Sacre Bleu! – Er, Make That Red White And Bleu!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

sacre bleu cartoon

There has been a lot of activity in France lately concerning the United States government spying on three French Presidents.

The current President of France even called an emergency meeting of the Conseil de la Défense, the country’s highest national security forum to discuss the emergence of documents that appear to implicate the US National Security Agency (NSA) – now who’da guessed that? –  spying on Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, who ruled France from 1995 to 2012.

The documents further indicate that the NSA may have also targeted the personal communications of Francois Hollande, France’s current head of state.

The files were published by WikiLeaks, which described them as “top secret intelligence reports and technical documents”, detailing NSA spying operations against the French presidency, as well as espionage directed at several French government ministers and at France’s ambassador to the US.

French President Francois Hollande at meeting to discuss Wikileaks revelations

The documents include intelligence briefs, which detail the thoughts and diplomatic maneuvers by French presidents and other senior officials, on subjects such as the Greek economic crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and the United Nations.

This is further evidence of more disgraceful and arrogant behavior by US spy agencies.

The thing is, however, no one is surprised any more.

Since Edward Snowden’s revelations the world has come to expect illegal and bad behavior from Americans. It is as simple as that. And for the reputations of Americans it is as bad as that. Which is a great pity because these activities do not represent in any way the vast majority of the American people.

So, if they aren’t a surprise to anyone, will the latest revelations cause trouble between America and France? I think the undoubted answer is “Oui”, but only a “petit oui”.

As befits normal protocol in these kinds of things, the American ambassador to France was summoned for what was called ‘an official protest’, but little or nothing more happened apart from President Obama getting on the phone with the French President, groveling and apologizing and assuring him in no uncertain terms “that the US is no longer spying on France”.

No, I don’t believe him either, but there it is.

President Obama on phone

There was no need for America’s snooping. As with Germany, French and American intelligence agencies cooperate with each other regularly. They jointly monitor international issues of mutual concern, such as what is happening in Syria, Iraq, the Ukraine, Libya, and even the financial catastrophe that is Greece.

For now that will continue, but the road ahead looks bumpy.

Wikileaks has already made good on its promise that its “French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future”.

The latest release from the whistleblower website contains more documents that indicate that the National Security Agency (NSA), under orders from Washington, were tasked with collecting secret information not only about the economic policies of the French government and the country’s financial sector, but on export contracts by French companies.

In fact every French-registered company involved in negotiations for international projects or other sales contracts valued at over $200 million, like car makers Peugeot and Renault and financial institutions like BNP Paribas and the agricultural credit union, were also subjected to US government secret snooping.

Washington’s pathetic statements that none of this information is ever used to benefit American companies competing for international contracts rings mighty hollow with the French, and the rest of the world come to that.

This latest information is a lot more damning and may necessitate a much stronger response from the French – even if it is just to save face.

Like their attitude over the invasion of Iraq, I think any further reaction would include little or no cooperation in any future American interventions in the Middle East and maybe the use of a veto or two in the United Nations.

We might be at the start of a new meaning to the term “non” cooperation?

.

non merci button

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

.

 

‘Mayday’, ‘Mayday’, It’s… Er… May Day Actually.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

may day sign

The first day of May, or ‘May Day’ as it is also known, is a curious mixture of superstition, social protest (Labor Day) and celebration.

May Day is also the 121st day of the year and marks the midpoint between spring and summer, occurring exactly half a year from November 1st.

Like most of the occasions we have now (Easter, Christmas, etc.), May Day started out as a pagan celebration. Its origins go back thousands of years to the Celtic period, where towns and villages would come together to celebrate springtime fertility, and rejoice in the beauty of spring and optimism of life. The energy of these gatherings was supposed to help inspire procreation.

During the 1600s, May Day festivities were prohibited and in 1640 the Church in England ruled against the debauchery and the British Parliament banned the traditions as immoral. A much tamer version was brought back in 1644 under the rule of Charles II.

Maypoles were devised as (phallic) symbols of fertility, but were also symbolic of the “world tree,” which was supposed to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. There are also rumors that this was the last chance for fairies to travel to the earth.

Today, May Day is probably best known in most countries for the tradition of ‘dancing round the maypole’ and the crowning of a ‘May Queen’.

Flowers also play an important part in May Day celebrations. Native Americans even called May the month of the flower moon, believing that flowers would dance under the full moon. And ancient Romans dedicated May Day to Flora, the goddess of flowers.

In Italy, May Day is still regarded by some as the happiest day of the year.

Since 1928, May Day in Hawaii has been known as ‘Lei Day’, a spring celebration that embraces Hawaiian culture and in particular, the lei. The holiday song, “May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i,” was originally a fox trot, but was later rearranged as a Hawaiian hula.

Listed below are some of the historical events that happened on May Day that I found interesting. Hope you do too.

But just before you start those, a word about something that has nothing whatever to do with May Day although many people believe that it has. The international distress signal is often referred to s a “mayday” signal but this is not a reference to the first day of May. The name derives from the French “venez m’aider”, meaning “come help me.”

Now you know.

And now for the real facts.

Enjoy.

.

 

maypole

.

Historical Events that happened on various May 1st’s

.

1006 – A Supernova was observed by Chinese & Egyptians astronomers in the constellation Lupus.

1328 – The Wars of Scottish Independence ended with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton by which the Kingdom of England recognized the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state.

1544 – Turkish troops occupied Hungary.

1682 – Louis XIV and his court inaugurated the Paris Observatory.

1703 – At the Battle at Rultusk the Swedish army defeated the Russians.

1704 – The Boston Newsletter published the first ever newspaper advertisement.

1707 – England, Wales & Scotland form the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1751 – The first American cricket match is played.

1753 – May Day this year saw Publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, and the formal start date of plant taxonomy adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

1759 – Josiah Wedgwood founded the Wedgwood pottery company in Great Britain.

1759 – The British fleet occupied Guadeloupe, West Indies, capturing it from France.

1776 – The secret society of the Illuminati was established in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt.

Illuminati

1777 – RB Sheridan’s “School for Scandal” premiered in London.

1778 – The American Revolutionary War Battle of Crooked Billet began in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.

1786 – Mozart’s opera “Marriage of Figaro” premiered in Wien (Vienna)

1822 – John Phillips became the first mayor of Boston.

1840 – The first adhesive postage stamps, known as the “Penny Blacks”, were issued in the UK.

1841 – The first emigrant wagon train left Independence, Missouri, for California.

1844 – Samuel Morse sent his first telegraphic message.

1844 – The Hong Kong Police Force, the world’s second modern police force and Asia’s first, was established.

1850 – John Geary became the first mayor of San Francisco.

1851 – The ‘Great Exhibition’ opened in the Crystal Palace, London.

1852 – The Philippine peso is introduced into circulation.

1857 – William Walker, conqueror of Nicaragua, surrendered to the U.S. Navy.

1861 – In the American Civil War, General Lee ordered Confederate troops under T J Jackson to Harper’s Ferry.

1862 – Also in the American Civil War, Major General Benjamin Butler’s Union forces occupied New Orleans.

1863 – The Confederate ‘National Flag’ replaced the ‘Stars & Bars’.

confederate second national flag

1866 – The Memphis Race Riots began. In three days time, 46 blacks and two whites were killed. Reports of the atrocities influenced passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1866 – The American Equal Rights Association formed.

1869 – The Folies Bergère opens in Paris.

1873 – The first US postal card is issued.

1873 – Emperor Franz Jozef opened the 5th World’s Exposition in Vienna.

1875 – 238 members of the “Whiskey Ring” are accused of anti-US activities.

1883 – “Buffalo Bill” Cody put on his first Wild West Show.

1884 – Construction began on Chicago’s first skyscraper (10 stories).

1884 – May Day this year also saw the Proclamation of the demand for eight-hour workday in the United States.

1884 – Moses Walker became the first African American player in major league baseball in the US.

Moses Fleetwood Walker

1885 – The original Chicago Board of Trade Building opened for business.

1886 – A general strike began in the US for an 8-hour working day.

1889 – German ompany Bayer introduced aspirin in powder form.

1900 – The Scofield Mine disaster killed over 200 men in Scofield, Utah in what was the fifth-worst mining accident in United States history.

1901 – Herb McFarland hit the first grand slam in the American League.

1908 – The world’s most intense shower (2.47″ in 3 minutes) occurred at Portobelo, Panama.

1912 – The Beverly Hills Hotel opened.

1915 – The RMS Lusitania departed from New York City, bound for Liverpool, on her two hundred and second, and final, crossing of the North Atlantic. Six days later, the ship was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland with the loss of 1,198 lives.

1920 – Babe Ruth made his first Yankee home run and the 50th of career.

1922 – Charlie Robertson of Chicago pitched a perfect no-hit, no-run game.

1925 – Cyprus became a British Crown Colony.

1927 – The first cooked meals on an airplane were introduced on on an Imperial Airways scheduled flight from London to Paris.

1930 – The dwarf planet Pluto was officially named.

1931 – The Empire State Building opened in New York City.

Empire State Building

1935 – Boulder Dam was completed.

1935 – Canada’s first silver dollar was circulated.

1937 – FDR signed the act of neutrality.

1939 – Batman comics hit street.

1940 – The 1940 Olympics were cancelled because of WWII.

1941 – ‘Citizen Kane’, directed & starring Orson Welles, premiered in New York.

1941 – General Mills introduced Cheerios.

1944 – The world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 262 Sturmvogel, makes 1st flight

1945 – A German newsreader officially announced that Adolf Hitler has “fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancellery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany”. The Soviet flag is raised over the Reich Chancellery, by order of Stalin.

Hitler dead headline

1945 – Admiral Karl Doenitz formed the new German government.

1946 – Field Marshal Montgomery was appointed British supreme commander.

1946 – The three-year Pilbara strike of Indigenous Australians began.

1947 – Radar for commercial & private planes was first demonstrated.

1948 – North Korea proclaims itself the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.

1952 – US Marines take part in an atomic explosion training exercise in Nevada.

1952 – Mr Potato Head was introduced.

1952 – TWA introduced tourist class.

1956 – The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk was made available to the public.

1956 – A doctor in Japan reported an “epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system”, marking the official discovery of Minamata disease.

1957 – Larry King made his first radio broadcast.

Larry King

1959 – Floyd Patterson KO’d Brian London in the 11th round for the heavyweight boxing title.

1960 – Russia shot down Francis Gary Powers’ Lockheed U-2 spy plane over Sverdlovsk in the Soviet Union, sparking a diplomatic crisis.

1961 – May Day 1961 was the date of the first US airplane being hijacked to Cuba.

1962 – The first French underground nuclear experiment took place in the Sahara, at Ecker Algeria.

1963 – James Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest.

1964 – The first BASIC program ws run on a computer at Dartmouth.

1965 – The U.S.S.R. launched its Luna 5 spacecraft which later impacted on the Moon.

1966 – Last British concert by the Beatles took place at the Empire Pool in Wembley.

1967 – Elvis Presley married Pricilla Beaulieu.

1969 – James Chichester-Clark was elected leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, and Northern Ireland Prime Minister, after succeededing Terence O’Neill.

1971 – Amtrak Railroad began operations.

1971 – The Rolling Stones released their mega-hit single “Brown Sugar”.

1978 – Ernest Morial, the first black mayor of New Orleans is inaugurated.

1978 – Japan’s Naomi Uemura, travelling by dog sled, became the first person to reach the North Pole alone.

1979 – Elton John became the first pop star to perform in Israel.

1981 – Tennis player Billie Jean King acknowledged a lesbian relationship with Marilyn Barnett – becoming first prominent sportswoman to ‘come out’.

1984 – Great Britain performed a nuclear test at a Nevada Test Site.

1985 – US President Ronald Reagan ended the embargo against Nicaragua.

1986 – Russian news agency Tass reported the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.

1989 – The 135 acre Disney MGM studio officially opened to the public.

1991 – The Angolan civil war ended.

1993 – There was a bomb attack on the Sri Lankan president in which 26 people died.

1994 – Three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna was killed in an accident during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

Ayrton Senna

1997 – Howard Stern Radio Show premiered in San Diego, CA, on KIOZ 105.3 FM.

1997 – Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister of UK.

1999 – The body of British climber George Mallory was found on Mount Everest, 75 years after his disappearance in 1924.

2003 – In what became known as the “Mission Accomplished” speech, U.S. President George W. Bush declared on board the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of California, that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.

2009 – Same-sex marriage was legalized in Sweden.

2011 – U.S. President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden, founder of the militant Islamist group Al-Quaeda and the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attackshad been killed by United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Due to the time difference between the United States and Pakistan, bin Laden was actually killed on May 2.

2012 – Guggenheim Partners made the largest ever purchase of a sports franchise after buying the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.1 billion.

2013 – A digital camera was created that could mimic insect compound eyes.

 

People you might have heard of who were born on May 1st include,

1594 – John Haynes, English-American politician, 1st Governor of the Colony of Connecticut (d. 1653)

1769 – Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Irish-English field marshal and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1852)

1852 – Calamity Jane, American scout (d. 1903)

1916 – Glenn Ford, Canadian-American actor (d. 2006)

1919 – Lewis Hill, American broadcaster, co-founded Pacifica Radio (d. 1957)

1923 – Joseph Heller, American author and playwright (d. 1999)

1925 – Scott Carpenter, American commander, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2013)

1937 – Una Stubbs, English actress and dancer

1939 – Judy Collins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

1945 – Rita Coolidge, American singer-songwriter

1946 – Joanna Lumley, English actress

1946 – John Woo, Hong Kong director, producer, and screenwriter

1954 – Ray Parker, Jr., American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (Raydio)

1967 – Scott Coffey, American actor, director, producer and screenwriter

 

People you might have heard of who died on May 1st include,

1731 – Johann Ludwig Bach, German violinist and composer (b. 1677)

1873 – David Livingstone, Scottish missionary (b. 1813)

1945 – Joseph Goebbels, German politician, Chancellor of Germany (b. 1897)

1985 – Denise Robins, English journalist and author (b. 1897)

2006 – Rob Lacey, English actor and author (b. 1962)

2011 – Ted Lowe, English sportscaster (b. 1920)

2011 – Henry Cooper, English boxer (b. 1934)

2014 – Howard Smith, American journalist, director, and producer (b. 1936)

February Facts Finish Today.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

February facts finish here, but not to worry, all being well there will be more next month.

Meantime have a look at this selection.

I hope you find something interesting.

Enjoy.

.

did you know5

.

Approximately seven hundred

tweets per minute contain a YouTube link.

twitter logo

.

.

The most beer-drinking country in

the world is the Czech Republic.

With an incredible per capita beer consumption

of almost 40 gallons a year, the Czechs are way out

in front in the beer drinking world league table,

leaving the Irish, Germans, Americans and

other “beer nations” far behind.

most beer-drinking country in the world is the Czech Republic

.

.

None of the soldiers wore metal helmets in 1914.

The French were the first to introduce them in 1915.

Future prime minister Winston Churchill wore a

French one during his time on the front in 1916.

WWI soldiers 1914

.

.

The first known pyramid architect was Imhotep,

an Ancient Egyptian polymath, engineer and

physician who is considered to be the designer of

the first major pyramid – the Pyramid of Djoser.

Imhotep statue

.

.

In 1783, then Yale University president Ezra Stiles

predicted that the population of the United States

would reach 300 million in the next two hundred years.

He based his prediction on his analysis of the

population growth in Europe.

Apparently, just a little over 200 years later,

the population of the country actually hit 300 million.

Ezra Stiles portrait

.

.

Sean Connery,

the first and arguably the best James Bond,

began balding when he was only 21-years-old,

therefore in al his appearances as ‘Bond’

he is wearing a toupee.

Sean Connery as James Bond

.

.

The phrase, “Bite the bullet”,

meaning to endure something painful,

was first recorded in Rudyard Kipling’s 1891 novel

‘The Light that Failed’ describing the barbaric era

before anesthetics were used in medical procedures.

Injured soldiers had to bite on a bullet to help them

endure the pain of an operation or amputation,

an action that usually also resulted in a few broken teeth

aside from the other pain.

Bite the bullet

.

.

A normal heart valve is about

the size of a half dollar

size of a half dollar

.

.

Payne Stewart was a prolific golfer

and a three-time major championship winner

who was extremely popular with spectators

for his exciting style of play and fancy clothes.

Sadly, in 1999 his career was cut short by an

airplane accident that cost him his life a few

months after his latest triumph in the U.S. Open.

Payne Stewart

.

.

The Laser is an innovation made possible

by Quantum mechanics.

It was once thought to have no practical use,

however, innovation and development has

enabled laser technology to be applied to different

inventions from the CD player to

missile-destroying defense systems.

The Laser

.

.

In  Port Lincoln, Australia, each January

they hold the ‘Tunarama Festival’ which is a

competition to see how far someone can

throw a frozen tuna.

Fortunately, the 2007 festival was the last one

in which real tunas were used for the throws

(because of their drastically dwindling populations).

Since then artificially made fake tunas have been used.

Tunarama Festival

.

.

From 1850 to 1942, marijuana was

considered a useful medicine for

nausea, rheumatism, and labor pains

and was easily obtained at local general stores

or pharmacies throughout the U.S.

marijuana used to be for sale in pharmacies

.

.

In Formula 1 motor racing,

there is no longer a car with the number 13.

The number has been removed after two drivers

were killed in crashes — both driving cars numbered 13.

Formula 1 no car with the number 13 now

.

.

Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space,

was also a victim of a training jet crash.

He died on March 27, 1968,

along with his flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin,

when their MiG-15UTI plane crashed.

There has always been a lot of speculation and

conspiracy surrounds their deaths.

For example, documents declassified in April 2011

include a 1968’s commission conclusion that they

had to maneuver sharply to avoid a weather balloon,

whereas a KGB report concluded the aircraft

entered a spin. from which it subsequently could

not recover. to avoid a bird strike or another aircraft.

Yuri Gagarin funeral

.

.

Alan Thicke,

the father in the TV show Growing Pains

wrote the theme songs for

The Facts of Life

and

Diff’rent Strokes.

.

.

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

.

Hats Off, It’s The Quiz!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

I suppose I should have said Panama hats off because that’s one of today’s questions.

You will also need to have a sprinkling of knowledge about marbles, wars, cooking and even fairytales to stack up the points today.

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

Enjoy and good luck.

.

quiz 2

.

Q.  1:  An easy one to start with,  where did Panama hats originate?

.

.

Q.  2:  What are toy marbles made from?

.

.

Q.  3:  How long did the ‘100 Years War’ last?

            a)  106 years          b)  116 years          c)  126 years

.

.

Q.  4:  what is the only mobile National Monument in the USA?

.

.

Q.  5:  Here’s one for all you beer drinkers, in what month is the world famous ‘Munich Oktoberfest’ beer festival held?

.

.

Q.  6:  It contains beef or pork, but what is the main ingredient of the thick and spicy soup known as ‘Borscht’ that originated in Ukraine but is also popular in many Eastern and Central European countries.

.

.

Q.  7:  What type of building is a ‘picture palace’?

.

.

Q.  8:  From which part of its body does a cow, and presumably also a bull, sweat?

.

.

Q.  9:  How many sides has a ‘Prism’?

.

.

Q. 10:  What type of creature is a ‘horned toad’?

.

.

Q. 11:  Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?

.

.

Q. 12:  What sort of fruit is a ‘Chinese gooseberry’?

.

.

Q. 13:  In the original French medieval version of the story of ‘Cinderella’ (which gave us the modern Western version) what were Cinderella’s slippers made from?

.

.

Q. 14:  In sunscreen lotions, what does the abbreviation ‘SPF’ stand for?

.

.

Q. 15:  What do bullet proof vests, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common?

.

.

Q. 16:  What is the most prevalent infectious disease in the UK?

.

.

Q. 17:  A ‘mahout’ is a person who works with and rides what?

.

.

Q. 18:  How many times was Richard Burton nominated for an Oscar and how many times did he win? (A point for each correct answer.)

.

.

Q. 19:  Which breed of cats, rabbits, and goats have the same name?

.

.

Q. 20:  Finally, a guy is condemned to death and has three rooms to choose from and he must choose one of them. Room #1 contains a fiery inferno; room #2 contains 50 Assassins with loaded guns; and room #3 contains hungry lions that haven’t eaten in three months. Which room should he choose?

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

ANSWERS

.

Q.  1:  An easy one to start with, where did Panama hats originate?

A.  1:  Okay, maybe not so easy, they originated in Ecuador.

.

.

Q.  2:  What are toy marbles made from?

A.  2:  Although called ‘marbles’ they are made from ‘glass’.

.

.

Q.  3:  How long did the ‘100 Years War’ last?

            a)  106 years          b)  116 years          c)  126 years

A.  3:  The correct answer is b) 116 years.

.

.

Q.  4:  what is the only mobile National Monument in the USA?

A.  4:  San Francisco cable cars.

.

.

Q.  5:  Here’s one for all you beer drinkers, in what month is the world famous ‘Munich Oktoberfest’ beer festival held?

A.  5:  In September.

.

.

Q.  6:  It contains beef or pork, but what is the main ingredient of the thick and spicy soup known as ‘Borscht’ that originated in Ukraine but is also popular in many Eastern and Central European countries.

A.  6:  The main ingredient of ‘Borscht’ is beetroot.

.

.

Q.  7:  What type of building is a ‘picture palace’?

A.  7:  It would be understandable if you said art gallery, but in fact a ‘picture palace’ was the name given to a cinema or theater for showing movies.

.

.

Q.  8:  From which part of its body does a cow, and presumably also a bull, sweat?

A.  8:  Its nose.

.

.

Q.  9:  How many sides has a ‘Prism’?

A.  9:  Five.

.

.

Q. 10:  What type of creature is a ‘horned toad’?

A. 10:  A ‘horned toad’ is a lizard.

.

.

Q. 11:  Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?

A. 11:  Their birthplace.

.

.

Q. 12:  What sort of fruit is a ‘Chinese gooseberry’?

A. 12:  It is a Kiwifruit.  It originated in China but renamed kiwifruit by growers/exporters in New Zealand.

.

.

Q. 13:  In the original French medieval version of the story of ‘Cinderella’ (which gave us the modern Western version) what were Cinderella’s slippers made from?

A. 13:  They were made from squirrel fur which when you think about it is a lot more sensible than glass. The reason we ended up with a glass slipper is because the French word for squirrel fur is ‘vair’, which was misunderstood by Charles Perrault, writer of the modern version, to be verre, which means glass. You got it wrong Charlie and I guess so did most people who answered this question!

.

.

Q. 14:  In sunscreen lotions, what does the abbreviation ‘SPF’ stand for?

A. 14:  ‘SPF’ stands for Sun Protection Factor.

.

.

Q. 15:  What do bullet proof vests, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common?

A. 15:  They were all invented by women.

.

.

Q. 16:  What is the most prevalent infectious disease in the UK?

A. 16:  The Common Cold.

.

.

Q. 17:  A ‘mahout’ is a person who works with and rides what?

A. 17:  Elephants.

.

.

Q. 18:  How many times was Richard Burton nominated for an Oscar and how many times did he win? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 18:  Richard Burton was nominated seven times for an Oscar and surprisingly never won any. The correct answers are 7 and 0.

.

.

Q. 19:  Which breed of cats, rabbits, and goats have the same name?

A. 19:  Angora.

.

.

Q. 20:  Finally, a guy is condemned to death and has three rooms to choose from and he must choose one of them. Room #1 contains a fiery inferno; room #2 contains 50 Assassins with loaded guns; and room #3 contains hungry lions that haven’t eaten in three months. Which room should he choose?

A. 20:  He should choose room #3 because the lions would be dead if they hadn’t eaten in three months.

.

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

.

They’ve Got It Wrong AGAIN!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

The Sunday Sermon

.

russia-sanctions

.

I wrote a short post the other day on the subject of failure. I think it was a success 🙂

What hasn’t been a success, however, is America’s foreign policy. I’ve also written about this many times in the past. I find it very annoying that a country as great as America and with so many brilliant people within it can neither elect a smart politician, or even a not so smart politician but one who has enough brains to hire smart advisers.

The current President, Barack Obama, has continued the trend of failure. Particularly with regard to foreign policy, at which he has not only failed but added indecision and procrastination to the mix.

The examples are many, but the latest foreign policy debacle is the leading role America has taken in the imposition of sanctions against Russia. Sanctions that may have been aimed against Russia but which are already starting to backfire against the US.

I noted in another post that sanctions have been imposed in regard to Russian oil and natural gas, which Europe (particularly Germany and France) needs, but America doesn’t; but that the sanctions were not imposed on nuclear fuels, which America does need.

Believe me, the hypocrisy of that has not been lost on the European governments or its public.

And the hypocrisy does not end there.

rosneft getty

On the one hand there have been hyped up media statements telling everyone that Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, and its head Igor Sechin, have been targeted in the sanctions.

But what hasn’t been trumpeted so loudly is the fact that British oil company BP, owns almost 20% of Rosneft, and has confirmed that it would not be severing ties with the Russian firm.

Similarly, Norway’s Statoil is continuing its partnership with Rosneft to search for oil in the Norwegian section of the Barents Sea.

And France’s major oil and gas company, Total, has announced that it is seeking financing for its next gas project in –  where else? –  Russia. When they get that financing, amounting to something in the region of $27 billion, it will be in Roubles or maybe even Yuan, but certainly not in US dollars – again thanks to the ill thought out sanctions.

This will set a trend for similar deals that will also exclude the US dollar, inevitably lowering its standing as the world’s reserve currency. I expect more such deals to be done with the Russians by German companies in particular as the sanctions fail to bring the promised results and as a consequence start to fall apart.

But it gets worse.

Before any of the US Senators or Congressmen stand up and start to call names at the Brits or the Norwegians or the French for backtracking on sanctions, they would be better to take a look nearer home.

It now seems that American Companies are not paying attention to the sanctions either.

ExxonMobil_Challenges

For example, ExxonMobil, America’s largest oil company, has continued drilling offshore in the Russian Arctic, also with Rozneft.

If the sanctions were anything more than a bit of public posturing by Obama, ExxonMobil shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) be doing any more work with the Russians in Russia. But using the excuse that it is environmentally safer to complete the well than to allow the Russians to do it alone, ExxonMobil got permission to continue.

No doubt the company will express its gratitude when the next round of electioneering fund raising comes along! (Gosh, I’m such a cynic!)

Now, if Obama and his advisers had thought for a moment about the consequences of sanctions, they would have realized that, in cases like this, companies such as ExxonMobile had not really got a choice. If they hadn’t continued to work with Rozneft, the Russian company would simply have gone ahead without them with a consequent dilution of ExxonMobile’s return if/when the well is a success.

In addition to that, if the Russian company did need other help you can be sure there would have been a Chinese energy company there ready and willing and eager to take up the slack.

Whilst Obama and his predecessors have been blundering around the world pissing off friend and foe alike, the strategy of the Russian President has been to cultivate new friends and thereby new markets and customers for his country’s vast energy reserves.

It has been a clever move.

Sanctions or not, game to Putin this time I think.

sanctions against Russia

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

 

Did You Know? – I Didn’t.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Yes, I have to admit that many of the facts that I use on these posts are just as big a surprise to me as they possibly are to you.

But I hope interesting, as well.

Here is the latest batch from the archives.

Enjoy.

.

facts 04

.

There are 13 ways to spell

the “o” sound in French

the-simpsons-d-oh

.

.

There is a planet called HD189733b

where it rains glass sideways.

planet HD189733b

.

.

The language of the Native American Zuni tribe

has resemblances to Japanese.

Subsequent research confirmed

biological similarities between the groups.

Native American Zuni tribe

.

.

For a long time the world believed Troy to be a mythical city

and the Trojan War to be little more than legend,

until Heinrich Schliemann discovered the actual remains of the city.

Troy

.

.

Despite the common myth that large brains equal more intelligence,

people like Einstein actually had a smaller brain

(only difference is, he used his!)

Einstein

.

.

Vikings didn’t have horns on their helmets.

Viking helmet

.

.

A man  named James Boole survived a fall of 6,000 feet

without a parachute with only a broken back and ribs.

It is estimated that when Boole hit the ground,

he was falling at about 100 kilometers per hour.

James Boole

.

.

There is no such thing as a banana tree,

bananas grow on a banana plant.

banana plant

.

.

Nuclear rain from the Chernobyl disaster

fell as far away as Ireland

where sheep farmers were banned from

selling their animals for human consumption for a time.

chernobyl-radiation-map

.

.

For years Big Pharma made $millions off selling people

anti-stress drugs to cure their ulcers,

until an Australian scientist proved the ulcers

were quite often caused by bacteria and were easily curable.

anti-stress drugs

.

.

Fourteen of the original rides from

Disneyland’s 1955 opening are still in operation.

original rides from Disneyland

.

.

Nice comes from a Latin word meaning “ignorant”.

nescius

.

.

Side by side, 2000 cells from the human body

could cover about one square inch.

cells from the human body

.

.

When Robert Williams tried to retrieve

a faulty part at a Ford Motor’s casting plant,

the malfunctioning machine reactivated

and its arm slammed into his head, killing him instantly.

He is the first man in history to have been killed by a robot.

Ford Motor Company robot

.

.

In one of the stupidest decision

in the history of the music industry,

Decca Records turned down the Beatles

because they “weren’t sellable”.

.

.

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

.

Did You Know? – Americans, Chinese, French, Greeks, There’s Facts About All Of Them In Here!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Yes, today is a bit of a multi-cultural fact feast.

Hope you enjoy.

.

did you know2

.

Brown eyes are actually blue,

under a layer of melanin.

blue eyes

.

.

Billionaire Chuck Feeney donated most of his fortune

anonymously and with no recognition,

while flying coach, owning a $15 watch,

and having no cars or homes.

Billionaire Chuck Feeney

.

.

George Washington was surprised to discover

that the Chinese were not white.

(I wonder how surprised they were to find out he was?)

chinese drawing

.

.

When it first opened in 1955 Disneyland had

a lingerie store on Main Street called The Wizard Of Bras

The Wizard Of Bras

.

.

In the mid 1800s France gave a crucial patent

in photography as a free gift to the world…

except for Britain who had to pay for it!

photographing the eiffel tower

.

.

Disaster comes from the Greek

“dis” meaning bad,

and “aster”, meaning star.

The ancient Greeks used to blame calamities

on unfavorable planetary positions.

disaster-sign

.

.

If you are in a room with 23 people,

there’s more than a 50% chance that

two of the people have the same birthday.

Birthday_Paradox.svg

.

.

There are more tigers living in Texas

than in the rest of the world.

tiger

.

.

While serving as sheriff of Erie County, N.Y.,

Grover Cleveland had to spring the trap

at a hanging on two occassions.

This earned him the unflattering nickname

“Buffalo Hangman.”

Grover Cleveland

.

.

Workers at Amazon’s distribution centers

can be expected to walk up to 11 miles per shift,

picking an order every 33 seconds.

Amazon's distribution centers

.

.

The shortest French word with all

five vowels is “oiseau” meaning bird.

oiseau

.

.

Des Moines has the highest per capita0

Jello consumption in the U.S

Des Moines jello capital

.

.

In 1770 the British parliament passed a law

condemning lipstick, stating that

” women found guilty of seducing men

into matrimony by a cosmetic means”

could be tried for witchcraft.

law condemning lipstick

.

.

Mr Feng, a Chinese father, hired a bunch of assassins

to kill his son’s online World of Warcraft character.

Apparently his son was wasting too much time after being laid off.

Mr Feng, World of Warcraft

.

.

Spencer Eldon was the name of the naked baby

on the cover of Nirvana’s album

.

.

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

.