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May 18, 2017
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HOW SWEET IT IS!
by Kathy Wolfe
How sweet of Tidbits to bring you all these sweet facts this week! • Comedian/actor Jackie Gleason was responsible for adding the catchphrase “How sweet it is!” to our lingo. Gleason got his start in 1935 when he had 36 cents to his name. He took a comic job in a club for $19 a week, which seemed like a fortune to the young 19-year-old. Five years later, his contract was $250 weekly. During the 1950s, his variety show was the nation’s second-highest-rated television program. Most folks remember him best as a brash, loud-mouthed bus driver named Ralph Kramden in the comedy sketches known as “The Honeymooners.” Gleason had a photographic memory and only read his scripts once. The title of the biography of his life, published in 1985, is no surprise – “How Sweet It Is!” Drivers crossing the Brooklyn Bridge into the New York City borough of Brooklyn are greeting by signs with the phrase “How Sweet It Is!” • Southerners love their sweet tea, made by adding sugar to hot brewed black tea, then served ice cold. South Carolina was the first place in the United States where tea was grown, with origins back to 1795, when a French explorer and botanist imported it to the South. Turn the page for more!
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• The oldest-known recipe for sweet tea was published in an 1879 cookbook called “Housekeeping in Old Virginia.” A typical glass of sweet tea is 22 percent sugar, containing twice the sugar of a can of Coca-Cola.
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5. What is the name of the bartender on “The Simpsons’? 6. Canada’s southernmost point How many calories are in one is located in which Great Lake? medium-sized sweet potato? 7. Which war ended with the Name the artificial sweetner 1763 Treaty of Paris? found in NutraSweet & Equal. 8. What airline used the advertisName the character who had ing slogan: “You are now free her 16th birthday in the 1984 to move about the country”? movie “Sixteen Candles”? 9. What is the name of a hot-air What basketball team has a baloon’s basket? whistled version of “Sweet TRIVIA Georgia Brown” as its theme song? SPONSORED BY:
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• The Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd released the popular song “Sweet Home Alabama” in 1974 on their second album. This tune was their second hit single, and reached #8 on the charts. Ironically, none of the song’s three writers, Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, and Ed King, were from Alabama. At the beginning of the song, you can hear Van Zant say, “Turn it up,” a phrase that wasn’t supposed to be on the recording. Van Zant was just asking the sound engineers to turn up the volume in his headphones so that he could hear the track better. The phrase “Sweet Home Alabama” has been the official slogan on that state’s license plates since 2009. • Another “sweet” song was released in September, 1969 by Neil Diamond. “Sweet Caroline” reached #4 on the charts, eventually going platinum. In 2007, Diamond declared that John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline was the inspiration for this song. He said he had seen the 11-year-old Caroline on a magazine cover astride a horse and it inspired him to compose the song. Diamond even sang the song to her at her 50th birthday celebration in 2007. However, Diamond’s story changed during a 2014 interview, when he said, “The song was about my wife at the time – her name was Marcia – and I couldn’t get a ‘Marcia’ rhyme. Sweet Caroline – yes! That was it. And that’s what it’s been.” The popular song has been played at Fenway Park during Boston Red Sox games since about 1997, during the middle of the eighth inning. It also became the theme song for NFL’s Carolina Panthers in 2015. ...continued
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HOW SWEET IT IS! (cont'd)
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• We may use the terms sweet potatoes and yams interchangeably, but botanically, these two vegetables are very different. Sweet potatoes belong to the same family as morning glories, while yams are related to lilies and grasses. Yams, of which there are more than 600 varieties, are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes. The sweet potato’s deep orange color makes it a good source of beta-carotene, and it’s also rich in Vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese. China is the world’s leader in sweet potato production at 80%. In the U.S., North Carolina is the leading producer, producing 40% of the nation’s supply. Domesticated more than 5,000 years ago, sweet potatoes were first consumed by Europeans when members of Columbus’ expedition tried them out in 1492. The average person eats about 4.5 lbs. of this vegetable annually. But sweet potatoes aren’t just for eating! The famous scientist George Washington Carver (famous for his work with peanuts) developed 118 products from sweet potatoes, including glue for postage stamps and starch for cotton fabrics. A few Taiwanese companies are producing a type of fuel from sweet potatoes as well. • Dr. George Thaddeus Brown was a longtime member of the Georgia House of Representatives during the early part of the 20th century. In August of 1911, he and his wife welcomed a baby girl, and the Georgia General Assembly declared that the baby would be named Georgia in honor of the Peach State. Some years later, when Dr. Brown was visiting New York City, he met jazz bandleader Ben Bernie and told him about his family at great length. In 1925, Bernie, along with Maceo Pinkard and Ken Casey, wrote what would become one of the most-performed songs of the 20th century, “Sweet Georgia Brown.”
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HOW SWEET IT IS! (cont'd)
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• Ben Bernie and his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra first recorded “Sweet Georgia Brown” in March, 1925, and the tune has been recorded by scores of others including Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Bing Crosby, Merle Haggard, Nat King Cole, and even the Beatles. At the time of Georgia Brown’s birth, the Brown family received a silver trophy cup with the inscription that Georgia was “named by this body August 11, 1911,” hence the song’s lyrics “Georgia claimed her, Georgia named her.” • The average American consumes 165 lbs. of added sugar every year, but many have opted for artificial sweeteners, some of which are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. The first sweetener was created in the labs of Johns Hopkins in the 1870s. Two researchers were working with coal tar by-products and were not one bit interested in sweeteners. One of the researchers stepped out to smoke a cigarette and after touching the tip, discovered it was sweet. Saccharin soon became a substitute for sugar, but surprisingly, not because of low calories. It was simply cheaper than sugar! Although studies in the early 1970s conducted on rats found a link between saccharin and bladder cancer, real evidence was lacking that it caused cancer in humans. The most common trade name for saccharin today is Sweet ‘N Low.
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"How Sweet It is to be Loved by You" was a top-ofthe-charts hit for singer James Taylor in 1975. It was the reward for a career change for Taylor, who originally planned to be a chemist. The song was first recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1964.
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• It was American novelist and activist Anne Lamott who made the following sage observation: "Joy is the best makeup." • Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was determined not to get married so long as his mother was alive. He stuck to his decision, too -- the same year that his mother died, Carnegie finally wed at the age of 51. When his daughter was born the following year, Carnegie bestowed his mother's name on her. • In 2014, it became illegal in Russia to use profanity in the theater, in films and at other cultural events. • Before American music icon Ella Fitzgerald became famous as the First Lady of Song and the Queen of Jazz, she started out -- as so many performers have -- at Harlem's Apollo Theater. She was 17 years old, and she didn't intend to sing; she had planned to perform a dance number. Before it was her turn to perform, though, there was a dance act so good that she felt intimidated, so she changed her plan. It was a good idea, evidently -- not only did she win first prize for the night, she went on to take home one of the inaugural Grammy Awards, as well as 12 more over the course of her career. She also was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement. Not bad for a would-be dancer. • Those who study such things say that, geologically speaking, Florida is the youngest of all the United States -- that is to say, it emerged from the ocean more recently than any of the other 49. *** Thought for the Day: "The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth." -- Albert Einstein © 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
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This week, Tidbits inhales some fragrant scents, examining a few “sweet” plants.
• There are about 160 species of the sweet pea, a flowering plant native to Sicily and southern Italy. A Scottish nurseryman, Henry Eckford, developed the sweet pea through cross-breeding in the late 1800s. In 1882, he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s top award for introducing the first sweet pea cultivar, the “Bronze Prince.” It soon became a very popular blossom of the late Victorian era, and was symbolic of “blissful pleasure.” The flowers grow on climbing vines that can reach a height of over 6 feet. Because they prefer cool temperatures, sweet peas should be planted in early Spring. Unfortunately, they are prone to pests and insects. Although its name contains the word “pea,” its seeds are not edible, and in fact can cause a toxicity known as lathyrism, which affects the nervous system. Lathyrism symptoms include leg weakness or paralysis, and in extreme cases, aortic aneurysm. • One of North America’s most common hardwoods is the sweetgum tree, a member of the witch hazel family. It belongs to the Liquidambar genus, due to its production of a fragrant gum resembling liquid amber, a resin that has been used in medicine and in chewing gum. The sweetgum has five-pointed star-shaped leaves and hard, spiky fruits, which often open when they hit the ground. These fruits have been nicknamed gum balls, space bugs, goblin bombs, and bommyknockers. The wood of the sweetgum is known as satin walnut, and is important in the production of plywood, furniture, trim, railroad ties, flooring, barrels, and wood pulp.
• If you want to attract bees, birds, and butterflies to your garden, plant Sweet William, a species of Dianthus. This relative of the carnation flowers in red, pink, and white. A single stem might produce a cluster of up to 30 blooms. The blossoms are edible and may even possess medicinal properties. The flower’s name first appeared in an English botanist’s garden catalog in 1596. Experts disagree as to how the flower was named Sweet William. Some legends claim it was in honor of the 18th-century Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, while others say it was 12th-century Archbishop William of York, with still others declaring William the Conqueror, who ruled England from 1066 to 1087, was the source of the name. According to the Victorian era’s language of flowers, Sweet William is the symbol of gallantry. Catherine Middleton, who wed Prince William in April of 2011, included the blossoms in her wedding bouquet as a tribute to her groom. • The sweetbriar rose is a dense shrub that can reach heights of 10 feet. Although it can be grown in North America, it’s not native to this continent, and is found in abundance in Europe and western Asia. Its blossoms are not its most prominent feature, but rather its fruits and seeds, known as hips, which are commonly brewed around the world, providing a healthy dose of Vitamin C, as well as being used for treating stomach and intestinal disorders.
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• On May 22, 1859, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, is born in Scotland. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he met Dr. Joseph Bell, who helped inspire Doyle's Sherlock Holmes character years later. • On May 26, 1907, John Wayne, an Oscar-winning actor who came to epitomize the American West, is born in Winterset, Iowa. His career started with a job as an assistant prop man on a movie set. • On May 23, 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death in an ambush by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana. The Barrow Gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers. • On May 27, 1943, a B-24 carrying U.S. airman and former Olympic runner Louis "Louie" Zamperini crashes into the Pacific Ocean. Zamperini floated on a raft in shark-infested waters for more than a month before being picked up by the Japanese and spending the next two years in brutal prison camps. • On May 25, 1977, China's communist government lifts its decade-old ban on the writings of William Shakespeare, providing further evidence that the Cultural Revolution was over. • On May 28, 1987, Matthias Rust, a 19-yearold amateur pilot from West Germany, takes off from Helsinki, Finland, travels through more than 400 miles of Soviet airspace, and lands his small Cessna aircraft in Red Square by the Kremlin. The event proved to be an immense embarrassment to the Soviet government and military. • On May 24, 1991, the critically acclaimed road movie "Thelma and Louise" debuts in theaters, stunning audiences with a climactic scene in which its two heroines drive off a cliff in a vintage 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible.
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It Doesn't Have to be This Way Don't be too hard on yourself down South. The whole racist thing has never been exclusive to your redneck part of the woods. Take Boston -- if you can find the exit ramp -- for example. For decades, fair or not (pronounced "nawt" on Beacon Hill), the city has garnered a reputation for being more than a bit unkind toward African-Americans. But don't kid yourself. If you're an adult, you know better. I'm getting tired of the whole "Boston is racist" narrative. You know that racism isn't as neat and packaged as that. The conditions for racism exist anywhere a bunch of people who look alike suddenly come into contact with a few people who don't look like them. Racism occurs when a few of the people from the majority act like jerks toward the minority. It's really that simple. I'm tired of sports writers who pass the buck, who continue to claim that racism is such a head scratcher, something so complicated and complex and above their pay grade. I'll take a stab at the Adam Jones situation and racism at the ballpark. I'm no Gandhi or Tibetan monk, but it seems to me that the answer is clear: Don't be a jerk. If you're at the ballpark and you feel the need to stand up, throw a bag of peanuts at a center fielder and call him a racial slur ... don't do that. That makes you a jerk -- or worse. I can understand why people around the guy didn't tell him to sit down and shut up -after all, this was a ballgame, not a United Airlines flight -- but the answer to much of society's problems is really that simple: Don't be a jerk. Why can't you just enjoy the game?
This could have been a column about the magnificent April Major League Baseball had. Bryce Harper set records, once again establishing that we may be witnessing one of the all-time greats! Madison Bumgarner hits two homers on opening day; Aaron Judge is 8 feet tall, hits homers off the moon and wears the number 99 in the Bronx! Players dive over catchers to score runs! The Mets are a train wreck! But no. We instead tackle the stupidity of a bunch of fans taunting Adam Jones at a Baltimore Orioles game. Some of you reading this are disgusted that I even bring it up. "So what," you may be thinking. "Life is tough. People are mean. That's life. That's how it will always be." If that's how you're thinking, let me show you just how interactive a newspaper can be. Grab each corner, roll it up and smack yourself in the face. No! It doesn't have to be this way for Adam Jones or anybody. Nobody is telling you how to think, nobody is even telling you what to say in private ... but it doesn't mean we have to hear it at the ballpark. Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter who lives in New Jersey. © 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
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• DIY glass cleaner recipe: Mix equal parts water, white vinegar and vodka in a spray bottle. This works as a deodorizing spray as well as a glass cleaner. • “When I clean the bathroom, I always clean my mirror last, and then I use the paper towel with Windex on it to give the light switches and doorknobs a quick swipe before I toss it. Also, I sometimes run it across the towel bars and the toilet paper holder to remove dust.” — C.E. in Georgia • Fill a small spray bottle with rubbing alcohol. Lightly spray earbuds and brush crevices with a soft, clean toothbrush. Do this regularly to protect your ears and your buds. • “Kids love bubbles, but what parent loves constantly fishing out the bubble wand from a bottle of bubbles? A simple hair clip will do the trick. Just clip it around the wand so that it cannot go all the way back in the bottle. When you’re ready to put the bubbles away, it’s easily removed.” — M.E. in Florida • Need to clean the microwave? Here’s another recipe: Add several teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to a bowl of water (at least 3 cups), and place in microwave. Heat to boiling (five minutes), and leave in microwave for two additional minutes. Remove bowl, and wipe sides with a clean cloth. • Experts say that if you need to ripen an avocado, wrap it uncut in aluminum foil, and place it in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 10 minutes. Remove, cool and slice. Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.
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May is National Vinegar Month! Vinegar isn’t all about making pickles, as you’ll soon see when you read these Tidbits facts. • The word “vinegar” is derived from the French language, meaning “sour wine.” Some vinegars are in fact produced from wine, but there are a variety of ingredients used to make this tangy liquid. Vinegar is an ancient liquid, with traces of it found in Egyptian urns dating back to 3000 BC. • The most common kitchen vinegar is apple cider vinegar, with its familiar golden brown color. It’s made from, no surprise, apple cider, that has been fermented and oxidized. White vinegar, also known as distilled vinegar, comes from the oxidization process of grain alcohol. • Balsamic vinegar’s base ingredient is the concentrated juice of white Trebbiano grapes that is aged in kegs of different woods including oak, chestnut, cherry, juniper, or ash. Its color is very dark brown and it has a rich, sweeter taste. • Malt vinegar starts with barley which is malted, causing the grain’s starch to turn to maltose. An ale is brewed from the maltose, which is aged into vinegar. It’s a favorite seasoning for fish and chips in Britain.
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• Popular in eastern Asia, there are several varieties of rice vinegar. The Japanese use a light rice vinegar when preparing sushi. Those in the Middle East prefer a brown, cloudy vinegar made from raisins. • Vinegar is for more than just enhancing the flavor of foods. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help remove warts by leaving a vinegar-soaked cotton pad on overnight for a week. It can also relieve the pain of a sunburn. Pouring it in the cracks of your sidewalk is a natural way to kill weeds. ...continued
(Solution on Next Page)
DIFFERENCES: 1. Chef's hat is different. 2. Shutter is missing. 3. Truck is missing. 4. Fence is different. 5. Shovel is smaller. 6. Cap is missing. © 2017 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.
• A mixture of vinegar and water applied to the scalp and hair can help with eliminating dandruff, with the added benefit of shinier, Answer: Dell. smoother hair. Some psoriasis sufferers have VERY using LARGE NUMBER had goodAresults apple cider vinegar for •reducing Edward Kasner was a mathematician. In 1938 inflammation. he was asked to come up with a name for a • White vinegar is a must-have forone, cleaning purvery large number: the numeral followed poses. A mixture of white vinegar andyoung water by a hundred zeros. He asked his two rids your table of coffee drips stains. Because nephews what name they would suggest. it loosens grime and sticky residue, it’s great • Nine-year-old Milton suggested a aname cleanser for your floor and refrigerator, and out of the funnies. A cartoon strip character even unclogs drains. Combine vinegar salt named Barney was very popular. Miltonand chose Barney’s lastaname for the number. and you have solution for coffee and tea stains your china. In the soak for rusty •on Kasner announced thegarage, new name thetools big and hardware in a blend of three parts vinegar number in his next book, altering the spelling. and oneyears part later, water,Larry and itPage works • Sixty andovernight! Sergey Brin developed a new internet searchCoat engine. • Need help removing wallpaper? theOther paper search engines searched each webpage and with a solution of vinegar and boiling water, ranked them according to how many times a and it will break down the glue for easy respecific term appeared on them, but Page and moval. This also works for those sticky price Brin designed their search engine to search for tags. the specific term and then find out how many links doing there some were that led back to the thathouse? page, • Been painting around which resulted in a better search engine. Leave an open dish of white vinegar in the •room Theyand decided they needed a smell. name that it will remove the paint reflected how many websites the search • In the world of health, a white vinegar-soaked engine was searching. They took the name cotton ball takes the sting out ofnumber, insect bites. of Edward Kasner’s very large only Some folks claim that drinking a teaspoon of they misspelled it slightly, so it ended up being white vinegar cures the hiccups. Brushing your spelled exactly the same way the cartoon teeth with Barney it once aspelled week his helps bacteria. character lastfight name. What’s it called? (Answer at bottom of page) • Many people claim there are health benefits of drinkingCOMPUTER vinegar eachFACTS morning. Although •apple In 1981 Billvinegar Gates said, “640acidic, kb of itmemory cider is quite can be ought to be enough for anybody.” diluted with water and sweetened with honey. research has indicated that this habit can •Some Moore’s Law states that computer performance doubles every 18 to 24asmonths, and evercholessince lower blood pressure, well as absorb 1971,and thisfat, hasand been true. them as waste, and terol eliminate digestion. •aid HP,in Google, Microsoft, and Apple were all started in garages. THANKS FOR READING Answer: Google, from googol. TIDBITS!
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1. About 100. 2. Aspartame. 3. Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald). 4. The Harlem Globetrotters. 5. Moe.
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