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December 4, 2012 Published by PTK Corp.
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TIDBITS® PRESENTS SOME INTERESTING
WINTRY FACTS by Kathy Wolfe
Baby, it’s cold outside! As we head into the season of cold temperatures, Tidbits presents some interesting and informative facts about winter. • For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the first day of winter is the day the sun is farthest south, on either December 21 or 22. Also known as the Winter Solstice, it’s the shortest day of the year, with about 9.5 hours of daylight. • A snowflake starts out as an ice crystal that freezes around a tiny piece of dust in the air. It can be just one ice crystal, or as it falls, several crystals can join together. There are always six sides, and although two snowflakes may be very similar, none are exactly the same. The shape and form are dependent on the temperature, water vapor in the air, moisture content of the cloud, the wind, and the length of time it takes to reach the ground. Extremely cold weather produces very fine, powdery snowflakes, while temperatures near the freezing point cause much larger and more complex ones. The average snowflake falls at the rate of about 3.1 mph (5 km/ hr) and it can take several hours for one to make it to the ground. • The Guinness World Book of Records cites the world’s largest snowflake ever recorded as one that fell in Fort Keogh, Montana in January of 1887. This giant was 15 inches (38 cm) wide and 8 inches (20 cm) thick. • Although you might think every big snowstorm is a blizzard, the National Weather Service has a specific definition of one. The storm must contain “large amounts of snow or blowing snow, with winds in excess of 35 mph (56 km/hr) and visibilities of less than _ mile (.4 km) for at least three hours.” turn the page for more!
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What Keeps Us Young? A recent British study showed how those over 50 can stay young. American seniors aren’t so different, are we? Maybe we can learn a few things from their list of preferred activities across the pond. Food was big on the list. Trying new food, and eating sweets, spicy dishes and chocolate were all favored. To that I would add trying a new restaurant. Reading books that are challenging -- perhaps exploring new authors or another genre entirely -offers brain stretching. Beating younger relatives at games and socializing with grownup children and grandkids, perhaps at a first-run movie in the theater, helps us learn what they’re thinking and talking about. Playing practical jokes and watching stand-up comedy points to the necessity of finding things to laugh about. Exercise wasn’t left off the list. Yoga, Zumba, salsa dancing and cycling were favorites. One of the most popular ways to stay young, according to the survey, is to surf the Web, as it combines many favorite activities. That means owning electronic gadgets -- computers, e-readers like Kindle and iPhones (including apps) and iPads. These are all ways to connect and stay front and center in what’s going on in the world. Facebook can be a fun way to keep in touch online, as long as we’re aware of the dangers and use the right settings to control who accesses the page. Twitter can be challenging for those brave souls who can handle the flow of messages. One very notable characteristic of those in the survey: 40 percent considered themselves to be rebellious. We’re not afraid to think out of the box, are we? 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. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
Tidbits® of the River Region WINTRY FACTS (continued): • Those folks who are afraid of snow are called chionophobics. Their greatest fear is of being snowbound or stranded. A forecast of a winter storm can bring on cold sweats, racing heartbeat, and panic attacks. • The wind chill factor is the temperature felt on exposed skin due to wind. The wind chill index was developed by two Antarctic explorers in the 1940s, who experimented with how fast water froze in differing temps and wind speeds. This was then compared with the rate that the body loses heat. If the temperature is 0° F (-18° C) and the wind is blowing 30 mph (48 km/hr), it will feel like the temperature is -26° F (-32° C). Skin exposed to 0° F and only 15 mph (24 km/hr) will experience a wind chill of -19° F (-28° C) can freeze in as little as 30 minutes. • Hypothermia is a very real danger in many parts of the country this time of year. This condition occurs when the body’s temperature drops below 95° F (35° C). As the temperature decreases, the body automatically directs blood away from the skin, increasing flow to the vital organs. Since the heart and brain are the most sensitive to cold, a slowdown occurs in their electrical activity. Thinking and reasoning are affected, and the person has the desire to sleep as delirium sets in. When the body’s temperature reaches about 82° F (28° C), the heart rate substantially slows down, and if the temperature reaches 68° F (20° C) brain function stops. About half of all hypothermia deaths are people over 60 years old, with 75% of these occurring in men. • It’s been a long time since the record for a single day’s snowfall was set in the United States. Back in December of 1913, Georgetown, Colorado received 63 inches (1.6 meters) in one day. Canada’s record is much newer – 57 inches (1.45 meters) fell in Tahtsa Lake West, British Columbia in 1999. January of 1911 was a record-setting month in Tamarack, California – 390 inches (9.9 meters) of snow in a single month! Valdez, Alaska is the snowiest place in the U.S., averaging 326 inches (8.3 meters) a year. • Bethel, Maine’s claim to fame is tall snow
creatures! In 1999, the community planned for five months and labored 15 days to create Angus, a 113’ 7” (34.63 meter) tall snowman, the world’s tallest, overtaking the previous record set by the citizens of Yamagata, Japan, of 96’ 7”. Nine years later, Bethel rivaled their own record with the world’s tallest snow woman, a 122’ 1” (37 meters) creation named Olympia. Olympia sported eyelashes made from skis and lips fashioned from bright red painted tires. Her arms were crafted from pine trees. • Canadians are experts at making snow angels. In 2004, students, parents, and teachers from 60 schools in the London, Ontario district hit the ground to create 15,851 snow angels simultaneously. In 2011, 22,022 folks in 130 separate locations in Nova Scotia produced the most angels in multiple locations. • Chamonix, France hosted the first Winter Olympics for 11 days in early 1924. Sixteen nations sent a total of 258 athletes to “The International Winter Sports Week” to participate in 16 different events. Finland and Norway took the majority of the 43 medals, Norway with 17 and Finland, 11. The United States took home four medals, and Canada took home one, the gold for hockey, the first of a streak. Out of the first seven Olympic winter games, Canada took the gold medal in hockey six times. • Squaw Valley, California was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the skiers were more than a little nervous as the competition approached. The reason? There was no snow! A local Native American tribe, the Piute, were recruited to do a “snow dance,” and a miraculous storm produced the snow needed to save the Games. • More than 150 people are killed in the world’s avalanches each year. Although many are small slides of dry powdery snow that don’t create much damage, when large slabs of snow loosen from a mountainside, they can advance down a slope at speeds of 80 mph (130 km/ hr) within five seconds. About 93% of those caught in an avalanche can survive if rescued within 15 minutes. Just 30 minutes later, that survival rate drops to 20%-30%. After two hours, the rate is almost nil.
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1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided 1 teaspoon pepper, divided 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon sugar 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup cream, evaporated milk or buttermilk 1 cup chicken broth 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese 1 (9-inch) frozen pie crust
Chicken Pie Warms Up Winter Chicken pie has become one of my favorite comfortfood recipes. Savory pies date back to the Medieval era. Originally, the sole purpose of the double crust was to protect the ingredients from the metallic flavor of the pot. The crust wasn’t designed to be eaten and was discarded after the filling was cooked. This single-crust chicken pie recipe is a savory combination of modern convenience products and classic homemade touches. Use a leftover baked chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken, leftover cooked vegetables or frozen mixed vegetables, and a frozen pie crust to cut the prep time in half. The creamy sauce combined with the chicken and vegetable filling, and topped with a layer of sharp cheddar cheese turns this classic pie into a hearty, one-dish meal. The filling can be made in advance and either refrigerated or frozen. Just make sure that you heat the filling before sprinkling on the cheese and topping it with the pie crust. This savory chicken pie recipe is great way to warm up during a cold winter day. CHEDDAR CHEESE CHICKEN PIE 1 (2 to 2 1/2 pounds) cooked chicken, meat cut into chunks, skin and bones removed and discarded 1 stick butter, divided 1 medium onion, diced 3 stalks celery, diced 2 cloves garlic, diced 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen soup or stew vegetables 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, divided
Why Your Mortgage Might be Denied If your plan for the New Year involves getting ready to buy a home, you’ll need to make sure all your plans don’t fall apart at the last minute with a mortgage application that gets turned down. Go Banking Rates has compiled a list of 10 reasons that mortgages get rejected. 1. Too many jobs: If you’ve recently changed jobs or fields, have been unemployed or haven’t worked consistently in the past two years, your employment history
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish. 2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. 3. Stir in chicken and frozen vegetables, 1 teaspoon of the poultry seasoning and salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, the cayenne pepper and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken mixture from the skillet and place it in the prepared casserole dish. Set aside. 4. To make the sauce, melt 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Whisk flour and remaining teaspoon of poultry seasoning into the butter; turn heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown and thick, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to high and slowly whisk in the cream, evaporated milk or buttermilk. Whisk in chicken broth. Continue whisking until mixture thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper, and the nutmeg. 4. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken mixture, stirring to coat the mixture evenly. Sprinkle the chicken mixture with the cheese. Top the filling with the prepared pie crust, pressing the crust down around the edges of the dish to seal the crust over the filling. Cut three, 1-inch slits in center of the crust to allow steam to escape. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until crust is brown and golden. Serves 6 to 8. Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook and go to Hulu.com. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis
could be a problem. Some lenders insist that you’ve kept the same job, unless you were promoted. 2. Child support and alimony: If you don’t disclose that you make these kind of payments, the lender can find out just by calling the courthouse. These payments are considered debts and must be reported on your application. 3. New applications for credit: If you apply for new credit between the time you fill out a mortgage application and are approved for the mortgage, you’ll likely have problems. 4. Closing old credit accounts: Your credit utilization ratios and availability changes the minute you close an account. That skews the numbers lenders look at in deciding whether to give you a loan. Don’t touch old accounts. 5. Borrowing money for the down payment: If money has been given to you, don’t try to claim that you saved it. The lender will find out, and the loan will likely be denied. 6. Late dues by condo tenants: If you’re trying to buy a condo, the Federal Housing Administration insists that not more than 15 percent of the tenants be more than 60 days late in paying dues. 7. The loan is too small: If you’re seeking a loan of
$50,000 or less, you might be denied a mortgage. Making a small loan is not worth it to a lender. 8. Paying an old debt: If you had a debt go to collections long ago, and it rolled off your credit report because of the passing of time, paying that debt now will reactivate it. Your lender will see it as recent negative activity. 9. Differing FICO scores: If you send away for your FICO score, it’s not likely that the lender will get the same number from its sources. 10. Secondary market: If your loan is to be sold on the secondary market, the qualification standards will be stricter. For more information, go online to GoBankingRates. com. 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 columnreply@ gmail.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
Tidbits® of the River Region
by Samantha Weaver * It was the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, who made the following observation: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” * Those who study such things say that a rainbow can’t be seen at midday; the optical phenomena are visible only in the morning or in the late afternoon. * In 1982, a radio station in Allentown, Pa., thought its rating could use a bit of a boost, so it came up with a contest: Three contestants, selected at random, would live on top of one of the station’s billboards (portable toilets and sleeping bags were provided). The last one to give up would be awarded a mobile home. The problem was, nobody wanted to give up. The three men who climbed to the top of the sign at the end of September were still there come March 1983. In that month, one of the contestants was arrested for dealing drugs, but the remaining two stayed aloft until May. Once the freezing winter was finally over, the radio station decided to declare both of the men winners. * As the end of the year approaches, you might consider an old British tradition of fortunetelling. Light a candle, place it on the floor and jump over it. If the flame does not go out, you’re likely to enjoy good luck during the coming year. * If you’re like the average American, you use between 75 and 100 gallons of water every day. * The Sahara Desert is nearly as large as the continental United States. *** Thought for the Day: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” -- W.C. Fields (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
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Find the Right Gifts for Dogs or Cats by Samantha Mazzotta
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My daughter and her family have two big dogs and a cat. I like giving gifts to the pets as well as my grandkids. Do you have any suggestions? -- Tammy, via email DEAR TAMMY: Anything that looks cozy, fun and safe for pets is a good bet. I’ve always appreciated even small gifts like a cute bandanna for my dog or small catnip toys for my cat. If you’re looking for gifts beyond stocking stuffers, here are some that most pet owners will appreciate: --Dog and cat beds: These range in price from about $15 on up to a few hundred dollars. Look for a sturdy fabric covering that is easy to brush fur from, and stuffing that can’t be easily pulled out and chewed on. --Cat furniture: From a simple padded windowsill seat to “kitty condo” play complexes that cats can wander through, cat owners appreciate these combination scratching posts and rest areas.
--Travel safety: A number of products have come on the market to keep dogs and cats safe in the car, from traditional travel crates to adapted seat belts that keep Fido securely in his seat. --Toys: For your daughter’s big dogs, sturdy chew toys are probably welcome. I still really like Kong chew toys, which are nearly impossible to damage and can be filled with peanut butter or another treat. For cats, something beyond the catnip mouse could include one of Bergan’s “Turbo Tracks,” in which a ball inset in a round or figureeight track scoots around with every swipe of the paw. No matter which gift you choose, or if you decide to just give small, inexpensive gifts to your daughter’s pets, I’m sure they’ll be appreciated. Send your questions or comments to ask@ pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner. com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
This week’s winner receives $65 Gift
Certificate from Wadsworth Christmas Tree Farm
Register to win at www.riverregiontidbits.com and click on “Tommy Tidbits”. Fill out the registration information and tell us how many times Tommy appears in ads in the paper for this week. From the correct entries, a winner will be selected. You must be 18 years of age to qualify. The gift certificates will range in value from $25 to $50 each week. Entries must be received at the website by midnight each Saturday evening or at PTK Corp, PO Box 264, Wetumpka, AL 36092.
Last Week’s Ads where
Tommy was hiding:
1. Wadsworth Christmas Tree Farm, p. 7
Tommy Tidbits Winners Circle
Judy McDonald Paula Jackson $65 Gift Certificate $65 Gift Certificate Issue 11/6/2012
Sherry Thorne Donna Aldridge $65 Gift Certificate $65 Gift Certificate Issue 11/20/2012
Tidbits® of the River Region
Preserve Your Choices With Long-Term Care Insurance
by Keyesta Sherman, State Farm® Agent Choices: Most people value the ability to make choices. Whether choosing the car you drive or where you live, choices mean flexibility. You probably want that same flexibility when making choices about your future- especially when it comes to health care. Having long- term care insurance will help preserve your ability to make these important choices. What is long- term care? Simply stated, long term care refers to the services you may need when you’re no longer able to care for yourself and need assistance with activities of daily living. You may need assistance after an injury, illness, stroke or disease. Long term care insurance can help pay the cost of care for services in your home, in the community, or in a nursing home. Paying for long- term care services could affect your future plans and choices in health care if you aren’t properly prepared. If you weren’t able to care for yourself, would it be important to have the flexibility to make choices and control your independence? With proper planning, you may have the ability to receive care in your home, in your community or in the facility of your choice. In my opinion, serious consideration should be given to long-term care insurance as part of a solid financial plan. This means taking steps to help protect what you’ve worked so hard to accumulate through saving and investing. Anyone, no matter what age, could need long-term care services at some point in life. Consider these statistics regarding the potential need for long-term care: 40% of people receiving long-term care services are working-age adults under age 65 (Source: Department of Health & Human Services, Special Committee on Aging- U.S. Senate) More than 70% of people over the age of 65 may need some form of home health care. (Source: Lewin Group) Most Americans are unable to save enough to cover the high cost of long-term care services on their own. Nationally, the annual cost of a nursing home stay is about $56,000 and is expected to quadruple by 2030. (Source: Health Care Financing Administration) Long –term care insurance can help pay these costs and allows you to maintain control while preserving your choices. With the possibility of needing long-term care and the high costs associated, the next question is how will you afford it? Will you pay for it yourself? If you have a large estate, you may be able to cover potential costs on your own. However, for most people, long-term care services could quickly devastate income, retirement savings and other assets. Will you depend on Medicare of Medicaid? Medicare does not cover most long-term care services. Medicaid is designed to help the poorest in our community; you would have to meet strict guidelines for your income and assets. Will you depend on your family? For many people, this may be the only option. Talking with your family will help you decide if they have the resources, expertise, time and willingness to provide for your care. Should long-term care insurance be part of your plan? Many people are choosing a long-term care insurance policy to help pay the cost of their care. It can be a cost-effective way to ensure you have choices in your health care. As a State Farm* agent, my mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. I believe long-term care insurance is part of this mission. Even if you don’t talk to me about long-term care insurance, talk to someone. It’s that important. To learn more about preserving your choices for care, contact me or another professional.
Christmas Butter Cookies 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (no substitutions), softened 1/2 cup sugar 1 large egg 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder Assorted colored granulated sugars for decorating Ornamental frosting, optional 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high, beat until light and creamy. At low speed, beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour and baking powder just until blended. 2. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Wrap each piece with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour. 3. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of dough 1/8 inch thick. With floured 2- to 3-inch assorted cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible, wrap and refrigerate trimmings. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on large ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle cookies with colored sugar now if you like, or frost after baking. 4. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings. 5. When cookies are cool, use frosting to decorate cookies as desired. Sprinkle colored sugars as desired on frosting before it dries. Allow frosting to dry completely, about 1 hour. Store cookies in tightly covered container up to 2 weeks. Yields 96 cookies. * Each serving (1 cookie with frosting or decoration): About 40 calories, 2g total fat (1g saturated), 7mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium, 5g total carbs, 0g dietary fiber, 1g protein. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/. (c) 2012 Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved
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* On Dec. 18, 1777, the new United States celebrates its first national day of thanksgiving, commemorating the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga after the surrender of Gen. John Burgoyne and 5,000 British troops that October. * On Dec. 22, 1808, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony has its world premiere in Vienna. The concert venue was freezing cold and the orchestra played poorly enough to force the nearly deaf composer -- also acting as conductor and pianist -- to stop the ensemble partway into one passage and start again from the very beginning. * On Dec. 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, N.C., Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight of a self-propelled aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight. * On Dec. 19, 1917, four teams of the National Hockey League play the league’s first two games. At the time of its inception, the NHL was made up of the Canadiens and the Wanderers (both of Montreal), the Ottawa Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs and the Toronto Arenas. * On Dec. 23, 1968, the crew and captain of the U.S. intelligence gathering ship Pueblo are released after 11 months imprisonment by the government of North Korea. The ship, and its 83-man crew, was seized by warships on Jan. 23 and charged with intruding into North Korean waters. * On Dec. 21, 1970, rock star Elvis Presley pays a surprise visit to President Richard Nixon at the White House to discuss the war on drugs. Presley apparently was not searched before being granted admission: Upon meeting Nixon, he presented the president with a gift -- a World War II-era Colt .45 pistol. * On Dec. 20, 1989, “Roger & Me,” a documentary by Michael Moore about his quest to interview Roger Smith, then chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors, opens in theaters. The film examines the devastating impact on the people of Moore’s hometown of Flint, Mich., following the closing of several General Motors auto plants in the area. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
To Your Good Health By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.
Cancer Vaccine for Young Girls DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Please advise about the Gardasil vaccine. My granddaughter just turned 18 (to date, no sexual activity -- really) and begins college next year. Her doctor is pushing the vaccine for her and for her just-turned-14 sister. I value your common-sense approach to medical issues. What do you recommend? -- S.B. ANSWER: Without any hesitation, I recommend wholeheartedly the vaccine for protection against the human papillomavirus. It’s the virus that causes cervical cancer. Gardasil protects against the most common strains of cancer-causing papillomavirus, strains 16 and 18. This vaccine is a medical breakthrough. Never has there been a vaccine for protection from any cancer. Your granddaughters are not too young. The recommendation suggests that the vaccine be given when a girl is 11 or 12, but it can still be given up to age 26. For best effectiveness, it should be given before a girl has had any sexual encounters. The human papillomavirus is extremely widespread, and exposure to the virus before the vaccine has been given lessens the vaccine’s ability to protect against the virus and the cancer it causes. A second papillomavirus vaccine is also on the market. It’s called Cervarix. The booklet on cervical cancer and Pap smears discusses these topics in greater detail. It does not discuss the vaccines. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 1102W, Box 536475,
Tidbits® of the River Region 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 three to four weeks for delivery. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have a question about diabetes. My husband has it. He saw a doctor on a television program who said that taking 2 teaspoons of red vinegar at lunch and dinner lowers your blood sugar a lot. Do you think this is true? Should sweetener be added, or water? -- N.F. ANSWER: I believe you’re referring to the work of Carol Johnston, Ph.D., a professor in the nutrition department of Arizona State University. She showed that taking 2 tablespoons of vinegar before or during a meal lowers the sudden spike in blood sugar that happens with eating. Such spikes are not good if they are very high and occur often. They disturb blood sugar control. This isn’t a cure for diabetes. It might be a help for sugar control. Your husband should not stop using his diabetes medicines or abandon his diabetic diet. I don’t know why the TV doctor insisted on red vinegar. Dr. Johnston didn’t. You can take the vinegar along with olive oil as a salad dressing. You can dilute it in water if you want. You can add an artificial sweetener to it if the sweetener doesn’t say not to. And you can start with the TV doctor’s recommendation of 2 teaspoons instead of 2 tablespoons. See if the 2 teaspoons work. If it doesn’t, increase the dose until you reach the 2 tablespoons. Are you sure your husband tolerates vinegar? I guess there’s only one way to find out. *** 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. (c) 2012 North America Synd., Inc. All Rights Reserved
CHICHEN ITZA Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is home to the ancient ruins of the most famous Mayan city, Chichen Itza. Here are some enlightening facts about this site, named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. • One of the largest Mayan cities, Chichen Itza covered an area of at least 1.9 square miles (5 sq. km). It was an active urban center of the Mayan empire from 750 to 1200 A.D. • The ancient Mayan civilization displayed brilliant mathematical and astronomical skills. They were keen observers of the sun, moon, planets, and stars, even predicting solar eclipses from their state-of-the-art observatory, El Caracol, which still stands at the site today. • The most familiar structure at Chichen Itza is the Kukulkan Pyramid, also known as El Castillo. This 98-foot (30-m) tall ceremonial temple is a specimen of this civilization’s development of the 365-day calendar. It has 365 steps rising to the top, with each of its four sides containing 91 steps and the top platform making the 365th. Enormous sculptures of a serpents’ heads are at the base of the pyramid on the northern staircase, the principal sacred path to the top. The temple is geographically positioned so that twice a year, on the spring and autumn equinoxes, at sunset, a shadow falls on the pyramid that makes it appear that the serpent Kukulkan is making its way down the stairway. Seven interlocking triangles form a serrated line that resembles the serpent’s tail. • El Castillo was not the first temple to occupy the site. Built sometime between 1000 and 1200 A.D., it was constructed on the foundation of previous temples. Archaeological digs in the 1930s uncovered another staircase under the north side of the pyramid, and continuing the dig, found another temple buried below. • Near the pyramid is a large ball court, 554 feet (168 meters) long and 231 feet (70 meters) wide. It was here that Mayan men played pok ta pok, a game in which players hit or threw a 12-lb. (5.4-kg) rubber ball through a hoop mounted high on the wall, 23 feet (7 meters) above the ground. Archaeologists believe the losers were put to death. • Nearly everyone has heard the Mayan prophecy of the end of the world occurring in December of 2012. The prediction is that the great warrior serpent Kukulkan will rise from the ground under the ball court and end the world on the 22nd of the month. • Very large gatherings were held at the Temple of the Warriors, an enormous complex with a large stepped pyramid, four platforms, and 200 carved columns. Thousands of artifacts have been recovered from the area, including gold, carved jade, pottery, obsidian, rubber, flint, and human skeletons. • It’s evident that human sacrifices were part of the culture. Chichen Itza, which translates “mouth of the well,” was settled around two wells, one a sacred place, and the other for everyday use. Large quantities of bones and ceremonial objects have been recovered from the sacred well during excavation. • About 1.2 million tourists visit Chichen Itza every year. Until 2006, visitors were allowed to walk through the buildings’ ruins and climb the pyramids. However, after a woman fell to her death from El Castillo that year, people are no longer permitted on the structures.***
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good bet that someone on your street has it for you to borrow. If you don’t know your neighbors well enough to ask, maybe you should start planning a get-to-know-you party right now. * Need a quick batch of cookies? Keep a box mix of cake on hand. Instead of the listed ingredients, add two eggs and a half-cup of oil to the mix. Mix and shape, then bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. They are really good, and you can get pretty creative.
* Inexpensive gift idea: On the front of an empty photo album or scrapbook, print out and arrange color photos of your recipient in a collage. Glue the photos to the front of the album and cover with a decoupage glaze, like Mod Podge. Let dry and glaze again. You’ve just made a one-of-a-kind gift!
* Inexpensive gift idea: cute holiday coffee mug with a bar of chocolate, a packet of hot cocoa or instant coffee, a peppermint stick and a decorative holiday pick or spray. Place inside a gallon-size zipper-top bag, tie with a ribbon, then trim off the zipper-top, leaving just the plastic. Looks nice.
* “When holiday cookie time comes, I keep a plastic pitcher of hot water in the sink. I toss cookie cutters into it when I am done with them, so the corners are soaking. They really seem to only need a rinse and a quick brushoff afterward. Mine don’t get caked up with dough.” -- Jill C., via email
* Instead of going out and buying extra items to have on hand for guests, just borrow from your neighbors. Extra towels, place settings, silverware, kitchen appliances: It’s a pretty
Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475 or e-mail JoAnn at email@example.com.
Essential Gifts for Do-It-Yourselfers By Samantha Mazzotta
It’s that time of year again, when you’ve got to think of gifts for friends and family that will be appreciated. Luckily, it’s easy to pick out gifts for the do-it-yourselfers. Most DIYers will outright tell you what they need, or you can casually survey their workspace to see what is not there. If you’re a DIYer who really wants something, here are a few things you can drop a hint about: --Power tools: The key word with handheld power tools is “rechargeable.” While corded power tools provide a consistent flow of electricity and reliable power, cordless drills are DIYers’ go-to standard because they can simply pull them off the charger and use them anywhere, no need to look for an outlet or extension cord. Prices: $40 to $249 --Portability: Most DIYers have more than one toolbox and, as their tool collection grows, they’re always on the lookout for one that
meets their carry-around needs. Consider tucking a spare tool belt and some basic staples like a tape measure and screwdriver set into a durable toolbox. Prices: $8 to $90 --Spares: While it’s impossible to have an extra of everything, extra screws, nuts, bolts, nails and other hardware are essential to have around. Look for combination kits like picture hanger assortments, specialty nail and screw sizes, and cabinet and drawer hardware like handles and hinges for emergency repairs. --Cleanup: A wet/dry vacuum is an important and versatile part of any workshop. If your DIYer doesn’t have one of these yet, there are affordable models available. Prices: $49 to $400 HOME TIP: “I never ask my husband directly what tools or items he wants for Christmas. Instead, I ask him about the project he’s working on. There’s always some tool or part he’s missing; I just note it down and buy it for him.” -Tara L., Richmond, Va. My new e-book, “101 Best Home Tips,” is available to download on Amazon Kindle! Pick it up or gift it today for just 99 cents! Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
Tidbits® of the River Region
1. Name the only stadium that is currently home to an NFL team and a majorleague baseball team. 2. Who played more games with one team: Brooks Robinson or Robin Yount? 3. Name the first team in college football history to be voted a unanimous No. 1 in both the media and coaches polls. 4. When was the last time the Hawks were in the NBA Finals? 5. Name the last time an NHL team won the Stanley Cup while having no player reach the 60-point mark during the regular season. 6. What was the last vehicle other than a Toyota to win a NASCAR Truck series race at Daytona International Speedway? 7. Name the last married woman to win a singles title at Wimbledon.
1. Is the book of Matthew in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. Who was Herod’s information source as to where the Christ Child was to be born? Joseph, Reuben, Micah, Matthew 3. From Luke 2:13, what term describes an army of angels praising God? Heavenly host, Covenant, Spirit multitude, Manoah 4. What group received the angels’ announcement of the birth of Jesus? Carpenters, Shepherds, Tentmakers, Masons 5. Where was the young child when the Magi came to visit Him to present gifts? Manger, Under the stars, House, Temple 6. From Matthew 2, to what country did Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus flee? Jordan, Syria, Oman, Egypt
Athletes & Hypnosis
Hypnosis or visualization in athletic competition has existed for decades. One of the earliest reports of sports hypnosis was in 1956, the Russians utilized hypnotists to assist athletes to develop mental clarity and visualization at the Melbourne Olympics. It took the U.S. until the mid 60’s to come on board and match mental skills with several countries. Every sports activity involves concentration, mental rehearsal and psychological approaches to overcome obstacles. Decisions and changes in physical movement must be performed instantly or subconsciously. Selftalk and feedback from coaches and others are types of suggestions that can bypass the analytical mind and have a constructive or sabotaging effect. There is no more powerful way to create drive for winning and stop loosing behavior than hypnosis. For local assistance and a free consultation, review www.hypnosisworksnow.com and call
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Celebrate More, Stress Less Is the rush, rush, rush of the holiday season giving you a bah-humbug attitude? Now is the week to take a breather, relax and enjoy what already awaits you and your family in your own community. Discover how busy local elves have been, working all year long to plan a cultural feast of crafts, concerts and colossal events for us all. You also might be inspired to create your own simple versions of holiday delights when you get back home. Here are some ideas to warm up the season: --Treat your family to an early Christmas gift with tickets to a holiday performance in your area. Traditional favorites include “The Nutcracker,” Handel’s “Messiah,” “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and “The Little Match Girl.” Before you attend the performance, familiarize your children with what they will see and hear. Visit your public library for a version in the form of a book, CD or DVD, or check for excerpts online. Enjoy discussing the background of the work, including the historical period it represents. If you are preparing for a musical, listen to a recording and notice your children begin to hum their favorite melodies. After you attend the performance, encourage your children to produce their own version by pulling out clothes and hats from a dress-up box and re-enacting a favorite scene. --Take in holiday events at historic sites and museums. Make a traditional craft from another country to decorate your home, prepare a tasty treat that the early pioneers made on wood-burning stoves, or discover how Christmas was celebrated in a 1900s logging or mining camp while you breathe in the brisk winter air on a horse-drawn wagon. --Let music soothe holiday stress right at home. Heat up cups of hot cider and create your own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Now hundreds of years old, this yuletide carol continues to delight all ages. Spice up the familiar version and make your own verses such as: 12 grandmas baking, 11 children singing, 10 dads a-shoveling, 9 pairs of mittens, etc. --Let visions of sugar plums dance in their heads. Gather quilts and pillows, and let kids sleep beside your twinkling Christmas tree. *** Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.” (c) 2012 Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Synd.
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BIBLE TRIVIA ANSWERS:
1) New; 2) Micah; 3) Heavenly host; 4) Shepherds; 5) House; 6) Egypt
1. The Oakland Coliseum (A’s and Raiders). 2. Robinson played 2,896 games with the Orioles; Yount played 2,856 games with the Brewers. 3. Southern Cal, in 1972. 4. In 1961, the Hawks (then in St. Louis) lost to Boston in five games. 5. The New Jersey Devils in 2003. 6. Mark Martin drove a Ford to victory at Daytona in 2006. 7. Chris Evert Lloyd, in 1981.
Tidbits速 of the River Region