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April 8 2014 Published by PTK Corp.

of the River Region

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ARMADILLOS by Patricia L. Cook The Spanish word armadillo means “little armored one.” There are twenty species of the odd looking mammals that wear hard shell-like armor. • Armadillos are not rodents or marsupials and are unrelated to opossums as well. They are mammals, with bony plates covering their back, head, and legs. Most also have bony plates or rings covering their tails. They are the only living mammals with such coverings. • Armadillos originated in South America, which is where most are still residing. The only species in the United States is the nine-banded armadillo, which is found mostly in the southeastern states. They are about the size of an average house cat, ranging in length from 24-31 inches (61-79 cm) and weigh between 8 and 15 pounds (3-7 kg). • The nine-banded armadillo has been spotted as far north as Illinois and Kansas. So far, the northeastern, western and cold northern states have not had to deal with the armored critters. Canadians will probably never see them unless they come south to visit! • Armadillos lack sufficient body fat, especially newborn pups, to endure cold weather. They cannot survive temperatures averaging 28° F (-2°C) or lower. • Along with their need for warm weather, armadillos also need water. They tend to be found in woody areas, grasslands, wetlands and areas with thorny brush. • Armadillos can wreak havoc on lawns and fields. They are considered pests by homeowners and farmers. The biggest threats to armadillos are humans in cars and their pets; mainly dogs who easily catch and kill young and old armadillos. Most of the animals that humans see are the dead carcasses on roadways. Their inability to get out of the way of automobiles has earned them the nickname “Hillbilly Speed Bumps!” • A notable reaction when nine-banded armadillos are frightened is that they will actually jump up with their arms up (as in a “hands in the air, you’re under arrest” pose). When autos hit these critters in the road, it is not usually the tires that hit them but the front bumpers and grills when they jump up! turn the page for more!

Vol 3 Issue 14 paul@riverregiontidbits.com


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Tidbits® of the River Region ARMADILLOS (continued): • Another nickname given to armadillos during the Great Depression of the 1920’s was “Hoover Hogs.” This was because of the promise made by President Herbert Hoover that he would put “a chicken in every pot” for Americans. Many poor people turned to armadillos in their pots due to the collapse of the US economy after World War I. • Some people in the southern states still eat armadillo. Also, in many Central and South American areas armadillo meat is part of the average diet. Connoisseurs say they taste like high-quality, finegrained pork. • Armadillos are not blind but have very poor eyesight. Their ears and noses help them find food and escape from predators. Humans can sometimes quietly watch armadillos without being noticed. • Because of their armor, armadillos are not very flexible. Only one of the twenty species, the threebanded armadillo has the ability to roll itself into a ball to hide from predators. This species has a head shaped like a teardrop that seals the armor when it rolls up. All of the others use speed and their digging abilities to escape from danger. • All armadillos are fast diggers, with their long claws. However, if they can’t dig under something, they will climb over. They have been observed climbing fences and trees! • Armadillos are good swimmers as well. They can hold their breath for about 6 minutes! They typically “dog paddle” and can also walk along the bottom of smaller bodies of water. When crossing larger rivers or lakes, they swim. Since their armor is heavy, they gulp air to fill their intestines and give themselves buoyancy. Pretty clever little critters! This ability is probably one way they managed to migrate north from South America. • Warm-blooded, but with low body fat and thin shells, armadillos can’t maintain their body temperatures as most mammals can. This can turn the normally nocturnal animals into diurnal when the weather is cooler. (Nocturnal – active at night; diurnal – active during the day). • With the twenty different species there are differences in size and appearance. The ones found in the U.S., appear naked under their armor. They actually do have a sparse bit of hair on their undersides. • Pink fairy armadillos are the smallest species; only about 3 inches (8cm) in length. They are mostly furry with very little shell. These interesting creatures look like moles wearing a cape and armored headdress! • The largest armadillo species is called, not surprisingly, the giant armadillo. They can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long and weigh as much as 132 pounds (60 kg)! They have 11-13 movable bands on their main shells and 3-4 on their necks. They have up to 100 teeth which are shed as they age. • All armadillos have teeth that are like pegs and don’t have enamel; hence they are not very hard or strong. Armadillos are from the order of mammals called Edentata (or Xenarthra) which is a descriptive adjective that means “lacking teeth.” They actually may have teeth but many times there are no front teeth and very few or no back teeth. Other mammals from the order that are also found in Central and South America are anteaters and sloths. • An unusual happening with the nine-banded species is that they are the only known mammals that give birth to four identical babies. (Rarely there will be 3 or 5 instead of 4 but they are always identical.) This birth phenomenon is known as “polyembryony.” The identical quadruplets provide medical researchers with valuable models for studying multiple births in humans. • Nine-banded armadillos have another strange ability concerning their young. They can delay birth after fertilization for up to two years. Another peculiarity about young pups is that they will make a weak purring noise when they attempt to nurse a female that is not their mother. • The nine-banded species have been heard making other odd noises. They have a low, wheezy grunt when they dig and burrow or are captured; a buzzing noise when they are alarmed or are trying to escape; and sometimes a pig-like squeal when frightened.


“Be known before you’re needed” Advertise with Tidbits (334) 202-7285 NIA VARDALOS Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on September 24, 1962, Antonia Eugenia Vardalos is most widely known for her starring role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding in 2002. She goes by the shortened version of her first and middle names, Nia. • Vardalos has always had an outgoing personality. She started performing at the Rainbow Stage, a local theater company. Her work there helped her secure a scholarship to Ryerson University in Toronto in 1986. • In 1988, Vardalos joined Toronto’s Second City theater troupe. She moved to Chicago’s famous Second City troupe shortly after. From there she settled in Los Angeles and started landing bit parts on sitcoms, including The Drew Carey Show. She also had a good role on Team Knight Rider. • Vardalos’ biggest success, so far, was when her one-woman play, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, became a hit independent film in 2002. She drew on her eccentric Greek upbringing and stories from her Greek friends, to write the play. When actress Rita Wilson and her husband, Tom Hanks, agreed to back her film it became the surprise hit of the year. With only a $5 million budget, small compared to most hits, the film drew record numbers of viewers by word-of-mouth with hardly any television or billboard advertising. • CBS ran a sitcom to follow the movie in February, 2003, called My Big Greek Life. It featured many from the movie’s cast but only had a brief run. • Vardalos has had other successes in writing and acting, including Connie and Carla and I Hate Valentine’s Day. She starred in My Life in Ruins, and co-wrote Larry Crowne, with Tom Hanks. • Vardalos married Ian Gomez on September 5, 1993. Obvious from her writing about families and her Greek upbringing emphasizing the importance of family, Nia and Ian wanted children. • After struggling with infertility for over ten years, including 13 failed In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures, Vardalos and Gomez looked into adoption. After noticing a billboard about foster care adoption near her home in Los Angeles that she’d driven by many times, and many frustrations with regular adoption routes, the two decided to check the system out. • Surprisingly, the two welcomed a three-year-old little girl in 2008, with only 14-hours’ notice! Little Ilaria had been a foster child since birth. According to a People Magazine interview in April, 2013, Vardalos “knew she was meant to be the little girl’s mother,” the first time she saw her. She whispered in little Ilaria’s ear, “I will always take care of you.” • Vardalos is now not only an actress and writer of movies and plays but in April, 2013, her book, Instant Mom, hit bookstores. Vardalos is a proponent of foster care adoptions and feels “a responsibility to use my big fat mouth to talk about this issue!” The book is full of humor and honesty about the difficulties of becoming a parent and parenting once you have a child. She says this is “the book I wished was out there when I was searching for credible information on adoption.” The proceeds from the sale of her book are donated to charity. • This humorous Greek Canadian actress still acts in film and television projects while being a mom and wife. She also stays busy answering questions about her book and the joys of adoption.

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Tidbits® of the River Region

* On April 27, 1667, blind poet John Milton sells the copyright to his masterpiece “Paradise Lost” for a mere 10 pounds. Once printed, the poem was immediately hailed as a masterpiece of the English language. In 1671, he wrote “Paradise Regained,” followed by “Samson Agonistes.” He died in 1674. * On April 25, 1859, at Port Said, Egypt, ground is broken for the Suez Canal, an artificial waterway intended to stretch 101 miles across the isthmus of Suez and connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas. When it opened, the Suez Canal was only 25 feet deep, 72 feet wide at the bottom, and 200 feet to 300 feet wide at the surface. Fewer than 500 ships navigated it in its first year of operation. * On April 24, 1863, the Union army issues General Order No. 100, which provided a code of conduct for Federal soldiers and officers when dealing with Confederate prisoners and civilians. It became the standard for international military law. * On April 22, 1915, German forces shock Allied soldiers along the Western front by firing more than 150 tons of lethal chlorine gas against two French colonial divisions. The Germans, perhaps as shocked as the Allies by the devastating effects of the poison gas, failed to take full advantage, and the Allies held most of their positions. * On April 23, 1961, Judy Garland plays Carnegie Hall in what has been called “the greatest night in showbiz history.” The concert took place on the one night a week that Broadway performers have off -- Sunday night -- and the audience was therefore a friendly one.

Juanita Shonte Burney DOB: 10/31/1975 Black/Female 5’3” 203 lbs Hair: Black Eyes: Brown

Outstanding Warrants: Theft of Property II

* On April 26, 1977, Studio 54, the most famous nightclub in the world, opens its doors. The venue became famous for openly and shamelessly excluding all but the most chic, famous or beautiful patrons. Studio 54’s golden era lasted less than three years. * On April 21, 1980, Rosie Ruiz, age 26, finishes first in the women’s division of the Boston Marathon. Eight days later Ruiz was stripped of her victory after race officials learned she jumped into the race about a mile before the finish line. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

Joshua D Baker White/Male 5’8” 142 lbs Hair: Brown Eyes: Hazel

Outstanding Warrants: Failure to appear on the charge of Possession of Marihuana 2nd


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“Be known before you’re needed” Advertise with Tidbits (334) 202-7285 BILLBOARDS Outdoor billboard advertising actually began when lithography was invented in 1796. Smart business men and women wanted the public to know about their goods and services. • The earliest use of large format billboards (in excess of 50 square feet or 4.6 square meters) was when Jared Bell printed circus posters in 1835, in New York. • Leasing of billboards began in 1867, the start of an American industry. The Associated Bill Posters’ Association of the U.S. and Canada formed in Chicago in 1891. After several changes, the association has been known as the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) for years. OAAA celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2011. • By 1900, companies wanted to advertise soaps, toothpaste, breakfast cereals and more. At that time, standard billboards were created in America. Many billboards were erected with mass production and placement along streets and highways. • During World War I billboards promoted having troops and supplies ready for conflict. After the war, the large advertisements communicated peace and improving life. • The practice of giving away free advertising space for public service messages started in 1913. Companies owning billboards are still encouraged to fill “open boards” with positive messages helpful for the general health and welfare of the public. • Burma Shave, a shaving cream company, had a very successful road sign campaign that started in the 1920s using sets of six wooden signs about 100 feet (30 m) apart along roadways across the country. Catchy jingles secured the company’s profits and its placement in history. They were on the roads until 1963. • One of the best advertising campaigns in the world started when a small drugstore in South Dakota encouraged motorists to pull over for free ice water! When Ted and Dorothy Hustead bought the store in 1931, naming it Wall Drug, they struggled to get customers to stop as they drove by. Located near the South Dakota Badlands and Mount Rushmore, now there are more than 2.2 million visitors a year! Their small signs, patterned after Burma Shave, encouraged people to stop for water and 5¢ coffee… still available today! • Times Square in New York City is known for its large (some say obnoxious!) billboards. The area has been the center of the Theater District of the city since World War I, and has attracted millions of visitors from the world over since that time. Advertisers recognized it as a prime place for billboards early on. Owned originally by the New York Times Newspaper, the paper occupied the building for less than10 years. • The first large electric billboard was installed at Times Square in 1917. The first historical signage occurred in 1928 when the New York Times encircled the building with the first “zipper” headliner. The sign announced Herbert Hoover’s victory as President of the United States. • The Times building is not occupied by tenants anymore. When the current owners looked at renovating, it was decided that the building would just be used as a sign tower. Over 90% of the building is covered in advertisements. • One of the most noteworthy signs now gracing Times Square is an eco-sign project for Ricoh, a Japanese company. The sign uses wind, solar and batteries for operation. The first sign of this type was installed by Ricoh in Osaka, Japan in 2003.

Bethney Dean

Tommy Count ______ This week’s winner receives a $25 Gift Certificate from

Plantation House Restaurant Register to win at www.riverregiontidbits.com and click on “Tommy Tidbits” or click the QRCode above. 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. Affordable Hearing, p. 3 2. Dave the Bugman Thompson, p. 7 3. Copy Copy Copy, p. 8

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334-322-9643

Tammy Woodall won a $25 Gift Certificate Issue 3/4/2014

Becky Burton won a $25 Gift Certificate Issue 3/11/2014

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Patricia Barron won Family Pack (2 adults/2 children) Issue 3/25/2014


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Tidbits® of the River Region

1. Who were the last teammates before Baltimore’s Manny Machado and Chris Davis in 2013 to lead the A.L. in doubles and home runs in the same season? 2. How many times did New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio have seasons of more RBIs than games played? 3. Who holds the Pac-12 record for most touchdown passes in a season? 4. In 2013, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan became the fourth player to play in the NBA Finals during three different decades. Name two of the other three. 5. When was the last time before the 2013-14 season that the Philadelphia Flyers won at least 10 consecutive games at home in regulation? 6. How many times has a Tour de France bicycling champion come from Great Britain? 7. Who gave heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali his second professional defeat?

1. Is the book of Iscariot in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. What’s the only book of the Bible (KJV) that mentions Christ’s tomb being sealed? Matthew, Mark, Luke, John 3. When Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” came upon the risen Jesus, whom did He ask them to inform? Priests, Disciples, No One, Villagers 4. Which disciple doubted Jesus had risen unless he could see the wounds? Peter, Andrew, Thomas, Thaddeus 5. From Acts 1, how long did Jesus remain after His resurrection before He ascended into heaven? Instantaneously, 1 hour, 7 days, 40 days 6. As found in Mathew 27:5, what happened to Judas, the betrayer of Jesus? Fled into night, Stoned to death, Jumped from cliff, Hanged himself


“Be known before you’re needed” Advertise with Tidbits (334) 202-7285

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by Samantha Weaver * It was Benjamin Franklin who made the following sage observation: “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” * If you’re like 87 percent of American adults, you use the Internet. The only thing I find surprising about this statistic is that there are 13 percent of adults who “don’t” use it. * In a recent survey, more Americans said they would have a hard time giving up the Internet than said they’d have a hard time giving up TV. * Those interested in maritime history (and practically everyone else, for that matter) are familiar with the story of the Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank on the night of April 15, 1912. It’s interesting to note, though, that in 1898 a book called “Futility,” by Morgan Robertson, described an almost identical scenario: The ship in the novel was called Titan, and, like the Titanic, it was trying to break a speed record for crossing the Atlantic. The Titan was declared to be unsinkable, and it didn’t have enough lifeboats for all the passengers. On its fictional voyage in the month of April, it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sank, resulting in the deaths of almost all the passengers. * In Ireland, the police do not carry firearms. Their only weapons are batons and pepper spray. * In 1943, then-chairman of IBM, Thomas Watson, went on the record saying, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” * If you’re afraid of sharks, you might want to consider this tidbit: Every year, more people are killed by bees than by sharks. *** Thought for the Day: “In this world, you must be a bit too kind to be kind enough.” -- Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

BIBLE TRIVIA ANSWERS:

1) Neither; 2) Matthew; 3) Disciples; 4) Thomas; 5) 40 days; 6) Hanged himself

1. Lou Gehrig (doubles) and Babe Ruth (home runs) did it for the New York Yankees in 1927. 2. Four seasons (1937, ‘39, ‘40, ‘48). 3. Southern Cal’s Matt Barkley, with 39 in 2011. 4. Elgin Baylor, A.C. Green and John Salley. 5. They won 14 consecutive home games in 1984-85. 6. Twice -- in 2012 (Bradley Wiggins) and 2013 (Chris Froome). 7. Ken Norton beat him in 1973.


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Tidbits® of the River Region By Samantha Mazzotta

Faulty Faucet Causes Homeowner Headache Q: We self-installed a kitchen faucet last year, an expensive single-lever unit with a faucet that curves up several inches high so that there’s plenty of room for pots and pans underneath. For several weeks now, whenever I turn off the water, a thin stream of water continues trickling out of the faucet for several minutes. I make sure to push the lever all the way down when I turn it off, but that doesn’t fix it. How do we repair this? -- Joyce G., Burlington, Vt. A: If you saved the manufacturer instructions or warranty card, dig that paper out and look for a customer service number. The most likely problem with the faucet is a faulty cartridge, and in a unit that was only purchased about a year ago, that part should be covered in the faucet’s warranty. Contacting the manufacturer through the number given on the manual or warranty card will connect you with a troubleshooting department that can walk you through additional steps to determine whether a replacement cartridge is needed. If you can’t find those documents, go to the manufacturer’s website and look up the faucet model -- a manual may be available online along with a contact number. Or, if it’s out of warranty but you have the receipt, contact the store where you bought the faucet; some home-improvement stores have return or parts replacement policies in place for many of their items, particularly pricier ones. If the manufacturer (or the store) agrees that it’s a cartridge issue and is covered, it will send you a replacement cartridge. A new set of O-rings also should be included; if not, you’ll want to purchase the correct-size rings for your faucet model at the home-improvement store. The beauty of a cartridge faucet is that compared to older valve-type faucets, replacement is almost a breeze. You don’t have to struggle with re-seating the valve stem -- praying that you haven’t ground the re-seating tool around too far. Instead, you just pop in the new cartridge and replace the faucet seals. You shouldn’t have to worry about servicing that faucet again for several years. There are a number of online videos that detail the replacement of a kitchen faucet cartridge, which should help you with the repair. HOME TIP: Purchase a set of O-rings or seals for each type of faucet in your home, and tape the bag of replacements to the side or back of each sink cabinet so you have them on hand. Send your questions or home tips to ask@thisisahammer.com. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.


Ptk tidbits 2014 04 08 vol 3 14i