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by Patricia L. Cook Next week, on February 21, many people around the globe will celebrate Mardi Gras. This issue of Tidbits will “laissez les bons temps rouler” (let the good times roll) as we explore this celebration. in America is New Orleans. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which begins the Christian season of Lent. It is also the last day of the Carnival season. “Carnival” season is a period of feasting and fun that always begins on January 6, which in Christianity is the Feast of Epiphany, following the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” While mostly celebrated in areas where Roman Catholicism is predominant, Epiphany is celebrated in other churches as well.


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weeks before Mardi Gras, but the largest and probably most famous happen on the last weekend before and through Mardi Gras day. There are about a dozen held in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day, with even more in the suburbs. important times for Catholics. Ash Wednesday to Easter that make up Lent. Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, when the resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated. turn the page for more!

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Tidbits® of Hoover

Applying Online for Social Security 1. Is the book of Gezer in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. From Luke 2, what village was known as the “City of David”? Damascus, Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem 3. Who drove a nail into Sisera’s forehead while he slept? Mark, Vashti, Jael, Mary 4. To what tribe of Israel did Paul belong? Asher, Benjamin, Issachar, Reuben 5. From Genesis 4, who built a city called Enoch? Adam, Moses, Noah, Cain 6. Whose ear did Peter cut off? His own, Malchus, Baasha, Azariah

Have you seen the public service announcements with Patty Duke promoting Social Security and Medicare? Now there’s a new one: She’s signing up for Social Security ... from home ... in her pajamas! I thought the plaid PJs were a bit much, but the message is a good one. We can sign up for Social Security and Medicare from the comfort of our home, assuming we have a computer. Here is a partial list of things you can do online at the Social Security site: --Apply for Social Security benefits. --Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). --Apply for Medicare. --Apply for disability benefits (includes the Adult Disability Report).

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--Estimate the amount of retirement benefits you’ll get. There’s a limit of 30 minutes to this feature, so make sure you have all your information ready. You’ll need your name, Social Security number, date and place of birth, and your mother’s maiden name. You’ll be able to calculate the best age to start collecting benefits. --Get extra help with Medicare drug plan costs. This could add up to $4,000 in assistance if you’re already on Medicare and have low income. Once you apply online, you’ll be given a confirmation number. At the same site you can then go in and check the status. If you’re certain you’ll never want to use the online features at Social Security, your best bet is to block access. You might want to do this if you’ve been the victim of identity theft or domestic violence. Suggestion: If it’s more convenient to apply online, once you’re all set up, then go in and block your information completely. Then no one, even you, can access it without a phone call to Social Security. To get started, go online to www.socialsecurity. gov.

Homeless Women Vets Often Shortchanged .

The number of homeless women veterans doubled between 2006 and 2010. By now there’s no telling how high that number is. With the increased number of female veterans having served in the Gulf War, the numbers can’t help but rise dramatically. A recent General Accounting Office study on homeless female veterans found that: --Two-thirds of the women were between 40 and 59 years of age. --One-third had disabilities. LOVE AND MARRIAGE (continued): --Many of them were raising minor children. Per the GAO, the big reason there isn’t enough for these female veterans thatso of hot help water. After you get used to it, it is ain’t thehot.” information isn’t out there: “HUD collects data on homeless women and on homesuccess. Wisconsin’s Simon and Ida Stern less veterans, but does not collect detailed information on homeless women veterans. Neither the VA nor HUD collect data on the time. total number of homeless women veterans.” Therefore, even though the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to end veteran homelessness by 2015, it’s not on track to deal holding oldest bridegroom. with homeless female veterans because it doesn’t know the extent of the problem. To compound matters, female veterans often aren’t aware of the services available to them, and even if they are, those in place to help them aren’t always aware of the services they are to provide. A quarter of homeless-shelter coordinators however monogamously. didn’t evennot know there are programs in place for female veterans. It’s no wonder that many do not need to have any reasons for getting women are waiting so long for shelter: up to four months. interested in who did what or who isEven telling the There are additional complications. truth.” if the women veterans are accepted into a shelter program, more than half don’t take children, or they limit the number of children. Or there can be safety issues. Our women veterans deserve better.


For Advertising Call 205-515-5288 PARADES (continued): and means “to go to or make confession.” Mardi Gras is known as the day to party. In New Orleans, when the clock strikes midnight, Lent starts, and the party ends. Mounted police lead a parade of street cleaners, clearing and cleaning the city.

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Mardi Gras on March 3, 1699. After a very Orleans. They had a small celebration and named the area “Pointe due Mardi Gras.” Bienville also established “Fort Louis de la Louisiane,” which later became Mobile, time, before the Louisiana Purchase, Mobile was part of Louisiana.)

Mardi Gras holiday with street parties, masked control of New Orleans, they abolished the rowdy celebrations. The bans were in force until Louisiana became a state in 1812.

the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association. Krewes started the parades as we know them today and keep them going. The whose members plan and pay for their parades, costumes, throws and more. There are no sponsorships or city funds used.

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Learn How to Make a Fresh Start Virtually no one has made it unscathed through our years-long financial meltdown. Whether you’re still struggling mightily or you’ve begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel, chances are one of your questions is: What do I do next? A new book likely has answers for you: “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Starting Fresh: How to Leave Financial Hardships Behind and Take Control of Your Financial Life” by Karen Blumenthal [Crown

Business, $15]. “Starting Fresh” is a must-have. It sets its sights on those who’ve lost jobs or homes, or suffered from the effects of a health crisis, death of a spouse, divorce and more. No matter where you are in life and no matter your income level, you’ll find steps on how to adapt and adjust to your new circumstances. Blumenthal sets the tone for dealing with your current reality on the very first page: “Decide that you won’t make any big financial decisions right away ... you’ll make better choices if you step back, reflect, assess and get your bearings.” One of the very first slow-start steps she’ll have you do is to take an inventory of all your assets and liabilities. For example, what is your car worth and how much do you still owe on it? What, exactly, do you owe on credit cards? Medical bills? Are there any valuables in a safe deposit box? Do any of your insur-

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ance policies have a cash value? Next you’ll learn how to: --Repair your credit. --Determine whether your housing is actually affordable. (Should you move or stay?) If you own your home, what is it worth? (Check online.) Do you qualify for a modification program? --Adjust your debts to your new situation. --Assess your health-coverage plans. --Develop a sustainable plan for long-term financial health. --Readjust your budget to your current reality. And if there’s a miracle and you come into a large sum of money -- perhaps from an insurance policy, employment severance payout or divorce settlement -- Blumenthal will tell you how to manage that as well. Don’t miss the section on Internet links covering a wide variety of help topics.

Tidbits® of Hoover

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To Your Good Health By Paul G Donohue M.D.

Louse Invasion Drives Mom Buggy DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am going buggy -- literally. My 5-year-old kindergartener has head lice. I discovered them because he started scratching his head. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about this. I can’t imagine where he picked them up. Is the entire family destined to come down with them? I have four other children, two dogs and a husband. Help. -- B.C. ANSWER: Head lice cause mothers more consternation than just about any other illness. For the record, head lice don’t transmit any illnesses. They do cause itching and scratching. They’re not a reflection of your cleanliness. Most likely your child picked them up at school from head-to-head

1. TELEVISION: What was the theme song of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”? 2. MUSIC: What rock group was featured in the documentary “The Kids Are Alright”? 3. MYTHOLOGY: In Norse mythology, who were the Norns? 4. MOVIES: Actress Shirley MacLaine played a nun in which movie? 5. CARTOONS: What were the names of Daisy Duck’s nieces? 6. MEDICINE: Who discovered that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes? 7. LITERATURE: What was the first novel written by Raymond Chandler? 8. AD SLOGANS: What company advised motorists to “trust your car to the star”? 9. ANATOMY: What is a human being’s normal body temperature in Celsius? 10. GEOGRAPHY: The tiny principality of Andorra borders which two European countries?

California Simmered Beans We’ve all heard that we should eat more vegetables, but more often than not, those eating at our tables don’t want to. Well, put this on the menu and see if all those veggie haters don’t turn into veggie lovers with the very first bite! 1/2 cup chopped onion 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat tomato soup 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 2 (16-ounce) cans cut green beans, rinsed and drained In a large skillet sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray, saute onion for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato soup, basil, rosemary and black pepper. Add green beans. Mix well to combine. Lower heat and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture is heated through, stirring often. Makes 6 (1/2 cup) servings. „ Each serving equals: 52 calories, 0g fat, 2g protein, 11g carb., 155mg sodium, 2g fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Vegetable.

contact or from sharing caps, brushes or combs. The head louse is only 3 mm (0.12 inches) long. They’re difficult to see. The female louse lays her eggs at the base of the hair and glues them to the hair. The eggs are called nits. They hatch in about eight days. Nits found within a quarter of an inch from the scalp indicate active infection. If they are farther away, the infection is not likely to be active. Treatments for head lice are many and usually quite effective. Advisory bodies promote permethrin (Nix) as the treatment of choice. It calls for reapplication in one week to 10 days. Malathion lotion (Ovide) is another reliable cure. Benzyl alcohol (Ulesfia Lotion 5 percent) is another good treatment that is applied to dry hair and then rinsed off. Natroba (spinosad) Topical Solution was approved recently as a head lice treatment. Both these latter two medicines need a prescription. You have many choices. Some of these treatments include combing the wet hair with a fine-toothed comb to get rid of nits. You do not have to treat other family members if they show no signs of infection. Pets are safe; human head lice don’t like them. The only household cleaning necessary is vacuuming chairs and carpets where your 5-year-old has been. Clothes he has worn in the past two days need to be washed in hot water and dried with maximum heat. Lice that are off the head live for only two days. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Some time ago, you wrote about a shrunken leg that was shaped like some kind of bottle. It has the word “teeth” in it. I have a dropped foot. My doctor doesn’t know what I am talking about but would like to see the article. Will you repeat it? -- I.D. ANSWER: The “teeth” in what I wrote referred to Dr. Tooth, an English doctor whose name is part of a nerve illness called Charcot (SHAR-coe)-Marie-Tooth disease. In spite of the fact that the name draws a look of puzzlement from most people, it’s the most commonly inherited nerve-muscle disorder. The illness usually shows itself in teen years, but it can take many years before it’s diagnosed. The lower leg muscles become quite thin, so the leg looks like an upside-down champagne bottle. It makes walking difficult. People stumble. Often, they cannot lift the foot fully off the ground -- a dropped foot. A number of different varieties of this illness exist. I’ve described the most common one.

The latter film stars Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna, with Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, and will fill the big screens on June 1. “Snow White” is a twist on the fairy tale, in which the Huntsman schools Snow White in the art Q: I read in an interview with James Van of war and together they start a rebellion to Der Beek that he was going to be in a new bring down the Queen. comedy this year, but I haven’t seen anyQ: I watched a full version of the movie thing about it. I know he’s in “Franklin and “Dressed to Kill” on TV recently, and I’m Bash,” but I don’t think that’s what he’s positive that Sylvester Stallone played the talking about. Can you help? -- Violet F., part of Angie Dickinson’s son but was not Harrisburg, Pa. listed on the credits. Did he use another A: James was referring to his midseason name? -- Lin L., via e-mail comedy called “Don’t Trust the B---- in A: The part of Angie Dickinson’s son, PeApartment 23,” in which he plays a “sort ter Miller, was played by Keith Gordon, 51, of” version of himself. The series debuts whom I remember best as Jason Melon in after comedy powerhouse “Modern Fami“Back to School,” the bullied college nerd ly” on April 11 on ABC. The show is about whose father (played by Rodney Dangera female odd couple who live together in field) enrolls in college with his son to help New York City, with James portraying the him assimilate. In the late ‘80s, Keith made best friend of Chloe, the mean-girl roomthe move to directing, helming such series mate. I’ve seen the pilot and it is very funas “Wild Palms,” “Homicide: Life on the ny, and I love that James is able to parody Street,” “Dexter” and “House.” himself in a non-self-conscious way, and *** that he isn’t afraid to bring up “Dawson’s Q: Could you please tell me if “Against the Creek.” Wall” will be returning? -- Kathleen E., via *** e-mail Q: When does the new Snow White movie A: Despite positive reviews by “New York come out in theaters? -- Brandon D., OmaDaily News,” “Los Angeles Times” and ha, Neb. “The Hollywood Reporter,” Lifetime’s copA: That would depend on which Snow drama “Against the Wall” wasn’t able to hold White movie you mean. “Mirror Mirror” -enough of its lead-in audience from “Drop which stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, Dead Diva” each week, and its ratings slipped Lily Collins as Snow White and Armie from a meager 1.78 million viewers at its Hammer as Prince Andrew Alcott -- hits premiere to 1.47 million by its season finale. theaters on March 30. This film is being Lifetime opted not to renew the show for a billed as family fare, in contrast to the second season. darker “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

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On Feb. 24, 1786, Wilhelm Karl Grimm, the younger of the two Brothers Grimm, is born in Hanau, Germany. The brothers’ collection of oral folktales include “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Rapunzel.” On Feb. 25, 1890, Vlacheslav Skryabin, foreign minister for the Soviet Union who took the revolutionary name Molotov, is born in Kurkaka, Russia. Molotov advocated the use of throwing bottles filled with flammable liquid and stuffed with a lit rag at the enemy, and the famous “Molotov cocktail” was born. On Feb. 26, 1903, Alexander Winton, driving his Winton Bullet, sets the first speed record ever achieved at Daytona Beach, Fla. Built in 1902, the “Bullet Number 1” drove a measured mile at more than 65 mph. On Feb. 23, 1945, during the battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, an event captured on film by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal. Although the photograph has long led people to believe that the flag raising was a turning point in the battle, fighting continued for 31 more days. On Feb. 22, 1950, Walt Disney’s animated feature “Cinderella” opens. Based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, “Cinderella” featured songs like “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and became one of Disney’s most beloved films. On Feb. 20, 1986, France and Britain announce that a tunnel under the English Channel linking the two countries would soon become a reality. Trains, cars and buses would be able to speed through the tunnel in less than half an hour. Construction began in December 1987, and the “chunnel” was finally completed in 1994. On Feb. 21, 1994, CIA operative Aldrich Ames is arrested for selling secrets to the Soviet Union. At least 10 men were killed after Ames revealed their identities, and more were sent to Russian gulags. Both Ames and his wife were later convicted. Ames was sentenced to life in prison while his wife, as part of a plea-bargain agreement, was given a five-year sentence.

PARADES (continued): masked people with carriages and riding horseback. Newspapers started announcing the Mardi Gras events in advance. More krewes

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parades in the Greater New Orleans area. of Comus, a secret society of businessmen, organized a torch-lit procession with rolling parade traditions that persist today. The parade was followed by a ball for the krewe and their guests.

starts on January 6. Each krewe elects a king and queen and their court. They wear masks Rex, who as the King of Carnival, is revealed the day before the parade. group of businessmen, came up with the idea to have a King of Carnival. They held the introduced the Mardi Gras song (“If Ever purple, green and gold. Meaning was assigned for faith and gold for power.

Gras crowds work hard to catch “throws.” This tradition started in 1871. The most popular throws are beads, plastic cups and doubloons. Doubloons are aluminum medallions, like large coins, that depict the parade theme on one side and the krewe’s emblem on the other. Krewe of Rex, and the start of doubloons like Rex.

Dachshund’s Odd Behavior By Samantha Mazzotta

When we give my miniature Dachshund, “Peg,” a chew treat, she takes it and walks all over the house crying. She will stop and “bury” it in different places, under a blanket or behind things, then pull it right back out and continue the process again and again for a while before she finally settles down and begins chewing it. We were wondering what is going on in her head that results in this behavior. -- Curious Doxie Mom DEAR DOXY MOM: Peg’s behavior has all the earmarks of instinctive behaviors applied to a specific item (the chew treat). Dachshunds are notorious diggers --it’s part of what they were originally bred for, as working dogs that would root out vermin like moles. So it’s not too surprising that she does this with her chew toys. The crying seems like a way of announcing possession, like “hey, this is mine, I got it, check it out!” rather than distress.

If the behavior happens only at treat time and doesn’t bother you or harm the furniture, it’s up to you whether to let it continue.

However, it sounds like Peg needs more stimulation in her life. Try playing games where you “bury” a toy (cover it with a pillow, say) and have her find it. You can even go so far as to build a sandbox out back where she can bury and dig up toys during play times, under your supervision. Don’t let her dig in other parts of the yard, though; if she starts that up, distract her and give her something else to do (like teaching basic obedience commands) or bring her back to the sandbox to dig. Send your tips, questions and comments to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or e-mail them to

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Tidbits® of Hoover

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For Advertising Call (205) 552-5502 PARADES (continued): arrives by a boat that crosses the Mississippi River on the night before Mardi Gras. When Rex arrives, the Mayor of New Orleans presents him with the key to the city.

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held during Mardi Gras in New Orleans is put on by the Krewe of Zulu. This krewe started from a group of black men who belonged to community where, for annual dues, members aid when needing to bury deceased members.

They wore raggedy pants and had a quartet singing in front and behind their king. The king wore a “lard can” crown and carried a “banana stalk” scepter.

krewe made their mark by throwing coconuts, known as “Golden Nuggets.” In the early years the coconuts were in their natural “hairy” state, but a few years later, the krewe started handing out beautiful painted and decorated coconuts. law dubbed the “Coconut Bill” that excluded from the Zulus handing out coconuts in their parades. is a legal holiday.



Can you imagine the looks on the faces of the ground that is now named the Grand Canyon? This Tidbits will go deep into the canyon for some interesting information. 1893, then Grand Canyon Game Preserve in massive canyon was destined for greatness. was created, Grand Canyon National Park was established in 1919. The park is famous worldwide, hosting around 5 million visitors national park, Yellowstone. of northern Arizona, Grand Canyon National m) deep and about 18 miles (29 km) wide. Canyon’s large expanse of land. The elevation

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It was American author James Thurber who made the following sage observation: “Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.” If you’re a fan of the original “Wizard of Oz” movie, you might be surprised to learn that the actress who played Glinda the Good Witch, Billie Burke, was 54 years old when the film was shot. The award for the most needless war in history could very well go to Paraguay, whose president, Francisco Solano Lopez, believed himself to be an excellent tactician. He was a great admirer of

THE GRAND CANYON (continued):

ï­¬ Ï«¿®¬»® îðïî É»»µ éthere is only one lodging facility for visitors, below the rim of the Grand Canyon. Phantom Ú»¾ ïîó ïè accessible by hiking or mule Ranch is only trip and for п¹» ëhardy travelers who want to see more than the rim. The rustic architecture of Phantom Ranch and other structures designed


the Grand Canyon Railway, an extension of the housing for visiting guests was needed. The

The beautiful, rugged building is sometimes called “the most expensively constructed and appointed log house in America.” It is listed on

geology professor, recorded the geology and geography of the Green and Colorado Rivers and the Grand Canyon after two historic trips

Mead to 9,165 feet (2793 m) above sea level at

interest and provided much information for the future with his mapping of the wild Grand Canyon area.

Think of it this way: You can see variations in the ecosystem within Grand Canyon National Park that are similar to what you would see if you traveled from Mexico to Canada! From desert plants to mountain trees — They’re all

both a family vacation and studying nature. The Colorado River and canyon walls are full

the temperature can vary up to 35 degrees.

area. Both evolutionists and creationists are intrigued by the area, and even though they disagree about life origins, they agree that the Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing natural features on earth.

Napoleon Bonaparte and wished to emulate the French emperor, but he had no wars to fight. To remedy the situation, in 1864 Lopez declared war on all three of his neighboring countries, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. His tactical abilities seem to have been of little use, however; it is estimated that 90 percent of Paraguay’s male population was killed during the course of the war. During this time of election madness, “misology” could be a useful word to know. It means “hatred of reason.” French novelist Marcel Proust’s magnum opus, “Remembrance of Things Past,” has been hailed as a literary masterpiece, but not everyone was a fan at first read. As Proust was trying, unsuccessfully, to find a publisher for his seven-volume work, one publisher said, “I may be dense, but I fail to see why a chap needs 30 pages to describe how he tosses and turns in bed before falling asleep.” The author finally published the first volume with his own money; after the book was hailed as a masterpiece by critics, the same publishers who had rejected Proust competed for the opportunity to print the other six volumes of his work.





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BIBLE TRIVIA ANSWERS: 1) Neither; 2) Bethlehem; 3) Jael; 4) Benjamin; 5) Cain; 6) Malchus

Answers 1. “Love Is All Around” 2. The Who 3. Norse goddesses of fate 4. “Two Mules for Sister Sara” 5. April, May and June 6. Dr. Walter Reed 7. “The Big Sleep” 8. Texaco 9. 37 10. Spain and France

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