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February 20, 2014
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BLACK HISTORY MONTH
by Kathy Wolfe
February is Black History Month, and this week, Tidbits takes some time to recognize the achievements of some noted African-Americans in various fields. • U.S. President Gerald Ford officially declared this tribute in 1976 as part of America’s Bicentennial, prevailing upon citizens to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” But the observance traces its roots back to 1926, when African-American historian and author Carter Woodson declared the second week of February to be Negro History Week. Woodson, one of the first scholars to study black history was also the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. That particular week was chosen because the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass fell at that time. • Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland around 1818. After being shuffled around from one plantation to another, he was given to a Baltimore family. Although it was illegal to teach slaves to read, the owner’s wife began teaching Douglass when he was 12. Soon he was reading newspapers and political material, molding his views on freedom and human rights.
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4. What woman helped rescue more than 300 slaves through the Underground Railroad? 5. What was the title of Elvis Presley’s first movie? 6. How is dengue fever transmitted? 7. Where does the phrase “eat, drink and be merry” come from? 8. What are the five rights guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?
1. What film featured the first African-American to win an Academy Award? 2. Name the first African-American ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court. 3. Condoleezza Rice was the second African-American to be appointed U.S. Secretary of State. Who was the first?
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BLACK HISTORY MONTH (continued): • Frederick Douglass began teaching other slaves to read, a practice that went unnoticed for some months. When it was discovered, he was sent to a farmer who was well-known as a “slave-breaker.” After repeated beatings, Douglass was nearly psychologically shattered, and began to plot his escape. After one failed attempt, he was finally successful at age 18, boarding a train posing as a free black sailor. Less than 24 hours later, Douglass was sheltered in a safe house of a New York abolitionist. Eleven days later he married a free black woman who had helped him escape, a union that would endure 44 years. He spent the remainder of his life speaking out on racism, editing a black newspaper, writing three autobiographies, and gaining fame worldwide as an inspirational speaker. • On Independence Day, 1881, the doors of “Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers” opened with a young principal named Booker T. Washington at the helm. This 25-year-old leader began classes in a rundown old church. The institute was founded by former slave Lewis Adams and George W. Campbell, an Alabama banker and former slaveholder, who were both committed to the education of blacks. Adams had no formal education, yet could read, write, and speak several languages. In 1882, the school bought a plantation, and new campus buildings were constructed. By 1900, the university sat on nearly 2,300 acres. Today it’s ranked as one of the “Best Regional Colleges in the South,” offering 35 bachelor’s degrees, 12 masters’ programs, an architecture program, two doctoral degree programs, and a school of veterinary medicine.
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SPORTS QUIZ 1. Name the last Big Ten baseball team before Indiana in 2013 to reach the College World Series. 2. Who was the last starting pitcher before Detroit’s Max Scherzer in 2013 to star a season 11-0? 3. Name the two running backs who have rushed for back-toback 1,000-yard seasons for the Miami Dolphins.
4. Three NHL goaltenders scored a goal during the 1990s. Name two of them. 5. Entering 2014, who was the last American male to win a Grand Slam singles title? 6. In the past 15 seasons entering 2013-14, how many times was Michigan State’s men’s basketball team in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four? 7. What two players are tied for most career steals in NBA All-Star game history?
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BLACK HISTORY MONTH (continued): • Born into slavery, George Washington Carver went on to become one of the world’s most renowned botanists and scientists. Because the soil of the south had become depleted by planting nothing but cotton for years, Carver developed methods of improving the soil through crop rotation. Alternating the cotton planting with peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes, nitrogen was restored to the soil while providing nutritious crops for farm families. Through years of research and development, Carver came up with 300 uses for peanuts, including cosmetics, plastics, gasoline, adhesives, linoleum, synthetic rubber, and nitroglycerin. He also discovered hundreds of uses for soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes, and developed 536 different dyes while experimenting with plant leaves, fruit, stems, and roots. The scuppernong grape alone yielded 49 of these dyes. At age 32, Carver was invited by Booker T. Washington, the president of Tuskegee Institute, to head up the school’s Agriculture Department, and Carver remained there as an educator for 47 years, all the while continuing his famous research. • On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson stepped to the plate at Ebbets Field as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the first African-American to play major league baseball. After being raised in poverty, he attended Pasadena Junior College, excelling in football, basketball, track, and baseball, chosen as the region’s Most Valuable Player in baseball in 1938. Dodgers’ president Branch Rickey chose Robinson to help integrate the major leagues. Robinson was Rookie of the Year in 1947, National League MVP in 1949, and World Series champ in 1955. During his decade-long career with the Dodgers, he became their highest-paid player. He closed out his career in 1957 with a .311 batting average.
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February has been so cold, I actually enjoyed it when someone spilled scalding hot coffee on my lap! There’s one thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor’s.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH (continued): • Rosa Parks, the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement,” made history in 1955 when she refused to surrender her seat in the 11th row of a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Parks was arrested for violating city code and for disorderly conduct, although she had not technically broken any law. Montgomery’s 50year old law stated that no passenger could be forced to give up a seat or stand on a crowded bus. Nevertheless, her 30-minute trial resulted in a guilty verdict, and Rosa was fined $14 plus court costs. Rosa’s actions spurred a 381day boycott of the city’s buses, organized in part by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “…it is more honorable to walk in dignity than ride in humiliation.” Since 75% of the bus customers were black, the finances of the public bus companies plunged, but by the end of the boycott, the segregation of the buses was at an end. When Rosa Parks died in 2006, newly-appointed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at the memorial service, declaring to mourners that she would not be standing there as Secretary of State without Rosa Parks. • Condoleezza Rice was the second woman to serve as Secretary of State, but was the first African-American female to hold the position. Prior to her work for the George Bush administration, Rice had been a professor of political science at Stanford University, and in 2010, she returned to the faculty of that institution’s graduate school of business. It’s appropriate that her name Condoleezza, comes from a music-related term, con dolcezza, which in Italian means “with sweetness,” as she spends much of her time playing the piano. At 15, her goal was to become a concert pianist, and she still plays with a chamber music group on a regular basis.
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• Although born in Beirut, Lebanon, Keanu Reeves is a U.S. citizen because of his Hawaiian-born American father. He is also a Canadian citizen through naturalization. His English-born mother also gives him British citizenship, but Reeves considers himself a Canadian. His father abandoned the family when Reeves was just three years old, and he grew up in Toronto. His unusual first name comes from the Hawaiian language meaning “cool breezes over the mountains.” • School was not a pleasant experience for Reeves, who attended five high schools in five years. Challenged by dyslexia, he chose to spend his time on the hockey rink as a successful goalie. His dream of playing hockey for Canada was shattered by an injury, and he began working at a hockey rink while taking acting lessons. His ice-skating abilities paid off in 1986 when he landed his first movie appearance as a Canadian goalie in the film Youngblood with Rob Lowe. Shortly afterward, he made the move to L.A. After a string of minor roles, Reeves’ first big break TRIVIA came in 1989 when he was 25, with a role in NEWSFRONT ANSWERS the comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
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• Reeves’ early career wasn’t all about the movies. In he Lange started playing bass guitar 2. 1991, Jessica with the grunge band Dogstar, a passion he 3. Casper, the Friendly Ghost enjoyed until 2002. Dogstar experienced suc4. William Shakespeare cess for several years, opening for Bon Jovi in 1995 and appearing in concert with David 5. Freddy Krueger Bowie, as well as appearing in two movies.
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MOMENTS IN TIME • On Feb. 26, 1564, poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe is baptized in Canterbury, England, two months before the birth of his fellow playwright William Shakespeare. Historians believe Marlowe served as a spy for Queen Elizabeth while at Cambridge. • On Feb. 25, 1862, the U.S. Congress passes the Legal Tender Act, authorizing the use of paper notes to pay the government’s bills. This ended the long-standing policy of using only gold or silver in transactions, and it allowed the government to finance the enormously costly Civil War. • On Feb. 27, 1915, “The Valley of Fear” by Arthur Conan Doyle is published. Sherlock Holmes had been a popular character since he first appeared in the story “A Study in Scarlet” in 1887. The detective was modeled partly on Dr. Joseph Bell, a medical-school teacher at the University of Edinburgh. • On March 2, 1944, a train stops in a tunnel near Salerno, Italy, and more than 500 people on board suffocate and die. The train’s locomotives were burning low-grade coal substitutes that produced an
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excess of odorless and toxic carbon monoxide. Approximately 520 passengers were asphyxiated. • On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State, which would send trained American men and women to foreign nations to assist in development efforts. • On Feb. 24, 1981, socialite Jean Harris is convicted of murdering Dr. Herman Tarnower, the author of the bestselling “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet.” Harris claimed that she had been trying to kill herself but that Tarnower was shot when he tried to wrestle the gun away from her. He was shot four times. • On Feb. 28, 1993, at Mount Carmel in Waco, Texas, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launch a raid against the Branch Davidian compound as part of an investigation into illegal possession of firearms and explosives by the Christian cult. During an extended gun battle, multiple agents and Branch Davidians were killed or wounded.
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KEANU REEVES (continued): • Reeves’ reputation received a huge boost in 1994 when he was cast opposite Sandra Bullock in the action film Speed as an LAPD officer who keeps a bomb from exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph. Reeves did 90% of his own stunts for Speed. The film was extremely successful and a sequel was planned. Surprisingly, Reeves turned down the offer of an $11 million paycheck as well as another role opposite Robert DeNiro in the crime thriller Heat. He opted to tour with his band and to appear in the Manitoba Theatre Centre production of Hamlet in Winnipeg. His performance during the 24-day engagement earned him a reviewer’s comments declaring Reeves as “one of the top three Hamlets I have seen, for a simple reason: he IS Hamlet.” • In 1999, Reeves took his most famous role, that of a computer hacker named Neo, in the scifi thriller The Matrix. He was chosen over the likes of Leonardo DeCaprio, Will Smith, and Brad Pitt. The film grossed more than $171 million in the U.S. alone. Reeves spent 11 months in Australia in 2002 filming the sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions back-to-back. The two films were released six months apart in 2003. Reeves received $15 million per film, and 15% of the profits, earning him more than $150 million for the project. Each of Reeves’ 12 stuntmen received a gift of a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle as a gesture of his appreciation. • In 2001, Reeves became a published author when he released Ode to Happiness, described as a “grown-up’s picture book” on coping with life’s sorrows. Reeves has had his own share of sorrows, including the 1999 stillbirth of his daughter, followed by his long-time girlfriend’s death in an auto accident 18 months later.
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STAR H MAP
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Draw a star in exactly 10 of the empty squares in the diagram below so that each numbered square accurately indicates how many immediately adjacent squares (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) contain a star.
GETTING THE MOST BACK STARTS WITH GETTING THE MOST EXPERTISE. GETTING THE MOST BACK STARTS WITH GETTING THE MOST EXPERTISE.
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Here’s the word on some famous ladies with something in common – they’re all named Sandra! • Sandra Day O’Connor grew up on an Arizona ranch where she became an accomplished horsewoman at a young age. After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in economics in 1950 and completing law school, she set out to find a job. At least 40 law firms refused to even interview her because she was a woman. Sandra took a job working for the county attorney in San Mateo County, California, working for free just to get her foot in the door. It wasn’t long before she was the deputy county attorney there. In 1965, she became Arizona’s assistant Attorney General, before making the move to politics as a state senator in 1969, becoming the first woman to serve as its Majority Leader. O’Connor advanced to the Arizona State Court of Appeals, where she was when she was asked to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 7, 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed O’Connor as the first female justice of the nation’s highest court, a position she retained until her retirement in 2006. She is famously quoted as saying, “The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender.”
by Samantha Weaver
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• Alexandra Zuck was just 12 years old and was already a successful model, having made her debut in Girl Scouts Magazine. She was signed to her first film Until They Sail in 1957, using the stage name of Sandra Dee. By 1959, she was a box-office hit in the beach movie Gidget and another romantic film A Summer Place. In 1960, at age 18, while filming Come September, she was teamed with co-star, pop idol Bobby Darin. After a whirlwind onemonth courtship, the two married.
not want to read the following tidbit: Researchers have discovered a kind of caterpillar that emits a sound eerily like a human scream. This particular species is often a victim of predatory wasps. When the wasps approach, the caterpillar rubs two special organs together to produce the sound. The “scream” calls a troop of ants that protect the caterpillar, and in return the caterpillar secretes an amino acid that the ants need. • The name of the state of Vermont comes from the French “mont vert,” which means “green mountain.” (If the explorers who named the state saw green mountains, they obviously were not there in the winter.) * * * Thought for the Day: “I don’t trust a man who uses the word evil 18 times in 10 minutes. If you’re half evil, nothing soothes you more than to think the person you are opposed to is totally evil.” -- Norman Mailer
• It was novelist, poet and playwright Gertrude Stein who made the following sage observation: “Everybody knows if you are too careful, you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.” • Some people enjoy novelty when dining out, but restaurateurs take a big risk when adding new items to a menu; it seems that less than a third of diners will actually try a new menu item. • Two-thirds of all Tony award-winning composers and lyricists have been Jewish. • Everyone knows you should not drive while under the influence of alcohol, but riding a bike? A “stationary” bike? It seems that in Tennessee in 2007, a woman was arrested at her gym while riding an exercise bicycle while drunk. BUI, or simply disorderly conduct? The record isn’t clear. • If insects give you the creepy-crawlies, you might
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DIFFERENCES: 1. Hat is reversed. 2. Shovel is missing. 3. Sailboat is missing. 4. Pail is moved. 5. Palm tree is missing. 6. Flag is missing. © 2014 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.
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FAMOUS SANDRAS (continued): • For several years, Sandra Dee was voted as DEERE. JOHNpopular DEERE. one of the most and(continued): top moneymak• ing It was while living in Illinois nobox office stars, 7th on thethat listJohn in 1960, ticed problems farmers faced when 6th the the following yearthat after starring in Tammy, attempting to till soil. Because the area had 9th in 1962, and 8th in 1963. But by 1965, formerly been woodland, the soil was rich her popularity was waning. Her 1967 divorce with Darin hummus, clumped and clung apto from hurtwhich her innocent youthful the blades of the plows farmers were accuspeal and the studio dropped her contract. This tomed to using. While repairing a broken cirbeautiful blonde’s life spiraled out of control cular saw, Deere stumbled upon an idea. He over the next years, after employed hisseveral smith skills to particularly fashion the steel Darin’s earlythe death at age But after two deblade into shape of 37. a plow. He affixed cades of seclusion, she re-emerged for a short two wooden spokes, then hitched the device time a fewItproductions. Kidney complicato ainhorse. plowed the heavy Illinois soil tions claimed her life in 2005. like a charm. In fact, a farmer who happened be observing run immediately put • Ifto Sandra Bullock the hadtest followed in her mother’s in an order for his own John Deere plow. footsteps, she’d be an opera singer! With San• dra’s In short order,mother Deere continually gave up his on blacksmith German the road shop and the focused onspent making The performing, family muchplows. of Sandra’s company grew steadily and added many emchildhood abroad. She often performed in the ployees. In the late relocated the children’s chorus in 1840s, variousJohn productions. Her entire operation to Moline, Illinois. Ashamed grandfather was actually a rocket scientist in of his own lack of education, John sent his Germany! After being voted “Most Likely to children to the state’s finest schools. One of Brighten Up Your Day” by her high school his proudest days occurred when son Charles class, Sandra began studying acting at aBell’s North earned the equivalent of an MBA from Carolina university. then moved to New Commercial CollegeShe in Chicago. York City to pursue a stage career, which led • With his son Charles managing the company, to TV roles, followed by small movie parts. John found time to pursue philanthropic inHer first big role was in 1994’s Speed opposite terests. He co-founded both the First NationKeanu Reeves. Were Sleeping, Miss al Bank and theWhile First You Congregational Church. Congeniality, and The Proposal made her He was elected the mayor of Moline in 1873,a bigger her role in The Side wherestar. one Itofwas his first actions – theBlind replaceinment 2009ofthat earned Bullock her first Academy the city’s open drains with a sewer Award. Since– the break-up her by marriage, pipe system saved countlessoflives reducshe single mom to her son Louis, inghas the been spreada of disease. she adopted 2010.logo, registered in • whom The original John inDeere 1876, depicted a deer that was Tidbits! native to AfriThanks for Reading ca. Thirty-six years later, in 1912, it was replaced with the image of a North American white-tailed deer. In the decades that followed, the now-familiar “outline” logo .COM took Of Grandof Forks East GDeere rand Forks over as the symbol the• John brand.
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