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July 11, 2010 Dania Beach, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Edition

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In this Issue: HealthBits • GreenBits TastyBits • PetBits Games & Laughs African Safaris

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It’s something every first grader learns about, and it’s something we should all be concerned about the Earth’s rainforests. This week we take a look at the wonder and beauty of one of Earth’s most amazing biomes.

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• Earth’s rainforests are a natural wealth of resources and wildlife. Of all the earth’s many species, over half are found in the rainforests alone. That’s over 50 percent of Earth’s species in an area that takes up only 2 percent of Earth’s surface. Estimates project more than half of the rainforest could be destroyed by 2030. • Rainforests are located in three major areas of the world: Indonesia and Malaysia, Central America and the Amazon River Basin, and Africa, all areas along the equator. Because of this, the average temperature in the rainforests never drops below 64º F (17º C). • Did you know that rainforests are responsible for turning over a large portion of Earth’s carbon dioxide? The many plants in the rainforest help turn carbon dioxide into 28 percent of the world’s oxygen. turn the page for more!

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• Because most food resides so high in the canopy, rainforests aren’t suitable habitats for humans. Most tribes that utilize rainforests for food live outside the forest in nearby areas.

• So what can you do? Search “rainforest preservation” in your favorite search engine and get involved with the preservation group that you like best. Also, spread the word to your friends and family. Tell them you read it in Tidbits.

• Although they are some of the oldest in the world, most of Southeast Asia’s primary rainforests are expected to be completely destroyed within the next decade. This means animals like the Bengal tiger, king cobra and the Javan silvery gibbon will all lose their homes. As of 2008, there were less than 2,500 silvery gibbons in the wild, and some estimates show that at least 50 percent of the gibbons’ population will disappear in the next decade, putting this creature in danger of extinction.

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• The Amazon rainforest is one of the world’s largest biomes. It covers 1.4 billion acres (5.5 million km2) of the Amazon River basin and supports more than 300 species of mammals, including two species of freshwater dolphins.

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www.themattresscenterfl.com THE RAINFORESTS (continued): • Rainforests get over 80 inches of rain each year. Because of this, many plants have adapted to prevent the large amounts of moisture from adversely affecting them. Some plants have what could be called drip spouts that help excess water run off. Other plants have an oily coat that also keeps excess water at bay. • Rainforests can be broken down into four major layers. Everything begins at the forest floor. Most of the floor is clear of plants because very little sunlight penetrates that far down. Any leaves or animal waste that fall to the floor decompose very quickly due to the lack of light and high humidity levels, leaving the area bare. • The second layer is the understory, which gets more light than the forest floor and is home to many plants and animals, such as snakes, jaguars and trees that can reach up to 60 feet (18 m) tall. It is very humid in the understory, and there is little air movement. • The canopy layer is next, formed of 98- to 131-foot (30-40 m) trees that comprise a thick canopy that covers everything below. A majority of the rainforest’s life lives in the lush and plentiful canopy layer, and some species never leave it. • The final layer of the rainforest is the emergent layer, which is made up of even taller trees that grow anywhere from 147 to 262 feet (45 - 80 m) tall.

• The world’s largest rodent makes its home in the Amazon rainforest. The capybara can grow up to 4.3 feet (1.3 m) long, and although some have been said to weigh up to 200 pounds (90 kg), the average capybara is about 140 pounds (65 kg). Capybaras are herbivores that live semi-aquatically near rivers, swamps and other bodies of water. They also live in packs and are very social creatures. The capybara is a favorite snack of another of the world’s largest animals: the anaconda. • The plants of the world’s rainforests are also very important. Did you know that Madagascar Periwinkle, also known as the Rosy Periwinkle, contains the alkaloid vincristine? Vincristine is used in chemotherapy, mainly to treat Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as well as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Before the discovery of vincristine, which originally studied as a possible treatment for diabetes, those with Hodgkin’s lymphoma only had a 19 percent survival rate. However, the use of vincristine and other drugs have brought this rate up to 58 percent. • Many of our favorite foods first originated in the rainforests too, things like chocolate, avocados, guavas, mangos and bananas. • So why should we worry about the rainforests now? If they covers so much of the Earth, there’s still some left, right? Every second a football field-sized area of rainforest is destroyed due to deforestation. That’s roughly 86,400 acres every day. Over 2,250 species of trees and flowering plants, 125 species of mammals, 150 species of butterflies and 400 species of birds reside in a single hectare (2.47 miles) of rainforest, and in less than an hour each day, all of this is destroyed. • To further put it into perspective, every year we lose a piece of the rainforest twice the size of the state of Florida. • The rainforest is also home to many species that are vulnerable or endangered, and deforestation affects them. Pollutants and waste from industry and deforestation degrade the water quality in places like the Amazon River, causing poor quality of life for vulnerable species like the Amazon River dolphin. • The argument for cutting down the rainforest is its initial economic boost, but many experts agree that preserving the rainforest would yield far more economic benefits from its exports of fruits, oils, nuts and plants than its deforestation for ranching or timber harvest.

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CAT STEVENS If you’re just getting into his music, you’ll know him as Yusuf Islam, but if you’ve been a fan for years, Cat Stevens is no stranger to you. Sit back and relax as we fill your brain with facts about this legendary musician. • Steven Demetre Georgiou was born in London, England, on July 21, 1948. His father was from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus and his mother was from Sweden. • Georgiou developed a talent and love for music at an early age. At 15, he convinced his father, who owned and operated a restaurant, to buy him his first guitar for £8. • Georgiou was also a talented artist and spent one year at the Hammersmith School of Art where he considered becoming a cartoonist. While at Hammersmith, he developed his first musical pseudonym and went by Steve Adams when he performed. • Georgiou’s second stage name is his most memorable. In 1966, he recorded his first demo, under the name Cat Stevens. His demo immediately began climbing the charts and before long, Cat Stevens was touring with the likes of

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• The hard-hitting pop star lifestyle took its toll on Stevens in 1969. After contracting tuberculosis, Stevens was admitted to the hospital with a collapsed lung. The illness kept Stevens in the hospital for months and out of public life for a year. • After his illness, Stevens’ musical sound underwent a notable change. He signed with a new record label in 1970. He released two more albums, but it was the second, “Tea for the Tillerman,” that truly gained Stevens international success. “Tea for the Tillerman” went on to sell three million copies and was No. 206 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

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• It was his brother David that brought Stevens a copy of the Qur’an for his birthday. Stevens was immediately drawn to the book and as he read it, began his personal conversion to Islam. • Stevens formally converted to Islam on December 23, 1977. Afterwards, he changed his name to Yusuf Islam. Stevens always felt a connection to the name Joseph and the story of Joseph in the Qur’an. Yusuf is the Arabic rendering

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“As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti...” This lyric from a rock song just hints at the majesty and wonder of Africa. Get ready to learn some wild facts as we adventure through the savanna.

• Found in the grassy plains and woodlands of Africa, the lion is one African symbol that everyone recognizes. Did you know that a lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles (eight km) away? The lion is a natural predator, and its only real threat is humans.

• In African folktales, the hare is a trickster. The tales of the African hare migrated with the slaves who told them in America and are thought to be part of the basis for the Br’er Rabbit stories by Uncle Remus. The African hare is an herbivore that lives among the wooded savannas.

• The largest of all living primates surely deserves its part in our African safari. Adult, male gorillas, which live in central Africa, grow to reach heights of 5.75 feet (1.75 m) and can weigh up to 450 pounds (204 kg). Did you know that gorillas, like humans, have individual fingerprints?

• Bongos aren’t just drums. They are a type of antelope as well. Bongos are the largest and heaviest of forest antelopes. They live in the rainforests of West Africa and are nocturnal by nature. The male bongo will actually live on his own except during mating season. It is the females and calves that form the bongo herds. An adult bongo can weigh anywhere from 500 to 900 pounds (227 to 408 kg).

• You might not think of penguins when you think of Africa, but the dark continent certainly has its fair share of our finefeathered friends. You can find this semi-aquatic creature along the islands off the coast of Southwest Africa.

• An elephant never forgets! Likewise, once you learn about an African elephant, you’ll never forget it. Unlike most four-legged creatures, an elephant’s legs are placed directly under it. An elephant’s skin can be up to an inch thick in some places. And elephants drink up to 50 gallons (189 liters) of water each day to stay hydrated in the hot African sun. • Let’s not forget about our other African giant, the hippopotamus. Did you know that a hippopotamus can live up to 50 years? The hippopotamus is the third-largest living land animal and can weigh up to 31 tons. In ancient Egypt, the hippopotamus was revered as a deity. There is also another type of hippopotamus that lives in Africa, the smaller pygmy hippopotamus of West Africa, which is listed as an endangered species.

• Speaking of creatures that are black and white, we can’t end this article without talking about our friend the zebra. There are three species of zebra in Africa, and they can be found most prominently in the savannas of the eastern coast of the continent. Did you know that a zebra’s stripes are as individual as a gorilla’s fingerprints? Talk about unique. But we’re not the only ones who appreciate zebras: They are part of the Botswana coat of arms.


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Grilled Sweet Potatoes We steam and slice sweet potatoes and then give them a turn on the grill to create this deliciously unexpected side dish. 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled if you like 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper Parsley, for garnish 1. Prepare outdoor grill for covered, direct grilling on medium. 2. In 5- to 6-quart saucepot or Dutch oven, place collapsible steamer basket and 1 inch water. Cover saucepot; heat water to boiling on high on range top. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. 3. Place potato slices in steamer basket; reduce heat to low. Cover saucepot and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are just fork-tender; do not overcook. (Potatoes can be steamed a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to grill.) 4. Transfer potato slices to jelly-roll pan; brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to season both sides. Place potato slices on hot grill grate. Cover grill and cook potatoes 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly charred and tender, turning slices over once with large metal spatula. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl; garnish with parsley. Serves 4. • Each serving: About 245 calories, 4g total fat (1g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 50g total carbohydrate, 6g dietary fiber, 3g protein.

July 11, 2010 • 

TIDBITS® of Greater Fort Lauderdale - Southeast Broward Edition

Use balsamic vinegar -- the salad dressing staple -- to add deep rich flavor to a cherry tomato side dish prepared on the grill. Tangy with hints of caramel, the versatile vinegar keeps indefinitely, and there’s no need to splurge on pricey, traditionally aged aceto balsamico: We tested this dish with a variety of regular supermarket brands, and it’s delicious. 2 pints cherry tomatoes, each cut in half 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 sprig fresh thyme 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1. Preheat outdoor grill on medium-high. On 30-inch by 12-inch sheet of heavy-duty foil, combine cherry tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, fresh thyme and salt and pepper. 2. Fold in half and crimp foil edges all around to create a long, narrow sealed packet. Place packet on grill and cook 8 minutes. Serves 4. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our Web site at www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/.

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TIDBITS® of Greater Fort Lauderdale - Southeast Broward Edition

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“X” Marks the Spot DEAR PAW’S CORNER: A friend of mine told me that he trained his dog to go in a specific spot in his backyard by using a scented rock to mark the spot. How does that work, and where can I get this rock? -- Frank in West Roxbury, Mass.

What Is Prickly Heat? DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Exactly what is prickly heat? Do adults get it? If they do, I think I have it. -- M.K. ANSWER: Adults do get prickly heat. It looks like red dots or tiny blisters on the skin. The rash itches or feels “prickly.” Sweat ducts have become plugged. Prevention comes with dressing as coolly as possible in light cotton clothes. Air-conditioning is the ultimate answer. Second best is having a fan blowing on you. If you have a breakout, cool-water compresses take away the itch or prickliness, as do cortisone creams, which are found in all drugstores. DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband has some kind of sleep disorder. He doesn’t believe he has a problem. I know about restless leg syndrome, but he has something beyond that. About four nights a week, his legs kick all over, and he throws his body in every direction. The bed bounces like a trampoline. In one month, he made large holes in two quality flannel sheets. Several times, he has hit me across the face. What is this problem? -- M.L. ANSWER: You describe periodic limb movements of sleep, PLMS, which used to be called nocturnal myoclonus. Most of the time, only the legs are involved. The toes, ankles, knees and hips involuntarily bend and straighten during sleep. The movements happen every 20 to 40 seconds, and each episode lasts from a few minutes to hours. Restless leg syndrome is a crawling sensation beneath the skin of the legs. The person has to get up and walk around

to put an end to the annoying sensations. Sometimes it is associated with iron deficiency, and sometimes restless leg patients also experience periodic limb movements. Pramipexole or ropinirole treat both conditions. Your husband should see a doctor. The booklet on restless leg syndrome and nighttime leg cramps explains these conditions and their treatments. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 306W, 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. DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I play softball for my company. Last week, while rounding second, I felt like I stubbed my toe. It hurt, and it still does. People tell me it is turf toe. What is that, and how long does it go on? -- M.L. ANSWER: Turf toe happens when the big toe is forcefully bent upward. That motion sprains ligaments at the base of the toe. Every time you take a step, your big toe propels the body forward. Limit your walking to give the toe a rest. Splinting the toe with tape is helpful. Shoes with a sturdy sole also protect the toe. If the ligaments have only been stretched, your toe ought to feel fine in two weeks. If the ligaments are torn, it will take six weeks. You and I are going on “people’s” diagnosis. If there isn’t a major turnabout shortly in how the toe feels, have a doctor confirm the diagnosis.

Most dogs can be trained to use a specific spot, or several designated spots. It’s best if this training begins early in a dog’s life. If the dog is used to just running anywhere in the yard to do his business, disassociating him from this behavior is necessary and adds time to the process. You’ll also need to be absolutely disciplined yourself with this method -taking the dog out at specified times, daily, to that spot, until he completely associates the area with elimination. Ultimately, you’ll want to be able to just let the dog outside at that specified time and have him go on his own in that spot, although some dogs may never reach that point. The upside of this, of course, is that your lawn will remain free of little surprises as well as yellowed spots on the grass. The extra benefit, however, is that you give your dog a little more “face time” as you work with him to use the designated spot, something that rewards both of you. Send your pet questions and 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. Find more pet advice and resources at www. pawscorner.com. (c) 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.

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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) 2010 North America Synd., Inc. All Rights Reserved

all time by the American Film Institute) was originally titled “Not Tonight Josephine!”

• You might be surprised to learn that it was theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, one of the best-known scientists of all time, who made the following sage observation: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

DEAR FRANK: Your friend essentially trained his dog to identify a particular scent with a location that’s OK for him to eliminate. Using a focal point like the rock is pretty helpful when you’re trying to train your dog to do this. Hopefully the scent is unique enough that the dog won’t smell it elsewhere in or around his neighbor’s house! You can most likely find something like the scented rock (or a similar training tool) at a local pet store or online. Look under house training or basic obedience.

• The next time you have jury duty and want to get out of it, you might want to keep this in mind: A judge in Liverpool, England, dismissed a man from the jury when fellow jurors complained about the fleas in his beard. • At one time, the Catholic Church considered it sinful to eat a hot dog. • If you’re ever visiting Egypt and asking for directions, remember that in that country, “upstream” means south.

• On average, a man’s beard grows about a half-inch every • It’s probably fair to say that people have been enjoying month. mixed alcoholic beverages for hundreds of years, but the word “cocktail” wasn’t in general use until 1888, when it • Do you suffer from coprolalia? I would hope not! If you’re was printed for the first time, in a bartender’s manual. a word deconstructionist and up on your Greek, you might be able to figure out that coprolalia means an uncontrollable • In Connecticut in the 17th century, it was illegal to smoke use of obscene language, since “copro” means “dung” and more than one cigarette a day, and that one had to be smoked “lalia” means “chatter” or “babble.” at home. ***

• Marilyn Monroe’s iconic film “Some Like It Hot” (which Thought for the Day: “A society that gets rid of all its in 2000 was named the greatest American comedy film of troublemakers goes downhill.” -- Robert A. Heinlein

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