America Just Can’t Make It Anymore.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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USA industrial economy

The statement in the title is not true, except that it is.

If you are a little confused stay with me and let me clarify.

The United States used to be the industrial power house of the world. Its industries generated unprecedented wealth for the country, creating the world’s first self-made billionaires and productive wealth creating jobs galore for everyone. The whole country prospered.

Today, however, the United States has become the world’s second biggest importer of goods. Worse than that, even though America still exports billions of dollars’ worth in oil, consumer goods and automotive products, it imports even more. This creates a trade deficit ($471 billion according to recent figures).

US Trade Deficit

So what are all these imports into the US?

Well, they include industrial machinery and equipment ($681 billion), automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($309 billion), miscellaneous private services, primarily financial services ($201 billion), cell phones ($90 billion), travel passenger services ($86 billion), pharmaceuticals ($84 billion), computers ($65 billion), chemicals ($61 billion), other transportation services ($59 billion), computer accessories ($57 billion), telecommunications equipment ($54 billion), royalties and license fees services ($42 billion), apparel ($49 billion), petroleum products ($48 billion), fuel oil ($44 billion), industrial supplies ($29 billion), U.S. Government service imports primarily defense ($25 billion), fish ($18 billion), fruit ($13 billion), and vegetables ($11 billion).

Cartoon imports

If you are a bit shell-shocked by all those figures let me phrase it a bit differently using as examples the types of goods you would tend to buy.

  • 100% (almost) of the shoes bought in the U.S. come from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico;
  • 90% of white goods (washers, fridges, etc.) and consumer electronics are imported;
  • 85% of household furniture is imported;
  • 80% of cars on U.S. roads come from Canada (31%), Japan (24%), Germany (16%) and Mexico (12%); and,
  • 65% of U.S. clothing is imported from China (37%), Vietnam (9.4%), Indonesia (7.2%) and Bangladesh (6.7%).

Probably the saddest part is that even things you thought were “American” are now actually made overseas and imported.

I remember while on a business trip to the US many, many years ago I bought a gift for the young son of a friend of mine. He was a big sports enthusiast so I reckoned that one of the most iconic symbols of sport from America would be a baseball. I bought one in Wal-Mart. It was marked with all the different holding positions for the various ways to throw a baseball (fast ball, curve ball and all that). The perfect gift.

I gave it to him on my return feeling ever so pleased with myself. The kid opened it, showed momentary delight, then looked up at me accusingly. “It says ‘Made in China'” he told me.

Baseball made in China

But it’s not only baseballs. Similar types of product that you would think are all-American, like Converse All Stars, Levi’s, Huffy bicycles, televisions, Monopoly, Etch-a-Sketch, Radio Flyer wagons, Barbie dolls, and last but by no means least, most of those American flags just ain’t American no more.

modern monopoly board

It really doesn’t have to be this way. Apple, for example, doesn’t have to become the richest company in the world by manufacturing its products in China and storing its vast hoards of cash overseas.

Or does it?

Everything on the lists above could still be made in the US and surpluses exported to other countries. But the US government and its moronic bureaucrats are spending their time and our money thinking up new ways, not to help American businesses, but to add ever-increasing amounts of rules, regulations and bureaucracy on to American companies.

American businesses can no longer compete, because their own government has ensured that the deck is stacked against them.

In the mind of a bureaucrat losing a million productive wealth creating jobs, for example, in the automotive industry, and replacing them with a million more administrative jobs that cost the country money evens things out.

It doesn’t. Simple math will tell you that. Every time it happens things get worse and America gets poorer.

So America just can’t make it anymore, but not because China has stolen the jobs. It’s because the US government bureaucrats gave them away.

Put the blame where it should be.

StimulusBureaucrats

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Gray And White Matters.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
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Yes, apparently gray and white matters as you will find out in one of today’s selection of unusual facts.
Hope you enjoy the others as well.
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facts22

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During the production of the video game Deus Ex,

one of the artists forgot to add

the Twin Towers to New York City.

His mistake was explained by

way of a terrorist attack.

The year was 2000.

Deus_Ex_charity[1]

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Switzerland has

208 mountains over 3,000 meters high

and 24 over 4,000 meters.

switzerland-swiss-flag-on-mannlichen

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The male brain contains more gray matter

whereas the female brain contains more white matter.

White matter basically increases the speed

of transmission of all nerve signals,

which ultimately allows women to process thoughts

more rapidly than their male counterparts.

Don’t fret guys, you’ll get this

in another nano second or two.

female-brain-male-brain

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Genghis Kahn wanted the location

of his grave to be unknown

(somewhere in present day Mongolia)

so his funeral escort killed everyone they met

along the way and he even demanded that

a river be diverted to run across his grave

so it could never be disturbed.

Mongolian river

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Although their civilization has declined and been conquered,

in many rural parts of Mexico and Guatemala

Mayan language and culture perseveres.

In fact, there are an estimated 7 million Maya

still living in and around the Yucatan Peninsula.

Yucatan Peninsula map

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The modern chainsaw was invented  by Scottish

doctors to help with Symphysiotomy.

This is a surgical procedure that widens the

pelvis in order to assist in childbirth.

Symphysiotomy chainsaw

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China is among the countries with

the highest air pollution in the world.

Breathing air in Beijing, the country´s capital,

increases the risk of lung cancer in the same way

as smoking 21 cigarettes a day.

Breathing air in Beijing

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In 1883 Sir Hiram Maxim created the Maxim gun.

The world’s first machine gun would go on to

revolutionize warfare and was used in both World Wars.

Maxim gun

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Some rich people in Moscow buy

ambulances and use them to drive around

because the traffic is so bad.

Volkswagen_T4_ambulance_car,_Moscow,_Russia,_2011

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Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign

begun in the 1950s by the

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

to influence media.

Operation-Mockingbird

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After being frustrated by the service

he was receiving at Bank of America,

Dalton Chiscolm sued them

for $1.7 billion trillion.

During the trial a professor of mathematics

was even called in to testify about

how big the number was.

To give you an idea,

Earth’s total combined GDP was $60 trillion that year.

That is still over 28 million times smaller

than what he was asking for.

Dalton Chiscolm sues Bank of America

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Sean Connery turned down the role of Gandalf

in the Lord of the Rings trilogy,

a decision that cost him $300 million

(he was offered 15% of the film’s profit).

Sean Connery turned down the role of Gandalf

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There’s No Fact-Checker Like A Fact-Checker Checker.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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washington post fact checker pinocchio

I’m a great man for facts.

Even a cursory glance around my blog will confirm that. Every week I try to post some.

Facts are good things. Many other people seem to like them too.

Except for one particular group.

Liberals.

Facts always seem to get in the way of whatever it is they are trying to force us to accept.

Donald Trump open mouth

Enter Donald Trump into the story.

The Donald has caused a lot of controversy lately with his illegal immigrant pronouncements. Cowards like the management of Macy’s, NBC, Univision etc., have made knee-jerk decisions and run from the controversy without taking any time whatsoever to check the facts.

It’s the way Americans have been conditioned to behave when someone says something controversial about a minority or a minority view point.

The hardly impartial Washington Post has been in the forefront of the media critics and, of course, we have also had media mogul Rupert Murdock chirping in against a political candidate who is too rich to fit into his pocket.

But what did Trump actually say?

And do the facts support him or not?

Unlike Macy’s and the rest, let’s take a little time to have a look.

cops arrest illegal

Trump said that some undocumented immigrants commit crimes in the U.S. and in fact they do. He did NOT say ALL Mexicans and he did NOT include Hispanic U.S. citizens, which is what his detractors are trying to infer. In fact from the reports I have read I do not think he quantified it at all.

Trump did, however, strongly ‘imply’ that undocumented immigrants are more criminal than the average U.S. citizen.

The Washington Post “fact checked” this and found it to be ‘false’. The problem for the Washington Post’s fact-checkers is that some of the data shows otherwise.

For example, a 2011 Government Accountability Office report (GAO-11-187, Criminal Alien Statistics, March 2011, to be precise) opens with the sentence,

“The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons in fiscal year 2010 was about 55,000, and the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails was about 296,000 in fiscal year 2009 (the most recent data available), and the majority were from Mexico.”

‘SCAAP’, by the way, is the ‘State Criminal Alien Assistance Program’ which means aliens illegally in the United States at the time of their incarceration.

As for federal prisoners, the GAO states, “In fiscal year 2005, the criminal alien population in federal prisons was around 27 percent of the total inmate population, and from fiscal years 2006 through 2010 remained consistently around 25 percent.”

US-GovernmentAccountabilityOffice-Logo.

The Government Accountability Office figures also show that in 2009 the total alien – i.e., non-U.S.-citizen – population in the United Sates was about 25.3 million, which included about 10.8 million aliens without lawful immigration status – illegal aliens in other words.

The total population of the U.S. at that time was approximately 306.8 million. Non-citizens comprised 8.25% of the population and illegal aliens about 3.52%.

If you compare the percentage of illegal aliens in the population as a whole (the 3.52% mentioned above) with the percentages of illegal aliens in the prison population, namely 25% in 2009 and almost 39% in 2013, it is clear that their crimes are well in excess of their proportion of the population.

More numbers.

The FBI’s records show that there were 67,642 murders in the U.S. from 2005 through 2008, and 115,717 from 2003 through 2009.

The GAO estimates “criminal aliens” were arrested, convicted and incarcerated for 25,064 homicides. That means they committed 22% to 37% of all murders in the U.S., while being only 3.52% to 8.25% of the population.

Therefore the facts confirm that criminal and illegal aliens commit murder at much higher rates than all inhabitants of the U.S. – at least 3 to 10 times higher.

immigration_origin_of_illegal_immigrants

Although I have not had the time to crunch the numbers further, what you have just read could be a very conservative total because the FBI doesn’t get itself involved in all homicides, most of them are handled at state and local level.

Based on the erroneous research of their misnamed “fact-checkers”, the Washington Post alleged that Trump’s statements were only underscoring  “a common public perception that crime is correlated with immigration, especially illegal immigration”.

It went even further, stating that Trump’s repeated statements about immigrants and crime were a “misperception” and that there was “no solid data support it”.

The Washington Post fact-checkers obviously did not take the time to check the facts in the GAO reports, which as we have seen actually do support the perception trump is vocalizing.

Apparently there is no fact-checker like a fact-checker checker.

Where are Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein when you need them?

Carl Bernstein, Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward

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Don’t Beam Me Up Just Yet, Scotty!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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You will get what the title is all about later. Let’s just say for now I’ll still be buying my airplane tickets and enduring the rigors of airport security for a few years longer.

As for now it’s Fact Day so have a look at the current offerings.

Enjoy.

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did you know2

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In cold weather keeping your cell phone

as close to your body as you can,

or in the inside pocket of an insulated base layer

will help keep it warm and prolong battery life.

 warm cell phone case

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In the West women usually start shopping for baby things

as soon as they discover they’re pregnant

but in China a pregnant Chinese woman will avoid

getting a stroller before her baby is born because

according to Chinese tradition it’s considered

bad luck to have an empty stroller in the house

while you’re pregnant.

 stroller

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The world’s oldest-known formula for toothpaste

was created by the ancient Egyptians

who used crushed rock salt, mint, dried iris flowers,

and pepper and mixed them to create a cleaning powder.

Research suggests this ancient toothpaste was more

effective than formulas used as recently as a century ago,

although it did have the unfortunate side effect

of causing bleeding gums.

 toothpaste

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A scientific study has suggested that if you

are stressing over an important test or exam,

writing down your feelings on a piece of paper

before an exam will allow you to achieve higher scores.

 writing down your feelings on a piece of paper

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Contrary to many theories,

the tongue does not have specific receptor areas

for bitter, sour, salty, and sweet flavors.

In fact, there is a fifth taste (umami, for savory/meaty flavors)

and all zones of the tongue can sense all flavors.

 all zones of the tongue can sense all flavors

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After banning the Nobel Prize,

Adolf Hitler developed his own version

– the German National Prize for Art and Science.

Ferdinand Porsche was one of the awardees

for being the man behind the world’s first

hybrid car and for the Volkswagen Beetle.

 German National Prize for Art and Science

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In a statement he gave to the New York Times in 1909,

Nikola Tesla predicted that it would soon be possible

to transmit messages via personal devices.

Today, we have wireless communication devices

that we bring with us anywhere we go.

 Nikola Tesla

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A month after the USSR sent Sputnik 1 into space,

they sent Sputnik 2, which was the first spacecraft

to carry an animal (a dog named Laika) into space.

However, despite the Soviets initially claiming that

Laika had survived in orbit for a week,

decades later official Russian sources revealed

that Laika lived only a few hours

before dying from overheating.

Brave little doggie though.

 Laika

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During WWI “Hello Girls,” as American

soldiers called them, were American women

who served as telephone operators for

Pershing’s forces in Europe.

The women were fluent in French and English

and were specially trained by the American

Telephone and Telegraph Company.

In 1979, the U.S. Army finally gave war medals

and veteran benefits to the few Hello Girls who were still alive.

 WWI Hello Girls

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In its early days YouTube’s founders used

Craigslist to try to popularize the site

by offering $100 to attractive girls who would

post ten or more videos of themselves.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get a single response.

 craigslist logo

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The phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’

goes back to at least the mid-nineteenth century

as found in George Eliot’s ‘The Mill on the Floss’ (1860),

where Mr. Tulliver uses the phrase in discussing

Daniel Defoe’s ‘The History of the Devil’,

saying how it was beautifully bound.

Its general meaning today, of course, is that

we shouldn’t judge or make a decision about

someone or something based on a brief

impression or outward appearance.

Wise advice.

 Don’t judge a book by its cover

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Just as true champagne must hail from France,

tequila has Denomination of Origin,

meaning that it has to be produced in Mexico,

mainly in the western Mexican state of Jalisco.

The states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit,

and Tamaulipas are also acceptable.

 taquila bottles

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Located in the city of Taipei in Taiwan, the

D.S. Music Restaurant has nothing to do with music at all.

In fact, it is a bizarre hospital-themed restaurant

where waitresses are all dressed as nurses,

tables are made from metal hospital beds,

drinks are served in IV bottles and

walls are decorated with X-ray scans.

 D.S. Music Restaurant Taiwan

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Remember the teleporter Star Trek?

Well, it’s no longer science fiction because now

matter can be dissolved into particles, transported

and reassembled at another location.

However, it won’t be available for use on humans

in the near future because at the moment,

whilst it is indeed possible to scan every molecule

in the human body and reassemble it in another area,

according to Quantum physics, scanning and

reassembling changes the entire object.

You can’t make an exact copy.

So don’t beam me up just yet, Scotty!

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The Little Christmas Quiz!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Last week we had the BIG Christmas quiz and thank you to everyone who visited and tried it out.

And a very special thanks to the Coastal Crone who reblogged it.

Since we are all used to ‘leftovers’ at this time of the year I thought I would use my leftover questions from last week’s BIG quiz for a little one this week.

The questions still have a Christmassy theme and as usual, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below.

So enjoy what’s left of the Christmas holiday and good luck with the quiz.

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the-little-christmas-quiz

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Q.  1:  How many points does a snowflake have? (Sorry there’s only one point for the correct answer.)

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Q.  2:  Charles Dickens is said to have considered the names ‘Little Larry’ and ‘Puny Pete’ for which character? (A bonus point is available if you can also correctly name the Dickens novel in which the character appears.)

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Q.  3:  In which country that made the news a lot during 2014, and the largest country of its continent, is it said that finding a spider web on Christmas morning brings good luck, and so Christmas trees are decorated with artificial spider webs?

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Q.  4:  What is New Year’s Eve called in Scotland?

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Q.  5:  What former Egyptian president was born on Christmas day in 1918?

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Q.  6:  Which alcoholic ingredient is used in a ‘Snowball’ cocktail?

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Q.  7:  And what animal is ‘Snowball’ in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’?

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Q.  8:  Derived from the Latin word meaning ‘coming’, what is the name of the period leading up to Christmas?

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Q.  9:  In the rhyme ‘Christmas is coming’, who is getting ‘fat’?

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Q. 10:  The first singing radio commercial, which aired in the US on Christmas Eve 1926, was for which brand?

            a) Rolex            b) BMW            c) Wheaties            d) Durex

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Q. 11:  Why is the male turkey often referred to as ‘Tom Turkey’?

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Q. 12:  In what country did Christmas Trees originate?

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Q. 13:  How many ‘Wise Men’ brought gifts to Jesus?

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Q. 14:  Which English monarch was crowned on Christmas Day in Westminster Abbey?

            a) William I            b) William II            c) William III            d) William IV

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Q. 15:  Name the two administrative and ex-colonial regions of China for which Christmas day remains a legal public holiday, whereas in the main country it is not? (A point for each that you name correctly.)

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Q. 16:  The Christmas favorite of ‘Pigs in Blankets’ is chipolata sausages wrapped in what?

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Q. 17:  In Mexico, it is said that wearing what color underwear on New Year’s Eve ensures finding new love the following year?

            a) Yellow            b) Green            c) Red            d) Brown

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Q. 18:  Father Christmas is known as ‘Pai Natal’ in which European country?

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Q. 19:  The surname ‘Chandler’ derives from the making or selling of what?

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Q. 20:  What was Mr Bean searching for when he got his head stuck in a turkey?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  How many points does a snowflake have? (Sorry there’s only one point for the correct answer.)

A.  1:  Six.

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Q.  2:  Charles Dickens is said to have considered the names ‘Little Larry’ and ‘Puny Pete’ for which character? (A bonus point is available if you can also correctly name the Dickens novel in which the character appears.)

A.  2:  The character is ‘Tiny Tim’ and he appears in ‘A Christmas Carol’.

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Q.  3:  In which country that made the news a lot during 2014, and the largest country of its continent, is it said that finding a spider web on Christmas morning brings good luck, and so Christmas trees are decorated with artificial spider webs?

A.  3:  The correct answer is Ukraine. (Since it is the time to be generous you can also have a point if you said ‘Poland’. Although it does not fulfill all the parameters of the question, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations in Poland 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.)

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Q.  4:  What is New Year’s Eve called in Scotland?

A.  4:  Hogmanay.

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Q.  5:  What former Egyptian president was born on Christmas day in 1918?

A.  5:  Anwar Sadat.

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Q.  6:  Which alcoholic ingredient is used in a ‘Snowball’ cocktail?

A.  6:  Advocaat.

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Q.  7:  And what animal is ‘Snowball’ in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’?

A.  7:  A Pig.

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Q.  8:  Derived from the Latin word meaning ‘coming’, what is the name of the period leading up to Christmas?

A.  8:  Advent.

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Q.  9:  In the rhyme ‘Christmas is coming’, who is getting ‘fat’?

A.  9:  The goose.

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Q. 10:  The first singing radio commercial, which aired in the US on Christmas Eve 1926, was for which brand?

            a) Rolex            b) BMW            c) Wheaties            d) Durex

A. 10:  The correct answer is c) Wheaties.

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Q. 11:  Why is the male turkey often referred to as ‘Tom Turkey’?

A. 11:  After Thomas Jefferson, because Jefferson was opposed to the idea of a turkey as the national bird.

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Q. 12:  In what country did Christmas Trees originate?

A. 12:  Germany. (Technically it was Latvia but at that time it was part of Germany.)

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Q. 13:  How many ‘Wise Men’ brought gifts to Jesus?

A. 13:  ‘More than one’ is the correct answer, the Bible does not specify how many. (If you said ‘3’ you don’t get a point.)

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Q. 14:  Which English monarch was crowned on Christmas Day in Westminster Abbey?

            a) William I            b) William II            c) William III            d) William IV

A. 14:  The correct answer is a) William I.

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Q. 15:  Name the two administrative and ex-colonial regions of China for which Christmas day remains a legal public holiday, whereas in the main country it is not? (A point for each that you name correctly.)

A. 15:  Hong Kong and Macau.

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Q. 16:  The Christmas favorite of ‘Pigs in Blankets’ is chipolata sausages wrapped in what?

A. 16:  Bacon.

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Q. 17:  In Mexico, it is said that wearing what color underwear on New Year’s Eve ensures finding new love the following year?

            a) Yellow            b) Green            c) Red            d) Brown

A. 17:  The correct answer is c) Red.

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Q. 18:  Father Christmas is known as ‘Pai Natal’ in which European country?

A. 18:  Portugal.

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Q. 19:  The surname ‘Chandler’ derives from the making or selling of what?

A. 19:  Candles.

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Q. 20:  What was Mr Bean searching for when he got his head stuck in a turkey?

A. 20:  His wrist watch.

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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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A Festive Bumper Edition Of Our Monday Quiz!

 “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes folks, this being Christmas week we have a bumper Christmassy edition of the quiz.

All the questions have a Christmas theme and there are plenty of them this week, so this quiz should keep you going over the holidays.

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

Merry Christmas and enjoy.

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Christmas Quiz

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Q.  1:  If you were born on Christmas day, what would be your Zodiac sign?

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Q.  2:  In which century was Christmas first celebrated?

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Q.  3:  What significance is holly in celebrating Christmas?

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Q.  4:  In the familiar song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, what is the gift on the fourth day?

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Q.  5:  In the 1998 movie what actor whilst out Christmas shopping suddenly finds himself an “Enemy of the State”?

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Q.  6:  Who discovered Christmas Island in 1777?

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Q.  7:  Who wrote the song “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?

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Q.  8:  Plus or minus one year, how long does it take a Scotch Pine Christmas tree to reach a typical retail height of 6 to 7 feet?

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Q.  9:  One of the most popular floral gifts at Christmas is the Poinsetta, but what country did Poinsettias originally come from?

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Q. 10:  At the end of the war in Vietnam, when Saigon fell, the signal for all Americans to evacuate was what song by Bing Crosby being played on the radio?

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Q. 11:  What was Scrooge’s business partner called?

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Q. 12:  When exactly is ‘The Twelfth Night’?

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Q. 13:  Why was Boxing Day so named?

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Q. 14:  Who composed the music for the festive season ballet ‘The Nutcracker’?

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Q. 15:  Which Italian cake, popular at Christmas, belongs to Tony?

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Q. 16:  What job was first taken by James Edgar in 1890?

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Q. 17:  In which celebrated movie does James Stewart attempt suicide one Christmas?

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Q. 18:  The Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. Pope Julius I made this decision in which year? 

            a) 50 AD      b) 350 AD      c) 750 AD      d) 1250 AD

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Q. 19:  Mr and Mrs Hilton had a little boy who was born on Christmas Day 1887, and went on to found of one of the world’s largest Hotel chains, but what was his first name?

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Q. 20:  The names of which two reindeer mean ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’?

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Q.  21:  What is the name of the fruit sauce which is a traditional accompaniment to the Christmas Turkey?

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Q.  22:  The American ad writer Robert L. May invented which colorful Christmas character in 1939?

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Q.  23:  The German Christmas song ‘Tannebaum’ is translated into English as what?

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Q.  24:  What does the word ‘Bethlehem’ mean?

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Q.  25:  Before Pope Julius I decided that December 25th was the day Jesus was born, on which day did early Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus?  

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Q.  26:  Coca Cola made our modern Father Christmas for an advertising campaign, but prior to that, what color robes did he wear?

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Q.  27:  Which ‘Christmas’ word means ‘turning of the sun’?

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Q.  28:  Complete the title of each of the following Christmas movies.

            a) Holiday… b) We’re No… c) The Bells of… d) It’s A Wonderful…

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Q.  29:  What was the name of Scrooge’s clerk in a Christmas Carol?

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Q. 30:  Advent candles are a popular Christmas tradition in many cultures. What does the word advent mean?

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Q. 31:  Which nickname for Hollywood sounds Christmassy?

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Q. 32:  Which pudding with a misleading name was banned by English Puritans because it was deemed to be ‘sinfully rich’?

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Q. 33:  The Greek word for ‘Messiah’ was ‘Xristos’(Christ). What do all of these words mean translated?

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Q. 34:  In the movie ‘Die Hard 2’, which airport did the terrorist take over on Christmas Eve?

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Q. 35:  Many people claim that the first unofficial football (soccer) international between Germany and a Scotland-England side was played on a Christmas Day. The pitch or playing field was found between what?

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Q. 36:  In which country does an ugly old witch named ‘Bafana’ deliver presents on the 6th of December?

           a) Australia      b) Austria      c) Italy       d) Mexico

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Q. 37:  There are two ‘Christmas islands’, in which oceans are they located?

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Q. 38:  In which city is Kevin left ‘Home Alone’ at Christmas? (the first Home Alone)

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Q. 39:  “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan”.  What is the name of the country where Wenceslas was king? (Will accept either the ‘old’ or ‘modern’ name of the country.)

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Q. 40:  Which Christmas tradition, said to have originated in Germany, was banned in the Soviet Union until 1935?

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Q.  41:  In which country is St. Nick called ‘Sinterklaas’?

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Q.  42:  Which Christmas gift of the very highest quality, also known as ‘Oil of Lebanon’, comes from Oman?

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Q.  43:  Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

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Q.  44:  Who said, “You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose “?

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Q.  45:  Which popular poem did Clement Clark Moore write for his six children in 1822?

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Q.  46:  The following all mean ‘Merry Christmas’ in which language? (A point for each!)

             a) Hyvaa joulua    b) sung tan chuk ha    c) froehliche weihnacten   

             d) mele kalikimaka    e) god jul    f) boas festas    g) kala christouyenna

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Q.  47:  Superstition dictates that when making mince pies for Christmas one should always stir in which direction?

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Q.  48:  Which Christmas tradition did the very busy Sir Henry Cole introduce in 1843?

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Q.  49:  The Christmas movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ has been remade many times. Who won a best supporting actor Oscar for the role of Kris Kringle in the original 1947 movie and which two time Oscar winner played Kris in the 1994 remake?

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Q. 50:  Which song begins with “Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall”?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  If you were born on Christmas day, what would be your Zodiac sign?

A.  1:  Capricorn.

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Q.  2:  In which century was Christmas first celebrated?

A.  2:  In the 4th century.

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Q.  3:  What significance is holly in celebrating Christmas?

A.  3:  The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted.

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Q.  4:  In the familiar song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, what is the gift on the fourth day?

A.  4:  4 Calling Birds.

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Q.  5:  In the 1998 movie what actor whilst out Christmas shopping suddenly finds himself an “Enemy of the State”?

A.  5:  Will Smith

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Q.  6:  Who discovered Christmas Island in 1777?

A.  6:  Captain Cook.

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Q.  7:  Who wrote the song “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?

A.  7:  Irving Berlin.

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Q.  8:  Plus or minus one year, how long does it take a Scotch Pine Christmas tree to reach a typical retail height of 6 to 7 feet?

A.  8:  7 years.

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Q.  9:  One of the most popular floral gifts at Christmas is the Poinsetta, but what country did Poinsettias originally come from?

A.  9:  Mexico.

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Q. 10:  At the end of the war in Vietnam, when Saigon fell, the signal for all Americans to evacuate was what song by Bing Crosby being played on the radio?

A. 10:  White Christmas.

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Q. 11:  What was Scrooge’s business partner called?

A. 11:  Jacob Marley.

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Q. 12:  When exactly is ‘The Twelfth Night’?

A. 12:  The evening of the 5th of January.

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Q. 13:  Why was Boxing Day so named?

A. 13:  After the custom of giving Christmas Boxes/Tips to workmen/tradesmen.

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Q. 14:  Who composed the music for the festive season ballet ‘The Nutcracker’?

A. 14:  Tchaikovsky.

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Q. 15:  Which Italian cake, popular at Christmas, belongs to Tony?

A. 15:  Panettone. (Anthony or Tone’s bread).

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Q. 16:  What job was first taken by James Edgar in 1890?

A. 16:  He was the first department store Santa.

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Q. 17:  In which celebrated movie does James Stewart attempt suicide one Christmas?

A. 17:  It’s A Wonderful Life.

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Q. 18:  The Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. Pope Julius I made this decision in which year? 

            a) 50 AD      b) 350 AD      c) 750 AD      d) 1250 AD

A. 18:  Answer b) 350 AD.

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Q. 19:  Mr and Mrs Hilton had a little boy who was born on Christmas Day 1887, and went on to found of one of the world’s largest Hotel chains, but what was his first name?

A. 19:  Conrad.

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Q. 20:  The names of which two reindeer mean ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’?

A. 20:  Donner and Blitzen.

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Q.  21:  What is the name of the fruit sauce which is a traditional accompaniment to the Christmas Turkey?

A.  21:  Cranberry.

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Q.  22:  The American ad writer Robert L. May invented which colorful Christmas character in 1939?

A.  22:  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

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Q.  23:  The German Christmas song ‘Tannebaum’ is translated into English as what?

A.  23:  Christmas Tree.

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Q.  24:  What does the word ‘Bethlehem’ mean?

A.  24:   House of meat (Arabic) or House of bread (Hebraic)

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Q.  25:  Before Pope Julius I decided that December 25th was the day Jesus was born, on which day did early Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus?  

A.  25:  The 6th of January or feast of the epiphany. (Greek for appearance or revelation).

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Q.  26:  Coca Cola made our modern Father Christmas for an advertising campaign, but prior to that, what color robes did he wear?

A.  26:  Green. (As a sign of the returning Spring.)

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Q.  27:  Which ‘Christmas’ word means ‘turning of the sun’?

A.  27:  Yuletide (Yule means wheel in old Norse language).

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Q.  28:  Complete the title of each of the following Christmas movies.

            a) Holiday… b) We’re No… c) The Bells of… d) It’s A Wonderful…

A.  28:  a) …Inn        b) …Angels     c) …St. Marys     d) …Life

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Q.  29:  What was the name of Scrooge’s clerk in a Christmas Carol?

A.  29:  Bob Cratchit.

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Q. 30:  Advent candles are a popular Christmas tradition in many cultures. What does the word advent mean?

A. 30:  Arrival.

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Q. 31:  Which nickname for Hollywood sounds Christmassy?

A. 31:  Tinseltown.

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Q. 32:  Which pudding with a misleading name was banned by English Puritans because it was deemed to be ‘sinfully rich’?

A. 32:  Plum pudding. (Incidentally, there are no plums in plum pudding, just sugar, raisons, suet, flour and various spices boiled in a bag till ‘plum’)

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Q. 33:  The Greek word for ‘Messiah’ was ‘Xristos’(Christ). What do all of these words mean translated?

A. 33:  The ‘annointed’ one.

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Q. 34:  In the movie ‘Die Hard 2’, which airport did the terrorist take over on Christmas Eve?

A. 34:  Dulles International Airport (Washington DC).

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Q. 35:  Many people claim that the first unofficial football (soccer) international between Germany and a Scotland-England side was played on a Christmas Day. The pitch or playing field was found between what?

A. 35:  Between the trenches in no mans land, Christmas 1914.  (No match report is available but it seems the Germans won 3-2.)

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Q. 36:  In which country does an ugly old witch named ‘Bafana’ deliver presents on the 6th of December?

           a) Australia      b) Austria      c) Italy       d) Mexico

A. 36:  Answer c) Italy. 

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Q. 37:  There are two ‘Christmas islands’, in which oceans are they located?

A. 37:  The Pacific and Indian oceans.

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Q. 38:  In which city is Kevin left ‘Home Alone’ at Christmas? (the first Home Alone)

A. 38:  Chicago.

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Q. 39:  “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan”.  What is the name of the country where Wenceslas was king? (Will accept either the ‘old’ or ‘modern’ name of the country.)

A. 39:  Bohemia, now known as the Czech Republic.

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Q. 40:  Which Christmas tradition, said to have originated in Germany, was banned in the Soviet Union until 1935?

A. 40:  Christmas trees.

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Q.  41:  In which country is St. Nick called ‘Sinterklaas’?

A.  41:  Holland.

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Q.  42:  Which Christmas gift of the very highest quality, also known as ‘Oil of Lebanon’, comes from Oman?

A.  42:  Frankincense.

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Q.  43:  Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

A.  43:  To compete with a pagan celebration.

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Q.  44:  Who said, “You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose “?

A.  44:  Scrooge to Bob Cratchit in Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’.

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Q.  45:  Which popular poem did Clement Clark Moore write for his six children in 1822?

A.  45:  A visit from St. Nicholas (The night before Christmas) “It twas the night before Christmas when all through the house……”

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Q.  46:  The following all mean ‘Merry Christmas’ in which language? (A point for each!)

             a) Hyvaa joulua    b) sung tan chuk ha    c) froehliche weihnacten   

             d) mele kalikimaka    e) god jul    f) boas festas    g) kala christouyenna

A.  46:  Answers   a) Finnish    b) Korean    c) German    d) Hawaiian    e) Norwegian

             f) Portugese    and,    g) Greek

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Q.  47:  Superstition dictates that when making mince pies for Christmas one should always stir in which direction?

A.  47:  In a clockwise direction.

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Q.  48:  Which Christmas tradition did the very busy Sir Henry Cole introduce in 1843?

A.  48:  The sending of Christmas wishes on mass produced Christmas cards.  The first cards depicted a family toasting an absent friend with the words “Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you”.

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Q.  49:  The Christmas movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ has been remade many times. Who won a best supporting actor Oscar for the role of Kris Kringle in the original 1947 movie and which two time Oscar winner played Kris in the 1994 remake?

A.  49:  Edmund Gwenn and Richard Attenborough.

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Q. 50:  Which song begins with “Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall”?

A. 50:  Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody.

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