Forget The Cold War, The Summer Is Here

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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2nd cold war

The world breathed a great sigh of relief when the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, but somehow we’re in the middle of another cold war that nobody wants or needs.

How did that happen?

As most things do, it all started with a huge mistake. That mistake was the West, particularly America, treating Russia like a defeated country after 1991, instead of the formidable nation that it still was despite the breakup of the USSR. Mikhail Gorbachev has acknowledged that fact.

Unfortunately Americans have no clue about foreign affairs and never have had. That, plus a ton of arrogance, led us to the Ukraine which America thought it could more or less capture as an ally to be slotted into NATO. They wanted a fully armed NATO nuclear arsenal on the Russian’s doorstep.

The Americans quite rightly didn’t like it when the Russians tried to do it to them in Cuba way back in the early 1960s, so what idiot thought that the Russians would like it when they did it to them?

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Whoever formulated the plan, it was heavily influenced by Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National Security Advisor during President Carter’s administration. His theory was that the only way to prevent Russia becoming a great power again was to remove the Ukraine from its sphere of influence.

Thus America initiated an eastward expansion of NATO, using the EU to present the Ukraine with a choice between Russia and Europe. Some Ukrainians, like those in the Crimea favored Russia and others in other parts wanted closer ties with the EU.

Like many other countries, the prospect of joining the EU is attractive to a significant proportion of Ukrainians. But the way America tried to bring it about was just a step too far. The Ukrainian President, who had been duly elected, was removed in what would have been called a “coup d’etat” had it happened elsewhere, or had Russia been the culprit.

That is why a lot of the tensions between the West and Russia is centered on the internal troubles within the Ukraine.

If one looks into the history of the Ukraine another significant part of the puzzle presents itself.

ukraine-map

In much the same way as stupid English bureaucrats redrew borders in the Middle East without any consideration for the people who lived there, (for example, the Kurds), which resulted in wars and upheaval ever since, when the Soviet Union broke apart somewhere in the region of 25 million Russians were left outside the borders of Russia. A lot of them were in the Crimea in the Ukraine.

But the Ukraine had only been independent for three years in its history (1917-20), after the collapse of the tsarist armies.

The post-December 1991 Ukraine was thus a composite entity, its western regions had belonged to Poland between WWI and WWII; its eastern regions were Orthodox and Russian-speaking; and its Black Sea coast had been Ottoman.

The Crimea had never been Ukrainian until Nikita Khrushchev decreed it should be in 1954.

Thus, for anyone with any degree of understanding of foreign affairs, the troubles now being suffered by the various peoples in the Ukraine were both predictable and avoidable.

But the stupid bureaucrats in power were not able to predict it and thus the mess became inevitable.

Ukraine crisis

Sadly the situation has now deteriorated into what amounts to a civil war in the Ukraine. On one side there is the Ukrainian army plus “volunteer battalions”, supported by the US and its allies, and on the other the “separatist” militias who draw their support mainly from Russian-speakers in the east, and who are supported by Russia.

Outside of what is happening in the Ukraine itself, the US and EU implemented severe sanctions against Russia which have hurt, but not nearly as much as they were supposed to. In turn Russia announced counter-sanctions on food and looked to emerging markets, particularly China, to diversify its foreign trade and industrial cooperation.

And so the Cold War part two has begun and shows little sign of ending just yet.

In fact it looks like the Ukraine will remain in a mess until it gets its act together and decides whether it wants to remain on friendly economic terms with its huge neighbor Russia, or whether it will settle for becoming subservient to the whims of the US, via some kind of economic agreement with the EU.

It has a third option, though, perhaps its best option, and that is not taking sides, but rather remaining on friendly terms with both East and West.

However, they may never get the chance to choose option three. In plain language, I don’t think that the people who arrange assassinations and coup d’etats will let them do that.

Meantime, summer or not, the chill continues.

snow in summer sun

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A Manic Monday Quiz.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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A manic Monday quiz it is indeed.

Twenty questions covering the usual wide range of subjects, so hopefully there will be one or two that you find easy and one or two that you find a lot more difficult.

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

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz confused1

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Q.  1:  According to a survey conducted by Citrix, what percentage of people thought that stormy weather affects cloud computing?

            a) 1%           b) 15%           c) 51%           d) 85%

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Q.  2:  What city is known as ‘The Harbor City’ ?

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Q.  3:  What is another name for the prairie wolf?

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Q.  4:  If your boss cuts your salary by 10% but offers to let you work 10% more to make up for it, should you accept?

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Q.  5:  Six men are widely accepted to be the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. What were their names? (You get a point for each correctly named and a bonus point if can correctly name all six.)

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Q.  6:  A follow-up question to # 5, which one of these Founding Fathers once wrote a scientific piece called ‘Fart Proudly’ ?

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Q.  7:  What percentage of the Earth’s volcanoes are underwater?

            a) 10 %           b) 30 %           c) 50 %           d) 70 %           e) 90 %

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Q.  8:  In Greek mythology who attempted to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax, but flew too close to the Sun and perished when the wax melted?

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Q.  9:  And when we’re on the subject of flying, what area code would you use if you wanted to call the Kennedy Space Center in Florida?

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Q. 10:  What do you call the three sides of a right-angled triangle? (Hint, you get zero points for answering ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’.)

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Q. 11:  This one is the name of a famous Shakespeare tragedy and a multiplayer board game based on the popular game Reversi. What is it?

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Q. 12:  What nationality is the famous musician Richard Clayderman and what instrument is associated with him? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 13:  ‘Equatorial’, ‘Gulf Stream’ and ‘Humboldt’ are names give to what?

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Q. 14:  Russians consume about 6 times as much what as Americans?

            a) milk           b) coffee           c) tea           d) beer            e) spirits

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Q. 15:  Which paper format has the largest area, the ‘International A4’ as used for example in the UK or the ‘Letter’ format used in the United States?

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Q. 16:  There are seven main weight divisions used in professional boxing, what are they? (You get a point for each one you can name correctly and three bonus points if you get all seven correct.)

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Q. 17:  What is the link between something to eat, something to drink, somewhere to go and something to call your daughter?

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Q. 18:  What was the name of the cat that survived the sinking of the Bismark, HMS Cossack and HMS Ark Royal? 

            a) Kit Kat            b) Wet Willie            c) Unsinkable Sam

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Q. 19:  What is the largest country in South America (a) by area and (b) by size of population? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 20:  Who had a ‘Manic Monday’ and went on to ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ ?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  According to a survey conducted by Citrix, what percentage of people thought that stormy weather affects cloud computing?

            a) 1%           b) 15%           c) 51%           d) 85%

A.  1:  Unbelievably the correct answer is c) 51%.

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Q.  2:  What city is known as ‘The Harbor City’ ?

A.  2:  Sydney, Australia.

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Q.  3:  What is another name for the prairie wolf?

A.  3:  Coyote.

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Q.  4:  If your boss cuts your salary by 10% but offers to let you work 10% more to make up for it, should you accept?

A.  4:  You should NOT accept the offer. This is a percentage question. For example, if you made $10 per hour, a 10% cut in your salary would leave you with $9 per hour. Adding 10% back would only be 10% of $9, or 90 cents so you would end up with only $9.90.

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Q.  5:  Six men are widely accepted to be the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. What were their names? (You get a point for each correctly named and a bonus point if can correctly name all six.)

A.  5:  The six men are widely accepted to be the Founding Fathers of the United States of America are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and, of course, Benjamin Franklin.

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Q.  6:  A follow-up question to # 5, which one of these Founding Fathers once wrote a scientific piece called ‘Fart Proudly’ ?

A.  6:  Benjamin Franklin wrote a scientific piece called Fart Proudly. It was all about farts.

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Q.  7:  What percentage of the Earth’s volcanoes are underwater?

            a) 10 %           b) 30 %           c) 50 %           d) 70 %           e) 90 %

A.  7:  The correct answer is e) 90% of all volcanoes are underwater.

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Q.  8:  In Greek mythology who attempted to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax, but flew too close to the Sun and perished when the wax melted?

A.  8:  Icarus.

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Q.  9:  And when we’re on the subject of flying, what area code would you use if you wanted to call the Kennedy Space Center in Florida?

A.  9:  The telephone area code for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is ‘321’ which imitates the countdown before liftoff. It was assigned to the area, instead of suburban Chicago in November 1999 after a successful petition led by local resident Robert Osband. Try it out, call the Kennedy Space Center on (321) 867-5000.

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Q. 10:  What do you call the three sides of a right-angled triangle? (Hint, you get zero points for answering ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’.)

A. 10:  They are called ‘opposite’, ‘adjacent’ and ‘hypotenuse’.

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Q. 11:  This one is the name of a famous Shakespeare tragedy and a multiplayer board game based on the popular game Reversi. What is it?

A. 11:  Othello.

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Q. 12:  What nationality is the famous musician Richard Clayderman and what instrument is associated with him? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 12:  Richard Clayderman is French and he is a pianist.

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Q. 13:  ‘Equatorial’, ‘Gulf Stream’ and ‘Humboldt’ are names give to what?

A. 13:  Ocean currents.

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Q. 14:  Russians consume about 6 times as much what as Americans?

            a) milk           b) coffee           c) tea           d) beer            e) spirits

A. 14:  The correct answer is c) tea, Russians also consume about 6 times as much tea as Americans.

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Q. 15:  Which paper format has the largest area, the ‘International A4’ as used for example in the UK or the ‘Letter’ format used in the United States?

A. 15:  A4 has the largest area. (A4 is 210 mm (8.25”) wide and 297 mm (11.75”) long or 62,370 m2, and US Letter is 216 mm (8.5”) wide by 279 mm (11”) long or 60,264 m2.)

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Q. 16:  There are seven main weight divisions used in professional boxing, what are they? (You get a point for each one you can name correctly and three bonus points if you get all seven correct.)

A. 16:  Although modern additions have been added, the seven main weight divisions used in professional boxing are ‘Flyweight’, ‘Bantamweight’, ‘Featherweight’, ‘Lightweight’, ‘Welterweight’, ‘Middleweight’ and ‘Heavyweight’.

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Q. 17:  What is the link between something to eat, something to drink, somewhere to go and something to call your daughter?

A. 17:  Margarita.

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Q. 18:  What was the name of the cat that survived the sinking of the Bismark, HMS Cossack and HMS Ark Royal? 

            a) Kit Kat            b) Wet Willie            c) Unsinkable Sam

A. 18:  The correct answer is c) Unsinkable Sam.

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Q. 19:  What is the largest country in South America (a) by area and (b) by size of population? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 19:  The correct answers are (a) Brazil with an area of 8,514,877 Km2, and (b) Brazil with a population of more than 195.5 million.

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Q. 20:  Who had a ‘Manic Monday’ and went on to ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ ?

A. 20:  The Bangles.

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What’s That Smell?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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hypocrite definition

Last week I wrote a post about the resurgence of the Cold War. I called it “Anyone Feel A Chill?” (click here if you would like to read it.)

But, politicians being politicians, they cannot even have a mock war like a Cold War without the stench of hypocrisy attached to it.

For example, the United States blames Russia for interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine, as indeed it is currently doing. But at the same time it attaches no blame to itself for also interfering in the Ukraine’s internal affairs, which it also did – in the process helping to create the mess we now see on our TV screens.

ukraine protests

Now, not content with that, America has been coercing Europe to go along with it in imposing economic sanctions on Russia. And by and large Europe has meekly and unthinkingly followed the US lead.

It started with foodstuffs and freezing bank accounts and assets, which Putin has managed to shrug off without too much trouble.

Now they’ve upped the ante and imposed sanctions on Russia’s supply of energy which is it’s big wealth earner and which given time will no doubt hurt a bit. I say “a bit” because any long term shortfall in energy revenue from Europe will be more than made up for by energy hungry customers like China, India and the rest of Asia. China, for example, recently closed a $400 billion natural gas deal with the Russians.

As a matter of fact, with winter approaching, the sanction game may well end up hurting Europe a lot more that it does Russia.

hypocrisy meter

You see, the thing is, the energy sanctions imposed by the US and Europe are on the sale of oil and gas. These are the things that Europe desperately needs, but are things on which America does not rely on Russia for at all.

Wait a minute, there’s that smell again.

Worse than that, the US did not invoke sanctions on the sale of Russian nuclear fuel, which America does rely on Russia for, since it just happens to power 10% of all American homes.

Now do you smell it?

At the moment it looks like this Cold War is going to get very cold in Europe and very expensive as the cost of heating increases with the shortfall in supplies.

America will be fine though.

So will Russia.

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Vlad The Bad?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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“It was the Russians, they’re the ones to blame.”

“It was Putin. He’s the baddie. We can’t let him get way with it!”

 malaysia-airlines-flight-mh17

So go the cries in the US in the aftermath of the shooting down of Air Malaysia Flight MH17 over the Ukraine.

And that was long before any of the facts had been collected and it was known who shot down a plane on a different continent, or why. 

Russia wants (virtual) control of the Ukraine. There isn’t really any doubt about that. For them it is a strategic imperative. Russia’s history has taught it that it needs to be able to control a vast amount of territory, if only to use as a buffer zone against invasion.

The situation is not helped by various US Presidents and Secretaries of State giving Russia assurances that they would not attempt to involve the peripheral former Soviet states in things like NATO – and then trying to do the exact opposite.

It is now widely accepted that the underlying reason for the unrest in the Ukraine and Russia’s reaction is because of US interference in that country, which included helping to overthrow its democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, and replace him with someone who was a virtual puppet of the West.

That was just asking for trouble. And they should have known it.

And they will get trouble, probably much more than they bargained for.

Unfortunately that will impact on ordinary people, like us.

 Major_NATO_affiliations_in_Europe

Just as the US has its beady eyes on bringing the Ukraine and other former Soviet states into pro-Western organizations like NATO, it is equally certain that Putin will have his beady eyes on not only bringing the former Soviet states back firmly under Russian control, but in perhaps expanding his relationships with other parts of Europe.

Putin has the energy reserves to do it. Whilst there is very little in the way of direct trade between the US and Russia, particularly in regard to energy supplies, (Russia is just the United States’ 20th largest trading partner), Europe is largely dependent on Russian gas to keep it going. Over 30 percent of the European Union’s energy supplies come from Russia and the EU is Russia’s largest trading partner.

Russia’s counter strategy, therefore, will obviously be to use its considerable economic influence as leverage to try to break up the NATO alliance and to separate the European power house, Germany, from its Anglo-American alliance.

Putin is being helped by the arrogance of America’s government spooks who thought they could spy on their friends and allies, even going so far as tapping the phone of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, without there being consequences.  

consequences

Prompted by leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the fallout from America’s spying debacle continues, people have been arrested, and the German government has even ordered the local CIA station chief to pack his bags and leave the country.

Germany may still place some value on its relationship with the US, but not nearly so much as previously, thanks solely to America’s lack of respect for them.

Putin and his advisors know this, even if Obama and Kerry don’t. They see Germany as ready for change. And they may well be right. The German people are angry at the contempt America has shown for them  – just as Americans would rightly have been if the Germans had done the same to them and their President  –  and they are increasingly frustrated at the burden the European Union has become economically.

If the US doesn’t catch itself on and behave differently and with respect towards its foreign friends, it may find that there will be changes it did not expect and certainly did not want.

Kerry Putin Obama

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So Come On America, Do Something Smart This Time.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I hate to have to say “I told you so” (actually I love it), but in last week’s Sunday Sermon I was on a well worn theme of mine, the blundering stupidity of American foreign policy – if you can even call it a policy. Particularly the current American lust for getting involved in the turmoil in the Ukraine. (If you want to recap, click here…)

Russia Ukraine map

I offered the theory that it was not unreasonable for a Russian leader like Putin not to want a fully nuclear armed Ukraine as anything other than an ally on his doorstep. And to try to clarify the position from his point of view I used the example of how America reacted (rightly) when the Russian leader of the 1960s, Khrushchev, tried to do the same thing in Cuba – right on America’s doorstep.

Well, I can’t take a great deal of credit for what happened next. It was an obvious consequence of American interference in Ukraine. Obvious to everyone that is except the morons in Washington.

Yes, Valdimir Putin paid a visit to Cuba this week.

Putin Castro

His message could not be clearer, again to everyone except the Congress, Senate, White House, State Department, and the rest. For their benefit rather than the readers’, Putin’s message is simple  –  if you want to **** in my back yard, then I can **** in yours too.

The Cuban economy is in dire straits. The Russians have already forgiven the substantial multi-$billion debt owed to them and will no doubt follow that up with a new infusion of money to help the country out.

The smart move for America would be to immediately end the now pointless economic embargo of Cuba (the desk drawers of the hypocrites in Washington are full of boxes Cuban cigars anyway!) and open up new friendlier relations. I think America would be surprised just how amenable the Cubans would be to better relations with them.

Box of Cuban Cigars

But they’d better act fast.

If they adopt their usual short-sighted warmongering posture, then Russia’s influence will only get stronger and its presence ever closer to American shores. I don’t think anybody wants that outcome.

So come on America, do something smart this time.

The world is watching!

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Iowa? IOWA? Oh, no, NOT IOWA!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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I read a strange thing on the internet the other day.

Not much unusual there, you could do that every day.

This was a study that found that Americans’ attitudes about whether the US should intervene in Ukraine is correlated with their ability to find the country on the map.

And even more strangely  –  perhaps  –  it was the Americans who COULDN’T find the Ukraine on a map who were more in favor of intervention!

Apparently  –  and I kid you not  –  some of the respondents thought that the Ukraine was in Iowa.

maps Ukraine Iowa
Europe with Ukraine highlighted USA with Iowa highlighted

Unfortunately the guys that think out American foreign policy are these sorts of people. The kind who just don’t know what they are talking about. The kind of bureaucrats who rub Preparation H on their elbows  –  if you see what I mean!

Recent history proves this beyond all reasonable doubt.

To add insult to injury so to speak, these know nothings who advise the President on foreign matters try to spin every situation by telling everyone that, even though it has massive debt already and is effectively bankrupt, the US must still be the world’s policeman and uphold democracy.

The world according to America

Why?

What business is it of ours?

And if we are so hell bent on ensuring democracy exists throughout the world why aren’t we intervening in one of the biggest dictatorships of them all, Saudi Arabia which was also the home of most of the 9/11 terrorists and of course Bin Laden’s mother country? But no, lets attack Iraq and Afghanistan instead!

For more than half a century American foreign policy has been dictated by a mindless mantra that “if the Russians are for it, then we’re against it”.

The rights and wrongs of any particular situation are not analyzed or discussed. The facts are never examined. The truth is not even looked for.

That is why US foreign policy has been such a shambles throughout the world and will continue to be so until basically the people directing it wise up.

As for the Ukraine?

First of all it is NOT in Iowa.

Second, the US has spent (wasted) $5 billion and more during the past twenty years on “democratization” programs in Ukraine, including efforts from the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Third, yes there were elements within the Ukraine who did not like being subservient to Russia, but what happened in the Ukraine was that a democratically elected president, Yanukovych, was overthrown in February in what amounted to a coup d’etat.

Students of history will remember what a funk America was in when the Russians started to “assist” Cuba way back in the early 1960s, yet they can’t understand why Russian leader Putin doesn’t want a fully nuclear armed Ukraine as anything other than an ally on his doorstep.

Why can they not see that the strategy of absorbing Ukraine into NATO and stationing missile defense systems there, is bound to piss the Russians off in exactly the same way as events in Cuba did for the Americans?

The fact is, of course, that they probably do see that. And they don’t care. The name of the game here is not upholding democracy at all. Such a laudable goal is only a smokescreen. The name of the game is to try to curtail Russia by having Ukrainian missiles pointed towards Moscow instead of Washington, or Washington’s allies.

It’s a game plan that Putin sees quite clearly. To think that he will sit back and not respond is just a fantasy. Let’s hope that the idiots in Washington don’t land us with yet another catastrophe.

With their past record I wouldn’t count on it though!

US-Foreign-Policy cartoon

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Last Day Of The Month, First Quiz Of The Week.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to another start of the week quiz.

Another twenty brain teasing questions to stimulate those old grey cells.

As usual the answers can be found waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q.  1:  Where would you go to look at the Abominable Snowman?

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Q.  2:  Who was Jacqueline Lee Bouvier’s second husband?

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Q.  3:  Where were Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Antony Perkins in the 1959 post apocalyptic movie that they starred in?

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Q.  4:  What famous magician shares his name with an equally famous Dickens’ character?

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Q.  5:  In which country is Togariro National park with its three volcanoes, including Mt. Ruapahu?

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Q.  6:  Very few non Russians appeared on postage stamps in the USSR between 1922 and 1991, but two Americans did. Can you name them? (A point for each.)

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Q.  7:  This famous actor starred in a movie being himself, who is he?

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Q.  8:  Who was ‘The Once and Future King’? 

           a) Elvis           b) Arthur          c) Idi Amin           d) Aragorn

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Q.  9:  What was the name of the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and who is it’s current chief?  (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 10:  What is the name of the river that rises on the Tibetan Plateau of western China and has flooded more often and killed more people than any other?

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Q. 11:  Why were there no registered births or deaths in England on September 3rd 1752?

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Q. 12:  The name of which form of literature stems from a Greek word meaning ‘making’?

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Q. 13:  Which actor won his only Oscar for his role in the western ‘True Grit’?

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Q. 14:  The old name for which island country stems from the Latin word for beautiful?

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Q. 15:  What is the real name of The Shark Tank’s ‘Mr Wonderful’?

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Q. 16:  What is the capital of Equador?

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Q. 17:  Vincent van Gogh is not only a very famous artist with his works now commanding millions of dollars, but he is also well known for an incident in which he cut off an ear. Which one?  (Go on, you have a 50:50 chance on this one!)

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Q. 18:  What aliases did Hannibal Hayes and Kid Curry use in the long running television series?

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Q. 19:  Who was hailed as the founder of the Mongol Empire?

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Q. 20:  What was Elvis Presley’s first number one hit single in the USA?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  Where would you go to look at the Abominable Snowman?

A.  1:  The Himalayas.

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Q.  2:  Who was Jacqueline Lee Bouvier’s second husband?

A.  2:  Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis.

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Q.  3:  Where were Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Antony Perkins in the 1959 post apocalyptic movie that they starred in?

A.  3:  On The Beach.

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Q.  4:  What famous magician shares his name with an equally famous Dickens’ character?

A.  4:  David Copperfield.

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Q.  5:  In which country is Togariro National park with its three volcanoes, including Mt. Ruapahu?

A.  5:  New Zealand.

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Q.  6:  Very few non Russians appeared on postage stamps in the USSR between 1922 and 1991, but two Americans did. Can you name them? (A point for each.)

A.  6:  They were Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain.

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Q.  7:  This famous actor starred in a movie being himself, who is he?

A.  7:  He is John Malkovich, who starred in the movie ‘Being John Malkovich’.

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Q.  8:  Who was ‘The Once and Future King’? 

           a) Elvis           b) Arthur          c) Idi Amin           d) Aragorn

A.  8:  b) Arthur.

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Q.  9:  What was the name of the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and who is it’s current chief?  (A point for each correct answer.)

A.  9:  J Edgar Hoover was the first, the current director is James Comey.

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Q. 10:  What is the name of the river that rises on the Tibetan Plateau of western China and has flooded more often and killed more people than any other?

A. 10:  The Yellow River.

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Q. 11:  Why were there no registered births or deaths in England on September 3rd 1752?

A. 11:  There was no September 3rd 1752. The British government adopted the Gregorian calendar.  It was decreed that the day following September 2nd 1752 should be called September 14.

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Q. 12:  The name of which form of literature stems from a Greek word meaning ‘making’?

A. 12:  Poetry.

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Q. 13:  Which actor won his only Oscar for his role in the western ‘True Grit’?

A. 13:  John Wayne.

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Q. 14:  The old name for which island country stems from the Latin word for beautiful?

A. 14:  Formosa (the modern name is Taiwan.)

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Q. 15:  What is the real name of The Shark Tank’s ‘Mr Wonderful’?

A. 15:  Kevin O’Leary.

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Q. 16:  What is the capital of Equador?

A. 16:  Quito.

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Q. 17:  Vincent van Gogh is not only a very famous artist with his works now commanding millions of dollars, but he is also well known for an incident in which he cut off an ear. Which one?  (Go on, you have a 50:50 chance on this one!)

A. 17:  It was his left ear.

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Q. 18:  What aliases did Hannibal Hayes and Kid Curry use in the long running television series?

A. 18:  They were ‘Alias Smith And Jones’.

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Q. 19:  Who was hailed as the founder of the Mongol Empire?

A. 19:  Genghis Khan.

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Q. 20:  What was Elvis Presley’s first number one hit single in the USA?

A. 20:  Heartbreak Hotel (in 1956).

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