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UNICORNS by Kathy Wolfe
Unicorns … fact or fantasy? Tidbits offers the info and lets our readers decide!
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Artaxerxes II, penned the earliest record of unicorns in his book “Indika,” in which he described the creatures as “wild asses, fleet of foot, having a horn a cubit and a half (28 inches/700 mm) in length, and colored white, red, and black.” The body was white with a purple head and blue eyes. Ctesias claimed the animal could be found in India, and that the people there drank from the colorful horns and were cured of diseases. Sculptures at the ancient Persian capital depict unicorns as Ctesias described them.
• In Chinese mythology, the unicorn is known as “Qilin,” with its two syllables, “qi” translating to “male” and “lin” meaning “female.”
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• Roman author Pliny the Elder described the unicorn in his book of natural history in 77 A.D. with a body resembling a horse and feet like an elephant, with one black horn in the middle of the forehead, declaring that “this wild beast cannot possibly be caught alive.”
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• The word unicorn hasOitsF G origins inF Othe LatRAN D RK S • E AST G RAN D F O RK S in language, with the word “unus” meaning CALL NOW! Cannot be combined with other coupons “one,” and “cornu” translating or offers.G DoesRAN not apply sales. OWick F “horn.” G RANPublications D ORK RK S • E AST D to prior O RK S Published byO F G RAN D FF O S • E AST RAN FFofO RK S *Travel G charges mayDapply out town. O F G RAN D F O RK S • E AST G RAN D 31, 2020 F O RK S Expires January • In the fifth century B.C., the Greek historian bearshomesolutions.com Published by Wick Wick Publications Published by Ctesias, personal physician of PersianPublications King
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1. Name the unicorn from the “Toy Story” series of films. 2. The wand of which famous fictional character contained a strand of unicorn tail hair? 3. In which C.S. Lewis book does the character Peter ride a unicorn into battle? 4. What lies around the feet of the Statue of Liberty?
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• Qilin makes rare appearances coinciding with the forthcoming birth or death of a wise scholar or great ruler. It’s said that the Chinese unicorn appeared to the pregnant mother of Confucius in the 6th century B.C., spewing out a jade tablet inscribed with a prophecy of greatness for her son. Legend also maintains that Confucious saw a Qilin shortly before his death. • Chinese folklore also declares that the Qilin carries extraordinarily gifted children on its back to earthly parents. The Qilin can walk on grass without crushing the tender blades. Chinese carved its image on gravestones to ward off evil spirits. The image is used in Feng Shui, that system of harmonizing individuals with their surrounding environment, to attract wealth and eliminate negativity. The unicorn is thought to bring joy, wisdom, and long life. • According to legend, in the 13th century, the Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan turned back from his conquest of India after meeting a unicorn. When the animal bowed down to Khan, Khan considered it as a sign from his dead father and pulled his army back. • Italian explorer Marco Polo claimed that he had come across unicorns during his travels in the late 13th century. But after reading his description of having “hair of a buffalo and feet like an elephant’s” with a “single large black horn in the middle of the forehead” and a “head like a wild boar’s…very ugly brutes to look at,” it was apparent that Polo had stumbled upon a rhinoceros! • The word “unicorn” is mentioned nine times in the King James Version of the Old Testament. The word was used by translators of the Hebrew Bible for the word “re’em,” which means “rimu,” or a wild ox. ...continued
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SPORTS QUIZ 1. How many consecutive seasons did Boston’s Wade Boggs have 200 or more hits? 2. Who was the oldest player to win the Con Smythe Trophy as the NHL playoff MVP? 3. Which hitter holds the major-league record for most plate appearances in a season? (hint: played for the Phillies in 2007)
4. Which year did Tom Brady win his first playoff game? 5. Name two of the last three NHL teams before the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2018-19 season to score at least 325 goals. (hint: they all played in the 1995-96 season). 6. Joe Gibbs Racing set a modern-era record in 2019 for most NASCAR Cup Series victories in a season (19). Which organization had held the mark?
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• Unicorns have been widely used in coats of arms, most commonly as a symbol of Scotland. Because the creature was believed to be the natural enemy of the lion, the symbol used by the English royalty, the Scots used the unicorn to affirm that they would fight to remain unconquered by the English. On other Scottish coats of arms, the unicorn wears a collar with a broken chain, symbolizing freedom from bondage. Scottish gold coins from the reign of King James III in the 1400s were called the unicorn and the half-unicorn. • Even William Shakespeare was interested in unicorns, mentioned them in three of his plays. In 1599, in “Julius Caesar,” Shakespeare described how a unicorn could be caught by a tree. He also wrote of the creatures in “Timon of Athens” in 1605, and in “The Tempest” in 1610. • According to tradition, unicorns have many magical qualities and abilities. Although they might eat grass or hay, they really don’t need to eat at all, absorbing their energy from the sun through their horns. Touching a pure white unicorn will bring happiness and joy for a person’s entire life. Mythology asserts that unicorns can discern truth and will pierce the heart of liars with its horn. Its power is colossal, with the ability to easily kill an elephant. The unicorn is attracted to purity and innocence, and will fall to the ground when someone with those qualities approaches. It can bestow wisdom on those with a pure heart who are virtuous in their deeds. Even if captured, the unicorn can never be tamed, although some mythology does claim that a virtuous young maiden can tame a unicorn.
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• Although we mainly think of unicorns as white, they can be any color – black, brown, glittery gold, or bright red. Typically, eyes are depicted as blue or purple.
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• Although some unicorns are depicted with wings, a species known as the Pegasi, similar to the winged horse known as Pegasus, most mythology claims that unicorns are bound by the law of gravity. • Throughout the Renaissance and through the 17th and 18th centuries, European pharmacies touted the medicinal properties of unicorn horns and sold a powder marketed as ground horns. Claiming the healing powers along with protection against poisoning, the powder became one of the most expensive remedies of its time, with traders selling the horns for many times their weight in gold. In the mid-1600s, a Danish physician published his theory that the alleged unicorn horns were actually the ground tusks of a marine mammal known as a narwhal. This medium-sized whale, related to the beluga whale, has a large protruding canine tooth that can reach lengths of up to 10.2 feet. The tusk is hollow and weighs around 22 lbs. • The Throne Chair of Denmark was created between 1662 and 1671, ordered by King Christian John. Legend has it that the chair is made of the horns of unicorns, but the truth is that the throne was crafted from Norwegian narwhal tusks. The chair is guarded by three life-size figures of lions, made of silver, with their rumps covered in pure gold.
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• According to fictional character Harry Potter, unicorn blood is silver, and drinking it can extend one’s life. However, according to the novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, "The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips."
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• The reason for the correlation is not clear, but some studies suggest that hay fever is more common among people who are shy.
• A famous and oft-quoted line from Sherlock Holmes is "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" However, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn't come up with that one himself; he took it from a story by Edgar Allan Poe, another pioneer of the detective genre.
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• Judge Roy Bean was a justice of the peace in Texas in the 1800s -- he called himself "The Law West of the Pecos." It's interesting to note, though, that his earlier endeavors included rustling cattle in Mexico.
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• According to historians, basic training in the legions of ancient Rome could take three or four years. • If you know someone who, for some reason, is overly fond of sneezing, your friend is a steruphiliac. *** Thought for the Day: "There is a fatality about all good resolutions. They are invariable made too soon." -- Oscar Wilde © 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.
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• Travers criticized the script throughout production, "MARY POPPINS" and even after the premiere, wanted to make changes. Travers was not invited to the premiere, and had Just a spoonful of sugar will help these facts about Mary to ask Disney for permission to attend, and reportPoppins go down! edly became quite upset during the showing, even to • Released in the summer of 1964, Mary Poppins earned the point of tears. 13 Academy Awards nominations, and was the winner of five, including Julie Andrews as Best Actress in her • The songwriting team of brothers Robert and Richard Sherman composed 30 songs for the film, but only big screen debut. As a Broadway performer, Andrews 10 of them were used. The brothers started writing was virtually unknown in Hollywood, and was considthe songs for the movie before Disney had actually ered a risk for the role. Disney himself thought about secured the book rights, and had been working on Angela Lansbury, Mary Martin, or Bette Davis for the the music for over two years before Disney accomrole. plished that feat. Their compositions earned them • The character of Mary Poppins was first introduced by two Oscars, one for the Best Musical Score and the author Pamela Travers in a 1926 short story. Travers latother for the Best Original Song, “Chim Chim Cherer developed the adventures into a novel, and eventually ee.” The brothers wrote more movie scores than any a series of eight novels from 1934 other songwriting team in history. They also have to 1988, which have been translatthe honor of having written the most-performed ed into 17 languages. The English song of all time – “It’s a Small World.” nanny was blown by the east wind to the home of the Banks family at 17 Cherry Tree Lane to care for the children.
• Walt Disney favored Cary Grant for the part of chimney sweep Bert, but the part was awarded to Dick Van Dyke, who had absolutely no dance training. Van Dyke wanted the part of the cantankerous old bank president Mr. Dawes, but Disney refused to give it to Van Dyke until he made a $4,000 donation to a charity. Van Dyke complied and played both roles, with the credit on Mr. Dawes’ role appearing as “Navckid Keyd,” an anagram for Dick Van Dyke.
• The story almost didn’t make it to the big screen. Because the Mary Poppins books were the favorite of Walt Disney’s daughter Diane, Disney approached Pamela Travers in 1938 about turning the story into the movie. Disney was promptly rejected. He relentlessly pursued Travers for the next two decades, but was always refused. Finally in 1959, she agreed to meet Disney in • Although the film takes place in London, the entire movie was shot at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, London, and due to financial difficulties, Travers finally California, with the walls painted with a London consented to option the book to him. It would be another background. . five years before the film was released.
• When all was said and done, Pamela Travers despised • Mary Poppins held the honor of Disney Studios’ highest-grossing film for 20 years, grossing $31 the Disney version of her books and wasn’t afraid to say million – about $268 million in today’s dollars. It so. Her books depicted the nanny as ill-tempered and remains Disney’s most successful Oscar winner. strict, not the kind and gentle version Disney portrayed.
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• “I bought a mesh laundry bag at the dollar store and hang it from a hook in the closet where I keep my hamper. Socks go in the bag. When I’m ready to do laundry, I tie a knot in the bag and toss it in. Socks stay together.” — T.O. in California • Last bowl’s worth of cereal? If you don’t like the cascade of bits and dust at the bottom of the bag, simply empty the contents into a colander before you put it in the bowl. • “Our neighbor’s dog kept getting into the trash while they were out. They bought a crate, but he barked too much when he was in it. They saw online where someone put their trash can in a dog crate and let the dog have the run of the house. He tried it, and it only took a couple of weeks before they were able to stop using the crate entirely. Mr. Dog doesn’t mess with the trash anymore.” — C.M. in Virginia • Break in new shoes with a thick pair of wool socks. Wear the socks with the new shoes around the house while tidying up. • “My dad keeps a pants hanger in the bathtub to hang up the small nonstick mat that he keeps in there. He says if he hangs it, it doesn’t get mildew on the bottom around the suction cups.” — T.K. in Missouri • Common substitutions: Recipe call for semisweet chocolate? Per ounce, use one square (1 ounce) of unsweetened chocolate and add 4 teaspoons of sugar. Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.
• On Jan. 16, 1605, Miguel de Cervantes' "El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha," better known as "Don Quixote," is published. The novel gave rise to a number of now-common idioms, including the English phrase "tilting at windmills." • On Jan. 18, 1803, Thomas Jefferson requests funding from Congress to finance the Lewis and Clark expedition. Though he did not disclose his intentions to Congress, Jefferson planned to send Meriwether Lewis on a reconnaissance mission to assess future territorial expansion into the west. • On Jan. 19, 1915, during World War I, Britain suffers its first casualties from an air attack when two German zeppelins drop bombs on the eastern coast of England. • On Jan. 13, 1939, Arthur "Doc" Barker is killed while trying to escape from Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay. Barker, of the notorious "Bloody Barkers" gang, was spotted on the rock-strewn shore of the island after climbing over the walls. As he waded into the water, the guards shot and killed him. • On Jan. 15, 1951, Ilse Koch, wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, is sentenced to life imprisonment in a court in West Germany. Nicknamed the "Witch of Buchenwald," Ilse collected lampshades, book covers and gloves made from the skin of tattooed camp prisoners. • On Jan. 14, 1969, an explosion aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise kills 27 people in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A rocket accidentally detonated, destroying 15 planes and injuring more than 300 people. The Enterprise was the first-ever nuclearpowered aircraft carrier when it was launched in 1960. • On Jan. 17, 1977, Gary Gilmore, convicted in a double murder, is executed by a firing squad in Utah, becoming the first person to be executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. © 2019 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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You’re getting very sleepy…so says the one trying to hypnotize you! Celebrate World Hypnotism Day on January 4 by staying alert to these facts! • Whether it’s an act on a stage or hypnotherapy in a physician’s office, hypnosis has long been used to help people control fears, negative behavior, low self-esteem, and even managing pain. Although there is evidence of hypnosis in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and in early tribal ceremonies, it was first introduced in the medical world around 1770 by Austrian physician Franz Mesmer, who spent much of his career studying hypnosis. Mesmer believed that a hypnotist had magical powers over his subject and claimed that he achieved results through hypnosis for patients suffering from paralysis, convulsions and “hysterical conditions.” The word “mesmerism” entered our language, referring to the control he had over his subject. • The word “hypnotism” was first used for the process in 1841 in England, using the Greek root word “hypnos,” meaning “sleep.” • In the late 1800s, hypnosis was formally recognized as being useful in modern medicine. In 1886, while developing theories on psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud used hypnosis to help patients deal with traumatic memories. During World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, hypnosis was used in treating what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was also used as a substitute for anesthetics when supplies ran low. In 1962, brain surgery was even performed in Indianapolis on a patient under hypnosis. Hypnosis continues to be used for pain management during natural childbirth. ...continued
• We get most of our impressions about hypnosis from those stage performances, when subjects seem to enter a deep sleep. It’s not a state of sleep at all, but rather a natural state of mind in which patients remain wide awake and aware of their surroundings. Scientists say that we all enter hypnotic states every day, when we are intensely focused or relaxed. How many times have you arrived at your destination without a memory of getting there, or “zoned out” while reading a book? Even daydreams are a form of hypnotic state.
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• While in a hypnotic “trance,” many people are more open to helpful suggestions and optimistic thoughts spoken by the hypnotist, such as overcoming certain phobias, forgetting bad experiences, or visualizing success. Hypnosis has been effective in combatting overeating, smoking, serious addictions, insomnia, and ADHD, as well as improving social relationships. • Performing on the stage, hypnotists frequently tell their subjects that they won’t remember what happened while they were “under.” However, they are not really asleep, just very relaxed, able to hear and comprehend -- not a “puppet” at all! • Those who have been hypnotized differ in their perception of what it was like. Some describe it as a heavy feeling, while others say it was a floating experience. Others say it has a feeling of detachment, like observing themselves from the outside. Breathing is typically slower and more shallow. • Some people avoid hypnosis for fear of being “stuck” in a trance, but because hypnotized people are always in control of their mind and body, they can easily come out of the hypnotized state, just by opening their eyes.
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