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OVER 4 MILLION Readers Weekly Nationwide!

April 22 2014 Published by PTK Corp.

of the River Region

The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read® To place an Ad, call: (334) 202-7285 TIDBITS® REMEMBERS

STEAMBOATS by Janet Spencer On April 23, 1838, the first steamboat to cross the Atlantic Ocean from England to America arrived in New York City. Come along with Tidbits as we remember the contribution made by steamships. SIRIUS vs GREAT WESTERN • The SS Great Western was the first paddle-wheel steamship built with the intention of crossing the Atlantic, and it was the largest passenger ship in the world at the time. Built in Bristol, England, it was launched on March 31, 1838, whereupon a fire broke out in the engine room. Damage was minimal, but fifty passengers cancelled their bookings, leaving only seven passengers to make the trip. • Taking advantage of the delay, rival steamship Sirius embarked for New York, keen on beating the Great Western across the ocean. The Sirius left on April 4, followed by the Great Western on April 8. Even with the start, the Sirius beat the Great Western by only a single day, arriving on April 23. • The average speed of the Sirius was 8.03 knots (14.87 km/h) but the Great Western made the trip at 8.66 knots (16.04 km/h). The Great Western went on to make 45 ocean crossings in the next eight years, averaging 16 days west to New York and 13 days going back to Britain, in a day when the journey usually took 40 days on a sail-powered boat. STEAMSHIP BEGINNINGS • Before steamships crossed the ocean, they plied the rivers. In 1819 the first steamboat made its way up the Missouri River as far as the site where Omaha sits today. It was called the Western Engineer and carried surveyors. It was shaped like a dragon monster, with the steam of the engines emitted from its mouth. It was hoped this fearful sight would prevent Indians from attacking the boat. Apparently the ploy was successful, as the boat encountered no trouble. FULTON’S MONOPOLY • Robert Fulton is remembered as the father of the steamboat, although John Fitch and John Stevens worked on the invention before him. Fulton adapted ideas of others and put steamboats in the public eye. He applied for a monopoly of steam traffic on the nation’s rivers. The state of New York granted him alone the right to operate steam powered boats within its boundaries. Fulton then asked for similar rights from other states. All turned him down except Louisiana. Turn the page for more:

Vol 3 Issue 16 paul@riverregiontidbits.com


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Tidbits® of the River Region FULTON’S MONOPOLY (cont’d) Controlling steam traffic in Louisiana meant that Fulton ultimately controlled much of the traffic on the Mississippi, because he could prevent all other steamships from reaching New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. • A man named Shreve was also interested in steamboats. To challenge Fulton’s monopoly, he took a boat called the Enterprise down the Mississippi to New Orleans. He put up bail for the boat as soon as he landed, before deputies had even attached it. He then returned north to build a better steamboat, called the Washington. • On her maiden voyage, the Washington set a speed record for travel from Louisville to New Orleans. The lawsuit against the Enterprise was still unsettled, and the Washington was quickly impounded. Shreve countered by getting a court order holding Fulton responsible for loss of income. • By now, people realized it was a mistake to let only one company run steamboats on the river. Public sentiment was against Fulton. Seeing the writing on the wall, lawsuits were dropped and the monopoly was broken. • Later Shreve was appointed U.S. Superintendent of Western River Improvements. He invented the ‘snag boat’ which cleared some 300 miles of the Mississippi River of obstacles. Shreveport, Louisiana was named after him. —Fact— One of Shreve’s tasks was to dismantle a floating, living raft made of logs and live trees, weeds and shrubs. This huge tangled mass of vegetation was 26 miles (42 km) long. Each time the Mississippi River flooded, the raft would be lifted and moved to some other location, blocking shipping lanes where ever it went. It took Shreve five years and $311,000 merely to blast a channel through the center of the raft. It wasn’t until some 30 years later when, with the help of a new invention called nitroglycerin, U.S. Engineers were able to blast away the last of the Great Raft. BUGS IN THE SYSTEM • Shreve built many steamboats but his favorite was always the Washington. When a boiler exploded on June 9, 1819, Shreve was injured and 8 others died. This was the first in a long string of steamboat accidents. Besides exploding boilers, another problem was the incredible heights of the boats. At first steamboats were only double-deckers, then a third and fourth deck were added. These towering boats could not hold their own against crosswinds and were often blown into shoals. Another danger was the fact that the entire boats were made of wood and were extremely flammable. • 70% of the steamboats that were destroyed on the Missouri River met their end by striking snags. Nearly 300 ships were lost this way. Shreve’s snag boats removed 2,245 snags and 1,710 overhanging trees in 300 miles. A LANDMARK COURT CASE In 1853 the Rock Island Railroad built a drawbridge over the Mississippi River in order to let trains cross the river. When a steamboat called the Effie Afton smashed against the bridge and sunk with the loss of many lives, the owner hired a young lawyer who argued that the railroad was at fault and should be forced to remove the bridge. Although the steamboat company spent $20,000 on litigation, the case was lost. Soon railroad bridges were popping up along the length of the river. The young lawyer, however, went on to greater things. His name was Abe Lincoln. A NEW PORT In 1851 David Denny and John Low built a cabin on the Puget Sound and started a town. Shortly afterwards the first steamboat arrived, looking for lumber to carry to San Francisco. The pioneers had lots of lumber, but there was no easy place where the logs could be loaded on the ship. The settlers decided to relocate their town to a place where boats could more easily be loaded and unloaded. The local Indians helped them find a new townsite. The new town was named for their chief. Today it’s the largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest, and it the 8th largest port in the U.S. What city is it? Answer at the bottom of the page. RAILROADS vs STEAMSHIPS When railroads started crossing the continent, people with vested interests in steamships tried to vilify railroads. In posters and ads, railroads were called the work of the devil. But railroads eventually put steamboats out of business. ANSWER: Seattle.


“Be known before you’re needed” Advertise with Tidbits (334) 202-7285 SAMUEL CUNARD • Samuel Cunard was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1787, the son of a successful carpenter. He grew up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the thriving maritime industries of Halifax. • At the age of 17, he took over management of his father’s large lumber yard. He then spent three years studying the shipping industry in Boston. When Samuel returned to Halifax from Boston at the age of 21, his father built a wharf and bought a schooner, and together they established the firm of A. Cunard & Son as they engaged in trading up and down the coast of Canada. Soon, a second ship was added in order to engage in river trade. • When the War of 1812 broke out, A. Cunard & Son was one of the few shipping outfits authorized to operate in American waters while flying a neutral flag. When the war ended, Samuel went to England where be obtained the contract to carry mail from Britain to Bermuda once a month. By 1814, Bermuda enjoyed the most reliable mail delivery of any of the British colonies. In 1816, Samuel Cunard was also granted the contract to carry mail from England to Boston. • When his father died, the company was re-named S. Cunard & Co as several of Samuel’s brothers joined the firm. By now the company owned thirty ships, all of them powered by sail which was the only option at the time. Next Samuel landed the contract to carry tea for the East India Company of London. Then he bought a coal mine in Nova Scotia and started shipping coal. • By 1825, the Cunard brothers were becoming interested in a new invention, the steamship. They commissioned the construction of their first steamer, the Royal William. • The Royal William ran between Halifax and Quebec. When a cholera outbreak forced the Royal William into quarantine, the company nearly went bankrupt, but Samuel Cunard was convinced that transatlantic steamship service was feasible. To test his theory, in 1833, he took the Royal William across the Atlantic from Canada to England, making the trip in only 17 days. While in England, he sold the ship. • Five years later, Samuel Cunard was in England when he saw several side-wheel paddle steamships under construction in the race to be the first steamer to travel across the Atlantic from England to America. He followed the story of the race between the Sirius and the Great Western with interest. • Back in Canada, he saw an ad in the London Times: “Steam vessels required for conveying Her Majesty’s Mails and Dispatches between England and Halifax, N.S., and also between England, Halifax and New York.” Cunard set sail for England at once, where he won the contract. He commissioned the construction of three steamers, knowing that this venture would make or break him. The new firm was called Cunard’s Company, shortened to simply Cunard’s. By 1940, Samuel Cunard had three steamers making regular ocean crossings in only 12 days. • After establishing an unbeatable reputation for safety, Cunard began investing in ocean liners, dominating the Atlantic passenger trade with ships such as the RMS Queen Mary, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, and the Queen Elizabeth II. • Samual Canard died a wealthy man in 1865. The Cunard line continues to this day, although it now operates as a division of the Carnival Corporation and is based out of the United Kingdom rather than Canada.

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Tidbits® of the River Region

* On May 10, 1749, the 10th and final volume of Henry Fielding’s novel “Tom Jones” is printed. The serialized novel told the humorous story of the attempts of the illegitimate but charming Tom Jones to win his neighbor’s daughter.

Kenneth Wayne Fisher White/Male 5’7” 185 lbs Hair: Brown Eyes: Green

* On May 5, 1904, Boston Red Sox pitcher Cy Young (born Denton True Young) throws a perfect game against the Detroit Tigers. It was the first perfect game of the modern era; the last had been thrown by John Montgomery Ward in 1880. It was the second of three no-hitters that Young would throw, and the only perfect game. * On May 9, 1926, according to their claims, polar explorer Richard E. Byrd and co-pilot Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole in a tripleengine Fokker monoplane, the Josephine Ford. However, the discovery in 1996 of the diary that Byrd kept seemed to suggest that he and Bennett may have turned back 150 miles short of the pole because of an oil leak. * On May 6, 1940, John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” The book traces the fictional Joad family of Oklahoma as they lose their family farm and move to California in search of a better life. * On May 7, 1965, in a Clearwater, Fla., motel room, a bleary-eyed Keith Richards awoke, grabbed a tape recorder and laid down one of the greatest pop hooks of all time: The opening riff of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” He then promptly fell back to sleep. * On May 8, 1984, claiming that its athletes will not be safe from protests and possible physical attacks, the Soviet Union announces that it will not compete in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The boycott was a response to the decision of the United States to boycott the 1980 games held in Moscow.

Carl Bennett Jr. DOB: 8/10/1987 Black/Male 6’5” 165 lbs Hair: Black Eyes: Brown Outstanding Warrants: Theft of Property 1st

* On May 11, 1997, IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue makes chess history by defeating chess champion Gary Kasparov. The Russian master conceded defeat after 19 moves in the sixth game of the tournament. It was the first defeat of a reigning world champion by a machine in tournament play. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

Outstanding Warrants: Failure to appear on the charge of Theft of Property 1st degree


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NAUTICAL RACES • In 1851 Prince Albert hosted the Great London Exhibition to showcase technological advances. In conjunction, Queen Victoria invited all nations to participate in the annual 53-mile regatta around the Isle of Wight. Fifteen British vessels entered, plus one American boat. • The owner of the American boat, John Stevens, was the first commodore of the New York Yacht Club, and his boat was designed by engineer George Steers, who made his living designing sleek, quick boats. It won by a wide margin. Legend has it that when the Queen asked, “Who has won?” and was told who it was, she replied, “And who is second?” only to be told, “Your Majesty, there is no second.” It was some time before the second place winner showed up. • The trophy, made of 134 ounces of silver, was called the ‘One Hundred Guinea Cup’ because that’s how much it cost. It was awarded to Stevens and his crew. He donated the trophy to the New York Yacht Club in 1857 with the stipulation that it be awarded to the winner of international boat races held once every three years, in order to stimulate competition between countries. • The trophy and the race were named after Stevens’ boat, and a race was born. What was the name of the ship, now the name of a famous yacht race? Answer at the bottom of the next page. A GOOD LOSER • As a young man in Glasgow, Scotland, Thomas helped his parents run their small grocery store. He spent a few years living in the U.S. where his work in a New York City grocery store introduced him to the effectiveness of publicity events and advertising. • Later Thomas returned to Glasgow and opened his own store, which was so successful that he kept opening more. He engaged in innovative marketing techniques including staging parades and hiring brass bands. By 1888 he owned over 300 stores. • Around the time Thomas opened his 300th grocery store, the price of tea began to fall, and his middleclass customers began drinking more of it. Spotting an opportunity, Thomas opened a tea trading office and established wholesale distribution channels that allowed working-class people to be able to easily afford tea. He bought his tea in such large amounts that he was able to undercut competitor’s prices. • This was such a successful venture that he began to invest in tea plantations. In Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), coffee plantation owners had recently suffered a coffee blight that ruined their crop, so Thomas convinced them to plant tea instead. • In a time when most tea was sold by the pound, Thomas pioneered selling it packaged in individual bags. • Thomas’ hobby was yachting, and he entered the America’s Cup yacht race five times, hoping to bring the trophy home to Britain. He lost every time, but the publicity he got from being ‘the world’s best loser’ caused tea sales to soar. Today, Thomas’ last name is synonymous with tea. What’s his name? Answer below. ANSWERS The new race was called the America’s Cup, after the first boat to win it, the AmericA. And the grocery store merchant who lost that race often but became famous for his tea was named Thomas Lipton. Today, Lipton products are available in over 110 countries worldwide.

Let Tidbits Help Your Buisness

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Jennifer Albright

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

Must Stop Cafe

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. Must Stop Cafe, p. 3 2. Alabama Paint & Body, p. 7


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Tidbits速 of the River Region

1. Entering 2014, which major-league team was the only one to not have a pitcher toss a no-hitter in franchise history? 2. Three pitchers during the 1990s led or co-led the A.L. in wins for a season without tossing a shutout. Name two of them. 3. Of Florida, Florida State and Miami, which was the only college football team to not play in at least one of the first five BCS national championship games? 4. When was the last time an NBA Finals team won Game Seven on the road? 5. In the 2013-14 season, the Anaheim Ducks became the second team in NHL history to win 18 times in 19 games. Who was the first? 6. How old was driver A.J. Foyt when he won his last IndyCar race? 7. How many consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinals did tennis star Novak Djokovic make before losing in the Australian Open quarterfinals in 2014?

1. Is the book of Lazarus in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. From Job 40:15-24, what animal is so named that some believe it to be a dinosaur? Tygimoloch, Levaraptor, Memphian, Behemoth? 3. Who was stoned, then burned after taking silver, gold and a garment from the destroyed Jericho? Joshua, Nathan, Achan, Shamgar? 4. In Mark 5, what was the name, for we are many, that Jesus cast out as evil spirits? Legion, Colony, Flock, Army? 5. According to the Proverbs, what type heart doeth good like a medicine? Warm, Beating, Merry, Young? 6. Shem, Ham and Japheth were the sons of? Moses, Noah, David, Solomon


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by Samantha Weaver * It was noted Democratic politician Adlai Stevenson who made the following sage observation: “In America, anybody can be president. That’s one of the risks you take.” * You might be surprised to learn that notorious FBI director J. Edgar Hoover at one time had presidential aspirations. He reportedly believed he would be able to defeat president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, though nothing came of his ambition. * Those who study such things say that a lion and a leopard can successfully interbreed. The resulting offspring is called a leopon. * The first pocket calculator was introduced by Texas Instruments in 1961, intended originally for use by the Air Force. Weighing 10 ounces and being only slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes, the company claimed that it could perform the same calculations as a computer 150 times its size. * The sex organ of a male spider can be found at the end of one of its legs. * As most health-care workers could tell you, emergency rooms are busier and more mental patients are admitted during the full moon than at any other time of the month. The time of the new moon is only slightly less busy, however. * The next time you’re drizzling honey on your biscuit, consider this tidbit: Bees must visit up to 2 million flowers just to produce a single pound of the sweetener. * One might think that an event as momentous as the Wright Brothers’ first successful airplane flight in 1903 would have received widespread coverage in the media. One would be wrong. The only newspaper to carry an account of the historic flight was the Virginian Pilot, based in Norfolk. *** Thought for the Day: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” -- Mark Twain (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

BIBLE TRIVIA ANSWERS:

1) Neither; 2) Behemoth; 3) Achan; 4) Legion; 5) Merry; 6) Noah

1. The San Diego Padres. 2. Detroit’s Bill Gullickson (1991), and New York’s Andy Pettitte (1996) and David Cone (1998). 3. Florida. Florida State played in the first three, and Miami the next two. 4. The Washington Bullets beat the Sonics in Seattle in 1978. 5. The 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens. 6. He was 46 when he won the Pocono 500 in 1981. 7. Fourteen.


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Tidbits® of the River Region By Samantha Mazzotta

Kids Can be Rough on Wood Floors Q: My kids have discovered roller skating, which is great. However, it’s been kind of rough on my old hardwood floors, especially near the front door, where they come in and take off their skates. There are a lot of scuffs, scratches and dings. Any way I can get rid of them? And is there a way to prevent these scratches? -Tammy in Baltimore A: The fastest way to reduce those scratched areas by the front door is to make the kids take off their skates outside. And while I’m sure you already have a mat just inside the door, consider buying one that is much wider so that outside dirt and sand will land on the mat and not scuff up the floor’s finish. Without an idea of how bad the scratches and scuffs are, I can’t say exactly how you should resolve the problem. So I’ll tell you how to deal with a few scratches, and how to deal with a bigger problem. You can blend in minor surface scratches using a stain marker (available at home-improvement and flooring stores) in a matching color. A video by The Rosebud Company (http://rosebudfloors.com/hardwood-floorvideos/) shows a couple of ways to blend in the color, particularly by blotting the marker on a cloth and then rubbing the cloth over the scratch to more seamlessly blend it in. For small dents where the wood is compressed downward slightly, you can try a couple of methods. On unvarnished floors, you can try to steam out the dent. (Always test this method first in an inconspicuous area, and don’t do it if the finish in the test area turns white or very cloudy.) Take a clean, lint-free cloth and a steam iron. Spritz a bit of water directly onto the dent, place the cloth on top, and with the iron on its maximum setting and the steam turned on, press it over the cloth and move in a small circular pattern for about a minute. Lift up the iron, check under the cloth, then repeat the steps. A second method, particularly if you’re worried about ruining the floor finish, is to cover the dent with wood putty and stain to match. Apply the putty one small amount at a time, smoothing it completely into the depression, until it’s filled and flush with the surrounding floor. Then use a stain marker in a color matching the wood -- either apply directly to the putty or blot a cloth with the stain and dab or rub into the putty and surrounding area. Allow the area to dry undisturbed for at least a day. If the scratches and dents are deep and numerous, or if the wood is seriously damaged, warped or splintered, bring in a wood flooring professional to evaluate the problem and provide an estimate for repairs. Wood floors can have a lot of impact on a house’s value, so take care of them and get professional help for a complex job. HOME TIP: Avoid using wax-based furniture polishes on wood floors. These can be problematic if and when you refinish floors in the future. Send your questions or home tips to ask@thisisahammer.com. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

Ptk tidbits 2014 04 22 vol 3 16i  

Tidbits of the River Region, News, Funnies, Puzzles, Quizzes

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