FAREWELL 2014

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks,

Last day of this year and time for my recollections of 2014’s main events.

As always this is by no means meant to be a complete coverage of all the events that happened during 2014, just a personal blog post about some of the things I remember, and a few that I had forgotten until I started to compile this list.

I hope you enjoy.

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farewell 2014

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The Weather

We will start off with the weather since so many of us seem to be obsessed with it.

  • In the United States there were weather extremes. In California, for example, January was the warmest and driest on record in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Only four other Januaries since 1878 had been completely dry in Los Angeles until January 2014. Alaskans experienced their third warmest January in 96 years of record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

California drought 2014

  • In many parts of the Midwest, on the other hand, 2014 was the coldest winter since the late 1970s or early 1980s. And some southern states of the US became the victims of, firstly, winter storm Kronos which brought a rare blanket of snow as far south as Louisiana, and sleet as far south as Harlingen, Texas and Pensacola, Fla. in late January, and then, just days later, a second winter storm, Leon, hit many of the same areas causing commuter chaos in both Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Leon also spread ice and sleet to the Gulf Coast, including the Florida Panhandle, and the Low country of South Carolina.
  • And worse was on the way. Winter Storm Pax deposited an inch or more of ice in a swath from east-central Georgia into South Carolina, including Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C. Pax was the second heaviest ice storm dating to 1947 in Wilmington, N.C. The accumulation of ice from Pax claimed the famed “Eisenhower tree” at the Augusta National Golf Club. Pax marked the first time since January 1940 that Columbia, S.C. saw snowfall for three straight days.

Winter Storm Pax Washington

  • In complete contrast, the week after Pax, Columbia, S.C. tied its all-time February high of 84 degrees. Augusta, Ga. warmed into the 80s two straight days on Feb. 19-20.
  • Elsewhere in the world, severe Atlantic winter storms took their toll on many parts of England which in 2014 experienced storms and rain not seen since the late 19th century.

Atlantic winter storms Cornwall England

  • In Tokyo, Japan, which usually averages only about 4 inches of snow each year, there were also severe snow storms. In February, snow blanketed the city with 11 inches of snow in less than a week, the heaviest snowfall in 45 years for Tokyo and in 60 years for the city of Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. The following weekend, parts of eastern Japan, including parts of the Tokyo metro area, received another round of snow. Some smaller communities were isolated by more than 3 feet of snow.
  • And in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported that more than 10 percent of Queensland and almost 15 percent of New South Wales experienced their record hottest day on Jan. 3. A second heat wave hit parts of southern Australia in mid-January, with temperatures peaking above 41 degrees Celsius (just under 106 degrees Fahrenheit) for four straight days from Jan. 14-17, and reaching a sizzling 43.9 degrees C (111 degrees F) on both Jan. 16 and 17.

australia heat wave 2014

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Business and Technology

  • In the world of business and technology 2014 was the year the Obama administration decided to stop inversion deals, where US companies bought foreign domiciled businesses and moved their profit centers to a much more tax friendly location.
  • In technology buys, one of the largest was Facebook’s purchase of smartphone application WhatsApp for $19 Billion.

14.02.19-Facebook-WhatsApp

  • In other sectors 2014 saw world oil price plunge to around $50 per barrel, good news for consumers, not so good for producers.
  • Under pressure from the fall in oil and gas prices, along with the economic sanctions imposed by the west because of the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, the Russian Ruble went into free fall in December.

APphoto_Russia Economy

  • Also in 2014, in March, the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program was not scientific but commercial and refused to grant further permits.
  • With Quantitative Easing having been ended in the US (for the moment anyway) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans for a new $29 billion fresh stimulus, including subsidies and job-creating programs, to help pull the world’s third-largest economy out of recession.

Quantitative Easing cartoon

  • After their embarrassing foul up last Christmas, this year both FedEx and UPS managed to deliver more than 99 percent of express packages as promised on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, according to shipment tracker ShipMatrix.
  • South Korean prosecutors arrested a government official who allegedly leaked information about an investigation into former Korean Air Lines executive Cho Hyun-ah, who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts. Most of the rest of the world tends to think that the idiot executive should suffer the consequences of her stupidity, not the whistleblower.

korean-air-lines-macademia-nut-scandal Cho Hyun-ah

  • And finally, after their embarrassing hack attack and cringe-worthy capitulation to what amounted to a terrorist cyber attack which was rightly criticized publicly by President Obama, Sony finally decided to release its movie ‘The Interview’.

Rogan Franco The-Interview

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Conflicts, Wars & Terrorism

Unfortunately 2014 saw many conflicts and acts of terrorism.

  • In April an estimated 276 girls and women were abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria. The following month, Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people in a night attack on Gamboru Ngala and terrorists in Nigeria detonated bombs at Jos, killing 118 people.

Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people Gamboru Ngala

  • June saw the emergence of a Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ (also known as the ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL’). It began an offensive throughout northern Iraq, with the aim of eventually capturing the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrowing the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The group has been responsible for beheading of hundreds of people including several from the United States.

Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’

  • In July and August tensions between Israel and Hamas grew following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in July. Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on the Palestinian Gaza Strip starting with numerous missile strikes, followed by a ground invasion a week later. In 7 weeks of fighting, 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed.
  • Also in July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 souls on board. There are conflicting claims as to who was responsible, some blaming pro Russian forces for a missile strike and others blaming Ukrainian forces.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

  • In August and September the United States military began an air campaign in northern Iraq to stem the influx of ISIS militants and the following month the United States and several Arab partners began an airstrike campaign in Syria.

Expect more on these stories during 2015.

Departures

During 2014 we said farewell to many well know people from various walks of life. Here is just my selection of those I remember.

From Literature

Sue Townsend

British novelist and playwright (b. 1946)

SueTownsend

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P. D. James

British writer and life peer

(b. 1920)

P. D. James

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From Movies & TV

Roger Lloyd-Pack

British actor

(b. 1944)

Roger Lloyd-Pack

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Maximilian Schell

Austrian-Swiss actor

(b. 1930)

Maximilian Schell

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

American actor

(b. 1967)

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Shirley Temple

American actress and diplomat

(b. 1928)

shirley_temple

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Sid Caesar

American actor

(b. 1922)

Sid Caesar

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Harold Ramis

American film director,

writer, and actor

(b. 1944)

Harold Ramis

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Mickey Rooney

American actor

(b. 1920)

Mickey Rooney

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Bob Hoskins

British actor

(b. 1942)

Bob Hoskins

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Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

American actor

(b. 1918)

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr

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Rik Mayall

British comedian,

writer and actor

(b. 1958)

Rik Mayall

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Casey Kasem

American radio host

and voice actor

(b. 1932)

Casey Kasem

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Eli Wallach

American actor

(b. 1915)

Eli Wallach

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Elaine Stritch

American actress and singer

(b. 1925)

Elaine Stritch

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James Garner

American actor

(b. 1928)

James Garner

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Menahem Golan

Israeli filmmaker

(b. 1929)

Menahem Golan

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Robin Williams

American actor and comedian

(b. 1951)

Robin Williams

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Lauren Bacall

American actress

(b. 1924)

Lauren Bacall

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Richard Attenborough

British actor and film director

(b. 1923)

Richard Attenborough

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Joan Rivers

American comedian, actress,

and television host

(b. 1933)

Joan Rivers

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Richard Kiel

American actor (b. 1939)

Richard Kiel

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Polly Bergen

American actress

(b. 1930)

Polly Bergen

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Ken Takakura

Japanese actor

(b. 1931)

Ken Takakura

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Warren Clarke

English actor

(b. 1947)

Warren-Clarke

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Glen A. Larson

American television producer

and writer

(b. 1937)

Glen A. Larson

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Virna Lisi

Italian actress

(b. 1936)

Virna Lisi

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Billie Whitelaw

English actress

(b. 1932)

Billie Whitelaw

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Luise Rainer

Golden Age actress

“The Great Ziegfeld”

(b. 1910)

Luise Rainer with oscars

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From Music

Pete Seeger

American singer, songwriter,

musician, and activist

(b. 1919)

Pete Seeger

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Johnny Winter

American singer and guitarist

(b. 1944)

Johnny Winter

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Glenn Cornick

British bass guitarist

(b. 1947)

Glenn Cornick

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Jack Bruce

British rock bassist

(b. 1943)

Jack Bruce

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Acker Bilk

British jazz clarinetist

(b. 1929)

Acker Bilk

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Joe Cocker

English singer

(b. 1944)

Joe Cocker

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From Politics

Zbigniew Messner

9th Prime Minister of the

People’s Republic of Poland

(b. 1929)

Zbigniew Messner

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Ariel Sharon

11th Prime Minister of Israel

(b. 1928)

Ariel Sharon

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Tony Benn

British politician and diarist

(b. 1925)

Tony Benn

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Adolfo Suárez

138th Prime Minister of Spain

(b. 1932)

Adolfo Suárez

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James R. Schlesinger

American economist and politician

(b. 1929)

James R. Schlesinger

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A. N. R. Robinson

3rd President of Trinidad and Tobago

(b. 1926)

A. N. R. Robinson

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Howard Baker

American politician and diplomat

(b. 1925)

Howard Baker

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Eduard Shevardnadze

2nd President of Georgia

(b. 1928)

Eduard Shevardnadze

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Albert Reynolds

Irish Taoiseach (prime minister)

(b. 1932)

Albert Reynolds

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Ian Paisley

British politician and

First Minister of Northern Ireland

(b. 1926)

Ian Paisley

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Nicholas Romanov

Prince of Russia

(b. 1922)

Nicholas Romanov

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Jean-Claude Duvalier

41st President of Haiti

(b. 1951)

Jean-Claude Duvalier

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John Spencer-Churchill

11th Duke of Marlborough,

British peer and educator

(b. 1926)

John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough

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Gough Whitlam

21st Prime Minister of Australia

(b. 1916)

Gough Whitlam

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From Space Exploration

Valeri Kubasov

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1935)

Valeri Kubasov

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Wubbo Ockels

Dutch astronaut and physicist

(b. 1946)

Wubbo Ockels

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Henry Hartsfield

American colonel and astronaut

(b. 1933)

Henry Hartsfield

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Anatoly Berezovoy

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1942)

Anatoly Berezovoy

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From Sport

Eusébio

Portuguese footballer

(b. 1942)

Eusébio

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Mae Young

American professional wrestler

(b. 1923)

Mae Young

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Louise Brough

American tennis player

(b. 1923)

Louise Brough

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Tom Finney

English footballer

(b. 1922)

Tom Finney

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Nelson Frazier, Jr.

American professional wrestler

(b. 1971)

Nelson Frazier, Jr

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Jimmy Ellis

American boxer

(b. 1940)

Jimmy_Ellis

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Jack Brabham

Australian race car driver

(b. 1926)

Jack Brabham

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Malcolm Glazer

American businessman,

owner of Manchester United

(b. 1928)

Malcolm Glazer

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Valentin Mankin

Ukrainian sailor, Olympic triple champion

and silver medalist

(b. 1938)

Valentin Mankin

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Fernandão

Brazilian footballer and manager

(b. 1978)

Fernandão

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Alfredo Di Stéfano

Argentine-Spanish footballer

(b. 1926)

Alfredo-Di-Stefano-Dies-at-Age-88

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Andriy Bal

Ukrainian football player and coach

(b. 1958)

Andriy Bal

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Björn Waldegård

Swedish rally driver

(b. 1943)

Björn Waldegård

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Andrea de Cesaris

Italian race car driver

(b. 1959)

Andrea de Cesaris

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Health

  • The big health scare of 2014 that dominated the headlines was the of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa in February, that initially infected over 19,000 people and killing at least 7,000, the most severe both in terms of numbers of infections and casualties.

ebola_map Africa

  • In other news, also in February, Belgium became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients of any age.

Politics

  • On January 1, Latvia officially adopted the Euro as its currency and became the 18th member of the Eurozone.
  • In February, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, replacing him with Oleksandr Turchynov, after days of civil unrest that left around 100 people dead in Kiev. The pro-Russian unrest lead to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and an insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

President Viktor Yanukovych

  • In March, Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, severed diplomatic and political ties with Panama, accusing it of being involved in a conspiracy against the Venezuelan government.
  • Also in March, an emergency meeting, involving the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada temporarily suspended Russia from the G8.
  • In April, also in response to the Crimean crisis, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution temporarily stripping Russia of its voting rights; its rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, and the PACE Standing Committee; and its right to participate in election-observation missions.
  • The same month, United States President Barack Obama began new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin Obama

  • In May the Royal Thai Army overthrew the caretaker government of Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan after a failure to resolve the political unrest in Thailand.
  • Back in Europe, in June, King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, who ascended the Spanish throne as King Felipe VI.
  • And the political year ended on a positive note, with U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century.

normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba

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Space

  • The major space event of 2014 happened in November when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Philae probe successfully landed on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object.

Rosetta Philae

Sport

  • The two major world sporting events of 2014 were the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi, Russia in February, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, and won by Germany, during June and July.

world-cup-2014-champions-germany-trophy

  • In American sport the Super Bowl was won by the Seattle Seahawks, the MLB World Series  winners were the San Francisco Giants and in basketball the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
  • Ice Hockey had three champions in 2014, Canada becoming Olympic champions, Russia world champions and in the NHL the Los Angeles Kings were the victors.
  • In tennis at the world famous Wimbledon Tournament in England Novak Djokovic became Men’s Singles Champion and Petra Kvitova Ladies Singles Champion, while the men’s and women’s winners of the US Open were Marin Čilić  and Serena Williams respectively.

novak-djokovic-with-wimbledon-crown

  • In Soccer, as noted above, Germany won the 2014 World Cup. The European Champions League winners were Real Madrid and the English Premiership was won by Manchester City.
  • The Formula 1 motor racing champion for 2014 was British driver Lewis Hamilton, who also picked up the award of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • In golf’s major championships, the Masters Tournament, held in April, was won by Bubba Watson by three strokes. It was his second Masters championship.
  • May saw the BMW PGA Championship where young Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th hole to win by one stroke over Irishman Shane Lowry, who also birdied the 18th hole.
  • In June, U.S. Open winner was Martin Kaymer who won by eight strokes to become the first German player to win the U.S. Open, and the first player to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year.
  • In July, the Open Championship Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy, was on top again winning by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García. It was his third career major championship, and his first Open Championship. With the win, he became the fourth player ever of 25 years old or under to have won at least three majors.
  • In August, McIlroy was back, winning the PGA Championship by one stroke over Phil Mickelson. He was having quite a year, it was his fourth career major and his second PGA Championship.PGA Champion Rory McIlroy
  • Then in September, in the Ryder Cup, Team Europe (also including McIlroy) defeated Team USA by a score of 16½ – 11½. It was the third consecutive Ryder Cup victory for Europe, and also Europe’s fifth consecutive home victory in the Ryder Cup.

Tragedies

  • In March Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
  • In April Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized and sunk after an unmanageable cargo shift. More than 290 people were killed, mostly high school students.

south-korea-ferry MV Sewol

  • In May hundreds of workers were killed in mining accident in Turkey.
  • In July, Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing all 116 people on board.
  • And just a few days ago AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed, wreckage has been found off the coast of Indonesia’s Kalimantan coast.

indonesia-airplane AirAsia flight flight QZ8501 airport notice board

 

Fasab’s Final Facts For 2014.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi, and welcome to the final fact day for this year.

There is a mixture of random bits and pieces along with some seasonal offerings, so hopefully you will find something of interest.

Enjoy.

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facts 04

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Norwegian scientists have hypothesized

that Rudolph’s red nose

is probably the result of a parasitic infection

of his respiratory system.

(Oh boy!!!)

rudolph_the_red_nosed_reindeer

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In December 1843 Charles Dickens

published a little novella

about a grumpy old curmudgeon who

rediscovered the true meaning of Christmas

after being visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

He called it ‘A Christmas Carol’ and

it was a resounding success,

so much so that in the succeeding 171 years

it has never been out of print

and has been made into many movies

and television shows.

A Christmas Carol

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The skin of a polar bear

is actually black

which helps them to trap heat.

polar bear

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Christmas has its roots 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).

The Christian church heartily disapproved

of such celebrations and co-opted

the pagans by declaring December 25

as Christ’s day of birth,

though there is no evidence

Christ was born on that day.

saturnalia

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In 1999, a single stroke of lightning

instantly killed a whole soccer team.

The eleven players were all between

twenty and thirty-five years old.

This freak accident happened during

a match held in the eastern province of Kasai, in Congo.

The strangest thing of all, however,

was that the players from the home team

came out of this tragedy unscathed.

lightning instantly killed a whole soccer team

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In some of the Greek islands,

instead of a piling their

presents under a Christmas tree,

many families still put their gifts

in a wooden fishing boat

symi_fishingboat_sea

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YouTube can be found in sixty-one countries

and across sixty-one languages,

with almost 75 percent of its users

living outside the US.

It’s estimated that more than 1 billion users

use YouTube each month

mainly for entertainment.

According to Alexa rankings

YouTube is the third biggest

(i.e., most powerful) website in the world

trailing behind only Google and Facebook

and ahead of online giants such as

Yahoo, eBay, Wikipedia, Amazon, and, PayPal.

YouTube logo

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Each year more than 3 billion

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

3 billion Christmas cards

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Until the Lincoln Cathedral was

built in England in 1311,

the Great Pyramid of Giza

held the title for the

world´s tallest man-made structure.

It held the record for an incredible

and unparalleled 3871 years!

Great Pyramid of Giza

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According to data

analyzed from Facebook posts,

two weeks before Christmas is one of

the two most popular times

for couples to break up.

However, Christmas Day is the

least favorite day for breakups.

Contrary to popular belief,

suicide rates during the Christmas

holiday are low.

The highest rates are during the spring.

couples to break up

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Mickey Mouse on Mercury?

Measuring 105 kilometers across (65 miles),

a striking resemblance to Mickey Mouse

can be found on Mercury’s southern hemisphere.

It is attributed to an accumulation

of craters over a long period of time,

or else Mickey was originally a Mercurian!

Mickey Mouse on Mercury

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Christmas trees have been

sold in the U.S. since 1850.

Christmas trees

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The demented Roman Emperor Caligula

once ordered his troops

to go to war with the sea.

He made troops return with

seashells as plunder of war

against Neptune.

Roman Emperor Caligula

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The British wear paper crowns

while they eat Christmas dinner.

The crowns are stored in a tube

called a “Christmas cracker.”

British wear paper crowns while they eat Christmas dinner

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George Frederick Handel’s

great Christmas oratorio,

“The Messiah”,

was first performed in 1742,

in Dublin.

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

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The Little Christmas Quiz!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Last week we had the BIG Christmas quiz and thank you to everyone who visited and tried it out.

And a very special thanks to the Coastal Crone who reblogged it.

Since we are all used to ‘leftovers’ at this time of the year I thought I would use my leftover questions from last week’s BIG quiz for a little one this week.

The questions still have a Christmassy theme and as usual, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below.

So enjoy what’s left of the Christmas holiday and good luck with the quiz.

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the-little-christmas-quiz

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Q.  1:  How many points does a snowflake have? (Sorry there’s only one point for the correct answer.)

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Q.  2:  Charles Dickens is said to have considered the names ‘Little Larry’ and ‘Puny Pete’ for which character? (A bonus point is available if you can also correctly name the Dickens novel in which the character appears.)

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Q.  3:  In which country that made the news a lot during 2014, and the largest country of its continent, is it said that finding a spider web on Christmas morning brings good luck, and so Christmas trees are decorated with artificial spider webs?

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Q.  4:  What is New Year’s Eve called in Scotland?

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Q.  5:  What former Egyptian president was born on Christmas day in 1918?

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Q.  6:  Which alcoholic ingredient is used in a ‘Snowball’ cocktail?

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Q.  7:  And what animal is ‘Snowball’ in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’?

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Q.  8:  Derived from the Latin word meaning ‘coming’, what is the name of the period leading up to Christmas?

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Q.  9:  In the rhyme ‘Christmas is coming’, who is getting ‘fat’?

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Q. 10:  The first singing radio commercial, which aired in the US on Christmas Eve 1926, was for which brand?

            a) Rolex            b) BMW            c) Wheaties            d) Durex

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Q. 11:  Why is the male turkey often referred to as ‘Tom Turkey’?

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Q. 12:  In what country did Christmas Trees originate?

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Q. 13:  How many ‘Wise Men’ brought gifts to Jesus?

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Q. 14:  Which English monarch was crowned on Christmas Day in Westminster Abbey?

            a) William I            b) William II            c) William III            d) William IV

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Q. 15:  Name the two administrative and ex-colonial regions of China for which Christmas day remains a legal public holiday, whereas in the main country it is not? (A point for each that you name correctly.)

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Q. 16:  The Christmas favorite of ‘Pigs in Blankets’ is chipolata sausages wrapped in what?

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Q. 17:  In Mexico, it is said that wearing what color underwear on New Year’s Eve ensures finding new love the following year?

            a) Yellow            b) Green            c) Red            d) Brown

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Q. 18:  Father Christmas is known as ‘Pai Natal’ in which European country?

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Q. 19:  The surname ‘Chandler’ derives from the making or selling of what?

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Q. 20:  What was Mr Bean searching for when he got his head stuck in a turkey?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  How many points does a snowflake have? (Sorry there’s only one point for the correct answer.)

A.  1:  Six.

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Q.  2:  Charles Dickens is said to have considered the names ‘Little Larry’ and ‘Puny Pete’ for which character? (A bonus point is available if you can also correctly name the Dickens novel in which the character appears.)

A.  2:  The character is ‘Tiny Tim’ and he appears in ‘A Christmas Carol’.

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Q.  3:  In which country that made the news a lot during 2014, and the largest country of its continent, is it said that finding a spider web on Christmas morning brings good luck, and so Christmas trees are decorated with artificial spider webs?

A.  3:  The correct answer is Ukraine. (Since it is the time to be generous you can also have a point if you said ‘Poland’. Although it does not fulfill all the parameters of the question, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations in Poland 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.)

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Q.  4:  What is New Year’s Eve called in Scotland?

A.  4:  Hogmanay.

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Q.  5:  What former Egyptian president was born on Christmas day in 1918?

A.  5:  Anwar Sadat.

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Q.  6:  Which alcoholic ingredient is used in a ‘Snowball’ cocktail?

A.  6:  Advocaat.

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Q.  7:  And what animal is ‘Snowball’ in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’?

A.  7:  A Pig.

.

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Q.  8:  Derived from the Latin word meaning ‘coming’, what is the name of the period leading up to Christmas?

A.  8:  Advent.

.

.

Q.  9:  In the rhyme ‘Christmas is coming’, who is getting ‘fat’?

A.  9:  The goose.

.

.

Q. 10:  The first singing radio commercial, which aired in the US on Christmas Eve 1926, was for which brand?

            a) Rolex            b) BMW            c) Wheaties            d) Durex

A. 10:  The correct answer is c) Wheaties.

.

.

Q. 11:  Why is the male turkey often referred to as ‘Tom Turkey’?

A. 11:  After Thomas Jefferson, because Jefferson was opposed to the idea of a turkey as the national bird.

.

.

Q. 12:  In what country did Christmas Trees originate?

A. 12:  Germany. (Technically it was Latvia but at that time it was part of Germany.)

.

.

Q. 13:  How many ‘Wise Men’ brought gifts to Jesus?

A. 13:  ‘More than one’ is the correct answer, the Bible does not specify how many. (If you said ‘3’ you don’t get a point.)

.

.

Q. 14:  Which English monarch was crowned on Christmas Day in Westminster Abbey?

            a) William I            b) William II            c) William III            d) William IV

A. 14:  The correct answer is a) William I.

.

.

Q. 15:  Name the two administrative and ex-colonial regions of China for which Christmas day remains a legal public holiday, whereas in the main country it is not? (A point for each that you name correctly.)

A. 15:  Hong Kong and Macau.

.

.

Q. 16:  The Christmas favorite of ‘Pigs in Blankets’ is chipolata sausages wrapped in what?

A. 16:  Bacon.

.

.

Q. 17:  In Mexico, it is said that wearing what color underwear on New Year’s Eve ensures finding new love the following year?

            a) Yellow            b) Green            c) Red            d) Brown

A. 17:  The correct answer is c) Red.

.

.

Q. 18:  Father Christmas is known as ‘Pai Natal’ in which European country?

A. 18:  Portugal.

.

.

Q. 19:  The surname ‘Chandler’ derives from the making or selling of what?

A. 19:  Candles.

.

.

Q. 20:  What was Mr Bean searching for when he got his head stuck in a turkey?

A. 20:  His wrist watch.

.

.

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

.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Hi and thanks for taking time out of your Christmas celebrations to visit my blog.

Hope you are all having a great time and enjoying the Christmas spirit.

But just in case you are having too good a time here are a bunch of punny Christmas jokes.

Enjoy or endure – but have a very merry Christmas as well.

.

rofl

.

Ah! Christmas!

The one day of the year we can all say

our children are truly gifted!

kids-opening-gifts

.

.

What do you call a blind reindeer?

I have no eye deer

rockstar-reindeer-cartoon-45903867

.

.

Did you know that Santa stores all

the presents in the pole vault.

ice vault

.

.

It has been said that the three phrases

that best sum up the Christmas season are:

“Peace on Earth”,

“Goodwill to Men” and

“Batteries not included.”

batteries-not-included

.

.

Why is Santa a good race car driver?

Because he’s always in the pole position.

pole position

.

.

Where do mistletoe go to become famous?

“Holly” wood!

Holly-icon

.

.

How to cats greet each other at Christmas time?

A Furry Merry Christmas

& Happy Mew Year.

cats at christmas

.

.

What do you call a cow

at the North Pole?

An Eski-moo.

cow at the North Pole

.

.

Q: What’s the difference between

Tiger Woods and Santa?

A: Santa stopped at 3 ho’s.

tiger_ho_ho_ho

.

.

The 4 stages of life:

1. You believe in Santa Claus

2. You don’t believe in Santa Claus

3. You dress up as Santa Claus

4. You look like Santa Claus

You look like Santa Claus

.

.

Which reindeer was known

for his bad manners?

Rude-olph.

rudeolph-jumper

.

.

Why is Santa Claus always so happy?

Because he knows where all the naughty girls live.

Santa's naughty girls

.

.

Christmas is the time of year

when women get Santamental.

women get Santamental

.

.

If I was Miley Cyrus, I think I would have

roast twerky on Christmas Day.

.

.

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

.

Fasab’s Fascinating Festive Facts

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Hi, and welcome to fasab’s fascinating festive facts.

Everything on my blog this week is in Christmas mode including these tidbits of information that you may be able to work into the conversation if you are at a party or two this week.

Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas.

.

festive facts

.

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.

traditional three colors of Christmas

.

.

The first printed reference to a

Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.

Christmas_Tree

.

.

Apparently seven out of ten British dogs

get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.

dogs get Christmas gifts

.

.

A lot of people don’t like it,

but the abbreviation of ‘Xmas’ for

Christmas is not irreligious.

The first letter of the word Christ in Greek is chi,

which is identical to our X.

Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation

that was used in tables and charts.

Xmas for Christmas

.

.

Electric Christmas lights

were first used in 1854.

edison-ad-christmas-lights1

.

.

Some people who were born on December 25

feel hard done by because they have to

make do with one present instead of two

and share their big day celebrations with everybody else.

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island,

recognized the problem. When he died on December 4, 1894,

he willed his November 13 birthday to a friend

who disliked her own Christmas birthday

Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island

.

.

Franklin Pierce was the first president to

decorate an official White House Christmas tree.

white-house-christmas-tree

.

.

Silent Night was written in 1818,

by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr.

He was told the day before Christmas

that the church organ was broken

and would not be repaired in time for Christmas Eve.

.

.

Artificial Christmas trees

have outsold real ones since 1991.

Artificial Christmas tree

.

.

In the British armed forces it is traditional

that officers wait on the other ranks

and serve them their Christmas dinner.

This dates back to a custom from the Middle Ages.

British armed forces Christmas dinner

.

.

Long before mistletoe became a saucy ‘kiss encourager’,

it was considered to have magic powers.

It was said to have the ability to heal

wounds and increase fertility.

Celts hung mistletoe in their homes

in order to bring themselves good luck

and ward off evil spirits.

mistletoe

.

.

Each year there are approximately 20,000

“rent-a-Santas” across the United States.

“Rent-a-Santas” usually undergo seasonal training

on how to maintain a jolly attitude

under pressure from the public.

They also receive practical advice,

such as not accepting money from parents

while children are looking and

avoiding garlic, onions, or beans for lunch.

rent-a-Santa

.

.

In Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea,

your age is measured not in years

but in how many Christmases you’ve lived through;

you’re not 20, you’re twenti krismas.

Rather less charmingly,

the Japanese expression to describe

single women over 25 years old is

kurisumasu keiki – left-over Christmas cake.

Port_Moresby__Papua_New_Guinea

.

.

Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names,

such as Blitzen, Comet, and Cupid.

However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas,

so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh

are likely not male, but female –  or castrati.  

(I wonder if that is the origin of hanging balls

on a Christmas tree comes from?)

Santa’s reindeer

.

.

The popular Christmas song “Jingle Bells”

was actually written for Thanksgiving.

The song was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont,

and was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh”.

.

.

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

.

 

It’s Time For – The BIG Christmas Quiz!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Christmas week again folks and another year almost gone.

Time of course for the BIG Christmas quiz.

Some of the questions are fairly easy, but one or two will keep you thinking for a while.

So grab a cup of coffee, or something stronger if you like, and test your knowledge of Christmas and things Christmasy.

And, as always, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy, good luck, and a very Merry Christmas.

.

The BIG Christmas Quiz

.

Q.  1:  In which country does Santa have his own personal postcode ‘HOH OHO’?

.

.

Q.  2:  Which Christmas plant takes its name from the first US Minister to Mexico?

.

.

Q.  3:  What date is St Stephen’s Day?

.

.

Q.  4:  The song ‘White Christmas’ was first performed in which 1942 movie?

.

.

Q.  5:  Who is officially credited as the author of ‘Auld Lang Syne’?

.

.

Q.  6:  ‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents’ is the opening line from which classic novel?

.

.

Q.  7:  Which Christmas carol includes the lyrics ‘…To save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray..’?

.

.

Q.  8:  In ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’, what were there eight of?

.

.

Q.  9:  If you’ve watched a TV show like ‘The Sopranos’ you’ve probably heard the term ‘Bada Bing’, but in what country is Christmas known as ‘Bada Din’ (the big day)?

.

.

Q. 10:  Which of Santa’s reindeer shares its name with a mythical god of love?

.

.

Q. 11:  What color are the berries of the mistletoe plant?

.

.

Q. 12:  The character ‘Jack Skellington’ appears in which 1993 Tim Burton movie?

.

.

Q. 13:  What’s the second line of “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas“?

.

.

Q. 14:  Marzipan is made (conventionally in the western world) mainly from sugar and the flour or meal of which nut?

.

.

Q. 15:  In the inspirational 1946 movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, what’s the name of George Bailey’s guardian angel?

.

.

Q. 16:  What Christmas item was invented by London baker and wedding-cake specialist Tom Smith in 1847?

.

.

Q. 17:  We all know that “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan” and that he liked his pizzas deep pan crisp and even, but in which country was Wenceslas king?

.

.

Q. 18:  Who wrote ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’?

.

.

Q. 19:  Who were first people to visit the baby Jesus?

.

.

Q. 20:  A Christmas present for country western fans. Who sang “It was Christmas in prison the food was real good, we had turkey and pistols carved out of wood”

            a) Willy Nelson        b) Johnny Cash        c) John Prine        d) Garth Brooks

.

.

Q. 21:  What do George C. Scott, Alastair Sim, Daffy Duck, Patrick Stewart, Michael Caine, Fred Flintstone and Jim Carrey all have in common?

.

.

Q. 22:  Which Christmas condiment is made from fruit sometimes referred to as ‘marshworts’?

.

.

Q. 23:  The American ad writer Robert L. May invented which colorful Christmas character in 1939? 

.

.

Q. 24:  ‘Three Kings Day’ is known by what numerical name in Britain?

.

.

Q. 25:  What Angel visited Mary?

.

.

Q. 26:  Which Christmas slogan was introduced by Clarissa Baldwin of Dogs Trust in 1978?

.

.

Q. 27:  Peter Auty sang ‘Walking In The Air’ in what Christmas time movie?

.

.

Q. 28:  What do American singer and actor Dean Martin, actress and singer Eartha Kitt, and Charlie Chaplin all have in common?

.

.

Q. 29:  In the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, ‘…my true love brought to me nine…’ what?

.

.

Q. 30:  Which American-born English poet, having first names Thomas Stearns, wrote the poem ‘The Cultivation Of Christmas Trees’?

.

.

Q. 31:  Who composed the music known as ‘The Nutcracker Suite’, for the Christmas themed ballet The Nutcracker, premiered in St Petersburg, 1892?

.

.

Q. 32:  What is the surname of the family in the 1989 movie ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’?

.

.

Q. 33:  Patra, the birthplace of the original Santa Claus, St Nicholas, is in which modern country?

.

.

Q. 34:  How many of Rudolph’s eight companions names start with ‘D’? (A point for the correct number and bonus points for each one you can name correctly.)

.

.

Q. 35:  Which southern central US state, whose capital city has the same name, was the last to recognize Christmas as an official holiday?

.

.

Q. 36:  Under which Puritan leader did the English parliament pass a law banning Christmas in 1647?

.

.

Q. 37:  In the song ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas‘, how many swans were a-swimming?

.

.

Q. 38:  Why were Joseph and the expectant Mary on the road to Bethlehem in the first place?

.

.

Q. 39:  In which country was Boxing Day renamed ‘Day of Goodwill’ in 1994?

.

.

Q. 40:  How many Lords-a-leaping are there in ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’?

.

.

Q. 41:  In which American state would you find the city of Bethlehem? 

.

.

Q. 42:  Which Hasbro children’s robot action figures were the most popular Christmas presents in 1984?

.

.

Q. 43:  What Christmas item takes its name from the old French word ‘estincelle’, meaning spark?

.

.

Q. 44:  In the movie ‘Jingle All The Way’ name the toy Arnold Schwarzenegger was hunting?

.

.

Q. 45:  Which famous mathematician was born on Boxing Day in 1791?

.

.

Q. 46:  What does the word ‘Christ’ mean? 

.

.

Q. 47:  Which 1987 action/comedy movie opens to the music of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’?   

.

.

Q. 48:  What Apple product was reportedly the most popular Christmas gift in 2007?

.

.

Q. 49:  A lot of them have already been mentioned in this quiz, so how many presents were given in total in the 12 Days of Christmas?

.

.

Q. 50:  In the Christmas carol, which town is known as ‘Royal David’s City’?

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ANSWERS

.

Q.  1:  In which country does Santa have his own personal postcode ‘HOH OHO’?

A.  1:  Canada.

.

.

Q.  2:  Which Christmas plant takes its name from the first US Minister to Mexico?

A.  2:  Poinsettia.

.

.

Q.  3:  What date is St Stephen’s Day?

A.  3:  26th December.

.

.

Q.  4:  The song ‘White Christmas’ was first performed in which 1942 movie?

A.  4:  Holiday Inn.

.

.

Q.  5:  Who is officially credited as the author of ‘Auld Lang Syne’?

A.  5:  Robert Burns.

.

.

Q.  6:  ‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents’ is the opening line from which classic novel?

A.  6:  Little Women.

.

.

Q.  7:  Which Christmas carol includes the lyrics ‘…To save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray..’?

A.  7:  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

.

.

Q.  8:  In ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’, what were there eight of?

A.  8:  Maids-a-milking.

.

.

Q.  9:  If you’ve watched a TV show like ‘The Sopranos’ you’ve probably heard the term ‘Bada Bing’, but in what country is Christmas known as ‘Bada Din’ (the big day)?

A.  9:  India.

.

.

Q. 10:  Which of Santa’s reindeer shares its name with a mythical god of love?

A. 10:  Cupid.

.

.

Q. 11:  What color are the berries of the mistletoe plant?

A. 11:  White.

.

.

Q. 12:  The character ‘Jack Skellington’ appears in which 1993 Tim Burton movie?

A. 12:  The Nightmare before Christmas.

.

.

Q. 13:  What’s the second line of “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?

A. 13:  “Just like the ones I used to know”.

.

.

Q. 14:  Marzipan is made (conventionally in the western world) mainly from sugar and the flour or meal of which nut?

A. 14:  Almond.

.

.

Q. 15:  In the inspirational 1946 movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, what is the name of George Bailey’s guardian angel?

A. 15:  Clarence (Oddbody).

.

.

Q. 16:  What Christmas item was invented by London baker and wedding-cake specialist Tom Smith in 1847?

A. 16:  Christmas cracker.

.

.

Q. 17:  We all know that “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan” and that he liked his pizzas deep pan crisp and even, but in which country was Wenceslas king?

A. 17:  Bohemia (Czech Republic)

.

.

Q. 18:  Who wrote ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’?

A. 18:  Dr Seuss.

.

.

Q. 19:  Who were first people to visit the baby Jesus?

A. 19:  Shepherds.

.

.

Q. 20:  A Christmas present for country western fans. Who sang “It was Christmas in prison the food was real good, we had turkey and pistols carved out of wood”

    a. Willy Nelson    b. Johnny Cash    c. John Prine    d. Garth Brooks

A. 20:  Answer c. John Prine (‘Christmas in prison’ from the album Sweet Revenge)

.

.

Q. 21:  What do George C. Scott, Alastair Sim, Daffy Duck, Patrick Stewart, Michael Caine, Fred Flintstone and Jim Carrey all have in common?

A. 21:  They have all played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in movies or television.

.

.

Q. 22:  Which Christmas condiment is made from fruit sometimes referred to as ‘marshworts’?

A. 22:  Cranberry sauce.

.

.

Q. 23:  The American ad writer Robert L. May invented which colorful Christmas character in 1939?   

A. 23:  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  

.

.

Q. 24:  ‘Three Kings Day’ is known by what numerical name in Britain?

A. 24:  Twelfth Night.

.

.

Q. 25:  What Angel visited Mary?

A. 25:  Gabriel.

.

.

Q. 26:  Which Christmas slogan was introduced by Clarissa Baldwin of Dogs Trust in 1978?

A. 26:  A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas.

.

.

Q. 27:  Peter Auty sang ‘Walking In The Air’ in what Christmas time movie?

A. 27:  The Snowman.

.

.

Q. 28:  What do American singer and actor Dean Martin, actress and singer Eartha Kitt, and Charlie Chaplin all have in common?

A. 28:  All died on Christmas day.

.

.

Q. 29:  In the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, ‘…my true love brought to me nine…’ what?

A. 29:  Ladies dancing.

.

.

Q. 30:  Which American-born English poet, having first names Thomas Stearns, wrote the poem ‘The Cultivation Of Christmas Trees’?

A. 30:  T S Eliot.

.

.

Q. 31:  Who composed the music known as ‘The Nutcracker Suite’, for the Christmas themed ballet The Nutcracker, premiered in St Petersburg, 1892?

A. 31:  Tchaikovsky.

.

.

Q. 32:  What is the surname of the family in the 1989 movie ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’?

A. 32:  Griswold.

.

.

Q. 33:  Patra, the birthplace of the original Santa Claus, St Nicholas, is in which modern country?

A. 33:  Turkey.

.

.

Q. 34:  How many of Rudolph’s eight companions names start with ‘D’? (A point for the correct number and bonus points for each one you can name correctly.)

A. 34:  Three – Dasher, Dancer and Donner

.

.

Q. 35:  Which southern central US state, whose capital city has the same name, was the last to recognize Christmas as an official holiday?

A. 35:  Oklahoma.

.

.

Q. 36:  Under which Puritan leader did the English parliament pass a law banning Christmas in 1647?

A. 36:  Oliver Cromwell.

.

.

Q. 37:  In the song ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’, how many swans were a-swimming?

A. 37:  Seven.

.

.

Q. 38:  Why were Joseph and the expectant Mary on the road to Bethlehem in the first place?

A. 38:  To pay tax (and take part in a census). 

.

.

Q. 39:  In which country was Boxing Day renamed ‘Day of Goodwill’ in 1994?

A. 39:  South Africa

.

.

Q. 40:  How many Lords-a-leaping are there in ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’?

A. 40:  10.

.

.

Q. 41:  In which American state would you find the city of Bethlehem?   

A. 41:  Pennsylvania 

.

.

Q. 42:  Which Hasbro children’s robot action figures were the most popular Christmas presents in 1984?

A. 42:  The Transformers    

.

.

Q. 43:  What Christmas item takes its name from the old French word ‘estincelle’, meaning spark?

A. 43:  Tinsel.

.

.

Q. 44:  In the movie ‘Jingle All The Way’ name the toy Arnold Schwarzenegger was hunting?

A. 44:  Turbo Man.

.

.

Q. 45:  Which famous mathematician was born on Boxing Day in 1791?

A. 45:  Charles Babbage.

.

.

Q. 46:  What does the word ‘Christ’ mean?  

A. 46:  ‘Annointed’ (from the Greek ‘Xristo’).

.

.

Q. 47:  Which 1987 action/comedy movie opens to the music of ‘Jingle Bell Rock;?   

A. 47:  Lethal Weapon

.

.

Q. 48:  What Apple product was reportedly the most popular Christmas gift in 2007?

A. 48:  The iPod Touch.

.

.

Q. 49:  How many presents were given in total in the 12 Days of Christmas?

A. 49:  364.

.

.

Q. 50:  In the Christmas carol, which town is known as ‘Royal David’s City’?

A. 50:  Bethlehem.

.

.

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

.

Procrastinators Unite! …. Tomorrow.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Procrastinators may unite tomorrow if they want, but for the rest of us today is Pun Day.

Yes, more awful jokes and word play fun.

So, enjoy or endure!

.

rofl

.

I just realised that

“stats”  is palindromic.

What are the odds of that?!

STATS

.

.

“Hey Harry, how much were

those broom sticks?” Asked Ron.

“Quid each”, replied Harry.

quidditch

.

.

I thought my wife was happy

to fully repair my jeans.

Or at least sew its seams.

repair my jeans

.

.

I submitted a 16:9 picture of my farm

to the photography contest.

They didn’t like the crop.

16.9 picture of my farm

.

.

My fine art and fragrances business has failed.

The perfumes sold well, but I didn’t really know

how to market the paintings I’d bought.

Now I’ve got more Monet than scents.

Monet - Water-Lily-Pond--Symphony-In-Rose

.

.

You feel stuck with your debt

if you can’t budge it.

budget2013_BalancingTheBudget_new

.

.

The inventor of predictive text has died.

His funfair will be hello on Sundial.

His funfair will be hello on Sundial

.

.

I’m a judge in graffiti competitions.

It’s as exciting as watching paint dry.

graffiti competitions

.

.

Ghetto blasters.

They’re an 80s stereotype.

lasonic-ghetto-blaster-famous-gold-edition-3

.

.

I accidentally sprinkled marijuana into my mayonnaise.

It reminded me of Holland Days.

hollandaise-sauce

.

.

I once got a butterfly high

by giving it concentrated speed.

It was a crystal moth

crystal moth

.

.

When I broke the news to my little

brother that he had diabetes,

I tried not to sugarcoat it.

sugarcoat

.

.

Constipation:

same old s**t,

different day.

constipation

.

.

Is it just me or are Polish cleaners

really bad at brushing up?

Sorry that was a

sweeping generalization.

cleaners

.

.

My laptop is broken.

It just keeps playing

“Someone Like You”

over and over again.

Probably because it’s a Dell.

.

.

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

.