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Home gardeners are busy this time of year in all areas of North America, and even where the growing season is very short, “squash” plants are often a favorite because they thrive. Let’s take a good look at the group of plants called askutasquash by the Massachuset Indians. • Early colonists on the East Coast learned a lot from the Massachuset Indians. Askutasquash means “eaten raw or uncooked” and is the tribe’s term referring to the collection of vegetables we now know as squash. Early colonists were taught by the Massachusets to grow the “three sisters” to sustain life. The three sisters refer to beans, corn and squash grown together in a “family” hill. • The three sisters were a vital part of sustaining many civilizations. The beans and corn made a complete protein, and the squash supplied potassium, omega 3s and beta carotene. If meat and other foods were scarce, these plants fed many families. This was one of the first examples of “companion plantings” where each plant helps the other. The corn stalks supply climbing support for the beans and shade for the squash during the hottest parts of the day. The large leaves of the squash shade the ground to help keep the weed populations in check and deter wildlife. The beans enrich the soil with nitrogen, helping the corn and squash to grow well. turn the page for more!

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Tidbits® of Michigan SQUASH THAT THOUGHT! (continued):

Don’t Remake Pets Into Children By Sam Mazzotta

Dear Paw’s Corner:

Dear Barbara:

I’m writing in regards to your recent column asking whether pets are more than just part of the family, and instead like another child. Some of your readers responded yes to that question.

Those are very good points, and thank you for bringing them up! One of the most important things we can learn from caring for pets is compassion and respect for all animals, both tame and wild.

Like most pet owners, I have been very attached to our pets. However, I find the “pets as children” idea rather false as well as disrespectful to the animal. Animals should be accepted for what they are, not remade into children. Most dogs are intelligent, adult animals, and it is insulting to treat them like silly little children.

Dogs and cats also require specific care, including, as Barbara points out, spaying or neutering to prevent unwanted litters and reduce the occurrence of abandoned or abused animals. Vaccines and licenses also are typically required by law. Your child doesn’t have to wear visible tags, but your dog (and often your cat) does.

Also, most pets are spayed or neutered, and we would never do that to children or any other family members. We could use procedures that would prevent pregnancy, without eliminating sexual behavior, but in animals that behavior tends to be a nuisance.

Does this mean that owners somehow love their pets less? I think not -- most are devoted to their pet and its welfare and happiness. That’s something to be valued.

Pets can be a real blessing, and they should be respected. - Barbara B., via email

Send your questions or comments to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet carerelated advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

• All squash types — and there are many — are members of the Cucurbitaceae or the gourd family. There are two subdivisions of the genus Cucurbita, to which squash belong: tender-skinned summer squash and hardskinned winter squash. Pumpkins, from the tiniest to giants, belong to the winter squash family. • Most North Americans have grown up with summer squash, including zucchini and yellow squash, and eaten it raw, sautéed, stir-fried, grilled or breaded and fried. These tender, easy-to-grow vegetables are staples in most home gardens. • While summer squash have been favorites for years with gardeners, winter squash have suffered a popularity slump in the past several decades. Winter squash was very important to early settlers and on the American frontier. It has an excellent “keeping” quality and was a staple for root cellars. Winter squash would be harvested in late summer and fall and kept for months, allowing families to eat vitamin-rich vegetables during the cold winter months. • Today, with more emphasis on sustainability, winter squash are becoming very popular again. With more interest in purchasing local produce, farmers’ markets and home gardens are helping to reignite the appeal of eating vitamin-rich winter squash. Beta-carotene with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids all come with the addition of squash to our diets. • So think squash are only available in yellow, green and orange? Think again! Visit local markets and fairs in the summer; you are sure to see some strange looking squash that are not only oddly shaped but also oddly colored.

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and I secured it with a hair pin that dangles down. It catches everything. Nothing slips under it, and I can clean it off easily.” - I.R., Massachusetts

▶ When baking, you can slow the rising time of dough by placing it in a cool place to rise. You can even let it rise in the refrigerator! Basically, it’s done rising when it’s doubled in size, so use that as your guide. ▶ Place individual fabric softener sheets into sneakers to keep them fresh between wearings. You can use this for other shoes, too. Just be aware that the softener sheet should stay inside the shoe; it could discolor certain fabrics on the outside. ▶ “I have long hair and it always jams up the shower drain. I tried one of those hair catcher things, but the drain doesn’t recess enough. What I did was to cut a piece of stiff screen to fit the drain hole,

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SLOW-COOKED FRUIT COBBLER Grease bottom and sides of a slow cooker with a removable pot insert with the butter or cooking-oil spray. Add in fruit, sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir to combine.

• 4 cups peeled sliced apples • 2 tablespoons butter • 1 1/2 cups sugar • 2 tablespoons flour • 1 tablespoon lemon juice • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Biscuit topping: • 1 1/2 cups flour • 1/4 cup sugar • 4 teaspoons baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Biscuit Topping: 1. Using a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter with a fork or the tips of your fingers until crumbly. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork to make a slightly sticky dough. With floured hands, gather dough into a ball. 2. On lightly floured surface, gently knead dough about 10 times until smooth. Pat the dough into a circle large enough to cover the berries in the slow cooker. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and arrange the wedges over the fruit. Sprinkle wedges with sugar. 3. Place top on slow cooker, and cook on high until the biscuit topping is no longer doughy underneath, about 3 hours. Remove pot insert and let cobbler cool, uncovered, for about an hour before serving. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

• Squash come in tan, orange, blue, green, even pink. They can be striped or solid colors and smooth or dimpled. • Summer squash are fragile, bruise easily and don’t keep very long. They are at their peak from July until September. Winter squash ripen with hard shells; some so hard that an ax or cleaver is required to get to the edible insides. They are at their prime from September until February. • Australian blue pumpkins and squash are rarely seen in North America but are the “norm” for the vegetable family “Down Under.” These “Blue Belt” plants are natives of Uruguay and Argentina and are also grown in South Africa. • Blue Hubbards and blue bananas as well as Queensland blue and other pumpkins are enjoyed in Australia. A couple of popular treats for Aussies are Queensland blue scones at teatime and the rather odd “Grabben Gullen Pie.” The pie is made by hollowing out a pumpkin, filling it with possum joints and baking it in a bed of hot coals. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?! • The tasty blue banana squash and the pink banana squash originated in Peru. Popular on the North American West Coast, these specialty products are starting to get more recognition, and their seeds are being requested by gardeners. While they are usually 5 to 6 pounds (2-3 kg), jumbo pink banana squash can grow to be a monstrous 130 pounds (59 kg)! • Squash that are common in North America are yellow crookneck, yellow straightneck, Patty pan and zucchini as well as hard squash like acorn, butternut, buttercup, Hubbard, delicious and banana. • Spaghetti squash is a more unusual variety. Cooked spaghetti squash forms strands that pull apart and resemble pasta. This squash is delicious when covered with your favorite sauce or simply with butter and salt. Kids really think it is cool to pull the “spaghetti” strands from the squash! • Did you know that you can eat the flowers of some squash? Try zucchini flowers stuffed with ground meat and braised — yummy and different. The seeds, tender shoots and even leaves can be eaten on many types of squash. • Many people make harvest centerpieces and front porch and door decorations from squash in the fall. Some of the interesting varieties to include in these are carnival, fairytale and turban squash. • Carnival squash are a type of acorn squash with interesting colorations: cream colored with orange spots, pale green with dark green spots and even vertical stripes. • The fairytale squash is, as you may guess, shaped like Cinderella’s pumpkin coach. • Turban squash looks like a turban (or hat) on top. As an interesting replacement for an ordinary bowl, the top can be removed and soup served from inside this squash. • While this Tidbits addresses some interesting members of the squash family, much more information is available to squash growers and eaters. An excellent book for “cucurbitaceans” (defined by the book author as “a person who regards pumpkins or squash with deep, often rapturous love”) is “The Compleat Squash” by Amy Goldman. It’s an interesting read for gardeners and those who love to cook and eat squash!

Answer on page 5


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Hearing, Balance Woes Can Signal Meniere’s By Paul G. Donohue, M.D. Dear Dr. Donohue:

A hearing aid usually overcomes deafness.

Please address Meniere’s disease in your column. I am 88, a female and in good general health. I do not smoke or drink alcohol. I weigh 125 pounds and am 5 feet 1 inch tall. My diet consists mostly of health foods. -- G.R.

Dizzy spells are accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Antivert and Phenergan relieve all three.

ANSWER: Vertigo (dizziness), ear noises (tinnitus) and fluctuating hearing loss are the three signs of Meniere’s (men-YAIRS) disease. Vertigo comes in spells lasting 20 minutes or more, and they leave the person off balance for several days. Tinnitus can be ringing, roaring, hissing or other sounds that come and go but eventually stay permanently. The same happens with episodes of hearing loss. It becomes a permanent problem in time. All these signs are due to a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, the place where hearing and balance take place. Treatment of Meniere’s focuses on ridding the inner ear of the fluid buildup. A strict low-salt diet goes a long way in reducing symptoms. The reason is that salt brings on fluid retention. Restricting caffeine and alcohol also helps. Diuretics -- water pills -- might be needed to get rid of the fluid.

Should these measures fail, more-heroic efforts are called into play. One is an injection in the ear of the antibiotic gentamicin, which destroys the ear’s balance organ and eliminates dizziness. Another approach is the Meniett device, a little gadget that creates pressure pulses that are transmitted to the inner ear. The pulses pump fluid out. A doctor has to make a small hole in the eardrum so the pressure waves can make their way to the inner ear. An ear, nose and throat doctor can evaluate you and determine if you are a candidate for these treatments or for other treatments I haven’t discussed. The booklet on vertigo discusses its many causes and treatments. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 801W, Box 536475. Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.

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1. FOOD & DRINK: What vegetable also is known as a pieplant? 2. EXPLORERS: Which famous explorer also served as a governor of Arizona in the late 1800s? 3. LANGUAGE: What does the Latin term “pro forma” mean?

Here are some food safety tips from the www.IsItDoneYet.gov website:

Picnic Food Warning The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning us about picnic food, and what it says applies especially to seniors. It seems there’s another potential food-borne illness: Listeria. Picnic foods -- hot dogs, deli meats, prepared salads, meat spreads from the deli case and soft cheeses -- can contain bacteria called Listeria. Smoked seafood and unpasteurized milk also can harbor Listeria. Even if the bacteria has been killed by cooking, it can be recontaminated because the bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperature. In addition to food poisoning, those with health risks can come down with a very serious infection after consuming Listeriacontaminated foods. Even for seniors without medical conditions, healing from an infection can include long hospitalizations -- or even death.

• Use a digital thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to the optimum temperature. For ground beef, that’s 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Poultry needs to be heated to 165 F. Cooked hams must be reheated to 140 F. Check the temperature of the food in several places. • Wash hands in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. • Keep refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees F or less, and freezers at 0 F or less. • Keep your food-prep surface clean, and use paper towels instead of dish cloths to dry the counter. • Rinse produce -- even the kind with rinds that aren’t eaten. • And those hot dogs and deli meats so popular with summer picnics: They must be completely heated to 165 degrees before consuming If you don’t have Internet access, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-674-6854 to order the Food Safety for Older Adults pamphlet or if you have specific questions.

4. MEASUREMENTS: If something occurs every 12 years, what would be the correct numerical term to describe the event? 5. HISTORY: Where did American legend Davy Crockett die? 6. MUSIC: What does the musical instruction “dolce” mean? 7. THEATER: Who wrote the play “The Glass Menagerie”? 8. SCIENCE: What vitamin also is known as riboflavin? 9. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: What was the name of the Native American chief who defeated Gen. George Custer at the Little Big Horn? 10. PHILOSOPHY: Ralph Waldo Emerson led which movement in the 1800s? Answer on bottom of page 5


Page 5

For Advertising Call (248) 423-1765 OVERCOMING THE ODDS: ANDREA BOCELLI

When Andrea Bocelli was a tiny baby, only a few months old, his parents became aware of terrible pain he suffered in his beautiful blue eyes. They enlisted the aid of many specialists in their home country, Italy, for guidance, and Bocelli was diagnosed with congenital bilateral glaucoma, a disease that would lead to total blindness. • Bocelli’s parents sought help from many doctors and even people who claimed to be healers. Because of the pain, it was hard to keep baby Bocelli calm. One day while in the hospital, he became unusually calm. He could hear music in the adjoining room, and it made a true difference in his countenance. From that point on, his family and friends began giving gifts of music to the young Bocelli. • Living among the olive groves and vineyards of the Tuscan countryside in Italy, Bocelli’s parents wanted the best for their son. They enrolled him in a boarding school several hours away from their home in order for him to be taught Braille at a young age. Even though it was difficult for him to live apart from his family, he remained emotionally close to them. It was at the school that his musical talents began to be noticed. He received musical instruction there, and his singing ability was recognized at the school as well as at church. His parents encouraged his musical abilities with piano lessons at age 6. He also learned to play the saxophone, trumpet, flute, trombone, harp, guitar and drums. His beautiful voice, self-described as “a modern but old-fashioned tenor,” is now recognized worldwide.

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• When Bocelli was 12 years old, he was hit in the eye by a soccer ball while playing. The hit took away his sight permanently. • After completing primary and secondary school, Bocelli received a law degree from the University of Pisa. He played at piano bars during college to pay for singing lessons from Franco Corelli. He also received lessons from Maestro Luciano Bettarini. • Bocelli’s big break into music came when he won a singing competition at the Sanremo Festival in 2004. Since that time, he has sold over 65 million records in opera, classical and pop genres. He has collaborated with other artists for recordings and has been a major contributor to relief efforts for Haiti and other places that have suffered natural disasters. • “My Christmas,” Bocelli’s Christmas album released in 2009, has sold more than four million copies. • He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2010 and is one of just a few Italians to receive this honor. • An interesting theater that Bocelli was instrumental in establishing, the Teatro del Silenzio (or Theatre of Silence), opened in his hometown of Lajatico, Tuscany, in 2006. Only one concert is performed there each year, in July, and the theater remains silent for the remainder of the year. Bocelli, the honorary president, agreed to sing at the theater once a year for the first five years. • Bocelli was at one time an agnostic but changed through the years, even performing for the Pope. The humble man gifted with the beautiful voice has said, “The more I immerse myself in singing, the less I understand. I only know that God has given me a voice which allows me to express what I feel and in this sense, I believe I can describe it as a recognizable voice...”

Magic Maze Answers

Answer on page 7

Trivia Test Answers: 1. Rhubarb / 2. John Charles Fremont / 3. A formality 4. Duodeccenial / 5. The Alamo / 6. To play sweetly / 7. Tennessee Williams / 8. B-2 / 9. Crazy Horse / 10. Transcendental movement


Page 6

Tidbits® of Michigan

A SPORTING VIEW: DOUBLE TROUBLE By Mark Vasto

Growing up, we all knew at least one set of twins. It’s as if it was a pre-requisite for most American elementary schools to feature them, wearing the same clothes on picture day, speaking that weird “twin-speak” that nobody but them could understand (or care about). They seemed to have an advantage. Later on in life, we would hear about the “uncanny” abilities twins had that we common babies, born from a single embryo, did not possess. Like, twins could just think about each other and one of them would immediately pick up a phone from Oregon and call the other in Pennsylvania and discuss the disposition of their cats. But, like most things in life, the whole “twin thing” began to lose its luster the older and, presumably, wiser we all became. The whole split zygote thing didn’t seem to offer as much of an advantage as was believed. Aside from a few (alleged) cases where one twin would substitute for the other during exam time, little more was made of the distinction (and even then, it was only if you were an identical twin, so good luck). There have been plenty of times when one half of the twin equation fails to achieve heights enjoyed by the other. Nowhere, perhaps, is that more amplified than in the world of sports. Jim Thorpe had a twin brother named Charlie. Jose and Ozzie Canseco hardly shared the pages of the record books (if not the needle). And did you know that John Elway has a twin sister named

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Jana? Where’s her Super Bowl ring? And while some believe the Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight brotherhood are the result of twinship, they are wrong: Vitali is five years older and has a slightly different nickname. Venus and Serena? Not twins. The world of sports actually records very few “twin” wins. Ronde and Tiki Barber both set records for the respective teams, but they never came near the heights achieved by Bob and Mike Bryan, the twins from Camarillo, Calif. Those two have dominated the doubles tennis field in record-setting fashion. They have won more doubles titles than any team in history -- 72 as of this writing -- and have been the world No. 1 doubles players for almost a half-decade. They have set records in match wins (more than 600) and they even hold the record for attracting the largest crowd in tennis history at 27,200 (the Billie Jean King exhibition victory over Bobby Riggs in front of 39,472 at the Astrodome wasn’t an “official” match). So there you have it. In one fell swoop of their tennis rackets, the Bryan brothers have dispelled the notion that for every Mario Andretti there must be a non-racing brother Aldo, and that the U.S. cannot be competitive in worldwide tennis competition. When taken together, they rewrote the record books -- and they did so doublehandedly.

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At 21 years old, Joey Logano is keeping up with the big boys of NASCAR.

The Sonoma, Calif., layout provided a welcome and unexpected lift in Logano’s fortunes. The Middletown, Conn., native remains only 23rd in the points standings after finishing 20th in 2009 and 16th in 2010. The Infineon finish was only his third top-10 of the season to date. “This is the last place I figured we’d ever get a pole,” said Logano after averaging more than 93 mph around the 11-turn, 1.99-mile course. After the sixth-place finish, he added, “I can’t tell you how badly I needed something like this. It’s definitely going to help our season. I think it’s definitely going to get us some momentum.” Logano was NASCAR’s youngest top rookie ever, and he also became the youngest driver ever to win a Cup race on June 28, 2009, when he won a rain-shortened race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. At Sonoma, Robby Gordon and Logano clashed during the race.

“That’s no big deal to me,” said Logano, referring to Gordon. “I don’t know. He was running me all over the race track. He knocked my fender in for no reason. We were a lot, lot faster than him. I just had enough. I wasn’t going to get pushed around. He pushed me around before, and I was sick of it. “I think that’s a small story. That’s not a big deal. We finished sixth. I’m pretty happy about that.” What would be a big story would be a Logano comeback, now that he has some momentum. To make the Chase, he would have to win at least one race and somehow get himself into the top 20 in points. Thanks to changes in the Chase format implemented this year, he’s still got a shot, albeit a small one.


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Q

: I was sad when Thad Luckinbill left “The Young and The Restless” last year, so you can imagine how happy I was to see him on the CW’s “Nikita.” Will his character be back for Season Two? - Charlene

A

: Thad, who you also can see this month in Hallmark Channel’s “Keeping Up With the Randalls,” gave me the scoop: “I think that’s yet to be determined. They were honest about it and told me that they weren’t sure exactly what to do with it, so that is why they left it open. It’s like anything, I think if the story’s right and it matches up to bring him back, then that would be great. I would love it. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

: That sound you just heard was the collective sigh of millions of women worldwide who wouldn’t have minded becoming Mrs. James Bond themselves one day. It is true: Daniel and Rachel married in a super-secret ceremony (befitting a superspy and his lady love) in New York on June 22. A source close to the couple told “News of the World”: “They are madly in love, and couldn’t wait to be husband and wife -- but they wanted minimum fuss. They had a couple of friends as witnesses and their children from previous relationships, and that was it.”

Q

: I can’t wait for Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” to hit the theaters, especially after seeing some first-look pictures in “Entertainment Weekly.” Can you tell me which actors from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy will be back for “The Hobbit”? Patrick L.

A

: So far, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellan, Christopher Lee, Andy “I think it would be a good twist if Serkis, Ian Holm and Hugo Weaving they decided to bring him back. It are set to return to Middle Earth. Liv Thad Luckinbill was really a fun group to work with and a Tyler, who played Arwen in the trilogy, is really cool show. I love how stylized that show is. keen to make a cameo in the latest films, however, I think that was what I was most impressed with. as of this writing, there are no plans to resurrect Not just the way they shoot, but the way it looks. her character. It’s just a really pretty show.”


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■ Repair or replace any broken or splintered outdoor furniture before your event, and put away lawn tools and pet toys. ■ Wear high-SPF sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses when outside on a sunny day. Drink plenty of water throughout the event, and limit alcohol consumption. ■ Check yourself and the family for ticks at the end of the day, and remove them immediately. You can reduce the chance of having one jump on you by trimming the grass beforehand, pruning back low-hanging tree branches, and wearing hats and long sleeves when possible. Try using a charcoal starter to preheat charcoal more evenly; this provides more consistent heat and gives off fewer sparks.

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TidBits MI 7-16-2011  

TidBits of Michigan Issue #1 Published on 7/16/2011

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