Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fascism, American Style

Author Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 characteristics common to each:

· 1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

· 2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

· 3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists; terrorists; etc.

· 4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

· 5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

· 6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

· 7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

· 8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

· 9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation are often the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

· 10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

· 11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked.

· 12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

· 13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

· 14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.


Now look at The Republican Party in The United States:

· Republican President George W. Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress used fear of another 9/11-type attack and the possession of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Husain to whip up patriot fervor to attack Iraq. There were no WMDs in Iraq. He also created the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan. At the same times, he reduced taxes on the wealthy and created massive deficits and debt.

· The Republican Party has forged an alliance with U.S. Catholic Bishops , the Fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Mormons to push their conservative Christian agenda. At the direction of their bishops, Catholic priests have preached sermons telling or implying parishioners to vote Republican. Catholics bishops have excommunicated Democratic politicians who vote to allow freedom of choice concerning abortion because it its contrary to church doctrine. So is capital punishment, creating an unjust war, and harming children, but no Republican politician was ever excommunicated for those violations.

· Republican Party media mouthpieces and politicians often indulge in lies, distortions and scapegoating concerning minorities, particularly African-Americans, Hispanics, Moslems, gays and women.

· The Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court consistently rules against minorities, laborers, labor unions and in favor of large corporations and corporate interests. They also created a landmark decision which violated the U.S Constitution and over 200 years of U.S. history. The ruling said that corporations have the same rights as U.S. citizens.

· Republican congresses, governors, and legislatures have consistently whittled away at union rights and collective bargaining.

· The 11 Southern States of the Civil War secessionist South and Arizona are Republican strongholds. They are also strongholds of bigotry, anti-unionism, and Christian Fundamentalism.

· At the end of his second term, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the grown of an alliance between the U.S. military and industrial corporations, what he called the military-industrial complex. What he feared has come to pass in the Republican Party-which has become the party of the military, the gun, private militias, war, and aggression.

· The middle class has declined, poverty has increased, and the rich have gotten richer in every Republican administration in the last 20 years.

· The political process has become increasing corrupt. There are increasing attempts by Republicans to undermine The Voting Rights Act and to prevent minority and the poor from voting by using both illegal means and by passing laws which create obstacles.

· Republicans are waging a subtle war against women. They not only want to eliminate abortion even in cases of incest and rape, they want to redefine rape to make it harder for women to accuse men of rape. They also want to cut food subsidies for poor pregnant women. Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women but The Congressional Republicans want to cut funding for meals and housing for the elderly. And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. But, Congressional Republican Representative Dan Burton has submitted a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. Finally, the State of Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. It was not out of any need. Their stated reason was that women should be at home with the kids and not out working.

· The Republican Party created the U.S.A. Patriot Act which allowed the government to stop some rights guaranteed by law and by The Constitution. The Republicans also gave The President dictatorial powers to detain indefinitely without bringing any charges any enemy combatant.

· Republicans are opposed to all arts, public radio, and public television funding by the Federal government. They understand that most art and public communication depends on government funding and the U.S. spends less per capita on the arts than any major industrial country in the word. The claim is that the arts and educated tastes are elitist and that both public radio and television have a left-wing and anti-Christian bias. Both claims are without much validity.


Now look at Rick Santorum, one of the front-runners for the Republican nomination for President of The United States. So far, he has:

· said that the separation of church and state which is part of The Constitution makes him want to "throw up" and the founders of the country never intended it;

· wants to end and involvement by the Federal or state government in public schools;

· wants to end the availability of contraception for both men and women;

· wants an elimination of all family planning;

· wants to end abortion even in cases of rape, incest, dead fetus, of unviable and malformed fetus;

· referred to the Tenth Amendment to The Constitution that the states have the right to control anything that The Federal govern does not control has "run amok" and should be changed;

· does not believe in man-made global warming. In 2011, he referred to the notion that man was changing the climate as patently absurd. He opposed Federal involvement in clean air and water, and protecting endangered species.

· opposed to raising the debt ceiling but when he was in office voted to raise it 5 times;

· wants an aggressive foreign policy and attack and war with Iran;

· has remained supportive of the war in Iraq in spite of the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction found there;

· equated being gay with bestiality;

· defines marriage as between one man and one woman. He does not believe that states should be allowed to redefine marriage to their choosing and create 50 different versions of marriage. He supports a constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. Eleven states now permit gay marriage;

· wants to eliminate the Federal Reserve Bank;

· supports curtailing individual liberties in the name of homeland security;

· supports continuing the longest war in U.S. history, the war in Afghanistan;

· is opposed to economic bailouts of corporations and banks under all circumstances no matter what the cost to national prestige, the national economy, or joblessness;

· supports the dismantling of the Medicare program;

· supports the privatization of non-mandated retirement funds and the elimination of Social Security;

· voted against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act;

· willfully distorted President Obama's call for all Americans to obtain some form of education beyond high school, although not necessarily in college, and for the United States to regain the global lead in those with college degrees by 2020. He said, President Obama has said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day, and put their skills to test, who aren't taught by some liberal college professor (who) tries to indoctrinate them. I understand why he wants you to go to college. He (Obama) wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.

· has said that President John Kennedy made him want to "vomit" because Kennedy preached religious tolerance and was not Catholic enough. He also said that he "did great harm to America".


It is increasingly evident that the world's second oldest democracy* is flirting with Fascism. It is just a matter of time before the Republican Party takes power again. When that happens, the United States will become a theocracy and a militaristic fascist nation. It appears that the handwriting is on the wall.

* The world's oldest democracy is San Marino.


First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

- Martin Niemoller (anti-Fascist German pastor and theologian; 1892-1984)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Christian Fundamentalists and the Absurdities in The Bible

The word hermeneutics refers to the art and science of interpreting written texts. Within Christianity, the term generally refers to methods of interpreting The Bible. The term was derived from the Pagan Greek. Hermes was the son of Zeus and a mountain nymph and the messenger of the gods.


Until the 15th century CE, essentially all Christians analyzed much of The Bible literally. They believed that The Bible was inerrant because its authors were inspired by God. They believed that events happened exactly as described in its text. After the 15th century, developments outside of religion started to make these beliefs more difficult to maintain. The astronomical findings of Kepler and Galileo in the 16th century were the first to seriously threaten this belief system. Cosmology as described in The Bible was found to be in error. The idea that stars traveled on the outside of a dome in the firmament that separated earth from heaven was found to be in error.

Further religious strains occurred in the early 18th century when it became obvious to most scientists that the earth's geological processes were exceedingly slow and must have been accomplished over incredibly long periods of time. At the same time, Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is a natural electrical phenomenon and were not thunderbolts hurled by Satanic powers. Anglican Bishop Ussher had calculated that the world was created in 4004 BCE, but that calculation left inadequate time for mountain ranges to erode and others to build up.

The result of such scientific discoveries and societal attitude changes caused some Christian denominations to question the inerrancy and literal interpretation of The Bible. They gradually abandoned certain beliefs and thereby generated a major split in Christianity between Modernism and Fundamentalism. The split continues today.


Some believing Christians still believe that The Bible is meant to be taken literally because it is fact and the word of God. Many still believe that evolution never occurred and that the Earth is about 6000 years old.

The more conservative the faith group is, the more likely that they would emphasize the text of specific passages of The Bible and church tradition. They are most often located in countries where the culture is conservative, there is a history of authoritarianism, and one dominant Christian sect. For example, they might believe that homosexuality is a chosen, disordered behavior, and that human life becomes a human person at conception.

The more liberal faith groups are more likely to give greater weighting to biblical themes, reason, and personal experience. They are most often located in countries where the culture is liberal, a history of challenging authority, and multiple Christian and non-Christian sects. For example, they might believe that homosexuality is a discovered, normal, and natural orientation for a minority of adults, and that human life becomes a human person late in gestation.

There are many ways to interpret The Bible. Depending upon an individual's views about religion, science, history, culture and world view The Bible can be interpreted as a historical document, a code of behavior, a series of folktales and myths, or the literal word of God. To make this even more complicated, religion is the only subject area where "truths" are rooted in the attitudes and teaching of the past and of people long dead. Most sacred texts including The Bible were written during a time when the world was considered flat, science was virtually unknown, medicine was primarily based on herbs and superstition, most people were illiterate, and there was no democracy or mass communication. Yet, The Bible is the cornerstone of most Western religious thinking and codes of human behavior.

Finally, The Bible contains many implausible and contradictory statements. Simply saying that all things are possible with God does little to answer the questions. There are many who also claim that merely asking the questions is in some way questioning the power of God or the very existence of God. But, if there is a God The Supreme Deity gave man a brain. Why would God give man a brain, demand that he not user it, and only rely on the often-illogical, often fantastic, and often-contradictory statements made by people over 2000 years-ago? Finally, it is often said that to know God, one need only look at creation. We know one thing about creation; it is logical. In a real sense, God is The Supreme Logician. If that is true, why would the Word of God have so many illogical and contradictory statements?

Below are some statements contained in The Bible. This list is meant to identify possible problems in The Bible, especially problems which go unchallenged in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretations. It is up to the reader to decide whether it really makes these statements make sense, are logical and/or are fundamentally flawed. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, had the power, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which the Supreme Deity had inspired. Finally, to those who say that The Bible is the literal word of God, that challenging The Bible is in itself sacrilegious , and that accepting The Bible as it is written with it flawed logic and contradictions, is what God wants, it must be said that no one has the right to speak for God. And, when they do, they are actually seeking to impose their own religious views on others and that they have reduced God to being The Supreme Trickster.


According to The Bible:

The Old Testament

· There was light before there was a Sun. The first day ended before there was a Sun. (So, how did they know when the first day ended?) Plants grew before there was sunlight.

· There are two creation stories in Genesis. One states the all of creation was made in 6 days and it ended with the creation of man. Immediately following that story, there is another creation story which says that man was created first and all of creation followed the creation of man.

· God said, "Let us make man in our own image…" To whom was he speaking? "Let us make man" means that someone else ("us", "our") was involved in making man.

· Eve was created from Adam's rib. So, why don't men have one less rib than women?

· The serpent in the garden who tempted Eve had the ability to speak a language- a physical impossibility for a snake.

· Cain killed Able, his brother. Then, Cain went to the land of Nod and took a wife. If there were only four people thus far created and one of them had been killed, where did Cain's wife come from?

· There is no geological evidence of a world-wide flood. The size of Noah's Ark was such that there would be about one and a half cubic feet for each pair of the 2,000,000 to 5,000,000 species that had to be taken onboard. Noah's first recorded action following the flood is to sacrifice one of every clean animal and bird. Eliminating one of every two of the remaining "clean" animals would make future breeding of them virtually impossible.

· God first creates the rainbow. In doing so, the laws of the refraction of light did not exist at the time.

· The number of men of military age who take part in the Exodus is given as about 600,000. Allowing for women, children, and older men would probably mean that a total of more than 2,000,000 Israelites left Egypt at a time when the whole population of Egypt is estimated to have been less than 2,000,000.

· The Egyptians were avid historians and detailed record-keepers. Yet, there is no record of either the Israelite exodus out of Egypt or the destruction of Pharaoh's Army in the Red Sea.

· In Leviticus it states that entering the holy place without wearing bells can result in death. It also says that there are winged creatures (birds or insects) that go around on all fours (incorrect), that the cure for leprosy involves incantations and the blood of a bird (incorrect), and that the rabbit or hare chews its cud (incorrect).

· In Numbers, a donkey sees an angel, recognizes it as such, and then speaks in human language to his master (anatomically impossible).

· God obliges Joshua by making the sun and moon stand still so Joshua can finish his battle, the Battle of Jericho, in daylight. That is a cosmic impossibility. And, if that were to ever have happened, it would have destroyed the entire cosmos.

· King Solomon's temple was only about ninety feet long by thirty feet wide. Yet, it also said that 153,300 persons were employed to build it, that it took seven years to build, about 7,500,000 lbs. of gold and about 75,000,000 lbs. of silver were used, and that 24,000 supervisors and 6,000 officials and judges were employed to manage it. (Note: No one knows the exact weight of the biblical talent, but some estimates place the weight of gold at more than 13,000,000 lbs. and the weight of silver at more than 116,000,000 lbs. Where would the Israelites find that much gold and silver, or being a small nation and not a vast empire, how could they afford it?)

· It says in 2 Kings that the shadow on a sun dial moves backwards.

· In 2 Chronicles it says that 500,000 Israelites are slain in a single battle. (Note: This is more than were lost in any single battle of World War II, and even exceeds the number of deaths that resulted from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.)

The New Testament

· The story of the birth of Jesus is inconceivable as fact. There is no record of a Roman census. Jesus was not born during the reign of King Herod; he had already died. In one Gospel, He was born in a stable, but in another Gospel, He was born in a cave. Stars do not wander around the heavens and then stop wandering. If angels appeared in the heavens and the shepherds in the fields saw them, they would have told many people what they saw. But apparently, no one ever heard of the event. There is no corroborating record of the killing of the babies in Bethleham by King Herod.

· According to the Gospel of Mark, there is a high mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world can be seen. This implies that the earth is flat.

· According to Mark, Matthew and Luke, both physical and mental illness are caused by demonic possession and can be cured by exorcism.

· Mark and Luke both say that Jesus said unequivocally, Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find. (Clearly, this does not always happen.)

· Matthew says that if two believers agree about anything they ask, God will do it for them. And, whatever you ask in prayer, if you have faith, you will receive it. (Clearly, this does not always happen.)

· Matthew maintains that all who take the sword will perish by it. (Note: except those who don't.)

· After The Crucifixion, Jesus was supposed to have risen from the dead. Yet, there are no eye-witness accounts of that event. All of The Gospels were written by people who never met Jesus. Paul, whose letters are part of The New Testament never met Jesus. And apparently, in the 40 days between the Resurrection and the Ascension, no one who met Jesus was a non-believer or a non-disciple. This is odd because logically, Jesus would not only appear to believers but also non-believers in order to prove that he was the Messiah.

· According to 2 Corinthians, there are at least three heavens.

· According to Revelations, heaven is to be inhabited in part by 144,000 virgin men who have not been "defiled" by women.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Great Thinkers, Great Thoughts, No. 9

1. If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it. - Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle (1795 -1881) was a Scottish essayist, historian, educator, satirist and controversial social commentator. He was expected to become a preacher by his strict religious parents but lost his faith while attending the University of Edinburgh. His combination of a religious temperament together with his loss of faith in traditional Christianity made Carlyle's work appealing to many Victorians who were forced to deal with many scientific and political changes which in turn also led to societal change.


2. History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. - Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (Marguerite Ann Johnson; born:1928) is an American poet and author who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by the scholar, Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes. The first and most highly acclaimed of her books was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Her most famous book of poetry is Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie. She has received over 30 honorary degrees and has been nominated for both The National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.


3. By the time you swear you’re his,

Shivering and sighing.

And he vows his passion is

Infinite, undying.

Lover, make a note of this-

One of you is lying. - Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) was an American short story writer, poet satirist and critic. She wrote for The New Yorker magazine, had 2 Academy Award nominations for screenplays, and was a founding member of the literary circle known as the Algonquin Roundtable which met for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 to 1929. (Both the hotel and the round table still existed in Manhattan.) Her left-wing politics eventually led to her being blacklisted and curtailed her literary output. She attempted suicide several times and became an alcoholic.


4. A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt. - Aldous Huxley

Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963) was an English writer, humanist, pacifist and satirist. He edited Oxford Poetry magazine. He also wrote short stories, poetry, travel works, and film scripts. Huxley spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death. His best know work is the novel, Brave New World.


5. Keep your face always toward the sunshine- and shadows will fall behind you. - Walt Whitman

Walter "Walt" Whitman (1819 -1892) was an American poet, essayist, novelist, teacher and journalist. He was a humanist who became a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War. He incorporated both transcendentalism and realism concepts in his writing. His work was very controversial in his time, particularly for the sexuality in his collection of poems and for his most famous work, Leaves of Grass.


6. In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination. -Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known by his pen name, Mark Twain. He was an American author and humorist. He is most noted for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, on the Mississippi River and after a job as a printer, he became a master riverboat pilot. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which became popular and brought nationwide attention. He went on to achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. The novelist, William Faulkner, called Twain "the father of American literature."


7. All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts...
- William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564 -1616) was an English playwright and poet and is widely regarded as the greatest writer and dramatist in the English language. He is sometimes referred to as The Bard of Avon because his birthplace was in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. His surviving works consist of about 38 plays,154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. He is also one of two authors to have sold more than 400 million literary works. (The other person to have done so is the English author, Agatha Christie.)


8. An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. -Anatole France

Anatole France (born: François-Anatole Thibault;1844 -1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was both ironic and skeptical, was elected to the Academie Francaise in 1896. and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. In1922, his entire body of works were put on the list of Prohibited Books of the Roman Catholic Church. He regarded the action as a mark of this as a "distinction". His most famous works are Balthasar (1889), Clio (1900), Penguin Island (1908), and The Seven Wives Of Bluebeard and Other Marvelous Tales (1909).


9. Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them. - John Updike

John Hoyer Updike (1932-2009) was an American novelist, poet, playwright, short story and children's book writer. He was also a literary and art critic. He had more than twenty published novels, more than a dozen short story collections, wrote regularly for The New Yorker magazine, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction several times, and received the PEN/Faulkner Prize for Fiction in 2004. Updike's most famous work are Rabbit, Run; and Rabbit Redux.


10. The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds. - Isaiah Berlin

Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909 -1997) was a British philosopher, a historian, translator, social theorist, cultural theorist, essayist, conversationalist, lecturer and raconteur of Russian-Jewish origin. He was thought by many to be the dominant scholar of his generation. The Independent said that "Isaiah Berlin was often described, especially in his old age, by means of superlatives: the world's greatest talker, the century's most inspired reader, one of the finest minds of our time ... there is no doubt that he showed in more than one direction the unexpectedly large possibilities open to us at the top end of the range of human potential."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Knowledge Quiz, No. 32

I dislike the term trivia. No knowledge is trivial. All information contributes to the whole of an intelligent human being. And, it is an essential part of critical thinking. That is why I did not call this a Trivia Quiz. Instead, I am calling it a Knowledge Quiz.

* * * *

Knowledge Quiz, No. 32

The answers are at the bottom.

1. Who crowned Napoleon the Emperor of the French?

2. Who wrote the Kama Sutra?

3. In music, what is an appoggiatura ?

4. What is the capital of Colombia?

5. What is yellow journalism?

6. What is a tanka?

7. Who painted Girl with a Pearl Earring?

8. What was the first miracle performed by Jesus?

9. In Roman mythology, who was Aurora?

10.What is a dik-dik?

11.What is the wettest spot on Earth?

12 Who invented the mechanical reaper?

13.What is a balalaika?

14.What is an aardvark?

15.What is halva?

16.What is lent?

17.What disorder did Muhammad Ali develop after years of receiving boxing blows?.

18.Who was Chief Joseph?

19.What is phimosis?

20. How many people were awarded Nobel Prizes for work in two different fields?


1. The coronation of Emperor Napoleon (1769-1821) took place in Paris at Notre Dame Cathedral on December 2, 1804. According to eyewitness accounts, Pope Pius VII (Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, 1742-1823; Pope, 1800-1823) blessed the crown but Napoleon crowned himself. He also crowned his wife, Josephine (1763-1814), Empress . The entire ceremony took 3 hours.

2. The Kama Sutra is an ancient Hindu text written in Sanskrit by its author, Vatsyayana, in between 400 BCE and 200 CE. Although it was intended to be a guide to a virtuous and gracious living and discusses such topics as love, gracious living, virtue, and family life, it is often viewed only as a manual of human intercourse and sexual behavior. The word kama means sensual pleasure (one of the goals of Hindu life), and sutra means a thread or line that holds things together or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. The Kama Sutra has 1250 verses distributed in 36 chapters which in turn are further organized into 7 parts.

3. An appoggiatura is a non-harmonic tone, usually a half or whole step above the harmonic tone, which is performed on the beat and then resolved.

4. The capital of Colombia is Bogota.

5. Yellow journalism is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching or sensational headlines in order to sell newspapers. The term was coined in the 1990s by Erwin Wardman, the editor of the newspaper, The New York Press. The characteristics of yellow journalism include exaggeration and distortion of news events, scandal-mongering, false learning from so-called experts, self-promotion, un-named sources, the use of some people say, pseudo-science, screaming headlines of minor news, and sensationalism. Yellow Journal is partly responsible for The Spanish-American War and is still practiced today both in newspapers and on television.

6. Tanka is a type of Japanese poetry. It is older than the famous haiku and has been a well known type of poetry in Japan for about 1300 years. A typical tanka is written about one's feelings. As a result, a tanka tends to be longer than the haiku and so it allows the poet to express his or her feelings in more depth. In order to write this type of poetry, the poet must write about something for which the person has a great love or about which the person is very passionate. Frequent topics for tankas are nature, places, family, a loved one, etc. A well written tanka creates a vivid image while also describing it with great emotion.
A tanka consists of 5 lines for a total of 31 syllables. The syllables per line are according to the pattern 5 -7 -5 - 7 - 7.

7.The painting Girl with a Pearl Earring (Het Meisje met de Parel) was painted by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). The date of the work is unknown but it is signed by the artist. The painting is in the Maurithuis Museum in The Hague, The Netherlands.

8. The first miracle perform by Jesus was turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. In the biblical account on The Gospel of John, 2:1-11, Jesus and his disciples are invited to a wedding and when the wine runs out, at the request of his mother, Jesus turns water into wine by performing a miracle. Except that it was somewhere in Galilee, the exact spot of Cana is unknown.

9. According to Roman mythology, Aurora was the goddess of the dawn. She was believed to renew herself every morning and fly across the sky to announce the arrival of the sun.

10. A dik-dik is a small antelope that lives in the bushes of eastern and southern Africa. Dik-diks are about 12 to 16 inches high at their shoulders (30-40 cm), are between 20 and 28 inches (50–70 cm) long, and weigh between 7 and 16 pounds (3–6 kg). They can live for up to 10 years. Dik-diks get their names from the sound they make when males alert females to danger.

11. It is Mount Waiʻaleʻale (or Waialeale; literal translation from Hawai'ian : "rippling water" or mythology"overflowing water)on the Hawa'ain island of Kaua'i. It has an elevation of 5,148 feet (1,569 m), is a volcano and the second highest point on the island . It averages more than 452 inches (11,500 mm) of rain a year. It had a record rainfall of 683 inches (17,300 mm) in 1982.

12. A reaper is a mechanical device to cut small grain crops such as wheat and oats. Obed Hussey Ohio patented a mechanical reaper in the U.S. state of Ohio in 1833. Known as the Hussey Reaper, it required two horses for mobility and two men, one to work the reaping machine and one to drive to drive the horses. The McCormick Reaper was designed and patented in 1834 by Cyrus McCormack of Virginia. McCormick claimed that his reaper was actually invented in 1831. Both McCormick and Hussey fought over the patent right. In 1861, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the heirs of Obed Hussey would be monetarily compensated for his hard work and innovation by those who had made money off of the reaper. It was also ruled that McCormick’s reaper patent would be renewed for another 7 years.

13. The balalaika is a musical instrument which is popular in and associated with Russia and Ukraine. It has triangular body and 3 strings. It was created in Russia in the 18th and early 19th Centuries and comes in 6 different sizes.

14. The name aardvark comes from a word meaning "earth pig." Although the aardvark, is native to Africa, they share some similarities with the South American anteater but the two are not related. The aardvark has a short neck connected to a massive, almost hairless body with a strongly arched back. Their legs are short, the hind legs longer than the front ones. Their heads are elongated with a long, narrow snout and nostrils that can be sealed. Aardvarks are mostly solitary and nocturnal, and they exist on a diet of termites.

15. Halva (aka: halawa, xalwo, haleweh, ħelwa, halvah, halava, helava, helva, halwa, halua, aluva, chalva chałwa) is a dense and sweet confection popular in the Middle East; South Central and West Asia; Eastern Europe; the Balkans; Malta; North Africa; the Horn of Africa; and in the Jewish communities around the word. There are 2 types of halva, flour based and nut (sesame paste) based. Both types add butter and sugar. The word halva is derived from the Arabic word ḥalwà which means sweet.

16. Lent (aka: Cuaresma or Quadragesima) is the forty days of fasting, repentance, self-denial, prayer and good works for some Christians between Ash Wednesday and Easter. This yearly religious event along with its pious customs does not have fixed annual dates but depends on the date of Easter. Lent is observed by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and some Baptists.

17. After years of receiving punches from other boxers, Muhammad Ali developed Parkinson's syndrome. Parkinson's disease involves an imbalance between dopamine and acetylcholine, two chemicals involved in transmitting signals from the brain. The imbalance causes involuntary movement, decreased movement, rigidity, and abnormal walking and posture.

18. Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt (Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain), popularly known as Chief Joseph (1840 -1904), was the leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) of a group of Nez Perce Native-Americans. He was a baptized Christian and became a tribal chief upon the death of his father in 1871. For his principled resistance to the removal from their native lands in Oregon to Idaho by General Oliver O. Howard, he became renowned as a man of principle, a humanitarian and a peacemaker. He and others of his tribe resisted the forced relocation, but in the end were forced to capitulate. In his last years, Joseph spoke eloquently against the injustice of United States policy toward his people and held out the hope that America's promise of freedom and equality might one day extend to Native Americans. He died in September 1904 still in exile from his homeland, according to his doctor "of a broken heart."

19. Phimosis (Greek, literally meaning muzzle) is a condition in which men cannot fully retracted the foreskin of the penis. The condition traps bacteria under the foreskin which in turn can cause urine retention, pain, sores, increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and infection. It can also inhibit normal sexual activity. Common treatments include use of steroidal creams, painful mechanical and manual stretching, and circumcision. When phimosis is defined as a partial or totally non-retractable foreskins after 3 years of age, high rates of phimosis have been reported. Incidences of the disorder in adolescents and adults is estimated to be as high as 50%.

20. Only 2 people won more than one Nobel Prize for work in two different fields. They were the American chemist peace activist and educator, Linus Pawling (1901-1994). Pawling won the chemistry prize in 1954 and the peace prize in 1962. And Polish-born French woman, physicist, chemist, and educator, Marie Skłodowska-Curie (aka Madame Curie;1867-1934). Madam Curie won the physics prize in 1903 and chemistry prize in 1911