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BONE APPÉTIT! by John R. Groesbeck


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• The average adult human’s body contains 206 bones. But when that human being first entered the world, he or she may have had 270 bones or more. Why? An infant’s skull and face is constructed of many small bones hinged together by flexible suture joints. (This makes it possible for the baby’s huge head to pass through the birth canal.) As the child grows older, those smaller bones fuse together to become one larger, solid skull.



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• The slang term “sawbones” refers specifically to a surgeon, not just any ol’ doctor. The first recorded use of the word dates back to 1837. And, yes, the name came about due to the then-traditional “cure-all” of amputation.

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The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the thigh bone… and this Tidbits connects you to some bony trivia!

• Bones not only allow us to stand upright and form a frame for our muscles and skin to stretch around, they also protect us. The ribs curl around our lungs and heart, two of our most delicate and necessary organs. The skull is the body’s “helmet” and keeps the brain safe, while the vertebrae in our back and neck encase the all-important spinal cord.

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BONE APPÉTIT! • The smallest bones in our bodies are inside the ear, and are commonly called the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. They perform a very complex function as the conduit between external sound vibrations and the inner ear that sends those signals to the brain. Past the eardrum, the ear canal contains fluid. If you’ve ever tried to shout at someone underwater in a swimming pool, you know how muddled sounds can be when traveling through liquids. These three tiny bones act like a pipeline, transmitting sound vibrations through the inner ear canal to the auditory nerve. • By contrast, the biggest, longest, and strongest bone in the human body is the femur. It’s the bone that most of us call the “thigh bone,” and it extends from the hip down to the knee. Due to the sheer density necessary for this bone to support most of our weight, only an extremely violent injury is likely to cause a fracture. • Forensic anthropologists are scientists who analyze human skeletal remains for legal purposes. From a single bone or even bone fragments, they may be able to determine a person’s gender, race, and age. They might even learn where the bone’s owner grew up, and what his or her diet was like. Their skills can be put to use not only to identify recent victims, but also ancient human remains. • What parents tell their children are “growing pains” are the same aches a doctor may refer to as Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease. It sounds serious, but is relatively common (especially in young athletes) and is usually outgrown with no complications. The tibial tubercle is the point where kneecap tendon anchors to the shinbone. The tendons of a child very active in sports develop faster than the kneecap does. This pulls on the tibial tubercle, causing discomfort in the knee and lower leg.

Puzzle answers on page 7

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• The humerus is the long bone that runs from your shoulder to your elbow. Some call it the “funny bone” due to its name (which resembles “humorous”). Others say that it’s due to the fact that when you accidentally bump the ulnar nerve in your elbow, you get a funny, tingling sensation up your arm. (That’s funny as in “strange,” not funny “ha-ha.”) • About one-fourth of the bones in your body are located in your feet. Each foot has 26 bones and 33 joints. The natural arch in your foot is created by a combination of the tarsal and metatarsal bones, along with some tendons and ligaments. An arched foot helps to support the erect posture of a human and distribute its weight evenly with the least amount of wear and tear on the tootsies. • What we usually refer to as our “tailbone” is properly called the coccyx. The word comes from the Greek for “cuckoo,” because ancient physicians thought that the bony protrusion resembled a cuckoo’s beak. • The most commonly broken bone in the human body is the clavicle, also known as the collarbone. It is an S-shaped bone that connects the shoulder to the sternum (or breast plate). Why is this bone susceptible to such punishment? When humans fall down, they instinctively hold out their arms to brace and protect themselves. This action slams the hands hard onto the ground, and the force of the fall is typically absorbed by the shoulder joint, which jams harshly into the collarbone. • Osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million bone fractures in the U.S. every year. It affects women more than men, and white women more than other ethnic groups. After you turn 50, consult with your doctor regularly to discuss your bone density. Early detection can lead to preventative measures that will keep your bones in good shape!

• Andreas Vesalius, a 16th-century Belgian scientist, was one of the first persons to accurately depict human anatomy. The key reason he was successful in this endeavor is that he performed detailed surgical examinations of human cadavers. He created a firestorm of controversy in 1543 when he published a report that claimed both men and women had 12 sets of rib bones. Religious scholars charged him with heresy, since the Old Testament clearly stated that Eve was created from Adam’s rib, implying that males should be one bone short in the thoracic area. • The very first attempt at hip replacement surgery occurred in Germany way back in 1891. Professor Themistocles Gluck replaced the ball of a human femur with one fashioned out of ivory. Unfortunately, the bone eventually failed due to infection and the body’s natural “rejection” tendencies. Other surgeons tried various materials (such as glass and rubber) without success. Finally, in 1925, American orthopedic surgeon Marius Smith-Petersen noted that shipping companies were using a then-new material called stainless steel to protect cargo from seawater corrosion. His stainless-steel hip joints worked well and soon became the preferred replacements. • The three basic types of bone fractures are greenstick, simple and compound. A greenstick fracture is an incomplete break – the bone is bent, chipped or cracked but not completely broken. A simple fracture is a bone that has completely broken, but has not pierced the skin. A compound fracture is a broken bone that protrudes through the skin and has been exposed to air. Today, bone fractures are treated based upon the location and severity of the break. Doctors typically immobilize a broken bone using casts, pins, or splints made of various materials. 




Puzzle answers on page 7



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WWW.TIDBITSAZ.COM Some dogs, regardless of breed, suffer from chronic dry skin. But dry skin can be a herald of a deeper health problem, such as a thyroid condition, which can only be determined through a blood test. So, the best thing to do, again, is mention it to Mitzy’s vet when you bring her in to have the lump checked.

Shih-tzu Is Biting Herself Crazy DEAR PAW’S CORNER: What would make my shih-tzu bite her tail? I noticed that “Mitzy” was constantly trying to nibble her own tail. When I looked closer, I found a hard lump and a small cut that was draining. She bites at it worse at night. Mitzy has no fleas, but she does have dry skin. What’s going on? -- Alice H., via e-mail DEAR ALICE: Without knowing exactly where the lump is located, I can’t say for certain. It goes without saying that any change in a dog’s behavior, or anything odd that you notice on your pet (such as a new lump or a draining cut) should prompt you to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible for a thorough checkup.

The vet may do a biopsy to determine whether the lump is benign. He or she also will ask you a number of questions about Mitzy’s daily behavior: how much and how often she eats, if she is drinking and urinating more than usual, if the dry skin has been a problem for a long time or if it’s recent, any known food allergies or health problems, and so on. If there are no underlying problems, the vet may recommend that you try a change in Mitzy’s diet (he or she will give you some options) to treat her dry skin. You can also add an Omega 3 supplement to her food -- the vet may have this available, or you can purchase the supplement at a pet store.  Send your tips, questions and comments to Paws Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or e-mail them to (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER Depending on your age, you may recall when Eisenhower dollar coins could occasionally be found in everyday change. What made this coin starkly different from most others wasn’t just its size and weight, but something that just seemed to be missing in the profile: hair. Washington, Jefferson, even JFK had a head of hair. Not so with Ike; and to be fair, the coin’s designer was generous with the amount of hair that he did add. • David Dwight Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas, on October 14, 1890. (And no, that’s not a reversal of his name.) He was born David Dwight, but to avoid confusion with his father, also named David, they called the child Dwight. As a teenager, he switched the two names. • Eisenhower’s father found difficulty developing a career. He moved from Pennsylvania to Kansas to farm, but was unsuccessful. The senior Eisenhower then entered engineering school, but left early to marry. He ventured into retail sales, engine mechanics, and business management. The financial struggles the Eisenhower family endured helped to mold Dwight’s political thinking. • After graduating high school in Abilene, Kansas in 1909, Dwight felt, and his family agreed, that the military would provide him with educational opportunities he could not otherwise afford. The Naval Academy rejected him as too old (he was 20), but the Army signed him up to West Point. He played football for Army until a knee injury forced him onto the sidelines as a coach. • After graduation, Lieutenant Eisenhower was assigned to Fort Sam Houston. He reportedly requested overseas duty when World War I erupted, but remained stateside to help train the troops. He was regularly promoted, achieving the rank of major in 1920. Dwight hoped to continue his ascent into the Army’s officer elite, and attended the Army War College to further his chances. Stints as assistant to the war secretary and aide to General Douglas MacArthur did nothing to harm his road to success. • Eisenhower had just attained the rank of Brigadier General when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, forcing the U.S. to enter World War II. Over the course of the war, Ike would be responsible for commanding Allied troops in Africa and then Europe. He was the man who ordered the invasion known as D-Day, and led the

WWW.TIDBITSAZ.COM final stand against the Germans as a fivestar general. He personally accepted the Reich’s terms of surrender in 1945. • In 1948, Eisenhower retired from the Army. Not known for his politics, the Democrats and Republicans both hoped to bring the popular war hero into their ranks. Instead, Ike took a job as president of his alma mater: Columbia. President Harry Truman felt that he’d be the perfect man to head the new North Atlantic Treaty Organization. • Eisenhower seemed surprised to win the Republican presidential nomination in 1952. His Democratic opponent was, by contrast, someone who had been involved in politics nearly all his life: Adlai Stevenson. He’d been in public service for 20 years and was the grandson of his namesake, who had been vice president under Grover Cleveland. Now involved in war in Korea, the public felt that General Ike was the smart choice, and he won the election handily. 


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Online Learning A whole world of knowledge has opened up to me since I discovered online learning. We have a wealth of classes available to us right on the Internet, ranging from informal to the university level, self-tutorials to instructorpresented, free to little cost. At Lifetime to Learn [] you’ll find Photoshop Introduction, Microsoft Outlook: Taming Your Inbox, and more. At Computer School for Seniors [www.] learn to restore old photographs and take great digital photos and much more. Ed2Go [] has an online instructor for every class, not just a tutorial you do yourself. Each class runs for six weeks and costs $99. Recent additions are Start Your Own Arts and Crafts Business and Business Law for the Small Business Owner. At the university level, imagine taking a course on Yeats from MIT, or a beginning French language class from Carnegie Mellon.

WWW.TIDBITSAZ.COM While you won’t actually get credit for it (since you’re not paying for the class), and you won’t have hands-on instructor presence, just think of the possibilities. MIT’s offerings are especially rich and comprehensive. I found a MIT class on America during the Depression, and it included hundreds of photos of the era, along with the class notes, a study materials list and links to related resources. To learn more about Open CourseWare, go to Free and low-cost classes are all over the Internet. You only have to look for them. If you’re new to computers and unsure of your way around, maybe your first stop (with a computer-savvy grandchild at your elbow) could be one of the “how to surf the Web” classes. Once you learn the basics of getting around on the Internet, you’ll be off and running. Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@ (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.


HOPE for Homeowners The HOPE for Homeowners Act is now in effect. Signed by President Bush in July as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the HOPE program is designed to give relief to millions of struggling homeowners by restructuring their home mortgages. To be eligible, the homeowner must: • Use the home as his main residence. • Certify that he hasn’t defaulted on the loan just to take advantage of the HOPE program. • Have a debt-to-income ratio greater than 31 percent as of March 1, 2008. If the borrower qualifies, the lender will rewrite the loan down to an amount that the borrower can pay, up to a cap of 90 percent of the current market value of the home. The new loans must have a fixed rate for 30 years, with the borrower annually paying an extra 1.5 percent of the loan principal for FHA insurance. The downside to the borrower is that he must split any equity with the FHA down the road. That amount will be determined by a phasedin sliding scale, but can be as much as 100 percent of the equity if the borrower pays off the loan (by selling or refinancing) in the first year, or down to 50 percent at five years. Not all lenders are eager to participate in the program, however. In theory they’ll lose a bit now to keep from possibly losing a lot later if they don’t help homeowners get mortgages under control. Under the program, lenders would have to reduce the amount of the mortgage to 90 percent of the home’s present market value, which can be a considerable loss if home values in their area have already plunged. And the lenders will have to pay FHA, the backer of the loans, 3 percent of the amount. Additional provisions of the Act include a federal tax credit up to $7,500 (10 percent of the purchase price) to buy a new home, new regulations on reverse mortgages for the elderly and more protections for veterans facing foreclosure. To read details of the Act, go to www.govtrack. us, click Bills and Resolutions, and put H.R. 3221 in the search box.

Puzzle answers on page 8

David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@ (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.


NO, THE OTHER ONE by Sheila Folsom

Suppose, through no fault of your own, your last name is Simpson and your parents christened you Bart when you were born in 1977. Life was smooth until that little cartoon character came along as you entered your teen years, and now you can never announce your name without getting a “look.” Shared names abound: • Jason Alexander was born in Kentwood, Louisiana, in 1981. Twenty-two years later, his name would appear in headlines around the world when he wed pop princess Britney Spears. Their union was annulled less than 72 hours later, but there was plenty of confusion in the meantime. You see, Britney’s temporary hubby shares the same name as a more famous Jason Alexander – that of the balding, bespectacled actor who co-starred on TV’s Seinfeld. The initial media reports had many fans convinced that young Brit had actually married George Costanza! • Paul Simon of Madison County, Illinois, got involved in politics at a young age. By 1968, he’d worked his way up to become the lieutenant governor of his state. But despite his success (and his trademark bow tie), the news media had to specify “Paul Simon, the politician” whenever he was mentioned. By that time, another guy named Paul Simon had edged him out in the fame game by recording several popular records with his musical compadre, Art Garfunkel. • A pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Kenny Rogers must never have heard the lyrical advice given by the country music vocalist that shares his name: “Know when to walk away, and know when to run.” The baseball Kenny “gambled” with a major-league controversy back in 2005 when he angrily grabbed a photographer’s camera from his grasp and smashed it onto the ground.


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• When Baby Boy Columbus was born in 1958 in Spangler, Pennsylvania, his parents decided it might be funny to name him Christopher after the famous explorer. (No, the two are not related.) Chris was an only child and felt somewhat lonely since both his parents had jobs, so motion pictures became his companions. Today, Chris Columbus is a well-respected filmmaker, and with hits like Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone and part of the Harry Potter series under his belt, his popularity rivals that of his namesake. • When he was born in 1958, Howard Kevin Stern’s parents couldn’t have known that another Howard Stern would gain fame years later as “The King of All Media.” But the situation has forced Howard K. Stern to use his middle initial for clarification. He’s an attorney by profession, but Stern is better known as the constant companion of the late Anna Nicole Smith. For ten years, Stern multi-tasked as her lawyer, assistant, and adviser.


successful singer and actress, and has been nominated for Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Awards. Vanessa A. co-starred on TV’s Melrose Place, Chicago Hope, and Murder One. Just to add to the confusion, Vanessa L. had the lead role in the film version of Soul Food, while Vanessa A. starred in the TV series of the same name. • Major League Baseball coach and former player Howard Johnson is no relation to Howard Deering Johnson, the founder of the famous restaurant chain. But we’re willing to bet the former Mets slugger gets free clams when he stops by. 

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By Samantha Weaver

• It was French existential philosopher and author Jean-Paul Sartre who made the following observation: “To believe is to know you believe, and to know you believe is not to believe.” • The opossum is the only marsupial that is native to the continent of North America. • Jack Welch was the chairman and CEO of General Electric for 20 years beginning in 1981. When he retired, in 2001, his retirement package (better known these days as a “golden parachute”) included such lifetime perks as three country club memberships; a box at the Metropolitan Opera; seats at Wimbledon, the French Open and the U.S. Open; tickets to the Red Sox, the Yankees and the Knicks; free drycleaning service; food, wine, flowers and waitstaff whenever he’s in New York City; and free telephone and computer service at all five of his homes. Nice deal if you can get it.

By Chris Richcreek

1. Name the last full season before 2007 in which no major-league team won 100 games or lost 100 games. 2. Pitchers Len Barker and Tom Browning each tossed a perfect game during the 1980s. Which one had more wins overall during that decade? 3. Name the first two NFL teams to play to an overtime tie after the NFL instituted its new regular-season overtime rule in 1974. 4. In 2008, Ohio State’s Jamar Butler became the school’s all-time leader in career assists (579). Who had held the mark? 5. Who was the last goaltender before Detroit’s Chris Osgood in 2008 to record shutouts in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals? 6. In 2008, Kyle Busch became the fourth NASCAR driver to sweep both Cup road course races in the same year. Name two of the other three to do it.

• If you’re like the average American, you’ll eat about 35,000 cookies in your lifetime.

7. Who was the last U.S. male tennis player to win the French Open singles title?

• Ever wonder why blue jeans are blue? When they were first designed, by Levi Strauss, the people most likely to wear them were those who did a great deal of manual labor. Strauss rightly assumed the work was likely to be dirty, so he dyed his new trousers indigo to help hide stains.

See below for answers. (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

• Regular airmail service by the U.S. Post Office began way back in 1918. The first route was between Washington, D.C., and New York City, with a stop along the way in Philadelphia. • The name of the North American reindeer known as “caribou” comes from the Native American language Micmac. The word translates roughly as “snow shoveler.” Thought for the Day: “Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together.” -- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

Answers to Sports Quiz including Seniors

Vice President

6. Jeff Gordon (1999), Robby Gordon (2003) and Tony Stewart (2005).

career opportunity

7. Andre Agassi in 1999.

Part or Full Time

5. New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur in 2003. 1. It was 1992, when Atlanta won 98 games and the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 99.

2. Browning had 78 wins during the ‘80s; Barker had 62.

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3. Denver and Pittsburgh, in 1974.


4. Kelvin Ransey, with 516 assists.

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Tidbits of the Northwest Valley Issue #3  
Tidbits of the Northwest Valley Issue #3  

Issue #3 of Tidbits of the Northwest Valley (Arizona)