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Come along with Tidbits as we attend memorable dinner parties!
• In 1971 Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran wanted to mark the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire with a party that people would remember for the next 2,500 years. The Shah recreated a city reminiscent of the ancient Persian Empire by erecting a city of tents in the desert. He imported 165 French chefs, wine stewards, and waiters. Over 500 guests were seated in throne-like chairs along a mahogany dining table 235 feet long. The cost of the 6-hour banquet was $11 million— or $22,000 per guest. When the poverty-stricken populace found out about this extravagance, the discontent it caused contributed greatly to his unpopularity and eventual downfall. • Agostino Chigi was a wealthy banker in Rome in the 1500s. He held extravagant dinner parties at his villa overlooking the Tiber River. After each course, he instructed his guests to hurl their dirty dishes and silverware into the river. What the guests didn't know was that prior to each party, the banker had his servants string a net just below the surface of the water so that none of the tableware was lost. Turn the page for more!
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• A rich gourmand named Cambaceres was presented with two incredibly huge sturgeon. One weighed 374 lbs and the other weighed 324 lbs. The problem was how to present both fish at a feast without having one belittle the other. Cambaceres solved the problem like this: he had the smaller fish cooked, decked out, and paraded on a huge platter around the table. The waiter then tripped, the fish landed on the floor, and wails of despair arose. Cambaceres then rose and called out, “Serve the other!” and the larger fish was brought out, to the astonishment of the diners.
• According to legend, Victorian Sardou was a French playwright. One evening he knocked over his wine glass at a dinner party. The lady seated next to him sprinkled salt on the spill to prevent a stain. Superstitious, Sardou then tossed some salt over his left shoulder to ward off bad luck. Unfortunately, the waiter who was standing behind him was hit in the eye by the salt, and dropped the roast chicken he was carrying. The family dog grabbed the chicken and began eating it so fast that he began to choke on a bone. The son of the house tried to wrestle the bone out of the dog’s throat. The dog bit the boy so hard that his finger had to be amputated.
• French novelist Tristan Bernard was once invited to an exclusive dinner party. An hour after dinner was to be served, he still had not shown up, so the hostess phoned his house. “I’m sorry,” Bernard said, “but I’m not coming.” “Not coming? Are you ill?” asked the hostess anxiously. “No,” he replied. “I’m not hungry.” • Poet Samuel Rogers invited scholar Richard Porson to dinner. “No thank you,” said Porson. “I dined yesterday.” ...continued
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SPORTS QUIZ 1. Heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes started his pro career 48-0, then lost three consecutive bouts. To whom did he lose? 2. The Philadelphia Flyers of 1979-80 hold the NHL record for the longest unbeaten streak. How many of those 35 games were wins, and how many were ties? 3. Name the starting lineup for the 1987 L.A. Lakers.
4. In 2015, Ryan Braun became the Milwaukee Brewers’ all-time leader in home runs. Who had held the top spot? 5. Who was the first defensive player to be named MVP of a Super Bowl? 6. Three major-league players had careers of at least 3,000 hits and 600 home runs. Name them. 7. Adrian Peterson is the alltime leading rusher for the Vikings. Who is 2nd?
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• Writer Jacqueline Susann was invited to a dinner party at the home of Maurice Chevalier. The food was good, but the portions were small. After the skimpy meal, everyone retired to the library for drinks. "What would you like to drink, Jacqueline?" asked the host. "Maurice," she replied, "I never drink on an empty stomach!" • Brahms attended a dinner given in his honor when the host proposed a toast: "Here's to the most famous composer!" and Brahms lifted his glass and replied, "Quite right! Here's to Mozart!" and clinked glasses all around. • A wine connoisseur invited Brahms over for dinner and afterwards brought out his best bottle, saying "This is the Brahms of my wine cellar," and poured a glass. After Brahms had tasted the wine, the connoisseur asked what he thought of it. "Better bring out your Beethoven," he replied.
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• Pianist Ignace Paderewski was asked to provide after-dinner entertainment for a dinner party held by an English duchess. The fee he asked for was high, so the duchess sent him a note saying that rather than attend the dinner with the other guests, she was sure he'd be more comfortable resting in a private room while they ate. He replied with a note, "As you so kindly inform me that I am not obliged to be present at your dinner, I shall be satisfied with half of my fee." • Supposedly, Stephen Foster was a flutist. He was invited to a dinner party where he suspected it was his flute playing and not his company that was desired. He sent his flute to the dinner and stayed home. • Pablo Sarasate was frequently invited to dinner in the hopes that he would give a free violin recital. Once the hostess asked if he had brought his violin. "No, madame, my violin does not dine," he answered.
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• A lady sitting next to President 'Silent Cal' Coolidge at a dinner party had totally failed in her attempts to get him to converse with her. Finally she said, "You go to so many dinners, they must bore you a great deal." He replied, "Well, a man has to eat somewhere." • A society woman sat next to Pres. Coolidge at a dinner party and said, "You must speak with me, Mr. Coolidge. I made a bet today that I could get more than two words out of you." "You lose," replied the President. • Alfred, Count of Orsay, was a French dandy in the 1800s. At a dinner party he was seated next to Lady Holland, who monopolized his attention. Every time he tried to talk to someone else at the table, she would regain his attention by dropping something, which he was then obligated to pick up for her. First it was her napkin. Next it was her spoon. Then it was her fan. At this point Orsay told the footman behind him to place his plates and silverware on the floor, saying "I shall finish my dinner there— it will be so much more convenient for my Lady Holland." • Frank Harris, editor of the “Saturday Review,” gave a dinner party and invited many famous people, including Oscar Wilde. Harris monopolized the conversation, going on and on about all the famous people who had invited him to dinner in the past. Oscar Wilde finally broke in, saying, “Frank, we believe you; you have dined in every house in London— once.”
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• Composer Johannes Brahms became ill and went to see his doctor, who prescribed a very strict diet. "But this evening I am dining with Strauss and we shall have chicken paprika!" he exclaimed. The doctor said the meal was out of the question. "Very well, then— please consider that I did not come to consult you until tomorrow," replied Brahms.
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Repellents: Still One of the Best Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution to controlling mosquitoes. The more rain and standing water we have, the more mosquito habitat available for those pesky critters. Eliminating mosquito breeding sites is essential to keeping the mosquito population in check. When the adult mosquito population seems unbearable, turn to one of the best prevention methods available…a can of OFF! Mosquito repellents with DEET are safe and very effective when applied according to the label. They’ve even improved many of these products so they go on dry, not oily. Don’t let these pesky critters win the outdoor battle this summer. Eliminate any standing water on your property and apply repellents with DEET when outdoors.
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• It was Douglas Hofstadter, American professor Safe Mosquito Repellents for Children of cognitive science and Pulitzer-winning author, who made the following sage observation, The recent rains have the mosquitoes in a feeding frenzy and the best as wayHofstadter's to avoid themLaw: is by"It staying indoors or applying known always takes an insect repellent before venturing outside. DEET-based relonger than you expect, even when you take pellents are safe and effective and provide several hours of into accountHere’s Hofstadter's Law." protection. some more information about DEET. • According to Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netf• The American Academy of Pelix, the biggest competition faced by products the onlinecontaining diatrics says streaming service isn't HBO, Hulu or DEET are “theAmazon most effective” available and -- it's sleep. He recentlyrepellents told stockholders thatshould be used when necessary when viewers are deciding whether or not toto protect against insect and tick-borne diswatch Netflix, the alternative they're ease. The AAP usually says use DEETconsidering is going to based bed, not watching an- up to repellents containing 30% DEET on children older than other service. 2 months of age. • You might be surprised to learn that in the Unit• As reported in the New England ed States, there are more people employed insect in repelJournal of Medicine, the solar-energy industrylents than there are employcontaining DEET provide complete protection from bites for ees in the coal, oil and gas industries combined. longer periods than other repellent • Economists aren't known forstudy, their “Only optimism, but containproducts. According to the products in the summer of 1930, one of the 20th century's ing DEET are dependable for long-lasting protection after a made a bold predicmost influential economists singleEven application. tion. as the Great Depression was gain• The U.S. Environmental ing momentum, John Maynard Keynes declared Protection evaluates that by the Agency year 2030, the typical workweek in and registers all DEET-based developed nations would be just 15 hours long. products before they can be It's not looking good so far, marketed in this county. The but we do have 17 EPA has determined that the years to go. use of products containing • Those study such DEET who according to things label say that a monarch butterfly a whopping direction,can doesflynot pose un- 620 miles without reasonable stopping forrisks food.of adverse effects to humans, regardless • You have never heard the term "reduplicaof themay concentration (amount) tive rhymes," but you're certainly familiar with of DEET. them. "Razzle-dazzle" is one. Also, "hocus poFor information about mosquito control visit our website at cus," "fuddy-duddy," "roly-poly," "dillydally," www.gfmosquito.com "higgledy-piggledy" and "chick flick." Interestingly, Chick Flick also was the name of a baseball manager -- he managed Rustic Tavern, a semi-professional team in the 1940s and '50s. *** Thought for the Day: "Words are like leaves; and where they most abound / Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found." -- Alexander Pope © 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
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• You can’t be poisoned by handling the deathcap, and even chewing it is safe if it’s spit out before • The deathcap mushroom is strikingly beautiful, smells swallowing. It’s the digestion of the mushroom that’s deadly. Squirrels and slugs are not affected sweet, tastes delicious, and gives no symptoms of poiand eat them often. soning until after it has already started ruining the liver and kidneys. It’s the most poisonous mushroom on • The scientific name for the plant is Amanita phalEarth. About 90% of fatalities related to mushrooms are loides from the Greek words amanitai meaning due to the deathcap. “mushroom” and the Latin word for phallus, denoting its shape. • A single deathcap is enough to kill an adult. Freezing, drying, or cooking will not neutralize the poison. It’s • The deathcap is not native to the U.S. but was acparticularly dangerous because it’s a big, meaty mushcidentally introduced to California from Europe room that grows abundantly, often next to edible spein the 1930s on the roots of an imported plant. It’s cies, which it resembles. now found on every continent except Antarctica. • In the human body, the toxin binds to an enzyme, pre- • On the west coast of the U.S. the deathcap prefers venting its cells from dividing. This prevents essential to live under oak trees; on the east coast it prefers proteins from being formed. Because the liver and kidpines, but can also be found under other trees inneys filter poisons from the blood, the poison is concencluding chestnut, birch, and beech. trated in those organs, and then is passed into the bladder • Mushroom poisoning is more common in Europe and gall bladder. than in America perhaps because the deathcap is • Because the onset of symptoms is delayed for up to found more widely there. Until around 1950, the 24 hours, many people don’t even make the connecmortality rate was as high as 70%. With advances tion between the mushroom and the sickness. If treated in medical care, the rate has consistently dropped promptly, the victim stands a decent chance of surviving. and now averages about 15%, though children unDoctors flush the gastric system, administer charcoal to der the age of ten are more likely to die. absorb the poison, super-hydrate the body to flush the • In 1740, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI died kidneys, and use kidney dialysis. The longer treatment is after eating a plate of sautéed deathcaps. His delayed, the more likely it will result in liver and kidney death led to the War of the Austrian Succession, failure, at which point the only hope is organ transplant. leading Voltaire to remark, “This dish of mush• A new method of treating victims involves a drug derooms changed the destiny of Europe.” rived from the milk thistle plant. This drug sits on top • The Roman emperor Claudius was very fond of of the receptors that bring poison into the liver, preventmushrooms, and may have been deliberately poiing it from being absorbed. Instead, toxins remain in the soned, dying in the year 54 A.D. Some researchblood stream where the kidneys expel them more quickers speculate that he was given a dose of deadly ly. If started on this drug within 96 hours, survival is nightshade while he was ill in order to hasten his likely. If the kidneys are already failing when the drug is death. administered, death is likely. Death usually occurs one or two weeks after consuming the mushroom.
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• On May 31, 1859, the famous tower clock Big Ben rings out over London for the first time. Two months later the bell cracked. It was three years before the clock went into service again. The bell was rotated so that the hammer would strike another surface, but the crack was never repaired. • On June 2, 1865, in an event marking the end of the Civil War, Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signs surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. With Smith's surrender, the last Confederate army ceased to exist. • On June 4, 1896, in the shed behind his home in Detroit, Henry Ford unveils the Quadricycle, his first automobile. The Quadricycle was too wide to fit through the shed door, so Ford took an axe to the brick so the vehicle could be rolled out. • On May 29, 1914, two boats collide in heavy fog on the St. Lawrence River in Canada, killing 1,073 people. The Empress of Ireland, following standard procedure, came to a complete stop in the fog. The Norwegian coal freighter Storstad not only failed to stop, but didn't reverse engines, flipping the Empress on her side. • On May 30, 1922, William Howard Taft, chief justice of the Supreme Court, dedicates the Lincoln Memorial on the Washington Mall. Taft is the only former U.S. president ever to hold a seat on the Supreme Court. • On June 3, 1965, astronaut Major Edward H. White II opens the hatch of the Gemini 4 and steps out of the orbiting capsule, becoming the first American to walk in space. • On June 1, 1980, CNN, the world's first 24hour television news network, makes its debut in Atlanta. Initially available in less than 2 million U.S. homes, today CNN can be seen in almost 100 million households.
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
The Baddest Man on the Planet "That's my successor." And with those three words from Mike Tyson -- and three knockdowns in his title fight -Anthony Joshua became the new face of boxing. Do we finally have the next great heavyweight champion of the world in our midst? While the disrespect to the Klitschkos -- guys like Michael Moorer, Riddick Bowe, Lenox Lewis and Evander Holyfield -is apparent, it's easy enough to understand what Tyson is saying here. There are boxers who wear belts, and then there are men whom people just universally identify as the champ. In fact, until around 1960, that's how champions were crowned ... popular choice. One guy was considered the baddest man on the planet, another guy came up and beat him, won a few more times until some guy beat him. It worked out well and formed a lineage that any fight fan can rattle off in a moment's notice: Tyson, Holmes, Ali, Liston, Patterson, Marciano, Louis, Dempsey, Johnson ... sprinkle in a few other names here and there, but you get the point. Nobody ever says that Michael Spinks or Frank Bruno was the champ. What makes a heavyweight champion? A champ has to be equal parts skill and spectacle. He has to dazzle you when you're watching him in the ring, but also make half the world want to climb in the ring to try and knock him out of it while making the other half cower in abject fear at the thought. They should be regal ... a champ doesn't have to be flashy, but he should be able to represent on the red carpet, draw crowds and know how to handle them. Be an ambassador to the sport.
And, yeah, be the baddest man on the planet. Joshua has a lot going for him in that department. He's British-Nigerian and took up boxing when he was 18, amassing a 40-3 win record and garnering all of the appropriate attention that a 6-foot-6 super-heavyweight bodybuilding sprinter would. He's an Olympic gold medal winner. Now he's the champ, sporting a 19-0 record with 19 knockouts and a multi-fight deal with Showtime. It's Joshua's time to reign. In interviews, Tyson has been more matter-of-fact than effusive. "Whenever there's a new heavyweight champion and he's explosive like [Joshua] and wins the title like that it changes the whole game," Tyson told ESPN. He seemed almost grateful to finally dismiss talk of the rumored MayweatherMacGregor fight, a potential contest he called "garbage." "All the little guys who were making a lot of money are not going to make their money any more," Tyson said. "It's all going to be about Joshua and the heavyweights now. That one fight [with Klitschko] changed boxing." Joshua appears ready to take it all in stride -- because he's willing to fight everyone, and that's what champions do. Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter who lives in New Jersey. © 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
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(Answers located after next page)
May 15, 2017
• Don’t let your keys sink in the pool, lake or ocean this summer. If you’re taking them with you, make sure you add a flotation device. They sell keychains just for this purpose. • “The dollar store is the best place for pool toys — they stock foam balls and all kinds of diving sticks and blowup beach balls. I bring out lots when we go to the pool, and whatever kids are there can play with them. When we are ready to pack up, we’ll leave some behind if kids still are playing with them.” — C.A. in Arkansas • Many shells have holes in them, and kids are natural collectors. If you want a fun car-ride-home project after a day at the beach, bring a craft needle (blunt) and some yarn or embroidery floss for each child. Have them thread shells onto the yarn. When flipped upside down, a Frisbee holds a selection of shells securely on little laps while they search for the perfect one! — JoAnn • Do yourself a favor and invest in a net bag to take to the beach. Anything that’s sandy can be placed in the bag, then you just shake it off. Get one for dry items and another for sand toys — just dunk that one in the ocean for a rinse before you go! • “There are a lot of ways to get your stuff out to the perfect sunning spot on the beach. My way is to dump all my stuff in a big laundry basket, which we pull with a rope. The flat bottom slides over the sand.” — R.D. in Florida • “One thing you might not think to bring to the beach is bug spray. Sometimes there are sand fleas, and a little bug spray really helps.” — L.I. in Virginia Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.
STORIES BEHIND INSULTS
• In 1765 the John Newbery Publishing Company of London produced a children’s book. In the story, Margery Meanwell is an orphan who is so poor that she has only one shoe. But because of her virtuousness, a rich man rewards her with new shoes, which causes her to go throughout the town proclaiming to all she meets that she now is the proud owner of a matching pair of shoes.
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• Her unassailable virtue continues, and she is eventually rewarded by marrying a rich widower. The book became one of the most popular children’s books of the day. The very virtuous Margery Meanwell became known by her nickname, not only in the book but also throughout society. • Today Margery Meanwell’s nickname means someone who is annoyingly virtuous. The dictionary defines it as “characterized by inept manifestations of good or pious sentiment.” What was Margery’s nickname? (answer at bottom of page)
• Ambrose Philips and Alexander Pope were both English poets. In 1709 a publisher called for entries to a collection of poems he was producing, and both Philips and Pope submitted poems which were accepted. Philips’ poem was praised in a local paper, while Pope’s poem was not mentioned. This snub made Pope angry, and a war of words ensued between the two poets. • Years later, Philips wrote a series of silly rhyming poems for the young children of some aristocratic friends of his, and the poems were widely circulated. ***** Answer: Goody Two-Shoes. “Goody” was a common greeting, short for “goodwife.” ...continued
(Solution on Next Page)
A SPINELESS WIMP (cont'd):
DIFFERENCES: 1. Cap is missing. 2. Shrub is smaller. 3. Shutters are missing. 4. Arm is moved. 5. Shirt is opened. 6. Sign is smaller. © 2017 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.
• A third poet, Henry Carey, ridiculed Philips’ poetic style by writing a silly parody of his children’s Answer: Dell. poetry. The title of this parody was a rhyming nonsensical play on Ambrose A VERY LARGE NUMBER Philips’ first name. Pope seized upon this nick•name Edward mathematician. 1938 andKasner used itwas in aabook he wrote inInwhich he was asked to come up with a name for a he hurled invectives at Philips. very large number: the numeral one, followed • Because Pope zeros. was soHewidely theyoung nickby a hundred asked read, his two name entered everyday language meaning nephews what name they would suggest. weak, ineffective writing. From there came • Nine-year-old Milton suggested a it name tooutdescribe weak, ineffective Today of the funnies. A cartoon people. strip character the rhyming nameMilton “Ambrose” named Barneyplay was on verythe popular. chose Barney’s last name for the number. denotes anything that is insipid, spineless, or phrase? •overly Kasnersentimental. announced What’s the newthe name for the big number in his next book, altering the spelling. Answer: Namby-Pamby • Sixty years later, Larry Page and Sergey Brin AaYIDDISH FOOL developed new internet search engine. Other • Adelbert von Chamisso short storyand to search engines searchedwrote eacha webpage ranked them according to howfriends manyintimes entertain the children of some 1814.a term appeared onPeter them,sells but his Pageshadand Inspecific the tale, a man named Brin designed their search engine to search for ow to a magician in exchange for a bottomthe wallet. specificPeter term thinks and then out best how of many less he find got the the links there were that led back to that page, bargain but soon finds that a man without a which resulted in a better search engine. shadow is rejected by society. • They decided they needed a name that • Although has unlimited wealth, the he has givreflected he how many websites search en up thewas possibility of They ever living a normal engine searching. took the name of Edward Kasner’s veryWhen large number, only life or finding true love. the magician they misspelled it slightly, so it being offers him his shadow back inended returnupfor his spelled exactly the same way the cartoon soul, Peter declines. He spends his life trying hisfor lasthis name. What’s tocharacter do goodBarney in orderspelled to atone foolish deit called? (Answer at bottom of page) cision. COMPUTER FACTS • The story became popular because it offered •aIncomic 1981yet Billtragic Gateslook said, kb meaning of memory at “640 the true of ought to be enough for anybody.” happiness. In the story, Peter’s last name is a •Yiddish Moore’sword Law states that computer that means, “God’sperformance fool.” Now doubles every 18 to 24 months, and ever since that common Yiddish word has come to mean 1971, this has been true. a bungler, dolt, or a hopelessly incompetent •person. HP, Google, Microsoft, and Apple were all Name it. started in garages. Answer: Schlemiel. Answer: Google, from googol.
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