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The potato is a member of the deadly nightshade family and its leaves are indeed poisonous. The tuber is not poisonous in the least, but it took a lot to overcome cultural fears surrounding the plant. Come along with Tidbits as we consider the humble but miraculous potato. • Potatoes originated in the Peruvian Andes. The Incas called them batatas. They were eating potatoes 2,000 years before Columbus set sail. There are over 5,000 kinds of potatoes “Can women growing in the Andes— so many types that be casket bearers?” the local language has 1,000 different words for potato. The Incas even measured time by how long it took a potato to cook. When the Spanish Conquistadors overran the land, they Gay & Ciha Funeral had never seen anything like the potato. They and Cremation Service 2720 Muscatine Avenue were forced to eat the strange new food when Iowa City, IA 52240 Phone: 319 -338-1132 their own food supplies ran low. The potatoes www.GayAndCiha.com they introduced to Europe turned out to be far more valuable than the gold that they killed for, but it took some doing to convince the Gay_Ciha_Tidbits5132013.indd 2 European populace to try them out. • In 1744 Prussia was at war and Frederick the Great was distressed to see his people starving to death. He had earlier been introduced to the potato as a food crop, and he encouraged the peasants to grow the new food as well. The peasants did grow them— but they only fed them to their livestock. turn the page for more

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• So the ruler had his cooks invent recipes using the potato, and passed copies of the recipes out to everybody. Still the people would not eat the potato. Finally Frederic resorted to the threat of violence: he issued an edict that anyone who did not eat potatoes would have their ears cut off. Potatoes quickly became the most important part of the Prussian diet. • When French pharmacist Augustine Parmentier was captured during the Seven Year War in the mid-1700s, he was thrown into prison where his Prussian captors fed him little besides potatoes. He remained in good health in spite of the limited diet. When he was released, he returned home and encouraged all French families to start eating potatoes. He went to the King of France with a plan to grow potatoes and feed them to the hungry. The King was not impressed, but he consented to give Parmentier a few acres of the worst possible land near Paris. Nothing would grow there— nothing, that is, except potatoes, which thrived. Like the Prussians, the French people thought of potatoes as simply a food for livestock, so Parmentier devised scheme to change the tide of public opinion. • Operating under the principle that people only want what they can’t have, he stationed soldiers around the potato field in order to “protect” this valuable crop from theft. However, he instructed the soldiers to take bribes and allow peasants to steal potatoes. The plan worked, and soon potatoes were growing all over the countryside. Next, Parmentier threw a huge feast, inviting all the most prominent names of the day. Everything served at the feast was made from potatoes - from soup to dessert. The Queen

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• No other food matches the potato in food energy per acre. Potatoes produce 75% more food energy per acre than wheat and 58% more than rice. The Soviet Union grows the most potatoes, followed by Poland, the US, and Canada. Only corn grows in more countries than potatoes. It’s the fourth most important food worldwide, after wheat, rice, and corn. It’s also the only vegetable that grows in the desert and in mountains above 14,000 feet. The value of the potato worldwide exceeds $100 billion a year. • Potatoes have many uses. They are used in the production of many kinds of foods. They are added to soups, sauces, pasta, baked goods and dairy products in order to help foods stick together, stop ice crystals from forming, and make food creamier. When used to make ethyl alcohol (ethanol), one acre of potatoes can produce enough gas to fill up 25 station wagons. A product made from potatoes is used by oil well drillers in order to keep their drills dry enough to keep the friction high. Potato starch was used in the early days of color photography, and vodka is made from distilled potatoes. Potato starch is now being made into “plastic” bags which decompose when buried. Potatoes are also used in manufacturing of plastics,

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• Potatoes didn’t gain popularity in America until Thomas Jefferson began serving them regularly at the White House. Then the potato caught on fast, with good reason. The potato is one of the most perfect natural sources of nutrition found so far. The average potato has 100 calories and provides 50% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin C; 20% of vitamin B6; 15% of iodine; 10% of niacin, iron and copper; and smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Potatoes are high in potassium and fiber but have no fat and are almost salt free.

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• Growing potatoes in Ireland became very popular because they were handy to have around during times of war. The edible underground tubers were likely to escape the notice of invading troops. The growing green tops could not be set afire as could fields of wheat or barley. Even if a potato field were trampled by soldiers, the tubers would be undamaged. Armies and outlaws were not likely to take the time to dig them up. After being dug up, the potatoes could be taken directly to the kitchen to be cooked and eaten without having to be ground at a mill first. They could be stored in a root cellar for months, to be eaten in leaner times. People with very little land could still grow lots of potatoes, which was not the case with grains. Potatoes thrived on Ireland’s very poor soil, and all that was needed to plant them was a spade rather than a horse and plow. It is thought that the nickname “spud” came from “spade.” • The potato blight has been around as long as there have been potatoes, and there is still no cure for it. In 1845-1847 Ireland’s entire potato crop failed three years in a row, causing devastating starvation and social upheaval. Ireland’s population at that time was 8 million. The potato crop failed in America at the same time it failed in Ireland. However, in Ireland the potato was the sole food crop upon which the majority of the people depended for nourishment. In America, corn, oats, wheat, barley and other crops were grown in sufficient amounts so that Americans had other crops to feed them. One million people died in Ireland over the course of 3 years from hunger or disease, and another million moved away.

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They were watching a TV soap opera, and he became irritated by the way his wife was taking it to heart. “How can you sit there and cry about the made-up troubles of people you’ve never even met?” he demanded. “The same way you can jump up and scream when some guy you’ve never met scores a touchdown,” she replied.

“NATIONAL” WORDS (continued): • French: Chefs know what it means to “french” a food item. It’s a verb that means to cut into thin strips, like, well, french fries. (And yes, that’s how the finger-friendly potato dish took its name.) Green beans are another itemALL commonly prepared in this SO, ARE WE manner. SURE TOTALLY

• Maltese: These tiny spaniels are easy to identify thanks to their long, silky coats. The American Kennel Club groups them with other “Toy Dogs” like Pugs and Yorkshire Terriers. Feline aficionados also use the term I’M NOT ALLOWED Maltese THAT to describe TOhave BE aPRESIDENT AGAIN? cats that similarly silky, grayNO, the 22nd Amendment states that no blue coat. person elected president and no person to • Colombian: term means things hold the office This of president fordifferent more than two to different people, depending on how you years is allowed to be elected more than once get It your “jones.” may the refer more. makes no Narcotics differencedealers whether to their products as Colombian, although the two terms are consecutive. actual source is often unknown. Luckily, the majority of us prefer a bit of legal ColomWhat's is that the 22nd bian,interesting as in the coffee grown in the South Amendment only makes two-term American nation. The prevalence of coffee presidents ineligibleAmerica to "be elected the shops throughout is prooftoenough office President." Butcan’t is Clinton allowed thatofmany of us just get along in the to serve as without president? what if morning a hotFor cup example, of Colombian. Clinton wereThe thegeneric Democratic • Chinese: term nominee “chinese” for now vicerepresents president, andofhis party If his types food that won? are very differcandidate finish could ent fromcouldn't the meals that his/her are (or term, ever were) Clinton again? servedbeinpresident China. That said,Or thewould same he argument could be made aboutpresident what we consider be unable to serve as vice in the “American” food. Hamburgers? Ice cream? first place? For now, this is an unresolved Hot dogs? Pizza? Our national favorites question. seem to have we originated everywhere except Opps, Houston, may have a problem..... in the United States! Information in the Tidbits® Paper is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.

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Tools 4 life By DR. Jim coyle

T he Power of Faith

When the Alaskan Pipeline was being built, there were many Texans who went to Alaska to work. The Texans could only work a few hours in the frigid weather, yet the Eskimos could work indefinitely in the cold. A physiological study showed no difference in skin thickness, blood, or any other physical thing that would explain the differences in the ability to withstand the temperatures. The solution came when they did a psychological study. The difference was the Eskimo focused on the job that had to be done while the Texan focused on the weather. You and I will focus daily on one of two things. We will either focus on how bad things are (the trials and temptations) or we will focus on the good that’s around the corner. Jesus made it from the garden to Calvary because He focused on the job that had to be done. Godly faith can help us face and overcome every obstacle when we jump the hurdle believing in the good that is on the other side.

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• Irena Krzyzanowska Sendler was born in 1910 in Warsaw, Poland. From an early age, she sympathized with the Jews who were being persecuted relentlessly by the Germans. When Jews were rounded up and incarcerated in ghettos during World War II, she hatched a scheme to rescue as many Jewish children as possible. • The Germans were afraid of typhoid fever and feared that if there were an outbreak in the ghettos, it would spread to the German populace. Because Irena worked for the Social Welfare Department, she volunteered to be in charge of “inspecting” people in the ghetto for signs of typhoid on a daily basis, along with her team of nurses. The Germans were only too happy to hand this unpleasant chore over to her. This job gave her free passage to come and go from the ghetto. Every day she and her colleagues smuggled children out of the ghetto however they could. They were hidden in suitcases and coffins. They were disguised as packages. Babies were sedated and placed in a secret compartment in the bottom of a tool chest. Older children were taken out in burlap bags. A network of underground sewer tunnels was often used. A specially trained German shepherd barked any time a soldier was near, which scared the soldiers away while also covering the sound of a crying child.

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• The children were then given new identities and sent to orphanages, convents, or to live with Polish citizens. Irena kept meticulous track of the names of the children and where they had been sent to, hoping to be able to reunite them with their families after the war. The lists were kept sealed in jars buried in a backyard garden. Over 2,500 children were escorted to safety through the efforts of Irena Sendler and her cohorts. • In 1943, her scheme was uncovered. The Gestapo arrested her and tortured her, insisting she divulge the location of the lists she had kept as well as the names of her co-horts. They wanted to know where the children had been sent, who was taking them in, and how her system worked. They broke her legs, but she never told. She was on her way to be executed when her co-workers bribed a prison guard to release her in secret. Her “execution” was duly noted on the official bulletin board, and posters were plastered all over the city announcing her death. Spirited to safety, Irena saw the posters of her death on her way into hiding. She spent the rest of the war in hiding, just as the children she rescued did. • After the war, she uncovered the names from the jars in the garden and endeavored to reunite as many families as possible. Unfortunately, the vast majority of parents had died or gone missing in the meantime, many of them perishing in Treblinka.

Look for puzzle answers on page 8.

• Following the war, she was showered with awards and on several occasions was able to meet some of the people she had saved. However, she remained living under Communist rule in her native Poland, where her story was largely forgotten. In 1999 in a high school in Kansas, four students decided to feature her story for a history project they were working on. The result was a school play called “Life in a Jar,” which other high schools also began to perform across the U.S. This eventually led to a PBS documentary, a television special, and a book, which brought Irena wide recognition. Money raised from these items was sent to Poland to support her, and some of the students who worked on the play even traveled to Warsaw to meet her. Irena Sendler, often referred to as “the other Oscar Schindler” died in her native Warsaw in 2008 at the age of 98.

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How Secure Is ‘My Account’? I’m starting to have second thoughts about using Social Security’s online “My Account” feature. Yes, I have one. Yes, it’s handy. But scammers are targeting the My Accounts of seniors. The online account is beginning to look like not such a good idea. In a number of cases, the only way the victims knew anything was wrong was when they received a letter from Social Security verifying that they’d opened an online My Account. No, they hadn’t. But someone else had. In some cases the scammers attempted to divert the direct deposit to an account at another bank. The Office of the Inspector General is investigating occurrences all over the country. There is a way, if you do have an account, to add a layer of security to your My Account: You can type in the last eight digits of your Visa, MasterCard or Discover Card. (Do this only if you’re very sure of your computer’s security.) I once made my very elderly neighbor a list of phone numbers that we pasted to the inside of her kitchen cabinet door above the telephone. I printed it out in large enough letters and numbers so it was clear to her, and it saved her from having to look up numbers. Maybe you could use a list like that? If you generate such a list, here are numbers to add to it: Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. Federal Trade Commission fraud report line 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). OIG fraud hotline 1-800-269-0271. If something is ever wrong with your Social Security, especially if you have a My Account, call them immediately. Remember that Social Security will never send you email asking for information or whether you want to open a My Account. But scammers will. 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) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

HUMAN HAILSTONES

Hailstones form when ice crystals in a thunderhead are tossed around, gathering successive coats of ice. The average size of a hailstone is 1/4 inch in diameter. But consider the plight of these few unfortunate people, who became human hailstones. • Gliding in engineless planes is a popular sport in Europe, with pilots holding exhibitions and contests to set records for time aloft and height. In Germany in 1930, a glider society held an exhibition. Five glider pilots flew into a towering thunderhead in an effort to set a new altitude record by using the updrafts. The updrafts were more than they had counted on— all the gliders were torn to pieces by the violent winds. The pilots bailed out, but were caught in the strong updrafts and carried to the upper regions of the cloud, where they were coated by ice. All but one froze to death before finally falling to the ground. • In 1959, a military pilot named Lt. Col. William Rankin bailed out of his single engine plane when the engines failed at 47,000 feet above Virginia. A storm was in progress at the time, and he fell right through the middle of it. It normally would take a man 13 minutes to fall 47,000 feet, but Col. Rankin got caught in the updrafts and came to earth 45 minutes later. The temperature was 70 below zero and as Rankin tumbled about and was covered with ice and sleet, his body bruised by hailstones. Fortunately, his parachute opened at 10,000 feet and he landed intact in a tree in North Carolina, 65 miles away from where he’d bailed out. A passing motorist took him to the hospital, where he was found to be suffering from frostbite and shock. He made a complete recovery. • In 1975, a sky diver named Mike Mount bailed out of a plane 4,500 feet over the state of Maryland. He expected a standard twominute fall to earth. Although thunderstorms were building, Mount, who had over 400 jumps under his belt, was confident he could steer himself through a hole in the clouds. He opened his chute at 2,000 feet and was promptly sucked into the storm and pulled up by the updrafts. Soon he’d been carried to 10,000 feet and his parachute collapsed and re-opened over and over as the storm swept him up and dropped him again and again. He debated whether to cut himself free of his main chute and freefall through the storm, relying on his reserve chute to save him. But he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to tell when to deploy his reserve chute. Finally the storm released its grip and he landed, nine miles away from his intended drop zone. Instead of the anticipated two minutes, his ride had lasted an estimated 30 minutes. • German paragliding champion Ewa Wisnierska was training for a competition in Australia in 2007 when she and her kite were sucked into a storm. In a span of 15 minutes, she was lifted to an altitude of 32,612 feet, which is higher than Mount Everest, and near the cruising altitude of a jumbo jet. Battered by hailstones the size of oranges, she lost consciousness for 45 minutes while ground teams tracked her using GPS equipment. As the temperature dropped to 40 degrees below zero, she rose and fell within the thundercloud. She regained consciousness at about four miles high and radioed her ground crew to say she was on her way down. She landed safely, still attached to her glider, but had ice in her lightweight flying suit and frostbite on her face. She landed 40 miles off her launch site. A Chinese contestant sucked into the same storm died.


June 12th 2013

Page 7

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1. Dried potato flakes simulated snowflakes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 2. It took five cooks 45 minutes to peel 830 lbs of potatoes using only paring knives. That’s 166 lbs per person, and works out to about 3.5 lbs of potatoes per person per minute. 3. After Idaho, the top potato growing states are Washington, Oregon, Maine, and North Dakota. TIME 4. The largestMOMENTS single potato everIN grown weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. and was grown in Great Britain in 1982. That’s about the Q: Howsize do youof describe an angry potato? The History Channel a newborn baby. A: Boiling 5. 80% ofMad. the potato is water.

● On June 13, 1905, pitcher Christy Matthewson of the New York Giants throws the second no-hitter of his career. 1. Dried potato flakes were used to simulate What do you call a baby 10, potato? 1692, ●Q: On June in Salem Village in What do you call a potato with glasses?won A spec- 31 games and lost only Matthewson snowflakes in this Steven Spielberg movie A: A small fry! tater about aliens. the Massachusetts 2.Bay Colony, Bridget nine, and ended the 1905 season with an Five cooks set a world record in 1990 in the Netherlands peeling 830in lbs. the of Whatearned do you call a potato that always causes Bishop, the first colonist to beby tried run average of just 1.28, more than potatoes with standard paring knives. How trouble? An agi-tater Salem witch trials, long is didhanged it take them? after being a run and a half lower than the league 3. Idaho grows the most potatoes. What What do you call a potato that throws up a lot? found guilty of the practice of witchcraft. average. state comes in second? A regurgi-tater 4. How much did the world’s largest potato In October, on order of the governor, the weigh, as verified by Guinness World call a helpful potato? A facili-tater Salem witch trials, Records? which resulted in the What●do youOn June 15, 1917, some two months 5. What percent of a potato is water? 1. What is the defi nition of a “new”potato? executions of 19 innocent women 1st Quarter 2013and men, after America’s entrance into World War effectively ended. I, the U.S. Congress passes the Espionage 2. How much of the potato’s fiber is removed Week 24 by peeling it? Act. The Act essentially made it a crime ● On June 14, 1777, during the American for anyone to convey information intended Revolution, the Continental Congress to interfere with the war effort. Anyone adopts a resolution describing found guilty of such acts would be subject “My idea of heaven isthe a great bigdesign baked potato and someone to share it with” of the national flag. It became known as to a fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence -Oprah Winfrey the “Stars and Stripes.” 20 Oneyears. Thisof word means: of the South

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American countries where potatoes originated

ANSWERS

recycled, it 000 pounds one will not Americans ear to build .

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6/9/1934 6/10/1922 6/11/1933 6/12/1932 6/13/1953 6/14/1961 6/15/1963

NW

Page 8

-Tidbits® The paper that readers of all ages can enjoy-

June 12th 2013

e Av

The Irish used to eat mashed potatoes a lot. After boiling the potatoes in a heavy Donald Duck 6/9/1934 iron pot, the pot would be placed on the Judy Garland 6/10/1922 1. Awas “new” floor near the hearth and a cudgel used potato doesn’t have to Gene“new” Wilder 6/11/1933 be small or young the word to pound the boiled potatoes into a mash. designates only a potato that hasn’t 6/12/1932 Jim Nabors spent time in storage. Because this happened so often, a round Allen half6/13/1953 a potato removes Tim about hole often appeared near2.thePeeling fi replace, its fiber. Boy George 6/14/1961 which got deeper and deeper over time. Helen Hunt 6/15/1963 Eventually this became known as a pothole and entered our language meaning any large round hole.

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1. Dried potato flakes simulated snowflakes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 2. It took five cooks 45 minutes to peel 830 lbs of potatoes using only paring knives. That’s 166 lbs per person, and works out to about 3.5 lbs of potatoes per person per minute. 3. After Idaho, the top potato growing states are Washington, Oregon, Maine, and North Dakota. 4. The largest single potato ever grown weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. and was grown in Great Britain in 1982. That’s about the size of a newborn baby. 5. 80% of the potato is water.

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Tidbits v2 issue 24  

June 12th, 2013

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