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Research has long associated anger and hostility with increased coronary-heart disease risk.

Now, a recent study from cardiologists at the University of Maryland, has shown that

laughter may have a beneficial effect on the heart.  Do you know what they discovered?

 

(To find the answers, hover your mouse over the smiley face following each question.

Answers also appear at the end of the quiz, just in case some joker ran off with the smiles!)

 

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Jest for the Health of It   

 

1. People with heart disease were ____ less likely to use or see humor in situations than those without heart problems.

A) 10 percent

B) 25 percent

C) 40 percent

D) 75 percent

1. C) 40 percent - Those with heart disorders said they don't laugh as much and are more angry and hostile than their healthy counterparts.

 

 

 

 

 

2. It is still not clear how laughter can directly help the heart but other studies have shown that laughter is beneficial for

A) fewer aging lines

B) interpersonal relationships

C) inner peace

D) every system in the body

2. D) every system in the body

 

 

 

 

 

3. When you have a good hearty laugh, your heart is getting a workout similar to

A) playing baseball

B) aerobic exercise

C) relaxation

D) none of the above

3. B) aerobic exercise - Your heart-rate and blood pressure go up, then dip below normal when you stop laughing. It also increases the body's ability to use oxygen.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Laughing is also good for your respiratory system. After a really good laugh, you frequently

A) yawn

B) have to take in a big breath of air

C) breathe more slowly

D) breathe more rapidly

4. B) have to take in a big breath of air

 

 

 

 

 

5. Laughter is a great

A) muscle relaxer

B) social skill

C) habit

D) appetite stimulant

5. A) muscle relaxer - Maybe that's why we leak when we laugh. How many times have you laughed so hard that you could hardly get out of your chair?

 

 

 

 

 

6. Laughter decreases the secretion of

A) gastric acids

B) sweat

C) cortisol

D) antidiuretic hormones

6. C) cortisol - a stress hormone.

 

 

 

 

 

Mirth Myths and Realities

 

About 40 years ago, Norman Cousins claimed that laughter cured him of a rare debilitating disease.

Ever since then, people have been attributing a myriad of benefits to laughter and humor.

 

7. Children laugh around  _____ times a day.

A) 15

B) 70

C)150

D) 300

7. D) 300 - Anyone who hangs around children for a while knows that they laugh a lot.  Children laugh unconditionally.  "Glee" (not just laughter) in a nursery school reportedly ranges from 18.4 to 45 incidents an hour per child!

 

 

 

 

 

8. Adults laugh around _____ times a day.

A) 15

B) 70

C)150

D) 300

8. A) 15 – Unlike children, adults laugh only if there is a cause.  “Where there is logic, there is no laughter. The very essence of laughter is absurdity," points out the author of Laugh For No Reason, Dr. Madan Kataria.

 

 

 

 

 

9. A popular idea is that _____________ are secreted into the blood system when we laugh.

A) insulin

B) endorphins

C) gastric acids

D) new red blood cells

9. B) endorphins – These are natural pain killers in the body, which help reduce the intensity of pain from arthritis, spondylitis and migraine.

 

 

 

 

 

10. Hearty laughter produces other chemicals which help

A) suppress appetite

B) stimulate hair growth

C) boost the immune system

D) increase appetite

10. C) boost the immune system - by helping to increase the count of natural killer lymphocytes (a type of white cell) and raise the antibody levels.

 

 

 

 

 

11. What we also know is that laughter _________ the blood

A) enriches

B) thins

C) thickens

D) oxygenates

11. D) oxygenates – So, we think better after a good guffaw!

 

 

 

 

 

12. Laughter can make you look younger, for it

A) tones up the muscles of your face

B) leads to an increase of blood supply to your face

C) nourishes your facial skin

D) makes your face glow

12. All of the above!

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes

 

13. Joseph Addison wrote, “Mirth is like a flash of __________.”

A) memory

B) lightning

C) happiness

D) genius

13. B) lightning – “Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.”

 

 

 

 

 

14. George Ade remarked, “It is not time for mirth and laughter, the cold, gray dawn of __________.”

A) the morning after

B) war

C) a new age

D) realization

14. A) the morning after

 

 

 

 

 

15. Laugh, and the world laughs with you;

A) be prompt and you dine alone

B) snore and you sleep alone

C) weep, and you weep alone

D) all of the above

15. D) all of the above – “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone; For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own”  by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.  “Laugh and the world laughs with you, be prompt and you dine alone” by author Gerald Barzan.  “Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone” by Anthony Burgess.

 

 

 

 

 

16. Mirth is the sweet wine of human life. It should be offered sparkling with

A) laughter at oneself first of all

B) tears

C) zestful life unto God

D) love for your fellow man

16. C) zestful life unto God – by Henry Ward Beecher.

 

 

 

 

 

17. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than

A) mirth

B) a sharp stick in the eye

C) laughter

D) love
17. A) mirth – The full quote by Thomas Carlyle is “Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth.”

 

 

 

18. According to William F. Fry, Jr., “Humor opposes directly those emotions which have been specifically recorded as being associated with _____.”

A) stress

B) precipitation of heart attack

C) anger

D) hatred

18. B) precipitation of heart attack - These emotions are fear and rage. Humor acts to relieve fear. Rage is impossible when mirth prevails - William F. Fry, Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

19. Benjamin Rush said, “Mirth, and even cheerfulness, when employed as remedies in low spirits, are like ____________________.”

A) sun on a rainy day

B) a rose among thorns

C) a rainbow after a storm

D) hot water to a frozen limb

19. D) hot water to a frozen limb – by Benjamin Rush

 

 

 

 

 

20. William Shakespeare wrote, “With mirth and laughter let ____________.”

A) old wrinkles come

B) the games begin

C) us walk into the future

D) love bloom

20. A) old wrinkles come

 

 

 

21. “Frame thy mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms, and ____________.” (William Shakespeare)

A) lightens thy face with smiles

B) lengthens life

C) aids digestion

D) makes thine enemies wonder what thou art up to

21. B) lengthens life

 

 

 

 

 

22. According to theologian Bishop Robert South, “Most of the appearance of mirth in the world is not mirth, it is ____________.”

A) sarcasm

B) sorrow

C) a mask

D) art

22. D) art – Although there is some truth to the others.  The full quote is “Most of the appearance of mirth in the world is not mirth, it is art.  The wounded spirit is not seen, but walks under a disguise.”

 

 

 

 

 

23. “I love such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to ______________.”

A) act like fools

B) look upon one another next morning

C) laugh at themselves

D) admit they know one another

23. B) look upon one another next morning – by Izaak Walton

 

 

 

 

 

And now, in keeping with the theme, a bit of mirthful fun…

 

24. St. Urho Day is celebrated on

A) March 16

B) March 17

C) March 21

D) March 31

24. A) March 16 - The first date settled upon for this occasion was May 24th, but later wags set the date as March 16th, thus superseding by one day the Irish festival of St. Patrick.  (By the way, Urho is pronounced like “arrrrh-hoe: with a long trill of the R to represent his strength!)

 

 

 

 

 

25. St. Urho is the patron saint of

A) Ireland

B) Sweden

C) Finland

D) Czechoslovakia

25.C) Finland – Actually, he’s the patron saint of Finnish vineyard workers.  There are also stories that purport that St. Patrick and St. Urho were one and the same. Supposedly, Urho heard reports of a plague of snakes in Ireland and set sail across the North Sea to lend a hand. The grateful Irish, unable to pronounce the Finnish name "Urho," (pronounced "oorlho") took to calling him The Patriarch. Eventually "Patriarch" became "Patrick."

 

 

 

 

 

26. St. Urho is feted for driving out a plague of giant ________ from his country.

A) snakes

B) grasshoppers

C) locusts

D) frogs

26. B) grasshoppers - Originally the story went that Saint Urho saved his country from an influx of frogs and for this deed was to be revered forever. The enemy he drove from Finland underwent a metamorphosis from frog to grasshopper, and this now seems to be the accepted version." Variations of the legend describe the insects as locusts. Naysayers point out that there is no Finnish wine-grape crop and that the country is still occupied by grasshoppers. Others remark on the uncanny similarities to the legend of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland ( a country which, by the way, probably was never inhabited by snakes).

 

 

 

 

 

27. These bothersome pests were wreaking havoc on the _______________.

A) grapevines

B) corn crop

C) grass

D) gardens

27. A) grapevines – St. Urho’s heroic deed saved the grape harvest!  The Finns love him – at least the ones in America do!

 

 

 

 

 

28. St. Urho is reputed to have used his _____________ to chase these destructive pests away.

A) trusty rusty sword

B) pitchfork

C) splendid and loud voice

D) giant rake

28. C) splendid and loud voice –He banished the lot of them with a few select Finnish words, more or less simply asking (or telling) them to leave.  Some claim that St. Urho wielded a rake; others say it was a pitchfork.

 

 

 

 

 

29. In celebration of St. Urho’s Day, people partake of

A) purple grape juice

B) green beer

C) red wine

D) orange juice

29. A) purple grape juice and B) green beer

 

 

 

 

 

30. Other celebratory activities include

A) silly costumes

B) parades

C) dancing polkas

D) all of the above

30. D) all of the above

 

 

 

 

 

31. St. Urho was reportedly invented in

A) the 1500s

B) 1776

C) the 1950s

D) 1900

31. C) the 1950s - The most widely held account credits the origin of the legend to a department store manager in Virginia, Minnesota. As Aini Rajanen recounts in the book "Of Finnish Ways" - "It started as a joke, when certain fun-loving members of a department store staff in Virginia, Minnesota, decided to turn the tables on their Finnish manager. On St. Patrick's Day he had been guilty of the heinous heresy of refusing to be impressed by the Irish claims for their saint. Pooh, said he. Finns have an even greater hero named Urho, and he told tall tales of the saint's mighty prowess. His staff bided their time. On the day which he had named as the feast day of St. Urho, they greeted him with a hand-carved nutcracker purporting to be the image of the saint, a frog, and a hand-lettered scroll on which an Irish lass (no less) had written a pidgin-Finn rhyme that sang the deeds of his legendary hero. It was meant only as a bit of mild teasing to be shared among themselves. But a reporter was present, and the next day the hoax hit the front page of the Mesabi Daily News. Finns of the area, needing a midwinter frolic during cabin fever season, seized upon it with glee. In the space of only a few years (the original rhyme was written in 1956), the idea spread until the celebration is now observed in [all 50] states, with governors proclaiming with straight faces the significance of St. Urho's Tay (not "Day").”

 

 

 

32. St. Urho Day is celebrated in

A) all 50 of the United States

B) Europe

C) Ireland

D) England

32. A) all 50 of the United States – Yes, St. Urho’s day is taken seriously enough that it is officially recognized in all 50 states. Finland hosts a St. Urho's Day Celebration in mid-March.

 

 

 

 

 

33. The colors for St. Urho’s Day are

A) maize and blue

B) royal purple and nile green

C) red and orange

D) green and white

33. B) royal purple and nile green – The purple is said to signify the grapes and the green the stems of the grapevines or the dead grasshoppers, take your pick.

 

 

 

 

 

34. Another Irish/Finnish connection has to do with the invention of the

A) Guinness brewing process

B) Mickey Finn

C) Irish jig

D) Finnish line

34. B) Mickey Finn – The story recounts that, faced with a short growing season in Scandinavia, Finnish vintners would inject their grapes with vodka to boost their alcohol content. Not to be outdone, Irish barkeeps would add knockout drops to their watery whiskey to increase the potency. These concoctions proved powerful, and the two groups were forced to share the credit for the invention, which became known as a Mickey Finn.

 

 

 

 

35. Statues of St. Urho can be found in

A) New York

B) Menaghin, MN

C) Finland, MN

D) Chicago

35. B) Menaghin, MN and C) Finland, MN - St. Urho was originally supposed to be carved out of a one-ton block of laminated oak in 1975, but a Minneapolis woodcarver took Menahga's money and never delivered. In 1982 Menahga gave the block to Jerry Ward, a traveling chainsaw sculptor, and he finally produced their 12-ft tall St. Urho. Oddly, the statue now standing along Hwy. 71 is a fiberglass replica; the original is stored in a mausoleum in the Menahga cemetery.  But one St. Urho statue is not enough. There's another in Finland, MN, along Highway 1. It's an "interpretive" Urho, very much like an arty Peter Toth Indian head, carved by the late Don Osborn in 1982. It was originally planned to be 30 feet tall, but the wood was rotten, so its 18 feet will have to do. Urho has a grasshopper on his hat, no body, and he's poorly positioned facing north, assuring mediocre photos in all seasons.  

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS

 

Jest for the Health of It

 

1. C) 40 percent - Those with heart disorders said they don't laugh as much and are more angry and hostile than their healthy counterparts.

 

2. D) every system in the body

 

3. B) aerobic exercise - Your heart-rate and blood pressure go up, then dip below normal when you stop laughing. It also increases the body's ability to use oxygen.

 

4. B) have to take in a big breath of air

 

5. A) muscle relaxer - Maybe that's why we leak when we laugh. How many times have you laughed so hard that you could hardly get out of your chair?

 

6. C) cortisol - a stress hormone

 

Mirth Myths and Realities

 

About 40 ago, Norman Cousins claimed that laughter cured him of a rare debilitating disease.  Ever since then, people have been attributing a myriad of benefits to laughter and humor.

 

7. D) 300 - Anyone who hangs around children for a while knows that they laugh a lot.  Children laugh unconditionally.  "Glee" (not just laughter) in a nursery school reportedly ranges from 18.4 to 45 incidents an hour per child!

 

8. A) 15 Unlike children, adults laugh only if there is a cause.  “Where there is logic, there is no laughter. The very essence of laughter is absurdity," points out the author of Laugh For No Reason, Dr. Madan Kataria.

 

9. B) endorphins – These are natural pain killers in the body, which help reduce the intensity of pain from arthritis, spondylitis and migraine.

 

10. C) boost the immune system - by helping to increase the count of natural killer lymphocytes (a type of white cell) and raise the antibody levels.

 

11. D) oxygenates – So, we think better after a good guffaw!

 

12. All of the above!

 

Quotes

 

13. B) lightning – “Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.

 

14. A) the morning after

 

15. D) all of the above – “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone; For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own”  by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.  “Laugh and the world laughs with you, be prompt and you dine alone” by author Gerald Barzan.  “Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone” by Anthony Burgess.

 

16. C) zestful life unto God – by Henry Ward Beecher.

 

17. A) mirth – The full quote by Thomas Carlyle is “Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth.

18. B) precipitation of heart attack - These emotions is fear and rage. Humor acts to relieve fear. Rage is impossible when mirth prevails - William F. Fry, Jr.

 

19. D) hot water to a frozen limb – by Benjamin Rush

 

20. A) old wrinkles come

21. B) lengthens life

 

22. D) art – Although there is some truth to the others.  The full quote is “Most of the appearance of mirth in the world is not mirth, it is art.  The wounded spirit is not seen, but walks under a disguise.

 

23. B) look upon one another next morning – by Izaak Walton

 

And now, for a bit of mirthful fun…

24. A) March 16 - The first date settled upon for this occasion was May 24th, but later wags set the date as March 16th, thus superseding by one day the Irish festival of St. Patrick.  (By the way, Urho is pronounced like “arrrrh-hoe: with a long trill of the R to represent his strength!)

 

25. C) Finland – Actually, he’s the patron saint of Finnish vineyard workers.  There are also stories that purport that St. Patrick and St. Urho were one and the same. Supposedly, Urho heard reports of a plague of snakes in Ireland and set sail across the North Sea to lend a hand. The grateful Irish, unable to pronounce the Finnish name "Urho," (pronounced "oorlho") took to calling him The Patriarch. Eventually "Patriarch" became "Patrick."

 

26. B) grasshoppers - Originally the story went that Saint Urho saved his country from an influx of frogs and for this deed was to be revered forever. The enemy he drove from Finland underwent a metamorphosis from frog to grasshopper, and this now seems to be the accepted version." Variations of the legend describe the insects as locusts. Naysayers point out that there is no Finnish wine-grape crop and that the country is still occupied by grasshoppers. Others remark on the uncanny similarities to the legend of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland ( a country which, by the way, probably was never inhabited by snakes).

 

27. A) grapevines – St. Urho’s heroic deed saved the grape harvest!  The Finns love him – at least the ones in America do!

 

28. C) splendid and loud voice –He banished the lot of them with a few select Finnish words, more or less simply asking (or telling) them to leave.  Some claim that St. Urho wielded a rake; others say it was a pitchfork.

 

29. A) purple grape juice and B) green beer

 

30. D) all of the above

 

31. C) the 1950s - The most widely held account credits the origin of the legend to a department store manager in Virginia, Minnesota. As Aini Rajanen recounts in the book "Of Finnish Ways" - "It started as a joke, when certain fun-loving members of a department store staff in Virginia, Minnesota, decided to turn the tables on their Finnish manager. On St. Patrick's Day he had been guilty of the heinous heresy of refusing to be impressed by the Irish claims for their saint. Pooh, said he. Finns have an even greater hero named Urho, and he told tall tales of the saint's mighty prowess. His staff bided their time. On the day which he had named as the feast day of St. Urho, they greeted him with a hand-carved nutcracker purporting to be the image of the saint, a frog, and a hand-lettered scroll on which an Irish lass (no less) had written a pidgin-Finn rhyme that sang the deeds of his legendary hero. It was meant only as a bit of mild teasing to be shared among themselves. But a reporter was present, and the next day the hoax hit the front page of the Mesabi Daily News. Finns of the area, needing a midwinter frolic during cabin fever season, seized upon it with glee. In the space of only a few years (the original rhyme was written in 1956), the idea spread until the celebration is now observed in [all 50] states, with governors proclaiming with straight faces the significance of St. Urho's Tay (not "Day").”

32. A) all 50 of the United States – Yes, St. Urho’s day is taken seriously enough that it is officially recognized in all 50 states. Finland hosts a St. Urho's Day Celebration in mid-March.

 

33. B) royal purple and nile green – The purple is said to signify the grapes and the green the stems of the grapevines or the dead grasshoppers, take your pick.

 

34. B) Mickey Finn – The story recounts that, faced with a short growing season in Scandinavia, Finnish vintners would inject their grapes with vodka to boost their alcohol content. Not to be outdone, Irish barkeeps would add knockout drops to their watery whiskey to increase the potency. These concoctions proved powerful, and the two groups were forced to share the credit for the invention, which became known as a Mickey Finn.

 

35. B) Menaghin, MN and C) Finland, MN - St. Urho was originally supposed to be carved out of a one-ton block of laminated oak in 1975, but a Minneapolis woodcarver took Menahga's money and never delivered. In 1982 Menahga gave the block to Jerry Ward, a traveling chainsaw sculptor, and he finally produced their 12-ft tall St. Urho. Oddly, the statue now standing along Hwy. 71 is a fiberglass replica; the original is stored in a mausoleum in the Menahga cemetery.  But one St. Urho statue is not enough. There's another in Finland, MN, along Highway 1. It's an "interpretive" Urho, very much like an arty Peter Toth Indian head, carved by the late Don Osborn in 1982. It was originally planned to be 30 feet tall, but the wood was rotten, so its 18 feet will have to do. Urho has a grasshopper on his hat, no body, and he's poorly positioned facing north, assuring mediocre photos in all seasons.  Click here to see photos and the inscription detailing the legend.

 

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