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September 22 2015 Published by PTK Corp.

of the River Region

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J.R.R. TOLKIEN WEEK by Kathy Wolfe It’s Tolkien Week, and what better time to focus on the author J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. considered by many to be the “father of modern fantasy literature.” • John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s father was an English banker promoted to a branch in South Africa, where Tolkien was born in 1892. At age three, the boy sailed to England with his mother and brother for an extended family visit. His father was to join them later, but died from rheumatic fever before he could make the journey. With no means of income, his mother took her children to live with her parents in Birmingham, England. • Educated by his mother, Ronald, as he was called, was reading at age four. Studying Latin as a young child, his lifelong passion for languages began. In addition, his mother taught him French and German, and after her death, he learned Old English, Finnish, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Old Norse, Spanish, Welsh, Danish, Russian, and Swedish. • When Tolkien was 12, his mother was diagnosed with diabetes, which, in pre-insulin days, was usually fatal. She was gone in less than a year, leaving her boys in the care of a Catholic priest, Father Francis Xavier Morgan. • As a 16-year-old living in a boarding house, Ronald met 19-year-old Edith Bratt, and a deep friendship blossomed. When it began to turn serious, Father Francis, who saw Edith as a distraction to Ronald’s studies, banned Tolkien from seeing her or even writing to her for three years, until he turned 21. By that time, Edith was engaged to another, but she broke it off to marry Tolkien in 1916. • World War I broke out in 1914, but Tolkien was able to delay military enlistment until he completed his Oxford degree. After being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, he was sent to the Western Front in France in 1916 to participate in one of the bloodiest battles in history, the Battle of the Somme. (Continued next page)

Vol 4 Issue 38 paul@riverregiontidbits.com


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Tidbits® of the River Region (Front page continued)

1. Is the book of Ezra in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. From Proverbs 29, “But whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be ...”? Made whole, Blessed, Safe, Wise 3. What’s known as the first book of the kings? Judges, 1 Kings, 1 Samuel, 1 Chronicles 4. Upon which mountain did Balaam build seven altars? Olives, Sinai, Pisgah, Carmel 5. What does God want us to keep as the apple of our eye? His law, Brotherly love, Faithfulness, Righteousness 6. What did David do to Goliath once he slew him? Stole his armor, Robbed him, Cut off his head, Buried him

More than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed in the battle, which lasted from July to November of that year. Tolkien spent four months on the Somme front, in and out of trenches, where he contracted “trench fever,” an infection similar to typhus. He spent a month in the hospital, and over the next two years, he suffered several relapses. During his recoveries, he wrote poetry and short stories. He was eventually released from duty due to poor health. • Following his release, Tolkien was hired as an “assistant lexicographer” by the Oxford English Dictionary, commissioned to work on history and etymology of Germanic words that began with the letter “W”. Within less than two years, he became a professor of English at the University of Leeds, the youngest professor there. By 1925, he was a professor at Oxford, not only teaching, but writing academic works for scholars, including A Middle English Vocabulary. • In the early 1930s, while teaching at Oxford, Tolkien had had several poems published in magazines, but it was the story of dwarves, trolls, goblins, dragons, and wizards written for his children that was to cement his success. The Hobbit was the story of Bilbo Baggins who sets out to win a treasure guarded by Smaug the dragon. Many of Tolkien’s characters originated from his love of Norse mythology, and their names, such as Oin, Borun, Dwalin, and Gandalf, were taken from the Old Norse language. He personally created more than 100 drawings for the manuscript. His brilliant capacity for languages inspired him to write his own languages, including Qenya, Eldarin, and Gnomish, which he incorporated into his writings. • The Hobbit was shown to the chairman of a publishing firm, who tried it out on his own 10-yearold son. The book was published in 1937 and was an immediate success. It has never been out of print, has remained on children’s recommended reading lists since its publication, and has been translated into more than 40 languages. • As the popularity of The Hobbit began to grow, the publishers approached Tolkien about producing a sequel. He spent more than 10 years working on and off on the sequel, and when complete, a dispute with the publishers led to a further delay. The book was divided into three volumes – The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, with the first installment released in 1954, and the second and third over the next several months. Tolkien himself described Lord of the Rings as a “fundamentally religious and Catholic work,” embracing many theological themes. • Tolkien considered himself more of a philologist than a writer, that is, one who specializes in the relationship of languages to each other and studies ancient texts. The British census registry listed him as a “professor of English Language and Literature.” He lived a modest lifestyle and was not wealthy from his writings until late in his life. When The Hobbit was published, he was 45 years old and 62 when Lord of the Rings was published. • A 1999 Amazon poll ranked Lord of the Rings as the “favorite book of the millennium.” • Movie director Peter Jackson undertook a monumental project in 1999, the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. All three movies, filmed entirely in Jackson’s native New Zealand, were shot simultaneously over 438 days beginning in October of 1999 and continuing through December, 2000. The more than 150 different locations included conservation areas and national parks, with seven units shooting concurrently. Each film underwent a full year in post-production before its release. The overall budget was approximately $300 million. The film series grossed close to $3 billion. Each third of the trilogy was released the week before Christmas, with The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, The Two Towers in 2002, and The Return of the King in 2003. • Jackson has also directed three additional films based on The Hobbit – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012, The Desolation of Smaug in 2013, and The Battle of Five Armies in 2014. As with the Lord of the Rings films, all were released shortly before Christmas. This trio was made with a $745 million budget, and grossed $2.9 billion at the box office.

1. When was the last time before 2014 that the Baltimore Orioles swept a playoff series? 2. Name the last major-league team to hit .300 or better for a season. 3. In 2014, South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier recorded his 200th SEC victory as an SEC coach. Who else has hit that mark in the SEC? 4. Who was the only Norwegian to play in the NBA? 5. In 2015, Boston University’s Jack Eichel became the second freshman to win the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey. Who was the first? 6. When was the last time before 2015 that Juan Pablo Montoya won an IndyCar race on a road or street course? 7. How many years passed between Serena Williams’ first and second singles titles at the French Open?


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by Samantha Weaver * It was noted author and Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway who made the following sage observation: “Never think that war, no matter how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead.” He would know; he volunteered as an ambulance driver on the Italian front during World War I. * Poets, take note: The words “orange,” “month,” “purple” and “silver” have no rhyming words in English. * Historians say that Queen Victoria didn’t like knocking at doors; she preferred scratching. * If you’re interested in space, you are probably aware that the second person to walk on the moon was Buzz Aldrin. Most likely, though, you didn’t know that his mother’s maiden name was Moon. Aldrin kept this fact a secret from NASA -- he was evidently concerned that his bosses would think he was somehow trying to gain favor. * It’s been reported that in the early days of the Christian church, forks were considered to be inappropriate. * Those who study such things say that deep-sea anglerfish mate for life -- the male’s life, anyway. The female is much larger than the male, and when they mate the male attaches himself to her abdomen Ð where he remains, living as a parasite, until he dies. * If you have detected the presence of the paranormal by olfactory means, you’ve experienced “clairalience.” * The ancient Inca believed that an eclipse was caused when the mood goddess was under attack by a giant snake. Whenever this event occurred, the Inca made lots of noise, believing that the cacophony would scare the snake away. *** Thought for the Day: “We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust’s jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled and recategorized with every act of recollection.” -- Oliver Sacks (c) 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Tidbits® of the River Region

* On Sept. 26, 1580, English seaman Francis Drake returns to England, becoming the first British navigator to sail around the world. Drake had set out from England on Dec. 13, 1577, with five ships on a mission to raid Spanish holdings on the Pacific coast of the New World. * On Sept. 27, 1869, in Kansas, Ellis County sheriff Wild Bill Hickok responds to a bar brawl and kills one man. Weeks later he killed a second man in the name of law enforcement. While his brutal ways were effective, local citizens were less than impressed. At the next election Hickok was voted out.

Terry Mallard Black/Male 5’8” 190 lbs Hair: Black Eyes: Brown Outstanding Warrants: Assault 3rd.

* On Sept. 22, 1953, the world’s first fourlevel interchange opens in Los Angeles at the intersection of the Harbor, Hollywood, Pasadena and Santa Ana freeways -- 32 lanes of traffic weaving in eight directions at once. * On Sept. 23, 1969, the trial for eight anti-war activists charged with the violent demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention opens in Chicago. The trial turned into a circus as the defendants used the court to attack President Richard Nixon, the war, racism and oppression. * On Sept. 25, 1978, a Pacific Southwest Airlines 727 jet collides in mid-air with a small plane over San Diego, killing 153 people. The Cessna’s student pilot did not comply with air controller instruction to keep the plane below 3,500 feet altitude. * On Sept. 21, 1989, the Senate Armed Forces Committee unanimously confirms President George H. Bush’s nomination of Army Gen. Colin Powell as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Powell became the first black American to achieve the nation’s highest military post. * On Sept. 24, 1996, bestselling author Stephen King releases two new novels at once. “Desperation” was released under King’s name, while “The Regulators” was published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. (c) 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.

Outstanding Warrants:

Terrane Truitt DOB: 10/11/1979 Black/Male 5’5” 127 lbs Hair: Black Eyes: Brown

Failure to Appear Possession of Controlled Substance


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“Be known before you’re needed” Advertise with Tidbits (334) 202-7285 FOLKS WHO DIDN’T EXIST There are several familiar people you might think were historical figures. Not so! Follow along and see! • For generations, young girls have been reading Nancy Drew mysteries, a series that originated in 1930. Their author, Carolyn Keene, was the invention of publisher Edward Stratemeyer, who hired several ghostwriters over the years to write the books. He paid the writers $125 per book, and made them sign over all rights to the manuscripts. They were also required to sign a secrecy contract that forbade them from claiming any credit for the books. • Maybe you learned to type from the “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing” program, software introduced in 1987 to teach touch-typing. It’s logical to assume that the lovely face featured on the box is that of Mavis Beacon, except for the fact that there is no such person. When The Software Toolworks designed the packaging, they used the image of a Caribbean-born model named Renee L’Esperance who was discovered while working at a department store. Today the company uses digitally-produced images. • According to folklore, Paul Bunyan formed the Great Lakes out of a need for a large enough watering hole for Babe the Blue Ox to drink from. He supposedly cleared North Dakota of its forests and Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes were reportedly formed by his and Babe’s footprints as they stumbled through a huge blizzard. This lumberjack of legend may have been a participant in Canada’s 1837 Papineau Rebellion when French Canadians rebelled against their new ruler, the Queen of England. A tall bearded bellowing man was among the loggers and became famous for his part in the battle, Legends of his heroics were told around loggers’ campfires for years to come, each one being embellished a bit more. • The historical existence of King Arthur has long been debated with no conclusive results. The legendary 6th-century king is said to have led British troops against Saxon invaders. In the Middle Ages, Geoffrey of Monmouth penned The History of the Kings of Britain, depicting Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as great warriors, but his account is considered a work of myth without much history. • It’s possible that a character similar to Robin Hood may have actually lived, but no positive real-life person has been verified. The famous outlaw who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor had his origins in 14th-century folklore, with some versions claiming he was actually nobility who turned outlaw. Historical evidence exists for a criminal named Rabunhod, but there is no proof that he was the renowned bandit. • Betty Crocker was invented in 1921 by the Washburn Crosby Company (later General Mills) as a customer service representative for answering questions about baking. Her name was chosen as a tribute to the recently-retired director of the company, William Crocker. By 1924, “Betty” had her own radio program, the airwaves’ first cooking show. By the 1940s, Betty Crocker was known to 9 out of 10 American homemakers, and a 1945 Fortune magazine survey revealed her as the second bestknown woman in America, with only First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt ahead of her. The first Betty Crocker cookbook, published in 1950, was an instant best-seller, and is still in publication today.

Pamela Nowden

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. Winners please call 334-202-7285 to claim your prize!

Last Week’s Ads where 1. MEDAC, p.3 2. Prattville Credit, p.5 3. Scott Street Deli, p.7

Tommy was hiding:


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Tidbits速 of the River Region


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

GEORGE WESTINGHOUSE

The name of Westinghouse is more than a brand of appliance. George Westinghouse was an engineer who created far more innovations than you may be aware of. Let’s look at just a few. • Even as a child, this son of a machine shop owner showed an aptitude for machinery. However, as a teen, he put his passion aside to enlist in the New York Cavalry to serve in the Civil War. The year after his release, Westinghouse, age 19, received his first patent for the rotary steam engine. At 21, he had invented a device that guided derailed railroad cars back onto the tracks and a railroad switch that steered trains onto one of two tracks. • After witnessing a wreck between two trains whose engineers were unable to stop, at age 22, Westinghouse devised a railroad air brake. Previously, brakemen had to run from car to car, applying brakes manually on each one. The new design enabled engineers to apply brakes simultaneously on all cars, an invention that was eventually made mandatory on all American trains. The following year, Westinghouse had founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company, the first of 60 companies he would found throughout his life. • His next contribution to the railroad industry was improvements to railway signals, which had previously used oil lamps. He founded the Union Switch and Signal Company to produce his signal and switching inventions. • When Thomas Edison began receiving notoriety for his light bulb and electrical distribution system, Westinghouse began his own experiments with electricity. • Edison’s first system provided direct current electricity to 59 homes in Manhattan in 1882. Westinghouse recognized that the weakness of a DC network was its short transmission range, with customers having to live within a mile of the plant. He began work on an alternating current power system with a transformer that enabled AC to travel long distances. He established Westinghouse Electric in 1886 and that year, his first commercial AC power generating station provided electricity to Great Barrington, Massachusetts. • When the World’s Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago in 1893, it was lit by 25,000 Westinghouse electric lights. The company had beat out the bid of its rival, Edison’s General Electric, by a million dollars. An entire building at this World’s Fair was dedicated to educating the public through electrical exhibits. • In 1896, Westinghouse won the contract to install the first hydroelectric power system, harnessing the energy of Niagara Falls. Power was effectively transmitted to Buffalo, New York, more than 20 miles (32 km) away. Westinghouse’s companies were now worth about $120 million, employing about 50,000 workers. • With the invention of the automobile, Westinghouse went to work on a compressed air shock absorber for better suspension. In addition, he developed steam turbines to provide power for large maritime vessels. The first illuminated tennis court was designed by George Westinghouse, lit by 1,500 bulbs. He was also responsible for several inventions for the distribution of natural gas. • When Westinghouse died in 1914, he had more than 360 patents to his credit. Because he was a Civil War veteran, he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

BIBLE TRIVIA ANSWERS:

1) Old; 2) Safe; 3) 1 Samuel; 4) Pisgah; 5) His law; 6) Cut off his head

1. The Orioles swept Oakland in 1971. 2. The Boston Red Sox hit .302 as a team in 1950. 3. Paul “Bear” Bryant (292 wins) and Vince Dooley (201). 4. Torgeir Bryn, with the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1989-90 season. 5. Maine’s Paul Kariya, in 1993. 6. It was 1999, in Vancouver. 7. Eleven years (2002 to 2013).

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