Tidbits Grand Forks - May 28, 2015

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Of Grand Forks • East Grand Forks

May 28, 2015

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In May 27, 1796, the first U.S. patent for a piano was issued in the U.S. to James McLean of New Jersey, for “an improvement in piano fortes.” Although there were many patents on improved designs for pianos over the years, this was the first piano patent awarded in the U.S. Come along with Tidbits as we play the piano! A LONG HISTORY • The piano’s ancestors include the harp, the hammered dulcimer, and the psaltery, which is a box-type instrument with strings that were either plucked or bowed. When a new design allowed strings to be plucked when keys were depressed, the harpsichord was born and it quickly became a popular instrument in the 1600s. From there came similar but slightly different instruments: the clavichord and the spinet, which led to the invention of the piano. • On a harpsicord, the strings are plucked when the musician’s fingers hit the keys. It has a higher pitch than the piano, the notes cannot be sustained, and there’s no way to vary how loudly the instrument plays. The piano, by contrast, has strings that are hit by hammers, meaning the musician can play either softly or loudly. “Piano” is the Italian word for soft and “forte” is the Italian word for loud. The piano’s original name was “pianoforte” meaning “soft/ loud” and was then shortened to just piano. WANT TO RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS? Publish a

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS • An Italian man named Bartolomeo Cristoforti built the first practical piano in 1700. He originally called it a “gravicembalo col piano e forte” (the “great harpsichord with soft and loud capabilities”). Three Cristofori pianos survive today. They were made in the 1720s, making them the oldest pianos in existence.

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Quiz Bits 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. Approximately, how many pianos are made every year in the United States? Do more men, or women play 6. Of the 12,000 parts in a piano, the piano? how many of them move? What class of instruments does 7. When did the U.S. Supreme the piano fall into —brass, Court become a nine-member woodwind, string or percussion? body—1789, 1839 or 1869? How often is it recommended a 8. What city did the TV show piano be tuned? “Little House on the Prairie” Approximately, how many take place at? pianos are there in the United TRIVIA States?



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• The piano replaced the harpsichord in popularity by the end of the 1700s. Piano building began in America in 1775. The Industrial Revolution made high-quality piano wire readily available. In England, John Broadwood developed machines to manufacture pianos, reducing the cost. By 1870, Steinway & Sons were in business. By 1911, there were 301 piano builders in the U.S. Production peaked in the 1920s and declined during the Great Depression. • Today, there are approximately 15 piano manufacturers in the United States, but more pianos are built in Japan than any other country. • The piano has the largest range of volume of any acoustic instrument, as well as the widest range of notes, from below the lowest note of the double bassoon to above the top note of the piccolo. It allows more notes to be played simultaneously than any other instrument and is the only instrument (aside from the organ) that can play both the melody and the accompaniment at the same time. It’s also the largest instrument. The piano’s design has not changed for nearly 100 years. IT’S A FACT • Pianist Arthur Rubinstein was in the lobby of the concert hall, watching the capacity crowd come in to hear him play when the ticket agent put out the “Sold Out” sign. The agent, mistaking Rubinstein for a member of the audience, informed the pianist that there were no seats available. “May I be seated at the piano?” he asked.

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4. T or F: Denver’s Peyton Manning, in 2013, became the first QB to be named to 1. Three players have hit 400 the Associated Press NFL home runs in a Boston Red All-Pro team seven times. Sox uniform. Name them. 2. Name the top 3 NBA teams 5. When was the last time before 2015 that tennis star who averaged the most Points Roger Federer failed to Per Game during the 2014reach the Australian Open 15 regular-season. semifinals in men’s singles? 3. How many consecutive 6. T or F: Sergei Fedorov is seasons has NASCAR driver the only player in NHL hisJeff Gordon captured at least tory to tally five goals while one pole position —17, 19, accounting for all of his 21 or 23? team’s scoring in a game?

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www.newvisiontruckaccessories.com PIANO PEDALS • Why do most pianos have three pedals? When you hit a piano key, a hammer hits the strings. The strings ring until the key is let up, when a damper falls on the strings and stops the sound. When the right pedal is depressed, the strings are not dampened and continue to ring, giving a rich resonating tone. Each piano hammer normally strikes three strings for a full tone, but when the left pedal is pressed, the hammers shift position so that they fall on only two of the three strings for a softer tone. When the middle pedal is pressed, it will sustain the notes of the keys that are down when the pedal is pressed, but no other notes that are played afterwards, so a pianist can play rumbling notes at the bottom of the scale and have them sustained while playing tinkly high notes at the top of the scale. • When you soft-pedal something, you are referring to the pedal on a piano which is used to mute the tone. When you pull out all the stops, you are acting like an organist who pulls out all the knobs, or stops, in order to use all the organ pipes. NOTED COMPOSERS • Mozart challenged Haydn to play an impossible piece of music which resulted in hands at both ends of the piano and a note to be played in the middle, which Haydn could not do. But Mozart triumphantly bobbed down and used his nose to strike the key.

• “I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play.” -Artur Schnabel, Australian pianist, when asked the secret of piano playing. • Musician Max Reger played piano in Schubert’s “Trout” quintet in a concert and later received a basket of trout from an admirer. He wrote the fan a letter thanking him for the gift, and casually mentioned that in his next concert he was going to perform Haydn’s “Minuet of the Ox.”


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Keep the Skeeters Down in Your Neighborhood The recent rains and increasing temperatures have created the ideal breeding habitat for those pesky mosquitos. It generally takes 10-14 days for mosquitoes to go from egg to adult. However, this time line can occur faster as conditions become warmer. The Grand Forks Health Department maintains a comprehensive larvicide program. Crews have identified and mapped more than 1,000 sites around our community. These sites are inspected and treated with public health pesticides on a regular schedule. But we still need help from homeowners to identify and eliminate breeding sites on private property. We do not have the resources to inspect all private property in the city. You can help by inspecting your property and getting rid of any standing water. If you have a large site that cannot be drained or a swimming pool that is not being used or may not be used until later this summer, contact the Health Dept. at 701-787-8110 and we’ll inspect and treat the water with a product designed to prevent mosquitoes from hatching. This service is free for citizens with property located within the City of Grand Forks.

Common Mosquito Breeding Habitat: • Drainage Ditches • Old Tires • Swimming Pools not being used • Wading pools • Boats or a saggy tarp on a boat • Leaky garden hose or outside faucet • Plugged rain gutters

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• Any standing water is a potential breeding site for mosquitoes. • Thank you for helping us reduce mosquitoes in our community!

For information about mosquito control visit our website at www.gfmosquito.com or call the Information Line at 701-787-8144

NUGGET OF KNOWLEDGE The Beatles' "Hey Jude," Queen's "Killer Queen," David Bowie's "Life on Mars?", Elton John's "Tiny Dancer," and Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" were all recorded using the same piano, a century-old Bechstein Grand from Trident Studios. A piano firm asked Will Rogers to endorse their brand of piano, but Will Rogers didn't play piano and hated to endorse any product he couldn't test. He wrote back to the firm, "I guess your pianos are the best I ever leaned against."

NOTED COMPOSERS (continued) • Russian composer Anton Rubinstein would often sleep late. His wife devised a scheme to get him out of bed. She would go up to the piano above his bedroom and loudly play unresolved chords. Rubinstein, who couldn’t stand unresolved chords, would jump out of bed and rush up to the piano to play the final chords, and his wife would sneak into his bedroom and make up the bed. • Russian pianist Vladimir Pachmann enjoyed teasing audiences. A favorite trick was to play endlessly with the piano stool before starting to play. He would twist it up then lower it, adjusting and readjusting it until the audience became impatient. Then he would rush offstage and return with a large book, placing it on the stool. He would settle down, ready to begin the recital when suddenly he’d stand up one more time, rip a single page from the book— and then begin to play. • When the cat belonging to composer Domenico Scarlatti walked across his piano keys, it inspired him to write “Cat’s Fugue.” • Polish pianist Josef Hofmann walked on stage at a concert, waited for the applause to die down, sat blankly at his piano for a moment, then leaned over and asked a woman in the first row, “May I see your program for a moment? I have forgotten what comes first!” • Oscar Levant was giving a piano concert when, during the middle of the piece, a phone began ringing very loudly off-stage. Levant continued to play but the phone kept ringing. Finally he paused, turned to the audience, and said, “If that’s for me, tell them I’m busy.” Once he was annoyed when a woman arrived late for a concert and began walking down the center aisle to find her seat as he was playing. He began to play in time to her steps. She walked quickly, he played quickly. She hesitated, he hesitated. She slowed down, he slowed down. By the time she reached her seat, the audience was hysterical.

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• Heinrich Steinweg was born in Germany in 1797. After being orphaned at the age of 15, he went to work as a carpenter. Later he apprenticed to an organ builder, where he discovered a natural talent for music. Soon he became the organist for the local church. • He began to build instruments in his kitchen, doing it secretly to avoid trouble with the local union guild. He started with zithers and guitars before moving on to pianos. In 1935 he built a square piano as a wedding gift for his bride, and a baby grand he constructed in 1836 is now on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. • Because of the unstable political situation in Germany, Steinweg sent one of his sons over to the U.S. to scope out possibilities. A year later, he followed with his wife and five more sons, leaving one son behind in Germany to continue the family piano-building business there. He and his sons worked in various piano factories in New York until they were able to establish their own company in 1853. • At this point Heinrich Steinweg changed his name to Henry Steinway, and called his company Steinway & Sons. Just two years later, one of their pianos earned them first prize at the New York Industrial Fair. This was followed by more awards. By 1862, Steinway pianos had received more than 35 medals. Composers Franz Liszt and Anton Rubinstein swore that Steinways were the best pianos available. Steinway’s fame spread. • In 1866 Steinway invented and constructed the first upright piano. That’s also the year they founded Steinway Hall in New York City. The acoustics were excellent and the theater seated 2000 people. This served as New York’s premiere concert hall until Carnegie Hall opened in 1891.


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HEINRICH STEINWEG (continued): • Anyone attending an event at Steinway Hall had to pass through the lobby where a variety of Steinway pianos were diplayed. This increased demand for the pianos, and they sold an extra 400 pianos the first year alone. • The company moved to its current location in Astoria, New York, and built Steinway Village. Virtually its own town, Steinway Village had its own foundries, factory, post office, parks and housing for employees. With a workforce of 350 men, production increased from 500 to 1,800 pianos per year. • The Steinway company was granted 127 patents for improvements in the piano over the years. By the time Henry died in 1871, leaving his sons to carry on, Steinway pianos were known as the world’s finest. • By 1900 the company was producing 3,500 pianos a year. Steinway & Co. presented their 100,000th grand piano to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, and in 1938, the Steinway’s 300,000th piano was given to President Franklin Roosevelt. It still occupies the East Room in the White House. • During World War II, Steinway built 2,436 special models called the “Victory Vertical” or “G.I. Piano.” It was a small piano that four men could lift, painted olive drab, and designed to be carried aboard ships or dropped by parachute from an airplane to bring music to the soldiers. • Until his death in 2008 at the age of 93, Henry Z. Steinway, the great-grandson of the Steinway founder, still worked for Steinway. He was the last Steinway family member to be president of the company. • Steinway & Sons crafts approximately 2,500 pianos a year worldwide not only in Astoria, New York, but also in Hamburg, Germany. Each Steinway takes about a year to build. Prices start at $50,000 and a Steinway never loses its value.

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(Answer located 2 pages after this one)


• What do Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Noel Coward and Charles Dickens have in common? None of them ever graduated from grade school. • If you suffer from pupaphobia, you experience an unreasonable fear of puppets and dolls. • During the 14th century, so many people in the city of Avignon, France, died from the Black Plague that Pope Clement consecrated the Rhone River to allow masses of bodies to be laid to rest in its waters. • Before the middle of the 18th century, it was not unusual for members of a play's audience to be seated onstage, just a few feet from the performance. If viewers thought an actor's performance was particularly bad, they might even try to bump the performer off the stage. *** Thought for the Day: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -- Alan Kay


• It was the fourth U.S. president, James Madison, who made the following sage observation: "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the rights of the people by the gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." • Jimmy Carter was the first American president to be born in a hospital. • Though the reasons are unclear, researchers have found that children of Mexican descent are less likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children of other ethnicities. • In some cultures, slurping your soup is considered to be a compliment to the chef, while here in the U.S., it's frowned upon as demonstrating bad manners. In New Jersey, however, it goes a bit further; in that state, public slurping of soup is illegal.

• On June 6, 1944, known as D-Day, 160,000 Allied troops land on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from control of Nazi Germany. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and Allied forces would be preparing to enter Germany. • On June 2, 1774, the British Parliament renews the Quartering Act, allowing Redcoats to stay in private American homes. Disgusted by the dumping of 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor six months earlier, Parliament reasserted British control over the colonies, especially Boston. • On June 7, 1893, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a young Indian lawyer working in South Africa, commits his first act of civil disobedience when he refuses to comply with racial segregation rules on a train and is forcibly ejected. The British-educated Gandhi influenced leaders of civil-rights movements around the world. • On June 3, 1936, bestselling novelist Larry McMurtry is born in Texas. In the late 1990s, he began filling abandoned buildings in Archer, Texas, with hundreds of thousands of used books for sale in an attempt to create a haven for book lovers. • On June 1, 1968, Helen Keller dies in Connecticut at the age of 87. Blind and deaf from infancy, Keller circumvented her disabilities to become a world-renowned writer and lecturer. In 1904, she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe. • On June 4, 1986, Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling U.S. intelligence information to Israel and is sentenced to life in prison. The former Navy intelligence analyst sold enough classified documents to fill a medium-size room. Israel continues to negotiate for Pollard's release. • On June 5, 1993, Julie Krone rides Colonial Affair to victory in the Belmont Stakes to become the first female jockey ever to win a Triple Crown race. Krone won her first horse race at just 5 years old in a 21-and-under race. © 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.

Tidbits of Grand Forks/ East Grand Forks is Locally Owned and Operated.

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May 18, 2015 • “Planning a new roof? Choose a light color for cooling benefits. Also check with your home-insurance company to see what discounts it might offer for different styles or options, like upgraded hurricane clips or fire retardant materials.” — R.E.W. in Tennessee • Cut a cord of firewood in the spring, and cure it yourself. Store it away from the house and properly care for the wood by stacking it where it will have access to the sun and wind to dry it. Let it season for six months or longer, and you’ll have firewood ready when the temperatures drop again. • “If you’re melting chocolate in your microwave, do yourself a favor: Line the bowl with wax paper or parchment paper. The chocolate is still easy to stir, but when you take it out, you can scrape all the chocolate off the paper so that none is wasted!” — A.A. in Florida • Shopping for bagged frozen vegetables? Give them the squeeze test: If the vegetables feel hard and solid, they have thawed and refrozen. Choose another bag. • Keep musty smells out of your linen closet by stashing a box of baking soda on one of the shelves, just as you would in the kitchen. • “Place a bit of clear tape over the spot where you are going to drive in a nail to prevent the nail from cracking drywall. It will go right in. Also, if you’re nailing into wood, drag your nail through some soap (bar soap is fine) before striking it. This does the same thing — it will keep the wood from splitting. You can even keep a travel-size bar of soap in your nail apron for just this purpose.” — P.K. in New Jersey Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. © 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.

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• Victor Borge was born Borge Rosenbaum in 1909 in Copenhagen, Denmark. His father was a musician and his mother was a pianist, and Victor followed in their footsteps, starting out as a classical pianist but finding he also had a gift for humor. By the 1930s he was one of Denmark’s most popular performers. • When the Nazis occupied Denmark during World War II, Borge was playing a concert in Sweden. Instead of going home to Denmark, he escaped to Finland and then traveled to America on the last neutral ship to make it out of Finland. He arrived in New York City in 1940 with $20 to his name.

A taxi passenger taps the driver on the shoulTidbits Laughs der to ask him a question. The driver screams, loses control of the car, nearly hits a bus, goes up on the footpath, and stops centimeters from a shop window. For a second, everything goes quiet in the cab, then the driver says, "Look mate, don't ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me!" The passenger apologizes and says, "I didn't realize that a little tap would scare you so much.” The driver replies, "Sorry, it's not really your fault. Today is my first day as a cab driver. I've been driving a funeral van for the last 25 years." ***************************************** A husband got his mother-in-law a cemetery plot for Christmas. It came with a coffin, tomb stone, the works. Next Christmas comes by and the husband gets her nothing. When the mother-in-law asks, "Why didn't you get me a gift?" the husband says, "You haven't used the one I got you last year!"

(Solution on Next Page)

• He didn’t speak a word of English but learned the language by going to the movies. One of his first gigs was at a large club in Florida, for which he was to be paid one dollar for each member of the audience. Three hundred guests saw his show. When it came time to be paid, Borge pointed out to the management that the club’s 40 waiters had also greatly enjoyed his performance. He got $340. • The gimmick that launched Borge to fame almost immediately in the U.S. involved him reading perfectly normal sentences, while making different sounds for every punctuation mark. In 1941 he performed his gig to warm up the radio audience for the Bing Crosby show, and ended up being a regular on the Bing Crosby show for the next 56 weeks. The following year he was proclaimed “the best new radio performer of the year” and later had his own radio show on NBC. • His wacky brand of musical comedy propelled him to great heights. He made a habit of falling off piano stools, getting tangled up in the sheet music, and completely missing the piano keyboard with his hands. He played elaborate renditions of “Happy Birthday” in the style of Mozart, Brahms, Wagner, and Beethoven with great wit.

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DIFFERENCES: 1.Doghouse is missing. 2. Post is missing. 3. Shirt design is different. 4. Shirttail is different. 5. Arm is moved. 6. Kite tail is shorter. © 2015 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.


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VICTOR BORGE (continued): • He would sometimes begin a performance by asking if there were any kids in the audience. He would say, “We do have some children in Answer: Dell. here; that means I can’t do the second half in VERY NUMBER the nude.AI’ll wearLARGE the tie. (pause) The long one. •(pause) EdwardThe Kasner was a mathematician. In 1938 very long one, yes.” he was asked to come up with a name for a • Borge wouldnumber: play a strange-sounding tune very large the numeral one,piano followed from sheet music, looking increasingly confused. by a hundred zeros. He asked his two young He would what then turn sheet upside down, and nephews namethe they would suggest. then play the actual tune. When his energetic play• Nine-year-old Milton suggested a name ing him to off the piano bench, outwould of thecause funnies. A fall cartoon strip character henamed wouldBarney open the seat lid, take out the two ends was very popular. Milton chose ofBarney’s an automotive seat and buckle himself last name forbelt, the number. onto the bench. After finishing song, • Kasner announced the new the name forhe thewould big stand to take a bow, but the bench would be lifted number in his next book, altering the spelling. up because he forgot to unbuckle the seat belt. • Sixty years later, Larry Page and Sergey Brin • The theater aprogram always listed 19 numbers developed new internet search engine. Other hesearch was to perform. They were: 1) Franklyand 2) engines searched each webpage ranked them4)according how6)many times 7) a We 3) Don’t Know 5) to What Mr. Borge specific term appeared on them, but Page and Will 8) Do 9) But 10) We’re 11) Sure 12) He’ll Brin designed to search for 13) Keep 14) Ustheir 15) search Postedengine 16) From 17) Time theTo specific term and then find out how many 18) 19) Time. links there were that led back to that page, • “Would you likeina apicture?” he would ask fans which resulted better search engine. approaching with a camera. He would then pull • They decided they needed a name that a reflected snapshot out pocket and hand howof his many websites theit over searchto them. engine was searching. They took the name of wrote Edward Kasner’s number, only • He a book calledvery “Mylarge Favorite Intermisthey misspelled sions” published itinslightly, 1971. so it ended up being spelled exactly the same way the cartoon • His one-man show “Comedy in Music” ran for character Barney spelled his last name. What’s 849 performances Broadway, setting a reit called? (Answer on at bottom of page) cord for a one-man show and earning him a slot COMPUTER FACTS in the Guinness Book of World Records. • In 1981 Bill Gates said, “640 kb of memory • Victor continued to tour until his last ought Borge to be enough for anybody.” days, performing up to 60 times per year when • Moore’s Law states that computer performance he was 90 years old. Borge died in Connecticut doubles every 18 to 24 months, and ever since at1971, the age 91,been aftertrue. more than 75 years of enthisofhas tertaining. He died peacefully in his sleep a day •after HP, returning Google, Microsoft, and in Apple were all from a concert Denmark. He started in garages. earned his reputation as “the comedian of the Answer: Google, fromclown googol. keyboard” and “the prince of Denmark.”

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