Friday The 13th, Part Two.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Friday 13th

What do you know, it’s Friday 13th AGAIN.

Second one in two months and there will be another in November 2015 too.

How lucky is that?

Well, I guess not so lucky if you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia (also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia), which is a fear of Friday the 13th, or even triskadekaphobia which is the scientific name given to a fear of the number 13 itself.

It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise really. The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is 14 months, and every year has at least one and sometimes, like this year, three Friday the 13ths.

There is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century, the first reference to an unlucky Friday the 13th coming in an 1869 biography of the composer Rossini who died on Friday November 13, 1868.

The superstition only gained widespread distribution in the 20th century, although the origin is believed to have come from the Bible, the association stemming from the idea that the 13th guest at the Last Supper was the one who betrayed Jesus prior to his death, which occurred on a Friday.

The Curtis Hotel in Denver

Hotels, skyscrapers and even hospitals have been known to skip out on creating a 13th floor due to its unlucky connection and even airports sometimes quietly omit gate 13. The Curtis Hotel in Denver, Colorado, on the other hand uses the superstition as a gimmick to amuse guests by playing the “dun, dun, dunnnnn!!” theme in the elevator shaft for guests as they arrive on the 13th floor.

Sometimes research seems to add weight to the superstition. A study in Finland, for example, has shown that women are more likely to die in traffic accidents on Friday the 13th than on other Fridays.

And, according to a report from U.K.’s newspaper, The Mirror, 72 percent of United Kingdom residents have claimed to have had bad luck experiences Friday the 13th. The readers polled admitted to avoiding traveling, attending business meetings and making large purchases on this unlucky day, with 34 percent admitting to wanting to “hide under their duvet” for the upcoming dates. The study did not speculate if their luck would have been better if they had gone about their normal business!

Former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a strong fear of the number 13 and refused to host a dinner party with 13 guests or to travel on the 13th day of any month. US President Herbert Hoover had similar fears.

Maybe he did what superstitious diners in Paris do – hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

I don’t think Cuban leader Fidel Castro had the same fears because he was born on Friday, August 13,1926, as was the celebrated outlaw Butch Cassidy (born on. Friday, April 13,1866).

Butch Cassidy

Speaking of outlaws, Oklahoma bandit Crawford “Cherokee Bill” Goldsby murdered 13 victims, and was captured after a reward of $1300 was posted. At his trial, 13 eyewitnesses testified against him, the jury took 13 hours to render a verdict of guilty. He was hanged on April 13,1896 on a gallows with 13 steps!

Stock broker and author Thomas W. Lawson, wrote a novel in 1907 entitled “Friday the Thirteenth,” about a stockbroker’s attempts to take down Wall Street on the unluckiest day of the month. Reportedly, stock brokers after this were as unlikely to buy or sell stocks on this unlucky day as they were to walk under a ladder, according to accounts of a 1925 New York Times article.

The independent horror movie Friday the 13th was released in May 1980 and despite only having a budget of $550,000 it grossed $39.7million at the box office in the United States – not unlucky for it’s backers. In fact the “Friday the 13th” film franchise continues to sweep up its box-office competition. According to  BoxOfficeMojo.com, the dozen films named after the haunted holiday have raked in more than $380 million nationally, with an average gross of $31 million per feature.

Another director noted for his suspenseful psychological thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock, was born on the Friday 13th in August 1899, although he also had a run in with bad luck on that date too when his directorial debut movie called “Number 13,” never made it past the first few scenes and was shut down due to financial problems. He is supposed to have said that the film wasn’t very interesting. We’ll never know!

Alfred Hitchcock

Also with movies in mind there was a feature film based on the unlucky events of Apollo 13, launched on 13:13 CST, April 11,1970, which barely escaped becoming a doomed flight when an explosion disabled the craft occurring on April 13th (not a Friday in case you are interested).

According to Thomas Gilovich, chair of Psychology at Cornell University, our brains are known to make associations with Friday 13th in a way that would give favor to the “bad luck” myths. He explains this by saying that “if anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind and all those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored.” It’s a bit like remembering the good old days and forgetting the bad ones!

Always contrary, pagans believe that 13 is actually a lucky number since it corresponds with the number of full moons in a year and in Spanish-speaking nations, Tuesday The 13th is regarded as unlucky rather than Friday!

So I guess you just have to make up your own mind whether you believe Friday 13th is unlucky or not.

I’m hoping of course that the fact that you have landed on this blog today is good luck rather than bad.

It was good luck for me, please call again.

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My Nose Is Itchy, I Wonder Why. Maybe The Facts Will Tell Me.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Itchy or not it’s time for another fact day.

This selection includes music, movies and Mexican general elections.

So hopefully something for everyone.

Enjoy.

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facts 02

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Earth’s seasons are not due to our proximity to the sun,

but rather due to Earth’s 23.4 degree tilt on its axis.

 earth's tilt on axis

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Did you know that in Romania many people believe

that when your nose is feeling itchy,

it means that someone wants to kiss you.

In some other countries the superstition says

that an itchy nose is a sign that

you are going to be angry later.

Take you choice which to believe, or both, or neither.

 itchy nose

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When you are trying to listen to someone in a noisy situation,

use your right ear because it picks up words better,

while your left ear is better at picking up sounds and music.

 listening

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Famous people who served during World War One (WWI)

include the writers A. A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh,

JRR Tolkien, author of Lord of The Rings,

sculptor Henry Moore, and the actor Basil Rathbone.

 

Basil Rathbone WWI
Basil Rathbone WWI

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Although it is commonly said and believed that

lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice,

the fact is that it can and does.

Lightning tries to find the fastest path to the ground,

and therefore tall buildings, trees, and such are at the

greatest risk because the higher the object,

the more likely it is to be struck.

 lightning striking tree

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The most subscribed channel

on YouTube is ‘Music’.

 YouTube music channel

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In the Mexican general election of 1988,

during the count the government claimed

that the computers had crashed.

Although the early results showed that

Cárdenas was winning comfortably,

when the computers were “repaired,”

his political opponent, Salinas, had supposedly

eked out a narrow victory.

Years later, a former president of Mexico,

Miguel de la Madrid, admitted to the New York Times

that the 1988 general election had been rigged

to make the Institutional Revolutionary Party win,

and that three years after the election,

all ballots were burned in order to

remove all evidence of the fraud.

 Mexican flag

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The techniques used for pyramid

construction developed over time;

later pyramids were not built

the same way as earlier ones.

 techniques used for pyramid construction

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 In the H G Wells novel entitled “The World Set Free”,

written at a time when little was known

about the power of radioactive elements,

he predicted that a city-destroying atomic bomb

would destroy lives in the future.

Years later the atomic bomb was launched

through the Manhattan Project and eventually

dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima,

causing radiation sickness and deaths years after.

 The World Set Free by H G Wells

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In 1929, German surgeon Werner Forssmann

examined the inside of his own heart by

threading a catheter into his arm vein.

This was the first cardiac catheterization,

a now common procedure.

 cardiac catheterization

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The chef was one of the male survivors

from the Titanic disaster,

and his survival is credited to the amount

of liquor he drank right before going underwater,

which kept his body temperature up.

 Titanic chef survivor

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Marijuana is known to increase

appetite and food consumption.

Pigs in Bhutan are fed cannabis to make

them hungrier and consequently fatter.

 Pigs in Bhutan are fed cannabis

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Vodka is the world’s most popular liquor by a huge margin,

with about 5 billion liters consumed every year.

 stolichnaya vodka

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Cocoa trees can live up to 200 years but they only

produce usable cocoa beans for about 25 years.

 Cocoa trees

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In the famous movie Psycho,

Alfred Hitchcock used Bosco chocolate syrup

for blood in the legendary shower scene.

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Fasab’s Fascinating Festive Facts

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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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.

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festive facts

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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.

traditional three colors of Christmas

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The first printed reference to a

Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.

Christmas_Tree

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Apparently seven out of ten British dogs

get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.

dogs get Christmas gifts

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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

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Electric Christmas lights

were first used in 1854.

edison-ad-christmas-lights1

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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

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Franklin Pierce was the first president to

decorate an official White House Christmas tree.

white-house-christmas-tree

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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.

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Artificial Christmas trees

have outsold real ones since 1991.

Artificial Christmas tree

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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”.

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It’s Time For – The BIG Christmas Quiz!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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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.

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The BIG Christmas Quiz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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)?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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?

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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Q. 25:  What Angel visited Mary?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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?

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

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ANSWERS

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

A.  1:  Canada.

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

A.  2:  Poinsettia.

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

A.  3:  26th December.

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

A.  4:  Holiday Inn.

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

A.  5:  Robert Burns.

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

A.  6:  Little Women.

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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.

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

A.  8:  Maids-a-milking.

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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.

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

A. 10:  Cupid.

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

A. 11:  White.

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

A. 12:  The Nightmare before Christmas.

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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”.

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

A. 14:  Almond.

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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).

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

A. 16:  Christmas cracker.

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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)

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

A. 18:  Dr Seuss.

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

A. 19:  Shepherds.

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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)

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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.

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

A. 22:  Cranberry sauce.

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

A. 23:  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  

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

A. 24:  Twelfth Night.

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Q. 25:  What Angel visited Mary?

A. 25:  Gabriel.

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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.

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

A. 27:  The Snowman.

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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.

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

A. 29:  Ladies dancing.

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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.

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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.

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

A. 32:  Griswold.

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

A. 33:  Turkey.

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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

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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.

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

A. 36:  Oliver Cromwell.

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

A. 37:  Seven.

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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). 

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

A. 39:  South Africa

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

A. 40:  10.

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

A. 41:  Pennsylvania 

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

A. 42:  The Transformers    

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

A. 43:  Tinsel.

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

A. 44:  Turbo Man.

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

A. 45:  Charles Babbage.

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

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

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

A. 47:  Lethal Weapon

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

A. 48:  The iPod Touch.

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

A. 49:  364.

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

A. 50:  Bethlehem.

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Chocolate And Burnt Wine Are On The Fact Menu Today.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes chocolate and ‘burnt wine’ are just two of the delicious facts on today’s menu.

So time to tuck in and….

Enjoy.

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facts 04

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About 40 percent of almonds

and 20 percent of peanuts

produced in the world are

made for chocolate products.

chocolate covered almonds

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The word “brandy“ derives

from the Dutch word “brandewijn“,

which means “burnt wine“.

brandewijn

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On May 2, 2011,

a well-trained Malinois dog named Cairo

accompanied the US Navy SEALs

who killed Osama Bin Laden.

Even though there aren’t many details

about this secret but successful operation,

every member of the team guarantees that

the outcome might not have been as

successful if Cairo wasn’t present to help.

Malinois SEAL dog Cairo

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After alcohol, marijuana is

the second most popular recreational

or mood-altering substance in the world.

marijuana plant

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The first human space fatality was

Vladimir Komarov (a close friend of Yuri Gagarin)

who commanded the Soyuz 1 mission on April 2, 1967.

After a successful stay in space,

Soyuz 1 re-entered the atmosphere,

but when its parachutes failed to deploy,

the impact led to his death.

Vladimir Komarov

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J.K. Rowling,

author of the ‘Harry Potter’ series,

is the first person to become a

billionaire (U.S. dollars)

by writing books.

J.K. Rowling

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The term “First Lady” was used first in 1849

when President Zachary Taylor called

Dolley Madison “First Lady” at her state funeral.

It gained popularity in 1877 when used

in reference to Lucy Ware Webb Hayes.

Most First Ladies, including Jackie Kennedy,

are said to have hated the label.

dolley_madison_stamp

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There is a popular myth that the

Great Wall of China is visible from the Moon,

however, since it would be like viewing a

human hair from a distance of about 2 miles,

this myth is not true.

earth great wall from the moon

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In Australia

the town Coober Pedy is underground,

made from old abandoned mines.

In the extremely hot, sunny days

of the Australian summer it provides

a cool environment or its inhabitants.

coober_pedy_house

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A muscular person has a higher alcohol tolerance

than someone with more body fat.

Water-rich muscle tissues absorb alcohol more effectively,

preventing it from reaching the brain.

So if you plan to get Arnold Schwarzenegger drunk it’ll cost you!

arnold-schwarzenegger-movies__span

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At 4:05 P.M. Moscow Time on

Wednesday, September 7, 2011,

Yak-Service Flight 9633,

carrying the players and coaching staff

of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team,

crashed near the Russian city of Yaroslavl.

The aircraft ran off the runway before lifting off,

struck a tower mast, caught fire and crashed

2 km (1.2 mi) from Tunoshna Airport

at the Volga River bank.

Of the 45 on board, 43 died at the crash site,

one of the two rescued from the wreck, Alexander Galimov,

died five days later in hospital,

and only the avionics flight engineer,

Alexander Sizov, survived.

Alexander-Sizov-44-fatalities

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Ants can “enslave“ individual ants

from other ant species,

keeping them captive and making

them do work for the colony.

ant-slavery

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Once a month, Clothing Optional Dinners,

a dining club in Manhattan, New York,

founded by nudist activist John J. Ordover,

hosts a naked dinning party.

Diners must bring something to sit on

(for example a towel),

the staff, however, must always stay clothed.

Clothing-Optional-Dinners-Manhattan

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In 1841 Edgar Allan Poe wrote a short story now

considered to be the first modern detective story.

It was called “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”

and the key character was a detective named Mr. Dupin.

The story, has served as a model for

many subsequent fictional detectives

including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.

Edgar ALlan Poe - The Murders in the Rue Morgue

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.

The ‘High heel race’, held in cities such as

Sydney, Paris, Moscow or Amsterdam,

is a running event in which the participants

must overcome a distance of 80 meters (around 260 feet)

running on high heels

that have to be at least 7 cm (2.8 inches)high.

.

.

And here are a few more high heel disasters to enjoy….

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Would You Take The Bubble Baba Challenge?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

We’ll find out later whether or not you would take the Bubble Baba Challenge.

In the meantime have a look at this week’s selection of facts.

Enjoy.

.

facts 02

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Harry Potter shares the same birth day

as his creator J K Rowling,

his is July 31, 1980 and

Rowling’s July 31, 1966.

Harry Potter

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A Yew tree located in the churchyard of

the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland,

is estimated to be 3,000 – 5,000 years old

which many believe makes it Europe´s oldest tree.

With its massive trunk of 52 feet (16 meters) in diameter,

the yew is still in good health and may last for many more centuries.

Yew tree located in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland

.

Thames Town is a little town situated in the heart of China

that is an imitation of a classic British city

with traditional English architecture, cuisine,

and even those classic red phone booths

we all identify with London.

Thames Town, China

.

Still in China, “The Great Wall of China”

did not get that official name

until the end of the 19th Century.

Previously it had been known by names

such as “barrier”, “rampart”, “fortress”,  

“Purple Frontier” or “Earth Dragon”.

The Great Wall of China 5

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The United States has had some remarkable successes

in the field of space flight and exploration.

However it wasn’t always that way.

The very first time they tried to launch a satellite into orbit,

on December 6, 1957 (Vanguard TV3),

the rocket lost thrust only 4 feet (1.2 m) above the launch pad

and fell back to the ground, its fuel tanks

rupturing and creating a massive fireball,

damaging the launch pad and destroying the rocket.

Due to limited data measurement methods in these early days,

though, the cause was never fully determined.

Vanguard TV3 failed launch

.

If you like Vodka then look out for a bottle of

“The Billionare Vodka“,

the world´s most expensive vodka.

It is first ice-filtered, then filtered through

Nordic birch charcoal and lastly passed

through sand made from crushed diamonds and gems.

It is sold in a platinum and rhodium encased,

diamond encrusted crystal bottle and

will set you back only $3.75 million dollars.

Cheers!

The Billionare Vodka

.

No more time in the joint for smoking a joint,

at least not in the U.S. state of Washington,

the first state to officially legalize cannabis

in a state law in December 2012,

with the state of Colorado following close behind.

DC-US-Statue-Liberty-Smoking-Joint

.

Ant queens can live for up to 30 years,

about 100 times longer than solitary insects of a similar size.

Workers live from 1 to 3 years.

Ant queen

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Eight US Presidents were born British subjects:

Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison,

Monroe, J. Q. Adams, Jackson, and W. Harrison.

Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J. Q. Adams

.

Jim the horse, a former milk wagon horse,

was responsible for curing diphtheria.

He was infected with diphtheria

but unlike other animals he didn’t die.

Doctors found that Jim’s immune system

was able to create antibodies to fight the disease

and this allowed doctors to make a serum for humans,

with great success, helping to save the lives

of millions of humans and animals around the world.

Jim the horse

.

Al ‘Wallpaper’ Wolff is best remembered

as having been the last surviving member

of the group of eleven federal law-enforcement agents,

led by Eliot Ness, known as the Untouchables.

Wolff was the fearless agent and a ferocious

persecutor of those who obtained illegal alcohol.

Strangely, once he retired from law enforcement

and alcohol was legal he got involved in

the cocktail lounge business in Chicago.

He died in March 1998 at the age of 95.

Al 'Wallpaper' Wolff

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In 1827, world famous author Edgar Allan Poe

enlisted in the United States Army

using the false name “Edgar A. Perry”.

He claimed to be 22 years old

even though he was just 18.

Edgar Allan Poe young

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James Dean’s silver Porsche 550 Spyder,

the car he died in following an accident in 1955,

was known as the “Little Bastard”

and said to be cursed.

After it was sold for parts,

the car fell and crushed a mechanic’s legs;

later, a doctor who bought the car’s engine

was killed in a car accident;

another victim who bought the transmission

was severely injured in a crash;

the tires sold from Little Bastard

blew out simultaneously,

sending their buyer to the hospital;

and lastly a truck carrying the car’s shell crashed,

killing the driver.

Hmmmm….

James Dean’s silver Porsche 550 Spyder

.

The Bird´s Nest Restaurant, located in

the Soneva Kiri Eco Resort in Thailand,

gives the customers privacy,

as well as the unique opportunity to

admire spectacular views while dining.

Tree nests hang 16 feet above the ground

and are served by waiters who use a zip line

to deliver the food and drinks.

A typical dinner for two costs about $450.

Birds-Nest-Restaurant-01

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Finally, time for those of a nervous disposition to look away.

Officially known as the “Bubble Baba Challenge”,

this is an unusual (to say the least) sporting event

where participants float down a river

embracing a rubber woman.

The idea was apparently dreamt up

by a Russian, Dmitry Bulawinov,

initially as a joke at a party

where the men got drunk! 

(It could have been worse!)

.

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Ants In Your Pants? There’s Plenty Of ‘Em!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Hi and welcome to fact day which does, as the title suggests, include an amazing fact about the number of ants ib the world. They may not be in your pants, but keep a look out just in case!

And now for the facts.

Enjoy.

.

did you know2

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Halloween, which we’ve all just endured another year,

is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C.,

which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years

and is one of the oldest celebrations in the world.

happy halloween

.

.

Most vegetables and almost all fruits contain

a small amount of alcohol in them.

Cheers!

vegetables

.

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Some scientific studies suggest there are about

10,000,000,000,000,000 individual ants

alive on Earth at any given time.

Ants are estimated to represent about 15–20%

of the total terrestrial animal biomass,

which exceeds that of the vertebrates.

Ant from_a_bugs_life

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When Pluto was discovered it was initially

believed to be larger than Earth.

Now astronomers know that it’s about

1,455 miles (2,352 kilometers) across,

less than 20 percent as big as the Earth.

planets in our solar system smaller than earth

.

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Thomas Stewart Armistead was a Confederate officer

who fought bravely in the American Civil War.

After being wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness he

was captured and placed in a camp near Morris Island

where the Union authorities used him as a human

shield to prevent fire from nearby Confederate artillery batteries.

Thomas Stewart Armistead and 599 other Confederate officers

who had also been captured became known as “The Immortal 600.”

When, on November 16, 1922, Armistead died at the age of 80 he

was the last survivor and member of “The Immortal 600.”

Thomas Stewart Armistead

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The American football team the Baltimore Ravens are named

in honor of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem ‘The Raven’.

Baltimore_Ravens_logo

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The construction of the Great Wall of China took over 2 thousands years,

the very first parts being built as early as in the 8th century BC.

Great Wall of China

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Table for one, sir?

Amsterdam´s restaurant At Eenmaal,

founded by social designer Marina van Goor,

has become famous because the only type of table

that you can find in the restaurant is a table for one.

restaurant At Eenmaal

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The largest thermometer in the world is 134-feet-tall (40.843m)

and was built by businessman Willis Herron in Baker, California.

The thermometer is supposed to serve as a memento of

the highest recorded temperature in the U.S.

measured in nearby Death Valley

– 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.6 Celsius) in 1913.

The thermometer is no longer in operation,

and was put up for sale in January 2013.

largest thermometer in the world

.

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In 410 A.D. Alaric the Visigoth demanded that Rome give

him three thousand pounds of pepper as ransom,

an amount not to be sneezed at.

Alaric the Visigoth

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Abu Nasr Isma’il ibn Hammad al-Jawhari was an author of

a notable Arabic dictionary containing about 40,000 entries.

He is also remembered in Arabic history for

his attempt to fly with wooden wings.

He leapt from the roof of a mosque in the old town of Nishapur,

whereupon gravity took control and

he promptly hit the ground and was killed.

Abu Nasr Isma'il ibn Hammad al-Jawhari

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If you spray an antiseptic spray on a polar bear,

its fur will turn purple.

I wonder who got close enough to find that one out?

antiseptic spray on a polar bear

.

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The Japanese Empire was the largest maritime empire in history,

spanning more than 7 million square kilometers and gained such

notoriety that it took atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

plus plenty of other battles to defeat it.

Japanese Empire

.

.

The movie that grossed the most money that was

adapted from a T.V. cartoon is Scooby-Doo

scooby-doo

.

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Quite often when a book is made into a movie a lot of things get changed.

Sometimes this spoils the story for those who have read the book,

other times it can improve it.

In Robert Bloch’s novel  the main character ‘Norman Bates’

was short, fat, older, and very dislikable.

In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie version, however,

he was young, handsome, and sympathetic, and one

of the most well-known characters in film history.

Here are a couple of clips….

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