It’s Time For – The BIG Christmas Quiz!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Christmas week again folks and another year almost gone.

Time of course for the BIG Christmas quiz.

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

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

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

Enjoy, good luck, and a very Merry Christmas.

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The BIG Christmas Quiz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Q. 25:  What Angel visited Mary?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ANSWERS

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

A.  1:  Canada.

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

A.  2:  Poinsettia.

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

A.  3:  26th December.

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

A.  4:  Holiday Inn.

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

A.  5:  Robert Burns.

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

A.  6:  Little Women.

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

A.  7:  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

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

A.  8:  Maids-a-milking.

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

A.  9:  India.

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

A. 10:  Cupid.

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

A. 11:  White.

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

A. 12:  The Nightmare before Christmas.

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

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

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

A. 14:  Almond.

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

A. 15:  Clarence (Oddbody).

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

A. 16:  Christmas cracker.

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

A. 17:  Bohemia (Czech Republic)

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

A. 18:  Dr Seuss.

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

A. 19:  Shepherds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. 22:  Cranberry sauce.

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

A. 23:  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  

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

A. 24:  Twelfth Night.

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Q. 25:  What Angel visited Mary?

A. 25:  Gabriel.

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

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

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

A. 27:  The Snowman.

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

A. 28:  All died on Christmas day.

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

A. 29:  Ladies dancing.

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

A. 30:  T S Eliot.

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

A. 31:  Tchaikovsky.

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

A. 32:  Griswold.

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

A. 33:  Turkey.

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

A. 34:  Three – Dasher, Dancer and Donner

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

A. 35:  Oklahoma.

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

A. 36:  Oliver Cromwell.

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

A. 37:  Seven.

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

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

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

A. 39:  South Africa

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

A. 40:  10.

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

A. 41:  Pennsylvania 

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

A. 42:  The Transformers    

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

A. 43:  Tinsel.

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

A. 44:  Turbo Man.

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

A. 45:  Charles Babbage.

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

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

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

A. 47:  Lethal Weapon

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

A. 48:  The iPod Touch.

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

A. 49:  364.

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

A. 50:  Bethlehem.

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Today Was Either A Post-Election Post About Politics Or Show You Some Photos – Guess Which One I Chose?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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You lucky people!

Yes, for today let’s forget about politics and the looming fiscal cliff toward which we all now seem to be heading and do something a little unusual for this blog – look at some photos.  

I like to take photos, and I’m not the worst photographer in the world but I’m not the greatest either, not by a long way, and I don’t seem to often find myself in ‘the right place at the right time’ to get award winning shots.

Other people, however, do. And I collect some of them and use them as wallpaper on my computer screen.

Here’s a selection of my favorites, some to make you smile, some to make you cry, but all of them impressive in their own way. Unfortunately I don’t know the source of most of these otherwise I would happily acknowledge them.

Hope at least some of them are new to you and that you like them too. 

Enjoy.

 

2007_1203 Winter Wonder Land 012

boat tropical clear water

Look what Santa brought for Christmas

Nature takes over

Floral arch

Reflections on a life

Oh my goodness!

Lost opportunity

Climbing high

Isabela

Did you hear about what happened in number 42?

Stranded

Take me to your leader

A bird in the hand

The beauty of nature

Relief

Terraces

Old life and new

Art imitates nature

Scaring you scaring me

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Introducing The Prestigious MIL-POST Blog Award

The MIL-POST Blog Award
The MIL-POST Blog Award
for 1,000 posts on your blog

 

Today I want to do something a little different.

I would like to announce the creation of the prestigious MIL-POST Blog Award, for bloggers who have managed to keep their enthusiasm, inspiration and dedication going long enough to have posted 1,000 times on their blog.

The whole idea has been inspired by a casual comment on the blog of my friend Frank over at ‘afrankangle’ who today is celebrating his 1,000th post. When you have read this why not visit Frank and join in the celebrations!

The more I thought about it the more I realized that this really is quite an achievement and a milestone that (a) most bloggers won’t reach, or (b) if and when they do reach it, it will have been the result of many months and perhaps years of blogging.

The BIG difference between this and other blogging awards is that you cannot be nominated for the MIL-POST Blog Award simply because someone else likes your blog and thinks it is worthy of some kind of accolade.

There are lots of other awards for that purpose, for example, the fasab blog has been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, the Sunshine Blogger Award, the Illuminating Blogger Award and the Kreative Blogger Award. There are many others.

But to be eligible for the MIL-POST Blog Award you must have posted 1,000 times (at least), simple as that.

So if you, or anyone you know, is eligible for the MIL-POST Blog Award please send them a link to this page or the MIL-POST Blog Award page where further details can be found.

And If you haven’t yet reached the 1,000 milestone yet, don’t worry, just keep on blogging and you’ll get there.

Go on,  you know you want one!

 

One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind – Oh, And What A Relief For Mr Gorsky!

There are times when it is difficult enough trying to think up stuff for a new blog every day. But there are also a few times when you get handed some inspiration because of an event that happens somewhere in the world.

Occasionally those events are inspiring and exciting, more often than not though they are tragic. Today is one that is a mixture of both and has led to a double-blog post Sunday for the first time.

I’m sure from the title you know who this post is about.

A young Neil Armstrong during his NASA days
A young Neil Armstrong during his NASA days

 

I learned yesterday via an NBC news headline and from a friend from the blogshpere, John Erickson, of the death of Neil Armstrong.

Everybody knows who he was and what he achieved during his life, so there is no point in going over all that again here. Sunday’s newspapers will be full of it.

I have no personal anecdotes about Neil Armstrong. I never met him, and never came close to meeting him. But I was with him, as were millions of others, on July 20, 1969 when he became the first man to set foot on the moon. I sat in front of our television and watched, totally enthralled, as he did it.

The tv picture was crappy and the sound intermittent, but it didn’t matter. It was happening, and we could see it happening in real time. It was the most exciting thing that had happened in my lifetime and then some. My Dad watched alongside me, every bit as engrossed in the whole event. He couldn’t quite believe it even though he was watching it happen.

It was and remains a truly wondrous event.

At the time, and being a kid, I never considered the courage it must have taken to be the first man to set foot on our moon. It was just an adventure, but what an adventure.

The word “hero” is bandied about a lot these days, but as far as Armstrong is concerned it is a plaudit well earned and well deserved. And not just for what he achieved in his career with NASA, but in how he lived his life as well.

Is it sad that Neil Armstrong is no longer with us? Of course it is. Men like him are all too rare. But he lived more in his lifetime than most of us could ever hope to or even imagine. He will be remembered well and that’s about as much as any of us can hope for.

Neil Armstrong - the first man to set foot on the Moon
Neil Armstrong – the first man to set foot on the Moon

 

 

And Mr Gorsky mentioned in the title of this post?

Naturally this blog being what it is there is a duty to add a little bit of humor and, fact or fiction, Neil Armstrong was aware of the story of Mr Gorsky and I am sure it provided him with a lot of amusement over the years, as it has also done for people like myself who have retold it many times.

For those who don’t know, the legend goes that when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind” statement, but before he re-entered the lander, he said “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”

Over the years, many people asked him what it meant but he would never say. Then one July 5, in Tampa Bay, FL, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26- year-old question. He finally responded. It seems that by that time Mr. Gorsky had died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could at last answer the question.

He said when he was a kid, he was playing baseball with his brother in the backyard. His brother hit a fly ball which landed in front of his neighbors’ bedroom window. The neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.

As he leaned down to pick up the ball, he heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, “Oral sex? Oral sex you want? You’ll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!”

;o)

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Did You Know That The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity Have Been Documented?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Unfortunately stupidity seems to have always been with us. There are countless examples of stupid people making monumentally stupid decisions throughout history.

However it was not until 1976 that the definitive essay on the subject was written. The author was an Italian economist named Professor Carlo M Cipolla and he called his pioneering work “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity”. If fasab had a hall of fame, he’d be in it.

The Basic Laws Of Human Stupidity
The Basic Laws Of Human Stupidity

Professor Cipolla taught at several universities in Italy, and for many years at the University of California, Berkeley. He also wrote books and studies about clocks, guns, depressions, faith, reason, monetary policy, and money. In fact I first heard of him at University where some of his books appeared on our reading lists. Sadly his “Basic Laws Of Human Stupidity” was not on our lists, I would have enjoyed it even then!  

His essay about stupidity encompasses all those other topics, and perhaps all of human experience.

Professor Cipolla wrote out the laws in plain language. They are akin to laws of nature – a seemingly basic characteristic of the universe.

Here they are:

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1. Always and inevitably, everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
1. Always and inevitably, everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

 

2. The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
2. The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

 

3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons, while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons, while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

 

4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular, non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular, non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

 

It has been said that Professor Cipolla’s “Basic Laws of Human Stupidity” give an X-ray view of what distinguishes countries on the rise from those that are falling, or failing.

Countries moving uphill have an inevitable percentage of stupid people, yes. But they enjoy “an unusually high fraction of intelligent people” who collectively over compensate for the dumbos.

Declining nations, on the other hand, have instead, an “alarming proliferation” of non-stupid people whose behavior “inevitably strengthens the destructive power” of their persistently stupid fellow citizens. There are two distinct, unhelpful groups: “bandits” who take positions of power which they use for their own gain; and people out of power who sigh through life as if they are helpless.

In 1999 two psychologists at Cornell University wrote a study with the fabulous title, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Leads to Inflated Self-Assessments”. Without mentioning any form of the word “stupidity”, it serves as an enlightening and dismaying supplement to the basic laws.

Unfortunately Professor Cipolla died in 2000. But thankfully there are others to take up the mantle.

You could be one of them. Like I say almost every day, “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”.

 

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Three Interesting Letters Of Rejection

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I wrote a post last week about now famous and successful authors who had been the victims of intellectually challenged publishers and who as a consequence had suffered the indignity of receiving letters and comments rejecting their work. (Possibly The Most Rejected Book Manuscript In The World)

Back on the theme of rejection letters I found a few other examples that I thought were interesting and, I hope, amusing. Here are three of the best.

Enjoy.

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The first was sent to an aspiring author of a novel. It was either a very bad manuscript or the publisher was having a particularly bad day.

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Dear Bad Writer,

Unfortunately it falls to me to inform you that Harlequin will not be publishing your novel, Kisses In January.

While it is customary to send out a form letter in cases of such rejection, your novel was so strikingly inept, I felt I had to say a few words.

One, you are not welcome to submit any future work to our offices.

Two, both myself and my assistant are considering legal action against you for wasting our valuable time with your relentless tripe.

Among the areas needing vast improvement: Description, character development, and dialogue. The less said about the love scenes the better.

Should this novel have been published, it would have likely resulted in the end of modern book sales.

Trying to Forget,

Judith P Esterman, Editor

Harlequin American Romance.

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The second is a curious letter of rejection. In fact you could say it is a rejecting rejection letter.

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Herbert A. Millington
Chair – Search Committee
412A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University
College Hill, MA 34109

Dear Professor Millington,

Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me an assistant professor position in your department.

This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite Whitson’s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then.

Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.

Sincerely,
Chris L. Jensen

—–

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And the third is perhaps the letter we have all secretly wanted to write at some time in our lives. It is a farewell letter from someone who worked in the Dublin office of Ernst & Young. Now this is closure!

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My leaving letter: 

Dear Co-Workers,

As many of you probably know, tomorrow is my last day. But before I leave, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what a great and distinct pleasure it has been to type “Tomorrow is my last day.”

For nearly as long as I’ve worked here, I’ve hoped that I might one day leave this company. And now that this dream has become a reality, please know that I could not have reached this goal without your unending lack of support. Words cannot express my gratitude for the words of gratitude you did not express.

I would especially like to thank all of my managers: in an age where miscommunication is all too common, you consistently impressed and inspired me with the sheer magnitude of your misinformation. It takes a strong man to admit his mistake – it takes a stronger man to attribute his mistake to me.

Over the year and a half, you have taught me more than I could ever ask for and, in most cases, ever did ask for. I have been fortunate enough to work with some absolutely interchangeable supervisors on a wide variety of seemingly identical projects – an invaluable lesson in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium.

Your demands were high and your patience short, but I take great solace knowing that my work was, as stated on my annual review, “mostly satisfactory.” That is the type of praise that sends a man home happy after even a ‘10 hour’ day, smiling his way through half a bottle of mostly satisfactory scotch.

And to most of my peers: even though we barely acknowledged each other within these office walls, I hope that in the future, should we pass on the street, you will regard me the same way as I regard you: sans eye contact.

But to those few souls with whom I’ve actually interacted, here are my personalized notes of farewell:

To Caulfield: I will always remember sharing lunch with you, despite having clearly labeled it with my name.

To Mairead: I will miss detecting your flatulence as much as you will clearly miss walking past my cubicle to deliver it.

To Linda: Best wishes on your ongoing campaign to popularize these “email forwards.” I sincerely hope you receive that weekend full of good luck, that hug from an old friend, and that baby for your dusty womb.

And finally, to Kat: you were right – I tested positive. We’ll talk later.

So, in parting, if I could pass on any word of advice to the individual who will soon be filling my position, it would be to cherish this experience like a sponge and soak it up like a good woman, because a job opportunity like this comes along only once in a lifetime.

Meaning: if I had to work here again in this lifetime, I would sooner kill myself.

Very truly yours,

Cian Kelliher

 

PS: I will be throwing myself a happy hour farewell party at the Oden 5.30 tomorrow evening if anybody is interested in drinks!

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Possibly The Most Rejected Book Manuscript In The World

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Gilbert Young was as aspiring writer, something that will find sympathy with many bloggers and blog readers I’m sure.

But Mr Young has not been the most successful of authors. In the 1970s he wrote a book, World Government Crusade, and last reports indicate that it was rejected by more publishers that any other manuscript. He even wrote to the Soviet Ambassador to see if Russian publishers might be interested. They were not.

He amassed a collection of 205 rejection slips.

It’s all hardly surprising since the subject matter of his book outlined the policies of the ‘World Government and Old Age Pensioners’ Party’ that he had founded in 1958.

But whilst Mr Young’s manuscript may well have been worthy of rejection, sometimes publishers have made serious errors when assessing work submitted to them by aspiring authors. Stupidity is indeed everywhere!

Take a look at these famous examples and the publisher’s comments. It’s a fairly long list, but interesting to see the variety of great writers who started off their careers being rejected. At least some of them will surprise you!

Thank goodness they were persistent enough to carry on. Another good lesson there for aspiring writers today.

Perhaps rather fittingly, whilst the authors and books they criticized have gone on to become household names, the publishers doing the rejecting have long been forgotten.

Enjoy.

 

 

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D H Lawrence

‘for your own sake do not publish this book.’

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“The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame

‘an irresponsible holiday story’

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“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

‘an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.’

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“Watership Down” by Richard Adams

‘older children wouldn’t like it because its language was too difficult.’

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“Valley of the Dolls” by Jacqueline Susann 

Susann’s “Valley Of The Dolls” received this response, “…she is a painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene cries for the hand of a pro. She wastes endless pages on utter trivia, writes wide-eyed romantic scenes …hauls out every terrible show biz cliché in all the books, lets every good scene fall apart in endless talk and allows her book to ramble aimlessly …”

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“Crash” by J  G Ballard

‘The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.’

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“The Torrents of Spring” by Ernest Hemingway

Regarding his novel, “The Torrents of Spring”, Ernest Hemingway was rejected with, “It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.”

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“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville

Melville was told, “We regret to say that our united opinion is entirely against the book as we do not think it would be at all suitable for the Juvenile Market in (England). It is very long, rather old-fashioned…”

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William Faulkner

Faulkner may be a classic writer to this, as well as prior, generation, but back when he was trying to crack the publishing market, he had to read letters like this one, “If the book had a plot and structure, we might suggest shortening and revisions, but it is so diffuse that I don’t think this would be of any use. My chief objection is that you don’t have any story to tell.” This was kinder than the rejection he would receive just two years later, “Good God, I can’t publish this!”

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“The Deer Park” by Norman Mailer

‘This will set publishing back 25 years.’

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“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” by Anita Loos

‘Do you realize, young woman, that you’re the first American writer ever to poke fun at sex.’

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“The Diary of Anne Frank”

‘The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the “curiosity” level.’ 

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“Lust for Life” by Irving Stone

Stone’s manuscript “Lust For Life” was rejected 16 times, with letters like this, “A long, dull novel about an artist.” Eventually he found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies.

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“Barchester Towers” by Anthony Trollope

‘The grand defect of the work, I think, as a work of art is the low-mindedness and vulgarity of the chief actors.  There is hardly a lady” or “gentleman” amongst them.’

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“Carrie” by Stephen King

‘We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias.  They do not sell.’

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“Catch – 22” by Joseph Heller

‘I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.’

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“The Spy who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carré

‘You’re welcome to le Carré – he hasn’t got any future.’

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“The War Of The Worlds”  &  “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells

Wells had to endure the indignity of a rejection when he submitted his manuscript, “The War of the Worlds” that said, “An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would “take”…I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’.”

And when he tried to market “The Time Machine,” it was said, “It is not interesting enough for the general reader and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.”

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“Animal Farm” by George Orwell

‘It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA’

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Edgar Allen Poe

Poe was told, “Readers in this country have a decided and strong preference for works in which a single and connected story occupies the entire volume.”

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 “A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle In Time” was turned down 29 times.

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“Bridge Over River Kwai” by Pierre Boulle 

A rejection letter said, “A very bad book.”

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“The Clan of Cave Bear” by Jean Auel

Auel was told, “We are very impressed with the depth and scope of your research and the quality of your prose. Nevertheless … we don’t think we could distribute enough copies to satisfy you or ourselves.”

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“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach

The publisher of a magazine refusing an offer to bid on the paperback rights to Bach’s best selling novel said, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull will never make it as a paperback.” Avon Books eventually bought those rights and sales totaled more than 7.25 million copies.

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“The Fountainhead” & “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand

Before Ayn Rand became known as an intellectual and her books as classics, she too received rejections. Of “The Fountin Head” they said, “It is badly written and the hero is unsympathetic,” and, “I wish there were an audience for a book of this kind. But there isn’t. It won’t sell.”

Of “Atlas Shrugged” doing the rounds some fourteen years later, “… the book is much too long. There are too many long speeches… I regret to say that the book is unsaleable and unpublishable.”

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“Lady Windermere’s Fan” by Oscar Wilde

‘My dear sir, I have read your manuscript.  Oh, my dear sir.’

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Jorge Luis Borges

‘utterly untranslatable’

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Isaac Bashevis Singer

‘It’s Poland and the rich Jews again.’

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Anais Nin

‘There is no commercial advantage in acquiring her, and, in my opinion, no artistic.’

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Dr Seuss

“too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

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Beatrix Potter

“The Tale Of Peter Rabbit” was turned down so many times, Potter initially self-published it.

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Rudyard Kipling

Kipling received this from the editor of the San Francisco Examiner, “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

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“Journey Back to Love” by Mary Higgins Clark

Although mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark more recently has received a $60 plus million dollar advance on her next five books, in the early 1960s when she was sending out her manuscript of “Journey Back to Love” the publishers were not so generous, saying things like, “We found the heroine as boring as her husband did.”

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Colette

Classic writer Colette was told in a letter of rejection, “I wouldn’t be able to sell 10 copies.”

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Emily Dickinson

Only seven of Emily Dickinson’s poems were ever published during her lifetime. A rejection early in her career said, “(Your poems) are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.”

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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

‘… overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy.  It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.