Books & Reviews 📚

Book #157: The Recordsetter Book of World Records

This book can safely be called ‘Humans Doing Foolish Things for 15 Minutes of Fame’.

I mentioned this book back then in a 2018 book haul and I just got around to it. I got it for only $10 at my favorite bookstore. After reading this book, I’m glad that I didn’t pay the full $101 for it. 

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This book falls under nine categories – The Creative Arts, Food & Drink, Sports & Games, Science & Technology, Money & Style, Groups, Visionaries, Earth & Environment, and The Human Body. It gets useless from the very first so-call record: Most Polaroid Shakes in 1 Minute. Why? Why would I waste my time trying to see how fast I can shake a picture in a minute?

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Here are some other “records” I found over the top or just plain silly:

* Highest Tap Dance: Heather O’Neal, a travel guide, actually went to Mount Everest (17, 598 feet) just to tap dance. I love tap dancing, but I am not climbing any mountain just to do so. I’d rather tap dance on top of a table.

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* Most Times Smiling While Listening to “Beat It”: Someone smiled 302 times to this song and I’m here wondering, “How does someone even smile for this song?” It’s not even a feel-good song! What about “Librarian Girl” or “Fly Away”? Those are beautiful songs and I can see myself smiling along to them. Also, someone thought that putting on socks (57 in total for the crazy record) while listening to “Beat It” was a fantastic idea.

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* Slowest Time to Eat a Bowl of Cereal: Why? Who wants to sit for 22 minutes, 47.4 seconds just to eat a bowl of wheat that could take up to 2 minutes at least?

* Most Pizza Slice Face Slaps in 15 Seconds: Attention seeker loves playing with food so much that she got someone to slap her with a slice of pizza 210 times on the face. Did she not hear the saying about playing with food?

* Most Trivial Pursuit Questions Answered Incorrectly in 1 Minute: Pure ignorance! I didn’t mind if he was trying, but he was deliberately sprouting stupid things. For example, he answered lipstick for the most popular crop in the U.S. home vegetable gardens. 

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* Most Images of “Uncle Jesse” Viewed on a Web Browser at Once: I don’t know what’s people’s fascination with this character, but to view 92 photos in one sitting? I have better things to do with my time than to watch images of pervert Jesse.

* Fastest Time to Direct Twenty Insults at a Fire Hydrant: She clocked in at 15.49 seconds. Hello, looney bin! Although I wonder if the hydrant could’ve spoken, what its insults at her would’ve been like. Hmm, we’ll never know. 

* Largest Group of People Pretending to be Sea Otters: 10 loonies.

* Most Times Slapping Someone in the Face in 1 Minute: 660 times. Axel slapped his brother Petter this many times as the mom stood at the back of the room giggling because it’s the funniest thing she has ever seen in her entire life. 

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Overall, this book shows how stupid, desperate, and just sad some people can be just to get their name in neon lights for 15 minutes.

Final Verdict:

love coffee

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#amwriting ✍

Cry 😢

Short Story #30

The twins were so identical that it was impossible to tell them apart, but that’s where their similarities end for if Ray was the sun, Marcus was certainly the dark stormy weather.

“You make me out to be a robot,” Marcus accuses his twin as they sat in Mille Fleurs with three of their closest friends. “A robot without feelings, too.”

Ray elegantly shrugs for it was the Gallic thing to do before responding, “You’re so emotionless that when you’re chopping onions, you don’t even weep, but the poor onions do!”

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Ramses found this highly amusing and the éclair that was about to be devoured was paused midway. Trishanti tried to hide her giggles behind a napkin as she stole a peek at her ex-boyfriend’s expression. Benny only shakes his head.

“I am not emotionally detached!” Marcus defends. “Just because I am not your typical stereotypical over sensitive Frenchman means that I am void of emotions. I just deal with it better than Mr. Sunshine In A Cup over there.”

“Marc, come on, we all know Ray’s the better twin.” Justin playfully inputs.

“And you call yourself a best friend.” Marcus rolls his eyes and looks at the healthy slice of tarte tatin that was placed in front of him by the waitress five minutes before the conversation took a weird turn. “I maintain that my brother is a saint, but it doesn’t make him flawless or perfect.”

Ray shrugs. “You’re right, but you’re only deflecting from the conversation. What a heartless thing to do!”

While the others laugh, Marcus scoffs, leans back and runs a hand through his auburn wavy hair. “All right, what’s the lowest you can hit me?”

Delighted, Ray stops eating for the moment and teasingly grins. “You never cried after reading Charlotte’s Web.”

Gasps simultaneously went around the table.

“I know you’re not a crier, but that’s a low blow even for you,” Trishanti accused.

“Says the ex,” Marcus sneers. “Look, the book sucked. I mean, all the other animals were going to get killed someday, so why do we care about the pig alone? Isn’t that selfish? He wasn’t even all that special. He stood under a stupid web and if a spider spun webs with words, then it makes the spider special, not the pig. THE SPIDER CAN SPELL!

“However, we all know that spiders don’t have a long lifespan so where did it get the time to be all philosophical and stuff? Wilbur is such a whiner that I couldn’t feel sorry for him. I don’t eat bacon, but if he whined one more time, I would’ve made him into bacon. He’s so dramatic, I guess he majored in theater.”

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“Wow, you’re going to make a great dad.” Ramses sarcastically remarked. “It’s just a children’s book. Lighten up.”

“Says you, but my children are not going to read a book with the main character running around sobbing and squealing that it doesn’t want to die. In real life, spiders die and leave their children behind. Do human children cry about that? No, they try to kill the spiders. Fight me all you like, but I rest my case.” 

Ray cracks a loving smile at his younger half. “And that’s why you’ll be a top lawyer. Don’t ever stop being you.” Two hours later, after the food was eaten and everyone caught up with one another’s life, Ray stood to help his twin with the crutches. As Ramses made a remark about forgetting Marc’s broken foot, Ray saw another opportunity to rib his brother, “I know, right, and it’s not like he cried when he was flung from the motorcycle either.”

Marcus sighed in exasperation. “Ray, you’re lucky I love you.”

“Otherwise you would’ve beaten me up with the crutches?”

“How do you…? Ray!” 

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Would Marcus ever cry? Who knows? I just wanted to write some banter.

All grammatical errors are mine.

I am currently reading my way through classics and wondering if my feelings have changed hence the existence of this story. Do I feel as Marcus does about Charlotte’s Web now? I guess you’ll have to wait for the review to find out. Coming soon!

I love Marcus. But I love Ray more. He was practically the very first character I developed when I took writing seriously back then, hence the reason he’ll biasedly always have first place in my fictional heart. 

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Books & Reviews 📚

20 Books I want to read in 2020! 📚

This should’ve been posted since last month, but today’s the 20th, so hey! In no particular order, these are the books I hope to read this year:

1. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

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For those of you that read this blog, no explanation is needed. This was my first literature book and the book that made a Francophile out of me. I’m not sure if I’ll get to this book before 2020, but the year’s still young and I’m curious to see if I still like the book… although I don’t think it’ll be a 5-star book anymore.

2. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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This book was only recommended to me 1,000 times. I might’ve exaggerated, but many bookworms have recommended it, so I put it on the list. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything from EH, so this short novel should be the first. 

3. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall

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1001? I’m certain that I haven’t read 90% of the books in there and if I did, I probably strongly disliked them. I love lists, but don’t tell me what to do before I die. However, I’m curious to see how bias this complied list is.

4. Paris Was Ours by Penelope Rowlands

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32 writers share their observations and revelations about the world’s most romantic city. I’m naturally intrigued by anything Paris, so this collection of memoirs should hit the spot.

5. Khu: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by Jocelyn Murray

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I got this book for two things: the cover and the location. I honestly have no idea what the story is about so it’ll be a surprise read.

6. Napoleon by Andrew Roberts

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This man! In 1804, Napoleon declared himself emperor for life. He is one of history’s greatest military leaders and although he won many battles, the defeat at Waterloo probably haunted him to death. When simulations are run today, they show the French winning, so he had no right to lose. However, like Nebuchadnezzar and many other heads of state over the years, they needed to learn WHO really is in charge. 

7. Love and Louis XIV by Antonia Fraser

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This man! I’ve been trying to read this book for so many years now, but I keep putting it off. Louis XIV is fascinating, but I am more intrigued by the way he handled his crown and put France on the map. I’m actually looking forward to reading the detailed part of this Sun King’s reign.

8. Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

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I am only familiar with a few works from this man that is said to be a genius and one of the most influential writers in American literary history. I recall “The Tell-Tale Heart” because it was one of the first short stories I had to read for a writing class and also in Spanish. Then there is “Annabel Lee” because I listened to Matthew Gray Gubler read it with such emotion. EAP sounds like an acquired taste, so I’m quite curious to see if it’s a taste that I’ll enjoy.

9. The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

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I don’t normally chase after Christian Literature, but it’s A.W. Tozer. This book focuses on God’s character throughout and I can’t wait to get into it.

10. Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth by Naguib Mahfouz 

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I’ve had this book on my TBR for the longest while, and I am hoping that this is the year that I can finally get this Sun King off it. When I came across it, I had to remind myself that this is a novel and not a history book about the heretic King.

11. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

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I have no idea as to how I’ve never read this book in my teenage years. Absolutely no idea! Inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, the protagonist Edmond Dantès appears to capture so many hearts, that I am hoping he can live up to the hype when I get into this book. 

12. How the French Invented Love by Marilyn Yalom

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When this book first came out – I think it was 2012 – I couldn’t wait to put my hands on it. Then I got it and I dumped it into the ever-growing pile of TBR and forgot all about it… until now. The French didn’t invent love, God did, but the French are so devoted to the pleasures of love, I can’t even stereotype it. Throughout centuries, the French have been exemplary when it comes to showing affection and it’s been recorded in their movies and printed in their literature, but the question is: are they truly the world’s greatest lovers? Eh, anybody can love. This book focuses on love through the eyes of French culture and literature.

13. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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Here’s the thing: I tried reading this book waaaayyy back and I just couldn’t get into it so when I came across it in my TBR, the first thought was to throw it out, but I relented because I believe in second chances. I also couldn’t get into the movie because Keira Knightley does nothing for me. Neither do Jude Law, or Matthew Macfadyen or any of the actors for that matter. The book was first published in 1878 and many writers consider it to the greatest work of literature ever. 

14. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

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I could never get into books from Caribbean authors for we tend not to see eye to eye. V.S. Naipaul fits perfectly into this category and that’s why I stayed away from reading any work of his for so long, but now, the time has come for that moment of truth, so I really hope to get around to this one before the year ends. 

15. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

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I have no idea what this book is about, I just want to read it, although I didn’t like the last book I read from this author. 

16. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

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This memoir describes Jean-Dominique Bauby’s life before and after suffering a massive stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome. The entire book was dictated, letter by letter, by the blinking of his left eye. He died two days later after the publication of his book. I look forward to actually reading this book.

17. The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

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Their story is a tragic one. This book is a look at the last royal family of Russia and I look forward to seeing how Rappaport painted these girls’ portraits.

18. Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman

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This warrior needs no introduction, but I’ve had this book on my TBR for too long and it’s time to finally get over it.

19. 1984 by George Orwell

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This book mirrors a lot of what’s happening in the world today. Written in 1949, this book is said to be a great masterpiece and reasonably “prophetic”. People are in awe of his psychic skills when in fact, God warned us about what was going to come to pass in these last days if we don’t repent in a book written way before 1984 called the Bible for it’s the living and standing Word.

20. The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia

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This epic mythological tale is regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature and the second oldest religious text after the Pyramid Texts. I think it’s a knockoff of the Bible as do all mythologies, but hey, I gotta read it before I knock it. It’s been on my TBR like forever, so I’ll try to get to this one before the year kisses us adieu. 

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To be honest, I am not sure if I’ll even get to read all the books that I mentioned here, but I am looking to expand my reading horizons a little. Lately, I’ve been engrossed in French Literature and I could’ve easily listed 20 French books I’ll love to read before the end of 2020.

What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

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Song Sunday 🎶🎷

Spend quality time with your children

Staying with songs that deal with or reflect on the parental relationship, here’s another one that can make your heart weep. In this song, the singer ponders over time spent with his little boy, which was next to nothing for work was more important. He missed the important milestones in his son’s life including his first words and when he first learned to walk.

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The dad was so busy that he couldn’t spare time to spend with his son. Eventually, his son grew up, became a man and had his own family, and what do you know? He wants to spend time with his son, but the son is too busy to even see him and thus, the singer muses that his son ended up becoming just like him. Some people think the last verse has nothing to do with the way the son grew up. Looking at it from another angle, I think the son grew up resenting his father for not spending enough time with him and he vowed not to be that kind of father when he has children of his own. But in doing so, he is in danger of ending up like his father, so the singer is right when he said his son became just like him. 

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This song can hit right in the feels. It’s a cautionary tale about spending time with your children and not taking it for granted, for before we know it, time flies, and no amount of money could ever buy it back. 

What I must say is genius though, is the usage of nursery rhymes during the chorus. The son is represented by “the cats in the cradle” (he’s at home) and the father is the “silver spoon” (he’s away making the money for the bills to be paid). The distance between the father and the son is analogized in “little boy blue and the man on the moon”.

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My son turned ten just the other day
He said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw, I said, not today
I got a lot to do, he said, that’s okay
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
It said, I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him

Parents are the first role models for children so be good ones for them to emulate. Also, quality time is very important.

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Espresso Shots ☕

He’s 57 so what’s my excuse? Here’s to trying new things!

Life, as they say. A little testimony thus far…

Here’s the thing: I like my box. I don’t see why I have to leave my box to embrace new things and change/adapt, if possible. But recently, I’ve been thinking about the box.

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Having a comfort zone is natural. Over the years, I’ve come to love and depend on that zone until I began to realize that there were MANY wonderful things to explore outside that zone. I took the plunge and did things I never thought I’ll enjoy, including participating in a work event. I honestly dislike participating in work-related events, but I enjoyed it. Yet, I felt as if something more was missing.

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A few months ago (give or take, October I believe), I visited an online paper that I haven’t read in a long time – the Daily Mail – and I came across a 57-year-old Tom Cruise paragliding in the French Alps. Back then when I used to follow TC, I knew he took classes all the time (guitar lessons, hip hop dance classes, etc.), even if it was not for a movie for he loves being a part of life, and he loves discovering new adventures. He doesn’t stoop low to humiliate himself for hallow praise on social media, and he has massive respect for his career and this great passion for life that extends outside the screen. While his movie stunts are impressive, his zeal for life is even more so.

Am I going somewhere with this? Yes, I am, for right then and there, it was when the realization hit me: I needed to be a part of life more. Why should I stay in the nice comfy box when God has so MANY exciting things waiting out there for me? I had to abandon my comfort zone.

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After praying about it, results started showing up in various forms. Things I would’ve said no to before, I said yes, and guess what? I am enjoying them all thanks to God. We always ask God to change our situations, but we need to allow Him to DO SO and it may start with little windows of opportunities that He presents to us. You have the option to say no of course, but we never know where a “yes” may lead to future-wise.

You just gotta trust God. He has a habit of stripping away the old and replacing it with the new in the very same spot you never thought would’ve worked.

So there ya go! I love learning and discovering new things, and with the new opportunities my Father has presented to me, I am now embracing life as He wants me to.

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Entertainment, Trailer & Filmy Thoughts

Thoughts on ‘Gretal and Hansel’ trailer

I don’t know what is ‘Gretel and Hansel’, I only know ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and I’ve disliked that story from the first read. I won’t be featuring the trailer for this beautifully shot garbage, but here’s a promotional poster:

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So, the dormant sibling in this is the girl because women are on top now and men suck. Why not just name the movie “Gretel” then? What are we going to have next? The Beanstalk and Jane? The Seven Dwarfs and Snow White? Jill and Jack? Tess Thumb? Come on, Hollywood agendas, this is getting ridiculous now! And to compensate for the name swaps, the girl looks like a boy anyways. 

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It’s like every feminist movie is a horror movie! All I gathered from the trailer were eyes, triangles, witches, demons, and cannibalism. Despite looking beautifully shot, the movie looks boring, slow-paced, and plain stupid. It looks like it leads nowhere and runs around in circles. 

Eh, whaddaya expect from a feminist movie?

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Movies lately have been remixed, rehashed, redefined, and remade to be given that feminine touch (See “Men In Black” & “Ocean’s 11”). It’s lazy, it’s lame, it’s overbearing, it’s tired. I guess this is what happened when the movie was first pitched: 

Hansel and Gretel: *crickets*

Gretel and Hansel: Whoooo!!! Confetti rains from the ceiling and stacks of money are flung in the air by producers because this is genius, brilliant, and so woke! It’s edgy! It’s art! Let’s dance.

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I’ll never understand why movies such as these set out to degrade men when in fact, men and women NEED EACH OTHER (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:21-24).

Meanwhile, the Russians and Chinese are training soldiers…

Meanwhile, there’s this… 

A new Top Gun: Maverick trailer that I have no problem with for the man in charge is male and not female. Bless you, Tom Cruise.

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Song Sunday 🎶🎷

Tell them you love them while they’re yet alive.

“The Living Years” by Mike + the Mechanics is one of those songs that always make me stop and reflect on all my relationships across the board especially the ones with my parents for we’re to honor and love them all the days of our lives (Exodus 20:12). This song has been on my heart lately. I first heard it when I was younger and it made me upset, angry, and sad for whatever reason. I guess I was going through emotions back then, but as an adult, I understand it better now.

This song explores regret when our parents have passed on and why we should have a relationship with them while they’re yet alive. We ought to listen and not just speak. Life is too short to harbor grudges, to point fingers and for misunderstandings. The song is full of so much love and so much regret that it’s super emotional, but not in an over the top way. The singer grieves his way through this song that it’s impossible for it to not tug at the heartstrings.

Don’t leave things unsaid. Let people know you care. Let them know you love them. Hold your loved ones a little longer. Kiss them and bless them. This song made me appreciate my loved ones even more than I could’ve understood back then.

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I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

In relation to this topic, please see T.R.’s poem Dont let my death be the reason.

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Books & Reviews 📚

Book #156: F in Exams: The Best Test Paper Blunders

And here’s a book that supposed to be funny. 🙂

I had mixed feelings going into this book, for most authors do not know what funny is. This book somewhat falls into this category for it was not very funny, but it had its moments. 

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I’ll just get right into it. These were sort of the funniest answers for each featured subject.

CHEMISTRY

Q: What is the meaning of the term “activation energy”.

A: It’s what needed to get up in the morning.

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BIOLOGY 

Q: What does “terminal illness” means?

A: When you become ill at the airport.

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PHYSICS

Q: Explain the word “momentum”.

A: A brief moment.

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MATH

Q: A car company is having a sale. A car that was $50,000 before the sale is now 30 percent off. What is the new price?

A: Still too expensive.

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BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY

Q: Explain the word “wholesaler”.

A: Someone who sells you whole items, e.g. a whole cake.

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Now, this is what you call selling a whole cake.

Q: What is a “partnership”?

A: A ship that takes two people to drive.

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PSYCHOLOGY

Q: Describe what is meant by “forgetting”?

A: I can’t remember.

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HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY

Q: Define the phrase “commercial farming”.

A: It’s when a farmer advertises his farm on TV to get more customers.

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Q: Name the smaller rivers that run into the Nile.

A: The Juveniles.

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Q: Name six animals that live specifically in the Arctic.

A: Two polar bears; four seals.

Are the penguins a joke to you?!

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Q: Explain the term “autocracy”.

A: A country that has lots of cars.

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Q: Upon ascending the throne the first thing Queen Elizabeth II did was…

A: sit down

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Not gonna lie, I would’ve said the same thing, too!

Q: Who was Solomon?

A: He was a very popular man who had 700 wives and 300 porcupines.

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ENGLISH

Q: Use the word “judicious” in a sentence to illustrate its meaning.

A: I am using “judicious” in this sentence to illustrate its meaning.

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A decent read and I like the different types of handwriting. Nevertheless, it was a fun book to read and I got a few chuckles out of it. If you’re a student, please study so you can do well in your exams.

love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

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