which country is St. Nick called ‘Sinterklaas’?

A.  41:  Holland.

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Q.  42:  Which Christmas gift of the very highest quality, also known as ‘Oil of Lebanon’, comes from Oman?

A.  42:  Frankincense.

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Q.  43:  Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

A.  43:  To compete with a pagan celebration.

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Q.  44:  Who said, “You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose “?

A.  44:  Scrooge to Bob Cratchit in Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’.

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Q.  45:  Which popular poem did Clement Clark Moore write for his six children in 1822?

A.  45:  A visit from St. Nicholas (The night before Christmas) “It twas the night before Christmas when all through the house……”

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Q.  46:  The following all mean ‘Merry Christmas’ in which language? (A point for each!)

             a) Hyvaa joulua    b) sung tan chuk ha    c) froehliche weihnacten   

             d) mele kalikimaka    e) god jul    f) boas festas    g) kala christouyenna

A.  46:  Answers   a) Finnish    b) Korean    c) German    d) Hawaiian    e) Norwegian

             f) Portugese    and,    g) Greek

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Q.  47:  Superstition dictates that when making mince pies for Christmas one should always stir in which direction?

A.  47:  In a clockwise direction.

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Q.  48:  Which Christmas tradition did the very busy Sir Henry Cole introduce in 1843?

A.  48:  The sending of Christmas wishes on mass produced Christmas cards.  The first cards depicted a family toasting an absent friend with the words “Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you”.

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Q.  49:  The Christmas movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ has been remade many times. Who won a best supporting actor Oscar for the role of Kris Kringle in the original 1947 movie and which two time Oscar winner played Kris in the 1994 remake?

A.  49:  Edmund Gwenn and Richard Attenborough.

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Q. 50:  Which song begins with “Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall”?

A. 50:  Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody.

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==================================

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It will all be over by this time next week, so today has to be the day for a special Christmas helping of seasonal puns.

Get your groans ready – you’re really going to need them this time!

Enjoy.

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rofl

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What did Adam say the day before Christmas?

It’s Christmas, Eve!

Dancing-Santa-Reindeer-Funny-Christmas-GIF

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What is the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the regular alphabet?

The Christmas alphabet has no L.

christmas_animated_gifs_14

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What does Tarzan sing at Christmas time?

Jungle Bells, Jungle bells.

26

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What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?

Claustrophobic.

christmas_animated_gifs_16

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What did the bald man say when he got a comb for Christmas?

Thanks, I’ll never part with it!

christmas-gift-box13

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How do sheep in Spain say Merry Christmas?

Fleece Navidad!

Merry Christmas Gif 17

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What’s the best present for a train conductor?

Platform shoes.

Christmas train

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What is a parent’s favorite Christmas carol?

Silent Night.

carolers

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Before it starts to sell its Christmas trees

the garden center gets really spruced up!

christmas_animated_gifs_reindeer

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Why does Scrooge love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

Because every buck is dear to him.

christmas_animated_gif_41

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What nationality is Santa Claus?

North Polish

dancingsanta_e0

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Why was Santa’s little helper depressed?

Because he had low elf esteem.

christmas-animated-elf

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What Santa had a motorbike instead of a sleigh, what kind would it be?

A Holly Davidson of course!

Holly D Santa biker

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If Santa and Mrs. Claus had a baby, what would he be?

A subordinate Claus.

santa-animated-elf-1

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“Why don’t we ever hear about ‘Olive,’ the 10th reindeer?” asked Bert.

“What 10th Reindeer?” asked Scott.

“You know. Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names.”

Santa_and_Reindeer

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What does a reindeer do when he has an upset stomach?

He takes an elk-a-seltzer.

xmas-bird3

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What do you call an ELF who sings?

A Wrapper!

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Another fact finding mission has been undertaken on your behalf and here are this week’s results.

The usual random mixture, so hopefully something interesting will be in there for you.

Enjoy.

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did you know2

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Cashews are actually a fleshy fruit.

The nut that we eat is the seed that

grows on the outside of the fruit.

cashews

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There have been 14 vice presidents who have

become President of the United States.

vice-president-of-the-us-seal-plaque

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Thamsanqa Jantjie, the embarrassing sign language interpreter

at the Mandela Memorial who doesn’t know any sign language,

is also alleged to be a murderer.

He was among a group of people who accosted two men found

with a stolen television and burned them to death

by setting fire to tires placed around their necks.

Thamsanqa-Jantjie

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Outside North and South America,

the only alligators found in the wild are in China.

alligator

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Thomas Edison was a great inventor,

but not so good at putting his inventions into practical business use.

For example, despite having the contract to supply cement

for the original Yankee Stadium,

the Edison Portland Cement Company went bust

because it insisted on producing concrete everything,

including cabinets, pianos, and even entire houses!

Yankee Stadium

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Gureng-gureng, Gabi-Gabi, Waga-Waga, Wemba-Wemba, and Yitha-Yitha

are all names of native Australian languages.

Gurindji-yurrk

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Some Americans disagreed with the United States’ initial refusal

to enter WWI and so they joined the French Foreign Legion

or the British or Canadian armies.

A group of U.S. pilots formed the Lafayette Escadrille,

which was part of the French air force and became

one of the top fighting units on the Western Front.

Escadrille Lafayette Banner

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The horse race normally called the Belmont Stakes

also goes by name of the Run for the Carnations.

Belmont Stakes

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Golf legend Jack Nicklaus didn’t earn his nickname,

the Golden Bear,

because of his size, his demeanor, or his hair.

It was the name of his high school mascot.

david-okeefe-golden-bear-2

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The term “Continental breakfast” was coined to

differentiate itself from an English breakfast.

The fried eggs, bacon, and beans of an English morning

are quite distinct from the dainty pastries, coffee, and juice

offered throughout the rest of Europe.

English Continental Breakfasts

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Beowulf is the longest Old English manuscript in existence

and contains about a tenth of all known Anglo-Saxon poetry.

beowulf

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After Leonardo da Vinci’s death,

King Francis I of France hung the Mona Lisa in his bathroom.

(There’s critics everywhere!)

mona-lisa-article-english

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One type of hummingbird weighs less than a penny.

hummingbird

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The letter “J” was the last letter added to the English Alphabet.

Before that, the letter “L” was used in its place.

“U” was the second to last letter added,

and was usually replaced by V.

old-english-alphabet

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Norman Mailer coined the word “factoid” in his 1973 biography Marilyn,

BUT it wasn’t just another word for “trivia”

– he actually meant something that seems like a fact but isn’t actually factual

- and that’s a fact….. or a factoid…. or…. er.

quote-factoids-that-is-facts-which-have-no-existence-before-appearing-in-a-magazine-or-newspaper-norman-mailer

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Another set of twenty questions to get you thinking.

They say they are all easy if you know the answers – and can remember them!

Good luck with this lot, some are easy but some are quite tough.

And if you get stuck you’ll find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below – but NO cheating please!

Enjoy.

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quiz confused1

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Q.  1:  Which vitamin is also known as ascorbic acid?

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Q.  2:  Approximately what percentage of all the water on Earth is fresh water?

           a)  3%        b)  13%        c) 23%        d) 33%

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Q.  3:  In Greek mythology which Trojan hero killed Achilles?

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Q.  4:  In which Hitchcock movie is Cary Grant’s character the victim of mistaken identity?

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Q.  5:  What type of animal is a skink?

           a) Snake        b) Lizard        c) Marsupial

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Q.  6:  In German cuisine what is Stollen?

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Q.  7:  Which of these wars took place first?

           a) Boer War         b) First World War        c) Crimean War

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Q.  8:  Which American company produces the Polo clothing line?

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Q.  9:  On what English play is the musical West Side Story based?

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Q. 10:  What color is known as sable in heraldry?

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Q. 11:  Which Apostle is often described as the first Pope?

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Q. 12:  Professor Robert Langdon features in novels by which American author?

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Q. 13:  What shape is ‘rigatoni’ pasta?

            a) shell        b) tube        c) cartwheel        d) spiral

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Q. 14:  ‘Nature morte’ is the French term for what type of painting?

            a) portrait        b) landscape        c) still life

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Q. 15:  The term ‘zoophagous’ has a similar meaning to which of the following words?

            a) carnivorous        b) herbivorous        c) piscivorous

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Q. 16:  What does the musical term ‘adagio’ mean?

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Q. 17:  Harold Holt who disappeared while swimming in 1967 was the Prime Minister of which country?

            a) Canada        b) United Kingdom        c) Australia         d) New Zealand

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Q. 18:  In what country did the tango dance originate?

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Q. 19:  Which US President did John Hinckley try to assassinate?

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Q. 20:  In what year did Elvis Presley die?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  Which vitamin is also known as ascorbic acid?

A.  1:  Vitamin C.

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Q.  2:  Approximately what percentage of all the water on Earth is fresh water?

           a)  3%        b)  13%        c) 23%        d) 33%

A.  2:  a)  3%

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.

Q.  3:  In Greek mythology which Trojan hero killed Achilles?

A.  3:  Paris, who shot him in the heel with a poison arrow.

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Q.  4:  In which Hitchcock movie is Cary Grant’s character the victim of mistaken identity?

A.  4:  North By Northwest.

.

.

Q.  5:  What type of animal is a skink?

           a) Snake        b) Lizard        c) Marsupial

A.  5:  b) Lizard

.

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Q.  6:  In German cuisine what is Stollen?

A.  6:  A Fruit Loaf.

.

.

Q.  7:  Which of these wars took place first?

           a) Boer War         b) First World War        c) Crimean War

A.  7:  c) Crimean War

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Q.  8:  Which American company produces the Polo clothing line?

A.  8:  Ralph Lauren.

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Q.  9:  On what English play is the musical West Side Story based?

A.  9:  Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare.

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Q. 10:  What color is known as sable in heraldry?

A. 10:  Black.

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Q. 11:  Which Apostle is often described as the first Pope?

A. 11:  Peter.

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Q. 12:  Professor Robert Langdon features in novels by which American author?

A. 12:  Dan Brown.

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Q. 13:  What shape is ‘rigatoni’ pasta?

            a) shell        b) tube        c) cartwheel        d) spiral

A. 13:  b) tube.

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Q. 14:  ‘Nature morte’ is the French term for what type of painting?

            a) portrait        b) landscape        c) still life

A. 14:  c) still life.

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Q. 15:  The term ‘zoophagous’ has a similar meaning to which of the following words?

            a) carnivorous        b) herbivorous        c) piscivorous

A. 15:  a) carnivorous.

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Q. 16:  What does the musical term ‘adagio’ mean?

A. 16:  Slow.

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Q. 17:  Harold Holt who disappeared while swimming in 1967 was the Prime Minister of which country?

            a) Canada        b) United Kingdom        c) Australia         d) New Zealand

A. 17:  c) Australia

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Q. 18:  In what country did the tango dance originate?

A. 18:  Argentina.

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Q. 19:  Which US President did John Hinckley try to assassinate?

A. 19:  Ronald Reagan.

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Q. 20:  In what year did Elvis Presley die?

A. 20:  1977.

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==============================

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Well here’s a blog post slightly over 6,000 words. Don’t worry, it won’t take you long to read it.

It’s about the behavior of several heads of state at the Mandela Memorial in South Africa, an event which itself was turned into a bit of a farce.

From sign language interpreters who didn’t know any sign language to politicians not having the sense to realize they were on a world stage and everyone was watching, it was all a bit pathetic really.  

But funny too!

.

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President Obama shares a joke with

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Michelle Obama obviously didn’t get it – or did she?

Obama and Helle share a joke - Michelle doesn't get it

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Now a bit of touchy-feely from Obama

who is obviously enjoying the encounter.

The look on Michelle’s face seems to indicate that

she is not too happy with the way things are going.

Obama and Helle touchy feely time

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Obama and Helle take a little ‘selfie’ photo with her cell phone,

as British Prime Minister David Cameron tries to form a threesome.

Michelle, looking even more pissed off glowers into the distance.

(Wonder if the NSA is bugging that phone?)

Obama and Helle selfie photo time

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The happy couple get closer and share another joke.

Michelle gets farther away,

and she still ain’t laughing!

South Africa Mandela Memorial Obama and Helle getting closer

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Obama gets up to say a few words,

assisted by the sign language interpreter for the deaf.

Yes, that’s him,

the interpreter who didn’t know any sign language at all.

You couldn’t make this up!

Obama with interpreter who can't interpret

.

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When he come back to sit down again,

Obama finds that the seating arrangements have changed.

Michelle is now between him and the lovely piece of Danish.

Suspecting he may have blundered Obama takes Michelle’s hand and kisses it.

Michelle gazes off into the distance.

She has a “it ain’t gonna be that easy to fix this one, buster” expression on her face.

Obama Michelle kissing hand

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With his new little friend isolated

Obama studiously looks in the other direction. 

Michelle still ain’t laughing!

Obama with new seating arramgement

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===================================

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”Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Once again the clue is in the title.

Another pun day.

The usual mixture of puns, word play and jokes of varying quality.

Enjoy!

.

rofl

.

What do you call a lion wearing a stylish hat?

A dandy lion.

Dandy_Lion_by_borogove13

.

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I just walked into my Sarcastics Anonymous club, five minutes late.

They said, “Oh, nice of you to join us.”

science-sarcasm-Professor-Frink-Comic-Book-Guy-631

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What are the chances of me coming up

with a pun about being overweight?

Slim.

weight pun

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I was minding my own business

when I thought to myself,

“Maybe becoming a self-employed security guard

wasn’t such a good idea.”

security guard cartoon from federatorblogs.com

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Mein Kampf.

Contains “Adolf humour”

mein kampf duckie

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I have discovered that if you rearrange the letters of:

“THE POST OFFICE”

…you severely piss off the mailmen.

angry mailman

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I’ve opened an online dating company

especially designed for deaf mutes.

It’s called ‘The Conversations Ltd.’

The Three Evils from grumpuoldeafies.com

.

.

My girlfriend is temperamental.

That’s 50% temper and 50% mental.

angry_girl

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I have been working in a mirror factory for years now.

It’s what I’ve always seen myself doing.

mischa-richter-man-looking-in-mirror-and-saying-ha-and-in-the-mirror-is-the-reflection-new-yorker-cartoon

.

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Why do they take organs from pigs and give them to humans?

Because pigs can’t play organs.

the-future-of-lab-grown-organs

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Tom Cruise:

taking the art out of being a ‘bartender’

since 1988.

cruise cocktail

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It was a busy night at the Bulimic support clinic.

The place was heaving.

bulimia cartoon

.

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I have a contact lens problem.

I have no contact lens solution.

contacts

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What’s big, grey and doesn’t matter?

An Irr-elephant.

irrelephant_by_ricken4003-d5k2kvq

.

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The Beastie Boys are launching a new five-part fanzine,

documenting their rise to stardom.

Parts A to D will be freely available in the shops

for general purchase but, consistent with their band’s ethos,

you’ll have to fight for your right to Part E.

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===================================

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