Thursday, April 30, 2015

Famous Artwork by Unknown Artists, No. 3

In the history of art, there are more works that are unattributed than those of those by which the artist is known. This is true of both ancient art and contemporary art. Here are some outstanding example of art but the artist remains unknown.

 Marcia is Painting Herself with the Aid of a Mirror 


 Church Ceiling 


  Dove of Peace, St. Peter's Basilica 



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Knowledge Quiz, No. 55

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.
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Knowledge Quiz, No. 55
The answers are at the bottom.

1.In which war did the United States fight Canada?
2.Why did Ida Straus give up her space on a Titanic lifeboat?
3.Who created the plan for the for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba?
4.In which country do jails have no prison guard, gates or uniforms?
5.Who killed John Lennon?
6.How old was Mozart when he wrote his first symphony?
7.Which of Earth's oceans is the smallest and shallowest?
8.What was the first human organ to be successfully transplanted?
9. How much did the U.S. pay to buy Alaska from Russia?
10.In what language was most of the New Testament of the Bible written?
11.What is Art Deco?
12.In which play by William Shakespeare do the following characters appear: Iago, Desdemona, Michael Cassio and Bianca?
13. What Federal badge did President Richard Nixon give to Elvis Presley?
14. Who is the current Emperor of Japan?
15. What is onomatopoeia?
16. What is the capital of Liberia?
17. Who painted the painting, Girl with the Pearl Earring?
18. Who was the first Russian Tsar?
19. What is a parable?
20. Who wrote the classical music piece, The Four Seasons?


1. During the War of 1812, U.S. forces invaded Canada. U.S. President James Madison approved a three-pronged assault against Canada. Former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson dismissively referred to the conquest of Canada as "a matter of marching." However, British military experience prevailed over inexperienced American commanders. The American Brigadier General William Hull invaded Canada on July 12, 1812 from Detroit, with an army mainly composed of militiamen. British Major General Isaac Brock drove back the Americans and forced Hull to surrender at Detroit. In 1815, the war ended with a military stalemate. The British ceased aiding Indian attacks on American territory, and the United States never again attempted to invade Canada.

2. Isidor and Ida Straus, the owners of Macy's department store in New York City, were a couple deeply in love. According to witness accounts, when Ida went to board the lifeboat, she set one foot in, then realized that her husband was not getting on because only women were permitted on the lifeboats. Preferring to die with her husband rather than survive without him, she ignored his objections and returned to the ship, giving her spot on the boat to her maid. Ida handed the maid her fur coat, saying the maid would have better use for it than her, then went to be with her husband.

3. Officials of the Eisenhower Administration, alarmed at the socialist leanings of the new Castro government in Cuba, in March, 1960, gave the  U.S. Central Intelligence Agency 13.1 million dollars to develop a plan for the overthrow of Fidel Castro. Working with Cuban exile leaders in South Florida, the intelligence agency began covertly training counter-revolutionary forces, known collectively as Brigade 2506. After his November, 1960, election to the presidency, John F. Kennedy was informed of the ongoing preparations for an invasion and reluctantly gave his blessing to the venture although many of his military advisers warned him the planned invasion had little chance of success. They were right. The attempted invasion turned into a disaster for the U.S.

4. In Finland, prisons have no front gates, and walls and fences have been replaced by unobtrusive surveillance cameras and electronic alert networks. Inmates' cells look like college dormitory rooms. the prison guards are unarmed and wear either civilian clothes or uniforms free of emblems and prisoners and guards are on a first-name basis. Generous home leave is available, particularly for prisoners nearing the end of their sentence while for others, there are houses on the grounds with privacy assured, where they can spend up to four days at a time with visiting spouses and children. The guiding philosophy is that loss of freedom is the major punishment. Finland has an incarceration rate of  52 prisoners per 100,000 population which is the lowest prison rate among European Union countries.

5. Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon outside The Dakota apartment building in New York City on December 8, 1980. Chapman fired at Lennon five times, hitting him four times in his back. Chapman remained at the scene reading J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye until the police arrived and arrested him. He repeatedly said that the novel was his statement and he later claimed that his life mirrored that of Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the book.

6. The Symphony No. 1 in E flat major was written in 1764 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  (1756 -1791) at the age of eight. By that time, he was already well-known as a performer, but had composed little music. The piece was written on the Mozart family's Grand Tour of Europe in  London during the summer of 1764. The symphony was first performed on February 21, 1765. The work shows the influence of several composers, including his father and the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach, The autograph score of the symphony is today preserved in the Biblioteka Jagiellońska in Kraków Poland.

7. The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions. Although the Arctic Ocean is by far the smallest of the Earth’s oceans, having only a little more than one-sixth the area of the next largest, the Indian Ocean, its area of 5,440,000 square miles is five times larger than that of the largest sea, the Mediterranean.

8. The first human organ transplant was a kidney transplant performed in 1954. The donor of the kidney was the identical twin of the recipient and therefore there was no immune rejection of the organ. The recipient lived for eight years following the transplant and the surgeon who performed the transplant, Dr. Joseph Murray, went on to win the Nobel Prize for this work.

9. On March 30, 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward agreed to purchase Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. At the time, critics thought Seward was crazy and called the deal "Seward's folly." Seward was laughed at for his willingness to spend so much on "Seward's icebox" and Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden." The Senate ratified the treaty that approved the purchase by just one vote.

10. Most of the New Testament  was written in Ancient Greek.  At that time, it was consider the language of scholars and people of intelligence. 

11. Art Deco (aka: Deco) is a visual arts design style that first appeared in France after World War I. It was popular internationally in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. It was an eclectic style that combined traditional motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. The style was often characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation. 

12. Iago, Desdemona, Michael Cassio and Bianca are all characters in William Shakespeare's c.1605 play, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice (aka: Othello). Because of its themes of racism, love, jealousy, betrayal, revenge and repentance, Othello is still often performed and has been the basis for many operatic, film, and literary adaptations. The plot is based on a short story Un Capitano Moro (A Moorish Captain) by the Italian novelist and poet Giovanni Battista Giraldi (1504 – 1573) and was first published in 1565.

13. In 1970, Elvis was looking for a national honor so he wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon making his case for becoming a "federal agent at large" for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Elvis who ironically became a drug addict told Nixon that he wanted to provide an anti-drug influence to hippies. He argued that the Beatles were an anti-American entity and said he wanted to use his celebrity to "restore some respect to the flag". Presley was successful in persuading Nixon who awarded Presley with a badge from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
14. Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan and is the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 1989. The Emperor of Japan is the head of the Imperial Family and is the ceremonial head of state of Japan's system of constitutional monarchy. According to the 1947 constitution, he is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." Historically, he is also the highest authority of the Shinto religion as he and his family are said to be the direct descendants of the sun-goddess Amaterasu. In Japanese, the Emperor is called Tennō which means "heavenly sovereign".

15. An onomatopoeia is a word that imitates, resembles or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. Common occurrences of onomatopoeias include animal noise words such as "oink", "meow", "roar" and "chirp". Onomatopoeias are not the same across all languages. They conform to some extent to the broader linguistic system of which they are a part. For instance, the sound of a clock may be tick tock in English, dī dā in Mandarin, or katchin katchin in Japanese.

16. Monrovia is the capital city of the West African country of Liberia. Monrovia had a population of 970,824 as of the 2008 census. With 29% of the total population of Liberia, Monrovia is the country's most populous city. It is also Liberia's cultural, political and financial hub. Founded in 1822, Monrovia was the first permanent Black American settlement in West Africa. Monrovia is named in honor of U.S. President James Monroe, a prominent supporter of the colonization of Liberia. In 1822, with the aim of establishing a self-sufficient colony for emancipated American survivors of slavery, the U.S. established the settlement of Christopolis in Liberia. In 1824, the city was renamed to Monrovia after James Monroe, then President of the United States, who was a prominent supporter of the colony in sending freed Black slaves to Liberia and who saw it as preferable to emancipation in America.

17. Girl with a Pearl Earring (Dutch: Meisje met de parel) is an oil painting by 17th-century  Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is a painting of a girl with a headscarf and a pearl earring. The painting has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands, since 1902. The work is oil on canvas and is 44.5 cm (17.5 in) high and 39 cm (15 in) wide. It is signed "IVMeer" but not dated. It is believed to be have been painted around 1665.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer  

18. The first Russian Tsar was Ivan IV Vasilyevich (aka: Ivan, the Terrible, 1530 – 1584). He was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547 and Tsar of All the Russias from 1547 until his death. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia made Russia into a multi-ethnic and multi-continental state spanning almost one billion acres, approximately 4,046,856 km2 (1,562,500 sq mi). He was intelligent and religious but  he was also given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness  and paranoia which increased with age. In one such outburst, he killed his chosen heir, Ivan Ivanovich. He was also an able diplomat, a patron of arts, treated the nobility harshly and was very popular with the Russia people. 

19.A parable is a short story which conveys a moral or a lesson. The word parable is rooted in the Greek word parabolḗ which means comparison. Jesus often used parables as a teaching tool.

20.The Four Seasons was composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678  - 1741). The Four Seasons  (Italian: Le quattro stagioni) is a set of four violin concertos. It was composed around 1720. It is Vivaldi's best-known work and is among the most popular pieces in the Baroque music repertoire. The concertos were first published in 1725 as part of a set of twelve concerti, Vivaldi's Op. 8, entitled Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention). Vivaldi dedicated their publication to a Bohemian patron, Count Václav Morzin of Vrchlabí (1676–1737).

Quotes about Hell

The whole image is that eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God's infinite love. That's the message we're brought up with, isn't it? Believe or die! Thank you, forgiving Lord, for all those options. - Bill Hicks

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. - Mark Twain 

Hell is empty and all the devils are here. William Shakespeare 

The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. - Dante Alighieri

The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. - John Milton

Hell ... is a place for the wicked. The wicked are quite comfortable in it: it was made for them. You tell me you feel no pain. I conclude you are one of those for whom hell exists.  - George Bernard Shaw

What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love. - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Hell is other people! - Jean-Paul Sartre

All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. - C.S. Lewis

The path to paradise begins in hell. - Dante Alighieri

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

I believe I am in Hell, therefore I am. - Arthur Rimbaud
Hell isn't other people. Hell is yourself. - Ludwig Wittgenstein
So, have a little fun. Soon enough you'll be dead and burning in Hell with the rest of your family. - George Carlin

Hell is just a frame of mind. - Christopher Marlowe

The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell. - Bertrand Russell

I would prefer an intelligent hell to a stupid paradise. - Blaise Pascal 

The Seventh Circle of Hell, Dante's Inferno