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

Friday, January 11, 2019

Aerosol spray cans: Are they now safe for the environment?

Aerosol spray cans were created in the 1920s by U.S. Department of Agriculture.scientists for the purpose of pressurizing insect spray.  During World War II, the technology was used by American soldiers to prevent malaria in the South Pacific..  The original cans were large and clunky.  In the following decades, they became more compact and more refined.  They also became very popular with consumers, although they contained chloroflurocarbons (CFCs).  CFCs are non-toxic, nonflammable chemicals.  These chemicals are composed of atoms of carbon, chlorine and fluorine, which deplete the ozone layer, a region of the Earth's atmosphere which absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation.  In effect, the ozone layer acts a protective shield, which CFCs destroy.

The environmental danger posed by aerosol cans first came to public attention in the 1970s.  In fact, there is an episode of the American TV series All in the Family (1971-1979) in which Mike "Meathead" Stivic informs his wife, Gloria, about how her aerosol hair spray damages the ozone layer.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the United States, Canada and other countries banned ozone-depleting CFC propellants for non-essential uses.  This action reduced CFC consumption in Canada by more than 50 per cent.  In the United States, consumer aerosol products have not contained CFCs since the 1970s because companies eliminated them voluntarily. Federal regulations such as The Clean Air Act, and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restrictions, further limited the use of CFCs for non-consumer products.

Due to the landmark Montreal Protocol of 1987, an international agreement signed in Canada by 191 countries, many nations began phasing out ozone-depleting propellants and replacing them with non-depleting forms.  In 2014, five international organizations, including the United Nations Environmental Program and NASA issued a report that concluded that actions "taken under the Montreal Protocol have led to decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances, and are enabling the return of the ozone layer toward 1980 levels."

Unfortunately, this does not mean that the problem has been completely solved.  It also does not mean that hair sprays, deodorant and shaving cream cans are favourable to the environment.  Even without CFCs, aerosol sprays and aerosol cans still contain hydrocarbons and/or compressed gases known for contributing to global warming.

Even though hairsprays no longer uses CFCs to propel the stiffening agreement out of the can, they do contain other chemicals as propellants that are considered to be potent greenhouse gases - namely hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs.  The previously mentioned 2014 report found that "climate benefits of the Montreal Protocol could be significantly offset be projected emissions of HFCs used to replace " ozone-depleting substances.  Although HFC use "makes a small contribution" to greenhouse gas emissions each year", the authors of the report asserted that HFC emissions "are currently growing at a rate of about 7 % a year."  Growing demand could possibly result in HFC emissions reaching levels "nearly as high a the peak emission of CFCs" by the year 2050.

According to Scientific American, modern-day aerosol sprays also "emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs that contribute to ground-level ozone levels, a key component of asthma-inducing smog."  It's not only aerosol sprays that emit VOCs.  The list includes fingernail polish, perfumes, mouthwashes, pump hair sprays and roll-on and stick deodorants.

Sadly, it is difficult for the public to be properly informed when the current President of the United States, makes false claims.  Donald J. Trump is no friend to the environment.  He doesn't take climate change seriously, nor is he concerned with scientific evidence that the Earth is heating up at an alarming rate.  He also pulled the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement and he actively encourages the use of non-renewable resources.

So, it is not surprising that Trump has spread misinformation about hairspray and its effect on the ozone layer.  The president is apparently quite familiar with the use of hairspray by which he achieves his strange hairstyle, a blond combover look.  A former political adviser to the president told the New York Post that Trump "uses a weird bottle of hairspray." that's "bigger than the biggest can of beer."

On May 5, 2016, at a campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia, Donald Trump declared that "hairspray's not like it used to be" because chemicals in it that affect the ozone layer have been banned.  He also claimed that using hairspray in his apartment, "which is sealed," would stop any ozone-depleting substances from escaping into the environment.  Yet, according to an article by Vanessa Schipani in The Wire, multiple exports told her that the chemicals would still make their way out.

At the rally in Charleston, Trump was presented with a hard hat from an official from the West Virginia Coal Association.  After trying on the hat. Trump couldn't resist talking about his hair and he implied that regulations on hairspray and coal mining are unnecessary.

Trump, May 5, 2016: Give me a little spray. … You know you’re not allowed to use hairspray anymore because it affects the ozone, you know that, right? I said, you mean to tell me, cause you know hairspray’s not like it used to be, it used to be real good. … Today you put the hairspray on, it’s good for 12 minutes, right. … So if I take hairspray and I spray it in my apartment, which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer? “Yes.” I say no way folks. No way. No way. That’s like a lot of the rules and regulations you people have in the mines, right, it’s the same kind of stuff.

By the way, back in 2011, Trump suggested that the "eight-inch concrete floors" and "eight-inch concrete walls" of Trump Tower would prevent hairspray from "destroying the ozone that's 400 miles up in the air." Not  so, said Steve Montzka, a chemist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  "It makes no difference," he stated, if you spay those chemicals "inside your house or apartment.  It will eventually make it outside."  

SOURCES:  Scientific American, "Bad Hair Day: Are Aerosols Still Bad for the Ozone Layer"; The Wire, "Trump on Hairspray and Ozone," By Vanessa Schipani, May 17, 2016; Nature, "Ozone treaty 'must tackle CFC 'smuggling'." by David Spugeon, September 18, 1997

- Joanne

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Wish List

Instead of making predictions about 2019, I have decided to make a wish list.  Here it is, folks.

I hope that far right populists lose ground in the New Year.

I hope that 2019 is not a good year for dictatorships and authoritarian leaders around the world, especially Vladimir Putin of Russia.

My wish is that 2019 will see a rise in democracy and democratic freedoms around the world.

I hope that 2019 marks the final year of the presidency of Donald Trump.  I wish that he would resign or that he would be impeached and convicted - the sooner, the better.  Every day he remains in office causes damage to the United States and to the rest of the world.  My nightmare is that he will be able to run again in 2020.

My wish is that Britain remains in the European Union.  I hope that Brexit doesn't happen and that a second referendum overturns the first.  There is evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 referendum.

I wish that the Toronto Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup, their first victory since May 2, 1967.  Here is my dream scenario:  Mitch Marner scores the winning goal with about 50 seconds left in the third period of the seventh game.

I hope that 2019 will be a good year for those who are concerned about the environment.and that some significant progress will be made in the fight against climate change.

I wish for a really major breakthrough in preventing, curing or controlling one or more of the world's
most harmful diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, Parkinson's etc.

I  wish for fewer wars and more civility in the world in 2019.

On January 1, 2020, I will write another wish list and I will let you know if any of wishes came true.

- Joanne