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January 2012

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TIDBITS® WANTS TO TURN UP THE HEAT! by Patricia L. Cook “Cold” is the word for the weather in most locations of North America during January. Let’s turn up the heat in this issue of Tidbits using water, gas, logs, electricity and more.

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• Since the beginning of time, there has been a need to heat homes, buildings and more. The earliest type of indoor heating was an open fire. Fireplaces and wood stoves of many varieties were used worldwide. Still used in many modern and beautiful homes, fireplaces and stoves in developed countries now can be quite efficient and home fashion statements as well. In contrast, in many third-world countries, an open fire burning in the middle of a room is used to provide heat, leading to smoke, ash and other problems inside. • Scientists and inventors all over the world have experimented with how to heat the indoors for many years. Different types of systems were developed with differing degrees of success.

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• Starting before 100 AD, in the northern Roman Empire, a type of central heating known as hypocaust was used to conduct air heated by wood furnaces through empty spaces under floors and out of pipes in walls. Hypocaust literally means “fire beneath.” The systems were mainly used for private homes and public baths.

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LANDMARKS OF THE WORLD: THE ARCTIC TUNDRA The tundra is “an area where levels of subsoil beneath the surface of the earth are permanently frozen.” There are two types of tundra: the Arctic Tundra and the Alpine Tundra. •The Arctic Tundra is found near or north of the Arctic Circle around the North Pole. Alpine Tundra is found at many different mountain top locations on earth at altitudes where trees do not grow. •The Arctic Tundra is located in northern Alaska and Canada, Greenland, northern Russia and parts of the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland. •Permafrost is the permanently frozen layer of soil and dead plants that extends about 1,476 feet (450 m) under the surface of the tundra. The average summer temperature is 10 to 20° F (-12 to -6° C). Winter temperatures average -20 to -30° F (-28 to -34° C). In much of the Arctic Tundra, the permafrost is frozen year round, but in the southern areas, the ground above the permafrost will thaw in the short summers allowing perennial plants to grow. •The sun shines 24 hours a day during the short 50 to 60 day growing season of summer, while winter brings complete darkness. The summer melting forms bogs and shallow lakes, and animal life abounds. Insects and millions of migrating birds feed on the summer bogs and plant growth. The ground refreezes in winter, and the plants go dormant, waiting for the sun and warmth of the next short summer. •Permafrost doesn’t allow for roots of trees to penetrate deep in the earth, so a characteristic of the Arctic Tundra is that it is generally treeless and barren. Just like deserts, tundra areas receive little precipitation. •Arctic foxes, snow geese, polar bears, gray wolves, caribou (also known as reindeer) and musk-oxen live in the Arctic Tundra. There are also Arctic hares, known by many as “snowshoe rabbits,” lemmings, snowy owls and more. Some mammals and birds actually turn white in the winter and brown in the summer for camouflage. The permafrost of the tundra prevents most animals from hibernating in underground burrows in the winter.

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Yesterday’s News Is Free Fun for Kids Before you bundle up your newspapers for the recycling bin, check out these easy recycling activities and crafts. Not only do they enhance creativity, they’re just plain fun when you want something to do. For starters, at breakfast time with your kids, get your brains in gear by coming up with the many ways you can use newspapers after everyone has read his or her favorite sections. You might come up with ideas such as: --Wrap birthday presents with the comics section, or cut out a special comic and tuck it in someone’s lunchbox for a surprise. --Dip strips of newspaper into liquid starch and make a papier-mache sculpture. --Wrap several layers around a hot casserole dish to keep the food warm when transporting it to a potluck supper. --Let your new Christmas puppy housetrain on it. --Clip and use the manufacturer’s coupons for this week’s grocery shopping. Older kids can calculate the savings and develop an interest in cutting the family food bill. --Fold a kid-size newspaper hat. Make a collection of them, and your kids can pretend they are a pirate, Martian, policewoman or whatever they are interested in. For a basic hat, fold one large rectangular newspaper page in half. At the top fold, bring the corners in to meet each other at the center of the page and crease. It makes a triangle. Below the triangle, fold the front bottom single layer of paper up to meet the triangle. Make another fold, the same size, over the triangle. Turn the hat over and repeat with the back page. Tape the folds in place and open the hat. It is ready to wear. For extra fun, grab some markers or paints and decorate it. 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.

Frozen Pipes

Q: Last winter, a couple of pipes in my basement burst. The plumber said that they froze and burst. How can I prevent this from happening again? -- Darla G., Dothan, Ala. A: Frozen pipes, as you unfortunately discovered, are a serious problem that quickly can become costly, especially if flooding occurs and damages furniture and other items. Before talking about prevention, let’s quickly look at emergency measures. When the worst occurs -- a burst pipe -- the water feed to the pipe must be shut off immediately in order to prevent flooding, and then a plumber contacted to fix the problem as soon as possible. Of course, this problem tends to occur at the worst possible times and in the worst way -- the first prolonged cold snap of the year, when no one wants to be wading through freezing water to the shutoff valve. Or, when homeowners are on vacation and flooding occurs for hours ... or days. (This happened to me several years ago: My upstairs neighbor’s pipes burst, and the water flooded my condo.) To prevent this problem, take steps to keep the temperature around those pipes above freezing. Pipes in an uninsulated basement should be wrapped in pipe insulation (available at the hardware or home-improvement store). Outdoor spigots should have the water flow to them turned off during the coldest months, and then be drained; if you can’t turn off the water, purchase insulated spigot covers. During freezing weather, turn on the coldwater tap in the highest and lowest parts of your house, as well as the outdoor spigot. Keep it at a thin trickle or fast drip. Check on all of your pipe runs throughout the freezing period. Run your hand along the pipes when you can. If you feel a spot that’s significantly colder than the rest of the run, there’s a good chance that water is freezing in that spot. If you see frost or condensation on a section of a pipe, or if you see a bulge in the pipe run, those also are telltale signs. Immediately wrap the freezing pipe in a towel soaked in near-boiling water. Pour hot water over the towel periodically to keep it warm. If a bulge in the pipe occurs, or you can’t thaw it, contact a plumber immediately to take additional measures to save the pipe. Send your questions or tips to ask@thisisahammer.com, or write This Is a Hammer, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. (c)

2012

King

Features

Synd.,

Inc.

Gulf War Syndrome, Diet Sodas Linked? Gulf War Syndrome is often a mystery to the medical profession because there are so many varieties of symptoms. What happens in one veteran doesn’t happen in another. Even the source isn’t completely clear. Was it from the vaccines given? Bug sprays? Depleted uranium dust? How about the oil-well fires? Or was it from something completely innocuous -- the diet sodas? Aspartame is a sweetener that’s used in diet sodas. Cooks realized long ago that using it in recipes was a bad idea because the sweetener breaks down at high temperatures. What happened to all those cases of drinks over in Iraq and Afghanistan? Were they kept chilled the whole way? Not likely. A better scenario is that they sat on the hot tarmac before being transported to a hot storage area. The temperature at which Aspartame breaks down in a mere 85 degrees F, turning into chemicals such as formaldehyde and formic acid. I’m not a doctor or a researcher, but from reading the studies it looks like there are biologic effects from putting Aspartame in the human body. In the U.K. and Canada, special product labeling is required when the sweetener is used in food. Is there a link between the ingestion of Aspartame and the symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome? Arguments exist on both sides of the issue. If you want to do your own research, put these all words in an Internet search engine: aspartame methanol formaldehyde formic acid. Look for the scholarly articles, not those a non-medical person has written. If you are suffering with any of the myriad symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome, try cutting Aspartame completely out of your diet for one month and see how you feel. You’ll need to read the ingredients in everything you consume. Write to Freddy Groves in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 328536475, or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.


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TRIVIA PAGE

1. TELEVISION: Who played Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show”? 2. HISTORY: The Battle of Hastings was fought to control which country? 3. CHILDREN’S LITERATURE: What awardwinning Christmas book did Chris Van Allsburg write? 4. MUSIC: By which nickname did The Doors’ Jim Morrison refer to himself? 5. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: What Balkan leader’s real name was Josip Broz? 6. MOVIES: What shape did Hermione Granger’s patronus take in the “Harry Potter” series? 7. ENTERTAINMENT: What kind of entertainer would use the “DeManche change”? 8. LANGUAGE: What is the Hawaiian word for “quick”? 9. POETRY: Who wrote “Sonnets from the Portuguese”? 10. GEOGRAPHY: What is the largest tidal estuary in the United States?

~On Feb. 7, 1812, the most violent of a series of earthquakes near Missouri causes a so-called fluvial tsunami in the Mississippi River, making the river run backward for several hours. The strongest of the aftershocks, an 8.8-magnitude, caused church bells to ring in Boston, more than a thousand miles away. ~On Feb. 8, 1924, the first execution by lethal gas in American history is carried out in Carson City, Nev. The executed man was Tong Lee, a member of a Chinese gang who was convicted of murdering a rival gang member. ~ On Feb. 11, 1937, after a six-week sit-down strike by General Motors autoworkers in Flint, Mich., GM president Alfred P. Sloan signs the first union contract in the history of the American auto industry. Today, the UAW has more than 390,000 active members and more than a 600,000 retired members. ~ On Feb. 6, 1952, King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dies in his sleep at the royal estate at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, the oldest of the king’s two daughters and next in line to succeed him, was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, at age 27. ~ On Feb. 10, 1962, Francis Gary Powers, an American who was shot down over the Soviet Union while flying a CIA spy plane in 1960, is released by the Soviets in exchange for the U.S. release of a Russian spy. On May 1, 1960, Powers’ U-2 had been shot down by a Soviet missile. Although Powers was supposed to engage the plane’s self-destruct system (and commit suicide with poison furnished by the CIA), he and much of the plane were captured. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

~ It was 20th-century American critic John Leonard who made the following sage observation: “To be capable of embarrassment is the beginning of moral consciousness. Honor grows from qualms.” ~ You’ve probably never heard of the Spanish village of Lijar, located in the south of that country. This village, though, was involved in a nearly 100year war that lasted well into the 20th century. It seems that in 1883, Alfonso XII, the king of Spain, made a state visit to Paris and received a lessthan-royal welcome. Led by mayor Don Miguel Garcia Saez, the citizens of Lijar, after hearing that their monarch had been insulted and possible accosted by mobs, declared war on France. Though there were no casualties -- not even any gunfire -- the war lasted until 1981. That was when the town council ruled that it would end hostilities with France thanks to the warm welcome King Juan Carlos of Spain received in France in 1976. ~ The town of Adamant, Vermont, was once named Sodom. The townspeople voted to change the name in 1905. ~ The first portable computer was made available to the public in 1975. In this instance, however, “portable” was used as a relative term; the IBM 5100 weighed 55 pounds. ~ Only 5 percent of American men report that they feel satisfied with their looks. With women, it’s only 1 percent. ~ In 2008, a study was conducted in the United Kingdom to determine what, if any, effect the consumption of tomatoes had on the human body’s reaction to sun exposure. The university students enrolled in the study who consumed the equivalent of about five tomatoes per day were 33 percent less likely to get sunburned than those who ate no tomatoes. ~ Thought for the Day: “Several excuses are always less convincing than one.” -- Aldous Huxley

1. Name the girl group that had hits with “Mama Said” and “Baby It’s You,” and give the year. 2. What was Tom Jones’ first hit? Bonus: Where was he born? 3. In what year did Kiss give its first concert? In what city? 4. Which female artist had hits with “Love to Love You Baby” and “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It”? 5. Who penned and released “Give Peace a Chance?” 6. Name the group that wrote and released “The Metro.”

1. Is the book of Joel in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. From Judges 14, what man offered 30 changes of garments for solving a riddle? Moses, Samson, Peter, Solomon 3. Who argued with the devil in a quarrel over the body of Moses? Michael the archangel, a beggar, Miriam, Zipporah 4. From Zechariah 10:2, “For the idols have spoken ...” what? Hope, Vanity, Loudly, Nothing 5. Whose last words were, “What is there done, my son”? Samson, John, Eli, Paul 6. From 1 Kings 4, how many governors did King Solomon have? 12, 61, 100, 192

(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

Trivia Test Answers 1. Don Knotts 2. England 3. The Polar Express 4. The Lizard King 5. Tito 6. A silver otter 7. A magician 8. Wiki 9. Elizabeth Barrett Browning 10. Chesapeake BayBible Trivia Answers: 1) Old; 2) Samson; 3) Michael the archangel; 4) Vanity; 5) Eli; 6) 12

Flash Back Answers 1. The Shirelles, both in 1961. The songs reached No. 4 and No. 8 on the chart, respectively. 2. Sir Thomas John Woodward saw his first U.K. chart topper with “It’s Not Unusual” in 1965, which was only the second song released by the Welsh-born singer. It reached No. 10 in the U.S. 3. In 1973, at the Coventry in Queens, N.Y. There were few people in the audience, it’s said. 4. Donna Summer. The extended version of “Try Me” on her 1976 “Love Trilogy” disco album ran 18 minutes. 5. Former Beatles John Lennon wrote the song in 1969, his first solo effort. It only reached No. 14 on the chart. decided that he had copied the melody. 6. Berlin, in 1982.


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Yeast Infection Tends to Recur DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I haven’t seen an article about vaginal yeast infections. The doctor gave me an oral antiyeast medicine for it and a cream to apply. In addition, he gave me something to stop the itching. It seemed worse after the treatment, so the doctor gave me five more days of the oral medicine. What would you suggest if it comes back again? Could it be something I am eating or taking? -- N.F. ANSWER: Candida is the name of the yeast responsible for vaginal infections. Itching is a prominent sign. The vaginal lining also often is irritated and painful. Intercourse can be uncomfortable. White patches adhere to the vaginal lining, and there may be a white discharge. Close to 75 percent of all women will experience at least one Candida infection during their life. It has nothing to do with what you eat or take. Somewhere between 20 percent and 50 percent of woman harbor this yeast in their vagina but don’t have any symptoms of it. If these women are put on an antibiotic for an unrelated infection, the vaginal bacteria that keep the population of Candida at small numbers die off. Without those good bacteria, the Candida yeasts reproduce at a rapid rate and lead to symptoms. You were put on a standard treatment for Candida. Those treatments are antiyeast medicines that come as ointments, creams or vaginal suppositories. There are many of them. The oral antiyeast fluconazole (Diflucan) is another approved treatment. Recurrence of this infection is common and hard to abolish. If it happens,

longer treatment with vaginal antiyeast medicines coupled with a weekly dose of oral Diflucan for six months is a reasonable action. If that fails, referral to a center that has the capability to check Candida’s sensitivity to antiyeast medication can end the problem. Unproven but popular ways of attacking this infection include eating yogurt with live lactobacillus in it to repopulate the vagina’s normal bacterial population. Another unproven approach is to treat the male partner. It hasn’t been shown that such an approach works, but some experts resort to it. Vaginal infections are discussed at length in the booklet on that topic. To obtain a copy, write: Dr. Donohue -- No. 1203W, Box 536475, 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 four weeks for delivery. DEAR DR. DONOHUE: What can you tell me about hypothyroidism? Does taking iodine help? I hear that taking thyroid hormone is a lifetime commitment. -- C.N. ANSWER: Hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland that’s putting out way too little thyroid hormone. All body processes slow. People become weak and are exhausted. They’re cold when others are pleasantly warm. They gain weight without overeating. Their skin dries. The face becomes puffy. The heart beats slowly. Worldwide, iodine deficiency is the main cause of a sluggish thyroid gland. It is not in North America. Here, the main cause is an attack on the gland by the immune system. The appropriate treatment is supplying the hormone in pill form. It usually is a lifelong treatment, but it’s not an onerous one. It’s taking only one pill a day. 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.

Your Family’s Health History When it comes to leaving something for the next generations, there’s something even more valuable than albums with carefully identified photos -- and that is your family’s health history. The U.S. surgeon general has created the “My Family Health Portrait,” an online tool that helps organize the specifics of your family’s health. The potential benefits to the next generations are big. There are certain diseases that can run in the family, like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The risk for high blood pressure can show up through the generations. By knowing what diseases are common in the family, the generations that follow will be able to guard against diseases that might have a hereditary basis. Their doctors will be able to assess which diagnostic and screening tests to run at various times based on family history. If you’d like to create your own family health file, go online to https:// familyhistory.hhs.gov/ to access the online tool. You’ll start with baseline questions like your age, gender, whether you were born a twin, and your height and weight. You’ll move into the section on diseases or conditions you have or have had in the past. Then it gets a bit tricky when you have to list your relatives. It’s set up like a family tree: You start with your mother and father, if possible, and what you know about their health. Ideally, you can gather information for a total of three generations. At the end you can save the file and update it later as you gather more information, or print out what you have and share it with your family.

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 columnreply@gmail.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Answers on page 14

~ “Make ice cubes out of punch when you’re entertaining. I like to make different combinations, which can be adapted for adult and child parties. One that I like very much is to make ice cubes from red fruit punch, and then float them in lemonade. As the cubes melt, the mixture turns pinky-orange. -- I.F. in Missouri ~ Bring egg whites to room temperature before whipping. You’ll get a better volume, and they will be more stable. ~“Ever make a delicious dinner that involves some stinky ingredients? This happens when I make broccoli-cauliflower casserole, or pork and sauerkraut. No worries, though; you don’t have to smell that odor all day. Just simmer a pan of vinegar on the stove while making such foods. The vinegar smell goes away quickly, taking with it any other odors. All that’s left is the smell of yummy.” -- M.N. in South Carolina ~ Wash bath towels in cold water. It preserves color and still cleans them well. And for smaller dryer loads, add a clean, dry bath towel to speed up drying time. ~ “Turn down the maximum temperature on your family’s water heater. You will do two things: One is to avoid accidental scalding, which is especially important if you have young children or seniors in your house. The other is to lower your electric bill, because the water heater will not have to work as hard to keep that big tank of water so hot.” -- T.D. in New Mexico ~Keep a few bandanas handy in cold weather to use as a mouth/face cover to keep your nose from freezing. They are easy to store in a pocket, and easy to put on and remove. 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 heresatip@yahoo.com.


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SPORTS OF SORTS NASCAR THIS WEEK By Monte Dutton Almirola Earns Seat With Petty Racing

Aric Almirola has a shot to compete full-time at stock car racing’s highest level, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. At age 27, he has a chance to prove he can make it in Cup racing after distinguishing himself in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. Almirola, who is of Cuban descent and from Tampa, Fla., hasn’t competed in Cup since the final race of the 2010 season, when he surprisingly finished fourth in Homestead, Fla. His Cup career consists of 35 races: nine in 2010, eight in ‘09, 12 in ‘08 and six in ‘07. Last year he finished fourth in the Nationwide Series standings, competing in Chevys fielded by JR Motorsports. Now Almirola moves from Nationwide to Cup, from JR to Richard Petty Motorsports and from Chevy to Ford. “Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) said the main reason for him having a Nationwide team was to get guys in the Nationwide car at his shop and to give them an opportunity to go an make a career out of racing in NASCAR,” Almirola said. “He gave me a great opportunity to go there and drive the ‘88’ car, and that’s led to this opportunity at RPM.” Almirola finished second in the Truck standings in 2010, winning twice. He was credited with a Nationwide victory in 2007, though it was Denny Hamlin who took the checkered flag after Almirola started the race. Making the move to Cup will be challenging. “Obviously, it’s going to be my first year running full-time in Cup, so there will be some growing pains,” Almirola said. “I realize that I’ve got a lot of learning to do. “I don’t expect to just go out there and win six races and run for the championship, but I do expect to be competitive. I do expect to run really well on a regular basis.” The team recently picked up sponsorship from Smithfield Foods. Last year A.J. Allmendinger piloted the No. 43, finishing 15th in the Cup standings. Allmendinger had 10 finishes in the top 10, one of them in the top five. Almirola’s Cup teammate is Marcos Ambrose, who won at Watkins Glen, N.Y. Monte Dutton covers motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette. E-mail Monte at nascarthisweek@yahoo.com. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

1. In 2010, Texas’ Josh Hamilton became the third Ranger to lead the A.L. in batting average for a season. Name either of the other 2. 2. Who is the all-time leader in stolen bases for the Toronto Blue Jays? 3. Name the first team to win 15 games in a regular season once the NFL went to a 16game schedule in 1978. 4. Which was the lowest-seeded men’s basketball team to win a game in the 2011 NCAA Tournament (not counting the First Four games)? 5. When was the last time Canadian-based NHL teams won at least five consecutive Stanley Cups? 6. In 2011, Tony Stewart became the second driver to win the first two races in NASCAR’s Chase playoff format. Who was the first? 7. Roger Federer holds the record for most singles titles won at the ATP World Tour Finals. How many has he captured?

1. Julio Franco hit .341 in 1991, and Michael Young hit .331 in 2005. 2. Lloyd Moseby, with 255. 3. San Francisco went 15-1 in 1984. 4. No. 13 Morehead State beat No. 4 Louisville. 5. Canadian-based teams won seven Cups in a row between 1984 and 1990. 6. Greg Biffle, in 2008. 7. Six, including in 2011.

You “Like” This

One of my favorite things to do on a Monday morning after a big playoff game is to check on the Facebook status of every obscure or inconsequential person in my life and then mock him or her without mercy. Today, let’s incorporate these -- let’s just call them “jibes” -- into a sports column. Everyone becomes a football pundit on Monday. Hey, they even invented a term for that! I didn’t know that my college roommate, sophomore year, was a Baltimore Ravens fan. Well, I do now! That’s because he changed his profile picture to a large “GO RAVENS!” banner. But he didn’t stop there, he also served up this tasty nugget of insight: “Everyone needs to quit cryin’ about the fact that we WON the game! We had a game plan, which we did not execute perfectly, but well enough to win. The Patriots are just another team in our way. We will put together a game plan for them, and if we execute it, we will go to the Super Bowl, and if we don’t, we won’t.” Thanks for that profound statement, my old friend from the top bunk. Ironically, I found the most mean-spirited commentary coming from Packer fans -- some of it pretty crude, too. They’re always quick to say New Yorkers are obnoxious and rude, too. These two knickerbockers on the bandwagon decided to take the high road. Let’s listen in on their erudite conversation: Fan 1: “I get accused of not being a sports fan. Well, try this: I understand our local squad of footballers prevailed today and vanquished the opposing faction! Huzzah!” Fan 2: “Yes, that is correct ... our cleated boy wonders of the gridiron did a swell job in the relevant meat-packing town of Green Bay, Wisconsin, yester-eve. The fella quarterbacking our offensive efforts named Eli Manning made such stunning use of the forward pass that it could only be classified as effective!” Fan 1: “It certainly was! Kudos to our golden boy and his squad-mates of the foot-and-ball team known as the Giants of New York!” Fan 2: “Well, they certainly lived up to their moniker, as they played an astounding match against a worthy foe with a reputation for excellence. They were simply titanic during that well-played contest. It was positively delightful to set for a spell and forget about the war for a few ticks of the clock.” Fan 1: “I know our doughboys overseas will feel inspired as they march against the enemy! Just like every sports contest, the game gave us another chance to buy war bonds!” Fan 2: “Why, of course! Also, remember to limit your usage of nylon, meat and steel. And now a dance number from the ravishing and buxom Marilyn Maxwell as she gives her authentic interpretation of a Tonganese “hula” dance while smoking a pack of Lucky Strikes!” Some of my Facebook “friends” are weird, but I “like” them.


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Put your business card ad here for 26 weeks; Long term advertising is the key. Call 704-9972 For details.

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Continued from front page: • The Royal Monastery of Our Lady of the Wheel, founded in 1202 on the Ebro River in Spain, contains an excellent example of a type of central heating. The Cistercian monks used river diversions combined with indoor wood-fired furnaces to heat the large building.

Find Mr. Tidbits! He’s hidden somewhere in the paper. Here’s what he might

• Fast-forward a bit in history, and Benjamin Franklin, a famous American of many talents, invented the Franklin Stove in the 1740s. His stoves heated double the space using less wood than fireplaces and were equipped to take in fresh air and minimize smoke. Another inventor, David Rittenhouse, improved Franklin’s design with an L-shaped exhaust pipe. The stoves became popular all over America and Europe.

He can be any size and any color. If you find him, go to www.tidbitsinc.com

• The Franklin stove and other wood stoves helped heat homes more efficiently since the stoves generated heat all around their iron bodies. They typically used one quarter as much wood for twice as much heat. They did present a safety challenge though; touching the stoves had disastrous effects. Today, many efficient wood stoves are being sold with modern safety features.

look like:

Last week’s Answer On page 1:

•Also developed in the 1700s was the first hydrological system; as the word implies, it used water. The system was installed in Peter the Great’s Summer Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Q: I have a stamp collection that I am interested in selling. I understand that unless a stamp is rare or unique, it is not worth much more than face value. Do cancelled stamps have any retail value, and will I get a better deal with a small, local trader versus a larger commercial dealer? -- Curt, via email A: I will partially answer your question by sharing a personal experience. My mother was a stamp collector, and when she died several years ago I inherited three of her albums. She specialized in U.S. commemoratives and firstday issues. After showing her collection to several dealers, it was determined that her stamps were not worth much more than face value. As with most collectibles, there are always exceptions to the rule. In mother’s albums were several Civil War cancellations, and they were somewhat valuable. To make a long story short, I am using most of her stamps for personal postage since they are not likely to increase in value. My advice is to get some of the better price guides and carefully examine your collection. I realize this is time-consuming, but an educated consumer is better prepared to make decisions. An Internet site I have found helpful is www.theswedishtiger.com/ID.html. You also can order price guides from this company. Q: I have a wire recorder that was originally made for the military. We have taken it to the “Antique Roadshow,” and they had no idea of how much it is worth. Can you help me? -- Anita, Albuquerque, N.M. A: Wire recorders were once an example of cutting-edge technology, and many of the early models were made by two companies, Webster and Silvertone. The early recording devices were, indeed, used by the military during the mid-1940s; most sell in the $45 to $100 range.


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Continued from page 2: •Grasses, sedges, lichens and willow shrubs make up most of the tundra vegetation. Most of the plants grow very close to the ground because of the drying cold winds. Some of the low plants are called “cushion plants.” •A natural phenomenon that is visible in much of the Arctic Tundra is the “Northern Lights.” Also known as the aurora borealis, the light shows are a result of solar activity interacting with the earth’s magnetic fields and solar weather. In the southern hemisphere the light activity is called aurora australis. Unfortunately, these lights are not visible in warm weather when most people would prefer to visit the areas close to the poles. • If you have the opportunity to go north to the Arctic Tundra, it will be a memorable trip with sights unlike anything seen anywhere else.

Dog Hates Bathtub DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My German shepherd, “Silky,” is 10 years old and has developed hip dysplasia, which makes her pretty uncomfortable. She avoids slippery floors and she hates the tub, but I need to give her a bath. Any way I can do this better to keep her comfortable? -- Jack T., Oklahoma City DEAR JACK: There are a few ways to help Silky stay comfortable while being bathed. First, try placing a large, wet towel in the tub that she can stand on to gain traction. Lift her into the high-sided tub rather than make her jump in. Shepherds are large dogs, so if need be, work with a second person and tandem lift her, with one of you cradling under her chest and the other cradling her midsection and then tucking the other arm between her back legs and supporting her belly. A step-in shower is an even better option, if you have one. Again, put down a wet towel so that she feels secure standing or sitting. In warm weather, you could set up an inflatable kiddie pool and fill it with warm water. This gives big dogs enough room to sit or

even lie down during their bath, and they can just walk into it over the low sides. During the bath itself it’s important to work fast. Keep Silky’s collar and leash on so you can hold her still as you wet her down (either with warm water scooped in a cup or using a sprayer attachment), add soap (only soap formulated for use on dogs), then rinse. Talk soothingly through the whole process. Once complete, lift her out of the tub onto a nonslip rug and towel-dry her WANTgive TO RUN YOUR fur, then her lots of OWN praiseBUSI andNESS? a treat.

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JUST FOR KIDS?


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Super Bowl Chili

This recipe for Texas-style chili contains small chunks of beef, not ground meat. The classic version doesn’t contain beans, but we replaced a portion of the meat with red kidney beans to cut some fat.

Comfort Franks With Mac & Cheese

Throw all this into your slow cooker and return later to something as comforting as anything to be found in “comfort food land.” It’s guaranteed to bring out the kid in any adult! 4 cups cooked elbow macaroni, rinsed and drained 1 (12-fluid-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk 1 cup fat-free milk 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese 8 ounces reduced-fat frankfurters, diced into 1/2-inch pieces In a slow-cooker container sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray, combine macaroni, evaporated milk, milk, onion flakes and parsley flakes. Add cheddar cheese and frankfurter pieces. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Mix well before serving. Makes 8 (1 cup) servings. Each serving equals: 246 calories, 6g fat, 18g protein, 30g carb., 525mg sodium, 1g fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Meat, 1 1/2 Starch, 1/2 Fat-Free Milk. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

2 tablespoons olive oil 2 pounds boneless beef for stew, cut into 1/2-inch chunks 4 cloves garlic, crushed with garlic press 2 red peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced 1 large onion, chopped 1/3 cup chili powder 2 cans (28-ounce) whole tomatoes in puree 1 can (6-ounce) tomato paste 1/4 cup sugar 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoon dried oregano 2 cans (15- to 19-ounce) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1. In 8-quart saucepot or Dutch oven, heat 1 teaspoon oil over high heat until hot. Add one-third of beef and cook until browned on all sides and liquid evaporates, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often. With slotted spoon, transfer beef to bowl. Repeat with remaining beef, using 1 teaspoon oil per batch; set aside. 2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in saucepot and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Stir in garlic, red peppers, jalapenos and onion, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chili powder; cook 1 min. 3. Return beef to saucepot. Stir in tomatoes with their puree, tomato paste, sugar, salt, oregano and 2 cups water, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Heat to boiling over high heat. 4. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour and 30 minutes. Stir in beans and cook 10 to 30 minutes longer or until meat is fork-tender, stirring occasionally. Serves 12. Each serving: About 275 calories, 7g total fat (2g saturated), 36mg cholesterol, 1,115mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 11g dietary fiber, 25g protein.

Grocery Sticker Shock Have you seen the price of hamburger lately? During the past year, the price of beef has skyrocketed, with that madeat-home burger costing 10 percent more than it did a year ago. The Economic Research Service arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture keeps track of forecasts, and it’s taken a close look at 2011. We know it costs more to feed our families, but just how bad is it? As a general rule, food prices go up 2.9 percent each year. In 2011 the average increase was a whopping 4.5 percent, and where it got us in the wallet was in the staples. A pork chop costs 6.9 percent more than it did a year ago. A chicken leg costs 10.5 percent more. Eggs are up 10.2 percent. Cheese up 8.4 percent. Turkey up 10.5 percent. Milk up 9.8 percent. Even potatoes soared by 12 percent. Cereals, on the other hand, went up only 6.2 percent. Is it any wonder people are feeding their kids cereal for dinner? Supply and demand is given as the reason: More of us are sticking to basics, which pushes up the demand, which pushes up the price. The things we’re not buying -steaks, for example -- didn’t see much of a price increase because there wasn’t much of a demand. The USDA predicts that food prices for 2012 will “only” go up 3 percent to 4 percent, which still is above the long-term average. How to survive until prices come down? Here are some ideas: --Shop the ads. This is no time to be loyal. If another nearby store has a special, go there. Stock up within reason. --Use your customer cards to take advantage of discounts. --Invest in a big box “club” membership. Be aware that the food comes in large bulk sizes and be prepared to split the costs with a friend. Divide and freeze meal-size portions. If you don’t have a freezer, barter with a friend to share the bounty in exchange for freezer space. --Study nutrition. Learn how to combine cheaper protein sources, such as beans and rice. Get creative with pasta. Go online to www.eatingwell.com and put “cheap” in the search box. Try www.cheapcooking. com and other similar sites. 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 e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Puzzle and Game Answers

HOT SPRINGS There are 1,600 hot springs in the United States according to a list published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Many exist in Canada as well. Let’s take a dip in some hot water! •Hot springs are places where hot groundwater flows out of the earth. The springs form when water seeps through hot volcanic rocks underground, which can heat the water to the boiling point, 212° F (100° C). This heated water, which may contain a variety of minerals, then flows up to the earth’s surface. •The springs vary greatly in size, the amount of water discharged and the minerals present. Many larger springs located in the Rocky Mountains of the United States and Canada are the result of long cracks in sedimentary rock. •Some mineral springs distinguish themselves from regular “hot springs” by touting the minerals present in their waters. A mineral spring is a spring that contains a reading of 400 parts/million of total dissolved solids. •Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park in western Alberta was named for the small traces of radon in the water, which makes it the most radioactive spring in North America. The level of radon, however, is too low to make it a health concern. The water is rich in silica, magnesium, sulphate, fluoride, calcium and bicarbonate. The water temperature ranges from 98.4 to 113.9° F (36.9 to 45.5° C) in odorless pools that are surrounded by natural rock walls. Radium Hot Springs boasts Canada’s largest mineral pool as well as an 82-foot- (25m-) long cool pool that even has a diving board. •Hot Springs National Park, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is well known for its bathhouses, health spas and hotels built to take advantage of natural underground springs. One of the smallest national parks in the country, it is also one of the most unique. •Hot Springs became a national site in 1832 to conserve the hot water from 47 springs that originate at Hot Springs Mountain. Mammoth Spring, one of the largest springs in the country, pumps about nine million gallons (34 million liters) of water every hour. People have been using the hot water for therapeutic baths to treat rheumatism and other ailments for more than 200 years. • Many hot springs are not developed as destinations but are left for hikers, cross country skiers and horseback riders to explore. For example, northeast of Vancouver, B.C., is Pitt River Hot Springs. Many say it is the best, most pristine hot springs in British Columbia, probably because of the difficult access. The springs have two small pools that are filled by waterfalls overhead, and the icy cold Pitt River flows beside the pools. Two ropes are used to climb down steep rocks to gain access to the hot springs. •Wherever you live, there are probably some hot springs within a day’s drive. Go exploring see what wonders of nature you discover.


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ShowBiz Weekly JILL JACKSON’S HOLLYWOOD By Tony Rizzo

CELEBRITY EXTRA By Cindy Elavsky PHOTO: Tony Goldwyn

Q: I was watching an old episode of “Dexter” from season one and was thrilled to see Tony Goldwyn as a guest star that episode. What has he been doing lately? I know he’s done a lot of behind-thescenes work, but I’d love to see his handsome face on screen soon. -- Ginger F., Madison, Wisc. A: Well, you won’t have to wait too long, Ginger, because Tony is one of the stars of the new ABC drama “Scandal.” The show centers on Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington), a former communications director to the president of the United States (Tony Goldwyn), who left the White House to open her own prominent crisis-management firm. She’s hoping to start a new chapter in her life -- both professionally and personally -- but she can’t seem to completely cut ties with her past. “Scandal” premieres Thursday, April 5, at 10 p.m. ET. With the show’s creator and executive producer being Shonda Rhimes, who also is behind the powerhouse series “Grey’s Anatomy,” you can bet there will be plenty of edge-of-yourseat drama to keep you coming back each week. Q: I know you’ve mentioned this before, and every now and then I hear teases about it, but are they ever going to make a “24” movie? -- Gerry D., via e-mail A: Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland, told reporters at a Television Critics Association press event about the planned movie: “Hopefully we’ll begin shooting at the end of April, beginning of May.” So, while that’s about all the details anyone can offer at this point, at least it’s something, and if we cross our fingers, maybe this movie will see the light of day by fall 2012 or early 2013. Q: Are the rumors of a Van Halen reunion true? If so, is it with David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar as the frontman? -- Steve V., Akron, Ohio A: Those rumors are not rumors, Steve. They are cold, hard facts: Van Halen, with David Lee Roth, is back with a new album and upcoming tour. The album is called “A Different Kind of Truth” and will be released Feb. 7, with the debut single, “Tattoo” already getting airplay. The band starts touring Feb. 18, so check online to see when they are coming to your town. Hopefully they’ll stay friendly with each other long enough to complete the tour this time. Q: Will “Top Shot” be back for another season? -- Jeremy W., via e-mail A: The History Channel recently announced that its top-rated competition series hosted by Colby Donaldson will be back for a fourth season starting Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 10 p.m. ET. The show promises more twists and historyinspired challenges than ever before. Unless your lady is into the show, I’d suggest taking her out to dinner for Valentine’s Day and DVRing the show to watch once she’s gone to sleep. Write to Cindy at King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; or e-mail her at letters@cindyelavsky.com. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

Top 10 Movies 1. Contraband (R) Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale 2. Beauty and the Beast (G) animated 3. Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol (PG-13) Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner 4. Joyful Noise (PG-13) Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton 5. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (PG-13) Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law 6. The Devil Inside (R) Fernanda Andrade, Evan Helmuth 7. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (R) Daniel Craig 8. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G) animated 9. War Horse (PG-13) Tom Hiddleston 10. The Iron Lady (PG-13) Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent Top 10 Video Rentals 1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13) James Franco 2. Colombiana (PG-13) Zoe Saldana 3. Apollo 18 (PG-13) Warren Christie 4. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (R) Katie Holmes 5. Cowboys and Aliens (PG-13) Daniel Craig 6. The Hangover Part II (R) Bradley Cooper 7. The Help (PG-13) Viola Davis 8. Contagion (PG-13) Matt Damon 9. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (PG) Jim Carrey 10. Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG) animated Top 10 DVD Sales 1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13) (Fox) 2. The Hangover Part II (R) (Warner) 3. Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG) (Paramount) 4. Dolphin Tale (PG) (Warner) 5. The Help (PG-13) (Buena Vista) 6. Final Destination 5 (R) (Warner) 7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (PG-13) 8. The Smurfs (PG) (Sony) 9. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (PG-13) 10. Apollo 18 (PG-13) (Anchor Bay)

HOLLYWOOD -- Glenn Close fans were thrilled that Andrew Lloyd Webber was talking about finally bringing his musical version of Billy Wilder’s film “Sunset Boulevard” to the silver screen, until they heard he wanted to shoot it as a stage production rather than make a full-scale motion picture of it. Sir Andrew feels, “For relatively little money (about $2.3 million), you’d get a film you can screen in a cinema for a couple of nights and then release as a DVD.” Close recently picked up a lifetime achievement award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival and is riding high toward an Oscar nomination for “Albert Nobbs.” Meryl Streep will be running neck and neck with Close for the best actress Oscar for her stunning portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “Iron Lady.” She will next be seen in “Great Hope Springs” with Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. It’s about a married couple of 30 years who go through intense marriage counseling to decide the fate of their marriage. “Designing Women’s” Jean Smart also is along for laughs. It’s set for a December release. George Clooney, honored at The Palm Springs Fest for “The Ides of March” and “The Descendants,” will take on the Nazis in his next film, “Monument Men,” based on the book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.” It follows a special force of U.S. and British museum directors, curators and art historians who risk their lives scouring Europe for art stolen by the Nazis. Clooney will write, direct and star in the film. Clooney also is in talks to play the late Steve Jobs in a biopic of the Apple creator. His competition for the role is his former “ER” co-star, Noah Wyle. Brad Pitt, who also received an award at the Palm Springs Fest for “The Tree of Life” and “Moneyball,” has “Cogan’s Trade” with James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta and Sam Shepard upcoming. Brad plays the point man for a hitman who investigates the heist of the mob’s assets. Brad also is a producer on this one. In addition, at the end of this year, his epic sci-fiction film “World War Z” will be released. The post-apocalyptic horror film is based on the best-selling novel by Max Brooks, and Brad’s company, Plan B Entertainment, had to outbid Leonardo DiCaprio’s company, Appian Way, for the rights. It also stars “Lost” alumnus Matthew Fox and “Breaking Bad” multiple Emmy winner Bryan Cranston. The fight for the rights to “World War Z” between these two superstars could be likened to World War 3, Hollywood style! Send letters to Tony Rizzo’s Hollywood, 8306 Wilshire Blvd., No. 362, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.


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