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July 23, 2013

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Issue 889

Tidbits takes a trip over the...

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Niagara Falls

by Janet Spencer Come with Tidbits as we remember daredevils and fools who have gone over the falls.

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• Annie Edson Taylor was the first person ever to go over Niagara in a barrel. A widowed and unemployed schoolt e a c h e r, she was 63 years old in 1901 when she pulled off the stunt on her birthday. She was strapped into a harness inside an oak wine barrel padded with cushions. A bicycle pump was used to increase the air pressure inside the barrel after she climbed in. Then she was towed into the river above the falls. After the plunge, she spent 17 minutes bobbing around before assistants were able to snag the barrel and pull her to shore. Emerging dazed but unhurt, she said, “No one ought ever do that again.” She was incoherent for several days afterwards. Alas, the fame and fortune she was hoping for eluded her – perhaps because she was neither young nor beau-

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240 S. Cleveland Ave. (Hwy 287), Loveland, 80537 tiful – and she spent the next 20 years working as a Niagara street vendor, selling photos of herself with her barrel for a penny. She died, destitute and unknown, 20 years later. • Circus stuntman Bobby Leach went over the falls in a steel barrel in 1911, surviving with minor injuries. While on tour with his famous barrel in New Zealand in 1925, he slipped on an orange peel on a street and fell. He broke his leg, which later had to be amputated, leading to gangrene, which killed him. • On the 4th of July in 1928, Mr. Jean Lussier survived the trip not in a barrel but in a 6-foot rubber ball lined with rubber tubes and filled with oxygen. The tubes had valves that could be released, providing oxygen should he become trapped behind the falls. He was the first person to take the trip in an inflatable device instead of the more traditional wooden barrels or steel drums. After bobbing about at the bottom of the falls for an hour, he was pulled to shore and emerged unharmed in front of an audience of over 100,000. Afterwards he sold small souvenir pieces of the inner tubes for fifty cents each. When he ran out of authentic pieces, he peddled rubber purchased from a nearby tire store.

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• 46-year-old Greek chef George Strathakis went over in 1930 to generate publicity for his book entitled The Mysterious Veil of Humanity Through the Ages, which was a rambling incoherent treatise. His barrel was trapped behind the falls for over 14 hours before it finally broke loose. Strathakis, with only enough oxygen for several hours, suffocated. However, his pet turtle named Sonny Boy, reputed to be 105 years old and taken along for good luck, survived.

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• Nathan Boya made the trip in 1961 in a steel sphere covered by six layers of rubber, which he called the “Plunge-o-Sphere.” He included 13 canisters of oxygen on the advice of Jean Lussier. He emerged unhurt to find the police waiting for him. He was fined $100 – the minimum sentence for violating the Niagara Parks Act – and he had to pay court costs of $13.

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• Karel Soucek became the first Canadian to survive the plunge. In 1984 he went over in a cylindrical barrel with fiberglass moldings, liquid foam insulation, a two-way radio, and a snorkel for breathing. The fall took 3.2 seconds and the force of the fall snapped off his radio antennae, leaving him without communication. He was trapped in dangerous waters for 45 minutes before being pulled free. He suffered only minor injuries. He was fined $500. Six months later he was re-creating the spectacle at the Houston Astrodome in front of 45,000 spectators. His barrel was lifted to the top of the astrodome by a crane and released above a water tank only ten feet wide and ten feet deep. It hit the edge of the tank and he was killed. He was buried at the Niagara Falls cemetery. Of all the people who have gone over the falls seeking fame and fortune, he came the closest to achieving it.

He would have earned a quarter million dollars through public appearance contracts in the year following the feat if he hadn’t died in Houston. • Dave Munday, a mechanic and skydiving instructor from Ontario, has dared the falls on several occasions. In 1985 a police officer witnessed him enter the water and immediately radioed the Hydro Control Dam upstream. They cut the water flow of the Niagara River and the water level dropped five feet in three minutes. The barrel got stuck in shallow water a mile above the rim of the falls. But Dave Munday was persistent. Later that year he tried again, this time launching himself scant yards above the falls, and made the trip successfully in an aluminum barrel equipped with video and radio equipment. In another attempt in 1990, his barrel got stuck on rocks at the very brink of the falls and he had to be rescued by a cable on a crane. In September of 1993 he tried again, this time in a converted diving bell. At age 56, became the first person to go over the falls twice. • A Rhode Island bartender named Steven Trotter wrapped two plastic pickle barrels in inner tubes and a tarp and went over the falls in 1985. At the age of 22, he became the youngest person ever to make the trip. He was fined over $5,000 for the stunt, but he more than made up for that with his talk show fees. On the tenth anniversary of the stunt, he returned with a woman named Lori Martin and they became the first co-ed couple to go over together. This time instead of pickle barrels, Trotter used hot water tanks welded together, covered with Kevlar, and equipped with oxygen tanks – a contraption that weighed 900 lbs. and is reputed to have cost some $19,000. The barrel became trapped in a rock crevice at the base of the waterfall. Members of the fire department and the police department were able to reach the barrel and pop the hatch, releasing the two unharmed occupants. The barrel remained lodged in place for 9 days before being removed by a crane. Trotter later returned to reclaim the barrel, but he had to pay the costs of the rescue before they handed it over. • In 1989, Peter DeBernardi and Geoffrey Petkovich, Canadian residents of Niagara Falls, were the first people to go over the falls as a team, face to face in the same ten-foot steel barrel. They had known each other only a couple of months. DeBernardi’s original partner had chickened out and Petkovich took his place. The steel-plated barrel was equipped with oxygen, two-way radio equipment, and two plexiglass windows. It was painted with the slogan, “Don’t put yourself on the edge – Drugs Kill.” The team suffered only minor injuries and refused treatment. Petkovich, who had been drinking, emerged wearing only a necktie and cowboy boots. They were promptly arrested by the Niagara Parks Police and charged with infractions.

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• In 1826, English chemist John Walker was attempting to create a new explosive. Stirring an antimony sulfide and potassium chlorate-based formula with a wood stick, he noticed a tear-drop shaped glob had dried on the stick’s tip. He scraped the stick against the stone floor to remove it and, to his surprise, the stick caught on fire. • In 1827 Walker began selling “Friction Lights” but he never applied for a patent. They had tips coated with a potassium chloride-antimony sulfide paste, which ignited when scraped between a fold of sandpaper. They came in a tin, each with a piece of sandpaper. The user folded this over the match, held it tightly and pulled the splint hard. Walker made little money off the invention and copy-cats soon abounded. There were problems with the matches: they ignited with the force of a firework and they smelled terrible. • In 1830, French chemist Charles Sauria discovered how to make matches using white phosphorus instead. They didn’t smell as bad, they burned longer, and they were less explosive. However, it turned out to be a disastrous development due to the toxic nature of the phosphorus. Inhaling fumes from burnt matches had deadly consequences. When the fumes of white phosphorus are inhaled, or when fingers that have contacted phosphorus contact the mouth, or when a drinking glass is used that has been in the presence of phosphorus fumes, the toxin enters the body. A single pack of matches contained enough phosphorus to kill a person. • A French scientist named Georges Lemoine found that red phosphorus was not poisonous. A patent was filed on this method of matchmaking in 1898. (Cont’d next page) • The Diamond Match Company purchased the patent and then, at the urging of President Taft, made the patent public domain so that all match manufacturers could use the formula without paying royalties. DIAMOND MATCH COMPANY • The increasing popularity of smoking coupled with the advent of gas for lighting and heat caused the demand for matches to skyrocket. Mechanized methods of matchmaking were needed. To solve this difficulty, the country’s largest manufacturers

banded together in 1881 to form a single company, The Diamond Match Company. The best features of the machinery that each had developed individually were combined. MODERN MATCHMAKING • The machines that turn out Strike-Anywhere matches at the rate of more than 300 a second are about 60 feet long and two stories high. Wooden matches are made out of white pine or aspen wood. It takes an hour for a splint of wood to travel through the factory. • The matchbook became the “best read book in America” and the warning, “Close Cover Before Striking” became the most printed phrase in the history of the printed word. For 40 years, matchbooks were the most popular advertising medium in the nation. • Matchbooks are one of the most popular collectibles in the world. In the U.S. it’s the second most popular collecting hobby after stamps. People who collect them are called phillumenists, meaning ‘lovers of light.’ Today, more book matches are used than any other kind. • The market for matches has declined by some 80 percent since the introduction of the disposable lighter in 1972.

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“NSA leaker Edward Snowden has filed for temporary asylum in Russia. Apparently, he didn’t want anyone to know, but somehow the story leaked out.” - Jay Leno “Researchers studying pictures of prehistoric cave drawings now theorize that most of the drawings were done by people under the influence of mind-altering drugs. Hence the term ‘stone age.’” - Jay Leno “Today the Queen said that she would like the royal baby to be born before she goes on vacation. Then someone reminded her she’s more or less been on vacation since 1952.” - Conan

“Today Queen Elizabeth officially legalized gay marriage in Britain. Or as she put it, ‘You know, it doesn’t always have to be tea and crumpets. Sometimes it can just be two crumpets.’” - Jimmy Fallon “Gay marriage is legal in the U.K. Which is why today, Camilla asked Prince Charles, ‘So I can take off this dress now?’” - Jimmy Fallon “President Obama told a group of school children that broccoli was his favorite food, and they believed him. Then he told them Obamacare would reduce the deficit and the kids all busted out laughing.” - Jay Leno “We are proud to say that Los Angeles has one of the lowest crime rates of any major city. You know why? We don’t have an NFL team.” - Jay Leno

tiger was walking through the jungle one day and saw two men relaxing under a tree. One was reading a newspaper, and the other was working feverishly on a manual typewriter. The tiger leapt on the man with the newspaper, and ate him up. The tiger did not bother the other man at all. That’s because any predator knows that readers digest but writers cramp.

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hile reading a newspaper, Walter came across an article about a beautiful actress and model who married a boxer who was noted for his IQ. “I’ll never understand,” he said to his wife, “why the biggest jerks get the most attractive wives.” His wife replied, “Why, thank you, dear.”

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here was a captain sailing on the sea during a battle. His servant came up to him and the captain said, “bring me my red shirt”. So, the servant did as the captain said. After that the servant came up to the captain and said, Why did you say bring me my red shirt”? The captain said, “Well if i get shot they won’t see the blood. The next day the servant came up to the captain and said, “There are 50 ships on the horizon.” The captain said, “Bring me my brown pants.

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omeone saw a blonde eating a Tootsie Roll Pop and asked her, “So, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?” Without a thought, the blonde replied, “Beats me, but it took almost the whole day just to lick through the wrapper.”

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hree friends die in a car accident and they go to an orientation in heaven. They are all asked, “When you are in your casket and friends and family are talking about you, what would you like them to say? The first guy says,”I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor of my time, and a great family man.” The second guy says, “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher which made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow.” t guy replies, “I would like to hear them say ... Look, he’s Moving!

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Page 6

Tidbits of Greeley, Centerra & Loveland

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TRADITIONAL FOR TODAY

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By Samantha Weaver • It was stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce who made the following sage observation: “All my humor is based on destruction and despair. If the whole world were tranquil, without disease and violence, I’d be standing in the breadline.” • You might be surprised to learn that a flamingo cannot eat unless its head is upside-down. • While in the Capitol rotunda attending the funeral for Congressman Warren B. Davis in January 1835, President Andrew Jackson was the victim of an assassination attempt. Richard Lawrence, a 35-year-old house painter, pointed two revolvers at the president and fired. In an incredible stroke of luck, both weapons misfired, at which point President Jackson began to beat the man with his cane. • The Dead Sea isn’t actually a sea; it’s a lake. • It’s been reported that the Paul Simon found the inspiration for his hit song “Mother and Child Reunion” in a chicken-and-egg dish he was eating in a Chinese restaurant. • More than 60 percent of the 50 most common words in the English language contain three or fewer letters. • Natives of Finland drink more coffee per capita than citizens of any other country in the world. • The Hula Hoop fad swept the globe in the 1950s, but the toy did not fin+d a warm welcome everywhere. In Indonesia, Hula Hoops were banned because they “might stimulate passion.” China’s official news agency called it “a nauseating craze,” and the Soviets declared the toy to be “a symbol of the emptiness of American culture” (despite the fact that the Hula Hoop originated in Australia). • Adult tuna have been known to swim up to 100 miles in a single day.

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Page 7

YOUR WEEKLY

KICK IN THE PANTS! By Ron Ross

“Stop whining - most of your life is up to you.” Ron Ross You’re Invited - Really!

It was a blistering hot August Sunday afternoon in Longmont, Colorado when I walked down the aisle of the un-air-conditioned sanctuary of First Christian Church and promised to “love, honor and cherish” a lovely teenage girl I had met in college less than a year earlier. She was 18 and I was 19 and NO we did NOT have to get married. We thought we knew something about love and were anxious to find out more about it, if you get my drift. And best of all, we did it with the blessing of both our families. Now, exactly fifty years later, to the very day and hour, we will celebrate that teenage marriage. This time in the elegant and air-conditioned sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church in Greeley, Colorado, the church we now attend. The date is August 4 and the hour is 2:00 pm. At that time we will celebrate with a hymn sing that will include special pipe organ pieces played by one of the finest church musicians we know, our sister-in-law, Beverly Sapp, from Fruitland Park, Florida. She will

get the most from the magnificent pipe organ and she will accompany us as we sing a variety of hymns that have helped us through our fifty years of sickness and health, poverty and wealth, sorrow and joy, and every other high and low imaginable to any couple who stay married fifty years. At the conclusion of our hymn-sing, as the pipe organ plays the traditional wedding march, my bride and I will once again walk down the aisle to renew our vows. This time we won’t be alone. We will invite everyone in attendance who also wants to renew their vows to walk down the aisle as well. The hymn-sing, concert and vow renewal ceremony will be followed by a reception in the Celebration Center of the church. And you know what, you are invited! That’s right, you, the reader of this column. Why? Because I figure anyone who has taken the time to read my column issue after issue should be invited! The hymn sing will start at 2:00 PM and the reception will start around 3:30 PM. You’re invited to join us for either one, but we hope you’ll join us for both! The celebration will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 1321 9th Avenue, Greeley, CO 80631. NO GIFTS PLEASE, we already have too much stuff. No RSVP required.

Dr. Ross is the publisher of Tidbits of Greeley. Dr. Ross is also the Voice of Tidbits Radio on 1310KFKA Every Saturday Noon - 1pm. He is available to speak at your service club or other event. Dr. Ross posts this blog each week on RonRosstToady.com. To contact him email: RonRoss@TrustTidbits.com or call 970.475.4829.

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AUTOBODY Chavez Auto Rebuilders Stripes - Candies & Pearls Your Paint Professionals Frame Specialist Call 970.356.7811 2127 4th Ave - Greeley

AUTO REPAIR We Fix Generators Starters & Alternators 716 12th St. Greeley

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BUSINESS DIRECTORY

Need Help? Chances are you’l ffind some help in the all-new Tidbits Business Directory. To join the increasing number of advertisers call Ron Ross at 970-475-4829 or 720-934-7677. EMBROIDERY

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EXCHANGE STUDENTS

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Exchange Students Reps & Host Families Wanted

PRAYERS May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved, and preserved now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. Saint Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. Saint Jude, helper of the hopeless, pray for us. B.J.C.

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What do YOU do that folks need to know about? Advertise in the NEW Tidbits Business Directory Cost is ONLY $174 for SIX LINES FOR SIX MONTHS! Add your logo for $10 Call Ron Ross 970.475.4829 720.934.7677


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*FREE SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE INCLUDES; 5 SEMI-SYNTHETIC OIL CHANGES, 5 TIRE ROTATIONS, 5 CAR WASHES, AND 5 MULTI-POINT SAFETY INSPECTIONS. SERVICE PROVIDED AT 5000 MILE INTERVALS. EXCLUDES DIESEL, AND FULL SYNTHETIC OIL. MUST PRESENT THIS AD TO QUALIFY. BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. VEHICLES SUBJECT TO PRIOR SALE. PHOTOS FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY. VEHICLES SHOWN CANNOT BE COMBINED WITH ANY OTHER ADVERTISED PRICE. SEE DEALER FOR DETAILS. ALL VEHICLES PLUS TAX, TITLE,AND FEES.

WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE

WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE

WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE

WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE • WE WANT YOUR TRADE

Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County Published by Handshake Publishing Ron & Amy Ross All inquiries: 970.475.4829 or 720.934.7677 4025 Temple Gulch Circle - Loveland CO 80538 www.TrustTidbits.com - RonRoss@TrustTidbits.com


Greeley tidbits issue 889 7 23 13  

Tidbits takes a trip over the edge of Niagara Falls. Funny and thrilling stories about the crazy people who dared to ride a barrel over the...

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