Now that April showers have brought May flowers, it's time for some seasonal brain work.

This time, we'll answer those critics who claim Americans don't know their history. Prove them wrong with these:

1. An invention by this American was used by Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War: A) Thomas Edison; B) Alexander Bell; C) S.F.B. Morse; D) George Westinghouse.

2. Our nation's first secretary of the treasury was later killed in a duel by: A) Aaron Burr; B) Andrew Jackson; C) Stephen Decatur; D) Davy Crockett.

3. All the following were from Virginia except: A) George Washington; B) John Quincy Adams; C) James Madison; D) Thomas Jefferson.

4. The only elected office this person ever held was the presidency: A) Woodrow Wilson; B) Franklin Roosevelt; C) Harry Truman; D) Dwight Eisenhower.

5. The Whiskey Rebellion, the Constitutional Convention and the defense of Little Round Top all occurred in: A) Virginia; B) New York; C) Pennsylvania; D) Tennessee.

6. This former governor of New Jersey who became president was famous for his 14 points proposal, which he hoped would prevent future wars: A) Teddy Roosevelt; B) Woodrow Wilson; C) Grover Cleveland; D) Warren Harding.

7. The Cuban missile crisis had a peaceful resolution during the presidential administration of: A) Harry Truman; B) Dwight Eisenhower; C) Lyndon Johnson; D) John Kennedy.

(Answers down the road).


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Going along with this mental exercise, I'd like to add how incorporating physical exercise can aid our mental health as well.

Especially when many of us live in a world of ever-present stress. Situation: a man at work receives a call informing him that an overlooked document he was supposed to file may cost his company all kinds of money.

The boss is mad; the man is worried -- so much so that his heart rate may increase and his blood pressure might shoot up. Heart trouble, maybe; it's an unusual experience if he lives a sedentary life.

Stress can build up with no release.

On the other hand, if he is one of those who incorporates an early-morning run in his daily routine, his heart and blood pressure are used to the extra load. Plus, the exertion can relieve whatever stress has occurred in his day-to-day life.

Of course, it doesn't have to be running. Games such as handball and tennis can be stress relievers, too. He can't hit the boss, but he can sure hit that ball!

Or even walking. A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology claims that taking a walk (and possibly going for a run) can help generate creative ideas in a person. Which seems to back the reason our column is titled "Thoughts on the run."

Running and thinking do go together.

(Quiz answers: 1-C, 2-A, 3-B, 4-D, 5-C, 6-B, 7-D.)

Here's hoping my fellow patriots nailed at least four or five of them.

Contact Joe King at alamedanews@bayareanewsgroup.com.