First Of June, First Quiz Of June.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Summer is beckoning but not before you try another fasab quiz.

Twenty more random questions to test your knowledge.

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

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q.  1:  How many leaves are there on a shamrock?

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Q.  2:  It is the name of a region in Western Europe, a unique language, a close fitting bodice and a common form of the ball game Pelota. What is it?

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Q.  3:  What nationality was the first person to reach the North Pole alone and on foot?

            a) Finnish          b) English          c) Norwegian          d) Swedish

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Q.  4:  Which mode of transport did Christopher Cockerell invent in the 1950’s?

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Q.  5:  What word links a herb or other small vegetable growth, the buildings, equipment, etc., of a company or an institution, or a shot in snooker where the cue ball hits a red ball which hits another red ball to make it go into a pocket?

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Q.  6:  What city in the United States of America is known as the “City of Oaks” because of the many oak trees that line the streets in the heart of the city.

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Q.  7:  What is a female bear called?

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Q.  8:  Gävleborg, Gotland and Uppsala are among the counties of which country?

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Q.  9:  In which Olympic sport are there ‘Normal Hill’ and ‘Large Hill’ events?

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Q. 10:  In Greek mythology who went in search of the ‘Golden Fleece’ ? (You get a point for the name of the leader, the name given to his followers and two bonus points for the name of their ship.)

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Q. 11:  What color originates from a famous 16th Century Italian painter and what color is it? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 12:  Which English city has more than 100 miles of canal?

            a) London            b) Birmingham            c) Manchester

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Q. 13:  Which empire ruled most of India and Pakistan in the 16th and 17th centuries?

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Q. 14:  What writer created the famous Baker Street detective?

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Q. 15:  Which black and white bird has the scientific name ‘Pica pica’ ?

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Q. 16:  What is the name given to that part of the North Atlantic bounded by the Gulf Stream on the west, the North Atlantic Current on the north, the Canary Current on the east, and the North Equatorial Current on the south.

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Q. 17:  If you added together all the voting seats in the US Senate and House of Representatives, how many idiots could sit down?

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Q. 18:  Name the star of the movie ‘Taken’.

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Q. 19:  What company, still in existence, was at one time the largest landowner in the world, having 15% of the land in North America?

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Q. 20:  Finally a chance to beef up that points score. What were the eight original tokens used in the board game ‘Monopoly’ ?  (A point for each correct answer and two bonus points if you get all eight correct.)

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  How many leaves are there on a shamrock?

A.  1:  Three (3).

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Q.  2:  It is the name of a region in Western Europe, a unique language, a close fitting bodice and a common form of the ball game Pelota. What is it?

A.  2:  Basque.

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Q.  3:  What nationality was the first person to reach the North Pole alone and on foot?

            a) Finnish          b) English          c) Norwegian          d) Swedish

A.  3:  The correct answer is c) Norwegian. He was Børge Ousland and he walked there by himself in 1994.

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Q.  4:  Which mode of transport did Christopher Cockerell invent in the 1950’s?

A.  4:  The Hovercraft.

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Q.  5:  What word links a herb or other small vegetable growth, the buildings, equipment, etc., of a company or an institution, or a shot in snooker where the cue ball hits a red ball which hits another red ball to make it go into a pocket?

A.  5:  A ‘plant’.

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Q.  6:  What city in the United States of America is known as the “City of Oaks” because of the many oak trees that line the streets in the heart of the city.

A.  6:  Raleigh, North Carolina, is known as the “City of Oaks”.

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Q.  7:  What is a female bear called?

A.  7:  A ‘sow’.

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Q.  8:  Gävleborg, Gotland and Uppsala are among the counties of which country?

A.  8:  Sweden.

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Q.  9:  In which Olympic sport are there ‘Normal Hill’ and ‘Large Hill’ events?

A.  9:  Ski jumping.

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Q. 10:  In Greek mythology who went in search of the ‘Golden Fleece’ ? (You get a point for the name of the leader, the name given to his followers and two bonus points for the name of their ship.)

A. 10:  His name was ‘Jason’, his followers were the ‘Argonauts’, and the name of their ship (after which the followers were named) was the Argo.

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Q. 11:  What color originates from a famous 16th Century Italian painter and what color is it? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 11:  Titian, a brownish-orange color.

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Q. 12:  Which English city has more than 100 miles of canal?

            a) London            b) Birmingham            c) Manchester

A. 12:  The correct answer is b) Birmingham.

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Q. 13:  Which empire ruled most of India and Pakistan in the 16th and 17th centuries?

A. 13:  The Mughal Empire.

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Q. 14:  What writer created the famous Baker Street detective?

A. 14:  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his creation was Sherlock Holmes.

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Q. 15:  Which black and white bird has the scientific name ‘Pica pica’ ?

A. 15:  The (Common) Magpie.

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Q. 16:  What is the name given to that part of the North Atlantic bounded by the Gulf Stream on the west, the North Atlantic Current on the north, the Canary Current on the east, and the North Equatorial Current on the south.

A. 16:  It is called the Sargasso Sea.

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Q. 17:  If you added together all the voting seats in the US Senate and House of Representatives, how many idiots could sit down?

A. 17:  535 (100 + 435).

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Q. 18:  Name the star of the movie ‘Taken’.

A. 18:  Liam Neeson.

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Q. 19:  What company, still in existence, was at one time the largest landowner in the world, having 15% of the land in North America?

A. 19:  Hudson’s Bay Company.

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Q. 20:  Finally a chance to beef up that points score. What were the eight original tokens used in the board game ‘Monopoly’ ?  (A point for each correct answer and two bonus points if you get all eight correct.)

A. 20:  Wheelbarrow, Battleship, Racecar, Thimble, Old-style shoe (or boot), Scottie dog, Top hat, Iron.

original monopoly tokens

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I Just Knew I Was Going To Get Thrown Out Of The Optimism Society.

 “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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And if you were an optimist who thought there would be no puns in June, then your membership of the society is in doubt too.

Here’s the latest batch.

Enjoy or endure!

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rofl

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Some people have a way with words,

others not have way.

you_have_a_way_with_words_by_geistgirl-d4a9hky

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My friend received an email yesterday asking him

to send trouser zips to the address provided.

I told him to ignore it,

it sounds like they are fly phishing.

trouser zips

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I thought growing my own lettuce would be difficult

but it was quite easy in the end.

It’s not rocket science.

rocket lettuce

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A policeman asked me to come down

to the station for an interview.

I haven’t even applied for a job there.

police_officer_cartman

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This linguistics professor was lecturing the class.

“In English,” he explained, “a double negative forms a positive.

In some languages, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative.”

“However,” the professor continued, “there is no language wherein

a double positive can form a negative.”

Immediately, a voice from the back of the room piped up:

“Yeah….. right….”

linguistics professor double negative

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I remember when my parents died,

all they left me was a globe.

It meant the world to me….

globe

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If I had a billion pounds

for every time I underestimated…

I would be a millionaire.

1 billion versus 1 million dollars

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My mate Steven, who shares the same name as me,

thought it was funny to erase the letters ‘St’ from my pencil case.

So, during break, I did the same to his.

Now we’re even.

steven even

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My father worked in a steel fabrication plant.

They didn’t produce anything,

they just said they did.

empty steel fabrication plant

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Jimmy: “Can I ask you a question?”

Ted: “Sure, what is it?”

Jimmy: “It’s an interrogative statement, used to test knowledge.”

an interrogative statement

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I have no idea what the opposite of imagination is.

NO IDEA PIC

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After hearing my son saying,

“I want to be good with acoustic,”

I decided to buy him a guitar.

Turns out he wanted a pool cue.

pool cue

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The Internet now has the second largest collection of jokes in the world…

The House of Representatives is still hanging on to the top spot.

House of Representatives

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I told my mum I was going out for a walk.

She said, “How long will you be gone?”

I said, “Probably the whole time”

out for a walk

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Look, at the end of the day

….. it’s night!

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The Last Post – Of 2013.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Last Post Of 2013

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

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

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

Hope you find something of interest.

Enjoy.

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The Weather

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

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

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

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

Malaysia floods

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

snow-snow-snow

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

New Zealand drought 2013

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

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

oklahoma-tornado-wallpaper-2013

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

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

Arizona firefighters

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

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

typhoon Haiyan 2013

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

storms uk 2013

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Scandals

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

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

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

horse meat scandal

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

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

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

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

nsa-spying-scandal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toronto Mayor Bob Ford

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

Weiner Scandal Headlines

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Departures

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

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Astronauts, C. Gordon Fullerton and Scott Carpenter.

astronauts fullerton-carpenter

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

ed_koch 

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

 Margaret Thatcher

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

Chavez

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

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

conrad-bain 

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

Michael Winner 

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

Richard Briers 

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

dale-robertson 

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

Richard Griffiths 

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

Steve Forrest 

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

James-Gandolfini 

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

gary_david_goldberg 

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

Dennis Farina 

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

Eileen Brennan 

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

Lisa Robin Kelly 

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

David_Frost 

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

ed-lauter 

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

Hal Needham 

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

Robin Sachs 

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

frank-thornton-capt-peacock 

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

brian_forbes 

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

Lewis-Collins 

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

Paul-Walker 

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

Peter O'Toole

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

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

patti-page 

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

 patty_andrews_sisters

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

 lou-reed

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

reg-presley

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

KEN_NORTON

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

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

Tom_Clancy_at_Burns_Library 

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

Robert Kee 

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

Steven Utley 

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

dave hunt 

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

Richard Matheson

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

Wm Stevenson

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Other notable people who died during 2013 include,

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

Mikhail Kalashnikov 

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

Roy Brown Jr with the Edsel

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Term Talk

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

Generic Political Directional Signs

Don’t worry the title of this post doesn’t mean that you’re back at school again. This ‘term talk’ in the title refers to politics and politicians.

President Obama takes a lot of stick because of his headstrong insistence in implementing his Obamacare legislation. As I’ve said before, it’s a laudable goal, but the country can’t afford it. But on he goes anyway.

Love him or hate him, or neither, he’s limited to two terms of four years in office, then he has to go and make way for the next person who wants the job.

To begin with that’s a stupid system because the main thrust of the first Presidency about half way or so in office isn’t governing the country but instead trying to ensure election for a second term and wasting billions of dollars doing it.

4-four-more-years-button

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the present system sucks. Nor do you have to be a professor of politics to suggest an alternative  –  for example a single term of five or six years, which still leaves plenty of time to settle into the job and implement whatever policies you have promised the electorate.

So that’s the first problem solved.

However, there is another term problem that infests American politics (and many other countries too).

What about the rest of the elected politicians?

Well, why not introduce the same system for them? Elected for a five or six year term after which they have to start to earn a living again?

Sounds good to me.

According to Wikipedia John Dingell has managed 58 years in the House and still going. John Conyers has been there for 49 years. Coincidentally both these politicians are Democrats and both represent Michigan, so another problem that these ‘lifers’ cause is that there is no incentive for new blood to enter politics when they have little or no chance of being selected for election.

john_dingell
Congressman John Dingell

I’m not picking on these guys in particular. They just happen to be the two longest serving examples. There were others of similar longevity but they had the good grace to eventually retire, or die after half a century or so. Amazingly more than one hundred members of Congress have been allowed to serve for at least 36 years.

When I say “serve” I am just using the normal expression for these jobs. Whether they realize it or not, career politicians are nothing more than parasites living a cozy life off the money provided by the rest of us through our taxes. When an elected representative is entrenched in his or her position for a very long period of time they are not serving their people, they are simply relying on their people to provide them with a good living, premier health care and generous pension benefits (assuming they retire eventually!).

“Ah,” I hear someone say. “But what about the ‘experience’ that these long serving members bring?”

“Oh,” I reply. “What about it? Have we not seen in recent years and months that whatever experience they bring is not worth a hell of a lot. Just look at the mess the country is in and tell me if fresh faces could do any worse.”

So the solution to the two worst political problems that face America are easily solved.

The next question is will they be solved?

And the answer to that is probably ‘NO’. And it is probably ‘NO’ because the people who have the power to change the law are the very people that that law would affect.

turkeys voting for Christmas

They say turkeys wouldn’t vote for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Asses and elephants probably wouldn’t vote for this idea either.

What a pity.

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Shut-Up!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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padlock

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I’m not sure what the correct official term is, but now that the “Shutdown” crisis is over let’s hope it’s the “Shut-Up”.

For another few months anyway, Obama and the other inmates in the Washington asylum have managed to kick the can down the road again.

Who can tell who won the pissing contest. It seemed to me like there was a strong wind a blowin’ and they all got covered in it – piss, that is, not glory!

cartoon-shutdown-housegop-boehner

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But Obama has signed HR 2775 and made it the law of the land. The Treasury Department is authorized to suspend the debt ceiling, which to you and me means that the government can now spend as much as it likes and borrow as much as it likes. Start the printing presses boys!

We’ll have to go through it all again in February next year but I think what has happened this time has set a precedent for the debt ceiling to be removed completely to pay for Obamacare and a few more wars. It was all nonsense anyway.

It’s never a good thing to live beyond your means as many people throughout America and Europe discovered when the banksters stole our money, credit lines dried up and the real estate catastrophe occurred.

America will find that out too sometime down that long road that the can is being kicked. But leave that problem for your grandchildren.

For now its spend, spend, spend!!!

empty pockets

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“Never Underestimate The Power Of Stupid People In Large Groups.”

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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George Carlin Never underestimate

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I read a sign recently that said “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

I knew exactly what it meant.

I’ve said it before on this blog – stupid people are dangerous. Sure they are amusing some of the time, and annoying all of the time, but they are also dangerous a lot of the time too.

Whether it be the stupid idiot who gets drunk and thinks it makes him a better driver, or someone in a company who has been promoted well beyond his or her level of ability just because the number of years of service he or she has accrued, or one of those despicable ‘jobs-worth’ morons you inevitably find in bureaucratic government non-jobs, their stupidity poses a danger to the rest of us.

stupid-people

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If you were a real optimist you might be forgiven for hoping that where you put two stupid people together there would be a chance that the stupidity would halve, but in fact quite the reverse is true, it doubles – and then some!  

And where stupid people accumulate in even larger groups the danger they pose is even greater.

I have witnessed mob violence and believe me it’s a scary thing, always dangerous and often lethal. That’s bad enough.

But what if the large groups of stupid people are given the power to dictate to the rest of us?

That’s an even scarier prospect because it isn’t just spontaneous and fleeting, it is planned and long term.

It’s something that you would think the rest of us would be smart enough not to let happen. Yet that’s exactly what we have allowed to happen.

In the modern world, whether it be the western democracies or the eastern dictatorships, for one reason or another smart people have abdicated their responsibility to ensure that we are governed sensibly and have instead allowed a bunch of morons to take charge.

A lot of the time the idiots get away with it without anyone noticing much. The smart people get on with their lives and quietly accept the interference of the stupid.

But recently the idiots have been steadily encroaching on our private lives, into things that are clearly none of their business and things that pose no danger to society at large or to any individual within it.

The idiots want power. They don’t know what to do with it when they get it. But they want it, and more and more of it.

My own theory is that at heart, although they try to appear superior, the idiots know they are idiots and actually feel inferior to normal people. Thus their mania to have control over those they know are better than they are.

never argue with stupid people. 

We know that when they get control they try to dumb down society to their level. The most talented individuals are frowned upon and made to develop at the same speed as the dumbest.

We’ve been through the NSA fiasco when they were outed by a former employee. We know they look at our emails, listen to our telephone conversations, probably even snoop in our mail or scrutinize our blogs (gosh!) and that they have built a humungous new data storage center to keep information on everyone.

We know they start wars and cause the needless deaths of many people sometimes for no other good reason than to distract from the obvious shortcomings at home.

And we are currently in the midst of one of the most idiotic standoffs in Washington with Obama, the Senate and the House of Representatives seeing who can balance on one leg the longest while the country becomes the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

Yes folks, never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups to destroy society and drag the rest of us down along with them.

no stupid people beyond this point

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Are These Dumb Politicians And Bureaucrats Trying To Make America A Better Place Or Just Trying To Destroy It!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I talked before about the bureaucrat’s insatiable desire to make things more difficult, awkward and expensive for legitimate businesses in America and Europe. That’s all they know how to do. I’ve also said before that introducing ever more taxes and regulations on bricks & mortar businesses would not be enough. They would have to try to destroy businesses operating online as well.

Well that latter attempt at destroying what is left of American entrepreneurship moved up another notch this week when the US Senate passed the “Marketplace Fairness Act”.

online sales tax cartoon

 

I’ll come back to that in a moment, but the title of this latest piece of needless bureaucratic interference illustrates perfectly once again the deceitfulness of the politicians and bureaucrats.

The “Marketplace Fairness Act” is not about “fairness”. It is not about leveling the playing field between those businesses operating online and those on the proverbial “High Street”. Anyone who tells you that is lying. (Really, a politician lying? Whatever next?)

fairness

 

Like all similar legislation, the “Marketplace Fairness Act” is about control; about making life more difficult for people who want to do business; and, not least, about trying to extort the last penny out of your pocket in the form of taxes.

I say “your” pocket, because at the end of the day businesses have to pass their increased costs on to the final consumer and that my friends is us!

Yes, the “Marketplace Fairness Act” has just been passed by the US Senate. As these things do, it still has to pass through the House of Representatives as well, and it will, if not on the first attempt on subsequent ones. Have you ever seen a stupid bad law that wasn’t pushed through by fair means or foul?

What the “Marketplace Fairness Act” does is to impose sales taxes for business transactions or sales done online. In other words, when you buy something from an online retailer, or a retailer with an online facility, you will be subject to the addition of a sales tax.

In the simplest terms, for you, the consumer, this Bill means that your bills will be bigger – you will have to pay more! For the business operating online it means more bureaucracy, more forms to fill out, more tax filings to be done – in short more hassle.

But for the government it means more money to be squandered on another war or on the next idiotic idea that Washington can think of.

Internet_Sales_Tax

 

And another unfairness that the Marketplace Fairness Act will create is that online businesses operating outside the United States will be laughing their tax free socks off.

You see this law will not – cannot – apply to foreign companies who do business online and sell to US-based consumers.

Why? Because the US authorities have no practical way to enforce it, and because businesses in foreign countries couldn’t care less about enforcing it, nor will their governments.

Do you seriously think for one moment that either businesses or governments in, for example, China, or India, or even Mexico are going to waste their time collecting sales tax for Uncle Sam?

So if I was setting up an online business would I still do it in America? I think you know the answer.

You could be forgiven for asking whether these dumb politicians and bureaucrats are really trying to make America a better place or just trying to destroy it!

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