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Is your personality the result of the chronological place in your family? Psychologists have had theories on the issue of birth order for decades, and this week, Tidbits studies up on their findings. Follow along and see if you agree with their conclusions!
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BIRTH ORDER by Kathy Wolfe
• Renowned Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler was a pioneer in the area of birth order in the early 1900s, and was one of the first to present theories that family placement affects personality and how individuals deal with life’s issues. He believed that parents tend to treat children differently based on the order of birth. • Adler’s theory maintained that first-born children receive an abundance of attention, but only until the second child is born. When a new baby arrives, the first-born may feel unloved, believing he or she has lost the mother’s love to the new baby. Adler called this being “dethroned,” and claimed it had a lasting effect on the individual. The loss of attention might cause the first child to become fearful, high-achieving, anxious, or competitive. He might have a need to retain praise from parents and become prone to perfectionism, making him vulnerable to stress. …turn the page for more
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Tidbits of Scottsbluff, Morrill, Box Butte & Goshen Counties • (308) 424-1038
1. MYTHOLOGY: In Norse mythology, what is the name of the mischievous god who likes to play tricks? 2. GEOGRAPHY: Where is the island nation of Nauru located? 3. CHEMISTRY: What is the symbol for the element sulfur? 4. TRANSPORTATION: What is the name of France’s high-speed rail service? 5. LITERATURE: Who wrote the Hollywood-based novel “The Day of the Locust”? 6. GEOLOGY: What kind of rock is marble? 7. ART: What outdoor school of painting was led by artists such as Rousseau, Corot, Millet and Daubigny? 8. MOVIES: Which U.S. state was the setting for the 1971 film “The Last Picture Show”? 9. TELEVISION: What was Radar O’Reilly’s mom’s name on the TV show “M*A*S*H”? 10. PSYCHOLOGY: What is the abnormal fear represented in pedophobia?
BIRTH ORDER (continued): • The accomplishments of the first-born, such as walking and talking, are monumental in the eyes of parents and the child is pushed to achieve at a faster pace. First-time parents worry if the child isn’t advancing as they expect and might pressure for success. Parents might push the child to carry out the dreams they had for themselves, and are often harder on first-borns. • Because first-borns often feel the need to be perfect in everything they do, they are usually well-organized, goal-oriented, and respectful of rules. First-borns tend to become people pleasers, ambitious, and aggressive. • First-borns dominate the list of Nobel Prize winners, National Merit scholars, and astronauts. A few famous first-borns are Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Harry Truman. • When a second child arrives, the first-born often becomes the “helper.” This results in a desire to protect and lead, and they become nurturers and caretakers. • The behavior of a middle child is often the result of the fact that they have never been “in the spotlight.” Their older sibling seems to be forging ahead with achievements while the younger one is the “entertainer” of the family, making the middle-born feel upstaged, left out, and insecure. The middle child often tries hard to be different from the older sibling. Because they sometimes feel ignored, they branch out on their own, becoming mentally tough and independent. They develop good social skills as a result, and often turn to their peer group rather than family for support.
Chicken Fricassee My grandmother could make something out of nothing ... and often had to! She ran a boarding house during the Great Depression, and she was well-known as a great cook. This is a healthier (and easier) version of one of my favorites. 16 ounces skinned and boned uncooked chicken breasts, cut into 4 pieces 1 1/2 cups frozen sliced carrots, thawed 1 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup chopped onion 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat and -sodium cream of chicken soup 1/4 cup water 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes 1. Spray a pressure cooker container with butter-flavored cooking spray. Evenly place chicken pieces in prepared container and cook uncovered over medium heat for 4 minutes on each side. Sprinkle carrots, celery and onion over chicken. 2. In a small bowl, combine chicken soup, water, marjoram and parsley. Pour soup mixture evenly over top. Cover and bring to low pressure. Lower heat to stabilize pressure and cook 12 minutes. 3. Remove from heat, wait for pressure to be released, remove cover and stir. For each serving, place 1 piece of chicken on a plate and evenly spoon about 1/2 cup vegetable mixture next to it. Makes 4 servings. Freezes well.
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1. Is the book of Lazarus in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. From Job 40:15-24, what animal is so named that some believe it to be a dinosaur? Tygimoloch, Levaraptor, Memphian, Behemoth? 3. Who was stoned, then burned after taking silver, gold and a garment from the destroyed Jericho? Joshua, Nathan, Achan, Shamgar? 4. In Mark 5, what was the name, for we are many, that Jesus cast out as evil spirits? Legion, Colony, Flock, Army? 5. According to the Proverbs, what type heart doeth good like a medicine? Warm, Beating, Merry, Young? 6. Shem, Ham and Japheth were the sons of? Moses, Noah, David, Solomon
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BIRTH ORDER (continued): • Adler believed that middle children are more cooperative because they’ve grown up sharing attention. This also makes them more flexible and diplomatic, skills that allow them to thrive in business. The middles are also frequently good at peacemaking and negotiating – they’re good at seeing both sides of an issue! Fiftytwo percent of U.S. presidents were middle children. • Because parents start to relax by the second child and become less demanding, middle children tend to have a more relaxed attitude toward life than their older sibling. Some famous middles include David Letterman, Richard Nixon, Madonna, and Princess Diana. • A recent study indicates that first-born children receive about 3,000 hours more time with parents between age 4 and 13 than their younger siblings. Perhaps this is why first-borns are more pressured to succeed, as parents “loosen up” as more children arrive. Parents also spend less time with each arriving child because they get more proficient at childrearing tasks. • The baby of the family is often more pampered than his older siblings. Adler believed this was one of the worst actions of a parent, leading to dependence, selfishness, and irresponsibility. He theorized that babied children easily become manipulative and temperamental. The youngest child often gets more attention because the older children have grown to different developmental stages and are somewhat independent. • The baby of the family is often the entertainer or the charmer and likes being in the limelight. He is more carefree and affectionate, and has a good sense of humor, but usually seems to be more rebellious than his older siblings.
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1. Entering 2014, which majorleague team was the only one to not have a pitcher toss a no-hitter in franchise history? 2. Three pitchers during the 1990s led or co-led the A.L. in wins for a season without tossing a shutout. Name two of them. 3. Of Florida, Florida State and Miami, which was the only college football team to not play in at least one of the first five BCS national championship games? 4. When was the last time an NBA Finals team won Game Seven on the road? 5. In the 2013-14 season, the Anaheim Ducks became the second team in NHL history to win 18 times in 19 games. Who was the first? 6. How old was driver A.J. Foyt when he won his last IndyCar race? 7. How many consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinals did tennis star Novak Djokovic make before losing in the Australian Open quarterfinals in 2014?
BIRTH ORDER (continued): • The baby tends to be less responsible and more adventurous, taking part in risky activities and aggressive sports. He is the daredevil of the family. A recent study points out that those major league baseball players who are the youngest are 10 times more likely to steal bases than first-born players. • The down side of being the baby is that parents often don’t give a lot of attention or praise to the milestones, since tying shoes and riding a two-wheeler for the first time have become “old hat” to them. • Famous babies of the family include Jim Carrey, Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, and Rosie O’Donnell, which makes sense since babies like being center stage and making people laugh. • An only child has the advantage of receiving all the attention and resources. This often results in high achievers and better performance on intelligence tests. Single children learn how to play alone, which can lead to the development of vivid imaginations and fantasies. They also tend to be very close to their parents. • A recent study indicates that being raised with siblings makes for more healthy relationships later in life. The American Sociological Association says that the more siblings you have, the better your chance of a long and happy marriage, since you’ve developed skills in conflict negotiation and personality clashes. The research points to a reduction in the likelihood of divorce by 2% per sibling. Which child is the least likely to get married? Studies indicated that would be the only child. • More families are opting to have only one child now than ever before. In 1970, 33% of families had only one child. That percentage is about 43% today. Perhaps part of the reason is the amount of money it requires to rear a child to his 18th birthday. That figure is close to $300,000, which does not include saving for college.
Kids Can be Rough on Wood Floors Q: My kids have discovered roller skating, which is great. However, it’s been kind of rough on my old hardwood floors, especially near the front door, where they come in and take off their skates. There are a lot of scuffs, scratches and dings. Any way I can get rid of them? And is there a way to prevent these scratches? -- Tammy in Baltimore A: The fastest way to reduce those scratched areas by the front door is to make the kids take off their skates outside. And while I’m sure you already have a mat just inside the door, consider buying one that is much wider so that outside dirt and sand will land on the mat and not scuff up the floor’s finish.Without an idea of how bad the scratches and scuffs are, I can’t say exactly how you should resolve the problem. So I’ll tell you how to deal with a few scratches, and how to deal with a bigger problem. You can blend in minor surface scratches using a stain marker (available at home-improvement and flooring stores) in a matching color. A video by The Rosebud Company (http://rosebudfloors.com/hardwoodfloor-videos/) shows a couple of ways to blend in the color, particularly by blotting the marker on a cloth and then rubbing the cloth over the scratch to more seamlessly blend it in. For small dents where the wood is compressed downward slightly, you can try a couple of methods. On unvarnished floors, you can try to steam out the dent. (Always test this method first in an inconspicuous area, and don’t do it if the finish in the test area turns white or very cloudy.) Take a clean, lint-free cloth and a steam iron. Spritz a bit of water directly onto the dent, place the cloth on top, and with the iron on its maximum setting and the steam turned on, press it over the cloth and move in a small circular pattern for about a minute. Lift up the iron, check under the cloth, then repeat the steps. A second method, particularly if you’re worried about ruining the floor finish, is to cover the dent with wood putty and stain to match. Apply the putty one small amount at a time, smoothing it completely into the depression, until it’s filled and flush with the surrounding floor. Then use a stain marker in a color matching the wood -- either apply directly to the putty or blot a cloth with the stain and dab or rub into the putty and surrounding area. Allow the area to dry undisturbed for at least a day. If the scratches and dents are deep and numerous, or if the wood is seriously damaged, warped or splintered, bring in a wood flooring professional to evaluate the problem and provide an estimate for repairs. Wood floors can have a lot of impact on a house’s value, so take care of them and get professional help for a complex job.
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• Need a quick fix for tarnished brass? Look in your fridge. Ketchup, applied liberally then buffed off, will remove tarnish in a pinch. • Cut a paper grocery bag open and then cut it to fit the top of your refrigerator. It will catch dust and kitchen grease, and keep the top clean. It’s free and replaceable as often as needed. • “Small cardboard boxes can be covered in gift wrap for pretty storage containers. Simply wrap the outside, leaving the top or side open, then fold the gift wrap over the open edge and secure on the inside. I love this idea, because it’s easy to coordinate with a lovely gift wrap, and it’s inexpensive too. If you have leftover wallpaper, this works as well!” -- T.F. in Virginia
• “My mother handed down some nice teacups and small dishes from my grandmother. They don’t fit with my kitchen decor, but I am using them in my bedroom to hold spare change and jewelry. They are even more on display than they would be in the kitchen or dining room, so I get the pleasure of looking at them daily.” -- M.J. in Oregon • Stained teacup? Never fear! Dishwasher liquid is here. Add a teaspoon or so of dishwasher detergent to a stained teacup, swish vigorously with a kitchen scrubbie and fill with hot water. Let sit for a minute and rinse. Repeat as necessary, but it should clean off the first or second time. You also can do the same for stained coffeepots. • “If you buy a loaf of French bread and can’t use it all the first day, freeze it. When you defrost it, stick it in the oven, and it’s good as new.” -- C.E. in Florida
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“Dark Eden” by Chris Beckett (Broadway Books, $15) Reviewed by Ealish Waddell The Family lives on a planet of darkness, where the only light comes from the warm luminescence of the native plants and animals, and the untouchable glow of Starry Swirl high above. Long ago, two travelers were stranded here, and generations later, their descendants are still waiting for rescue, content to live their small, orderly lives and wait obediently to be spirited away to the near-mythical homeland that none of them has ever seen: Earth. But as food becomes scarce and the stagnant rituals of Family life seem more and more stifling,
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Shop online! https://valorie.scentsy.us restless young John Redlantern can’t stop thinking about what could be out there beyond the cold mountains that ring their little valley. Gradually, grudgingly, he nudges his people’s awareness out of its long complacency, opening up minds and hearts to dangerous ideas and daring possibilities, setting in motion a momentous chain of events that will change the Family for good. With inventive language and interesting characters, “Dark Eden” is a compelling and thought-provoking tale of human survival in a starkly non-human world. The planet of Eden is a simply gorgeous construction, an exotic nightworld both beautiful and terrifying. The half-understood customs of the Family’s Earth heritage have been transformed in unexpected ways by this alien place. But their desires and hopes, their impulses and their regrets remain unmistakably human, in ways that echo through the centuries to another long-ago Eden. There’s a deep shadow of sadness and loss, even a tinge of futility, overlying the story of these lonely castaways. Yet it’s countered by a growing flame of potential and promise. The reader can’t help but root for the Family to win its fight for survival -even, and perhaps especially, against those dangers that come from within.
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Tidbits of Scottsbluff, Morrill, Box Butte & Goshen Counties • (308) 424-1038 FAMOUS CANADIANS:
Blooming Baskets Herald May Day Welcome the month of May with the old tradition of giving colorful May Day baskets. Making and filling them is half the fun. The other half is the excitement of hanging them on unsuspecting friends’ doorsteps, ringing doorbells, hiding and waiting to see the surprised looks on their faces. Set aside a crafting afternoon to make simple paper cone-shaped baskets large enough to tuck a few blooms and treats inside. Or, repurpose Easter baskets large and small, and fill with pots of your favorite flowers and herbs that can be planted later in a summer garden. Any style you choose will surely spread the joy that spring is here. Make a paper cone-shaped basket: Cut a strip 2 1/2 inches wide off the long end of a sheet of construction paper, metallic craft paper or wallpaper to form a square. Set the strip aside while you bring two adjoining sides of the square to form a cone. Overlap the edges slightly and staple the cone securely. Now staple the extra strip of paper to the top of the cone to form a handle. Decorate the outside and handle with stickers. On May 1, fill with fresh flowers tied with a ribbon in a little “tussie mussie” mini arrangement from a purchased floral bouquet, or from flowers and plants from your garden. Add a small trinket and candies, if you wish. Include a “Happy May Day!” note to tell the person that he or she is special. Repurpose Easter baskets with potted plants: Enjoy a Saturday outing to a garden center, where your kids can select potted blooming flowers and herbs. Small, compact plants work best -- and aim for variety. Pick up some decorative sphagnum moss for a finishing touch to your project. When you get home, line the insides of Easter or decorative baskets with plastic to keep water from leaking through. Set one pot in mini-size baskets, or cluster two or three plants in a larger basket. Spread moss over the soil and cover up the rims and upper sides of the plastic pots. Add a note and a ribbon tied in a bow to the handle.
It’s no surprise that hockey’s greatest player should hail from Canada, home of many heroes of the ice. Here are the details about some of the many accomplishments of “The Great One.” • Wayne Gretzky owes much of his success to his father Walter, who built an ice rink in the family’s Brantford, Ontario backyard, where he could keep an eye on his four sons from the kitchen window. Walter dubbed it the “Wally Coliseum” and it was here that Wayne was skating before he was three. Walter set up practice drills around bleach bottles and tin cans and regularly advised his sons to “skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.” • Wayne began team play at age six, playing with a group of ten-year-olds. In his final year of peewee hockey, at age 10, scored an amazing 378 goals, and by the time he was 13, he had scored 1,000 goals. • Although Gretzky was anxious to turn pro at age 17, he was prohibited from playing in the NHL, who had an age restriction of 20. The World Hockey Association did not have the same rules, so Wayne signed a contract with the Indianapolis Racers. The team folded soon after and sold the young player to another WHA team, the Edmonton Oilers, When the WHA went bust, the Oilers became part of the NHL, and the young Gretzky played his first NHL season in 1979. • Gretzky led the Oilers to Stanley Cup championships in 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988, shattering records along the way, including most single-season goals and assists, and becoming the only player to break the 200-point mark. Just two hours after the 1988 Stanley Cup victory, Gretzky was informed he was being traded to the L.A. Kings. He was a member of that organization for the next eight seasons, leading them to the Stanley Cup finals in 1993.
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To Your Good Health By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.
Age Doesn’t Rule Out Prostate Surgery
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 88 years old and in good health except for a small stroke I had a year ago with no lingering deficiencies. I have had an enlarged prostate for most of my adult life, but a biopsy showed no cancer. I have had problems with urgency. I tried a medication, doxazosin, with poor results, if any. My last visit, they recommended nothing more than medication. Is removing the prostate not advisable because of my age? What’s the reason they don’t remove it completely? -- C.W.S. ANSWER: Symptoms of an enlarged prostate in men without cancer are common, and the condition is called
benign prostatic hypertrophy. BPH can be treated with either medication or surgery. For most men, medication works well. Saw palmetto is used by many men, but welldone trials have shown it to be no better than placebo. Medications like doxazosin, including tamsulosin (Flomax), often are the first ones tried and usually work pretty well, but finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart) are effective as well. A combination is probably most effective of all. However, even that doesn’t work for some men. The most common prostate surgery nowadays is a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate). This is far less invasive and has fewer risks than the old open method, and generally has good results. However, as with any surgery, there is never a guarantee of success, and I have seen several men get worse after TURP, even though most get better. Age in and of itself does not necessarily preclude surgery. However, a history of stroke does make surgery a bit more risky. I don’t recommend surgery lightly, and since you haven’t reported giving finasteride or dutasteride a chance, either alone or in combination, I would recommend a good trial of those before contemplating surgery. The booklet on prostate enlargement and prostate cancer deals with these common male problems in detail. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Roach -- No. 1001W, 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. ROACH: My husband has numerous skin tags under both arms. Now he’s starting to get them around his neck and on his eyelids. We’ve been told to tie a string around them, or a dermatologist he saw told him to get a good pair of cuticle scissors and cut them off, but there’s way too many to do that. Is there anything else we might try? -- R.L. ANSWER: Skin tags are benign growths that are very common on the neck, armpits, groin or other places where skin rubs. They are harmless, and nothing needs to be done about them unless they are cosmetically important. The best way to remove them is to have a dermatologist or other expert remove them directly. I don’t recommend trying to remove them yourself with scissors, since I have occasionally seen them bleed enough after removal to require a stitch. The last time I wrote about skin tags, several readers wrote to recommend Tag Away, an over-the counter product. It may be worth a try, although the reviews about this product are rather mixed.
Tidbits of Scottsbluff, Morrill, Box Butte & Goshen Counties • (308) 424-1038
• On May 10, 1749, the 10th and final volume of Henry Fielding’s novel “Tom Jones” is printed. The serialized novel told the humorous story of the attempts of the illegitimate but charming Tom Jones to win his neighbor’s daughter. • On May 5, 1904, Boston Red Sox pitcher Cy Young (born Denton True Young) throws a perfect game against the Detroit Tigers. It was the first perfect game of the modern era; the last had been thrown by John Montgomery Ward in 1880. It was the second of three no-hitters that Young would throw, and the only perfect game. • On May 9, 1926, according to their claims, polar explorer Richard E. Byrd and co-pilot Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole in a triple-engine Fokker monoplane, the Josephine Ford. However, the discovery in 1996 of the diary that Byrd kept seemed to suggest that he and Bennett may have turned back 150 miles short of the pole because of an oil leak. • On May 6, 1940, John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” The book traces the fictional Joad family of Oklahoma as they lose their family farm and move to California in search of a better life. • On May 7, 1965, in a Clearwater, Fla., motel room, a bleary-eyed Keith Richards awoke, grabbed a tape recorder and laid down one of the greatest pop hooks of all time: The opening riff of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” He then promptly fell back to sleep. • On May 8, 1984, claiming that its athletes will not be safe from protests and possible physical attacks, the Soviet Union announces that it will not compete in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The boycott was a response to the decision of the United States to boycott the 1980 games held in Moscow.
GRETZKY (continued): • It was on to the St. Louis Blues in 1996, but after just one season, he moved to the New York Rangers. While with the Rangers, Gretzky was a member of the 1998 Canadian Olympic hockey team. After three years in New York, the Great One retired after 20 seasons of hockey. He held or shared 61 NHL records, including most goals in season play, with 894 in his 1,487 regular season games. • Post-retirement, Gretzky became a partner with the Phoenix Coyotes and later became head coach until 2009. He served as executive director of the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake, leading the team to its first gold medal in 50 years. This father of five is active in the restaurant business in Toronto, as well as owner of his own wineries. • Players and commentators said Gretzky played like he had eyes in the back of his head, that he was constantly improvising. Gretzky says he actually sensed players more than saw them and would get a feeling about where a teammate was going to be. In his words, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great player plays where the puck is going to be.” He attributed much of his success not to instinct but to practice, crediting his father his perseverance. “I’ve put in almost as much time studying hockey as a medical student puts in studying medicine.” • No NHL player will ever wear a jersey with the number 99 again. Gretzky’s jersey has been retired league-wide, the only player to be honored as such. • “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
• It was noted Democratic politician Adlai Stevenson who made the following sage observation: “In America, anybody can be president. That’s one of the risks you take.” • You might be surprised to learn that notorious FBI director J. Edgar Hoover at one time had presidential aspirations. He reportedly believed he would be able to defeat president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, though nothing came of his ambition. • Those who study such things say that a lion and a leopard can successfully interbreed. The resulting offspring is called a leopon. • The first pocket calculator was introduced by Texas Instruments in 1961, intended originally for use by the Air Force. Weighing 10 ounces and being only slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes, the company claimed that it could perform the same calculations as a computer 150 times its size. • The sex organ of a male spider can be found at the end of one of its legs. • As most health-care workers could tell you, emergency rooms are busier and more mental patients are admitted during the full moon than at any other time of the month. The time of the new moon is only slightly less busy, however. • The next time you’re drizzling honey on your biscuit, consider this tidbit: Bees must visit up to 2 million flowers just to produce a single pound of the sweetener. • One might think that an event as momentous as the Wright Brothers’ first successful airplane flight in 1903 would have received widespread coverage in the media. One would be wrong. The only newspaper to carry an account of the historic flight was the Virginian Pilot, based in Norfolk.
• On May 11, 1997, IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue makes chess history by defeating chess champion Gary Kasparov. The Russian master conceded defeat after 19 moves in the sixth game of the tournament. It was the first defeat of a reigning world champion by a machine in tournament play.
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1. The San Diego Padres. 2. Detroit’s Bill Gullickson (1991), and New York’s Andy Pettitte (1996) and David Cone (1998). 3. Florida. Florida State played in the first three, and Miami the next two. 4. The Washington Bullets beat the Sonics in Seattle in 1978. 5. The 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens. 6. He was 46 when he won the Pocono 500 in 1981. 7. Fourteen.
1. Loki 2. South Pacific Ocean 3. S 4. TGV or “Train a Grande Vitesse” 5. Nathanael West 6. Metamorphic 7. Barbizon School 8. Texas 9. Edna 10. A fear of children 1) Neither; 2) Behemoth; 3) Achan; 4) Legion; 5) Merry; 6) Noah
Tidbits of Scottsbluff, Morrill, Box Butte & Goshen Counties • (308) 424-1038 Harsh Winter Means More Work in Spring
OH, MY! Fans of the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz will recognize the familiar phrase, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!” uttered by Dorothy. Here is some interesting info about each of Dorothy’s fears.
Many parts of the country have experienced a bad winter, with snow, ice and below-average temperatures. You might have more to do now than you would during an average spring. How does the outside of your house look? Snow, wind and ice likely have taken their toll on your siding, painted surfaces (like window trim or shutters) and your roof and eaves. Draft up your to-do list as you find battered caulking, broken screens and driveway cracks. And how did your shrubs fare? If you’re on a budget plan, paying monthly for your fuel or electricity, there’s a good chance you got a bad surprise recently when you realized that your monthly payments aren’t going to cover your fuel for the year. Many folks are having to scramble to come up with the cash to pay off the balance before the next budget plan begins, likely in June. Once the fuel company determines your new monthly payment, send extra every month. If next winter is mild and it appears that you’re paying ahead, contact the company in the spring and ask about not making that final payment. If you live in snow country where the roads are plowed and spread with sand and salt, get your vehicle to the car wash as soon as it opens for the season. This is not the time for a do-it-yourself wash with the hand wand at the open-air car wash. You need the drive-through that includes an undercarriage spray wash to get all the salt off the bottom of your vehicle before rust and corrosion set it, as well as cause damage to brakes and fuel lines. Before next winter, have the undercarriage sealed. The same applies if you live near the sea: Overspray and salt in the air can damage your car if left on. Scrub and vacuum your floor mats too. Wash winter coats, gloves and boots now, while it’s easier to get the grime off. Refresh with another wash when winter comes again. If you need to cut back on expenses to cover winter repairs, consider buying only generic store brands for one or two months. You might discover that some of those items are just as good as brand name and thereby cut your bills on a permanent basis. Consider generic for: milk, flour, cleaning products like detergent, children’s cereals, juice, eggs, bread, pain relievers and allergy medicines (compare the ingredients), shampoo and soap. And keep an eye on The Old Farmer’s Almanac for next winter. It predicted this past winter quite accurately.
• Lions are found primarily in Africa, from the southern border of the Sahara down to South Africa. Although we often refer to lions as “King of the Jungle,” they actually dwell in a prairie grassland habitat. They’re the second in size of the “big cats,” after tigers. A male lion is about 10 feet (3 m) in length, usually weighing between 330 and 550 lbs. (150-250 kg). Its tail adds another 2 or 3 feet (0.6 – 1 m) to its length. At its shoulder, an adult lion stands nearly 4 feet (1.2 m) tall. Its roar can be heard nearly 5 miles (8 km) away. • The cats live in groups called prides, surprisingly, usually led by the females. A pride might have as many as 40 lions, and the females stay in their mother’s pride their entire lives. • A lion’s diet is most large animals, such as zebras and wildebeests. The females are the primary hunters in the pride. • Very vulnerable to extinction, there are only about 3,200 tigers existing in the wild today. In just over 100 years, the world has lost 97% of its wild tigers. • Whereas the lion is a social animal, tigers are solitary and typically hunt alone. They are massive animals, with the male Siberian tigers weighing up to 660 lbs. (300 kg). When their prey is bagged, the tiger might eat up to 88 lbs. (40 kg) of meat at one time. Their large size doesn’t slow them down, however, as tigers can reach a running speed of up to 40 mph (65 km/hr) and can swim distances of up to 3.7 miles (6 km). • White tigers are extremely rare, carrying a gene that is present in just one out of every
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10,000 tigers. • There are eight different species of bears, including brown, black, polar, and pandas. Brown bears are the largest of all, and can weigh up to 2,200 lbs. (998 kg). Polar bears are the second largest species, weighing about 1,500 lbs. (680 kg), and measuring up to 10 feet (3 m) long. Their thick white coat has nearly 9,700 hairs per square inch. Diet consists mainly of seals and walruses. A polar bear can track down an odor from 20 miles (32 km) away, and can detect a dead seal under 3 feet (0.9 m) of solid ice. Once it captures its prey, the polar bear’s stomach can hold 150 lbs. (68 kg) of meat. • About 1,000 to 2,000 giant pandas live in the wilds of China today. At birth, the cub weighs just 5 oz. (150 g.), but will grow to about 330 lbs. (150 kg). Its diet is almost entirely bamboo, about 45 lbs. (20.4 kg) a day. • It’s not wise to try to out-run a bear. Some bears can run up to 40 mph (64 km/hr). Compare this to the pace of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the fast human alive, who can run 27 mph (43.5 km/hr.).
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