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Did you know that April is International Guitar Month? This week, Tidbits is studying up on the best-selling musical instrument in the world, played by more than 50 million people worldwide. • The guitar is a chordophone, an instrument that makes its sound via vibrating strings stretched between two points. The word “acoustic” refers to a guitar that is not electronically amplified. An acoustic guitar produces its sounds by transmitting the strings’ vibration to the air, with the sound waves resonating though the guitar’s body. A soundboard, a thin sheet of wood, is placed under the strings to increase the resonance. Electric guitars have electromagnetic pickups that convert the strings’ vibrations into electrical signals, which are fed into an amplifier.
old, a stone carving of a Hittite minstrel in Turkey. A Cairo, Egypt, archaeological museum is home to a 3,500-year-old guitar that belonged to an Egyptian singer named HarMose. His instrument was made of cedarwood with a rawhide soundboard and three strings. Turn the page for more! WANT TO RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
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• Ancient stringed instruments used tortoise shells or hollowed-out gourds, with a bent stick for a neck, and strings of animal gut or silk.
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5. Which guitar company was founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Michigan? 6. On what continent is the nation of Sierra Leone located? 7. Which of Santa’s reindeer comes first, alphabetically? 8. In the NATO phonetic alphabet, what is the word for the letter “E”? 9. How do you right the year 2016 in Roman Numerals?
1. What name is given to a person who makes or repairs guitars? 2. What is the simple name for a guitar accessory called a plectrum? 3. What name did blues guitarist B.B. King give to his Gibson guitars? 4. Whose tombstone contains a carving of a Fender Stratocaster?
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• In the early days, a guitar was defined as having “a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with incurved sides.” • The word “guitar” is derived from the Spanish word, guitarra, which is a very large six-string acoustic bass played in mariachi bands. Other ancient terms from various languages include gitarre, qitara, cithara, kithara, and sihtar. • The neck of the guitar is comprised of the headstock (at the end of the neck), the fretboard (the fingerboard), the frets, which are metal strips embedded on the fretboard, the nut (a small strip of hard material at the junction of the headstock and neck), the tuners, and the truss rod, a metal rod along the inside of the neck. • Frets are located along the neck at exact points that divide the scale into half-step intervals. Which fret the string is pressed against determines the note’s pitch. • Decorative materials are usually set into the exterior of the guitar, such as dots on the fretboard to mark the positions or around the sound hole of acoustic guitars. These are known as inlays and are frequently made of mother of pearl. Inlays around the sound hole are called rosettes and serve as a type of reinforcement to the opening.
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• A standard guitar usually has six strings, typically tuned from a low E to a high E, with A, D, G, and B in between. The 12-string guitar, used in folk music, blues, and rock and roll, has six courses of two strings each, usually made of steel. The bass guitar has four strings, turned to E-A-D-G, an octave below the lowest four strings of the six-string. • Les Paul came up with the idea of an electric guitar in the late 1930s. He wired a phonograph needle to his acoustic guitar and connected it to a radio speaker to amplify the sound. Unhappy with the hollow-body guitar, he designed a solidbody one from a cast-off railroad tie, an instrument with less feedback and a richer sound because of the wood’s mass. He nicknamed it “The Log,” and in 1940, the Epiphone guitar factory helped him produce a more attractive version with curved sides and an Epiphone fretboard. The Gibson Les Paul was first sold in 1952, and they have gone on to manufacture 100 different variations of Les Paul models. • In 1946, a southern California inventor named Leo Fender founded a new guitar company (although he was a saxophonist, not a guitarist!). In 1951, the company introduced a new solid-body guitar that would become known as the Telecaster. (It was first called the Broadcaster, but this was a conflict with a drum kit with the same name.) They also unveiled a brand new instrument, the electric bass, allowing those who played the upright bass to play a more compact instrument, rather than the cumbersome upright. The Stratocaster came along in 1954, created from ash wood. In 1956, the wood was changed to alder, which continues to be used today. In 1957, Buddy Holly and the Crickets made their television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” That was also the television debut of the Stratocaster as Holly belted out “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue.”
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PLEASE TELL OUR ADVERTISERS YOU SAW THEIR AD IN TIDBITS! 3. How many consecutive winning seasons have the San Antonio Spurs had 1. In 2014, the Nationals’ under head coach Gregg Bryce Harper became the sixth player in major-league Popovich? 4. Since 1991, how many history to have at least times has the U.S. men’s 50 homer and 30 steals soccer team failed to through his age-21 season. reach the final of the Name 3 of the other 5. CONCACAF Gold Cup 2. Wayne Gretzky holds the (out of 13 tournaments)? top two records for fastest 5. Name, in order, the top 5 to 50 goals in a season career passing leaders for (39 games, 42 games). the Minnesota Vikings; Who is third? Which had best Cmp. %?
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• Famous Fender guitar players include Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Jimmy Page, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and John Mayer. Artists who have chosen Gibson have included Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton, and Joe Walsh. • The Fender factor manufactures about 90,000 strings a day, equaling about 20,000 miles in length, enough to circle the world. • In 2004, Eric Clapton sold his favorite guitar, a Stratocaster nicknamed Blackie at Christie’s Auction House in New York to raise funds for an alcohol and drug treatment center he had founded in 1997, the Crossroads Centre Antigua. The instrument fetched $959,500. • In 1998, a devastating tornado struck Nashville, Tennessee, felling a giant 275-year-old poplar tree that stood on the grounds of the plantation of 7th U.S. president, Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage. The Gibson Company built 188 guitars out of the old tree, inlaid with the name “Old Hickory” (Jackson’s nickname) and pictures of the president and his home. The first Old Hickory was donated to the Smithsonian Institute, and proceeds from the sale of the remainder were donated to support restoration of The Hermitage. • Some electric guitars have a lever attached to the bridge or tailpiece to enable the musician to quickly vary the tension and length of the strings to produce a vibrato or pitch bend effect. This accessory is referred to as a tremolo bar, or more commonly, a whammy bar. • The C.F. Martin guitar company was established in 1833 and to this day, remains in the hands of the Martin family, with the greatgreat-great-grandson of the founder as its current CEO.
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• It was early 20th-century financier, philanthropist and political consultant Bernard Baruch who made the following sage observation: "Millions of people saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one to ask why." • You might be surprised to learn that beloved American musician Johnny Cash wrote more than just songs; in 1953, before he started his music career, Cash wrote a science-fiction tale called "The Holografik Danser." • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are at least 350 languages spoken in American homes. • In the mid 17th century, the French colony of New France in present-day Canada was running desperately short of currency. Without cash on hand, the government representatives were unable to pay soldiers or purchase provisions to sustain them. After spending eight months using his personal fortune to provide for the soldiers, Jacques De Meulles, New France's intendant of justice, police and finance, took matters into his own hands. He used playing cards to create notes of currency and issued an ordinance requiring everyone to accept the cards as cash. Though this was meant to be a short-term financial device, the cards continued to be used for nearly 75 years. • Those who study such things say that lightning flashes 100 to 125 times every second worldwide. • Historians say that the romance between Cleopatra, Ptolemaic Egypt's last active pharaoh, and Roman statesman Julius Caesar was something of a May-December romance: She was 21 and he was 54. • Mexico has the world's highest per-capita rate of carbonated beverage consumption. *** Thought for the Day: "I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. © 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.
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Let’s observe Save the Elephant Day on April 16 by focusing on the facts about this pachyderm. • There are two species of elephants, African and Asian. The African elephants are the larger, and can reach a height of 13 feet head to toe and weight up to 14,000 lbs. The smaller Asian variety grow to a height of 9.8 feet, weighing up to 11,000 lbs. • The African elephants, the largest of all land mammals, have two subspecies, the savannah and the forest, with the savannah breed dwelling in the grasslands south of the Sahara Desert and the forest elephants inhabiting the rainforests of western Africa. Asian elephants are found in India, Sri Lanka, China, and Southeast Asia. • You can tell the difference between the two species by looking at the ears, since the African’s are much larger. Its skin is also much more wrinkled than its Asian counterpart. The African elephant’s trunk has two “fingers” at the end of the trunk, enabling it to pick things up, while the Asian breed has just one “finger.” • The elephant’s trunk contains eight major muscles on each side, and another 150,000 portions of muscles throughout this unusual appendage. Although there are no bones in the trunk, it’s strong enough to push down trees, yet nimble enough to pick up a piece of grass. The elephant uses the trunk to drink, with water sucked partway up the trunk. The animal then tilts its head back, emptying the trunk into its mouth.
• The diet of the herbivorous elephant consists of grasses, leaves, fruits, and bark. This pachyderm spends about 16 hours a day eating, and can consume over 400 pounds of food a day. • An elephant’s ivory tusks are actually its incisors, the only incisors it has. The animal also uses tusks to defend itself, to dig for water and food, and for lifting. An elephant’s first tusks present at birth fall out after a year, similar to human’s baby teeth. The tusks are about 12 inches when they fall out, and the replacements grow throughout the elephant’s life. In addition to tusks, an elephant also has four molars about the size of a brick, two up and two down, that weigh about 5 lbs. each. • Although the elephant’s ears are very large, it has a poor sense of hearing. Its eyesight is also quite weak. • A herd of elephants is led by the oldest female of the group. While the females all stick together, adult males enjoy wandering on their own. The gestation period is 22 months and a litter will consist of just one calf, with more than one a very rare occurrence. The baby calf weighs nearly 250 lbs. at birth and will gain 2 to 3 lbs. every day for its first year. It won’t be weaned until it is almost three years old. • The elephant population is on the decline. At the turn of the 20th century, a few million African elephants occupied their habitat, and about 100,000 of the Asian variety. The African population has plummeted to between 450,000 and 700,000, and there are an estimated 35,000 – 40,000 wild Asian elephants remaining. Their lifespan can be up to 70 years.
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• On April 27, 1773, the British Parliament passes the Tea Act, a bill designed to save the East India Company from bankruptcy by greatly lowering the tea tax it paid to the British government and, thus, granting it a monopoly on the American tea trade. • On April 30, 1927, the first women's federal prison opens in Alderson, West Virginia, to house all women serving federal sentences of more than a year. Most were imprisoned for drug and alcohol charges imposed during Prohibition. • On May 1, 1931, President Herbert Hoover officially dedicates New York City's Empire State Building, pressing a button from the White House to turn on the building's lights. Hoover's gesture was symbolic; while he remained in Washington, D.C., someone else flicked the switches in New York. • On April 26, 1954, the Salk polio vaccine field trials, involving 1.8 million children, begin in McLean, Virginia. Children in the U.S., Canada and Finland took part in the double-blind trials, whereby neither the patient nor attending doctor knew if the inoculation was the vaccine or a placebo. • On April 28, 1967, boxing champion Muhammad Ali refuses to be inducted into the U.S. Army and is immediately stripped of his heavyweight title. Ali, a Muslim, cited religious reasons for his decision to forgo military service. • On April 25, 1989, James Richardson walks out of a Florida prison 21 years after being wrongfully convicted of killing his seven children. Special prosecutor Janet Reno agreed to the release after evidence showed that the conviction resulted from misconduct by the prosecutor. • On April 29, 1992, a jury in Los Angeles acquits four police officers who had been charged with using excessive force in arresting black motorist Rodney King. The verdict enraged the black community, prompting three days of widespread rioting, arson and looting. © 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.
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Q: What did the blue's guitarist's tombstone read? A: "I didn't wake up this morning." Q: How does a lead guitarist change a light bulb? A: He holds it and the world revolves around him. Q: How many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Twenty. One to change the bulb and 19 to say, "Not bad, but I could've done better."
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If the Republican Party is to be saved from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz’s runaway victory in Wisconsin will have been the inflection point. If you thought this service to the GOP would be met with plaudits from the party’s insiders, you obviously don’t know anything about their relationship to the Texas senator. St. Augustine famously prayed, Dear Lord, make me chaste — but not yet. The GOP establishment’s prayer is, Dear Lord, deliver us from Donald Trump — but not with Ted Cruz. The increasing likelihood of a contested convention in Cleveland has led to chatter about turning to a white knight who has the advantage of being neither Trump nor Cruz. This talk has all the hallmarks of a psychological mechanism for GOP insiders to avoid acknowledging their dependence on Cruz, who is all that is standing between the party and what might be an epic Trump-led meltdown. A convention could — and should — deny Trump the nomination, but it won’t be easy. There will be a perceived legitimacy problem in denying the top prize to the top vote-getter. This would obviously be magnified if a convention disregards both the firstand second-place finishers. And for what? Electability? The only meaningful road test for a presidential candidate is running for president. Cruz has proved adept at it. He correctly read the mood of the Republican electorate and adjusted to Trump more
skillfully than anyone else (not without some cringe-inducing moments). If Paul Ryan had run this year, in all likelihood he would have gotten chewed up and spat out like anyone else associated with the establishment. Who else? Mitt Romney? He had his chance. A governor? The plausible ones already ran. A senator? Ditto. While it is true that people in Washington tend to loathe Cruz, a convention wouldn’t be a Senate Republican policy lunch. It would be stocked with Republican activists from around the country who have no firsthand knowledge of what Cruz did to so irk his colleagues, and probably don’t care. All that said, it is possible to imagine a white-knight scenario, but only in a convention deadlock that might descend to South Korean-parliament levels of ugliness. The best, cleanest non-Trump scenario is that Cruz has the strength to win on an early ballot, and his anti-establishment credentials make a revolt by the Trump forces less potent. In short, the only reasonable alternative to Trump is Cruz. This is the conclusion that Scott Walker and other conservative leaders in Wisconsin came to, and they backed Cruz to the hilt. Republicans around the country who care about the integrity of their party and its electoral chances should do the same. Of course, Cruz would be an underdog against Hillary Clinton, but the man with the biggest media megaphone on the planet has been calling him a liar and a Canadian for months, and he trails Clinton by only 3 points in the RealClearPolitics average. Trump and Cruz have both won states around the country and millions of votes, and engendered intense followings. There is no getting around that they are the choice confronting the party. It’s time to put away childish things, and pick sides. Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review. © 2016 by King Features Synd., Inc.
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April 11, 2016
• For smoothie prep, we buy a large tub of plain yogurt. Then we portion it out in ice-cube trays to freeze. Once frozen, pop the yogurt cubes out and bag them with smoothie ingredients — fruits, veggies, etc. You have only to dump the bag in the blender and add a little bit of water, and you’re drinking breakfast! — D. in New Hampshire • To get great slices of avocado, cut in half around the pit. Then slice or dice your avocado in the skin. Push gently on the middle of the avocado half to turn the skin inside out and free the slices. • Remove burned-on food from your pans with baking soda. Soak in hot water, and add a healthy scoop of baking soda to the soak water. Then scrub to remove. Add more baking soda for tougher stains. • Use small stick-on hooks inside cabinet doors for oven mitts and rarely used accessories. You can even hang a zipper-top baggie from the underside of an out-of-the-way cabinet shelf. I do this for my specialty cake-making supplies. They are hanging from the top of a high cabinet — out of the way, but at the ready. — R.W. in North Carolina • Tucking away winter coats and sweatshirts? For more closet storage, double-hang. On a sturdy hanger, tuck a thinner jacket or long-sleeved shirt into a bulky coat! • Whenever I am working with olive oil in the kitchen, I rub any excess into my clean hands and wipe off the extra, leaving my nails healthy and my hands soft! — C.U. in Oregon Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.
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With National Jelly Bean Day scheduled for April 22, Tidbits wants you to be in the know on this favorite confection. • Did you know that jelly beans were the first candy to be sold by weight rather than by the piece? In 1905, the first recorded ad for the little beans was published in the Chicago Daily News, with a price of nine cents per pound. However, a Boston candy maker named William Schrafft was making them long before that, encouraging people to send his product to Union soldiers in the Civil War. It wasn’t until the 1930s that they became associated with the celebration of Easter. • About 16 billion jelly beans are manufactured in the U.S. every year just for Easter. Laid end to end, that’s enough to go around the world more than three times. • The process of making jelly beans is called “panning,” a method that creates the firmer outer shell while preserving a gummy interior. It takes between one and three weeks to make a jelly bean. • In 1869, 24-year-old German immigrant Gustav Goelitz and his brothers established a candy business in Belleville, Illinois, featuring caramels and candy flowers for cake decorating. His sons relocated the business to Ohio in 1898, and specialized in candy corn and buttercreams. The company remained family-owned for decades. In the 1940s, the Goelitz plant introduced mint wafers, followed by tangerine slices, spice drops, and jelly beans. • In 1965, a new item was introduced by the Goelitz family, a mini-jelly bean, infused with mint flavor in the center. Then-California governor Ronald Reagan was attempting to give up smoking a pipe and munched on the little beans whenever he craved tobacco.
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JELLY BEANS (continued):
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DIFFERENCES: 1. Parking meter is missing. 2. Pocket is missing. 3. Umbrella is smaller. 4. Bow is missing. 5. Book is moved. 6. Tree guard is missing. © 2016 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.
• In 1976, the Goelitz beans, now called Jelly Belly, were offered in eight gourmet flavors – root beer, green apple, licorice, cream soda, Answer: Dell. lemon, tangerine, very cherry, and grape. By A VERY LARGE the 1980s, 40 flavors wereNUMBER available, includ•ing Edward Kasner was a mathematician. 1938 now-President Reagan’s favorite,In bluehe was asked to come up with a name berry, created expressly for him. More for thana very large number: the numeral one, followed 7,000 lbs. of red, white, and blue Jelly Belly by a hundred zeros. asked his two young beans were served at He Reagan’s inaugural ball nephews what name they would suggest. in 1981, and the President was reported to or•der Nine-year-old Milton suggested 60 cases of the beans every month.a Hename also out of the funnies. A cartoon character gave jars of the beans to visitingstrip dignitaries as named Barney was very popular. Milton chose a welcome gift. Barney’s last name for the number. • Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential library • Kasner announced the new name for the big innumber Simi Valley, California, and you view in his next book, altering the can spelling. a portrait of the former chief executive made •from Sixty10,000 years later, Page and Sergey Brin Jelly Larry Belly beans. developed a new internet search engine. Other • Jelly Belly ownssearched the distinction of being and the search engines each webpage first jelly beans in space when they were part ranked them according to how many times a ofspecific the treats ononthethem, 1983butChallenger termpacked appeared Page and Space Shuttle. their search engine to search for Brin designed the specific term thenunusual find outflavors how many • Jelly Belly has hadand some over links there were that led back to that page, the years, including the first “savory” flavor, which resulted in a better search engine. buttered popcorn, which then debuted in 1989. •InThey decided they Potter” neededflavors a name 2000, the “Harry werethat inreflected how many websites the search troduced – dirt, bacon, spinach, earwax, and engine Their was searching. the name vomit. “Boozled”They line took was presented of Edward Kasner’s very large number, only with yummy flavors of dog food, baby wipes, they misspelled it slightly, so it ended up being and pencilexactly shavings. spelled the same way the cartoon • The term “jelly bean” isn’t about cancharacter Barney spelled hisalways last name. What’s dy. In the (Answer 1920s, itatreferred to page) a young man it called? bottom of who dressedCOMPUTER stylishly forFACTS the ladies, but had else tosaid, offer.“640 kb of memory •nothing In 1981much Bill Gates • “You tellenough a lot about a fella’s character by oughtcan to be for anybody.” whether he picks out all of one color or just • Moore’s Law states that computer performance grabs a handful.” -- Ronald Reagan doubles every 18 to 24 months, and ever since 1971, this has been true. The displacement of a • HP, Google, Microsoft, and were all littleApple sand can occasionally change started in garages. the course of deep Answer: Google, from googol. rivers. — Gonzalez Prada
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