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September 20, 2012
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Vol. 1 Issue 4
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by Patricia L. Cook This Tidbits delves into idioms. An idiom is “a group of words whose meaning cannot be predicted from the meanings of the constituent words.” In other words, they really don’t make sense!
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• If you live in the rainy Pacific Northwest, the steamy Southern states or a rain forest, you have probably heard the idiom “It was raining cats and dogs.” The origin of the phrase is unknown. One theory is that in olden days in England, dogs and cats would sleep on the thatch or hay roofs of houses. When it rained, the roofs became slippery and the animals would slide off. Hence, it was “raining cats and dogs!”
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• On the other hand, if you are sitting in a theater, you may be in the “peanut gallery.” This term was popularized in the late 19th century and referred to seats located in the balcony of the theater, the “cheap” seats. People in these seats would sometimes throw peanuts, common theater food of the time, on those seated below. The term was also used for those seated in the first row on the f loor seats where the patrons could throw peanuts on stage if they weren’t pleased with the performance. • Regarding theater lingo, when “the plot thickens,” it means that the situation is becoming more difficult or complicated.
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• Many consider theater performances to be luxuries for the wealthy, those who “live high on the hog.” This expression came about because only the rich could afford the choicest cuts of pork, like loin, which comes from the top of the pig.
• The best cuts of pork were usually consumed at the time of butchering. The other cuts were salt cured for preservation to be eaten during the winter. When spring arrived, people were “scraping the bottom of turn the page for more! OP
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A Note from the Editors
the barrel” looking for any scraps remaining. The term is now used to refer to the last food in the pantry, money in the budget, last one chosen for a team, etc.
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• Another term for the wealthy is the “upper crust.” This term comes from England, where the smell of bread wafted from the kitchens of country estates. The upper crust was the superior un-burnt part of a loaf that was served to the “gentry” or high society.
This week we have some fun articles, lots of fun tidbits of information you’ll be able to dazzle friends and family with and, of course, your favorite games to pass the time. We are hoping to expand many of our sections and are eager to hear from you about what you’d like to read. Tell us what you’re interested in and we will make it happen.
• In Biblical times, the “upper crust,” or upper class, was offered the “fat of the land.” This meant the fattest and best livestock.
Give us a call or send us an email with comments or suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you!
• Another familiar expression with origins in the Bible is “salt of the earth.” Salt was not only expensive, it was also a vital preservative. People referred to as the “salt of the earth” were and are very precious.
See you again next week!
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• Again thinking of the precious commodity of salt, a compliment that someone is “worth his salt” means he is doing a good job and is a valuable worker. Salt was so valuable in ancient days that Roman soldiers were sometimes paid with salt instead of or in addition to coins or currency. • In stark contrast to a good worker stands one who isn’t. A sorry or less-than-stellar worker may get “canned” or “sacked.” This terminology came from coal miners who were given a chit, a “statement of an amount owed for food and drink,” which they could use at the company store. When let go, their severance pay was a can of food usually put in a sack. • Just as a bad worker can affect the attitudes of his co-workers, a “bad apple” can ruin a whole bag or box of apples. This term has been used with all kinds of produce and people as well. You don’t want to be the “bad apple” in the crowd! • If you find yourself in the unsavory position of being the person viewed as the “bad apple,” you may find yourself “eating humble pie.” This saying came about in a circuitous way. In the 14th century, the heart, liver, entrails, etc. of animals were called the “numbles” (noumbles, nomblys, noubles). In the 15th century, they were called “umbles.” The umbles were used turn the page for more!
New Agency Rides Hard Over Credit Bureaus If you’ve ever had a dispute with one of the big three credit-reporting agencies, you know how frustrating it can be to get the simplest correction made, especially if an error is holding up a loan or forcing you into a higher rate of interest on a mortgage. You’ll appreciate a new federal government agency now in place: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is now gearing up to oversee those creditreporting agencies, and not just the big three. They’ll be supervising 30 companies of the 400 reporting agencies that are in business. Those agencies issue 3 billion
credit reports per year and make 36 billion updates to files. Counted among the 400 agencies are the resellers of information. The CFPB will supervise those that gather information on consumers of residential mortgages, payday loans, private college loans and more. It will make on-site examinations, review compliance systems and issue reports. Where necessary, it will write additional laws. The CFPB does more than oversee the actions of the credit bureaus. Later this year, it will issue a report on its findings about debt collection and will no doubt issue new rules and regulations. The bureau recently proposed new rules about mortgage servicing that will include billing statements that are easy to read and understand, more notice before interest rates rise on adjustable mortgages, faster error resolution and more. The CFPB also examined mortgage origination procedures to ensure they complied with laws. Those who originate mortgages -- lenders, brokers, servicers and others -- will now be under federal supervision. Among a lengthy list of findings, a proposal has been made to clarify loan points and fees to make it easier to compare
loans between lenders. If you need to dispute an error on your credit report, understand foreclosure, make a complaint about a debt collector’s tactics, or any number of other financial concerns, the bureau’s website is likely to have the answer. To explore everything it offers, go online to www.consumerfinance.gov. Click on Get Assistance and scroll to Ask CFPB to get answers to financial questions. Remember that you’re allowed to get one free credit report per year to check for errors. Call 1-877-3228228 or go online to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free report every year. 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 email to email@example.com. © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
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IDIOMS (continued): 1. When Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel set a rookie record in 2011 for saves in a season (46), whose mark did he break? 2. Name the last major-league team to have an ERA below 3.00 for a season. 3. Carolina’s Cam Newton had 14 rushing TDs in the 2011 season to set an NFL record. Who was the former record holder? 4. Who recorded the highest points per game average as a freshman for Duke men’s basketball team? 5. In 2011-12, Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos set the record for most overtime goals in a season (five). How many other players had been tied with Stamkos? 6. What school has won the past two championships in NCAA women’s bowling? 7. In how many weight classes did boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley win world titles? © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
as an ingredient in pies. Only lower class folks ate “humble pie.” Hence, abasing or lowering oneself was seen as taking oneself to a lower class. • Bakers in Europe were not usually baking “humble pie” but pastries, cookies, rolls and other fine treats. Because they could receive stiff punishment for shorting customers, bakers would usually put 13 or more pieces in their orders just to be sure. This is where the “baker’s dozen” originated. • British sailors on war ships in the 1700s might have appreciated some “humble pie” or a generous “baker’s dozen.” Their ships did not have the best living conditions. Usually, a sailor’s breakfast and lunch was only bread and a beverage. The third meal of the day included meat and was presented on a square tray. Hence the term “square meal” was coined to identify the most substantial meal of the day. • A popular topping for pizza, “Canadian bacon” has hog geography behind its name. It doesn’t have anything to do with the country of Canada other than its location relative to the United States. Traditional bacon is cut from the underbelly or south side of the pig. Canadian bacon is cut from the loin area, the upper part of the pig. Since it is from the north — Oh, Canada! • In England, it is customary to extend hospitality to visitors, even complete strangers. However, when the host chose to serve a “cold shoulder” of beef, it signaled that it was time for the guests to move on. Think about this the next time you snub someone or give them the “cold shoulder.” • When wood stoves were used to cook beef shoulders and more, cooks used the front burners for intense heat and for stoking the fire to avoid a reach across the hot stove top. When it was time to slow down or simmer the food, it was put on the “back burner.” Now that term is used for putting something on hold, such as a chore you need, but don’t want, to do. • Now for “a toast” to our Tidbits readers! Toasting is a medieval tradition that honored a host with a gesture for long life. The gesture entailed placing a crust of bread into a goblet of wine and raising it to the host, an adaptation of Holy Communion.
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1. LITERATURE: Who was England’s first, unofficial poet laureate? 2. MUSIC: Which musical group had a hit with “Penny Lane”? 3. MEASUREMENTS: How many meters are in an “are,” a unit of land measurement? 4. INVENTIONS: Who invented frozen food in 1923?
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by Samantha Weaver
To Your Good Health By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.
Restless Legs Ruin Sleep DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have suffered with restless leg syndrome for 25 years. What causes it? Is there a cure? I do take Requip. Some say that having the veins in your legs stripped helps. Does it? -- C.K. ANSWER: Stabbing pain, a burning feeling and a creepy-crawly sensation in the legs are some of the ways people describe restless leg syndrome. The sensation mostly comes on in the evening when sitting in a chair or, more often upon going to bed. The night is punctuated with interruptions of sleep, as the sensations wake a person. They drive the person to get up and walk about until these annoying feelings go way. Walking does get rid of them, but the respite is only temporary. The attacks reach peaks at midnight and again around 4 a.m. For most, a cause cannot be found. Sometimes it’s a family affair, passed by the parent to the children. In a few instances, iron deficiency anemia, renal failure and Parkinson’s disease are associated with it. The anemia connection is worth checking out, since it has a definite cure -- iron tablets. The medicine you mention, Requip (ropinirole) is one often prescribed for this problem. If you’ve been taking it for some time without relief, you ought to try some of the other medicines used for it. Mirapex (pramipexole) and Neurontin (gabapentin) are two others. A new variety of gabapentin called Horizant comes as an extended-release tablet, so medication is delivered to the body throughout the night. A warm bath before going to bed, coupled with a leg massage afterward, often can cut down on the number
of attacks and their intensity. Restricting alcohol and caffeine works for some people. Removing leg veins will not help. The booklet on restless leg syndrome and nighttime leg cramps goes into greater detail on both these subjects. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 306W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My mother has lived in an assisted-living facility for two years. She’s mentally clear, but physically unable to take care of herself. The last time I visited her, a nurse was taking her blood pressure. She told me that my mother’s pressure in her right arm was normal, but the pressure in her left arm was 165 over 95. Which is her true blood pressure? -- E.L. ANSWER: A 10-point discrepancy in blood pressure between the two arms is considered acceptable. With a larger difference, the actual blood pressure is the higher one. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: How does pancreatitis relate to cancer of the pancreas? Is it an early stage of that cancer? -- D.B. ANSWER: Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas brought on by many different conditions, including viral infections. Pancreatitis is not an early stage of cancer. Chronic pancreatitis, a long duration of pancreas inflammation, is a slight risk for eventual development of pancreatic cancer, but even it is not a common prelude to cancer. Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
• It was American actress, screenwriter and notorious sex symbol Mae West who made the following sage observation: “You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.” • At the 2012 USA Memory Championship, Nelson Dellis set a new record for the memorization of random digits. At the annual event in New York City, Dellis accurately recalled a whopping 303 numbers in sequence. • The Rose Parade, popularly known as America’s New Year Celebration, was originally started in 1890. These days, hundreds of thousands of people crowd the parade route each year, and millions more view the television broadcast worldwide. The amount of work that goes into the display is astonishing: Each float has anywhere from 30,000 to 150,000 flowers on it, which are applied during the 700 to 900 hours spent on preparing each float. • Beloved film icon James Dean was missing his front teeth; he had to wear a bridge to fill the gap in his smile. • If you’re like the average American, at least one-tenth of the garbage you produce is made of plastic. • The first sound recording ever made was created in 1877 by Thomas Edison. It was a musical selection: “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” • Those who study such things say that American English has roughly 20 swear words (depending, of course, on how one defines swearing). In contrast, residents of ancient Rome had a lexicon of about 800 “dirty” words to draw upon. • If you’re planning a trip by air anytime soon, you might want to keep in mind that the busiest day in airports is Thursday. *** Thought for the Day: “The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” -- Terry Pratchett
© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
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Even though fresh water is continually draining into the Dead Sea, it is nearly 10 times as salty as the oceans and twice as salty as Utah’s Great Salt Lake. • One of the world’s most unusual places, the Dead Sea is also called the Salt Sea. Located in the Middle East, it is bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. The Hebrew name for the Dead Sea is Yam ha Maved, which actually means “killer sea.” • The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, over 1,312 feet (400 m) below sea level. At its deepest part, it is over 2,300 feet (701 m) below sea level. The Dead Sea is 42 miles (67 km) long and 11 miles (18 km) wide at its widest point. • The main tributary into the sea is the Jordan River. The Dead Sea does not empty out anywhere — It is endorheic, which means it has no outlet besides evaporation. It is totally landlocked, and the deeper areas are the saltiest. There is an estimated 1.9 billion tons of potassium chloride salt in the Dead Sea that are harvested by using a system of evaporation ponds. • The Dead Sea has a salinity reading of 33.7 percent, meaning nearly 35 percent of the water is dissolved salts. Ocean water is 3.5 percent dissolved salts. • Due to the high salinity of the Dead Sea, no fish or any kind of swimming, squirming creature lives in or near the
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DEAD SEA (continued):
© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc. • “To clean the mouthpiece on the telephone in my home, I dip a soft toothbrush into rubbing alcohol, shake off any excess and use it to brush the holes in the handset clean. I do this weekly during cold and flu season.” -- M. in Minnesota • To keep track of rolls of tape or other rolled items in your shop, hang a length of chain from two “S” hooks on your pegboard. They will be readily accessible, and you can tear off what you need. • “If you use those little plastic keyring cards for store rewards accounts and discount programs, you can keep them easily organized in a small photo brag book. These books can be found at drugstores and big-box retailers, and are meant for a small collection of wallet-size pictures. However, if you put your cards in one, it’s easy to flip through to find the correct card to scan.” -- R.I. in Arkansas • Fill an easy-to-use hand-soap dispenser with body wash or shampoo for kids to use in the bath or shower. • “Here’s a fun idea for place cards at Thanksgiving (coming up in Canada): Scan in and print out a photo of each guest as a child. Laminate it and attach it to a pretty piece of ribbon with a glue gun. Use the ribbon to tie up a napkin and/or utensils. Guests will have a good time trying to guess who’s who and reminiscing about days gone by.” -- P.D. in Ontario, Canada • When working with juicy items (lemons, watermelon, etc.) on a cutting board, try placing the board on a kitchen towel. When the juices run off the edge, they’ll be caught by the towel. Cleanup will be easy! Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 328536475 or e-mail JoAnn at heresatip@ yahoo.com. © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
water. Fish accidentally swimming into the waters from one of the several freshwater streams that feed the Sea are killed instantly, their bodies quickly coated with a preserving layer of salt crystals and then tossed onto shore by the wind and waves. • There are, however, several species of bacteria and one species of algae that are adapted to harsh life in the Dead Sea. White salt crystals cover everything on the shore. And this is no ordinary table salt; the salts found in the Dead Sea are mineral salts — mostly chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium and bromine — just like you find in the oceans of the world, only in extreme concentrations. • The leading attraction at the Dead Sea is the warm, soothing, super-salty water. This water has attracted visitors since ancient times, including King Herod the Great and the beautiful Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra. • Due to the high salinity, water in the Dead Sea is extremely buoyant — A person can float effortlessly on his or her back and not have to expend energy treading water. Also, the high salt content and warm temperature of the water provide therapy for ailments such as rheumatism, gynecological diseases and bronchial conditions. • Dead Sea Works, Ltd. (DSW) is a company dedicated to harvesting minerals from the waters of the Dead Sea. DSW is located on the southwest side of the Sea and employs 1,600 people. • Potash is the most valuable of the minerals extracted today and is used in the manufacture of fertilizer. Other minerals extracted are used in making products such as potassium chloride salt, industrial salts, de-icers, bath salts, table salt and raw materials for the cosmetic industry.
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Family Lasagna Recipe
This lasagna is meat-free and loaded with veggies. It tastes great leftover, so make it ahead of time and serve later in the week. 2 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, thinly sliced 2 teaspoons olive oil Salt 1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems discarded, thinly sliced 1 small (4- to 6-ounce) onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed with press 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped 1 pound plum tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced 4 no-boil lasagna noodles, rinsed with cold water 2 carrots, shredded 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 2 ounce provolone cheese, finely shredded 1. Arrange 1 oven rack 4 inches from broiler heat source and second rack in center. Preheat broiler. 2. In large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Arrange on 18- by 12-inch jelly-roll pan in single layer. Broil 6 minutes or until golden brown, turning over once. Set aside. Reset oven control to 425 F. 3. Rinse Swiss chard in cold water; drain, leaving some water clinging to leaves. 4. In 12-in. skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil on medium. Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Add chard, garlic, thyme and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook 6 to 7 minutes or until chard is very soft, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside 5. In 8- by 8-inch baking dish, layer half of tomatoes, lasagna noodles, Swiss chard, shredded carrots, zucchini slices and ricotta, in that order. Repeat layering once. Top with shredded provolone. Cover with foil. (Lasagna can be prepared to this point and refrigerated up to overnight.) Bake 30 minutes, covered. (If refrigerated, bake, 10 minutes longer.) Uncover and bake 20 minutes longer or until golden brown and bubbling. Serves 4. Ñ Each serving: About 310 calories, 13g total fat (6g saturated), 29mg cholesterol, 520mg sodium, 33g total carbs, 6g dietary fiber, 17g protein. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/.
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PEANUTS If peanuts are your favorite nut, you are not alone. However, peanuts are not nuts: They are legumes, related to beans, peas and lentils. • Peanuts originated in South America. They are now grown in warm areas of Asia, Africa, Australia and North and South America. Fifteen states in the United States grow peanuts, with Georgia being the top producing state . • Peanuts are the official state crop of Georgia, and the state produces almost half of the total U.S. peanut crop. Most people are aware that President Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia. But many are unaware that he was the second peanut farmer to serve as President of the United States. Thomas Jefferson was the first. • Peanuts have been grown in the United States since the 1800s. Peanut popularity surged during the Civil War, with soldiers on both sides eating the protein-rich legumes for energy and sustenance. • Peanuts are powerhouses of nutrition; they are cholesterol-free, contain about 26 percent protein and are a good source of vitamin E, potassium and fiber. They are an excellent source of magnesium, folate and niacin as well. • Even though Georgia is the No. 1 state for peanut production, the peanut capital of the world is Dothan, Alabama. About half of the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile (160.9-km) radius of Dothan. The 69th National Peanut Festival will be held in Dothan from November 2-11, 2012. • The first National Peanut Festival was held in 1938. The honored guest speaker for the inaugural event was Dr. George Washington Carver, who is known as the father of the U.S. peanut industry. Dr. Carver developed over 300 uses for the peanut in his work at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. • Because of Dr. Carver’s extensive work with peanuts, many believe he invented peanut butter, but he did not. Several doctors experimenting with peanuts in the late 1890s wanted a peanut product or paste that would be easy for their patients with bad teeth. turn the page for more!
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PEANUTS (continued): • Dr. John Kellogg was one doctor who wanted the healthy, protein-rich peanut paste for his patients. He and his brother, W.K. Kellogg, worked together and actually patented a peanut butter process in 1895. The brothers went on to develop their cereal company and let others sell peanut butter. • The public introduction to peanut butter in the United States happened at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, called the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. C.H. Sumner’s concession stand sold over $700 worth of peanut butter. From that point on that peanut butter became a standard in most cupboards. The United States is the biggest supplier and consumer of peanut butter. • Peanuts are different from other crops in many ways. “Digger” and “shaker” machines are used for harvesting peanuts to bring them to the top of the ground to dry. Much care is taken in getting the peanuts to dry correctly in their shells to prepare them for market. • Peanut plants grow roots underground, with stems, leaves and small yellow flowers above ground. The flowers pollinate themselves. As the flowers wilt, their bases do something unique. The stalks, called pegs, point downward and go into the ground. After going underground, the pegs turn sideways and form peanut pods. Each plant will produce 40 or more pods with two to six peanuts in each pod or shell.
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1. Ben Jonson 2. The Beatles 3. 100 square meters 4. Clarence Birdseye 5. Argentina and Chile 6. Ruby 7. Saturn 8. 1970 9. “Finding Nemo” 10. St. Joseph
1. Neftali Feliz had 40 saves for Texas in 2010. 2. The Los Angeles Dodgers had a team ERA of 2.95 in 1989. 3. Steve Grogan had 12 rushing TDs for New England in 1976. 4. Johnny Dawkins averaged 18.1 points per game in the 1982-83 season. 5. Nine others. 6. Maryland Eastern Shore. 7. Three -- lightweight, welterweight and light middleweight.