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With our limitless imaginations, humans have come up with all sorts of interesting activities in an effort to stave off boredom. Tidbits takes a look at a few of the wackiest pastimes. • • Chess Boxing requires both brains and brawn. This Dutch event combines a game of chess played in between rounds of boxing. Two individuals go at it for up to 11 rounds. The game starts with a fourminute chess round followed by two minutes of boxing. The World Chess Boxing Organization’s motto is: “Fighting is done in the ring, and wars are waged on the board.” The match can be won through domination in either activity or some combination of a knockout, checkmate and exceeding the time limit on speed chess or by a judges’ decision. • • Ever thought of chasing cheese? In a battle of pursuit, people risk life and limb to chase an eight-pound Double Gloucester cheese down a very steep hill in the annual Cheese-Rolling Festival at Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire. There are five races, and the first person to make it to the bottom still on their feet wins the cheese! • • Can you talk afterwards? The World Stinging Nettle Challenge is held at The Bottle Inn in Marshwood, Dorset, U.K., every year as part of a charity beer festival. Competitors come from all over the world to see how many nettle leaves they can eat off two stalks in an hour’s time. The bare stalks are measured, and the
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winner is the one with the greatest accumulated length. It takes skill and endurance to chew and swallow the leaves and not blister the tongue. • • You shouldn’t be asleep for this one! Bed Racing is a sport enjoyed by the people of North Yorkshire Town in the United Kingdom who hold the annual Knaresborough Bed Race. Competitors race beds in teams of six, plus one on the bed. The bed has to run on four wheels and must also float. The race is 1 mile (3 km) long with five up-hill climbs leading to a final challenge of crossing a river.
Laugh Lines! Dear Father, $chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can’t think of any $tuff I need, $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you. Love, Your $on. After receiving his son’s letter, the father immediately replies by sending a letter back.
• • Ferret Legging is a male-only competition that started in Yorkshire, England, and is now held at the Richmond Highland Dear Son, Games & Celtic Festival in Richmond, I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmVirginia. Men compete with one another ics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to by trapping two live ferrets in their pants. keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do The pants must be tied at the ankle and NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwlsecured at the waist with a belt to prevent edge is a NOble task, and you can the ferrets from escaping. The animals never study eNOugh. cannot be sedated and must have a full set of teeth. No filing or blunting of teeth is allowed. After the ferrets are secure Love, Dad in the trousers, the competitors stand in front of the judges. The winner is the man who can last the longest. There are two a crack at his opponent. This continues important additional rules to Ferret Leguntil one of the conkers is so damaged ging: The ferrets must have free access that it falls off the string. from one leg of the trousers to the other, • • Big crowds regularly attend the Great and no underwear can be worn! The curChristmas Pudding Race held in Lonrent record stands at 5.5 hours. don’s Covent Garden’s West Piazza. • • Witcham in Cambridgeshire, England, It is a relay event where teams in fancy hosts an annual Pea Shooting contest dress negotiate a challenging 164-yard where the competition is fierce! Contes(150-meter) obstacle course while caretants shoot a pea 12 feet (3.64 m) through fully balancing a dish of Christmas puda 12-inch (30.48 cm) tube towards a 12ding on a tray. The race supports cancer inch (30.48 cm) target. Pea shooting reresearch in the U.K. cently moved into the 21st century with • • The ancient sport of shin-kicking is part laser-guided shooters. of the annual Cotswold Olimpicks. The
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• • Wife Carrying started in Finland and is goal of shin-kicking is to kick your opnow played all over the world. In this race, ponent as hard as you can in the shins. male competitors run a 278-yard (253.5Each time your opponent falls to the m) track with two dry obstacles and one ground you earn a point. The winner is water obstacle while carrying their wife the person with the highest score in the on their back. The fastest time wins. The best of three rounds. Competitors are enwife must weigh at least 108 pounds (49 couraged to pad their legs with as much kilograms) and may be carried piggystraw as possible. back, fireman’s carry or Estonian style, • • The World Toe Wrestling Competition where the wife hangs upside-down with started in 1976, and it has made it to the her legs around the husband’s shoulders, big time in the adult sporting world. Comholding onto his waist. The prize is the petitors face each other toe-to-toe across wife’s weight in beer. a “toedium,” where they lock their big toes • • A conker is a nut of the horse chestnut together and try to force their opponent’s tree. During The World Conker Chamfoot to the ground. Organizers of the sport pionships, conkers are threaded onto applied for its inclusion in the Olympic pieces of knotted string to prevent them Games, but it was not accepted. from coming off. The aim of the game is • • Extreme Ironing is a dare-devilish sport to smash your opponent’s conker. Who that combines the dangerous and exciting goes first is decided by a coin toss, and with the dull and mundane. Participants the loser of the toss holds up a hand with call themselves “ironists.” They take their the dangling conker on the end of its ironing board, iron and some wrinkled string. The other player then attempts to clothes to extreme places and set to work. hit the dangling conker as hard as he can Individuals and teams participate in world with his own conker by swinging it overcompetitions to set new records for ironarm. If he hits it, he gets another go. If he ing clothes underwater, hanging off cliffs, misses or hits the opponent’s knuckles, on top of moving vehicles, even near the the play switches, and the receiver gets top of Mount Everest. Photographs are ...continued on next column taken for proof.
June 8, 2011
Tidbits® of South Denver Metro
Week of June 6 ¥ On June 10, 1752, Benjamin Franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm and collects a charge in a jar when the kite is struck by lightning, enabling him to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning. Inventor Franklin coined a number of terms used today, including “battery,” “conductor” and “electrician.” ¥ On June 7, 1893, Mohandas Gandhi commits his first act of civil disobedience. Gandhi, a young Indian lawyer working in South Africa, refused to comply with racial segregation rules on a South African train and was forcibly ejected. ¥ On June 6, 1949, George Orwell’s novel of a dystopian future, “1984,” is published. The novel’s all-seeing leader, known as “Big Brother,” becomes a universal symbol for intrusive government and oppressive bureaucracy. It described a grim vision of a future where all citizens are watched constantly and language is twisted to aid in oppression. ¥ On June 11, 1955, a racing car in Le Mans, France, goes out of control and crashes into stands filled with spectators, killing 82 people. The tragedy in the famous 24-hour race led to a ban on auto racing in several nations. ¥ On June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats repeatedly attack the USS Liberty in international waters off Egypt’s Gaza Strip. In all, 34 Americans were killed and 171 were wounded. Israel later apologized for the attack, claiming that it had mistaken the Liberty for an Egyptian ship. ¥ On June 9, 1973, Secretariat becomes the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win America’s coveted Triple Crown -- the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. In 1999, ESPN added Secretariat to the list of Top 50 North American athletes of the 20th century, the only non-human on the list. ¥ On June 12, 1987, in one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the repressive Communist era in a divided Germany. Two years later East and West Germans did break down the infamous barrier.
(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
PAW’S CORNER By Sam Mazzotta
Cat’s Taste for Plastic Could Signal Diabetes DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’m replying to Dave, the reader whose cat chews on his wife’s oxygen hose. This may sound weird, but he should consider having his cat checked for diabetes. Our cat, “Tuffy,” started chewing on our clear plastic shower curtain. We waited a bit too long to have him checked out, and he was in dire condition by the time the veterinarian saw him.It was my wife who read something in a cat magazine and suggested that the vet test Tuffy for diabetes. Sure enough, he had it. And while our cat’s prognosis was initially not good -- the vet said he might have three months to live -thanks to regular insulin injections and care, Tuffy lived another four and a half years. So Dave, keep the faith, and have your cat checked for diabetes. -- Tom W., via email DEAR TOM: Thanks so much for calling attention to this possible health condition! Chewing on clear plastic as a signal for possible diabetes is not something I have heard of before, but I’m very glad your wife made that connection. Readers, keep in mind that many, even most, cats chew on weird things. Plastic shopping bags and crumpled paper are especially fascinating, and it’s not unusual to see cats gnawing at them. Of course, you should take efforts to stop them from ingesting such items. This type of gnawing does not necessarily signal a health problem, but if you’re unsure, take your pet to the veterinarian to ease your suspicions. Other signs of feline diabetes include a voracious appetite and/or drinking large quantities of water, as well as frequent urination or urinating a much larger amount than usual. Weakness in the cat’s back legs is another serious symptom. Send your pet questions and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Find more pet advice and resources at www.pawscorner.com. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc. Two old men had been best friends for years, and they both live to their early 90’s, when one of them suddenly falls deathly ill. His friend comes to visit him on his deathbed, and they’re reminiscing about their long friendship, when the dying man’s friend asks, “Listen, when you die, do me a favor. I want to know if there’s baseball in heaven.” The dying man said, “We’ve been friends for years, this I’ll do for you.” And then he dies. A couple days later, his surviving friend is sleeping when he hears his friend’s voice. The voice says, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there’s baseball in heaven.” “What’s the bad news?” “You’re pitching on Wednesday.”
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WEEK of JUNE 6 ARIES (March 21 to April 19) Lots of possibilities begin to open up by midweek. Some seem more appealing than others. But wait for more facts to emerge later on before you consider which to choose. TAURUS (April 20 to May 20) Bravo to the determined Bovine. While others might give up, you continue to search for answers. Expect your Taurean tenacity to begin paying off by week’s end. GEMINI (May 21 to June 20) You might want to consider stepping back from the task at hand for a while. This could help you get a better perspective on what you’ve done and what still needs to be done. CANCER (June 21 to July 22) Your keen Cancerian insight should help you determine whether a new offer is solid or just more fluff ‘n’ stuff. The clues are all there, waiting for you to find them. LEO (July 23 to August 22) Being ignored is difficult for any proud Leo or Leona. But pushing yourself back into the spotlight might be unwise. Instead, let things work themselves out at their own pace. VIRGO (August 23 to September 22) Trying to uncover a colleague’s secret under the pretext of showing concern is ill-advised. Control your curiosity in order to avoid raising resentment in the workplace. LIBRA (September 23 to October 22) Expect to hear good news about a loved one. Also, be prepared for some changes in several family relationships that could develop from this lucky turn of events. SCORPIO (October 23 to November 21) Some surprises are expected to accompany a number of changes that will continue through part of next week. At least one could involve a romantic situation. SAGITTARIUS (November 22 to December 21) You might be upset by some of your critics. But most of your associates continue to have faith in your ability to get the job done, and done well. CAPRICORN (December 22 to January 19) A workplace goal that suddenly seems out of reach is no problem for the sure-footed Goat, who moves steadily forward despite any obstacles placed in his or her way. AQUARIUS (January 20 to February 18) Uncertainty about who is right and who isn’t might keep you from making a clear-cut decision. Wait until you know more about what you’re being asked to decide. PISCES (February 19 to March 20) Be careful to keep your emotions in check when dealing with a demanding personal situation. You need to set an example of strength for others to follow. BORN THIS WEEK: You have an extraordinary ability to rally people to do their best. You would be a treasure as a teacher. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
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Need Help Buying or Selling a Home? By Samantha Mazzotta Repairing Damaged Window Screens Q: While putting up my screen windows for summer, I noticed that a few of them have small bends or punctures in the screen. Do I have to replace the entire screen or is there a way to patch these up? -- David J., Detroit A: Most small marks, rips or holes in window screens can be quickly repaired, and should be, as left alone they may only get bigger. Of course, if the damage is large or widespread, or you just want completely unmarred screens, replacing the screens is not too difficult, though you will need a screen replacement kit and enough screening material to go around. Here are a few quick fixes for minor screen damage: ¥ Punctures: Use a pointed tool like an awl, a small pick or a scissor prong to straighten and reposition the strands of wire. To protect the repair, dab the area with several coats of clear nail polish and let dry. ¥ Rips: Use a pointy tool to position the wire strands in place. Then, thread a large needle with sturdy nylon thread, or use a spare piece of screening wire, and stitch the rip shut. Protect by dabbing on several coats of clear nail polish. ¥ Holes: Get a scrap patch of screening that closely matches the type of screen you’re fixing. Straighten the hole and trim away jagged edges so all the edges are even and flat. Cut the patch so it’s slightly larger than the hole. Apply clear silicone caulking around the edges of the patch and press into place, wiping away excess caulk. Let dry for 48 hours.
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HOME TIP: To clean grime or paint spots from window hardware (like hinges or handles), place the hardware in a pan filled with 1 quart water to 4 tablespoons baking soda, simmer 20 minutes, and scrub. Send your questions or home tips to ask@ thisisahammer.com, or write This Is a Hammer, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. When in doubt as to whether you can safely or effectively complete a project, consult a professional contractor. 2011 King Features Synd., Inc. A guy stood over his tee shot for what seemed an eternity; looking up, looking down, measuring the distance, figuring the wind direction and speed, driving his partner nuts. Finally his exasperated partner says, “What’s taking so long? Hit the blasted ball!” The guy answers, “My wife is up there watching me from the clubhouse. I want to make this a perfect shot.” “Forget it, man! You don’t stand a chance of hitting her from here!”
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Shop Historic Downtown Littleton By Samantha Weaver
¥ If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom in the near future, you might want to be sure Windsor Castle, located in the county of Berkshire, is on your itinerary. Built in the 11th century, it is both the longest-occupied palace in Europe and, with more than 500 people living and working there, the world’s largest inhabited castle. As a bonus, through April of 2012 you’ll be able to view a special exhibit on royal cakes. Yes, cakes. Amazingly, included in the exhibit are two pieces of cake from the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, which took place on February 10, 1840. ¥ Stephen Spielberg, who has earned two Academy Awards for Best Director, and three of whose films have set box-office records, was rejected -- twice -- when he applied to the film program of the University of Southern California. *** Thought for the Day: “Every man possesses three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he really has, and that which he believes he has.” -- Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
A d On M on ag LIT Ma ica TLE in l N TO St igh N! re t ! et
¥ Those who study such things claim that an average bank robber in the United States nets about $4,000 for every heist. No info at hand on how the researches acquired their data.
¥ The next time you’re annoyed by a bad case of the hiccups, consider poor Charles Osborne. In 1922, when he was 28 years old, Mr. Osborne got the hiccups. For the next 68 years, he continued to hiccup, finally stopping in 1990, one year before his death at the age of 97.
¥ It was 20th-century Belgian writer and philosopher Raoul Vaneigem who made the following sage observation: “There are more truths in 24 hours of a man’s life than in all the philosophies.”
The 83rd Annual Western Welcome Week is coming August 10 - 21st! This year the 83rd annual celebration begins on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 and continues for 11 more days, through Sunday, August 21, 2011. Festival Day, which includes the Children’s Parade, the Grand Parade, the 52nd annual Arts & Crafts Fair, and concessions by local civic groups, will be Saturday, August 20, 2011.
1. Who was Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe? 2. Which group released “American Woman,” and when? 3. Name the 1963 song released by Jackie Wilson. 4. Where is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame located? 5. Name the first artist with an album titled “Have Guitar Will Travel.” 6. Who sang “Want Ads,” and when? Answers 1. Sutcliffe was the original bass player of The Beatles. A talented artist, he died at age 22 of a brain hemorrhage. 2. The Guess Who, in 1970. The song shot to No. 1 on the charts. 3. “Baby Workout.” While appearing on stage in 1975, Wilson suffered a heart attack. Failure to resuscitate him quickly left him in a coma until he died in 1984. 4. Cleveland, likely chosen because that’s where DJ Alan “Moondog” Freed hosted the first rock concert in 1952. 5. The legendary Bo Diddley, in 1960. The album title was probably a takeoff on “Have Gun -- Will Travel,” a television Western of the time. 6. Honey Cone, a girl group from Los Angeles. The 1971 song climbed the charts to No. 1, as did their next song, “Stick-Up,” released the same year. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
1. HISTORY: When did the Franco-Prussian War end? 2. INVENTIONS: What was the name of Robert Fulton’s first commercially successful steamboat? 3. RELIGION: Who is the patron saint of Wales? 4. MUSIC: What famous singer’s 1950s TV show featured the Vic Schoen Orchestra? 5. LITERATURE: Who wrote the novel “Rebecca”? 6. MYTHOLOGY: In Greek mythology, who was Telemachus’ father? 7. ADVERTISEMENTS: What is “the beer that made Milwaukee famous”? 8. GEOGRAPHY: Where is Lake Maracaibo? 9. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: For what line of work was Fannie Merritt Farmer best known? 10. POLITICS: What system of government does the Fabian Society support?
(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
Tidbits® of South Denver Metro
June 8, 2011
TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.
Leg Cramps Cramp Sleep Macho Burritos The name says it all -- meaty and spicy, hearty and hot as you like it. Real he-man food! 8 ounces ground extra-lean sirloin or turkey breast 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 teaspoons chili seasoning 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce 4 (6-inch) flour tortillas 1/2 cup chunky salsa (mild, medium or hot) 1 (8-ounce) can tomatoes, finely chopped and undrained 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes 1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet sprayed with olive oil-flavored cooking spray, brown meat and onion. Add chili seasoning and tomato sauce. Bring mixture to boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. 2. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tortillas and place on a cookie sheet, seam side down. Lightly spray tops with olive oil-flavored cooking spray. 3. In a medium bowl, combine salsa, undrained tomatoes and parsley flakes. Evenly spoon mixture over tortillas. Bake 10 minutes. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons Cheddar cheese over top of each. Continue baking for 3 minutes or until cheese starts to melt. Serves 4. ¥ Each serving equals: 232 calories, 8g fat, 17g protein, 23g carb., 944mg sodium, 2g fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Meat, 1 Vegetable, 1 Starch. (c) 2011 King Features Synd. Inc.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: For several years I have had spasms in my left leg at night while asleep. Now I get them in my right leg. They are intense and painful. My calcium is normal. I have taken magnesium and leg-cramp pills without results. I have put soap in the bed, used mustard and tried many other home remedies without any luck. I would be indebted for any other suggestions you might offer. -- S.G. ANSWER: Nighttime leg muscle cramps are another one of the joys of aging. Why? I don’t know. A cramp is a sustained, painful muscle contraction. In a very small number of people, low blood calcium or magnesium, an underactive thyroid gland and dysfunctions of the kidney or liver might be the cause. For most, a cause cannot be found. Quinine was a favorite remedy. Now quinine has a limited use -- only for malaria. It has potentially dangerous side effects that make it unwarranted for muscle cramps. Some find that tonic water stops their cramps. That’s fine that they do; the amount of quinine in tonic water is quite small. There is evidence that the heart and blood pressure drug diltiazem can be useful. Vitamin B complex -- a mixture of the B vitamins, including B-6 -- also has some support for its use. Stretching the leg muscles three times a day and again before going to bed might prevent cramps. One exercise is standing on the lowest step of a stair with heels projecting off the edge of that stair. Raise high on your toes and then slowly lower yourself until the heels are well below the level of the stair. Hold that position for 10 seconds and repeat the exercise 10 times. Some have found that a warm bath taken before heading to bed stops their cramps. The booklet on restless leg syndrome and nighttime cramps offers a more lengthy treatment of this annoying problem. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 306W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: When I had my last tetanus vaccine, the shot also included pertussis. Doesn’t that make it more complicated? Why not one shot at a time to avoid allergic reactions? -- I.M. ANSWER: The tetanus shot is given every 10 years. Included in the tetanus shot is diphtheria vaccine. The material is called Td. Between the ages of 19 and 64, another vaccine is included in the shot -- pertussis, whooping cough. That shot is Tdap. It is substituted for the Td shot and is given only once. Pertussis immunity wanes with age and needs this booster to keep people from contracting whooping cough. Whooping cough isn’t just a childhood illness. Older people catch it and spread it. At that stage of life, whooping cough leads to coughing that lasts for many months. The rate of allergic reactions from the combination of these vaccines is quite low. The protection that the combination provides is quite high. *** Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. (c) 2011 North America Synd., Inc.All Rights Reserved A gang of robbers broke into a lawyer’s club by mistake. The old legal lions gave them a fight for their life and their money. The gang was very happy to escape. “It ain’t so bad,” one crook noted. “We got $25 between us.” The boss screamed, “I warned you to stay clear of lawyers! We had $100 when we broke in!”
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for Father’s Day ¥ Use a mesh bag to hold flowers in place in a vase. Just roll or wad it up and put it down in the bottom of the vase. When you’re done with the flowers, you can use a stick to swish the bag around and loosen any gunk inside the vase when cleaning. Launder the mesh or just toss it. ¥ When freezing leftovers, especially soup or stew, consider using zipper-closing bags. They can be filled and frozen flat, then stacked nicely. They take up much less room than standard containers.
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¥ “To make a waterproof mattress protector in a pinch, slit a large garbage bag down the side and bottom, lay it flat over the mattress and cover with a beach towel. Then put the sheet over that. The garbage bag protects the mattress; the towel makes it comfortable.” -- U.D. in Tennessee
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¥ “Keep extra liner bags in the bottom of the garbage can. They are handy, so you’ll be more likely to reline the can as soon as you take the garbage out.” -- K.P. in Massachusetts
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¥ Keep a box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors. When it’s time to replace it, dump it down the drain and follow with a small bottle of vinegar and a hot water flush. Keep your kitchen smelling nice and use fewer chemicals to do it. ¥ “Here’s a fun invitation to make and receive: Blow up a balloon and pinch (don’t tie). Write the details of the party on the balloon in permanent marker. Let it dry fully before you deflate it. Then send it!” -- R.A. in Washington Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475 or e-mail JoAnn at email@example.com. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
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Trivia Test Answers 1. 1871 2. Clermont 3. David 4. Dinah Shore 5. Daphne du Maurier 6. Odysseus 7. Schlitz 8. Venezuela 9. Culinary expert and cookbook author 10. Socialism (c) 2011 King Features