It’s March 17th So Some Facts About Saint Patrick Today.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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march 17 st patrick's day

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to one and all who celebrate these things.

Grab a glass of your green beer and find out a few facts about St. Patrick that you may find interesting and a little surprising.

Enjoy.

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donald duck st patrick's day

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Let’s start with this fact,

Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish

and he wasn’t born in Ireland.

Although he is remembered for introducing

Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, Patrick was

born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in

the late fourth century (about 385 AD)

so actually he’s British!

 

British Order of St Patrick
British Order of St Patrick

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And while we are doing a bit of myth-busting,

you might as well also know that the

Shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland.

It is a popular Irish symbol,

but the symbol of Ireland is the Harp.

As early as the medieval period, the harp appeared

on Irish gravestones and manuscripts and was

popular in Irish legend and culture well before that.

King Henry VIII used the harp on coins as early as 1534.

Later, it was used on Irish flags and Irish coats of arms.

Starting in 1642 the harp also appeared on flags

during rebellions against English rule and when

Ireland became an independent country in 1921,

it adopted the harp as the national symbol.

Harp national symbol of Ireland
The Harp is the national symbol of Ireland.

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Although today many people claim that

the shamrock represents faith, hope, and love,

or any number of other things,

it was actually used by Patrick to teach

the mystery of the Holy Trinity,

and how three things,

the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit

could be separate entities, yet one in the same.

Obviously, the pagan rulers of Ireland found

Patrick to be convincing because they

quickly converted to Christianity.

 Holy-Trinity-Shamrock

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Patrick’s first introduction to the Irish was not a pleasant one.

At the age of 16, he had the misfortune of

being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away

and sold him as a slave.

He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep

and learning about the people there.

At the age of 22, he managed to escape and

made his way to a monastery in England where

he spent 12 years growing closer to God.

 (St) Patrick being given the opportunity to leave Ireland where he had been held as a slave

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The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue,

not green as commonly believed.

In several artworks depicting the saint,

he is shown wearing blue vestments.

King Henry VIII used the Irish harp in gold

on a blue flag to represent the country.

Since that time, and possibly before,

blue has been a popular color to represent

the country on flags, coats-of-arms,

and even sports jerseys.

Ireland’s association with the color green

came later, presumably because of the greenness

of the countryside, caused by endless rainfall.

Today, the country is also referred to as the “Emerald Isle.”

 saint patrick color blue

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The St. Patrick‘s Day parade was invented

in the United States, not Ireland.

On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the British army

marched through New York City, the parade and accompanying

music helping the soldiers celebrate their Irish roots,

as well as reconnect with fellow Irishmen

serving in the British army.

In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies united

their parades to form one official New York City

St. Patrick’s Day Parade which has become one of the

largest St Patrick’s parades with about 200,000

participants and 3 million onlookers.

It is also the oldest civilian parade in the United States.

Only the City of Boston rivals it.

 st patrick's day parade new york city

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By contrast, the world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day

parade is in Dripsey, Cork, where the

parade lasts just 100 yards and

travels between the village’s two pubs.

 St. Patrick’s Day parade Dripsey Cork

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And only the Irish know why this parade goes from

one pub to the other because until 1970 St. Patrick’s

was what was known as a dry holiday in Ireland,

meaning that all pubs were shut down for the day.

The law was overturned in 1970, when St. Patrick’s

was reclassified as a national holiday

– cheers to that!

 green-beer

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In the United States during the mid 19th century,

the Roman Catholic Irish faced discrimination

much like that faced by African Americans.

Unlike the Protestant Irish who quickly assimilated

into their new country and became Americans,

(their descendants now number many millions in the USA),

the Roman Catholic Irish clung to their religion and culture

and were perceived as a potentially disloyal.

To combat this, they began to organize themselves politically

and by the end of the 19th century, St. Patrick’s Day was

a large holiday for the Roman Catholic Irish and an occasion

for them to demonstrate their collective political and social might.

In more recent times the political emphasis has faded along with

the discrimination, and the holiday has now become popular as an

opportunity for festivity regardless of one’s cultural background.

 St. Patrick’s Day parade new york roman catholic irish

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The New York and Boston St. Patrick’s Day celebrations

may well be impressive in their own right,

but they have a rival.

St Patrick’s Day has twice been celebrated in space.

In 2011, the International Space Station hosted

a St. Paddy’s Day celebration with Irish-American

astronaut Catherine Coleman playing a hundred-year-old flute

and a tin whistle belonging to members

of the Irish group, the Chieftains,

while floating weightlessly in space.

Coleman’s performance was included in a track entitled

”The Chieftains In Orbit” on the group’s album, ‘Voice of Ages’.

And in 2013, astronaut, Chris Hadfield, celebrated

St Patrick’s Day by photographing Ireland from

space while singing Danny Boy.

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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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Fasab’s Feast Of Festive Facts

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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

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

Enjoy.

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Each year more than 3 billion

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

Christmas Cards

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The actual date of the birth of Jesus is not known

and for hundreds of years was not celebrated by Christians.

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

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

such as Saturnalia (December 17-December 23),

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

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

Christmas-a-Pagan-Ritual .

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According to the Guinness world records,

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

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

tall Christmas tree .

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

because the plant spreads though bird droppings.

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

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

They even thought it had the power to cure infertility

and nervous diseases and to ward off evil.

Even today a hanging sprig is a fertility or virility symbol

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

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

Mistletoe_Kiss_by_bittenhard .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green Santa .

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

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

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

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

with the “treat” consisting of an alcoholic beverage and

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

drunk_christmas

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

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

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

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

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

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Victorian intellectuals invented the tradition of the Christmas tree

as part of a social movement to consciously reform Christmas

away from its tradition of raucous drinking.

Free-Wallpaper-Christmas-Tree

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Many people mistakenly believe that the character ‘Scrooge’

from Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’,

celebrates Christmas at the home of his clerk Bob Cratchit.

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

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

he celebrates instead with his middle-class nephew.

scrooge with nephew

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

It’s not 78 as some people say,

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

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

The third verse has 3 + 2 etc.

12 days gifts

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

Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth;

red symbolizes the blood of Christ,

and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.

Christmas colors red green and gold

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

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

and was produced by the volunteer emergency services organization

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

largest christmas stocking

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

Christmas Tree

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People in many European countries believed that spirits,

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

These spirits eventually evolved into Santa’s elves.

santa's elves

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

rent-a-santa

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

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

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

misa_de_gallo__copy

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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.”

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

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

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

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

spider's web in Christmas tree

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

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

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

happy holidays

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Because they viewed Christmas as a decadent Catholic holiday,

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

with a penalty of five shillings for each offense.

Some Puritan leaders condemned those who favored Christmas

as enemies of the Christian religion.

Likewise Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector of England

banned Christmas celebrations.

puritan christmas

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

Retail sales

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

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

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

and they often used it medicinally to reduce fever.

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

poinsettia-flower

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

first christmas postage stamp

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

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

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

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

pawnbroker-symbol

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There are two competing claims as to which president was

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

Some scholars say President Franklin Pierce did in 1856;

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

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

the White House lighting ceremony in 1923.

White House Christmas lights

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President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist,

banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1912.

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

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

Christmas tree farm in Iowa.

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

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

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Did You Know? More From The Strange Fact File

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Here is another very random selection of strange facts from fasab’s files.

As with other in this series, by the time you have read these you will know more than you did and possible more than you want to.

But have a look anyway.

Enjoy.

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The adult electric eel can produce a five hundred volt shock,

which is enough to stun a horse

– and I don’t mean a seahorse!

electric eel

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As an iceberg melts, it makes a fizzing sound
because of the compressed air bubbles popping in the ice

iceberg

Kermit the frog delivered the commencement address

at Southampton College located in the state of New York in 1996

Kermit

The mythical Scottish town of Brigadoon

appears for one day every one hundred years

Brigadoon

A rainbow can occur only when the sun

is 40 degrees or less above the horizon

rainbow

The most common injury caused by cosmetics

is to the eye by a mascara wand

mascara-wand

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The sound made by the toadfish when mating underwater

is so loud that it can be heard by humans on the shore

toadfish

In America, approximately 20% of children between

the ages of 2 – 7 have televisions in their rooms

cartoon-tv-man

Families who do turn off the television during meals tend to eat healthier.

This was regardless of family income, or education

healthy-eating1

Two out of five people end up marrying their first love

first love

Forty-one percent of women apply body and

hand moisturizer at least three times a day

woman-applying-moisturizer

Scientists have determined that having guilty feelings

may actually damage your immune system

Feeling Guilty after Eating pactket in my Papperoni__

The first box of Crayola that was ever sold

had the same eight colours that are sold in the box today

consisting of red, blue, yellow, green, violet, orange, black and brown.

The box was sold for a nickel in 1903

CrayolaCrayons24CtOpenBox

The best time for a person to buy shoes is in the afternoon.

This is because the foot tends to swell a bit around this time

swollen_feet_by_jerrykongart-d388jbm

According to psychologists, the shoe and the foot

are the most common sources of sexual fetishism in Western society

foot fetish

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Bank robber John Dillinger played professional baseball

dillinger baseball
John Dillinger top left

The first company to mass produce teddy bears was the Ideal Toy Company

ideal-toy-corp-teddy-bear-1910

Flight pioneer and pilot, Orville Wright,

was involved in the first aircraft accident.

His passenger was killed.

Orville Wright crash

The mother of famous astronomer Johannes Kepler

was accused of being a witch

Johannes_Kepler_1610
Johannes Kepler 1610

In the past 60 years, the groundhog has only predicted

the weather correctly 28% of the time.

The rushing back and forth from burrows

is believed to indicate sexual activity, not shadow seeking

groundhog

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Time For A Mid-Week Test

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Time for a mid-week test.

Today a selection of questions, some of them easy, some tricky, and one or two rather difficult.

So grab a cup of coffee and have a go.

As usual the answers are waaaaaay down below, but no cheating!

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 puzzle, test, exam. quiz, assessment

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Q. 1:  What becomes wetter the more it dries?

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Q. 2:  A red-house is made of red bricks, has a red wooden door and a red roof.

A yellow-house is made of yellow bricks, has a yellow wooden door and a yellow roof.

What is a green-house made of?

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Q. 3:  There are six eggs in the basket.

Six people each take one of the eggs.

How can it be that one egg is left in the basket?

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Q. 4:  Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones?

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Q. 5:  A New York city hairdresser recently said that he would rather cut the hair of three Canadians than one New Yorker. Why?

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Q. 6:  There are six glasses in a row.

The first three are full of water, and the next three are empty.

By moving only one glass how can you make them alternate between full and empty?

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Q. 7:  Three men in a cafe order a meal the total cost of which is $15.

They each contribute $5.

The waiter takes the money to the chef who recognizes the three as friends and asks the waiter to return $5 to the men.

The waiter is not only poor at mathematics but dishonest and instead of going to the trouble of splitting the $5 between the three he simply gives them $1 each and pockets the remaining $2 for himself.

Now, each of the men effectively paid $4, the total paid is therefore $12.

Add the $2 in the waiters pocket and this comes to $14.

….where has the other $1 gone from the original $15?

.Q. 1:  

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Q. 8:  How could a baby fall out of a twenty-story building onto the ground and live?

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Q. 9:  If:

2 3 = 10

7 2 = 63

6 5 = 66

8 4 = 96

9 7 = ??

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Q. 10:  Name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday.

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Q. 11:  Many shops have prices set just under a round figure, e.g. $9.99 instead of $10.00 or $99.95 instead of $100.00 . It is assumed that this is done because the price seems lower to the consumer. But this is not the reason the practice started. What was the original reason for this pricing method?

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Q. 12:  How do you get from cold to warm in four steps, changing only one letter at a time?

C O L D

_  _  _  _

_  _  _  _

_  _  _  _

W A R M

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Q. 13:  A snail creeps 10 feet up a wall during the daytime, then falls asleep.

It wakes up the next morning and discovers it slipped down 6 feet.

If this happens each day, how many days will it take to reach the top of a 22 foot wall?

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Q. 14:  You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus.

An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.

An old friend who once saved your life.

The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Knowing that there can only be one passenger in your car, whom would you choose?

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ANSWERS:

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Q. 1:  What becomes wetter the more it dries?       

A. 1:  A Towel

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Q. 2:  A red-house is made of red bricks, has a red wooden door and a red roof.

      A yellow-house is made of yellow bricks, has a yellow wooden door and a yellow roof.

     What is a green-house made of?

A. 2:  Glass

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Q. 3:  There are six eggs in the basket.

     Six people each take one of the eggs.

     How can it be that one egg is left in the basket?

A. 3:  The last person took the basket with the last egg still inside.

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Q. 4:  Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones?

A. 4:  Round covers cannot be dropped or fall down a manhole, unlike square ones.

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Q. 5:  A New York city hairdresser recently said that he would rather cut the hair of three Canadians than one New Yorker. Why?

A. 5:  Because he would earn three times as much money!

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Q. 6:  There are six glasses in a row. The first three are full of water, and the next three are empty.

     By moving only one glass how can you make them alternate between full and empty?

A. 6:  Pour the water from the 2nd glass into the 5th glass.

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Q. 7:  Three men in a cafe order a meal the total cost of which is $15.

      They each contribute $5.

      The waiter takes the money to the chef who recognizes the three as friends and asks the waiter to return $5 to the men.

      The waiter is not only poor at mathematics but dishonest and instead of going to the trouble of splitting the $5 between the three he simply gives them $1 each and pockets the remaining $2 for himself.

      Now, each of the men effectively paid $4, the total paid is therefore $12. Add the $2 in the waiters pocket and this comes to $14.

      ….where has the other $1 gone from the original $15? 

A. 7:  The payments should equal the receipts.

      It does not make sense to add what was paid by the men ($12) to what was received from that payment by the waiter ($2)

      Although the initial bill was $15 dollars, one of the five dollar notes gets changed into five ones.

      The total the three men ultimately paid is $12, as they get three ones back. So from the $12 the men paid, the owner receives $10 and the waiter receives the $2 difference. $15 – $3 = $10 + $2

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Q. 8:  How could a baby fall out of a twenty-story building onto the ground and live?

A. 8:  The baby fell out of a ground floor window.

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Q. 9:  If:

      2 3 = 10

      7 2 = 63

      6 5 = 66

      8 4 = 96

      9 7 = ??

A. 9:  f(n,m) = (n + m) * n

e.g. f(2,3) = (2 + 3) * 2 = 10

Hence, f(9,7) = (9 + 7) * 9 = 144

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Q. 10:  Name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday.

A. 10:  Yesterday, today and tomorrow

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Q. 11:  Many shops have prices set just under a round figure, e.g. $9.99 instead of $10.00 or $99.95 instead of $100.00 . It is assumed that this is done because the price seems lower to the consumer. But this is not the reason the practice started. What was the original reason for this pricing method?

A. 11:  The practice originated to ensure that the clerk had to open the till and give change for each transaction, thus recording the sale and preventing him from pocketing the bank notes.

.

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Q. 12:  How do you get from cold to warm in four steps, changing only one letter at a time?

C O L D

_  _  _  _

_  _  _  _

_  _  _  _

W A R M

A. 12:  

C O L D

C O R D

W O R D

W O R M  or  W A R D  

W A R M

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Q. 13:  A snail creeps 10 feet up a wall during the daytime, then falls asleep.

     It wakes up the next morning and discovers it slipped down 6 feet.

     If this happens each day, how many days will it take to reach the top of a 22 foot wall?

A. 13:  4 days

     Day 1: up to 10, down to 4

     Day 2: up to 14, down to 8

     Day 3: up to 18, down to 12

     Day 4: up to 22 and done

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Q. 14:  You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus

     An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.

     An old friend who once saved your life.

     The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

     Knowing that there can only be one passenger in your car, whom would you choose?

A. 14:   The old lady of course!

    After helping the old lady into the car, you can give your keys to your friend, and wait with your perfect partner for the bus.

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