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February 5th marks the beginning of the observation of the Chinese New Year. This week, Tidbits celebrates the occasion with this collection of facts.
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• The date of the Chinese New Year changes every year, because it follows the lunar calendar, based on the moon’s movements. It will always fall somewhere between January 21 and February 20, and will usually fall on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice. • The Chinese New Year calendar follows a 12year cycle, with each new year named after an animal. The Chinese animal zodiac in order is rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig, with 2019 being a pig year. Besides the animal designation, each year also cycles through the five elements of nature – Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Metal. The Chinese believe that each animal sign has characteristics for those born under the sign, similar to the zodiac signs of Western astrology. However, the Chinese zodiac animals are not associated with constellations and are based on years, rather than months, and represent how others perceive a person or how that person presents himself or herself.
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*An Easy Advance is a loan secured by and paid back with your tax refund and is offered by *An Easy Advance a loan secured by and paid back your tax refundLoan and is offered by are RepublicisBank & Trust Company, member FDIC,with to eligible taxpayers. amount options Republic Bank &on Trust Company, member FDIC, to eligible taxpayers. Loan amount options are based your expected Federal refund less authorized fees. Ifmember approved foreligible an Easy Advance, secured by your tax refund and is offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company, FDIC, to taxpayers. There are no fees or interest associated with the EA. Loan is ing and availability of all on filingyour product options. Valid atand participating locations. Valid 2-Feb. 28, 2018. based expected Federal refund less authorized fees. If approved for anacceptance Easy Advance, aandFinance may apply depending on your loan amount. Loan to underwriting subject toCharge underwriting approval. EA proceeds areJan. typically available within 24 hoursis ofsubject IRS of tax return (or within 24 hours for those filing before the IRS start date) if direct deposit is selectedproceeds it on may your take additional time foravailable your Loan financialwithin post theof funds account. Visit your Liberty Tax office to learn about the cost, and however, approval. Easy Advance are typically 24tohours IRSto your accepa Finance Charge may apply depending loan amount. isinstitution subject to underwriting timing and return availability ofwithin all filing24 andhours productfor options. Valid at participating locations. Validdate Jan. 2-Feb. 28, 2018. tance of tax or those ﬁling before the IRS start however, if direct and approval. Easy Advance proceeds are typically available within 24 hours of IRS acceptance deposit is selected it may time for ﬁnancial to ifpost the funds of tax return or within 24 hours for take thoseadditional filing before theyour IRS start dateinstitution however, direct to your account. Visit your Liberty Tax ofﬁce to learn about the cost, timing and availability deposit is selected may take additional time for your financial institution to 2-Feb. post the of all ﬁlingitand product options. Valid at participating locations. Valid Jan. 28,funds 2019.to your account. Visit your Liberty Tax office to learn about the cost, timing and availability of all filing and product options. Valid at participating locations. Valid Jan. 2-Feb. 28, 2019.
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CHINESE NEW YEAR (cont):
• Even though the celebration falls in the middle of Winter, it is traditionally known as “Spring Festival.” This is because it is the “Start of Spring,” marking the end of the coldest part of winter, when the Chinese begin to look forward to Spring. • About one-quarter of the world’s population celebrates Chinese New Year, including 1.3 billion people in China, 90 million in Vietnam, and 50 million in South Korea. Most of the countries celebrating have a three-day public holiday, and Chinese schools are closed for a month.
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5. What Chinese city has been formerly known as Dadu, Yanjing, Peking, and Beiping? 6. How many countries does China border— 12, 14 or 16? 7. Which city is further north— Hong Kong or Shanghai? 8. What U.S. city claims to have the biggest Chinese New Year parade and celebration outside of Asia? TRIVIA SPONSORED BY:
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1. What Chinese dialect is spoken by more people in the world than any other language? 2. Name the largest man-made stucture in the world. 3. More than half of the population of what animal lives in China? 4. The summit of Mt. Everest marks the border between China and what other country?
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• The festival itself lasts for 15 days, with the first day starting with the new moon, and ending on the full moon. New Year’s Eve is a celebration to honor family, ancestors, and heavenly and sacred deities with a reunion dinner, the most important dinner of the year, usually held at the home of the oldest member of the extended family. The menu is large and elaborate, and ritual sacrifices of food are offered to gods and ancestors. Many don’t eat meat at that feast, believing that abstaining on the first day will ensure a long and happy life, and purify and cleanse the body. This also reinforces the belief that nothing should be killed on the first day of the new year. • Fireworks are lit at midnight, as the noise and lights are believed to ward off demons and evil spirits in the coming year. Since China produces 90% of the world’s fireworks, it’s no surprise that the New Year’s Eve fireworks displays are the largest in the world. • At midnight on New Year’s Eve, every window and door in each home is opened to allow the old year to go out. ...continued
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SPORTS QUIZ 1. Two Minnesota Twins were 20-game winners during the 1990s. Name them. 2. Which Asian men’s soccer team has appeared the most times in the World Cup? 3. T or F: No NFL team was able to sweep their division games in 2018. 4. Since 1969, how many times have the Boston Red Sox won the A.L. East title?
5. Which two team were at the top of the Power Rankings to finish the 2018 NFL regular season? 6. Quarterback Wade Wilson played ten years for the Minnesota Vikings and three years for the Dallas Cowboys. He also had short stints with three other teams. Name them. 7. In 2017-18 the Warriors led the NBA in points per game average with 113.5. Who was second?
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CHINESE NEW YEAR (cont):
• The new year is symbolic of letting go of the past and welcoming new beginnings. It’s a tradition to thoroughly clean the home in preparation for the holiday, in order to rid it of any bad feelings that have accumulated there over the past year. The cleaning also satisfies the gods who traditionally come down from heaven for an inspection. Failure to clean can bring bad luck to the family. However, on New Year’s Day, no sweeping or dusting is allowed in a Chinese home due to the fear that good luck and fortune will be swept away. Traditionalists also do not wash their hair on that day, for fear that good luck will be washed away. • The second day of the festival is set aside for kindness to the animal of the year. Since 2019 is the year of the pig, it’s an old Chinese belief Day Two of the new year is the birthday of all pigs, and people should be especially kinds to pigs on that day. • On days three and four, sons-in-law pay respect to their wife’s parents. On the fifth day, brooms and dust pans can once again be brought out, but dirt can only be removed through the home’s back door. The day is spent at home, as it is considered bad luck to visit anyone on that day. On days six through ten, folks are free to call on their loved ones and to visit the temple to pray for good fortune. • Day 7 honors the birthday of all humans, with a drink concocted from seven types of vegetables consumed to celebrate. The day’s menu is raw fish to promote success, and long uncut noodles that represent long life.
• The pomegranate is a traditional fruit during Chinese New Year, because its many seeds symbolize fertility. The orange is also treasured because it represents good luck. ...continued
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• On Feb. 13, 1861, the earliest military action to be revered with a Medal of Honor award is performed by Col. Bernard J.D. Irwin, an Army surgeon serving in the first major U.S.-Apache conflict. The Irish-born doctor volunteered to go to the rescue of 2nd Lt. George Bascom, who was trapped in Arizona with 60 soldiers by the Apaches. • On Feb. 14, 1886, the first trainload of oranges grown by southern California farmers leaves Los Angeles via the transcontinental railroad. Development of California surged when state railroad lines linked Los Angeles into the transcontinental railways. • On Feb. 15, 1903, the first Teddy bear goes on sale. Toy-store owner and inventor Morris Michtom placed two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears, named after President Theodore Roosevelt. • On Feb. 16, 1923, in Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen. The room was virtually intact, with its treasures untouched after more than 3,000 years. • On Feb. 12, 1938, Judy Blume, popular youngadult author, is born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Blume's books, which realistically address such topics as bullying, divorce, friendships and family, gained legions of young fans; however, their content frequently led them to be banned by school libraries. • On Feb. 11, 1960, the Federal Communications Commission proposes a new law making it a criminal act to be involved in Payola -- corrupt practices in the radio and music industries that involved manufacturing a hit by paying for it to be played on the air. • On Feb. 17, 1996, world chess champion Garry Kasparov triumphs over Deep Blue, IBM's chess-playing computer, to win their six-game match, 4-2. However, Deep Blue would defeat Kasparov in a heavily publicized rematch the following year. © 2019 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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CHINESE NEW YEAR (cont):
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• Chinese tradition dictates that whatever a person does on New Year’s Day will set the standard for the remainder of the year. A person borrowing money on New Year’s Day will be borrowing all year long. Likewise, a person who lends money will be lending all year long. Parents don’t spank their children, believing that a child who cries on New Year’s Day will cry all year. • Traditional greetings throughout the festival include: “May you realize your ambitions,” “May a small investment bring ten-thousand-fold profits,” “May your wealth come to fill a hall,” and “May your happiness and longevity be complete.” • The 15th and final day of the New Year celebration ushers in the Lantern Festival, which falls on the night of the first full moon of the Chinese New Year. People walk the streets carrying lanterns, lanterns are put up for decoration, let loose into the air, and floated in rivers. They are a symbol of lighting the way for the New Year.
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• The color red is prominent throughout Chinese New Year celebrations. It’s the symbol of fire, which is believed to ward off evil spirits and prevent bad luck. Red also denotes happiness, wealth, and prosperity. People wear red clothing, homes and city streets are decorated with red lanterns and red paper cuttings, and children receive red envelopes full of money. The dollar amount of the gift cannot be divisible by 4 because in the Chinese culture, that number means death. Folks even paint their doors and window jams red to chase away bad luck.
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This week, Tidbits delves into the life of the “Master of Suspense,” the creator of the classic film Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock. • Born in the living quarters above his parents’ east London grocery store, Alfred Hitchcock was a solitary child, inventing games and drawing maps by himself. He later remarked that he couldn’t remember ever having a playmate. When Hitchcock was five years old, his very strict father sent him to the local police station, carrying a note that read, “This is what we do to naughty boys,” giving instructions to the police to lock Alfred in a cell for five minutes. The result was Hitchcock’s life-long fear of policemen, a phobia so extreme that Hitchcock refused to drive a car out of fear of parking tickets. • Hitchcock suffered from a glandular disorder which resulted in childhood obesity, a condition that further increased his lack of friends. • As a teen, Hitchcock enrolled in night classes in engineering, mechanics, and navigation, with the intent of becoming an engineer. However, his father’s death forced young Alfred into the work force as a clerk at a telegraph company. He later adjusted his studies to art history, painting, and economics. • At age 20, he became an editor and manager of the telegraph company’s in-house publication, which published a number of short stories Hitchcock had written. He expanded his interests to photography and film production. A year later, he took a job as a title card designer at a fledgling company that would become Paramount Pictures. Five years later, he was producing silent films for the company. At age 28, he achieved critical success with The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog. Two years later, he had 10 films under his belt.
• After 10 years of success in England, Hitchcock made the move to Hollywood, where his first film, Rebecca, (1940) received an Oscar for Best Picture. • Hitchcock’s real fame came in the 1950s, with the classic thrillers Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho. Psycho, his best known and most profitable film, broke box office records around the world, and received four Oscar nominations. Its shower scene is considered one of the most terrifying scenes in cinema. In Hitchcock’s words, “33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music.” Hitchcock used Hershey’s syrup for blood in the black-and-white film because it showed up better on camera. • Despite Paramount’s reluctance to produce Psycho, Hitchcock was adamant about making it, and deferred his $250,000 salary, instead settling for 60% of the film’s gross. The studio believed the film would be a dud, and agreed to the percentage. Hitchcock ended up with more than $15 million in earnings from the blockbuster hit, which would be about $120 million in today’s dollars. • Three years after Psycho, Hitchcock further terrified moviegoers with The Birds, as waves of violent birds attacked a small California community. • The filmmaker had a trademark of making cameo appearances in his movies, seen for just a brief moment in a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” appearance in 39 of his films. • Hitchcock made the move into television in 1955, hosting Alfred Hitchcock Presents, a series of thrillers and mysteries, until 1965. The opening credit featured a silhouette of his stout profile and a spooky spoken “Good evening.” • Hitchcock was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in January of 1980, and passed away just four months later.
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January 28, 2019
• If you are reattaching a button to shorts or pants, try using dental floss, the unwaxed kind. It’s much stronger and can hold the button better than regular thread. Use a marker to darken it if the color is an issue. • Make sure you clean your hairbrush weekly, especially if you use a lot of styling products. If it is solid, you could stick it in the dishwasher, or simply use shampoo to clean it while you shower, and then rinse well. • “I keep a lint roller in the drawer of my TV table, and I use it to pick up stray pet hairs along the back of the couch where my kitty sleeps. I vacuum weekly, but she’s a long-haired cat, and this just keeps it tidy in between. It’s easy, too.” — A.F. in Pennsylvania • “To help get tangles out of thin, delicate chains, simply sprinkle talc powder on the knotted portion. It won’t damage the metal at all — on the contrary, it acts as a lubricant to release the tight knots, making it easier to pull them apart. When you’re done, just rinse the chain and dry carefully. Also, necklaces store better when they are hung up.” — R.E. in Nebraska • “If you have a bunch of picture frames that don’t match or ones that are nicked or have small cosmetic damage, just paint them. Choose a matching color for all, and you’ll have a collection!” — T.L. in Florida • Here’s a quick fix to buff streaks out of a mirror or window: Use a coffee filter. Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.
d Cities Gam n ra G by Samantha Weaver
• It was 20th-century American author Margaret Mitchell -- best known, of course, for her Civil War-era novel "Gone With the Wind" -- who made the following sage observation: "Until you've lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is." • It seems that the Germans have a word for everything. For instance, "waldeinsamkeit" describes the feeling of being alone in the woods. • In rural Wisconsin in 1921, two third-grade students in a one-room schoolhouse became sweethearts. At the end of the school year, Lorraine Beatty and Mac McKitrick lost touch with each other. This story would be unremarkable, except for what happened 87 years later. In 2009, their brothers, who had become friends, brought the couple back together. Shortly thereafter, the couple married and moved in with each other in a retirement home. • You might be surprised to learn that Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of "Tarzan of the Apes" and its 25 sequels, never actually visited Africa. • The Sphinx in Egypt is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence. • The oldest government building in the country actually predates the nation: The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was built in 1610. • According to tradition, a bride whose dress is made of silk will have good fortune in her marriage. A woman who wears velvet to her wedding will face poverty, and a satin wedding gown will bring bad luck. • Reportedly, anyone caught in the jaws of a crocodile can release him- or herself instantly by pressing on the animal's eyeballs (though I cannot personally attest to the veracity of this claim). *** Thought for the Day: "A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually." -- Abba Eban © 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.
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February 6 is Canadian Maple Syrup Day, and Tidbits is dipping into the pot of information about this sticky commodity. • That delicious syrup we pour on our pancakes and waffles is a pretty expensive item because it’s extremely labor intensive to make. A bottle of syrup has its beginnings in a sugar maple, red maple, or black maple tree, although a few other species might be used. The trees accumulate starch in the sap in their trunks and roots before and during winter. The starch converts to sugar, which rises in late winter and early spring. A tree can produce sap for 100 years! • The sap is tapped by drilling holes into the tree trunk. The sap is no longer collected using a spout and a bucket, but rather with suction pumps and tubes, which makes the process much more efficient. The sap, which consists of about 95% water and 5% sugar, is then processed by heating to evaporate most of the water, leaving behind a concentrated syrup. The boiling process is a delicate one, since syrup boiled too long will eventually crystallize, and if it’s not boiled long enough, it will quickly spoil. • In days gone by, sap was moved to a “sugar shack,” a building cooled by a river, then boiled in large cauldrons, which were frequently stirred to prevent crystallization. • Maple syrup was discovered centuries ago by Native Americans. Legend has it that a tribal chief threw a tomahawk at a maple tree, and the sap began to flow. The liquid was collected, and the chief, believing it was water, gave it to his wife to cook up some venison, resulting in a delicious, maple-flavored meat. The Natives showed the extraction process to European settlers. The first written reference to the production of maple syrup was in 1606. ...continued
MAPLE SYRUP (cont.)
• It takes 40 years for a tree to grow enough to produce sap. A single tree yields about 40 gallons of sap Answer: Dell.a year, which may sound like a lot, but consider the fact that it takes 43 gallons of A VERY LARGE NUMBER sap to make just one gallon of syrup. That’s •just Edward Kasnerof was a mathematician. In 1938 one gallon syrup per tree per year! No he was asked to come up with a name for a wonder a 32-oz. jug of syrup retails for around very large number: the numeral one, followed $25. by a hundred zeros. He asked his two young
DIFFERENCES: 1. Window is missing. 2. Man has mustache. 3. Boy is wearing glasses. 4. Snow creature is shorter. 5. Man's scarf if different. 6. Creature's "arm" has more branches. © 2019 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.
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what namea they would suggest.jug of • Ifnephews stored properly, sealed, unopened syrup can Milton keep for suggested several years. •maple Nine-year-old a name out of the funnies. A cartoon strip character • So why are Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and named Barneysyrups was very popular. Milton chose Aunt Jemima so inexpensive? Because Barney’s last name for the number. they don’t contain actual pure maple syrup! •Their Kasner announced the new namefructose for the corn big primary ingredient is high number in his next book, altering the spelling. syrup, with some molasses and artificial cara•mel Sixty years later, Unless Larry Page Brin color added. the and labelSergey says “pure developed a new internet search engine. Other maple syrup,” that’s not what you’re getting! search engines searched each webpage and • The Canadian province toofhow Quebec ranked them according manyproduces times a about 70% of appeared the world’s maplebut syrup, specific term on them, Pageabout and Brin designed theirasearch engine to search for 6.5 million gallons year, with exports of about the specific term and then find out how many $360 million US dollars. Another 10% comes links Ontario. there were thatare led13back to that page, from There species of maple which resulted in a better engine. trees native to Canada, butsearch the sugar, red, and •black Theyaredecided they sources neededof asyrup, nameas their that the primary reflected how many websites the search sugar content is the highest. engine was searching. They took the name • Vermont is America’s largest producer syrof Edward Kasner’s very large number,ofonly up, about 6% of itthe world’s they misspelled slightly, so supply. it endedAupsmaller being amount from stateway of Maine. spelled comes exactly thethe same the cartoon character Barney last name. What’s • Pure maple syrupspelled is nothisonly delicious, it’s it called? (Answer at bottom of page) good for you! Each quarter cup gives you a COMPUTER FACTS healthy dose of manganese, riboflavin, zinc, •magnesium, In 1981 Billcalcium, Gates said, “640 kbalong of memory potassium, with 65 ought to be enough for anybody.” different antioxidants. • Moore’s Law states that computer performance THANKS doubles everyFOR 18 toREADING 24 months, TIDBITS! and ever since 1971, this has been true. • HP, Google, Microsoft, and Apple were all started in garages. Answer: Google, from googol.
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"Chinese New Year," "Alfred Hitchcock" and "Maple Syrup"