Posted in Uncategorized

Holiday Trivia 2014

As a public service to provide a break from the end-of-semester stress, the library presents its 3rd annual Holiday Trivia Quiz.  This year’s quiz has been expanded to include some trivia about the often-forgotten holidays of Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  Answers are at the bottom.  Enjoy!

1. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, what song did Schroeder play indicating it was his selection for the Christmas play music?

a. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

b. Für Elise. “Beethoven Christmas Music!”

c. Silent Night

d. Roll Over Beethoven

2. What is the name of the book that Clarence is reading in It’s a Wonderful Life?

a. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

b. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

c. How to Survive Jumping Off a Bridge into Icy Water

d. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

3. Who is officially credited as the author of “Auld Lang Syne”?

a. Someone who was really depressed at the time

b. Scottish author and poet Robert Burns

c. Scottish author Sir Walter Scott

d. No one…the words were found written on a napkin in a bar

4. The poem commonly known as ’Twas The Night Before Christmas was

originally titled:

a. People Who Break Into Houses Shouldn’t Wear Red

b. The Night Visitor

c. A Visit From Saint Nicholas

d. Why Are There Reindeer Droppings on the Roof?

5. The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to:

a. the year scales were invented

b. the ancient Babylonians

c. colonial times

d. the first bottle of Scotch

6. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was accompanied not by oversized balloons of various types, but by:

a. live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.

b. politicians.

c. crowds of bewildered shoppers.

d. a huge flock of turkeys

7. Which of these first occurred in 1895?

a. Long lines at the gift return counter.

b. Electric Christmas tree lights were used.

c. Black Friday.

d. Christmas cards were sent.

8. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted:

a. until the pumpkin pie was gone.

b. three days.

c. until one of the Wampanoag Indians made a joke about William Bradford’s funny-looking hat.

d. longer than the voyage across the ocean.

9. When you go Wassailing, what is it that you are doing?

a. Riding a sailboat in the past tense

b. Walking around the neighborhood singing Christmas carols

c. Complaining that you didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas

d. Going to visit neighbors, receiving goodies and drinking to their health

10. Only leaving bare walls with nothing but hooks and some wire, what was the last thing the Grinch took from the house in How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

a. the log for their fire

b. their pride

c. the last can of Who Hash

b. their Who identities


  1. b
  2. d
  3. b
  4. c
  5. b
  6. a
  7. b
  8. b
  9. d
  10. a
Posted in Holidays, Monday Morsels

Monday Morsels: Origins of Candy Corn

candy cornThere is one Halloween candy that is more divisive than politics and religion, the American Civil War, or even Coke vs. Pepsi…Candy Corn. Ask the average trick-or-treaters on your neighborhood streets about their feelings toward candy corn and you will most assuredly have half that praise it’s honey-flavored goodness and half that refer to it as tri-colored ear wax.  Whether you are pro-candy corn or in the dissenting minority, the candy has a pretty interesting history. Would you like to hear it? I knew you’d say “yes, please!”

George Renniger, a candy-maker, worked at the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the 1880s, Renniger invented a candy made of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla flavoring, and marshmallow creme. Ingredients were cooked in large kettles until it took on a slurry-like consistency. The slurry was then transferred into buckets and transported to the kernel-shaping molds. Workers walked backwards pouring the hot slurry into kernel-shaped molds, coated with cornstarch to prevent sticking as it cooled. Workers made three passes over the molds, each time with a different color of slurry all to achieve an authentic corn kernel-like appearance. The molding process was quite extensive and strenuous, considering neither air-conditioners nor electric fans had yet been invented. Like most foodstuffs of the times, candy corn was sold in bulk. It was packed in wooden barrels, buckets, or cartons and delivered by wagon or train to general stores within short distances.

In 1898, the Goelitz Confectionery Company’s Ohio factory began producing their variation of candy corn and boasts the longest history of making the candy in the industry. Candy corn became so successful for the company that it sustained them through World War I, The Great Depression, and World War II. You might not know the name “Goelitz Confectionery Company” today but the company still exists and still manufactures enough candy to circle the earth more than five times over…you may know them as Jelly Belly.

Fun Facts about Candy Corn

  • Candy corn is one of the healthier Halloween candies:
    • Candy corn is fat-free
    • One kernel is just over 4 calories
    • A one ounce serving is 110 calories
  • Roughly 9 billion kernels of candy corn are sold each year.
  • Candy corn hasn’t always been corn-shaped. In the 19th-century, candy-makers created these fondant-based candies in shapes of chestnuts, clover leaves, and turnips.
  • When Goelitz first created candy corn, they called it “chicken feed” and the boxes were illustrated with a rooster and the slogan “something worth crowing for.”

For more odd Halloween trivia, Halloween-themed books and DVDs,

or to sample some candy corn, drop by the HCC Library.


Broek, Sara. “The history of candy corn: a Halloween candy favorite.” Better Homes and Gardens 2014.

“Candy corn by the makers of Jelly Belly.” 2014.

Prokop, Jessica. “The surprising history of candy corn.” 2012.

Posted in Banned Books

Banned Books Week’s Believe It Or Not!

banned books week

September 21-27, 2014 is National Banned Books Week, a week celebrating the freedom to read and remembering how censorship infringes on intellectual freedom.  Ever wonder why some books are banned or challenged? Check out a small sampling below…

charlotte's webCharlotte’s Web by E.B. White banned or challenged because:

  • in 2006, parents in Kansas because “humans are the highest level of God’s creation and are the only creatures that can communicate vocally. Showing lower life forms with human abilities is sacrilegious and disrespectful to God.”
  • ranked 13 out of 100 most banned and challenged classics

origin of speciesOn the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin banned or challenged because:

  • Darwin was accused of “dethroning God by challenging the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis”
  • continuously banned in Tennessee from 1925-1967

harry potterHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling banned or challenged because:

  • 1999-2002 Harry Potter topped the list of most banned and challenged books in the United States because it portrays wizardry and magic
  • in 1999 alone, Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s Stone was challenged and/or banned 26 times in 16 states

speakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson banned or challenged because:

  • some critics have described a pivotal rape scene as “child pornography” (although they admit to having never read the book)
  • challenged in a Sarasota, FL school for emotional aftermath of rape, bullying, depressions, sexual harassment, and family dysfunction in 2013. Currently under review at the school district level.

ulyssesUlysses by James Joyce banned or challenged because:

  • “it might cause American readers to harbor impure and lustful thoughts”, includes obscene language and obscenity
  • banned in the United States by customs censors in 1922
  • 500 copies were burned when an attempt was made to import the book
  • the ban on importation was finally lifted in 1933 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Silent-SpringSilent Spring by Rachel Carson

  • Velsicol Chemical Corp. tried to prevent the book’s publication and stop the New Yorker from publishing the text in serial format
  • alleged that Carson was “innocent dupe of a communist conspiracy to undermine the superiority of the Western World, and reduce us to starvation”

Want to know more about Banned Books Week or see what else has been banned or challenged?

Swing into the library and READ BANNED BOOKS!


Anderson, Laurie Halse. “Ever Wonder How the Mind of a Book Banner Works?”, 2013.

Bald, Margaret. Literature Suppressed on Religious Grounds. Facts On File; New York, 2006.

“Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the Twentieth Century.”, 2014.

Stein, Karen F. Rachel Carson: Challenging Authors. Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2012. eBook Collection, EBSCOhost.

Sova, Dawn B. Literature Suppressed on Sexual Grounds. Facts On File; New York, 2006.

Posted in Holidays, Something to Think About

Constitution Day Fun Facts!

US ConstitutionIf you are reading this on September 17: HAPPY CONSTITUTION DAY!

Are you now wondering why and how we have a national holiday surrounding the U.S. Constitution? If so, you’re in luck! Read on for some interesting historical tidbits and fun facts about Constitution Day.

Constitution Day commemorates the creation and signing of the U.S. Constitution back in 1787.  The Constitution was actually written in 1787, ratified (or officially agreed upon) in 1788, formally governing in 1789, and is the longest surviving written charter of government in the world.  In 1956, Congress established Constitution Week to encourage more Americans to learn about the Constitution and to commemorate the drafting of and signing of this foundational document.  September 17 was not officially designated “Constitution Day” until 2004 when Robert C. Byrd,a Senator from West Virgina, added the designation to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2005.  The Constitution Day provision requires public schools and governmental offices to offer educational programs and/or events that provide a better understanding of the Constitution.

Fun Facts about Constitution Day

2004: year Constitution Day was established

2012: 225th anniversary of the Constitution

4543: number of words in the original, signed, unamended Constitution

11000 (as of 2012): number of amendments introduced in Congress

27: number of Constitutional Amendments

September 17, 1787: date of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4: number of months in length of the Constitutional Convention in 1787

9: number of 13 original states required to ratify the Constitution

70: number of delegates who were appointed to the Constitutional Convention

55: number of delegates who actually attended the Constitutional Convention

81: age of the oldest signer of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin

26: age of the youngest signer of the Constitution, Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey

39: number of delegates who signed the Constitution

3: number of delegates who did not sign the Constitution

  • George Mason, did not believe the Constitution established a “wise and just government” as it omitted the Bill of Rights
  • Elbridge Gerry, decided to become an ardent Federalist and also opposed the creation of the office of Vice President
  • Edmond Randolph, supported the Constitution during Virginia’s ratification when promised the position of Attorney General under George Washington’s administration
Posted in Uncategorized

Christmas Trivia Quiz

For those of you who need a break from studying, grading, or just surviving the end of the semester, your friendly library staff provides the following diversion…a Christmas Trivia Quiz.  Take a break, relax, and have fun!   (answers are at the bottom)

1.    Christmas presents weren’t always covered in gift wrap.  In the early 1900s, presents were typically wrapped in:
a.    Old clothes
b.   White tissue paper and red satin ribbon
c.    A mystery inside an enigma
d.    Butcher paper


2.    In 1952, the first television advertisement for a toy was shown.  That toy was:
a.    A stick
b.    The first Nintendo game, which used vacuum tubes and was the size of a small car
c.    Poodle Skirt Barbie
d.    Mr. Potato Head, for which parents had to provide children with a real potato


3.    The movie It’s a Wonderful Life actually received its own FBI file because:
a.    An analyst thought the film was an obvious attempt to discredit bankers
b.    J. Edgar Hoover was mad that he wasn’t cast as Mr. Potter
c.    Zuzu was thought to be an un-American name.
d.    The FBI didn’t want people to have a wonderful life


4.    What is frankincense?
a.    Hot dogs made in the Middle East
b.    Frankenstein’s sister
c.    A sweet-smelling gum resin
d.    Spices sewn together to look like a human


5.    Although “Jingle Bells” is one of the most popular Christmas songs, it was actually written for:
a.    Thanksgiving
b.    People who like to sing really loud
c.    An Arnold Schwarzenegger movie
d.    Black Friday


6.    Fruitcake is, for some reason, a popular gift and/or treat at Christmastime.  In ancient times, though, warriors and hunters carried it on long journeys:
a.    To ward off evil spirits
b.    As an extra weapon
c.    In case they couldn’t find wood to build a shelter
d.    Because of its consistency and longevity


7.    In 1847, the music for “O Holy Night” was written by French composer Adolphe-Charles Adam.  However, it was denounced at first by church authorities because:
a.    Of its “lack of musical taste and total absence of the spirit of religion”
b.    They feared the choir wouldn’t be able to sing it
c.    They felt that “O” was confusing
d.    They didn’t like people who had three first names


8.     “Good King Wenceslas” is a song that is often heard during the holiday season, but many people don’t realize that it was written about a real person.  Good King Wenceslas was:
a.    Overrated.  He was actually “Mediocre King Wenceslas.”
b.    The first king to have a Christmas tree in his palace
c.    Duke of Bohemia in the 10th century and a man of great faith who helped spread Christianity in Bohemia
d.    The original Santa Claus


9.    What is myrrh?
a.    The sound a mule makes when it is happy
b.    A sweet treat that was popular in the first century
c.    The short form of the name Myrrhtle
d.    An aromatic gum resin which is made into ointments or perfumes


10.     The Grinch suit that Jim Carrey wore in How the Grinch Stole Christmas was covered in hair from:
a.    Film director Ron Howard
b.    A yak
c.    Wigs
d.    A local barber shop


1.    b
2.    d (yes, d)
3.    a
4.    c
5.    a
6.    d
7.    a
8.    c
9.    d
10.    b

Posted in Books We Find Interesting, News Flash

(News) We Find Interesting: Where do you keep *your* books?

books in refrigeratorSaw this over the weekend at News of the Weird:

The business website Quartz reported in June that a popular consumer item in North Korea’s perhaps-improving economy is the refrigerator, made in China and increasingly available as a reward to stellar performers among civil servants and other elites. The appliances, however, cannot reliably store food because the country’s electric grid is so frequently offline and are mostly just status symbols. One item Quartz says often gets displayed in the refrigerator: books.