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Life is tasteless without salt! In addition to providing seasoning, it’s a component of your blood, sweat and tears and is essential to the proper function of the human body. What don’t you know about this important commodity? Read along and see! • The Bible contains the first written reference to salt, recorded in the Book of Job around 2250 B.C. Salt is mentioned in 31 other places, including the story of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt when she disobeyed the words of angels. As she and her family were fleeing the destruction of the wicked city of Sodom, she was told not to look back, but she turned to gaze at the blaze and was transformed. • There are two chief methods of producing salt — evaporation and mining. In the evaporation process, salty sea water is guided into large clay forms for natural evaporation by the sun. Sea salt is the source for about 80 mineral elements essential to proper body function, including iron, iodine, sulfur and magnesium. In underground mines, salt is found in veins and domes and is mined by large machines snaking their way through passageways. Large underground deposits can be found around the globe, including parts of Ontario, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan in Canada, and New York, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Kansas and New Mexico in the United States. There are such large beds near Salzburg, Austria, it was aptly named “The City of Salt.” The United Kingdom is also home to extensive salt beds. • Throughout history, salt has been a valuable item of trade. Governments have f requently cont rolled the pr ice of salt, maintaining a monopoly by charging special taxes. Salt taxes have supported monarchs and funded wars. During the Middle Ages, salt was so expensive, it earned the nickname “white gold.” • Salt has been used as currency for centuries. Even up to the beginning of the 20th century, turn the page for more!
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PINCH OF SALT (continued):
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one-pound bars of salt were used as money in what is now the country of Ethiopia. Early civilization advanced tremendously once salt’s ability to preserve food was discovered. No longer were people dependent on what was readily available to eat, and long-distance t ravel also increased as preserved provisions could be transported. Early Roman soldiers’ wages were paid in salt, or salarium argentum, a term from which we derive our English word “salary.” Romans even built roads specifically for transporting salt, such as the Via Salaria, which led from Rome to the Adriatic Sea, where a salt-producing area was located. In ancient Greece, salt was traded for slaves, leading to the expression, “He is not worth his salt.” In early American history, President Thomas Jefferson hoped that the Lewis and Clark expedition would be able to locate a mountain of salt rumored to stand near the Missouri River, which would have been a very valuable find. American soldiers also received salt as salary during the War of 1812 because the government lacked currency to pay them. • Many cultures use salt in their religious rituals because it symbolizes “incorruptible purity.” The Shinto religion uses salt to purify an area. A handful of salt is even thrown into the center of the wrestling ring by Shintos to ward off wicked spirits before Sumo wrestlers begin their match. Buddhist custom calls for throwing salt over the shoulder upon entering a house turn the page for more!
1. MYTHOLOGY: What creatures are combined to form the mythical creature called a centaur? 2. LANGUAGE: What kind of website is named for the Hawaiian word for “quick”? 3. ETIQUETTE: What is the traditional type of gift given on fifth wedding anniversaries? 4. PERSONALITIES: Who was the prince who married actress Rita Hayworth in 1949? 5. RELIGION: Who is the patron saint of sailors? 6. MUSIC: What does the musical direction “sostenuto” mean? 7. TELEVISION: What is the name of the mayor on “The Simpsons”? 8. INVENTIONS: Who invented the artificial heart? 9. LITERATURE: Who wrote “The Armies of the Night,” a nonfiction book about Vietnam protests? 10. ART: Who created the “Vitruvian Man” illustration?
New Scam Focuses on Utility Bills
The latest scam is hitting consumers in the middle of a heat wave. The scam itself, while creative, is not realistic: President Barack Obama is not giving away $1,000 credits that can be applied to utility bills. There is no energy fund. There is no credit. This is not another stimulus check-type program from the government. It’s a scam. The rumor started in one state, and it’s spreading from coast to coast. The scammers are going all out this time, calling on the phone purporting to be from the utility company, using auto-dialers, putting up notices and even texting. What makes this scam even more dangerous is that they’re also going door to door.
Sometimes the scammers claim to be from the government, and they say that your water, electric or gas bill will be paid -- if you’ll just give them your personal information. In one utility alone, 1,000 customers have fallen for the scam. In another, more than 2,000 customers were affected. The biggest take nailed 10,000 people in one state. Here are some things you can do: --If you know you’re not behind on your utility bill, but are being pressured on the phone to pay, call the police. --Don’t give out your bank routing information or Social Security number. Do not give out your credit-card number as a way of making a payment to a suspicious caller. --If someone calls, supposedly from the utility company, and demands payment, hang up. Then call the number of the utility’s customer service line (usually found on your bill) and ask whether they are the ones who called you. Hang up on anyone you think is trying to get your personal information.
--If you suspect something is wrong, call the local Better Business Bureau. You likely won’t be the only one who calls. --If you realize after the fact that you’ve been scammed, call your bank immediately and tell them what happened. Then, if it’s the utility company scam, call it as well. --If someone comes to your door supposedly to collect on a utility bill, have that person wait outside (while you lock the door) and call the utility to see if they sent anyone to your door. --Read the leaflets that come in your utility bills. They might include warnings of scams or other information you need. 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.
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PINCH OF SALT (continued):
1. Who was the last Yankees pitcher to record back-to-back 20-win seasons? 2. True or false: Nolan Ryan spent more seasons in the National League, but won more games in the American League. 3. When was the last time the University of Minnesota won a Big Ten football championship? 4. Steve Nash holds the record for most NBA seasons shooting 50 percent from the field, 90 percent on free throws and 40 percent on 3-pointers. How many seasons? 5. In 2012, Brayden Schenn became the second player in Flyers history to tally three points in his first NHL postseason game. Who was the first? 6. When was the last time before Brad Keselowski’s victory in 2012 that a Dodge won at NASCAR’s Talladega Speedway? 7. Who holds the record among men’s tennis players for most victories at the ATP World Tour Finals? © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
after attending a funeral. This is to frighten off evil spirits that might be clinging to the homeowner’s back. Several European countries follow the tradition of throwing a handful of salt into a dead person’s coffin before the burial in order to keep the devil away. In some cultures, a bride pours it into her shoes for luck, and parents rub it all over newborn babies. • Lots of folks believe that spilling salt will bring bad luck. This superstition may have its origins in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper. Close observation shows an upset salt container at the place of Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ betrayer. The remedy for spilled salt is to toss a pinch over your left shoulder, which supposedly blinds the devil waiting there. Those who really want to be safe also crawl under the table and come out the opposite side. The Norwegians’ superstition about spilled salt says that a person will shed as many tears as necessary to dissolve the amount spilled, while superstitious Germans believe that spilling salt brings about hostility, the result of the devil disturbing peace. • Because fruits and vegetables are nearly salt-free, vegetarians are often at risk for dietary problems. The human body needs electrolytes to function, and without salt, it runs out of electrolytes. • The familiar cylindrical salt container with the metal spout was introduced by Morton in 1911. Prior to that, salt was packaged in large cumbersome bags, which, during wet weather, wouldn’t allow the pouring of salt. Morton’s slogan “When it rains, it pours” touted its moisture-proof container. In 1914, the company introduced its famous “umbrella girl” on packaging. Her appearance has been updated five times since, in 1921, 1933, 1941, 1956 and 1968. • Salt has about 14,000 different uses, including helping in household tasks. When added to one tablespoon of lemon juice, it removes rust from scissors and other household tools. Just mix into a paste and rub on the rusty area. Salt also removes coffee stains from glass coffee pots. Mix 4 teaspoons of salt with a cup of crushed ice and a tablespoon of water and swirl it around in the pot. A handful of salt thrown into the f lames in your fireplace helps loosen chimney soot. Are you troubled by weeds and grass growing up in your patio or sidewalk bricks and blocks? Spread salt in the cracks and sprinkle with water. You can remove the odor of fish from your hands by rubbing them with a lemon wedge dipped in salt. • Only about 6 percent of the world’s salt finds its way to the table. The de-icing of streets and highways eats up another 17 percent of the production. It’s also used in the leather tan ning process; in the production of paper, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, paint products, batteries, glass, ceramics and adhesives; and as a refrigerant.
• It was pioneering British film director and producer Alfred Hitchcock who made the following sage observation: “Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it -- as well as contributing to the need for it.” • The grapefruit is so named not because of any relation to or resemblance to a grape (obviously), but because it hangs from the tree in grapelike clusters. • Those who study such things say that the three most recognized words in the world are God, Coca-Cola and Titanic. • Although darts is a traditionally English pub game, there are now more than three times as many darts players in the United States than there are in the United Kingdom. • Jazz musician Glenn Miller was the recipient of the first gold record ever awarded, for the big-band hit “Chattanooga Choo-Choo.” • The amount of fuel in a jumbo jet single tank would be enough to allow a car to drive around the world -four times. • If you had visited Peru in the mid-1980s, you could have bought toothpaste with cocaine in it. • Before he became the celebrated author of such novels as “Pale Fire” and “Lolita,” Vladimir Nabokov was a tennis instructor. • The longest game in the history of professional baseball was played between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in April of 1981. It lasted just shy of 8 1/2 hours, and ran for an unbelievable 33 innings. • It’s traditional in Italy for a prospective groom to spend a full year’s earnings on an engagement ring. *** Thought for the Day: “If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit.” -- Robert Brault © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
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To Your Good Health By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.
DASH to Lower Blood Pressure DEAR DR. DONOHUE: You’ve written about the DASH diet in the past. The directions for it are quite general. Can you provide an itemized list of what is good and what is bad to eat? It makes things simpler for me. -- F.L. ANSWER: The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) doesn’t involve a detailed listing of good and bad foods. It’s a general approach that identifies the food groups that are best for lowering blood pressure. You get to pick foods from those groups that appeal to you. That’s one of the beauties of the diet: It permits many choices. Grains are one of the major groups in the diet. Grains include products made from wheat, barley, rye, oats and other such cereal grains, even grains that aren’t familiar to our diet. Every day, people should eat seven to eight servings of grain foods. A serving is a slice of bread, 1 ounce of cereal, or half a cup of cooked rice (brown), pasta or cereal. The next group is three to four servings of fruit, with a serving being equal to a medium-size fruit, a quartercup of dried fruit or 6 ounces of fruit juice. People also should eat four or five servings of vegetables a day, with a serving being 1 cup leafy vegetables, half a cup cooked vegetables or 6 ounces of vegetable juice. Two to three low-fat dairy products are allowed, with 8 ounces of skim milk, 1 cup low-fat yogurt or 1 1/2 ounces of low-fat cheese constituting a serving. Two meat servings a day are permitted, with 3 ounces being
a serving of cooked meat, poultry or fish. Fats and oils are the final group. Two or three servings meet the requirement, with 1 teaspoon of margarine, 2 tablespoons of low-fat mayonnaise or 2 tablespoons of light salad dressing each being a serving. In addition, 1 1/2 ounces of nuts are allowed four times a week. In addition, you must keep sodium down to 1,500 mg a day. Sodium is listed on all nutrition labels. The booklet on high blood pressure speaks of the many other issues involved in controlling this widespread disorder. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 104W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Six months ago my husband, 78, had an artificial hip installed -- if that’s the right word. The operation was a complete success, and he was up and walking shortly after the surgery. However, since he’s been home, he does nothing but sit. He says he’s afraid he’ll wear out the new hip. I thought that the operation was done to make people more active. Isn’t that so? -- O.P. ANSWER: It is so. Mobility and freedom from pain are the reasons why artificial hips have gained such high regard. Your husband isn’t going to wear out the hip. The new joint lasts up to 25 or more years. He can do anything that his doctor has not specifically said not to do. *** 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.
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Peaches and raspberries harmonize perfectly in this summer crisp from chef Bobby Flay. 1 lemon 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 3 tablespoons Demerara or brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 6 ripe peaches, peeled and halved 1 pint raspberries 1/4 cup cornstarch 1/8 teaspoon salt Whipped cream or ice cream 1. From lemon, grate 1 tablespoon peel; squeeze 3 tablespoons juice. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, Demerara sugar, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and lemon peel; blend in butter until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate 15 minutes. 2. Preheat oven to 375 F. 3. Cut peaches into 1/4-inch-thick slices. In bowl, toss peaches, berries, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Let stand 15 minutes. 4. In 2-quart ceramic baking dish, spread fruit. Top with crumbs. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is bubbling. Cool 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 8. • Each serving: About 365 calories, 15g total fat (9g saturated), 38mg cholesterol, 85mg sodium, 56g total carbs, 4g dietary fiber, 4g protein. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at www.goodhousekeeping.com/ recipefinder/. © 2012 Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved
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© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc. • When patching cracks in plaster walls, if the crack is large or it’s a small hole, stuff it with wadded-up newspaper or steel wool in order to fill the gap. Apply the plaster over the top. • Recipe substitution: For each cup of brown sugar needed, use 1 cup of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses. • If your washer oversuds because you accidentally added too much detergent, just add a half-cup of white vinegar to the wash water. It will dampen the extra bubbles. Then make sure to put the load through an additional rinse to eliminate soap residue in your clothes.
ALL ABOUT CAMELS Most of us know that camels are referred to as “ships of the desert,” but what else do you know about this unusual creature? Follow along and learn some new facts! • One hump or two? A one-hump camel is of Arabian descent and is known as the dromedary. The two-humped Asian variety is called the Bactrian. Although subjected to East Asia’s blistering summers of over 100ºF (38ºC), they are also able to endure winter temperatures of -20ºF (-29ºC). • Although you might think the camel is a homely animal, its name comes from the Arabic word meaning “beauty.” • A camel is an ungulate, in other words, a mammal with hooves. Each foot has two toes and a pad, and the pads spread as it walks, enabling it to maneuver on soft sand without sinking. The camel’s body is specially designed to protect itself from sand — It has three eyelids to protect the eyes from blowing sand and can also close its nostrils as a defense. Like the cow, camels are ruminants, meaning they have a multi-chambered stomach. • The camel’s legs are very thin, yet they are able to support not only the 1,500 pounds (680 kg) of the camel’s body weight, but heavy cargo weighing up to another 1,000 pounds (454 kg). • If you think the camel’s hump is a reserve of water to help him through the hot desert, you’re mistaken! The hump, rising about 30 inches (75 cm) out of the body, is actually fat, up to 80 pounds (36 kg) worth, that the animal can metabolize for energy and water as needed. As the camel travels great distances with-
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• Ever had to deal with early arrivals at your garage sale? If so, you know it can be annoying and disruptive. When advertising your sale, use the block number instead of your house number. It will still be easy to find, but you’re less likely to get staked out. • “It can be hard to find a good contractor or company to provide a service. The best referral resource I’ve found is friends. Whenever someone I know has work done at their home or purchases an item I might be interested in, I always find out the details of who worked on it or where it was purchased, and whether my friends were satisfied with the outcome. Friends and even acquaintances usually are quite amenable to giving details, especially when they are either very pleased or very displeased with a job.” -- R.E. in New York 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 email@example.com.
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ALL ABOUT CAMELS (continued): out sustenance, it uses up its hump’s stores, and it arrives at its destination with a flabby hump or no hump at all! A camel is able to tolerate a 40 percent loss in body mass. • When the camel is ready to replenish its water supply, it can drink 30 gallons (135 l) in just 13 minutes! A camel has the ability to carefully preserve its body’s hydration by increasing its own body temperature, thus preventing sweating and subsequent water loss. Nostrils also trap water vapor and return it to the body’s fluids. In addition, the green plants the camel ingests contain moisture that further contributes to its hydration. It’s not unusual for a camel to endure several weeks or to travel up to 100 miles (161 km) without water.
• Although the camel might appear clumsy or ungainly, it can actually run up to 40 miles per hour (64 km/hr) in a short burst and sustain longer distances at 25 miles per hour (40 km/hr). • Many of the deserts’ nomadic tribes count on camel milk as one of their staple foods. The milk is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins and is lower in fat and cholesterol than cow’s milk. Bedouins frequently process it into a nutritious drinkable yogurt, and some of these roaming tribes live on nothing but camel milk for six months. • The female carries her young between 12 and 14 months. The season and the availability of food both affect the length of gestation. The average camel lives 40 to 50 years.
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FAMOUS LANDMARKS OF THE WORLD: THE ALAMO Most everyone is familiar with the phrase “Remember the Alamo!” but how much do you really remember about this famous landmark? Read along, and you might just learn some new details about this San Antonio, Texas, site. • Franciscan monks and Spanish settlers began construction on the Mission San Antonio de Valero in 1724. It served as home to Catholic missionaries and their American Indian converts until 1793. The Spanish government then closed the mission and distributed the remaining lands and buildings to the Indian residents. • In the early 1800s, the mission became home to a Spanish cavalry unit. It was this group who gave the structure the name Alamo, the Spanish word for “cottonwood,” in honor of their hometown in Mexico, Alamo de Parras. The military remained occupants of the Alamo up until the time of the Texas Revolution. • As western expansion continued, more and more people were migrating to Texas, and in 1821, Stephen Austin led a group of 300 U.S. families to the area. As the population increased, the Texans sought independence from Mexico. In late 1835, a group of Texans overtook the Alamo, wresting control from the Mexican troops, putting Colonel William Travis and Colonel Jim Bowie in command of the fort. Reinforcements arrived in early 1836 to help with the defense, including American frontiersman and former Tennessee congressman Davy Crockett. About 200 volunteers were in place to defend the Alamo. • On February 23, 1836, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna marched his Mexican force of soldiers numbering in the thousands to the outskirts of San Antonio and laid siege to the Alamo in an attempt to retake Texas. Although caught off guard while they slept, the Texans refused to give up their fight for independence and were determined to defend the fort, despite their small numbers. The Texan commander sent urgent pleas for reinforcements and supplies, but response was minimal. • Several skirmishes took place over the next 12 days but with few casualties. On the 13th day, the Mexican army broke through a breach in the courtyard’s outer wall. Santa Anna’s orders were to take no prisoners, and all but two of the defenders were killed. But the Texans had fought valiantly, with the Mexican forces suffering casualties estimated anywhere between 600 and 1,600. This final battle lasted about 90 minutes. • For the next three months, the Alamo
THE ALAMO (continued): was in the control of the Mexican army. In April of that year, 800 Texans led by Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna’s 1,500-man force near the site of present-day Houston. “Remember the Alamo!” was their battle cry as they attacked. • Over the course of its long history, the Alamo has served as a mission, military quarters, housing for American Indians, a hospital, army supply depot, jail, commercial store, Masonic lodge, movie set and historic tourist attraction. The 4.2-acre site in the heart of downtown San Antonio receives more than 2.5 million visitors each year. • “…I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country.” – Colonel William Barret Travis
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Three Simples Steps to Weight Loss
Far too many of us, women especially, can develop weight problems as we age. We’re less active. Menopause doesn’t help. We might have different eating patterns. Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have done a study that looked at self-monitoring as a way to reduce weight. The study results show how we can lose weight safely in three steps: 1) Keep a
journal that reports everything that’s eaten; 2) Don’t skip meals; and 3) Don’t go out to lunch. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it. They divided 123 overweight and obese senior women into two groups for the yearlong study: one group used diet and exercise, and the other only diet. Here’s what they learned: Women who kept journals of what they ate lost six pounds more than those who didn’t keep a journal. This appeared to be the most important of the three steps, and it makes sense. If we write down exactly what we eat, it’s easier to identify whether we’re meeting our goals. The trick is to be honest, and being honest means measuring portions and reading labels -- and always keeping your journal with you in case you do eat while away from home. Women who went out for lunch at least
1. Tommy John in 1978-79. 2. True. He had 189 victories in 13 A.L. seasons and 135 in 14 N.L. seasons. 3. It was 1967, under coach Murray Warmath. 4. Four seasons. 5. Rosaire Paiement, in 1968. 6. It was 1976 (Dave Marcis). 7. Roger Federer has won the event six times.
1. A human being and a horse 2. Wiki 3. Wood 4. Prince Aly Khan 5. St. Brendan 6. Sustained 7. Mayor Joe Quimby 8. Robert Jarvik 9. Norman Mailer 10. Leonardo da Vinci
once a week lost five pounds less than those who didn’t, or who ate lunch out less frequently. When you eat at a restaurant, you can’t control the size of the portions or how the food is cooked. Women who skipped meals lost eight pounds less than those who didn’t skip meals. Researchers weren’t sure why this was so, but it could be that being hungry leads to overeating or eating out. Eating at regular times gave the best success. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
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