For kids in third grade on, you have tests every year. Learning to think your way through questions and answers is key. I love trivia questions. I hope you can use these for practice. Just think, you could even test your parents!
Question 1 – What is the least densely populated U.S. state?
Can you eliminate two states? Think about population.
Alaska Hawaii New Mexico Wyoming
AK HI NM WY
Who did you eliminate? Hawaii was easy. The weather is beautiful! It’s a popular tourist destination so there are lots of people on a small amount of land. That means a higher density.
I also guessed New Mexico. It’s way warmer than Wyoming or Alaska. I think of it as desert, but I thought it would have more people than the other two. It turns out I was right, so far!
That leaves Alaska and Wyoming. Which one has the least number of people per mile? Guess and check below.
Did you guess Alaska? It was my very first answer. Why? Because Alaska is so cold, and it’s not heavily populated. I think it’s a vast wilderness. And . . . IT’S THE RIGHT ANSWER!!!
Alaska has 1.6 people per mile. Wyoming is second with 6.0, and New Mexico is sixth with 17.2. Hawaii didn’t even make the list.
But if you asked the question a little differently, the answer changes. Which state has the smallest population? Wyoming would win with 578,759 people. Alaska is now in sixth place with 731,545. Hawaii is in fourteenth with 1,415,872, and New Mexico is at eighteenth with 2,096,829.
WOW! The way you ask a question makes a huge difference in the answer. If you have to take a test, first read the question and answers carefully. Then start your reasoning!
Question from: https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-what-is-the-least-densely-populated-u-s-state/
Question 2 – Which US city receives the most hours of sunshine per year, on average?
Can you reason out the answer? Think weather – sunshine and rain!
Houston, TX San Diego, CA Miami, FL Yuma, AZ
Texas California Florida Arizona
If you guessed Yuma, Arizona, you’re right! I was too!
Here’s how I figured it out . . . I eliminated Florida right away. During the summer it clouds up and rains almost every day, but only for five or ten minutes. Then I looked at the other three cities and thought about rain. I think Arizona is a lot like New Mexico, hot and dry, and I think Texas and California get a little more rain. I guessed and picked Arizona.
Click on this link to find out the 10 sunniest cities in the world. https://www.earth.com/news/sunniest-cities-united-states/ Would you believe three of them are in Arizona? They’re Yuma, Phoenix, and Flagstaff.
California had three sunny cities – Redding, Fresno, and Sacramento. Sorry, San Diego! Texas had one sunny city – El Paso. Sorry, Houston! Poor Florida! The sunshine state didn’t have one city on this list. Shucks! Question Source: https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-what-u-s-city-receives-the-most-hours-of-sunshine-per-year-on-average/
My original idea for the alphabet post started with two questions for quizclub.com. They asked how many letters were in the English and German alphabets.
I was curious so I asked a search engine, DuckDuckGo. My source said about a thousand, but they were based on a hundred alphabets that could be boiled down to nine. After writing about each one, I never got back to the two original questions. Tonight I tried again, but the post grew once more. I found eleven languages. Here’s that world map to help you locate each one. They include:
English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, and German
My Source: https://wordcounter.net/blog/2015/11/24/10950_how-many-letters-alphabet.html
Do you recognize the English alphabet, and do you know the importance of this phrase?
It uses all 26 letters.
Did you know two hundred years ago there were 27? The dropped letter is still used today. Curious? It’s &!
Phrase Source: By No machine-readable author provided. Moyogo assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=701210
Can you read this? Me neither! It’s a sample from the Arabic alphabet.
عندما يريد العالم أن يتكلّم ، فهو يتحدّث بلغة يونيكود. تسجّل
It has 28 letters, but, they’re all consonants. Arabic has vowels, but you add them with a mark beside the consonant, like this – ‘a.
You read and write Arabic from right to left, and it’s all done in cursive. English is the exact opposite. It’s printed from left to right.
Arabic has contextual letterforms. That means a letter is shaped by its position within a word, depending on if it’s first, in the middle or last. If it stands alone, it may have yet another shape.
I’ll stick with English, but I love how Arabic flows across a page!
OH NO! There’s something harder than Arabic – Chinese! It doesn’t have a letter alphabet representing sounds. They use ideas and pictures, i.e. ideograms or pictograms.
I read that if you want to have functional literacy, you need to know three to four thousand characters. Would you believe there are TENS of THOUSANDS of Chinese characters? Thank goodness for English!
Ancient Chinese was even harder. It ran in columns from top to bottom, like that green sign with orange letters. It also ran from right to left, like Arabic.
Today it’s a little more like English, running across the page from left to right. It still goes from top to bottom. The Bus Stop sign reads 2E 6C 6F. Then 41 45.
If you’d like to try reading a little Chinese, click on this link, I picked up a teeny tiny bit! https://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2013/04/25/learn-to-read-chinese-in-eight-minutes/#56ff63a2179
Picture Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Written_Chinese
By Maloongkai - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8004756
4. The next alphabet is a little easier than Chinese, and it also comes from Asia. Do you recognize it? It’s Japanese. I know – it looks a lot like Chinese, or Korean. That’s probably because they come from the same part of the globe. To read basic Japanese, you need to recognize about 2000 symbols from three different alphabets.
The first is called Kanji, and it’s based on those Chinese pictograms. The other two alphabets are phonetic. Both hiragana and katakana have 46 letters each, 92 total. Only 1908 more Kanji symbols to learn. Easy Peasy!
Long ago you read Japanese from top to bottom in columns. It was called vertical writing. You started on page right and moved left.
Today there’s horizontal writing. It moves from left to right. It’s more like how we read English. There’s still one big difference. Japanese book spines are on the right. The book cover is on the back, and the back cover is on the front. To read Japanese, you start at the back and read to the front.
5. This could be Chinese or Japanese, but supposedly it’s easier to read than the other two. Did you recognize it as Korean? South Korea uses Hangul, and the North uses Chosan’gul. Modern Hangul has 14 consonants and 11 vowels, 24 total. Chosan’gul has 19 consonants and 21 vowels, 40 total.
The hardest part of reading or writing Korean is that it’s written in syllable blocks. I see 2 symbols to the left, then 3 and 3. I might be right, but there might be more symbols that I don’t see.
Korean was once written vertically, but now it’s horizontal, going from left to right. Looking at that red sign again, I’m not sure if there are three syllables or three words because Korean has space between its syllables, and its words, if I read correctly. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul
6. Drive down this highway, and you’ll need to read, write, and speak Russian, but you can keep going. Explore Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the rest of the former Soviet Union too.
The Russian alphabet is based on Cyrillic. Modern Russian has 21 consonants, 10 vowels, and 2 extra symbols, or 33 total. It’s phonetic so you can learn the letters and sounds at the same time. Best of all you can still read from left to right, from top to bottom.
7. This alphabet is golden! It’s Greek to me, but it’s one of the oldest alphabets still in use. Did you know the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets came from Ancient Greece? They only had capital letters. It was the Romans who later developed lower case letters for the Latin alphabet.
The Greek alphabet has grown and changed over the centuries. Now it has 24 letters that match up with English. No Greek J’s or V’s.
If you want to learn Greek, you’ll have to learn to write in syllables. Start with 1, 2, or 3. Then you can move into longer words with more syllables. Greeks like to make l-o-n-g words!
Today the Greek alphabet is still used in technical symbols and labels. If you go into some fields, you must master Greek.
8. Can you read the sign? I can, but it’s not in English. It’s Spanish. I’d mangle every single word on those signs except for Valencia. That’s because there’s one in California. The Valencia below is near Madrid, in Spain.
Spanish doesn’t belong to just Spain. Thanks to the conquistadors, it’s the official language for most of Central and South America, who are also called Latin America.
My original source said there are 29 letters in Spanish, but if they have 4 extra letters (ch, ll, ñ and rr) shouldn’t there be 30?
The letters look like our English ones, except they have accent marks. (papá or güero) Those marks change the pronunciation, even the meaning. Letters in Spanish sound different. For example, their “h” is always silent. In our English word ‘house,’ it’s voiced, but not in ‘hour.’
9. Here are more signs that look English, but they’re actually Italian. My only clue, Roma. Americans always write it as ‘Rome.’ If you want to see and hear Italian, take a trip to Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenia, and Croatia.
Yay! The Italian alphabet has 21 letters, only 21! It matches up to our alphabet, but it uses foreign letters like ‘j, k, w, x, and y’ for foreign words with those sounds. The Italian alphabet has 3 different kinds of accent marks. You can see them in Métro, pescà, or genî.
10. This sign looks like it’s from a farmers’ market – in France. It uses the French alphabet, and it’s spoken/written in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, and Switzerland.
You’ll also find it used in former French colonies in Africa, Asia, North/South America, and Oceania. I didn’t recognize Oceania so I googled. It’s made up of Micronesia, Polynesia, Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, and the islands around them), and Melanesia (the islands from New Guinea to Tonga).
The French alphabet has 26 letters, including all 20 of our consonants. It also has all 5 of our vowels (aeiou) – plus y. Y is only a vowel in French, never a consonant. W and K’s are mostly used in foreign words.
French, like the other European languages, uses accents on its vowels. Examples: à, é, î, ü. They also combine them – æ and œ. And C’s look like this: ç.
11. I can’t begin to read this sign, but I see double dots on the last word. That’s German! The sign says stay off the ice. Deutschland or Germany is where 78% of German is spoken.
You’ll also find it in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and South Tyrol, Italy. Three of those countries also speak French. My guess is that German’s spoken in the north, and French in the south. It’s also spoken in the former German colonies and in the Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite communities in North America. I googled again – the Hutterites are found in the Great Plains and in Western Canada.
The German alphabet has the same 26 letters as our English alphabet, but the pronunciation of some of them doesn’t exist in English. The G, CH, and the R are pronounced from the back of the throat. I can’t imagine how!
They also have a few letters with double dots, plus a fancy B – ä, ö, ü and are ß. BTW, if you’re curious, the sign says stay off the ice. I knew it was important . . . there are 2 exclamation marks. Sources: https://www.thoughtco.com/where-is-german-spoken-1444314
How many alphabets are being used around the world? 100 9 1000
Depending on how you define alphabet, it could be all three. I found each answer from a source below. The top one from Quora made sense to me. It said if you look at pure alphabets that have a letter for every sound, there’s about 100, and they boil down to these nine:
Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Armenian, Korean, Hebrew, Arabic, Braille, and Georgian
Tomorrow, I’ll look for pictures of each one. I’m curious to see how they’re alike and different.
Here’s a world map so you can find each of these nine alphabets.
1. This is the Latin alphabet. It’s everywhere, North and South America, Europe, India, Australia, and most of Africa. Click on the source link to see the ground it covers. The Latin alphabet looks a lot like ours. Did you notice anything missing, like the letters J, U, and W?
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_alphabet Photo by Joannes Arnoldus Bergellus -
http://wally.rit.edu/cary/cc_db/16th_century/9.htmlhttp://www.bl.uk/collections/early/1540.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4409965
2. The letters on this piece of pottery are from the Greek Alphabet. It only reached the land around the country of Greece. If you’d like to see the map, the pottery, or learn more about the Greek alphabet, click on this link:
3. This is the Cyrillic alphabet. It spread – across the entire former Soviet Union, all of it!
Do you recognize this writing? It’s from the book of Matthew. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic_alphabets
Unknown - Герранъ мія̈нъ. Шондю-руохтынанъ святой іôванг̧ели матвѣйста, Карьяланъ кїӗлѣлля, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15401241
4. This is the Armenian alphabet, from Armenia, of course. Where is Armenia? It was once part of the Soviet Union. Now it’s its own country. It shares borders with Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia so it’s north of the Middle East, and it was in the southern part of the former Soviet Union. ( I looked it up!)
5. This is the Korean alphabet, and it’s found on the Korean Peninsula, of course. Did you know it has two names? In South Korea, it’s called Hangul. In North Korea, it’s called Chosŏn'gŭl. (I had to paste that in. I’m missing three important keys.)
Photo by Kbarends - cropped from en:Image:Hunminjeongeumhaerye.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4210804
6. This isn’t my computer keyboard, and it probably isn’t yours either. It was designed for people who use the Hebrew alphabet. If you’re Jewish, or live in the country of Israel, this might be your keyboard.
7. Here’s another keyboard. I bet you recognize half the letters, but not the other half. That’s because they’re from the Arabic Alphabet. You’d find this keyboard in the Middle East and in northern Africa.
Article Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_alphabet
Keyboard By Mohsen Madi - Intellaren Inc., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14688041
8. Do you see two books? One looks like a real book, in German. The other is a notebook of bumpy paper. That’s a braille book.
Braille is an alphabet made up of bumps. Its letters match up with other alphabets from around the world, like English or German. My source listed 104 alphabets that have been translated into braille.
If you’re blind, you can’t see so you read with your fingers. You can read paper books or special computer screens. You can write with a slate and stylus or with special computers and printers. Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braille
9. Can you read the letters on the car? Me neither! It’s a police car, but police is written in Georgian, the country, not one of our 50 states.
The country of Georgia was once part of the Soviet Union. It’s bordered by the Black Sea, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
There are three different ways to write Georgian. The most common is Mkhedruli. That’s what you see on the car. The other two, Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri, are only used by the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Besides America, what country is home to the most McDonald’s restaurants?
China Japan Canada France
The US is #1 for McDonald's with 14,146 locations. We love our Golden Arches! Did you figure out who's in second place?
t’s not even close, but Japan claims the honor with 2,975 restaurants in the country. You can still get Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, Happy Meals, and McFlurries, but in Japan you can also order Mega Macs, Bacon Lettuce Burgers, Ebi Filet-O, and McPork. Warning – you’ll have to give up your supersize drinks and free refills. They’re not on the menu.
Click on this link to find Mcdonald's ten happiest countries.
Question source: https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-besides-america-what-country-is-home-to-the-most-mcdonalds-restaurants/.”
Map Source: By Connormah - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Source for menu (with pictures): https://delishably.com/dining-out/JapanMcDonalds
Take a look at that world map again. Which country has the only ski-through McDonald’s?
Canada France Russia Sweden
It’s Sweden. Want to visit? Take a trip to the Lindvallen ski resort. It’s 200 miles north of Stockholm. The ski-through opened in 2014, and it’s still going strong.
You can go inside. There’s room for 140 people. But if you’re in a hurry, you’ll ski up to the window, place your order, and pick it up. No need to mess with coats and gloves. You’re back on the slopes – and you’re loving it!
Click on the first source if you’d like to look at the Swedish ski-through.
Delish | Date Updated: December 18, 2019
My map source: By Rob984 - Derived from File:Germany on the globe (Germany centered).svg, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70142703
What food is named in the words of this old commercial?
The words . . . 2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese , pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.
The answer: The McDonald’s Big Mac
Would you believe I missed it by one word? I had ‘and’ instead of ‘on a sesame seed bun.’ The commercial originally aired December of 1974. That was 46 years ago. I was a high school sophomore. Not bad! I didn’t catch my error until I looked at the YouTube link. Not bad for my 60-year-old memory!
That’s great in the world of memory retention! To get my last teacher’s license, I took a brain class about six years ago. My teacher said jingles were a great way to remember something. Do you remember ‘Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is.’ That’s the old Alka-Seltzer jingle, written in 1953. I was born in 1959.
It worked on my second graders! I used it to teach them animals (mammal, insect, etc.) and for landforms (plateaus, plains, etc.) I thought my kids did better later on those tricky tests too. My brain teacher said her students would lip-sinc those songs during tests. Too True! Some of my second graders did too!
PS – Want to add another layer to help your memory along? Try adding motions. I did it with landforms. (Example – arm held straight out was a plain – flat land.)
Click the link to hear this ad from 1974. Watch for Gordon Jump. (He was the station manager for the old TV show, WKRP in Cincinnati.
This link was from 1975. My brain teacher would say ‘repeat to remember. Remember to repeat.’ That’s what this commercial had us doing back in 1974/75. Oh, the good old days. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK2qBbDn5W0
Enjoy! I hope you’re loving it! (No LOL – that's another McDonald’s commercial.)
Christmas is almost here, and so is Christmas trivia.
What is glögg?
A Christmas coffee Hot cocoa
Mulled wine Spiced Cider
Glögg is a special mulled wine that’s made just for Advent. Answer the next question to find out where it comes from. Click the information link, and you can try it without crossing the Atlantic.
Where do you go for a glass of glögg?
Sweden France Germany Spain
Go to Sweden, but only during Advent. That’s when you can get a glass of glögg. Traditionally it’s served in small glasses.
FYI – the spices were originally added because back then the wine didn’t taste so good, but now it’s added because it’s tradition. Don’t forget to put the almonds and raisins in your glass before you pour in the glögg. Cheers!
For More Info: www.swedishfood.com
Where was the Advent Wreath invented? England Sweden Germany Italy
Welcome to Germany where Johan Hinrich Wichern invented the Advent Wreath in 1839. His version was made of wood, and it had 24 candles, 4 big ones for Sundays and 20 little ones for weekdays.
Today’s Advent wreath is made with fir branches and cones, ribbons, ornaments, and those original 4 candles. One for each week like the one to the left.
What did a mother from Munich invent to keep herself sane when her son asked every day how long till Christmas? A calendar An advent calendar A paper chain Balloon bouquet to pop
In 1885 Gerhard Lang’s mother did. He saw the first Advent candle lit and didn’t understand waiting till his mother drew 24 squares on a box. Each square equaled one day, getting up once and going to bed. From then on, Gerhard got a calendar every year until he outgrew them.
Around 1900 Gerhard started a publishing company. During a slow sales period, he remembered his old calendars, and in 1904 he sold the first “Munich Christmas Calendar.” Its subtitle was “The 24 Waiting Days,” and it sold for 30 pfennigs or about 15 cents. Today you can buy cardboard ones, felt ones, bags on strings, and little towns, but, they all still share 24 days of waiting.
My Sources: Kaiserslautern American | Date Updated: December 6, 2019
What’s the name of the little town where Jesus was born? Bethlehem Jerusalem Judea Samaria
Bonus Points: What’s the song title that tells the story of that birth?
The Song – O Little Town of Bethlehem – Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
For More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Who made Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem?
His father King Herod Caesar Augustus
Why? A Family visit To worship the new king For a census of the Roman Empire
The Gospel of Luke said (Luke 2: 1 – 5; paraphrasing) Caesar Augustus ordered a census of the entire Roman world. Everyone went to their family’s hometown to register and be counted. Joseph left Nazareth in Galilee. He traveled to Bethlehem in Judea because that’s where his family came from. Joseph was descended from King David’s family. In Bethlehem he registered with his fiancee Mary. She was going to have a baby.
This is a Nativity Scene. I grew up with one, and so did my kids.
Who was really there when Jesus was born, and who wasn’t?
Mary, Joseph and Jesus Shepherds Wise Men Animals Angels
According to Luke 2: 7-21, paraphrasing, Mary gave birth to a baby boy. She wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a manger. There was no other place for them to stay.
That night the shepherds were out in the field with their sheep. An angel appeared, and the shepherds were terrified until the angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I bring good news for all people. Today in Bethlehem your savior was born. The baby is wrapped in cloth, laying in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals.”
Then a group of angels appeared. They said, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on Earth.” The angels returned to heaven, and the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem. They found the baby in the manger. The shepherds returned home, telling everyone what they’d seen and heard. Eight days later Jesus was named and circumcised.
So a Nativity according to Luke would look like this –baby Jesus would be lying in a manger with Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds looking on.
No animals are mentioned, but the most likely ones would be an ox and a donkey. That’s what Saint Francis of Assisi used, and he made the first nativity scene. I don’t know about the sheep. If the shepherds were in a hurry like Luke said, they probably would have left the sheep behind. Maybe a young shepherd watched over them until the others returned.
The angels only went out to the fields to send the shepherds into Bethlehem. Then they returned home to heaven.
As for the wise men, here’s their story according to Matthew 2:1-12, paraphrased . . . After Jesus was born, Magi from the east came to ask King Herod about the star. They followed it to Jerusalem. They wanted to worship the new king of the Jews.
They’re called Magi in Luke, but in other stories they’re called kings or wise men. Usually nativities have 3 kings, but Luke never mentioned a number.
Herod sent for his chief priests and teachers. They looked back to Micah, who prophesied that the baby would be born in Bethlehem in Judea. Herod sent the Magi there. He told them to worship the child, and then report back so he could visit him too.
The Magi followed the star, this time to the baby in Bethlehem. They might have looked something like this when they bowed down to worship the child in the manger.
The Magi gave him gifts fit for a king – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Frankincense is a tree sap that was burned to worship the gods. Myrrh was a perfume made from sap too. It was either burnt as incense or used as oil for anointing someone. All three gifts were part of Temple worship.
This post started with 4 eerie pictures I found last year on Triptrivia.com. I saved them, and now I have time to share them. Unfortunately my link doesn’t work anymore, but I copied the words and pictures so I could research them.
Original link: https://www.triptrivia.com/answer/5c61be31cca5d000045ca39d
Island of the Dolls, Part 1
I don’t think dolls are creepy, but this picture sure is. It’s from the Island of the Dolls. I’d never heard of it until Trip Trivia’s post. The island is in the channels of Xochimilco. That’s south of Mexico City, close to the Estadio Azteca football stadium. Would you believe it’s one of the channel’s main attractions?
The story: a girl drowned near this spot. Don Julian Santana owned the island. After the drowning he got one too many scares he couldn’t explain. Then he spotted a doll floating along the shore. He had heard the dead girl still cried out for her missing doll. He decided evil spirits were behind it.
Don Julian started searching the canals and garbage for unwanted dolls. He hung them on trees to scare off those evil spirits. That was the 1950’s. Don Julian lived till 2001. The creepy part – he died of a heart attack, close to where he found that first doll.
This is the oldest one found on the island, but there are literally hundreds. They’re covered in cobwebs and bugs. YUCK! You can visit if you’d like, but I prefer the toy store ones that are bug and web-free.
Here’s a tourist map of Xochimilco, just in case you ever find yourself in Mexico City.
Map source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xochimilco
Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy, Part 2
I see dead bodies – really – in Palermo Italy. This was once the cemetery for the Capuchin Monastery, but in the 1500’s they ran out of space in the graveyard so the monks excavated the crypts below it. Once they pulled out all the coffins, they mummified the bodies.YUCK!
To mummify something you dehydrate it. That means you pull the water out of the dead body. The monks did it by putting the body on the ceramic pipes of the catacomb. After the water was gone, sometimes they washed the bodies in vinegar. P-U!
Sometimes they embalmed them, which usually involved 4 steps. Other bodies were sealed in a glass cabinet, but everyone wore their everyday or favorite clothes.
At first the catacombs were only for monks, but in time getting entombed there became a status symbol. It was the ultimate form of burial. Relatives donated towards the upkeep, but if they stopped payment, the body was put on a side shelf until the money streamed in again.
This is Rosalia Lombardo. She was one of the last people to get a spot in the catacombs in 1871. She looks like a ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which is the pose she was placed in.
Make time if you want to visit everyone – there are about 8000 corpses and 1252 mummies, but please, no photos or touching bodies. Iron grills stop the touching, and I bet a big fine stops those photo ops.
The big map is the island of Sicily. The tiny one shows it beside the rest of Italy.
If you want to find Palermo, go to the northwestern corner of Sicily. Travel east to the next province. It looks like Palermo is the third bump along the coast line, and it’s Sicily’s hottest tourist spot.
The Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Part 3
Feel like hanging around for eternity? Go to the town of Sagada in the Mountain Province of the Philippines. These coffins are an old Igorot tradition. Not everyone is allowed to have one. One source said you had to have grandchildren. Another said you had to die from natural causes. Being old just might help you hang high in the sky
The early coffins were about a meter stick long. They were nailed or wired to the cliff. The higher your coffin, the better your social position. Do you curl up in a ball at night? The Igorot curl their dead up inside the coffin. They might break a few bones, but they believed it gave you peace.
Today things have changed. The coffins are now 2 meters long so no more broken bones, but the burials only happen every couple of years. Younger people prefer level ground.
This is a map of the Philippines. Find the province on the northwest coast, then go south 2 more provinces. I think that’s where Sagada is, but click the link below to see for yourself.
Travel north to the Chinese mainland or south to the island of Indonesia, and you’ll find hanging coffins there too.
Chernobyl, Ukraine, Part 4
I don’t see dead bodies – I see a region that’s dead, that’s frozen in time. It looks like it did 33 years ago when it was abandoned because of what happened at 1:23 AM on April 26, 1986. That’s when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded.
On April 27th the Soviets started evacuating the town next door, Pripyat. By May 14th they’d gotten everyone out of the 18 mile area around the plant. The pictures above could have been taken in 1986 or in 2019. No one has lived there since.
By April 28th the world discovered the spread of radiation. Workers at a nuclear plant 680 miles to the northwest in Sweden found radioactive particles on their clothes.
The map below shows the levels of radiation. The Confiscated/Closed Zone is probably part of that original 18 mile evacuation, but the radiation spread into Belarus and Russia itself.
Here are 5 creepy facts from my research:
1. The radiation in Chernobyl was the same as in Hiroshima, Japan after the atomic bomb.
2. The greatest danger was in the first few weeks, just like Hiroshima.
3. The firefighters suffered the most. They went in to stop the fires, but dozens of them died from radiation sickness.
4. Chernobyl didn’t have a containment building to protect it like a cocoon. If it had, very few people would have died. The environment would have been preserved.
5. Today animals like deer, moose, and boars are back, and so are the plants. Radiation is still there and will be for decades.
The Gates of Hell, Part 5
No bodies here! They would have been incinerated already. This fiery furnace has 2 other names - the Door to Hell, and the Darvaza Gas Crater, but I think it looks like the center of the earth.
Remember the good old Soviet Union? They were involved in this disaster too. Back in 1971 they found a natural gas field, and a camp of engineers started drilling. They didn’t know there was a pocket of gas. The field collapsed, the crater opened, but no one died.
The engineers were worried that poisonous gases like methane would be released. They decided to burn them off, thinking it would only take a couple of weeks. It didn’t. They’ve been burning now for 43 years.
The crater is 230 feet in diameter and 65 feet deep. It doesn’t look huge from here, but that’s about 80 yards across a football field and about 22 yards down.
If you decide to visit, try camping out in the Karakum Desert that’s pictured above. You won’t need to bring your night light.
To find the crater, go east from the Caspian Sea through the Balkan Province. Continue east to the red line that runs north-south from Dashhowez to Ahal. The crater is in Ahal, near the border.
This week more schools, especially up north, are back in session. Here’s a geography warm-up for your academic muscles. This is a US map. Find these 4 states -- Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida.
Which state has the longest freshwater shoreline in the United States? Hint – it’s up north!
Minnesota Michigan Ohio Florida
I listed the states from west to east. Minnesota is the farthest west, and Florida is the farthest east.
And the answer is . . . Michigan!
Only Alaska beats Michigan with a shoreline of 6,640 miles, but it’s almost all saltwater.
Sources: Michigan.gov | Date Updated: June 27, 2019
This is a satellite picture of the Great Lakes. I guessed wrong, but I was close.
Question #2 – How many are there? 4 5 6 7
And the answer is . . . 5.
I guessed 6. See I was close, but I always told my 2nd graders close counts in horseshoes, but not in math. Or on questions like this.
Now look below at the satellite picture of North America. The red box shows how much space the Great Lakes take up. I don’t think I can answer the next question correctly. How about you?
Question #3 – Can you name the Great Lakes in order, going from west to east?
And the answer is . . . Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. I tried to answer without any help. I had Lakes Huron and Superior switched around, and I couldn’t remember Ontario. Two out of 5 right, not so great! YIKES!
Remember that state to the north, the ‘M’ one? Can you see it on the two maps above?
I pasted a map of Michigan to the left. Lake Michigan forms the western border. Lake Huron and Erie make the eastern border.
Lake Erie also forms part of the southern border between Ohio and Michigan. Did you know when they formed them, there was a war over who got Toledo, which sits on Lake Erie? Ohio won – we got Toledo, and Michigan got the Upper Peninsula.
Question #4– Which is the Deepest of the Great Lakes?
Huron, Michigan, Erie, Superior, or Ontario.
I have no idea. How about you? Take a look at this table, and I bet you can find the answer.
My source: 1. EPA
Huron Michigan Erie Superior Ontario
750 925 214 1332 802 Depth in feet
22 99 2.6 191 6 Retention time
Retention time is the average time water spends in a lake. To find it, divide the lake volume by the water flowing in or out.
And the answer is . . . Superior! It IS Superior! It’s the deepest, at 1332 feet deep, the coldest, and the farthest north. Water stays in the lake for about 191 years before it finally leaves.
Can you find the opposite? It’s Lake Erie at only 214 feet deep with 2.6 years to stay in the lake.
The Great Lakes are 750 miles across. They hold 84% of the freshwater in North America, 21% of the worlds’ fresh water. They really are GREAT!
Question #5 – How ere the Great Lakes formed? I found the answer in a picture. What do you think the answer is? Meteors Volcanoes Glaciers
And the answer is . . .
Glaciers. If you look at the illustration below, you see how the great glaciers covered all of Canada. I remember from Ohio History how they moved down through Michigan then down into Ohio. They reached Moraine, near Dayton, Ohio before receding north again. This illustration doesn’t show that, but it does show how the history of the Great Lakes in 4 illustrations.
If you’d like to read more about the Great Lakes or find more great pictures, click on this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Lake
Earth Day 2019 was April 22, but every day should be Earth Day. Do you know which country puts out the most carbon?
USA China India Japan Russia
The answer: China
Tomorrow: Details about each country and tips to be a good Earth citizen every day.
Can you find the countries below? Start on the western side of the Earth. Find a light green country. That’s the United States.
Now go east across the ocean to a huge yellow country at the top of the world. That’s Russia. Go south to an orange country. That’s China.
Next go east of China and Russia into the ocean. Find a chain of islands that’s half pink, half purple. That’s Japan.
Finally go back to China. Travel south to a large green peninsula. That’s India. These are the world’s 5 top polluters. I don’t think any of them want to be on this list. Here are 2 charts that show 2 different ways to wrap your head around the numbers.
2015 Total Emissions Country Rank Carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion (million metric tons)
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
So what does all this mean? Is the USA alright? Do we need to do better? How? What do you think?
There’s always room for improvement, for me as a person. For the US as a country. We span across a continent with miles of highway to connect us. We don’t have mass transit, except in our large cities or on the east coast.
If you look at this link: Union of Concerned Scientists, there are 2 other countries in the 15 metric ton per capita range. Canada is at 15.32, and Australia’s at 15. 83. They’re like us, continent-wide with miles of highway to cross. The biggest surprise on this page, Saudia Arabia’s at 16.85 and tops the per capita list.
One of the nice things about aging is watching things get better. When I grew up in the 60’s, people were becoming aware of pollution. As a country we stopped using DDT. We put animals on the endangered list and worked to protect them. Back then there was no recycling, and now I see it around my little town. Yay! We’ve gotten better at taking care of our planet since the 60’s. But, we still have room to grow.
Now, how can YOU help the Earth? My friends at Traveltrivia.com had a couple suggestions. 1) Ride your bike whenever it’s possible. I have to confess I’m not a bike rider, but I try to watch my car trips so that I accomplish as much as possible in 1 trip. I used to carpool to work. We drove 1 car, not 2. These are simple things, but if everyone does the simple things, we can have a big effect.
2) Turn off the water. Don’t let it drip! Water is a natural resource. Don’t waste it. I also try to watch what I throw out into my yard. Whatever goes into the ground can go into our water system, and it can pollute your water.
3) Turn off the lights when you leave the room. The same is true for anything that uses electricity. Turning it off saves the natural resources that make your electricity. Saving water and electricity also saves money, and that’s a great thing! Money saved is money you can spend on something else that YOU want or need.
4) Reuse something instead of throwing it away. If it’s broken, can you fix it? Turn it into something else? I saved a card from my father’s funeral. I cut it into pieces, glued it onto a frame, and now it’s a treasured possession. Another great thing!
5) If you can’t use it, recycle it! I don’t throw out my newspapers – I recycle them. Did you know paper is one of the biggest things going into the garbage dumps? I can’t recycle old clothes, but I give them to places like Goodwill. You can get things there free or at a great price. Sometimes you even find treasures! Happy Hunting!
If you have other suggestions, please comment or email me. I’d love to share them so we can all make Earth Day every day.!
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
Usually I don’t get comments, but I thought I’d share this one with you, along with my answer.
Daniel: It is interesting to see the “emissions from fuel combustion per capita”. Regarding greenhouse emissions and global warming: This is the possibility that each of every American has an impact on carbon pollution. Instead of working against this outrageous number, people get more, bigger pick-ups, companies discontinue fuel saving vehicles like Ford Focus...Strange new world, and I’m disappointed about Americans who seem to not care.
Rinda: Daniel, I agree that every American has an impact on carbon pollution. I understand your concern about the big pick-ups versus the economy cars. I drive a Honda Crosstour. I’m not sure what my mileage is, but it’s better than our Honda Pilot (my husband worked at Honda, and they’re great cars).
I think Americans do care about the environment, but it’s one choice among a million you might make in a day. I was a soccer mom. Having a car big enough to haul my 3 kids around, plus any of their friends, was huge back in the day.
Our next car will probably be a truck, sorry! It’s not because we don’t care about the environment, but because we have a boat to move around. We also have a trailer that helps us move anything from tree limbs to furniture. In America, we don’t have the luxury of taking a train so we want a car that’s comfortable. I spent an hour in my car, round trip 5 days a week for 33 years. Now I substitute teach. I sub in Wapak, not my old district because it saves time, energy, and money, all things valued by Americans.
I hope my response will redeem truck-driving Americans in your eyes. At least in my family, we have a good reason for our choices. And Daniel, if you need a car, take a look at the Hondas! They’re fuel efficient, and last forever. Our Pilot has almost 300,000 miles. It’s a gem!
It’s almost Easter, time for chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. The Jelly Belly Company is known for their best-selling flavors. How many do you think they make?
20 30 40 50
The answer . . . 50 flavors. Jelly Belly’s traditionals include orange, lemon, lime, and cherry. The exotics include cinnamon, pomegranate, cappuccino, buttered popcorn, and chili-mango. They also do specialty jellybeans with licenced ingredients like Tabasco sauce, hot-cha-cha!
The unusual ones like egg nog or pancakes and maple syrup are more my speed. Jelly Belly even has some nonalcoholic versions of mai tais, strawberry daiquiris, margueritas, and draft beer. If you want flavors like lychee or green tea, you’ll have to go outside the US.
Jelly Belly also makes Berti Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, the ones from Harry Potter, and yes you can try vomit, earwax, skunk spray, and even rotten egg. Really!
The Jelly Belly Company’s base and manufacturing plant is in Fairfield, California. It’s 40 miles southwest of Sacramento, the capital of California. In 2014 Family Fun Magazine picked their self-guided tour as one of the best around.
Jelly Belly has another plant in North Chicago, Illinois. Follow its eastern border north. North Chicago is on Lake Michigan, about 10 miles south of Wisconsin.
Drive 3 miles north into Wisconsin, and you’ll be in Pleasant Prairie and at the Jelly Belly distribution center. They ship beans all over the country, and they offer a train tour of their warehouse.
Would you believe Jelly Belly has a factory in Rayong, Thailand? If you fly southeast of Chon Buri, you’ll be in Rayong, and that’s where they make lychee, green tea, and the other international flavors.
I started out to come up with 10, but I wound up with 13. Thirteen favorite things, in the order that I thought of them. Maybe it tells you something about me, or something about where my head was today. Here goes . . .
My 1st favorite thought – CHOCOLATE! This is a chocolate caramel, one of my favorite chocolates! I also love chocolate almonds, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cakes. Let’s face it . . . I love chocolate! When you’re having a bad day, there’s nothing better, and on a good day, it’s a great reward. Chocolate is one of the best things in life. It gives you endorphins and makes everything better. It’s a very good thing!
My 2nd favorite thought – DOGS! To the left is my shrine (really) to my dog Leia. I said goodbye to her in 2014, but I’ve never forgotten her. She was a border terrier, and she was almost 15 when we said goodbye.
She was my best friend ever. She always slept outside my room and waited for me to get up. She even has her own story. It’s cute, but cute isn’t enough to get it published. Sorry, Leia! Someday, I promise.
To the left is the dog I’d get if my husband agreed. He’s never been a dog lover. It’s a poodle! I know, a she-she-poo dog, but they’re so trainable. I miss having a canine friend. Maybe someday!
My 3rd favorite – BOOKS! I have loved them forever. My childhood favorites included Dr. Suess, The Snowy Day, Charlotte’s Web, and The Little House books.
As a teacher I had 9 boxes of books by monthly units, 2 drawers of holiday stories, and 2 boxes of chapter books.
Now I read for fun and to stay current with the kids’ market. I’m fascinated with ideas and where they come from. I just finished Dragon Night. It started with the homonyms night and knight, added a little fear of both, and stirred in the legend of St. George and the Dragon. Clever!
Fourth – SUBBING! I thought when I retired I would never, EVER sub, but it’s fun once a week. I get to hang out with teachers and kids.
I stayed in 2nd grade for 28 years. Now I love bouncing from Kindergarten one week to 4th grade the next. I’m amazed by what these teachers and kids accomplish, and I love being part of the action for a day. Then I go home and focus on writing the stories they want and need.
Here’s #5 – MY FAMILY! I can’t believe they didn’t come up sooner. They’re my base. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t a wife and mother. My children are now grown up and scattered across the country.
This photo is from a wedding last April. From left to right – Andy, Ashley, Jaclyn, Alex, me, and Wayne.
Alex and Jaclyn live in Houston, Texas. Ashley is in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Andy’s in Columbus, Ohio. My husband and I travel between Wapakoneta, Ohio and Norris Lake in Tennessee. I love when everyone’s all together. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, there’s nothing better.
#6 – TRAVELING! I love going places! Most of my travels are to see my children or to visit our lake house. Occasionally we fly, but usually we drive. It’s cheaper!
We made 2 big trips when our kids were still home. We did a historic loop of Washington, DC, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. We went out west to see Glacier, Yellow Stone, and the Grand Canyon, but our favorite family trips were to the beaches of South Carolina and to Norris Lake in Tennessee. We loved it so much we have a house there.
I’ve been overseas a couple times. I love visiting other countries and talking to people. I love seeing how we’re the same and different. I’ve been to England, Germany, and the Bahamas in a plane. I’ve sailed on a cruise ship to ports of call in Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Grand Cayman, and Cuba. There are so many places to see. I hope they’re part of my future, whether I travel by car, by plane, or by boat.
#7 – BEACHES! I love to travel, especially to beaches! The first one is in the Carolinas. I’m not a big city or big beach girl. Our favorite was Ocean Isle Beach, at the bottom of North Carolina. In the 90’s and early 2000’s it wasn’t crowded. My kids loved finding sea shells and hunting hermit crabs. It was the perfect vacation!.
The second beach is St. Augustine Beach. We only went there once, but I remember it wasn’t crowded and its beautiful white sand. It’s my kind of beach! I couldn’t believe you could actually drive your car on it. Surprise!
#8 – Germany! I have been there 4 times for about a month each time with Wapakoneta, Ohio’s sister cities program. Our sister city is Lengerich. It’s in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen or North Rhine Westphalia.
This is one of their famous half-timbered houses. I love the style! This one is a business in downtown Lengerich. I’ve parked and walked by it.
This photo and these maps were at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lengerich%2C_Westphalia
The file photo is listed as Fachwerkhaus or half-timber house. Its address is Im Hook 5 in Lengerich. My sister teacher lives on that street in Lengerich.
Lengerich is in the district of Steinfurt. That’s one section of North Rhine Westphalia.
I’ve visited Tecklenburg to the north. It’s a touristy sort of town famous for its castle ruins. I saw the German version of the Jungle book there.
I’ve been to Ibbenburen. One of the kids I hosted traveled there each day for a couple years for high school.
If you look east of Lengerich, you’ll see Lienen. It’s the sister city of our our next-door neighbor, St. Marys. Lienen is horse country.
Ladbergen is sister city to New Knoxville, another close neighbor of Wapakoneta. If I remember correctly, part of Neil Armstrong’s family came from Ladbergen.
Go south of Ladbergen, and you’ll find Munster. There’s a university there that’s housed in an old castle. I love Germany!
This is a map of Germany. When I was there 5 years ago, we did a lap around the country. We flew into Frankfurt. That’s in Hessen. Its river front is gorgeous. We traveled onto Cologne in North Rhine Westphalia. Its medieval cathedral is a World Heritage site.
We went north to Bremen and Hamburg. You know Bremen’s capital from THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS. I had my picture taken next to the statue.
Bremen has a great harbor. Did you know it’s where most Germans said goodbye to come to the US? It’s on the North Sea, and it’s much colder than the Carolina Coast. Hamburg has a harbor too. It’s the 3rd largest in Europe.
I traveled across to Brandenburg and down to Berlin. It’s an amazing city. I’ve been there 4 times, but I’d return in a heartbeat. There is so much history. Travel south to find more in cities like Nuremburg.
Go further south and you’re in the state of Bayern. That’s where Munich is, and their famous soccer team, Bayern Munich. Munich is incredible. It’s the heart of what Americans think of as German culture, and it’s completely different from the North. Someday I want to visit during Octoberfest.
The first picture is from my bedroom at the lake. I bought a special fold-up chair for it, but I usually don’t write in it. I sit in the family room in my lazy-boy, feet up, view of the lake.
The second picture is from downstairs in Wapakoneta looking out at our backyard. I sit in another lazy-boy. I used to write upstairs till we moved the furniture. It’s back but I’m still downstairs with my great view.
Favorite #10 – NORRIS LAKE! This is our view the first year. We saw more trees and forest than lake and water. I took the squirrel picture 2 days after we’d moved in. Our house was empty for 3 years so the critters felt at home. The second picture is my husband. He cut down a lot of trees that first year. Most were tiny. A few were big. The biggest ones we had a professional cut down. The last picture is my husband with his pride and joy, the boat.
I don’t care if it’s fall, winter, spring or summer! I love the lake. This is our 4th year. It hasn’t grown old.
I’m named after my Grandmother, Rinda Hoskins Wilson. I didn’t know she died near Norris. Moving here gave me a chance to learn more about her, and it’s been a wonderful surprise.
#11 – MUSIC! I discovered music in 3rd grade when I started taking piano lessons. Then in 4th grade I joined band. Guess what I played . . . clarinet!
I stayed with marching band through high school graduation. I did solo contests with both instruments. I thought I’d become a musician, maybe a music teacher. Then I discovered that you need to practice an hour a day, per instrument. I was a high school senior, and I loved music, but not enough to practice 2 hours per day. Instead I became a fan of other peoples music.
Here's a clue to my favorite song. It’s by Steve Windwood. I looked hard to find the original version. Enjoy! And don’t forget . . . roll with it! https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1847979958580985
#12 – COLORING! I’d forgotten how much I love to color. When I first retired, I needed something to do in the evenings, and adult coloring books were popular. I love coordinating colors and designs. It helped me connect to my artistic side. It also gave me enough confidence to take a painting class.
And lucky number 13 – COCA COLA! It’s the real thing! I’ve loved Coke since I was little! When I had my 3 kids, I knew my husband loved me . . . he brought me a Coke after I had each baby. It’s the little things! For those of you who’ve been around as long as me, enjoy this blast from the past, another favorite song . . .
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!