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

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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may day sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now you know.

And now for the real facts.

Enjoy.

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maypole

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Historical Events that happened on various May 1st’s

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

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

1544 – Turkish troops occupied Hungary.

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

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

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

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

1751 – The first American cricket match is played.

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

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

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

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

Illuminati

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

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

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

1822 – John Phillips became the first mayor of Boston.

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

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

1844 – Samuel Morse sent his first telegraphic message.

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

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

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

1852 – The Philippine peso is introduced into circulation.

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

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

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

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

confederate second national flag

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

1866 – The American Equal Rights Association formed.

1869 – The Folies Bergère opens in Paris.

1873 – The first US postal card is issued.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moses Fleetwood Walker

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

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

1889 – German ompany Bayer introduced aspirin in powder form.

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

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

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

1912 – The Beverly Hills Hotel opened.

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

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

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

1925 – Cyprus became a British Crown Colony.

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

1930 – The dwarf planet Pluto was officially named.

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

Empire State Building

1935 – Boulder Dam was completed.

1935 – Canada’s first silver dollar was circulated.

1937 – FDR signed the act of neutrality.

1939 – Batman comics hit street.

1940 – The 1940 Olympics were cancelled because of WWII.

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

1941 – General Mills introduced Cheerios.

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

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

Hitler dead headline

1945 – Admiral Karl Doenitz formed the new German government.

1946 – Field Marshal Montgomery was appointed British supreme commander.

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

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

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

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

1952 – Mr Potato Head was introduced.

1952 – TWA introduced tourist class.

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

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

1957 – Larry King made his first radio broadcast.

Larry King

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1967 – Elvis Presley married Pricilla Beaulieu.

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

1971 – Amtrak Railroad began operations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1991 – The Angolan civil war ended.

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

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

Ayrton Senna

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

1997 – Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister of UK.

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

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

2009 – Same-sex marriage was legalized in Sweden.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1937 – Una Stubbs, English actress and dancer

1939 – Judy Collins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

1945 – Rita Coolidge, American singer-songwriter

1946 – Joanna Lumley, English actress

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAREWELL 2014

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks,

Last day of this year and time for my recollections of 2014’s main events.

As always this is by no means meant to be a complete coverage of all the events that happened during 2014, just a personal blog post about some of the things I remember, and a few that I had forgotten until I started to compile this list.

I hope you enjoy.

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farewell 2014

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The Weather

We will start off with the weather since so many of us seem to be obsessed with it.

  • In the United States there were weather extremes. In California, for example, January was the warmest and driest on record in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Only four other Januaries since 1878 had been completely dry in Los Angeles until January 2014. Alaskans experienced their third warmest January in 96 years of record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

California drought 2014

  • In many parts of the Midwest, on the other hand, 2014 was the coldest winter since the late 1970s or early 1980s. And some southern states of the US became the victims of, firstly, winter storm Kronos which brought a rare blanket of snow as far south as Louisiana, and sleet as far south as Harlingen, Texas and Pensacola, Fla. in late January, and then, just days later, a second winter storm, Leon, hit many of the same areas causing commuter chaos in both Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Leon also spread ice and sleet to the Gulf Coast, including the Florida Panhandle, and the Low country of South Carolina.
  • And worse was on the way. Winter Storm Pax deposited an inch or more of ice in a swath from east-central Georgia into South Carolina, including Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C. Pax was the second heaviest ice storm dating to 1947 in Wilmington, N.C. The accumulation of ice from Pax claimed the famed “Eisenhower tree” at the Augusta National Golf Club. Pax marked the first time since January 1940 that Columbia, S.C. saw snowfall for three straight days.

Winter Storm Pax Washington

  • In complete contrast, the week after Pax, Columbia, S.C. tied its all-time February high of 84 degrees. Augusta, Ga. warmed into the 80s two straight days on Feb. 19-20.
  • Elsewhere in the world, severe Atlantic winter storms took their toll on many parts of England which in 2014 experienced storms and rain not seen since the late 19th century.

Atlantic winter storms Cornwall England

  • In Tokyo, Japan, which usually averages only about 4 inches of snow each year, there were also severe snow storms. In February, snow blanketed the city with 11 inches of snow in less than a week, the heaviest snowfall in 45 years for Tokyo and in 60 years for the city of Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. The following weekend, parts of eastern Japan, including parts of the Tokyo metro area, received another round of snow. Some smaller communities were isolated by more than 3 feet of snow.
  • And in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported that more than 10 percent of Queensland and almost 15 percent of New South Wales experienced their record hottest day on Jan. 3. A second heat wave hit parts of southern Australia in mid-January, with temperatures peaking above 41 degrees Celsius (just under 106 degrees Fahrenheit) for four straight days from Jan. 14-17, and reaching a sizzling 43.9 degrees C (111 degrees F) on both Jan. 16 and 17.

australia heat wave 2014

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Business and Technology

  • In the world of business and technology 2014 was the year the Obama administration decided to stop inversion deals, where US companies bought foreign domiciled businesses and moved their profit centers to a much more tax friendly location.
  • In technology buys, one of the largest was Facebook’s purchase of smartphone application WhatsApp for $19 Billion.

14.02.19-Facebook-WhatsApp

  • In other sectors 2014 saw world oil price plunge to around $50 per barrel, good news for consumers, not so good for producers.
  • Under pressure from the fall in oil and gas prices, along with the economic sanctions imposed by the west because of the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, the Russian Ruble went into free fall in December.

APphoto_Russia Economy

  • Also in 2014, in March, the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program was not scientific but commercial and refused to grant further permits.
  • With Quantitative Easing having been ended in the US (for the moment anyway) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans for a new $29 billion fresh stimulus, including subsidies and job-creating programs, to help pull the world’s third-largest economy out of recession.

Quantitative Easing cartoon

  • After their embarrassing foul up last Christmas, this year both FedEx and UPS managed to deliver more than 99 percent of express packages as promised on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, according to shipment tracker ShipMatrix.
  • South Korean prosecutors arrested a government official who allegedly leaked information about an investigation into former Korean Air Lines executive Cho Hyun-ah, who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts. Most of the rest of the world tends to think that the idiot executive should suffer the consequences of her stupidity, not the whistleblower.

korean-air-lines-macademia-nut-scandal Cho Hyun-ah

  • And finally, after their embarrassing hack attack and cringe-worthy capitulation to what amounted to a terrorist cyber attack which was rightly criticized publicly by President Obama, Sony finally decided to release its movie ‘The Interview’.

Rogan Franco The-Interview

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Conflicts, Wars & Terrorism

Unfortunately 2014 saw many conflicts and acts of terrorism.

  • In April an estimated 276 girls and women were abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria. The following month, Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people in a night attack on Gamboru Ngala and terrorists in Nigeria detonated bombs at Jos, killing 118 people.

Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people Gamboru Ngala

  • June saw the emergence of a Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ (also known as the ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL’). It began an offensive throughout northern Iraq, with the aim of eventually capturing the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrowing the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The group has been responsible for beheading of hundreds of people including several from the United States.

Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’

  • In July and August tensions between Israel and Hamas grew following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in July. Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on the Palestinian Gaza Strip starting with numerous missile strikes, followed by a ground invasion a week later. In 7 weeks of fighting, 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed.
  • Also in July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 souls on board. There are conflicting claims as to who was responsible, some blaming pro Russian forces for a missile strike and others blaming Ukrainian forces.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

  • In August and September the United States military began an air campaign in northern Iraq to stem the influx of ISIS militants and the following month the United States and several Arab partners began an airstrike campaign in Syria.

Expect more on these stories during 2015.

Departures

During 2014 we said farewell to many well know people from various walks of life. Here is just my selection of those I remember.

From Literature

Sue Townsend

British novelist and playwright (b. 1946)

SueTownsend

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P. D. James

British writer and life peer

(b. 1920)

P. D. James

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From Movies & TV

Roger Lloyd-Pack

British actor

(b. 1944)

Roger Lloyd-Pack

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Maximilian Schell

Austrian-Swiss actor

(b. 1930)

Maximilian Schell

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

American actor

(b. 1967)

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Shirley Temple

American actress and diplomat

(b. 1928)

shirley_temple

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Sid Caesar

American actor

(b. 1922)

Sid Caesar

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Harold Ramis

American film director,

writer, and actor

(b. 1944)

Harold Ramis

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Mickey Rooney

American actor

(b. 1920)

Mickey Rooney

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Bob Hoskins

British actor

(b. 1942)

Bob Hoskins

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Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

American actor

(b. 1918)

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr

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Rik Mayall

British comedian,

writer and actor

(b. 1958)

Rik Mayall

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Casey Kasem

American radio host

and voice actor

(b. 1932)

Casey Kasem

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Eli Wallach

American actor

(b. 1915)

Eli Wallach

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Elaine Stritch

American actress and singer

(b. 1925)

Elaine Stritch

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James Garner

American actor

(b. 1928)

James Garner

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Menahem Golan

Israeli filmmaker

(b. 1929)

Menahem Golan

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Robin Williams

American actor and comedian

(b. 1951)

Robin Williams

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Lauren Bacall

American actress

(b. 1924)

Lauren Bacall

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Richard Attenborough

British actor and film director

(b. 1923)

Richard Attenborough

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Joan Rivers

American comedian, actress,

and television host

(b. 1933)

Joan Rivers

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Richard Kiel

American actor (b. 1939)

Richard Kiel

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Polly Bergen

American actress

(b. 1930)

Polly Bergen

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Ken Takakura

Japanese actor

(b. 1931)

Ken Takakura

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Warren Clarke

English actor

(b. 1947)

Warren-Clarke

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Glen A. Larson

American television producer

and writer

(b. 1937)

Glen A. Larson

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Virna Lisi

Italian actress

(b. 1936)

Virna Lisi

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Billie Whitelaw

English actress

(b. 1932)

Billie Whitelaw

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Luise Rainer

Golden Age actress

“The Great Ziegfeld”

(b. 1910)

Luise Rainer with oscars

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From Music

Pete Seeger

American singer, songwriter,

musician, and activist

(b. 1919)

Pete Seeger

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Johnny Winter

American singer and guitarist

(b. 1944)

Johnny Winter

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Glenn Cornick

British bass guitarist

(b. 1947)

Glenn Cornick

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Jack Bruce

British rock bassist

(b. 1943)

Jack Bruce

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Acker Bilk

British jazz clarinetist

(b. 1929)

Acker Bilk

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Joe Cocker

English singer

(b. 1944)

Joe Cocker

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From Politics

Zbigniew Messner

9th Prime Minister of the

People’s Republic of Poland

(b. 1929)

Zbigniew Messner

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Ariel Sharon

11th Prime Minister of Israel

(b. 1928)

Ariel Sharon

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Tony Benn

British politician and diarist

(b. 1925)

Tony Benn

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Adolfo Suárez

138th Prime Minister of Spain

(b. 1932)

Adolfo Suárez

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James R. Schlesinger

American economist and politician

(b. 1929)

James R. Schlesinger

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A. N. R. Robinson

3rd President of Trinidad and Tobago

(b. 1926)

A. N. R. Robinson

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Howard Baker

American politician and diplomat

(b. 1925)

Howard Baker

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Eduard Shevardnadze

2nd President of Georgia

(b. 1928)

Eduard Shevardnadze

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Albert Reynolds

Irish Taoiseach (prime minister)

(b. 1932)

Albert Reynolds

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Ian Paisley

British politician and

First Minister of Northern Ireland

(b. 1926)

Ian Paisley

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Nicholas Romanov

Prince of Russia

(b. 1922)

Nicholas Romanov

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Jean-Claude Duvalier

41st President of Haiti

(b. 1951)

Jean-Claude Duvalier

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John Spencer-Churchill

11th Duke of Marlborough,

British peer and educator

(b. 1926)

John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough

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Gough Whitlam

21st Prime Minister of Australia

(b. 1916)

Gough Whitlam

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From Space Exploration

Valeri Kubasov

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1935)

Valeri Kubasov

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Wubbo Ockels

Dutch astronaut and physicist

(b. 1946)

Wubbo Ockels

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Henry Hartsfield

American colonel and astronaut

(b. 1933)

Henry Hartsfield

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Anatoly Berezovoy

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1942)

Anatoly Berezovoy

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From Sport

Eusébio

Portuguese footballer

(b. 1942)

Eusébio

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Mae Young

American professional wrestler

(b. 1923)

Mae Young

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Louise Brough

American tennis player

(b. 1923)

Louise Brough

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Tom Finney

English footballer

(b. 1922)

Tom Finney

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Nelson Frazier, Jr.

American professional wrestler

(b. 1971)

Nelson Frazier, Jr

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Jimmy Ellis

American boxer

(b. 1940)

Jimmy_Ellis

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Jack Brabham

Australian race car driver

(b. 1926)

Jack Brabham

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Malcolm Glazer

American businessman,

owner of Manchester United

(b. 1928)

Malcolm Glazer

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Valentin Mankin

Ukrainian sailor, Olympic triple champion

and silver medalist

(b. 1938)

Valentin Mankin

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Fernandão

Brazilian footballer and manager

(b. 1978)

Fernandão

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Alfredo Di Stéfano

Argentine-Spanish footballer

(b. 1926)

Alfredo-Di-Stefano-Dies-at-Age-88

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Andriy Bal

Ukrainian football player and coach

(b. 1958)

Andriy Bal

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Björn Waldegård

Swedish rally driver

(b. 1943)

Björn Waldegård

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Andrea de Cesaris

Italian race car driver

(b. 1959)

Andrea de Cesaris

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Health

  • The big health scare of 2014 that dominated the headlines was the of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa in February, that initially infected over 19,000 people and killing at least 7,000, the most severe both in terms of numbers of infections and casualties.

ebola_map Africa

  • In other news, also in February, Belgium became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients of any age.

Politics

  • On January 1, Latvia officially adopted the Euro as its currency and became the 18th member of the Eurozone.
  • In February, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, replacing him with Oleksandr Turchynov, after days of civil unrest that left around 100 people dead in Kiev. The pro-Russian unrest lead to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and an insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

President Viktor Yanukovych

  • In March, Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, severed diplomatic and political ties with Panama, accusing it of being involved in a conspiracy against the Venezuelan government.
  • Also in March, an emergency meeting, involving the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada temporarily suspended Russia from the G8.
  • In April, also in response to the Crimean crisis, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution temporarily stripping Russia of its voting rights; its rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, and the PACE Standing Committee; and its right to participate in election-observation missions.
  • The same month, United States President Barack Obama began new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin Obama

  • In May the Royal Thai Army overthrew the caretaker government of Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan after a failure to resolve the political unrest in Thailand.
  • Back in Europe, in June, King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, who ascended the Spanish throne as King Felipe VI.
  • And the political year ended on a positive note, with U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century.

normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba

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Space

  • The major space event of 2014 happened in November when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Philae probe successfully landed on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object.

Rosetta Philae

Sport

  • The two major world sporting events of 2014 were the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi, Russia in February, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, and won by Germany, during June and July.

world-cup-2014-champions-germany-trophy

  • In American sport the Super Bowl was won by the Seattle Seahawks, the MLB World Series  winners were the San Francisco Giants and in basketball the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
  • Ice Hockey had three champions in 2014, Canada becoming Olympic champions, Russia world champions and in the NHL the Los Angeles Kings were the victors.
  • In tennis at the world famous Wimbledon Tournament in England Novak Djokovic became Men’s Singles Champion and Petra Kvitova Ladies Singles Champion, while the men’s and women’s winners of the US Open were Marin Čilić  and Serena Williams respectively.

novak-djokovic-with-wimbledon-crown

  • In Soccer, as noted above, Germany won the 2014 World Cup. The European Champions League winners were Real Madrid and the English Premiership was won by Manchester City.
  • The Formula 1 motor racing champion for 2014 was British driver Lewis Hamilton, who also picked up the award of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • In golf’s major championships, the Masters Tournament, held in April, was won by Bubba Watson by three strokes. It was his second Masters championship.
  • May saw the BMW PGA Championship where young Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th hole to win by one stroke over Irishman Shane Lowry, who also birdied the 18th hole.
  • In June, U.S. Open winner was Martin Kaymer who won by eight strokes to become the first German player to win the U.S. Open, and the first player to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year.
  • In July, the Open Championship Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy, was on top again winning by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García. It was his third career major championship, and his first Open Championship. With the win, he became the fourth player ever of 25 years old or under to have won at least three majors.
  • In August, McIlroy was back, winning the PGA Championship by one stroke over Phil Mickelson. He was having quite a year, it was his fourth career major and his second PGA Championship.PGA Champion Rory McIlroy
  • Then in September, in the Ryder Cup, Team Europe (also including McIlroy) defeated Team USA by a score of 16½ – 11½. It was the third consecutive Ryder Cup victory for Europe, and also Europe’s fifth consecutive home victory in the Ryder Cup.

Tragedies

  • In March Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
  • In April Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized and sunk after an unmanageable cargo shift. More than 290 people were killed, mostly high school students.

south-korea-ferry MV Sewol

  • In May hundreds of workers were killed in mining accident in Turkey.
  • In July, Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing all 116 people on board.
  • And just a few days ago AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed, wreckage has been found off the coast of Indonesia’s Kalimantan coast.

indonesia-airplane AirAsia flight flight QZ8501 airport notice board

 

Can You Handle The Quiz?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi and welcome to another week.

Today’s quiz has a few questions that I think you will find quite challenging, plus one or two that you should breeze through with ease.

But the only way to find out is to have a go.

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

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q.  1:  What goes up and down, but still remains in the same place?

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Q.  2:  Who directed both JFK and Nixon?

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Q.  3:  Before being harvested and sold, an individual cranberry must bounce at least how many inches high to make sure they aren’t too ripe?

           a)  2 inches            b)  3 inches            c)  4 inches            d)  5 inches

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Q.  4:  What World War II British naval intelligence officer wrote the children’s story ‘Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang’?

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Q.  5:  Who is the only US President who was never elected as either President or Vice President?

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Q.  6:  The ‘H-3’ and the ‘H-4’, built in 1757 and 1759 were mechanical wonders.  Who constructed them both and what were they used for?  (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get them both correct.)

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Q.  7:  What does the term ‘Cornucopia’ mean?

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Q.  8:  To nearest 1000, in the year 1800 how many wild turkeys were there in Turkey?

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Q.  9:  The two oldest universities in Europe are both found in which country?  

           a) France              b) England              c) Italy              d) Greece

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Q. 10:  Who was the tallest President of the United States and who was the shortest? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get them both correct.)

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Q. 11:  In which 1949 movie did Sir Alec Guinness famously play the role of eight different members of the D’Ascoyne family?

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Q. 12:  Who won this year’s (2014) Formula One World Driver’s Championship and what was his nationality? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get them both correct.)

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Q. 13:  ‘Fionn mac Cumhaill’, ‘Bergrisar’, ‘Daityas’, ‘Patagons’ and ‘Nephilims’ are all examples of what?

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Q. 14:  What does ‘IMAX’, as in the large screen IMAX Cinemas stand for?

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Q. 15:  Which boxer’s first professional fight was against Tunney Hunsaker, Police Chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia, on October 29, 1960?

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Q. 16:  Which Portuguese-born navigator was the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean?

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Q. 17:  Who was the first Twitter user to reach 20 million followers?

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Q. 18:  Which martial art takes its name from the Japanese for ‘way of the sword’?

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Q. 19:  What color is ‘Absynth’?

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Q. 20:  Which popular singer and movie star had a ‘secret love’ in 1954 and in which famous movie did it feature? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get them both correct.)

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What goes up and down, but still remains in the same place?

A.  1:  Stairs!

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Q.  2:  Who directed both JFK and Nixon?

A.  2:  Oliver Stone.

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Q.  3:  Before being harvested and sold, an individual cranberry must bounce at least how many inches high to make sure they aren’t too ripe?

           a)  2 inches            b)  3 inches            c)  4 inches            d)  5 inches

A.  3:  The correct answer is c)  4 inches.

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Q.  4:  What World War II British naval intelligence officer wrote the children’s story ‘Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang’?

A.  4:  Ian Fleming, much better known as author of the James Bond novels.

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Q.  5:  Who is the only US President who was never elected as either President or Vice President?

A.  5:  Gerald R Ford, who became the 40th Vice-President when Spiro Agnew resigned the position and who subsequently became the 38th President of the USA, when he took over the job after Richard M Nixon resigned.

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Q.  6:  The ‘H-3’ and the ‘H-4’, built in 1757 and 1759 were mechanical wonders.  Who constructed them both and what were they used for?  (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get them both correct.)

A.  6:  John Harrison.   H-3 and H-4 were the first successful maritime chronometers.

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Q.  7:  What does the term ‘Cornucopia’ mean?

A.  7:  Literally ‘Horn of Plenty’, used as a symbol of abundance.

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Q.  8:  To nearest 1000, in the year 1800 how many wild turkeys were there in Turkey?

A.  8:  The correct answer is ‘None’, the wild turkey it is a native North American bird.

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Q.  9:  The two oldest universities in Europe are both found in which country?  

           a) France              b) England              c) Italy              d) Greece

A.  9:  Many people think it is England with the famous Oxford and Cambridge Universities, but the correct answer is  c) Italy.  Parma (1065 AD) and Bologna (1119 AD)

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Q. 10:  Who was the tallest President of the United States and who was the shortest? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get them both correct.)

A. 10:  Abraham Lincoln was the tallest at 6′ 4″, and James Madison was the shortest at 5′ 4″.

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Q. 11:  In which 1949 movie did Sir Alec Guinness famously play the role of eight different members of the D’Ascoyne family?

A. 11:  Kind Hearts and Coronets.

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Q. 12:  Who won this year’s (2014) Formula One World Driver’s Championship and what was his nationality? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get them both correct.)

A. 12:  Lewis Hamilton who is British.

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Q. 13:  ‘Fionn mac Cumhaill’, ‘Bergrisar’, ‘Daityas’, ‘Patagons’ and ‘Nephilims’ are all examples of what?

A. 13:  Giants.

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Q. 14:  What does ‘IMAX’, as in the large screen IMAX Cinemas stand for?

A. 14:  IMAX stands for ‘Image Maximum’.

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Q. 15:  Which boxer’s first professional fight was against Tunney Hunsaker, Police Chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia, on October 29, 1960?

A. 15:  Cassius Clay. (Sorry, but you do not score a point if you only said ‘Muhammad Ali’, he did not change his name until 15 years later after converting to Sunni Islam in 1975.)

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Q. 16:  Which Portuguese-born navigator was the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean?

A. 16:  Ferdinand Magellan (1480 – 1521).

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Q. 17:  Who was the first Twitter user to reach 20 million followers?

A. 17:  Lady Gaga.

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Q. 18:  Which martial art takes its name from the Japanese for ‘way of the sword’?

A. 18:  Kendo.

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Q. 19:  What color is ‘Absynth’?

A. 19:  Green.

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Q. 20:  Which popular singer and movie star had a ‘secret love’ in 1954 and in which famous movie did it feature? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get them both correct.)

A. 20:  Doris Day and the movie was Calamity Jane.

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Today It’s The Fasab Monday Quiz.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to the start of another week and to another quiz.

Quite a tough selection this time, I think, but if you enjoy a challenge give them a go.

No point if they were all too easy 🙂

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

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz7

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Q.  1:  Which is farther south, New York City or Rome, Italy?

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Q.  2:  What is the ball on top of a flagpole called?

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Q.  3:  Which are there more of in the United States of America, public libraries or McDonald’s fast food outlets?

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Q.  4:  Apart from wanting to be US President what did all three major 1996 Presidential candidates, Clinton, Dole and Perot, have in common.

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Q.  5:  Where was chocolate milk was invented?

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Q.  6:  If you’re in Detroit and you walk south, what is the first country you’ll enter?

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Q.  7:  Where did the ever popular trousers called ‘Jeans’ get their name?

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Q.  8:  And what was the origin of ‘Denim’ the material that jeans are made from?

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Q.  9:  What is the most filmed story of all time? (Bonus points if you can name second and third aswell.)

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Q. 10:  When ocean tides are at their highest, they are called ‘spring tides’. What are they called when they are at their lowest?

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Q. 11:  Which of these kills the most humans on average every year?

            a) crocodiles          b) hippopotamus            c) mosquitos            d) tigers

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Q. 12:  What do you call a scholar who studies the works of the Marquis de Sade?

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Q. 13:  What are ‘second unit’ movie shots?

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Q. 14:  Which well known American writer was born on a day in 1835 when Haley’s Comet came into view and died on a day in 1910 when Haley’s Comet came into view again? (Will accept either his real name or pen name, a bonus point if you know both.)

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Q. 15:  Which of these is the oldest?

            a) The Aztec Empire          b) The Inca Empire          c) Cambridge University

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Q. 16:  What is the only state of the USA whose name is just one syllable? (Hint: the answer is not California.)

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Q. 17:  You’ve seen it many times and on lots of things, but what does the name ‘NABISCO’ mean?

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Q. 18:  Which side of a woman’s blouse are the buttons on?

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Q. 19:  He was a Spanish hero who, before he was 20, led a Spanish force against the Moors and drove them out of Spain. He is celebrated in poem and romance. Who was he?

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Q. 20:  In 1972 who didn’t want Ruby to take her love to town?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  Which is farther south, New York City or Rome, Italy?

A.  1:  New York City is further south than Rome, Italy.

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Q.  2:  What is the ball on top of a flagpole called?

A.  2:  The ball on top of a flagpole is called the truck.

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Q.  3:  Which are there more of in the United States of America, public libraries or McDonald’s fast food outlets?

A.  3:  There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.

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Q.  4:  Apart from wanting to be US President what did all three major 1996 Presidential candidates, Clinton, Dole and Perot, have in common.

A.  4:  All three major 1996 Presidential candidates, Clinton, Dole and Perot, are left-handed.

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Q.  5:  Where was chocolate milk was invented?

A.  5:  Chocolate milk was invented in Ireland.

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Q.  6:  If you’re in Detroit and you walk south, what is the first country you’ll enter?

A.  6:  Understandable if you said Mexico, but If you’re in Detroit and you walk south, the first country you’ll enter will be Canada.

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Q.  7:  Where did the ever popular trousers called ‘Jeans’ get their name?

A.  7:  ‘Jeans’ were named after their place of origin, Genoa, Italy.

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Q.  8:  And what was the origin of ‘Denim’ the material that jeans are made from?

A.  8:  ‘Denim’ also takes its name from its place of origin, Nimes, in France. It was originally called ‘serge de Nimes’ or ‘fabric from Nimes’. The ‘serge’ soon disappeared and left us with ‘de Nimes’ or ‘denim’.

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Q.  9:  What is the most filmed story of all time? (Bonus points if you can name second and third aswell.)

A.  9:  Dracula is the most filmed story of all time, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is second and Oliver Twist is third.

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Q. 10:  When ocean tides are at their highest, they are called ‘spring tides’. What are they called when they are at their lowest?

A. 10:  When ocean tides are at their lowest, they are call ‘neep tides’.

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Q. 11:  Which of these kills the most humans on average every year?

            a) crocodiles          b) hippopotamus            c) mosquitos            d) tigers

A. 11:  The correct answer is c) Mosquitos. They kill as many as 1,000,000 people per year from Malaria. Although it appears quite docile, the Hippopotamus is considered the most dangerous animal in Africa, killing 3,000 people per year. Crocodiles kill between 1500 and 2500 people per year. And Tigers are estimated to kill around 100 humans per year.

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Q. 12:  What do you call a scholar who studies the works of the Marquis de Sade?

A. 12:  A scholar who studies the works of the Marquis de Sade is called a ‘Sadian’, not a ‘Sadist’.

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Q. 13:  What are ‘second unit’ movie shots?

A. 13:  ‘Second unit’ movie shots do not require the presence of actors.

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Q. 14:  Which well known American writer was born on a day in 1835 when Haley’s Comet came into view and died on a day in 1910 when Haley’s Comet came into view again? (Will accept either his real name or pen name, a bonus point if you know both.)

A. 14:  Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain was born on a day in 1835 when Haley’s Comet came into view and died on a day in 1910 when Haley’s Comet came into view again.

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Q. 15:  Which of these is the oldest?

            a) The Aztec Empire          b) The Inca Empire          c) Cambridge University

A. 15:  The correct answer is c) Cambridge University in England is older than both the Aztec and Inca empires.

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Q. 16:  What is the only state of the USA whose name is just one syllable? (Hint: the answer is not California.)

A. 16:  Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

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Q. 17:  You’ve seen it many times and on lots of things, but what does the name ‘NABISCO’ mean?

A. 17:  ‘NABISCO’ simply means NAtional BIScuit COmpany.

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Q. 18:  Which side of a woman’s blouse are the buttons on?

A. 18:  The left.

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Q. 19:  He was a Spanish hero who, before he was 20, led a Spanish force against the Moors and drove them out of Spain. He is celebrated in poem and romance. Who was he?

A. 19:  El Cid.

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Q. 20:  In 1972 who didn’t want Ruby to take her love to town?

A. 20:  Kenny Rogers. Here it is….

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It’s A May Day Holiday In Some Places, But There Are No Breaks From The Weekly Fasab Quiz.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Holiday or not, no place to hide from the fasab weekly quiz.

Let’s see how you cope with today’s challenge.

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

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz 2

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Q.  1:  What does the ‘K’ in K-mart stand for?

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Q.  2:  Which way does a “no smoking” sign’s slash run?

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Q.  3:  During WWII, what popular food in the U.S. was dubbed “Liberty Steaks” to avoid a German-sounding name?

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Q.  4:  Do books have even # pages on the right or left side?

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Q.  5:  What is the name of Britain’s highest mountain?

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Q.  6:  The Triumph TR 6, Aston Martin DB6, Ferrari Dino and the early 1970s Ford Mustang all had which kind of tail or back?

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Q.  7:  Who was awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Price along with Nelson Mandela?

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Q.  8:  What is the collective term for a group of tigers?

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Q.  9:  Who is responsible for saying “You’re Fired” in the American and British versions of The Apprentice? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 10:  On which card in a deck is the cardmaker’s trademark?

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Q. 11:  This small, war torn, country’s name translated means white, its Capital is divided by the ‘green line’, Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was banned there and it hosted the 2009 Asian Winter Games. What is it?

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Q. 12:  What were the early occupations of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 13:  The name of which country means ‘go and milk it’?  

            a) Italy          b) India          c) Somalia          d) Brazil

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Q. 14:  What Nobel Prize winning writer was In Dubious Battle with The Grapes Of Wrath, East Of Eden?

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Q. 15:  Which President of the United States of America regularly bought slaves in Washington, D.C. and quietly freed them in Pennsylvania?

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Q. 16:  Towards the end of World War II, the Allied forces dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima and a second, an H-bomb, on the city of Nagasaki. If it had been necessary to drop a third nuclear device what was to be the target city?

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Q. 17:  What is the longest chapter in the Bible?

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Q. 18:  In Mel Brooks’ ‘Silent Movie,’ who is the only person who has a speaking role?

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Q. 19:  Who wrote ‘A Clockwork Orange’?

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Q. 20:  Which letter of the alphabet links Boney People?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What does the ‘K’ in K-mart stand for?

A.  1:  The K stands for founder Sebastian S Kresge.

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Q.  2:  Which way does a “no smoking” sign’s slash run?

A.  2:  Towards the bottom right.

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Q.  3:  During WWII, what popular food in the U.S. was dubbed “Liberty Steaks” to avoid a German-sounding name?

A.  3:  Hamburgers.

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Q.  4:  Do books have even # pages on the right or left side?

A.  4:  Left.

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Q.  5:  What is the name of Britain’s highest mountain?

A.  5:  Ben Nevis.

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Q.  6:  The Triumph TR 6, Aston Martin DB6, Ferrari Dino and the early 1970s Ford Mustang all had which kind of tail or back?

A.  6:  Kamm (Kamm tail, K-tail or Kammback).

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Q.  7:  Who was awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Price along with Nelson Mandela?

A.  7:  Former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk.

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Q.  8:  What is the collective term for a group of tigers?

A.  8:  An ‘Ambush’.

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Q.  9:  Who is responsible for saying “You’re Fired” in the American and British versions of The Apprentice? (A point for each correct answer.)

A.  9:  Donald Trump in the US version and Lord Alan Sugar in the British version.

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Q. 10:  On which card in a deck is the cardmaker’s trademark?

A. 10:  On the Ace of spades.

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Q. 11:  This small, war torn, country’s name translated means white, its Capital is divided by the ‘green line’, Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code was banned there and it hosted the 2009 Asian Winter Games. What is it?

A. 11:  Lebanon.

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Q. 12:  What were the early occupations of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 12:  He had been a teacher and journalist.

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Q. 13:  The name of which country means ‘go and milk it’?  

            a) Italy          b) India          c) Somalia          d) Brazil

A. 13:  c) Somalia.         

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Q. 14:  What Nobel Prize winning writer was In Dubious Battle with The Grapes Of Wrath, East Of Eden?

A. 14:  John Steinbeck.

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Q. 15:  Which President of the United States of America regularly bought slaves in Washington, D.C. and quietly freed them in Pennsylvania?

A. 15:  James Buchanan.

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Q. 16:  Towards the end of World War II, the Allied forces dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima and a second, an H-bomb, on the city of Nagasaki. If it had been necessary to drop a third nuclear device what was to be the target city?

A. 16:  Third city to be targeted was Tokyo.

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Q. 17:  What is the longest chapter in the Bible?

A. 17:  The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119.

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Q. 18:  In Mel Brooks’ ‘Silent Movie,’ who is the only person who has a speaking role?

A. 18:  Typical of Mel Brooks’ humor, the only person with a speaking role in ‘Silent Movie’  is the famous mime Marcel Marceau.

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Q. 19:  Who wrote ‘A Clockwork Orange’?

A. 19:  Anthony Burgess.

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Q. 20:  Which letter of the alphabet links Boney People?

A. 20:  The letter is ‘M’ as in ‘Boney M’ and ‘M People’.

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The Quizzes March On!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Another month and another quiz to get it off to a challenging start.

One or two relatively easy ones today, but I think most of them you will find tough enough.

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

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 5

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Q.  1:  What is the official language of Brazil?

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Q.  2:  Which wife of a politician said in 1981, ‘Woman is like a teabag: you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in the hot water’?

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Q.  3:  Many expanses of water of varying sizes are designated as ‘seas’ such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Dead Sea, etc. But what is the only such sea in the world that does not have a coastline?

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Q.  4:  What book was Denzel Washington protecting in the 2010 movie?

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Q.  5:  What is both unusual and famous about the restaurant in Volterra, Italy called  “Fortezza Medicea”?

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Q.  6:  In which city is the music recording company Motown based?

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Q.  7:  The official country retreat of the President of the USA, Camp David, is located in which mountains?

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Q.  8:  Where did the Incas originate?

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Q.  9:  What was the name of the Cuban President over thrown by Fidel Castro in 1959?

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Q. 10:  Although the United States has Roswell and Area 51, and Hollywood has pushed out a unending stream of movies based on them, the government does not officially recognize the existence of UFOs. However three well known countries do formally recognize the existence of UFOs, can you name them? (A point for each and a bonus point if you can name all three.)

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Q. 11:  Who was coming to dinner with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in 1967?

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Q. 12:  Who was dubbed “Lenin’s left leg” during the early stages of Russia’s Marxist movement? 

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Q. 13:  In which US city was the first skyscraper built in 1883?

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Q. 14:  A double question with multiple points. The US State Department currently recognizes 194 different countries in the world, but how many take up approximately half of Earth’s land area?

HINT: It is a relatively small number of the 194 total and there is a bonus point for each of them that you can name.

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Q. 15:  What phrase is the unlikely link between Barbara Streisand and Bugs Bunny?

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Q. 16:  What is the only state in the Middle East in which there is no desert?

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Q. 17:  What former Soviet state is currently experiencing massive civil unrest and upheaval?

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Q. 18:  Which river has the largest delta?

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Q. 19:  Whoopie Goldberg played one in a movie and Patricia Arquette played another in a television series, what were they? (And bonus points if you can name the movie and the tv series.)

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Q. 20:  Which movie other than ‘The Bodyguard’ featured the song “I Will Always Love You”?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What is the official language of Brazil?

A.  1:  Portuguese.

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Q.  2:  Which wife of a politician said in 1981, ‘Woman is like a teabag: you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in the hot water’?

A.  2:  Nancy Reagan.

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Q.  3:  Many expanses of water of varying sizes are designated as ‘seas’ such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Dead Sea, etc. But what is the only such sea in the world that does not have a coastline?

A.  3:  The Sargasso Sea in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean is surrounded by ocean currents and no land and therefore has no coast.

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Q.  4:  What book was Denzel Washington protecting in the 2010 movie?

A.  4:  The Book Of Eli. You also get a point if you said The Bible.

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Q.  5:  What is both unusual and famous about the restaurant in Volterra, Italy called  “Fortezza Medicea”?

A.  5:  “Fortezza Medicea” is a maximum security prison – the cooks and waiters are all doing  sentences of at least seven years.

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Q.  6:  In which city is the music recording company Motown based?

A.  6:  Detroit.

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Q.  7:  The official country retreat of the President of the USA, Camp David is in which mountains?

A.  7:  Appalachians.

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Q.  8:  Where did the Incas originate?

A.  8:  Peru.

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Q.  9:  What was the name of the Cuban President over thrown by Fidel Castro in 1959?

A.  9:  General Batista.

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Q. 10:  Although the United States has Roswell and Area 51, and Hollywood has pushed out a unending stream of movies based on them, the government does not officially recognize the existence of UFOs. However three well known countries do formally recognize the existence of UFOs, can you name them? (A point for each and a bonus point if you can name all three.)

A. 10:  France, Italy and Chile have all formally recognized the existence of UFOs.

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Q. 11:  Who was coming to dinner with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in 1967?

A. 11:  Sidney Poitier.

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Q. 12:  Who was dubbed “Lenin’s left leg” during the early stages of Russia’s Marxist movement? 

A. 12:  Joseph Stalin.

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Q. 13:  In which US city was the first skyscraper built in 1883?

A. 13:  Chicago.

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Q. 14:  A double question with multiple points. The US State Department currently recognizes 194 different countries in the world, but how many take up approximately half of Earth’s land area?

HINT: It is a relatively small number of the 194 total and there is a bonus point for each of them that you can name.

A. 14:  Seven countries take half of the Earth’s land area and they are Russia, Canada, USA, China, Australia, Brazil and Argentina.

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Q. 15:  What phrase is the unlikely link between Barbara Streisand and Bugs Bunny?

A. 15:  “What’s up, Doc?” is Bugs’ catchphrase and the name of a 1972 comedy/romance movie starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neill.

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Q. 16:  What is the only state in the Middle East in which there is no desert?

A. 16:  Lebanon.

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Q. 17:  What former Soviet state is currently experiencing massive civil unrest and upheaval?

A. 17:  The Ukraine.

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Q. 18:  Which river has the largest delta?

A. 18:  The River Ganges.

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Q. 19:  Whoopie Goldberg played one in a movie and Patricia Arquette played another in a television series, what were they? (And bonus points if you can name the movie and the tv series.)

A. 19:  They played ‘mediums’, Whoopie Goldberg in the movie ‘Ghost’ and Patricia Arquette in the hit tv series ‘Medium’.

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Q. 20:  Which movie other than ‘The Bodyguard’ featured the song “I Will Always Love You”?

A. 20:  ‘The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas’, a movie starring Dolly Parton who wrote the song.

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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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