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TIDBITS® RESEARCHES FUN & UNUSUAL HOLIDAYS by Blue Sullivan
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To people outside of the United States, several of our holidays may seem peculiar. Imagine a foreign person arriving here during our Halloween celebration, for instance. Crowds of people dressed in frightful costumes and wandering the streets looking for candy might appear like an instance of mass insanity to an outsider. All over the world, people conduct similarly unusual (and fun) celebrations. Below, Tidbits explores just a few. • Have you ever thought to yourself, “There just aren’t enough holidays where grown men cavort in diapers?” No? Well, Japan has a similar holiday for you anyway. On January 14, people in Japan celebrate The Naked Festival where men gather in loincloths (not actual diapers, thankfully) and galavant all over the city until the clock strikes 12. At midnight, they gather in a Shinto temple to observe another interesting tradition, attempting to catch bits of wood dropped from overhead by a local priest. Catch one and it means good luck for an entire year! • Northern Italians engage in fruit-flinging silliness when they observe Iverea Carnevale’s “Battle of the Oranges.” During the three days of the country’s annual carnival (held during February or March), the local populace re-enacts an 1194 revolt by the people against a cruel count and his troops. The original revolt was conducted with stones, but today, the citizenry have smartly taken to instead using the oranges that exceed the country’s yearly production quota. Some locals really re-enact the scene enthusiastically, so if you happen to attend, don’t forget to duck. Continued on page 10
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FAMOUS LANDMARKS: CAPITOL RECORDS BUILDING In the middle of Hollywood, near the famed intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, sits a building like no other in Los Angeles County. Seen from above, it’s the one structure that could pass for an alien installation in some futuristic metropolis. Thirteen stories of architectural innovation with a long white spire sitting atop, it’s the Capitol Records Building, also known as the Capitol Records Tower or Capitol Tower. • The Capitol Records Building was the world’s first circular office building. The remarkable structure was the brainchild of designers Welton Becket and Louis Naidorf, and it has been described by the Los Angeles Times as ranking “among the dozen or so best-known landmarks in all of Southern California.” Created as a mixed-use building, the Capitol Tower is less than a 150 feet tall. • Many have suggested that the building’s resemblance to a stack of records was by design, but it was actually a happy accident. The shape was actually a response to the problem of available space created by earth-quake regulations that limited the structure’s height. The shape allowed designers to maximize the number and size of offices available within its walls, and the circular shape resulted in considerably lower energy costs. • There is a blinking red light that adorns the building’s spire. Though one could assume its significance lies merely as a signal to low flying aircraft, it actually blinks the word “Hollywood” in Morse Code. In fact, the light’s initial activation on April 6, 1956, was conducted by the granddaughter of Samuel Morse (for whom Morse Code is named), Leila. • This message has changed only once in the building’s 55-year history. This occurred in 1992, when the message was altered to read “Capitol 50,” reflecting the record company’s 50th year in business. In September of this year, the normally white spire atop the building was lit blue at night, as part of “Blue September,” a month raising awareness about the importance of early detection in prevent-ing prostate cancer. • The first recording made in the Capitol Records Building was actually a series of instrumentals entitled “Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color.” Since then, the tower has been the artistic home of such musical icons as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Tina Turner, Steve Miller, Bonnie Raitt and the aforementioned “Chairman of the Board” Frank Sinatra. • The 13 circular floors of the building sit on a square base. At the base’s southern face, one can view a large mural created by artist Richard Wyatt entitled “Hollywood Jazz.” Among the fanciful portraits found there are titans of jazz and blues including Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole. The latter is even rumored to be responsible for suggesting the building’s singular shape. The past two decades haven’t been kind to the mural, as it has faded considerably.
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Finding Lower-Rate Credit Cards
Vets With ALS Now 100 Percent Disabled
If your credit is solid but you’re paying higher credit-card interest rates than you’d like, don’t expect the credit-card company to lower your rate without a request from you. Even then it’s likely you’ll be stuck. But you have another option: credit unions. It’s likely that a credit union will be your best bet for a credit card you’ll want to keep long term. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions [www.nafcu.org] wrote in a recent news release that credit unions have an upper limit of 18 percent for both credit cards and loans. Their average credit-card interest rate is 12 percent, with some as low as 9 percent.
Back in 2008, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was classified as a presumptive for service-related disability, and benefits were given. The level of disability was classified at 30 percent, with frequent rechecks as time went on and the disease progressed. It was that ever-changing rating that held up a lot of benefits and needed equipment.
When it comes to fees, credit unions are generally much lower. Credit unions are not-for-profit, so they’re not out to charge a fee for every loophole they can get away with. You’ll find ATMs, good service and a friendly staff because as an account holder, you are a member-owner. If you want to look for credit unions you’re eligible to join and see a comparison between their rates and banks, go online to www.culookup.com. (Tip: On the lookup screen, it asks for your whole street address. Don’t give it. You’ll get just as much information by putting in just your ZIP code.) You’ll be shown a map of credit unions in your area. On the left side, click on Compare CU Rates for comparisons on nearly any financial product: car and boat loans, adjustableand fixed-rate mortgages, money-market accounts, credit cards and certificates of deposit. The site also has a number of calculators for home, credit, retirement, savings and auto. Remember: Don’t cancel your other credit cards if you take a new one for a better deal. Bring the balance to zero on old card, and then let the card sit unused. Your credit score is partially determined by the total amount of credit available to you versus the percentage of that amount you have used. If you have an unused card with a $10,000 availability and you cancel that account, the percentage of your total availability drops. As the percentage of credit you use rises (after you cancel a card), your credit score drops. Keep your percentage under 30 percent. 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.
Q: Why do seed companies -- those selling small amounts of seeds to backyard gardeners like me -- send their catalogs so early? I started receiving them at the end of December. -- Darla J., Cleveland A: Catalogs are sent early to give you plenty of time to plan this year’s garden and order your seeds, of course. While we tend to be preoccupied in January and February with shoveling snow and staying warm, February is prime time for ordering seeds. Most companies make their shipments this month. It’s also just a nice, quiet time of year for most homeowners, right after the holidays and before spring lawn care and exterior house repairs gear up. So this is a great time to sit down with your catalogs or browse the Web looking for ideas on things to grow and ways to configure your garden. One of my favorite Web sites is A Way to Garden (http://awaytogarden. com), which features plenty of advice for gardeners of all levels, as well as video and pictorial instructions, podcasts and other fun. It’s a good place to start if you’re new to researching gardening and seeds on the Web. If you want to do something more than sowing herbs or struggling with tomatoes (not saying other people struggle to get big red tomatoes, but I sure do), look into planting vegetables or flowers native to your area. For example, residents of coastal Virginia or Maryland might want to look at Annapolis Seeds (http:// www.annapolisseeds.com/), which produces seeds native to the Maritimes. A number of online garden planners also are out there. These can help you lay out and plan your outdoor garden, offer hints and ideas, and generally make this stage of gardening more fun, or as fun as it can be when you’re anxious to get outside and start turning over dirt. HOME TIP: Have an old, leaky garden hose you don’t know what to do with? Use a section of hose as a blade guard for a hand saw. Send your questions or tips to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
An item in the Federal Register for Dec. 20 says that the disability evaluation criterion has been revised. Veterans who have ALS now will be considered 100 percent disabled and much of the paper chase will be dispensed with. The jump from 30 percent to 100 percent could mean a significant increase in benefits money. At 30 percent disability, a single veteran would be eligible for $389 a month. At the 100 percent level, that amount goes up to $2,769. The amount increases if there is a spouse or children. Additionally, there might be Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) monies due to the level of disability. ALS is found in those veterans who served in Gulf I back in 1991 at a rate twice that of those who served elsewhere. Initial research was published in the Neurology journal in 2003. A second study determined that the rate also was twice that of the general population. Hardest hit were those in the Army and Air Force. Initial research was even able to narrow down a time frame for exposure: Between August 1990 and July 1991. An environmental trigger was suspected. Studies done later, in 2005 and 2009 at Harvard, found that veterans in any branch with any military service anywhere were 60 percent more likely than the general population to be diagnosed with ALS. After fine-tuning the data, service in war was suspected as a component. But a 2006 review concluded that any military service is related to increased risk for ALS. Write to Freddy Groves in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to email@example.com. (c)
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1. MAPS: U.S. Interstate 10 ends in Los Angeles, but where does it begin on the East Coast? 2. SCIENCE: In 1959, physicist Richard Feynman was the first to propose what kind of technology (on a small scale)? 3. LITERATURE: What was Ernest Hemingway’s middle name? 4. MUSIC: What American folk-music group is famous for their song “Keep on the Sunny Side”? 5. MEDICAL TERMS: What is a more common name for the medical condition “pruritus”? 6. SPORTS: Where will the 2014 Olympic Winter Games be held? 7. ARCHITECTURE: What famous architect’s residence in Wisconsin was called Taliesin? 8. LANGUAGE: What are the comparative and superlative forms of the word “little”? 9. MOVIES: In “Cast Away,” what was the name that marooned actor Tom Hanks (Chuck Noland) gave the volleyball that washed ashore? 10. GEOGRAPHY: What is the capital of Brazil?
-On Feb. 16, 1848, romantic composer Frederic Chopin plays his final concert in his adopted city of Paris, 18 months before his death from tuberculosis at the age of 39. After fleeing his native Poland, he spent the rest of his life amid the high society of France. -On Feb. 19, 1851, an angry mob in San Francisco’s business district “tries” two Australian suspects in the robbery and assault of C.J. Jansen. Vigilantes were fairly common during the Gold Rush boom in San Francisco, and they were so well regarded that they took over the Democratic Party in the late 1850s, and some became respected politicians. -On Feb. 18, 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous and controversial novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” At the book’s heart is the journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on a raft. -On Feb. 13, 1915, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is formed. ASCAP collects and distributes royalties for copyrighted musical works. Today, ASCAP reports that it distributes more than $800 million in royalties annually to its members. -On Feb. 14, 1929, Sir Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist, discovers penicillin. Having left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered, Fleming noticed that a mold, similar to the kind found on bread, had fallen on the culture and had killed many of the bacteria. -On Feb. 15, 1933, president-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt escapes an assassination attempt. Deranged, unemployed brick layer Giuseppe Zangara shouted, “Too many people are starving!” and opened fire with six rounds. Zangara’s extreme action reflected the anger and frustration felt among many Americans during the Great Depression.
It was 19th-century German philosopher, composer and poet Friedrich Nietzsche who made the following sage observation: “At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.” Despite all the cartoons you’ve seen throughout your life, rabbits generally prefer greens to carrots, and mice would rather eat grains and fruit than cheese.
1. Which Jo Stafford hit from the 1950s netted her a No. 1 slot on charts in both the U.S. and U.K.? 2. Who is Andrew Loog Oldham? 3. Name the group that had a Top 10 hit with “Livin’ Thing,” and give the decade. 4. Which group released “Day After Day,” a song covered by Rod Stewart 35 years later? 5. What was Lou Reed’s first solo release? What was the name of the band he left? 6. Which girl group had a hit with “Eternal Flame,” and when?
The area that is now the state of California had a population of about 700 in 1854. In 2010, the population had increased to 37,253,956. In the span of just over one and a half centuries, the population increased a whopping 53,000 times. You may be surprised to learn that, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 33 percent of all preschoolers have a TV in their room, and 20 percent of infants and toddlers have one. If you ever make a trip to Italy (lucky you!) and visit the town of Modena, be sure to go to the bell tower. There you might see an item that is, to the best of my knowledge, unique in the world: a wooden bucket that started a war. In 1325 a group of soldiers from the then-city-state of Modena raided rival city-state Bologna and returned home with the bucket. Greatly desiring to get the bucket back, Bologna declared war. The war raged on for years, but Bologna never did get its bucket back. If you’re a schoolteacher in Arkansas, you should be aware of an arcane law there: If you bob your hair, you’ll be ineligible for a pay raise.
1. Is the book of Corinth in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. What’s the only book of the Bible (KJV) in which the name of God is not mentioned? Ruth, Ezra, Esther, Amos 3. Whose last words were, “Had Zimri peace, who slew his master”? Zipporah, Keturah, Jezebel, Miriam 4. To what city was Saul traveling near when he heard the voice of Jesus? Antioch, Damascus, Paphos, Rome 5. What runaway slave did Paul write to Philemon about? Sosthenes, Onesimus, Molech, Cedar 6. From 1 Kings 17, who ate a poor widow’s last meal? Amos, Elijah, Matthew, Daniel
Thought for the Day: “A committee is a cul-desac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.” -- Sir Barnett Cocks
(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc. Trivia Test Answers 1. Jacksonville, Fla. 2. Nanotechnology 3. Miller 4. The Carter Family 5. Itching 6. Sochi, Russia 7. Frank Lloyd Wright 8. “Less” and “least” 9. Wilson 10. Brasilia BayBible Trivia Answers: 1) Neither; 2) Esther; 3) Jezebel; 4) Damascus; 5) Onesimus; 6) Elijah
Flash Back Answers 1. “You Belong to Me,” in 1952. The song was originally written as “Hurry Home to Me.” 2. Oldham was the Rolling Stones manager from 1963 to 1967. Although only 19, he had the brilliant idea of keeping custody of the master tapes and leasing them out for bigger profits. 3. Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) in 1976. 4. Badfinger, in 1971. The single from their “Straight Up” album and went to No. 4. 5. “Walk on the Wild Side,” in 1971, was Reed’s first solo single after leaving The Velvet Underground. 6. The Bangles, in 1989. The song was No. 2 for the year, behind Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.”
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Sciatica: Big Nerve Can Be Big Problem DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am a 78-year-old woman, and five months ago I came down with sciatica in my left leg underneath the buttock. It’s very painful. I’d like to know if there is something that can be done. -- S.M. ANSWER: The sciatic (sigh-ATTIC) nerve is the body’s longest and largest nerve. It springs from nerve rootlets that emerge from the spinal cord in the lower back. Those rootlets intertwine to form this big nerve. It travels from the back, through the buttocks and down the leg to the foot. Anything that presses on or irritates the nerve in its long course gives rise to sciatica (sigh-ATTICuh), painful inflammation of the nerve. A bulging back disk can press on the nerve. Arthritic spurs on the spine are another source of irritation. A collapse of a backbone from osteoporosis is another trigger for pain, and the pain can be in the lower back, the buttocks or down the leg to the foot. Have you tried Tylenol (acetaminophen) for pain relief? Aleve, Advil, Motrin and the many other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs dull pain and quiet inflammation. Icing the painful back area for 10 to 15 minutes three times a day is another way to numb pain. If ice doesn’t work, turn to heat -- hot compresses or a heating pad. Stretching the back might take pressure off the nerve. Sit on a firm chair with feet on the floor and knees shoulder-width apart. Turn slightly to the left. Then, with your right arm dangling down between the knees and
left arm dangling down on the outside of the left knee, bend down to the floor as far as you can and hold that position for five seconds. Straighten up and reverse the process by turning to your right and arranging your arms with the right arm outside the right knee and the left arm between the knees. If this exercise hurts, stop. If it doesn’t, perform five bends each, to the right and then to the left. Do the exercise three times a day. Five months is a long time to put up with back pain. I’m not sure if self-treatment will do much for you. You need a doctor’s intervention, along with physical therapy. The booklet on back pain delves more deeply into its causes and treatments. To order a copy, write: Dr. Donohue -- No. 303W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 328536475. 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: Some time ago, you answered a letter from an 80-year-old lady who asked if she still needed to have mammograms. I say an unqualified yes. Two years ago, at the age of 82 1/2, my mammogram detected cancer. Surgery was followed by radiation. Two years later, I am feeling fine and doing well. -- A.S. ANSWER: Experts argue about the value of mammograms late in life. Stories like yours make me side with those who promote having mammograms as long as a woman is in reasonable health. If a woman has an estimate of living at least four more years, mammograms are a good idea. 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. (c) 2012 North America Synd., Inc.
‘Get Smart’ Gadget Helps Caregivers Caregivers for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will applaud a new gadget that can help keep track of those who might wander: a shoe with a tiny global positioning satellite (GPS) tracker in the heel. Footware company Aetrex and tracking software provider GTX have put a lot of thought into both the shoes and the tracking capability. The leather shoes, for either men or women, are either lace up or strap. They look very comfortable, and come with two removable layers for a better fit. There’s a grooved polyurethane sole for traction. But it’s not cheap. The shoes alone cost $300, and the GPS requires a connection plan that runs $35 a month. You can find information online at www. aetrex.com/gps or call 800-526-2739. There are additional devices available to make your life easier if you care for a senior with Alzheimer’s or any other condition where constant monitoring is essential. Back in 2009, a tracker was created that also uses GPS. Called the i-Tag (www.i-tag.biz), the little device is the size of a nine-volt battery. It can be programmed with a “geofence” -- a set area that that you establish. If the wearer leaves that area, an alarm will sound. There also are locks that sound an alarm if a door is opened, alarm pads that sound an alarm if they’re stepped on and mini-cams that can help you keep an eye on a room from other parts of the house. There are a number of tools that will make it easier on those who care for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. It’s just a matter of finding what works best for you. Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever pos-
Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 328536475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc. sible.
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Answers on page 14
Save smaller bits of leftover veggies in a large freezer-safe container or bag in the freezer. When it’s full, make vegetable soup. -“Be sure you use bathroom fans correctly, turning on to remove steam but turning off to keep from pumping out heat. This is equally important in the summer, when you pump out valuable cooled air. Many people don’t think of fans this way, and they end up running for hours.” -- R.D. in Mississippi -Keep salt or baking soda by the stove for small, quick cleanups. A good dose of salt will stop an egg from running all over the place. Dip a damp cloth in baking soda for a handy scrub. Although a handful of either might work in a pinch on a small flare-up on the stove, you should have a fire extinguisher close by for fires. -“I used to comb through last year’s calendar for important yearly dates when transferring them to the new year’s calendar. This year I have gotten smart. At the end of the month, before turning the page, I highlight the items I’d like to put in next year’s calendar. When I look back, I won’t have to search through all the entries for the good stuff.” -- U.L. in Ohio -“I just spent a lot of time cleaning my mother’s bathtub in a long-neglected bathroom. To keep it from mildewing, I used paste wax to protect the walls. You can use car wax for the same purpose, and many people know about this helpful tip. But I wanted to add a caution: Walls only; do not wax the inside of the tub, especially if you have an elderly resident (or a child). And make sure to have a nonslip mat in the tub at all times.” -- A Daughter in Oregon 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 email@example.com.
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SPORTS OF SORTS
Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter who lives in Kansas City.
NASCAR THIS WEEK By Monte Dutton The King and His Court
CHARLOTTE -- Richard Petty is, of course, The King of stock car racing, just as Roy Acuff was considered The King of country music and Elvis Presley of rock ‘n’ roll. Petty, who won nearly twice as many races (200) as anyone else in NASCAR history, remains a vibrant part of the Sprint Cup scene today. Petty was, naturally, one of the first five inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, along with NASCAR founder William H.G. France, successor William C. France, Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson. The Hall of Fame has now inducted three classes, each containing five honorees. So great was the role of the Petty family in the sport’s history that a family member has been included in all three classes. The Petty Enterprises patriarch, Lee, was a member of the second class. His nephew -- and Richard’s first cousin -- Dale Inman was one of the five enshrined the night of Jan. 20. Another Petty, Richard’s brother Maurice, will probably make the Hall of Fame soon. Inman was Richard’s crew chief during most of The King’s career, which ended, as a driver, in 1992. Richard Petty Motorsports, a descendant of Petty Enterprises, currently fields Fords in the Sprint Cup Series for Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola. Maurice Petty built the engines that propelled his brother to most of his 200 victories and seven championships. “When some of those records were being accumulated, we didn’t think there would be a Hall of Fame,” said Inman, who was inducted along with Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Richie Evans and Glen Wood. “We really weren’t running for anything other than trying to beat the other competitors, get enough money survive and stuff like that. We didn’t know it was going to grow into the great big sport that we’ve got now. “We’ve been around a long time, you know, and to still be as active as we are in the sport, with what we’ve been through ... we’re still surviving, and I think that’s great.” Monte Dutton covers motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette. E-mail Monte at firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
1. When Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay won his second Cy Young Award in 2010, he tied the mark for the longest gap between Cy Young Awards (seven years). Who else did it? 2. From 1986 through 2006, the San Francisco Giants had three managers. Name two of them. 3. In 2010, Ryan Mallett broke the University of Arkansas record for most career TD passes. Who had held the mark? 4. How many times during his 31 seasons did the NBA’s winningest coach, Don Nelson, lead a team to the playoffs? 5. Who were the last two remaining active NHL players to have played in the 1980s? 6. How many times did the Japanese women’s soccer team fail to beat the U.S. before defeating the American team in the 2011 World Cup final? 7. In the final race of his career in 1920, Man o’ War defeated the 1919 Triple Crown winner in a match race. Name the losing horse.
Answers 1. Atlanta’s Tom Glavine -- 1991 and 1998. 2. Roger Craig, Dusty Baker and Felipe Alou. 3. Clint Stoerner, with 57 (1996-99). Mallett finished with 62. 4. Eighteen times. 5. Mike Modano and Mark Recchi, both of whom retired before the 2011-12 season. 6. Twenty-five times.
Ali Hurt More than Himself
Burgundy carpet, beige couches and reheated pepperoni pizza from the night before, television tuned to WABC to watch the Wide World of Sports ... that was a typical Saturday spent with my father during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. It’s hard to understand now, in the SportsCenter and Yahoo Sports world, but for the sports fan of the Jimmy Carter era, it was Sports Illustrated, the back of your local evening tabloid newspaper if you lived in a town lucky enough to have one, and the Howard Cosell hovel that was ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” And there could be no Cosell without a peculiarly great heavyweight boxer by the name of Muhammad Ali. By this time, Ali -- the one shown on our Sylvania cabinet television -- was not “the Greatest,” at least not in the way my father used to speak of him. I watched him lose three out of four fights. I saw a lumbering, slurring man that people cheered on relentlessly even though he was clearly losing, and laughed at all of his jokes even though they weren’t funny. Maybe only a child could see the truth -- that there was something wrong -- but I’m not too sure about that. My mother noticed and called what “they” were doing to him “barbaric.” The “they” in that statement was basically all of us. We were all enablers. But what could we do? Ali had been given the best advice, and he chose to keep going. Ali was warned after his third fight with Ken Norton (one of the hardest hitters in boxing history, a fighter who had previously broken Ali’s jaw) to hang up the gloves. The Mayo Clinic said his muscles weren’t in sync with his brains, resulting in slurred speech. His own doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, sent him medical exam results and warned Ali that if he continued fighting, he “would have no shot at a normal life” after his career. But Ali promised easy fights. Pacheco stayed on for one last bout, a brutal mess of a war with Ernie Shavers, a fighter with 54 wins and 52 knockouts (still widely considered to be the best boxer to have never won a title) and somehow won the decision. But Pacheco had seen enough. He jumped ship. “[Shavers] was about the strongest guy in boxing,” Pacheco said at the time. “That was easy?” I watched Ali get pummeled by Larry Holmes, and hang on just long enough to lose a decision to Trevor Berbick. Before the Berbick fight, which took place 30 years ago, it was already too clear that we were sending the guy to the gallows for our own amusement. Unable to talk at press conferences, he used to perform magic tricks. My dad would just shake his head. Ali, he explained to me, used to perform magic in the ring. “He’s only hurting himself,” he would say. It was painful to watch. But I could see, sitting on that rug next to his chair as my mother read her book, refusing to watch, that Ali was hurting everyone else in the room, too.
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Find Mr. Tidbits! He’s hidden somewhere in the paper. Here’s what he might
He can be any size and any color. If you find him, go to www.tidbitsinc.com Last week’s Answer On page 2:
• In the spring, India celebrates the Holi Festival of Colors. This “colorful” festival was recreated in the 2006 independent film, “Outsourced” (the inspiration for a similarly named NBC sitcom last year). All the colors of the rainbow are tossed around in powders that men and women throw at each other. In addition, people pitch buckets of water on each other, making for a messy good time. These playful activities are accompanied by dancing and the frenzied beating of drums. This festival has political and socio-economic significance as well, since it marks one of the only times where one sees men and women of various social castes mixing in Indian society. • Thailand’s Songkran Festival, held April 13-15, is part of the Thai New Year and is a very wet tradition. While “Songkran” is a Sanskrit word that in Thai refers to the influence of the sun on certain Zodiac signs, it is water that captures the attention and imagination of all the locals. As part of their celebration of the vernal equinox, the people congregate with buckets, hoses, water balloons, water pistols and anything else that can capably transport water for the purposes of drenching everything and everyone from head to toe. This may well be the world’s biggest water fight. Of course, “fight” isn’t really the right word, because the action of tossing water to others is actually perceived as a demonstration of kindness and respect during the festival. Maybe the “world’s biggest water hug” would be more appropriate.
Q: I have a cast-iron doorstop that has been in my family for at least three generations. It is a rabbit dressed in top hat and tails. The item is in fairly good condition. -- Beth, Amarillo, Texas A: Your doorstop was probably manufactured by National Foundry and is valued in the $75 to $150 range, according to “Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide” by Ralph and Terry Kovel (Black Dog & Leventhal books). Doorstops were especially popular during the late Victorian-era. * * * Q: I have a Victorian-era Bible that was published in Glasgow, perhaps during the 1880s. It has a deluxe binding with metal latches and thick back and front covers. Letters found in the Bible are from the 1890s. It is in excellent condition, and I would like to determine its value. -- Judith, Placitas, N.M. A: I contacted several used and rare book dealers who told me that most highly decorative Victorian-era Bibles sell in the $75 to $150 range, depending on condition and content. By content, I mean personal family information recorded in its pages. A Bible from the Civil War period could be quite valuable if it has information pertaining to the war or was owned by a historically important family. William J. Chamberlin is vice-president of the International Society of Bible Collectors, and verily I say unto you, he might be able to determine the value of your Bible. His contact information is 6413 Snow Apple Drive, Clarkson, MI 48346; and email@example.com. It is always good manners to enclose a SASE when contacting an expert or source listed in this column. Write to Larry Cox in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to questionsforcox@aol. com. Due to the large volume of mail he receives, Mr. Cox is unable to personally answer all reader questions. Do not send any materials requiring return mail. (c)
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Be a Responsible Pet Owner February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, and while I sometimes grouse about events that designate a specific period of the year to do something that should obviously be done every single day, I think it’s a worthy way to enlighten new pet owners or those thinking about getting a pet on how to care for that pet. So, how can you be a responsible pet owner? If you’re considering getting a pet: --Study and learn all you can about the pet or breed you’re interested in. --Consider adopting from a shelter or rescue.
--Avoid buying dogs from puppy mills, at flea markets or other sketchy places. --If buying from a breeder, research and consider carefully before making a purchase. If you already have a pet: --Spay or neuter your pet. --Do more than just provide food, water and shelter: Give your pet lots of love and attention. --Teach your children how to properly care for pets and how to play responsibly with them. --Provide regular, daily obedience training to your dog. --Keep your cat indoors. --When taking your dog out for a walk, follow your town’s leash laws and pick up after it. --At dog parks, follow the posted rules. Owners who don’t follow rules can put the park at risk of being shut down. Don’t be that guy. There are, of course, many other ways to be a responsible pet owner. But this is a good time to review the way you care for your pets, the routines you’ve fallen into, the training you’ve meant to start -- and to plan new fun and activities for your pets and family. Send your questions or tips to ask@pawscorner. com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
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JUST FOR KIDS?
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Mussels Mariniere with Bacon Frisee Salad Planning a romantic dinner for two? Serve this mussels dish with bacon frisee salad and a fresh baguette.
Valentine’s Sundae Dessert Bars 18 (2 1/2-inch) chocolate graham crackers 4 cups sugar- and fat-free vanilla ice cream 1 (4-serving) package sugar-free chocolate cookand-serve pudding mix 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder 1 cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons reduced-calorie margarine 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows 3 tablespoons chopped pecans 1/2 cup reduced calorie whipped topping 4 maraschino cherries, halved 1. Arrange 9 graham crackers in a 9-by-9-inch cake pan. In large bowl, gently stir ice cream until slightly softened. Coarsely crush remaining 9 graham crackers and stir into softened ice cream. Spread mixture gently over graham crackers in cake pan. Cover and freeze while preparing topping. 2. In medium saucepan, combine dry pudding mix, dry milk powder and water. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, margarine and marshmallows. Drizzle hot mixture evenly over ice cream mixture. Sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Re-cover and continue to freeze for 2 hours or until firm. 3. Let set at room temperature for 10 minutes. Cut into 8 servings. To serve, top each with 1 tablespoon whipped topping and a maraschino cherry half. Makes 8 servings. Each serving equals: 191 calories, 3g fat, 7g protein, 34g carb., 199mg sodium, 1g fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Starch/Carb., 1/2 Fat.
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 1 small (4 to 5 ounces) head frisee, leaves separated Pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon margarine or butter 1 medium (6 to 8 ounces) onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed with press 1 cup dry white wine 3 pounds mussels, beards removed, well-washed 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped 1 small (7 ounces) baguette, cut in half and toasted 1. In 12-inch skillet, cook bacon on medium 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp and browned. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel-lined plate; set aside. To drippings in skillet, add vinegar and cook 1 minute on medium. Pour into medium bowl (do not scrape browned bits from bottom of pan); add frisee and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat. 2. In wide 8-quart saucepot, heat oil and margarine on medium-high until margarine melts. Add onion and garlic and cook 2 minutes or until almost translucent, stirring. Add wine and heat to boiling. Add mussels, stir once, cover and cook 1 minute. Stir again, cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer or just until mussels open; do not overcook. 3. Immediately divide mussels and cooking liquid between 2 large serving bowls and top with parsley. Divide salad between 2 serving plates and top with reserved bacon. Serve mussels and salad with baguette. Each serving (includes mussels, salad and half a baguette): About 790 calories, 39g total fat (11g saturated), 66mg cholesterol, 1,420mg sodium, 73g total carbs, 8g dietary fiber, 33g protein.
Mighty Fine Salsa and Homemade Chips Homemade salsa stirred up with sun-ripened tomatoes from our backyard vines is a special treat reserved for summertime snacking. That’s what I thought until our neighbor Bryce popped by during a January snowstorm with a bowl of his “Mighty Fine Salsa” to warm us up. But how did he do it? After all, fresh tomatoes can be rather peaked, tasteless and expensive at the market this time of year. “It’s all in the secret ingredient,” he whispered. “Canned tomatoes. No one will ever know.” And he’s right. This salsa is not only mighty fine, but mighty tasty, too. Make up a batch, and add fun-shaped homemade chips. Why eat boring triangular chips out of a bag when your kids’ can cut whimsical cookie cutter shapes from flour tortillas? Just pop them in the oven, and they’ll be crisp and ready to dip into the salsa. Here’s how: Easy Mighty Fine Salsa 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, slightly drained 1/2 cup fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and quartered (see note below) 1/2 medium yellow onion, quartered 3 garlic cloves 1/2 cup fresh cilantro Juice from one lime 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1. Pour 1/2 can of tomatoes into a food processor or blender, add remaining ingredients and blend and pulse until well chopped and fairly smooth. Add remaining tomatoes and pulse/blend briefly. 2. Leave on the counter for an hour to combine flavors before serving with Fresh-Baked Fun Chips. Refrigerate leftover salsa. Makes about 3 cups. Note: The juice of jalapeno peppers can be irritating. Wear plastic deli-style gloves when handling. Avoid hand contact with your eyes. ----------Fresh-Baked Fun Chips 6-8 medium flour tortillas Vegetable oil Salt (optional) Assorted metal cookie cutters Kitchen scissors (optional) 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 2. Warm a tortilla on a lightly oiled skillet. Place it on a cutting board and cut into shapes with metal cookie cutters. Use scissors to cut your own designs or alphabet letters. 3. Set shapes closely together on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush or spray shapes lightly with oil. Continue with remaining tortillas. 4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt, if you wish, and serve. Serves four to six. 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. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.” (c) 2012 Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Synd.
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Puzzle and Game Answers
NAME THAT MOVIE OR FAMOUS FIGURE! 1. “Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson…” (Hint: It was a big science fiction hit in 1999.) Answer: “The Matrix” 2. “Listen to me, mister. You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re going to get back on that horse, and I’m going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we’re gonna go, go, go!” (Hint: It was one of Katherine Hepburn’s final films, from 1981.) Answer: “On Golden Pond” 3.“Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac...It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” (Hint: It was one of the biggest comedies of 1980.) Answer: “Caddyshack” 4. “I said that I would see you because I had heard that you were a serious man, to be treated with respect. But I must say no to you and let me give you my reasons. It’s true I have a lot of friends in politics, but they wouldn’t be so friendly if they knew my business was drugs instead of gambling which they consider a harmless vice. But drugs, that’s a dirty business.” (Hint: It was one of the most celebrated Best Picture winners of the 1970s.) Answer: “The Godfather” 5. “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” (Hint: He was a two-term U.S. President in the last 40 years.) Answer: Ronald Reagan 6. “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.” (Hint: He was a world leader at the center of World War II.) Answer: Winston Churchill. 7. ““This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!” Answer: Adolf Hitler 8. “In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...” (Hint: He was a 20th century US President.) Answer: Theodore Roosevelt
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ShowBiz Weekly JILL JACKSON’S HOLLYWOOD By Tony Rizzo
CELEBRITY EXTRA By Cindy Elavsky PHOTO: Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin Q: I got completely hooked on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and I can’t wait until it returns for its second season. Would you know when that might be? -- Brad F., via e-mail A: Well, Brad, I just happen to have that little nugget of info -- and I am willing to share. The next season of the medieval-fantasy series begins (no fooling) April 1 at 9 p.m., and like the first season, the second season will be 10 episodes long. And Lena Headey (who plays Ceresei) tells us that season two will bring even more drama (Is that possible?). The show also stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys, Nikolai CosterWaldau as Jaime, Kit Harington as Jon and Michelle Fairley as Catelyn. Q: I’m confused: First I heard Marg Helgenberger is leaving “CSI” for good, then I heard she’s not, and now I hear she is again. Can you clear this up for me? -- Constance D., Newport, Conn. A: I’ll try. Marg, who left the top-rated CBS crime drama at the end of January, is pretty much gone -- as a regular castmember. However, her character’s future has been left open so Marg can return for a guest appearance, if she wishes. Marg assures her fans that they haven’t seen the last of Catherine Willows: “That was one of the reasons why it was a little easier for me to leave the show, because the producers said to me practically every day that the door is wide open. If I’m available and I’m up for it, you betcha.” Q: I remember seeing pictures of Julianne Moore in some entertainment magazines dressed up as Sarah Palin. Was that for a movie? If so, when will it be out? I’d love to see it. -- Margaret W., via e-mail A: Julianne does indeed star as the 2008 vicepresidential hopeful in the HBO movie “Game Change,” which is based on the 2010 book of the same name. The movie premieres on Saturday, March 10, and also stars Ed Harris as Sen. John McCain and Woody Harrelson as campaign chair Steve Schmidt, along with Peter MacNicol, Sarah Paulson and Ron Livingston. The movie will mainly track the actions of the Republican Party during the 2008 elections, while the book devotes equal time to both Republicans and Democrats. Write to Cindy at King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; or email her at email@example.com. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
Top 10 Movies 1. Underworld Awakening (R) Kate Beckinsale 2. Red Tails (PG-13) Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr. 3. Contraband (R) Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale 4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (PG-13) 5. Haywire (R) Gina Carano, Michael Douglas 6. Beauty and the Beast (G) animated 7. Joyful Noise (PG-13) Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton 8. Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol (PG-13) Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner 9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (PG-13) 10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (R) Daniel Craig Top 10 Video Rentals 1. Killer Elite (R) Jason Statham 2. Moneyball (PG-13) Brad Pitt 3. Contagion (PG-13) Matt Damon 4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13) James Franco 5. Colombiana (PG-13) Zoe Saldana 6. The Help (PG-13) Viola Davis 7. Scorpion King 3: The Battle for Redemption (PG-13) Dave Bautista 8. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (R) Katie Holmes 9. The Hangover Part II (R) Bradley Cooper 10. What’s Your Number (R) Anna Faris Top 10 DVD Sales 1. Moneyball (PG-13) (Sony) 2. Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season (NR) 3. Killer Elite (R) (Universal) 4. Contagion (PG-13) (Warner) 5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13) (Fox) 6. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (PG-13) 7. The Help (PG-13) (Buena Vista) 8. Dolphin Tale (PG) (Warner) 9. The Hangover Part II (R) (Warner) 10. Scorpion King 3: The Battle for Redemption (PG-13)
HOLLYWOOD -- Director Barry Levinson has had untold problems with “Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father,” starring John Travolta. Lindsay Lohan, mentioned to play mobster John Gotti’s wife, Victoria, was passed over in favor of Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, because of scheduling conflicts due to Lindsay’s court problems. In October, financial issues almost postponed a January start, but the needed money was raised in time. Lohan also was dropped from the Linda Lovelace biopic and is now, supposedly, “in talks” to star as Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime’s “Elizabeth and Richard: A Love Story.” Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor? That’s like casting Pee Wee Herman as Richard Burton! Hugh Jackman, fresh from his hit one-man Broadway show, starts shooting “Les Miz” -- as in “Les Miserables” -- in March with a dream cast beyond belief. In addition to Jackman, they’ve got Oscar-winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Swift, Amanda Seyfried (“Mama Mia”), Eddie Redmayne (“My Week With Marilyn”), Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen (“Hugo”). Add director Tom Hopper (“The King’s Speech”), and you’ve got a powerhouse cast with something for everyone! Jackman also is Broadway-bound with the musical “Houdini,” about the great escape artist. The play was written by Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network” and “The West Wing”), with a musical score by “Wicked” composer Stephen Schwartz. “Hugo” stars Asa Butterfield and Ben Kingsley are being reteamed in “Ender’s Game.” The 14-year-old Asa plays an unusually gifted child who is sent to a military school in space to prepare for a coming alien invasion. His co-stars are Oscar nominee Harrison Ford, plus Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) and Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), who were both Oscar nominated for their films. It’s set for release in March 2013. Three films made the billion-dollar club. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” was the top-grossing film of 2011 worldwide, at $1.33 billion. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was second with $1.12 billion, with “The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” third at $1.04 billion. What does it say about moviegoers when 13 of the top 20 films are fantasy or animated? The list also includes: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part l” (No. 4), “Kung Fu Panda 2” (No. 5), “The Smurfs” (No. 8), “Cars 2” (No. 9), “Rio” (No. 11), “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (No. 12), “Puss in Boots” (No. 13) Send letters to Tony Rizzo’s Hollywood, 8306 Wilshire Blvd., No. 362, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
PAGE 16 February 2012
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