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Tidbits® of Ascension Parish

Tidbits Of Trivia By V.B. Darrington

The First Fact and Our Motto

• “There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.” –Bertrand Russell

Quick Bits

• According to researchers, you’ll burn more calories on the treadmill than on other cardio machines. Next in line, in order, are stair-climbing machines, elliptical trainers and stationary exercise bikes. • “Reinforce reading by requiring a set amount of reading time before any other electronic media are used. Be sure to discuss what was read in order to bolster comprehension and speaking skills.” -- A teacher, via e-mail • “File it under gift ideas! To keep family members happy when occasions for gift-giving come along, whenever we see a picture or hear of a product that we would like to have, we clip the photo, note any additional information and stick it in the gift idea file we have set up for each family member. When birthdays, holidays and special occasions roll around, it’s easy to remember what types of things that person might want to have.” -- L.H. in Florida • “Be careful about signing up for automatic payment plans that deduct a regular amount from your checking account or credit card. Gym memberships that go unused, for example, could cost you hundreds of dollars a year before you get around to canceling. Review all automatic bills monthly to determine if it’s worth it.” -K.W. in New Mexico

• The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are more than 2, 500 miles apart in most of the United States. But in some places in Central America, the world’s two biggest oceans are separated by fewer than 50 miles of land. Panama is the narrowest part of Central America, but there are no mountains in Panama that offer view of both oceans. However, a peak in the neighboring country of Costa Rica, the 11, 325 foot Mount Izaru, is the only point in the world from which you can see both oceans. • It sounds strange to say that rain keeps the earth dry, but that’s exactly what it does. The process that generates precipitation gathers moisture from the air and concentrates it in clouds, which later deposit the water in the form of rains. If this moisture didn’t condense to form rain, then the atmosphere would be unbearably humid. The entire earth would be heavily covered with moisture, and life, as we know it probably couldn’t exist.

It’s Against the Law

• It’s against the law in California to set a trap for a mouse unless you have a hunting license. • In Gary, Indiana, it’s against the law to take a streetcar or go to a theater within four hours after eating garlic.

More Facts

Social Security Trilemma Deciding when to start collecting Social Security isn’t the easy question it used to be. We’d work until age 65, retire, and apply for Social Security. Not anymore. Now the options are: • Collect early at age 62, but at a reduced benefit. • Work until regular full retirement age, which now depends on the year of your birth. • Delay collecting benefits until age 70, after which there is no addition to the benefit amount. About 70 percent of us choose early Social Security. That’s because 70 percent of us don’t have enough retirement saved and we need supplemental income, or there are health issues and we can’t work. Quite a few people collect at age 62 and keep working. Those who keep working, and still collect Social Security, will lose $1 for every $2 earned over $12,480 per year.

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225-806-6142 So, do we collect early at a reduced benefit, or keep working and take the full benefit later? The answer to that depends whom you ask. Some experts say: • It’s better not to take early Social Security because you’ll pay what amounts to a 50 percent penalty if you earn over the limit. • Before you sign up to collect benefits at age 62, calculate whether it’s to your advantage to keep from touching your savings, considering that your Social Security benefits will be permanently reduced for the rest of your life. • There is a good reason to wait and take the full benefits: Your benefit is calculated using the highest 35 years of earnings. If you had years with no income but are now earning good income, that additional income could add to your benefit when the final calculations are made. And yet other experts say to take the benefits as soon as you can get them and invest the money. There are no easy answers. Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them in her column whenever possible. Do not send any material requiring return mail. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to letters. kfws@hearstsc.com.

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What is Tidbits ? Page 3

Tidbits of Coachella Valley

Introductory Issue

®

A “tidbit” is defined as “a tasty morsel of food to enjoy before the meal”. And that’s just what Tidbits® is -a non-controversial weekly newspaper dedicated to publishing entertaining morsels for the mind, food for thought, educational trivia, fun facts, amusing stories and fascinating oddities... the kind of tasty morsels that keep you coming back for more!

What advertisers are saying...

“When we were first ap proached to advertise in Tidbits our Express Lube depa rtment was doing only about ten services per week. With our first ad we did seve n services on the first day and we ’re now averaging alm ost ten services per day. I believe the greatest waste in bu siness is bad advertising and fin ally we’ve found a mediu m where our dollar is being well spent”. Advertiser - R.W. Rees e, Steamboat Express Lube & Brake Alignme nt Steamboat Springs, CO

What Readers are Saying... “Tidbits is a really nice break from the constant barrage of negative stuff you read and hear every day. Reading Tidbits is always one of the highlights of my week”. Reader - Becky Krichevsky, Denver, CO “Tidbits is fun to read while waiting for food to arrive at a restaurant. You always pick up some great facts that make for good reading and good conversation”. Reader - David R., Montgomery, AL

“I got hooked on Tidbits from the first issue I read. It’s a fun little paper that I look forward to. I know the places in town that carry Tidbits every week, so that’s where I’ll go for lunch. My neighbor saves them to read all over again”. Reader, Karl Patterson, Minneapolis, MN “For me, reading Tidbits is like eating a bag of really good peanuts. Once you get started you’re always going back for more”. Reader - Ron W., Spokane, WA

Sample Tidbits... TIDBITS LOOKS AT

SYMBOLISM



Musicians call it a sharp, the telephone company says it’s a pound sign. In England they call it a crosshatch or hash, except for British Telecom operators who refer to it as the “square key.” And some of us remember when cit was just a plain ol’ number sign or a tic-ta ry centu 21st the being this ver, Howe toe grid. ly and all, the symbol requires an appropriate the “in e peopl why is which , name high-tech know” call the # symbol an octothorpe.

£

a Speaking of pound signs, the British have bone to pick with us. It seems that on their American-made computer keyboards, the octothorpe is in a place where the pound-ster. ling sign used to be on British typewriters , How did £ get to be the symbol for pound h Englis ard, stand gold anyway? Before the money was based on a pound weight of silver (which is why they still refer to it as “sterso ling”). The Latin word for weight is “libra,” montheir as L letter d the Brits took a stylize etary symbol. By the way, libra is also why t we use “lb.” as an abbreviation for the weigh unit “pound”.

%

to The percent sign is something we learned deat see to loved but dread in math class, partment store sales. The symbol was used to beginning no later than the 15th century indicate profit, loss, taxes and interest. The on idea of charging a portion per one hundred goods dates back to the Middle Ages, when a even the Roman emperor Augustus levied tax on slaves sold. At one time, the taxed ,” amount was written out as “XX per cento As which was later abbreviated as “P cento.” time went on, different symbols were scrawled using a combination of the P and C characters to indicate “per cento.” An Italian manuscript dated 1425 shows an entry marked “per 0/00,” showing an early incarnation of the modern perce nt symbol. The “per” was

“It is phenomenal how many calls we get from our Tidbits ad. The ‘quality’ of the calls and the steady res ponse is just excellent. We’ve se rved the Pensacola ma rket for over 20 years and I ca n still honestly say I’m more pleased with the return on our Tidbits ads than any other print advertising we’ve done”. Advertiser - Don Craw ford, Business Services Group, Inc., Pe nsacola, FL “Ninety percent of my commercial business co mes directly from Tidbits! Ca ll me and I’ll tell you pe rsonally!” Advertiser - Byron Schw arz, Sun-Free Window Tinting, Denver, CO 303-662-8800 “We get more busines s from our ad in Tidbits than we do from our expensive mo nthly ad in the Yellow Pa ges. Next year our Yellow Pages ad will be reduced so we can run a larger ad in Tidbits”. Advertiser - David M., Spokane, WA

Looking to advertise in

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soon dropped, as was the extra zero in the denominator, leaving % to stand on its own.

? Consider this...

$

How did the dollar sign come to represent U.S. currency? Until 1794, the Spanish dollar was the main coin in circulation in America. Properly known as the peso de 8 reales, it was “p” commonly abbreviated as a lower case and right the to n writte “s” the and “s”, with ed above the “p.” Often the two letters cross into d melde they ually, event and one another, one symbol. It is a small bone of contention among international computer geeks that the standard key boards feature the dollar sign and not the symbol of their native currency. of They feel that it’s just another example e. cultur ar popul on ation American domin

● Broad audience: Tidbits’ universal

appeal and broad reader audience means you reach every demographic target every week.

● ●

¢

The cent sign evolved after the dollar sign, and was simply designed as the letter “c” (for cent) with a vertical line through it to match the dollar sign. Today’s computer users may notice the lack of a cent sign on their keyold boards. (Some of us will remember our typewriters that featured the ¢ above the nut meral six on the keyboard.) With the adven n of computers, programmers needed certai to symbols that were regularly used in coding no be readily available. The cent sign was of on use to them, and was therefore replaced modern keyboards with the circumflex (^).

@

The “at” sign was so under used when it was an added to the keyboard that it was stuck in giveven t wasn’ and “2”) the odd spot (over in en a name. The @ symbol was only used et Intern the until ries count aking English-spe came along. Suddenly, the little symbol that resembled a snail was used worldwide by anyh one who wanted to send email. Even thoug keys cter chara used mostthe of the @ is one ofon the keyboard, it still doesn’t have an send me, welco are s estion (Sugg . ficial name them to us c/o Tidbits@ameritech.net.)

WARNING: Reading Tidbits is habit forming

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Interested audience: Fascinating news content draws readers all the way through each issue- front to back! Captive audience: Unique editorial blend hooks readers and keeps them coming back. Your ad gets seen again and again! Motivated audience: Readers pick up Tidbits while “out & about” and already in the buying mode! Standout presence: Large or small, your ad isn’t lost on a cluttered page in a fat paper. Free layout and ad design services Deep discount incentives for increased ad size and frequency

Tidbits Delivers Low-Cost Advertising Results!

of Ascension Parish

Published weekly by Plazma Media (225) 806-6142 contact us @tidbitsoap@gmail.com


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225-806-6142

Tidbits® of Ascension Parish

4-

Purebred Dogs Can Be Found at Shelters By Samantha Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: Although I liked most of your answer to the person who correctly wrote that breeding should not be encouraged, it left the impression that only “mutts” are available at shelters. The truth is that about 25 percent of all dogs at shelters are purebreds, and they are readily available at nearly any shelter. We have two Chihuahua/Pomeranians from a shelter. Although they are regularly advertised for around $400 in the newspaper here, mine cost only $26 each for an adoption fee. I do volunteer transport for shelters, and last month transported a full blood “Sheltie,” along with her AKC papers, from a shelter to an adoptive home. The trainer at the local shelter has three purebreds, the same breed advertised at $900 for pet-quality dogs in the paper, but all three were adopted from shelters in the area. Please tell people that these are available too. -- Dan S., Spokane Valley, Wash.

DEAR DAN: Thanks! I didn’t mention that there are indeed pet-quality purebreds at shelters. Of course, if a potential owner is dead-set on a particular breed, he or she may have to search several shelters or wait for the right dog to come along. The stories behind each of these dogs can be heartbreaking, of course. In many cases, the original owners just couldn’t keep the dog. This was the case a few years ago when Dalmatian puppies became wildly popular -- leading to a huge number of this breed being abandoned at shelters when families found that Dalmatians are not always the easiest pets to manage. So, if you’re searching for a new companion, be sure to check the local shelters. The perfect dog may be waiting for you. Send your tips, questions and comments to Paws Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or e-mail them to pawscorner@hotmail.com.

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• Did you ever hear of “American Flag” or “Licorice Lulu”? They’re the names of flavors of chewing gum that were made and sold more than 100 years ago. These gums were made in Maine by two brothers named Curtis. Back in 1848, they began making gum from the sap of spruce trees. It was America’s first chewing gum, and it was packaged under the name of “State of Main Pure Spruce Gum.” • The fighting fish of Siam make their egg nest out of spit and bubbles. • Christopher Columbus is a famous name in U.S. history. But did you ever hear of Bartholomew Columbus? Chris and Bart were brothers. They planned the ocean voyage together, and both traveled about Europe trying to raise money for the trip. But then, Chris got the money he needed and sailed without his brother. No one knows why Bart got left behind. But if he hadn’t, Americans might have a holiday called “Columbus’s Day.” • A baby sea lion cannot swim from birth. It has to be taught by its mother. • Ants sometimes get drunk. This happens when ants drink nectar from the bodies of certain beetles. Then, “undrunk” ants carry a drunken ant to some water and toss it in. The drunken ant sobers up quickly after his dunking. • Guinea pigs did not originate in Guinea, nor are they members of the pig family. • There are full-grown sharks that measure only five inches long.

Facts You Need to Know

• If all the eggs of a female fly hatched, she would be the mother of 131,000,000,000,000,000,000 baby flies in six months. • Once U.S. President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was on a hunting trip in Mississippi. One day a bear cub was brought into camp for the president to shoot. Roosevelt refused. Because of Teddy Roosevelt’s liking for the bear cub, toy bears are called “Teddy Bears” to this day. • America bought Alaska from the Russians for two cents an acre.

Tidbits Galore! 1. Name the last majorleague player to hit less than .190 for a season in which he had at least 400 at-bats. 2. Who has recorded the most single-season home runs in Atlanta Braves history? 3. Who was the first quarterback in Division I college football history to run for at least 4,000 yards and throw for at least 8,000 yards during his career? 4. Which NBA team has lost the most NBA Finals?

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5. When was the last season before 2005-06 in which the St. Louis Blues did not make the NHL playoffs? 6. When was the last time a Pontiac driver won NASCAR’s Nextel All-Star Challenge (once known as The Winston)? 7. What was the record number of consecutive grass-court tennis events Bjorn Borg won before Roger Federer set a new mark this year?


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www.goingtoreadmytidbits.com • Francis Scott Key composed the words to “The Star Spangled Banner” on the back of an envelope. • Since serving soda water on Sundays was against the law in the 1800s in most U.S. towns, some drugstore owners could not serve ice cream sodas. Instead, they served a concoction with ice cream, nuts, fruit, and syrup but no soda water. These “sundaes” on Sunday became so popular that they were soon served every day of the week. • The motto of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency is: “We Never Sleep, “And that motto is printed over a picture of an open eye. That’s why private detectives are referred to as “Private Eyes.” • The reason moths and other nocturnal insects circle your porch lamp is not because they crave the spotlight. Moths and insect use the moon to help them navigate in the dark. When an insect gets too close to a light, it does what nature tells it to do – it keeps its body aligned in relation to the light source. If the light source were the far distant moon, the insect would fly straight. However, since the light is so close, the bug ends up flying in circles. • In a single summer afternoon in 1935, Jesse Owens broke four world records! He set or tied marks in the 100-yard dash, the 220-yard hurdles, the 220-yard dash and the broad jump. Since then all of Jesse Owens’ records have been bettered, but never has another athlete broken four records in a single day. • A huge diamond of tremendous carat weight was taken to the finest cutter in Amsterdam. The entire value of the stone depended almost completely on the first cut. Needless to say, the diamond cutter felt the tremendous pressure of his task and spent a full month examining the stone to determine its natural cleavage. Finally, the moment of truth arrived, and the diamond cutter raised his mallet to crack the massive diamond. But when his cleaver hit the stone, the cleaver itself broke into two pieces. After collecting his wits again, the master cutter struck the stone again, and was rewarded when the stone split perfectly. He was so relieved he fainted on the floor.

More Facts

Thought of the week

“The

only thing that experience teaches us is that experience teaches us nothing.”

By Samantha Weaver

• It was a Dutch explorer named Peter Minuit who famously purchased all of Manhattan Island from local Native American tribes in 1626. In return for the land, the tribes received some cloth, beads, hatchets and other merchandise; totaled all together, the goods were worth about $24, which comes out to about $1 for every square mile of land. Not a bad deal -- for the Dutch, anyway. Consider current real estate values in the area: In 2005, the cost of a single square foot of living space averaged over $1,000. • A bat flying at night is able to bounce a sonar signal off a single mosquito. • Noted humorist Josh Billings -- often quoted in this column -- was not only funny, he was an astute student of the human race. Another example of his wit and wisdom: “I don’t care how much a man talks, if he only

-- Andre Maurois

says it in a few words.” • The name “Bethlehem” means, literally, “House of Bread.” • Have you ever heard of Worcester Polytechnic Institute? Me, neither -- at least until recently. A few days ago I learned that WPI (as I imagine the Massachusetts school is known, since the full name is rather unwieldy) offers a useful new amenity to students: Wi-Fi washing machines. Students who are washing their clothes can go online to check the status of their laundry on a dedicated Web page. (c) 2006 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Tidbits® of Ascension Parish

FROM START TO FITNESS By Andrea Renee Wyatt, M.S.S., C.S.C.S.

Do Children Need a Personal Trainer? Q: Despite numerous attempts to get my children up and moving, they’re still not as active as I would like. A neighbor suggested signing them up with a personal trainer to help them stay in shape. Her children work with a trainer, and she has seen an improvement in their body composition and attitude toward exercise. My children are 10 and 12 years old. Does working out with a trainer sound like a good idea? A: Motivating children to enjoy and engage in physical activity has become harder and harder lately. The days of children running from yard to yard playing with each other until the street lights come on has been replaced with hours of television and video games. With the rise in childhood obesity and other medical conditions associated with inactivity, the use of a personal trainer might be an innovative and fun way to get your children moving. A certified personal trainer will be able to create a fitness program to suit the needs of any client, including children. Although your children may be working with a trainer, that doesn’t mean they will have to lift heavy weights or work on exercise equipment. For children, these sessions could resemble a classic physical education class, where the use of bodyweight exercises such as push ups can be used in addition to other fitness tools to introduce fun back

into being active. A trainer also will take into consideration the age of the children and develop an appropriate program to ensure their safety while increasing their fitness level. Hire a trainer who is certified and has experience working with children. Discuss your goals for your children with the trainer and stay involved with their progress. Ask the trainer to give you feedback so that you can positively reinforce healthy behaviors at home. Another idea may be to have your children exercise with your neighbor’s children in a group. Group training is a great way to encourage children to exercise with others and can allow them to not feel like outsiders. The key word to remember is “fun!” Promoting a healthy lifestyle for your children should begin at home, and a little help from the outside can make it easier. Always consult a physician before beginning an exercise program. Andrea Renee Wyatt, M.S.S., C.S.C.S., is a certified personal trainer with an extensive background in strength and conditioning as well as therapeutic recreation. If you have a fitness or training question, e-mail Andrea at letters.kfws@ hearstsc.com or write her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

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• Bulldogging is a popular rodeo event. In it, a cowboy on horseback chases after a steer. He then jumps from his horse, grabs the steer by the horns and tries to wrestle the steer to the ground. But where did bulldogging get its name? One story claims that a famous cowboy Bill Pickett invented bulldogging. History says that Pickett used to grab his steer by the horns, and then he would bite the upper lip of the animal, letting go with his hands just like a bulldog. • The famed Pony Express was an abject financial failure. It was in existence for only two years. • If you were asked where the tallest pyramid on earth is located, would you answer San Francisco? The huge pyramid-shaped skyscraper that dominates the Bay-area skyline exceeds even the massive height of the pyramids in Egypt. • The workers at a bakery in Connecticut used to play a game at lunchtime. They would play catch with a tin pie plate from the local bakery. The game became so popular that the idea was picked up commercially. Soon the disks were copied in plastic and embossed with the name of the pie company, “Frisbee.” • The kangaroo got its name from Captain James Cook. When the English explorer was in Australia, he asked a native what the name of the strange, jumping animals was. The native replied, “Kangaroo.” In his language it meant, “I don’t know.” • Most baseball players don’t like being booed by people watching them play. But John “Boog” Powell of the Baltimore Orioles said he didn’t mind being booed. “After all,” said Powell, “a boo is just three quarters of a Boog.” • You probably know that a group of bees is called a swarm, and a group of cattle is called a herd. But did you know that a group of elks is called a gang? And did you know that several leopards are known as a leap? Other animal group names include a band of gorillas, a clowder (or a clutter) of cats, a knot of toads, a gaggle of geese and a pride of lions.

The Final Fact

• India Ink originally came from China.

1. Rob Deer hit .179 for Detroit in 1991. 2. Andruw Jones hit 51 for the Braves in 2005. 3. Brad Smith of Missouri (2002-05). 4. The Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers have lost 14 NBA Finals. 5. It was the 1978-79 season. 6. Rusty Wallace won it in 1989. 7. He won 41 consecutive matches.


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