Sunday, March 24, 2019

Vocabulary Quiz

Number 16 Vocabulary Quiz

Number 16 presents a multiple choice vocabulary quiz.  Choose the correct definition of each word listed.  There are ten words for you to define.  Ready, set, go!

1. spurious (adjective)

A.  natural

B.  not being what it purports to be, false or fake

C. suspicious in nature

D.  unusual, an anomaly

E.  that which is rejected

2.  promulgate (verb)

A.  to put down by authority or force: SUBDUE

B.  to reveal only to a chosen group

C.  to make (an idea, belief, etc.) known to many people by open declaration: PROCLAIM

D.  to demand money or another benefit from (someone) in return for not revealing compromising or damaging information about them: BLACKMAIL

E.  to self-publish a book

3.  sojourn (noun)

A.   a secret journey at night

B.   an unplanned vacation

C.  a morning journey

D.  a day trip

E.  a temporary stay

4.  respite (noun)

A.  a constitutional right

B.  a long hospital stay

C.  a period of temporary delay, an interval of rest or relief

D.  an act of forgiveness

E.  an act of repentance

5.  ornithology (noun)

A.  a branch of zoology dealing with birds

B.  a branch of zoology dealing with insects

C.  a branch of zoology dealing with horses

D.  a branch of zoology dealing with rabbits

E.  a branch of zoology dealing with fish

6.  festoon (verb)

A.  joke, act comically

B.  make fun of, ridicule

C.  ignore the obvious

D.  laugh uncontrollably

E.  decorate, adorn

7.  inscrutable (adjective)

A.  easy to understand or interpret

B.  impossible to understand or interpret

C.  distant, uncommunicative

D.  docile, obedient

E.  stubborn, hard-headed

8.  languid (adjective)

A.   (of a person, manner or gesture) displaying open hostility or anger toward others

B.   clear and transparent, not hidden, open and honest

C.  (of a person, manner or gesture) displaying or having a disinclination for physical exertion or effort, slow and relaxed

D.  tearful, sad, despondent

E.  painfully shy or timid, lacking confidence

9. nephrology (noun)

A.  a branch of medicine concerned with the liver

B.  a branch of medicine concerned with the intestines

C.  a branch of medicine concerned with bones

D.  a branch of medicine concerned with the kidney

E.  a branch of medicine concerned with the lungs

10. arachnophobia (noun)

A.  pathological fear or loathing of snakes

B.  pathological fear or loathing of spiders

C.  pathological fear or loathing of frogs

D.  pathological fear or loathing of ants

E. pathological fear or loathing of octopuses


(Note:  The definitions for the correct answers have been taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary or thesaurus)

1.  B
spurious (adjective): Not being what it purports to be, false or fake

2.  C
 promulgate (verb): to make (an idea, belief, etc.) known to many people by open declaration: PROCLAIM

3.  E
sojourn (noun): a temporary stay

4.  C
respite (noun):  a period of temporary delay, an interval of rest or relief

5.  A
ornithology (noun): a branch of zoology dealing with birds

6.  E
festoon (verb): decorate, adorn

7.  B
inscrutable (adjective): impossible to understand or interpret

8.  C.
languid (adjective): (of a person, manner or gesture) displaying or having a disinclination for physical exertion or effort, slow and relaxed

9.  D.
nephrology (noun) a branch of medicine concerned with the kidneys

10.  B.
arachnophobia (noun): pathological fear or loathing of spiders

- Joanne

Thursday, March 21, 2019

It's time for some new fashion trends. Beards and tattoos have become too mainstream

ZZ Top

We all know that styles and fashions change with the times, or do they?  For the first 19 years of the 21st century, beards and tattoos have been trendy.  The vast majority of athletes, actors and singers have one or the other or both.  Some athletes and celebrities have taken to growing Smith Brothers or ZZ Top beards (Hello David Letterman and Joe Thornton).  So many hockey players have beards that there is no point in growing them for the playoffs.  They might as well have a playoff shave.

Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks

David Letterman

I can understand growing a ZZ Top beard for fun.  Keeping it permanently is another matter - unless you happen to think ZZ Top, the Smith Brothers and Santa Claus are hip and cool and attractive.  I don't.  The reason I mentioned Santa Claus is that long beards age white and grey-haired men by ten years or more.

I'm going against the grain and I know many people disagree with me.  They think that there is no need for a change in style.  That's fine.  Different strokes for different folks, so they say.  I'm also aware that for ZZ Top, the long beards are a gimmick, their way of getting noticed.  I just feel it's time for a change, even though I can't see that change coming anytime soon.  Beards and tattoos are much too popular and the tattoo industry is too lucrative. 

I'm not going to suggest a new fashion trend, just some kind of change would be refreshing.  I wonder how people will react to pictures of long-bearded, tattooed celebrities and athletes in a few hundred year?

- Joanne

You're wrong, Donald Trump. White nationalism IS a threat and you are helping to make it more so.

The brutal massacre of 50 innocent people in Christchurch. New Zealand was absolutely horrific.  Words are not strong enough to describe an atrocity of this magnitude .  Acts of such violent extremism, whether political, religious or racial, are a scourge.  They are particularly vile when they occur in a houses of worship, whether they be Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, Islamic mosques or other sacred places.  This kind of inhumanity should be condemned unequivocally, whether left wing or right wing in nature.

Although U.S. President Donald Trump expressed sympathy for the New Zealand victims, he failed to express  concern about  the rise in white nationalism around the around the world.   Instead, he said, "I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.  If you look at New Zealand, perhaps that's the case.  I don't know enough about it yet.  But it's certainly a terrible thing."

It's obvious that Trump doesn't realize (or doesn't want to realize) the gravity of the situation.  Perhaps he is afraid of alienating his base, many of whom are white nationalists.  He continues to deny that he is a racist.  The facts, however, tell a different story.

While he was still a private citizen, Donald Trump was very outspoken in leading the so-called "birther" movement.  He questioned whether Barack Obama, the first Afro-American U.S. president, was actually born in the United States (Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961).  Trump claimed that Obama's birth certificate may not have been authentic.  The implication was that Obama, whose father was a Muslim from Kenya, was a foreigner and not a true American.  Trump eventually had to admit that Obama was "born in the United States PERIOD."

Trump's presidential victory corresponded with a growth in readership on white supremacist internet sites and hate comments occurred on message boards.  In 2017, a report form the Southern Poverty Law Center, found there were more than 600 groups that believe in some form of white supremacist ideology.  Neo- Nazism showed the most growth, increasing from 99 to 121 groups over the past year.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League reported that domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the United States in 2018, an increase from 37 in 2017.  It stated that white supremacists "were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case.”  Earlier his month, the FBI released

 A former white nationalist told CNN's Chris Cuomo about the rise in hate and how it spreads online.  Christian Picciolini, now an author and public speaker, told Cuomo that the internet is a serious problem because "what's happening on the internet is essentially a 24-hour hate buffet" where people can "feast all night long" on this stuff.

Soon after the 2016 election, Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank, and his fellow white nationalists expressed their support of Donald Trump.
Trump's hard line stance on immigration, his anti-Mexican rhetoric and his Muslim ban have only served to encourage and embolden right-wing  racists.  Trump may have publicly denounced bigotry, as his supporters are quick to point out, but white nationalists appear to be receiving another message from him.  They seem to believe that they have his tacit support of the President of the United States, one of the most powerful and influential persons on the planet. When Donald Trump declares, "Let's make America great again, white supremacists, perceive it to be a clarion call to make America white again. 

Sadly, white nationalist violence is spreading around the world.  My country, Canada, has not been immune to it.  On January 29, 2017, a gunman entered a mosque in the St. Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City..  He killed six worhippers and injured 19 others shortly after the end of evening prayers.  On February 8, 2019, the perpetrator was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 40 years.  People who knew him claimed he had far-right, white nationalist and anti-Muslim views.  He often disparaged refugees and feminists online.

On August 12, 2017, white supremacists held a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  It was a chilling display of anti-Semitism. as a group of white men, carrying torches marched through the town shouting, "Jews will not replace us."  Some carried Nazi flags.  It ended in death when a car was driven into a crowd of people who were peacefully protesting against the racists.  Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman, was killed in the attack.  Donald Trump later held a new conference in which he stated that "both sides were to blame" and that there were "fine people" among the original protesters.  White nationalists, of course, interpreted his remarks as his approval of them.  They felt vindicated.

David Duke, a white supremacist and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, attended the Charlottesville rally and proclaimed that white nationalists like him voted for Trump because "he's going to take our country back."  It should be noted that Trump did not immediately reject Duke's support during the 2016 election campaign.

On October 26 2018, a man was arrested in Florida for mailing explosives to Democratic Party officials and several media personalities who had been criticized by Donald Trump.  The man was a Trump supporter and his white van was festooned with Trump propaganda.  The president declared that he had been "insane" long before he had become a Trump fan.

On October 27, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  11 people were murdered and seven were injured.  It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history.  Using an online social network, the suspect had earlier posted anti-Semitic remarks against the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), which is supported by Tree of Life.  In reference to the Central American migrants and immigrants, whom Trump rails against, he wrote that "HAIS likes to bring invaders that kill our people.  I can't sit by and see my people slaughtered."

Just last month, a U.S. coast guard lieutenant, stationed in Washington, D.C., was arrested on suspicion of domestic terrorism.  The suspect, a 49-year-old from Silver Springs, Maryland, is accused of stockpiling weapons and drugs.  He had an apparent hit list of Democrats and MSNBC and CNN anchors, including Nancy Pelosi, Joe Scarborough and Kamala Harris., the very people Donald Trump demonizes.  Prosecutors say he is a white supremacist who holds extremist views.  According to court documents filed on February 19, 2019, the defendant "is a domestic terrorist bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect government conduct."

On March 9, 2019, The Washington Post reported that according to internal FBI data, more domestic terror suspects were arrested in 2918 than those allegedly motivated by international terrorist groups.

On March 15, 2019, a 28-year-old Australian carried an attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, targeting Muslims at Friday prayer.  50 people were killed and some 50 were injured.  The accused gunman left a lengthy manifesto behind in which he described himself as a white nationalist who hated immigrants and was sparked by attacks in Europe that were perpetrated by Muslims.  He also wrote that he supported Donald Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose" but not as a "policy maker and leader."

On March 16, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio, a vigil for victims of the New Zealand mosque attacks was interrupted by a Trump supporter with an enormous "Build the Wall" parade float.  Newsweek reported that according to local news outlets, "the float was rolling through the memorial service while blasting music, including "God Bless America."  The Trump supporter, a tourist from Michigan, told a Cleveland news channel that he had been visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when he noticed the memorial service, which was taking place near City Hall.  The vigil was organized by the Islamic Center of Cleveland and Global Cleveland for the purpose supporting and paying tribute to New Zealand's dead and injured.  Its aim was also to combat hate speech and polarization.

The White House has vehemently denied any link between Trump and the man accused of the New Zealand shootings.  Mecedes Schlapp, its director of strategic communication, made the following statement:  "It's outrageous to even make that connection between this deranged individual that committed this evil crime to the president who has repeatedly condemned bigotry, racism and made it very clear that this is a terrorist attack.  Mercedes told reporters that "We are here to support and stand with the people of New Zealand,"  She said that Trump had telephoned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to offer his condolences, prayers and any help the U.S. might be able to provide.  Ardern's message was "to offer sympathy and love to all Muslim communities."

This past weekend, at least 30 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Fall River, Massachusetts were defaced with swastikas and anti-Semitic messages.  The Fall River Police Department told Newsweek that the gravestones at Hebrew Cemetery had been vandalized.  The hate messages were written in black marker and among the graffiti was "This is MAGA Country," referring to Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.

Condolences and prayers are well and good, but much more is needed from this U.S. president.  For a start, he could turn down his rhetoric.  New Zealand's Jacinda Adren, in her handling of her country's tragedy, was everything Trump is not.  She was unifying.  She was firm, decisive and empathetic and she refused to name the accused.  She also made sure that assault rifles were banned in her country.  Now that's leadership!

- Joanne

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Oscars (Academy Awards) Quiz 2019

The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February, 24, 2019 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  In preparation for the big night, why not challenge yourself and try Number 16's ninth annual Oscars quiz.  There are 10 questions.  Good luck!


1 Bette Davis won two Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role.  Name the movies which earned her two Oscars.

From Dark Victory

A.  She won for her performances in  Dangerous in 1936 and Jezebel in 1939.

B.  She won for Dark Victory in 1940 and for Now, Voyager in 1943.

C.  She won for The Letter in 1941 and for The Star in 1953.

D.  She won for The Little Foxes in 1942 and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? in 1963.

E.  She won for Mr.Skeffington in 1945 and All About Eve in 1951.

2.  Which famous filmmaker purchased Bette Davis' Oscar statuettes at auctions?

A.  Martin Scorsese

B.  Woody Allen

C.  Francis Ford Coppola

D.  James Cameron

E.  Steven Spielberg

3.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) received nine Oscar nominations.  How many Academy Awards did it win?

A.  None

B.  Six

C.  Five

D.  Four

E.  Nine

4.  No foreign language film has ever received an Academy Award for Best Picture, although eight foreign language films have been nominated for the award.  This year, Roma, Alfonso Cuaron's Netflix's drama about a young housekeeper in 1970s Mexico, has been nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film.  Roma tied another film for the highest number of Oscar nominations for foreign language film.  What is the name of the other foreign language film that has received ten Academy Award nominations?

A.  Life is Beautiful (Italy) - won Best Foreign Language Film in 1998

B.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan) - won best Foreign Language Film in 2000

C.  A Man and a Woman (France) - won best Foreign Language Film in 1966

D.  War and Peace (Soviet Union) i- won best Foreign Language Film in 1968

E.  Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Italy) - won best Foreign Language film in 1970

5.  Which country has won the Best Foreign Language film the most times.?

A.  France

B.  Spain

C.  Japan

D.  Italy

E.  Sweden

6.  Mary Poppins Returns (2018), starring Emily Blunt as the no-nonsense English nanny, has been nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song ("The Place Where Lost Things Go"), Best Production Design.  How many Oscar nominations did the original 1964 film starring Julie Andrews earn?

A.  12

B.  11

C.  13

D.  10

E.  Eight

7.  Only one male performer has won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role three times.  Who is he?

A.  Daniel Day-Lewis

B.  Jack Nicholson

C.  Al Pacino

D.  Gregory Peck

E.  Woody Allen

8.  Which male performer has more Oscar nominations than any other.

A.  Marlon Brando

B.  Jack Nicholson

C.  Robert Redford

D.  Carey Grant

E.  Spencer Tracy

9.  Oscar nominations for female directors have been few and far between. As we approach the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, how many women have been nominated for a Best Director Oscar during the course of nine decades.

A.  One

B.  Six

C.  Four

D.  Three

E.  Five

10.  During her illustrious career, Meryl Streep has received 21 Academy Award nominations, more than any other actor.  For which movie did she earn her first Oscar nomination?

Meryl Streep

A.  Kramer vs. Kramer

B.  The French Lieutenant's Woman

C.  Silkwood

D.  The Deer Hunter

E.  Sophie's Choice


1.  A

Bette Davis received Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performances in Dangerous and Jezebel.  She was nominated for Dark Victory, Now, Voyager, The Letter, The Star, The Little Foxes, Mr. Skeffington and All About Eve, but did not win.  She also received a write-in nomination in 1935 for her role in  Of Human Bondage.

2.  E.

Spielberg in 2012  Photo Attribution: Romain DUBOIS
In 2001, Steven Spielberg anonymously purchased Bette Davis' Oscar for Jezebel at a Christie's auction in New York.  In 2002, he anonymously purchased Davis' Oscar for Dangerous at a Sotheby's auction in New York,  Spielberg donated both statuettes to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

3.  C

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest won five Oscars at the 1976 Academy Award:

Best Picture (Michael Douglas, Saul Zaentz, producers)

Best Director (Milos Forman)

Best Actor (Jack Nicholson)

Best Actress (Louise Fletcher)

Best Adapted Screenplay (Laurence Hauben, Bo Goldman)

4.  B

Crouching Tigar, Hidden Dragon received ten Academy Award nominations.  It won a total of four Oscars.

5.  D

Italy has won the most Best Foreign Language Film Academy Awards.  It has won 14 times, including two special awards for Shoe-Shine (1946) and an Honorary Award shared with France for The Walls of Malapaga (1949).  France has won 12, including a Special Award for Monsieur Vincent (1947) and two honorary awards for Forbidden Games (1952) and The Walls of Malapaga (1949).  Japan has won four wins and three of them are Honorary Awards.  Spain also has four wins.  Sweden and Denmark have three.each.

6.  C

Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins

The original Mary Poppins, received 13 Oscar nominations and went on to win five Oscars at the 1965 Academy Awards Ceremony: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Julie Andrews), Best Music, Original Score, Best Music, Original Song ("Chim Chim Cher-ee"), Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects.

7.  A

Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis is the only male performer who has won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role three times.  Day-Lewis received his first Best Actor in Leading Role Oscar in 1990 for his performance in the film My Left Foot.  He won again in 2008 for his role in There Will Be Blood and in 2013 for Lincoln.

8.  B

Jack Niccholson

Jack Nicholson has garnered more Oscar nominations than any other male performer in the history of the Academy Awards, He has received 12 nominations.   His most recent nomination was for About Schmidt in 2003.  Nicholson  has won three times.  In 1976, he received an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  In 1984, he took home an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Terms of Endearment.  In 1998, he won for Best Actor in a Leading Role for As Good as it Gets.

9.  E

Kathryn Bigelow at the 2010 Oscars

Only five women have received Oscar nominations in the category of Best Director.  They are Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties in 1976, Jane Campion  for The Piano in 1993, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2003, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2003 and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird in 2018.  Of the five female nominees, only one has won the Academy Award - Katheryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker.

10.  D

In 1979, Meryl Streep received the first of her 21 Oscar nominations when she was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in The Deer Hunter. The following year, in 1980, she won the first of her three Academy Awards, for her performance in Kramer vs. Kramer (Best Actress in a Supporting Role).  In 1983, Streep won her second Oscar for Sophie's Choice (Best Actress in a Leading Role).  In 2012, she won her third Oscar for her role as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (Best Actress in a Leading Role).  Note: Jack Nicholson and Katharine Hepburn have earned the second most Oscar nominations with 12 each.

- Joanne

Monday, January 21, 2019

Riddles and word plays on a cold January day

It's January and it's very cold in many places in the Northern Hemisphere.  If you live Down Under in Australia and New Zealand, it's the summer season, but you can still enjoy some riddles and word plays.  So, why don't you sit by the fire or keep yourself cool and try to solve some of the following riddles and word plays. 

QUESTION:  I am not alive, but I grow.  I do not have lungs, but I need air.  I don't have a mouth, but water destroys me.  What am I?

ANSWER:  Fire.

QUESTION:  People buy me to eat, but don't eat me.  What am I?

ANSWER:  A plate.

QUESTION:  What does a thesaurus eat for breakfast?

ANSWER:  Synonym buns.

QUESTION:  One big hockey fan claimed to be able to tell the score before any game.  How did he do it?

ANSWER:  The score before any hockey game should be 0-0, of course.

QUESTION:  What can be seen once in a minute, twice in a moment, and never in a thousand years?

ANSWER:  The letter “m.”

:"Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns.  He should be drawn and quoted."

- Attributed to Fred Allen (1894-1956), American radio comedian, Dictionary of Quotations in 

Fred Allen

Pupkis:  The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

Santa's helpers are known as subordinate Clauses.

QUESTION:  How do construction workers party?

ANSWER:  They raise the roof.

- Joanne

Shame on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

VP Mike Pence

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence serves as Donald Trump's lap dog.  He is expected to defend the president at the drop of a hat.  Trump demands Pence's undying loyalty at all times and in all circumstances.  However, that does not mean that Pence had to sink so law as to equate his master's border wall with Martin Luther King's campaign for justice and civil rights.  Such an analogy is absolutely revolting.  It is disgusting beyond belief.  It is an insult to the memory of Dr. King and to all Americans, regardless of race or colour.

On the eve of Martin Luther King Day, Vice President Pence appeared on CBS's Face the Nation.  He quoted from Dr. King's magnificent "I Have a Dream" speech.  Then he went on to make the following statement: "One of my favourite quotes from Dr. King was, "Now is the time to make real promises on democracy.  You think of how he changed America.  He inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union.  That's exactly what President Trump is calling on Congress to do.  Come to the table in good faith.  We'll secure out borders.  We'll reopen the government and we'll move our nation forward as the president said yesterday to even a broader discussion about immigration reform in the months ahead."

The Vice President used the beautiful words of Martin Luther King to brazenly advocate for the polices of Donald J. Trump.  He used the revered memory of Dr. King to play politics on behalf of his boss and the  Republican party.  Yet, the late civil rights champion's beliefs and principles are the exact opposite of Donald Trump's policies.  In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, dated April 16, 1963, King wrote, "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."  Trump's nationalism, his Fortress America outlook would never have been embraced by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who would have celebrated his 90th birthday on January 15th.

Dr. King built bridges, not fences.  If he were alive today, he would strongly oppose Trump's infernal 5.7 million border wall.  In fact, I am confident in saying that King would lead a march against it.  He definitely would not be in favour of Trump's anti-immigrant policies.  He would be appalled by the detention of children and their separation from their parents.

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States.  King was assassinated on August 4, 1968, over 50 years ago.  50 years hence, will there be a day in honour of Donald J. Trump?  What do you honestly think?   I think Dr. King must be turning over in his grave.  By the way, Martin Luther King's son, Martin Luther King III, said that his father would view the government shutdown as "inhumane," and blamed Trump for creating misery among federal workers.


- Joanne