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February 21, 2014 D & P Enterprises

Volume 2 Issue 8

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OPERA

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Noted Italian operatic singer Enrico Caruso was born on February 25, 1873. In honor of that event, come along with Tidbits as we attend the opera!

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• Caruso was one of the first opera singers to have his voice professionally recorded. He made nearly 300 recordings between 1902 and 1920, which was just before he died. As a result, his recordings are available today on CD or digital download. His 1904 recording of “Vesti la giubba” (“put on the costumes”) from the opera Pagliacci was the first sound recording to sell a million copies. Because of the popularity of his recordings, he was one of the most famous celebrities of his day. • He also made history when he was broadcast live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in 1910 in the first radio broadcast to be publicly transmitted in the United States. • In 1906, Caruso performed in San Francisco the night before the big earthquake shook the town to its roots. He was so unnerved by the experience that he feared the shock would damage his voice. Standing in the shattered ruins of his hotel, he stood by a broken window, singing at the top of his lungs in order to be sure his voice was unharmed. He swore he’d never return to San Francisco, and he kept his word.

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CARMEN FACTS

• Carmen by George Bizet is one of the most frequently performed operas, and the “Toreador Song” is one of the most widely recognized operatic tunes. • Enrico Caruso and Maria Jeritza starred in a production of Carmen in which real horses were used. One horse relieved himself, leav-ing a huge puddle. When the climactic death scene arrived, Caruso stabbed Maria, but she refused to fall down dead. “Die! Fall will you!” Caruso shouted, and she sang, “I’ll die if you can find me a clean place!” • The most tacky version of Carmen was probably the silent movie version that was made in 1915. • During one performance of Carmen a dog wandered on stage and became fascinated by the conductor’s waving baton. The dog enjoyed fetching sticks and couldn’t understand why the conductor wouldn’t throw the baton for him to retrieve. The dog began to bark and the barking became louder when the conductor used the baton to try to shoo the dog away. The curtain came down and the dog was removed. • Many cats reside in the outdoor arena in Verona and in one performance of Carmen, a kitty came out from behind the wings and started rubbing up against Don Jose’s legs, purring and meowing just as he was preparing to murder Carmen. turn to page 2 for more!

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Page 2 Opera

(continued):

• A performance of Carmen was being staged in Mexico City. The singer playing the part of Don José had a long wait back stage while Acts 3 and 4 progressed, so he decided to dash out to get a beer in a local tavern. No sooner had he entered one than he was arrested by a couple of cops who saw his scruffy clothing and dragged him off to jail. When he informed them he was a tenor singing opera, they informed him he was drunk. He could only convince them by singing his part in the opera.

OPERATIC FACTS

• When Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, wed Prince Frederick William of Prussia, she picked out music of her two favorite composers. One was the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, and the other was the “Wedding March” from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Copy cat brides in England chose the same music, starting a tradition that continues today: “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white...” • An opera called “The Prophet” written in 1849 by Giacomo Meyerbeer packed houses all over Europe because of the popularity of the rollerskating scene. Arm in arm, the diva and the baritone sang a duet while doing figure eights around the stage. • The original Engelbert Humperdinck was a German musician in the late 1800s. He wrote the opera Hansel and Gretel. • A age 2, William Gilbert was kidnapped from his home in Italy, and the ransom his parents paid was one pound of sterling silver for each pound of baby— 25 pounds in all. When Gilbert grew up and started working with Arthur Sullivan, he incorporated this incident into two of his operettas. • In the opera Othello, Othello is the only black actor. But in New Orleans in 1955, the actor playing the part became ill, and the understudy did too. Nowhere in town was there another black man who knew the part. However, there was a white man who could sing and knew all the words.

• Igniting Issues? • Uneven Flames? • Grease, Grime & Gunk?

So the play was revised a bit, becoming the only all-black performance of Othello with a white star. • When the orchestra met for the dress re-hearsal of The Magic Flute in London on April 1, 1948, conductor Karl Rankl began directing the music, only to be astonished when, instead of The Magic Flute, the play-ers launched into the overture from Carmen. It was an April Fool’s Day joke. •

A TOAST TO AN OPERA SINGER

Helen Porter Mitchell was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1861. She showed remarkable musical ability, with a voice spanning three octaves. As a young woman, she married and tried to settle down, but she knew she was not destined for the life of a housewife; she was destined for the stage. • After receiving instruction as an opera singer, she knew this was the life for her. However, Australia did not have many opportunities for opera singers in the 1800s, so she left her family and traveled to Europe and England, where she was received enthusiastically, becoming the first Australian to achieve international recognition as an opera singer. • She had always gone by the nickname of Nellie, and she was persuaded to adopt a new stage name as her last name. She chose a contraction of her hometown of Melbourne. • During a newspaper interview, a reporter asked her how she stayed so slim. She said she enjoyed eating toast that was sliced very thin and toasted very crispy, a habit she had picked up when she’d been ill and could digest little else. The hotel chef at the Ritz served it to her whenever she visited, and other customers enjoyed it as well. Her fans, striving to emulate her, also started eating thin crispy toast, which was generally served with

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www.TidbitsofIrvine.com PICKS OF THE WEEK

“Gravity” (PG-13) -- Spiraling off into the dark void of space, two astronauts undergo a pulse-pounding struggle for survival as their odds of ever reaching Earth again plummet with each new obstacle. Sandra Bullock plays a medical officer on her first trip into outer space who is paired with a veteran astronaut, played by George Clooney. While working on the Hubble telescope, a patch of space debris cuts them off from the space shuttle and sends the pair careening into space. During its boxoffice run, “Gravity” attracted rave reviews from audiences and critics. Cinema purists have hailed it as a model for how 3-D filmmaking should be done. For us home-video audiences, the movie offers a tenacious survival drama that will leave you gasping for sweet, sweet oxygen. “Thor: The Dark World” (PG-13) -- Long ago, the Norse gods of Asgard banished some ancient evil dudes to a far-off dimension. Natalie Portman, while searching for a way to contact Thor, accidentally unleashes the sealed-away evil powers. Once again, the fate of the universe is in the brawny hands of Thor the thunder god (Chris Hemsworth). This time, however, Thor needs to recruit the reluctant aid of his evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the god of chaos and the villain of “The Avengers.” While Hemsworth carried the first Thor film on his broad shoulders, this sequel is largely propped up by the caustic and sneering screen presence of Hiddleston. As Thor’s adopted brother and chief rival, he’s also the balancing point for the movie that allows it to make fun of itself. Audiences get to drink in the foamy, hammer-smashy battles, then wash it down with the refreshingly sour lemonade of Loki’s anti-hero. “Nebraska” (R) -- A bitter old man and his disillusioned son take an eye-opening road trip from Missouri to Nebraska in this black-and-white dark comedy. Bruce Dern plays Woody Grant, a crusty Midwestern alcoholic who believes he’s won a magazine sweepstakes. His son, Dave (“SNL’s” Will Forte), agrees to take him on the road. The film gives a lot of consideration to the landscapes surrounding the minuscule drama; lots of wide open, underwhelming backdrops underscore the brief exchanges of dialogue and quiet realizations of missed opportunities. “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (R) -- The story starts with 15-year-old Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos), a French high-school student who has caught the eye of one of her male classmates. While Adele’s first romance fizzles, she becomes fixated on Emma, a mysterious blue-haired art student she’s seen around town. The story of romance, pain and discovery unfolds over decades, taking the viewer on an emotional ride into deepest parts of the human heart. The film has garnered a lot of controversy for its scenes of adult intimacy, but the backlash shouldn’t take away from this beautiful drama.

Page 3

Q: I am devastated by the recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Do you know what will become of “Mockingjay”? -- Jessica W., via email A: Philip Seymour Hoffman, who passed away last month at the age of 46, had finished “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1” (which is set for release this November), and had one scene left to film for “Mockingjay -- Part 2” (to be released November 2015). That scene, however, was an emotional and pivotal scene, and as of this writing, it hasn’t been revealed how the filmmakers plan to work around that. A Lionsgate executive told “The Hollywood Reporter”: “We’re all extraordinarily sad. ... Obviously, we’re going to have a couple of work-around issues, but the movie will be creatively whole. His performances in both [remaining] movies will be up to the best of his craft. We feel it will be a good tribute to him.” *** Q: It’s good to see Jennifer Lopez back in the saddle as a judge on “American Idol,” but I miss seeing her on the big screen. Does she have any plans for a film in the near future? -- Gigi R., Chicago A: Jennifer Lopez and Viola Davis (“The Help”) are set to costar together in the film “Lila and Eve.” It tells the story of a grief-stricken mother (Viola) who, in the aftermath of her son’s murder, attends a support group where she meets Eve (Jennifer), who has lost her daughter. When Lila hits numerous roadblocks from the police in bringing justice for her son’s slaying, Eve urges Lila to take matters into her own hands to track down her son’s killers. The film is scheduled for a late

Top 10 DVD, Blu-ray Rentals

1. Captain Phillips (PG) Tom Hanks 2. Prisoners (R) Hugh Jackman 3. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (PG-13) Forest Whitaker 4. Despicable Me 2 (PG) animated 5. The Family (R) Robert De Niro 6. We’re the Millers (R) Jennifer Aniston 7. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (PG) Logan Lerman 8. Fast & Furious 6 (PG-13) Vin Diesel 9. The Wolverine (PG-13) Hugh Jackman 10. The Lone Ranger (PG-13) Johnny Depp

Top 10 DVD, Blu-ray Sales

1. Captain Phillips (PG) Sony 2. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (PG-13) Anchor Bay 3. Riddick (R) Universal 4. Machete Kills (R) Universal 5. Instructions Not Included (PG-13) Lions Gate 6. Despicable Me 2 (PG) Universal 7. Carrie (R) MGM 8. Fruitville Station (R) Anchor Bay 9. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (PG) FOX 10. Fast & Furious 6 (PG-13) Universal Source: Rentrak Corp. (c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc

(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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2014/early 2015 release date, and is expected hit the festival circuit before opening to wider audiences. *** Q: Please tell me what happened to the miniseries “The Assets.” It was really good, and I would like to see all of it. -- Marcia H., via email A: Due to dismal ratings, ABC pulled the eight-part drama after airing only two episodes. At the recent Television Critics Association press tour, ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee said that he was proud of the show, even if its ratings weren’t what they were hoping for. He said the remaining six episodes of “The Assets” would be made available at some point in the future -- either on ABC or ABC.com -- but no specific time frame was given. *** Q: I haven’t seen Samantha Brown on TV in a very long time. Will I see her again soon? -- John L., Leesburg, Fla. A: Next up for Samantha is cohosting the Travel Channel’s “The Trip: 2014” -- which also features Adam Richman, Don Wildman and Anthony Melchiorri -- as they explore the ultimate insider experiences in Spain and Morocco. This television special is also a sweepstakes: Go to travelchannel.com by March 24, and enter for your chance to win this $100,000 dream vacation. Write to Cindy at King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; or e-mail her at letters@ cindyelavsky.com. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Health Isn’t What You Think It Is by Dr. Gary Martin, Chiropractor

It’s easy to confuse feeling good with being healthy. But there’s a big difference. As a child, you probably stayed home when you weren’t feeling well. When you felt better, you returned to school because you were “well”. Not necessarily. How you feel is a poor judgment of your health. Consider those with undetected cancer, hypertension, heart disease and even tooth decay. Health is related to function. You’re healthy when your body is working like its supposed to. A fever? Healthy. Vomiting? Healthy. Coughing? Healthy. These are usually signs that your body is working as it should. Yet most of us associate these symptoms as being sick! As a result, most of what is called “health” care today is actually “sickness care”. Because the usual goal is to eliminate or reduce the symptoms associated with some sort of malfunction of the body. Of course we all want to feel good. The question these days is, how do you want to achieve your goal? There are basically 3 strategies. 1. One approach is to ignore your problem, hoping the self-healing properties of your body are potent enough to resolve things on its own. Some health (functional) problems do resolve. Many do not. 2. Another strategy is to take a drug to speed up a function (such as laxatives), slow down a function (like stomach antacids), or numb the body’s awareness of the symptoms (analgesics). 3. The common sense approach is to find and eliminate the cause. Start with the nervous system, since it controls everything. The moving bones of the spine are often involved in irritating the nearby nerves, compromising their command and control of your body. When the body is working the way it should, you’ll be healthy. Make sure you’re functioning properly, before the symptoms appear, with regular chiropractic checkups.


Page 4

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ADOPT A PET

Pets, Pot Don’t Mix By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAWS’S CORNER: I read a report this week that said more and more pets are being treated for “marijuana poisoning” from accidentally ingesting their owners’ medically prescribed marijuana. Is this true? Why haven’t we heard more about it? -- Concerned in California DEAR CONCERNED: As the number of states that allow medical marijuana to be prescribed increases, it’s likely you will hear more stories about pets being affected by ingesting this drug. A recent NBC News report estimated that calls to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center reporting pet poisonings increased 30 percent between 2009 and 2013. However, Time magazine disputes that report, noting that the actual number of calls increased from 213 in 2009 to about 320 last year -- a very small percentage of the 18,000 total calls the APCC gets each year from owners. My take on the issue is this: Marijuana is a drug, so owners need to use common sense. You wouldn’t leave other prescriptions lying around for the dog or cat to

ALICE

eat. So don’t leave your stash lying around. Further, many patients use baked goods to ingest marijuana rather than smoking it. “Pot brownies,” for example, contain chocolate, which is definitely dangerous to dogs and can cause severe symptoms when eaten. The APCC gets far more calls about poisoning from chocolate ingestion than from any other substance, Time noted. That said, pet owners who see or suspect their dog or cat has ingested marijuana should contact their veterinarian for advice. They also should watch their pet for unusual symptoms, such as lethargy, excessive drooling, diarrhea or incontinence, and take them to the vet immediately if they begin experiencing these or any other problems. Send your questions or comments to ask@pawscorner.com. Did you know mosquitoes can transmit heartworm larvae to dogs, but fleas don’t? Find out more in my new book “Fighting Fleas,” available now on Amazon. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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February 21-27, 2014 Tune in to ICTV, Channel 30 on COX Cable, for Irvine news, youth sports, entertainment programming, community bulletin board listings and City Council and Orange County Great Park meetings. state of the city Address

Mayor Steven S. Choi, Ph.D. will deliver the annual State of the City at 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 25, in the Council Chamber. This free event does not require a ticket or RSVP. The public also is invited to the 5 p.m. reception in the Civic Center lobby. The address will include major accomplishments during the past year. cityofirvine.org • Tuesday, February 25 • Council Chamber • 1 Civic Center Plaza •

spring Inside Irvine now Available

The 2014 spring issue of Inside Irvine, which includes the Activity Guide and City news is now online and in homes. This edition features articles on Great Park development, Irvine camps and Earth Day tips. Other features include Irvine parks and facilities, tax assistance, preventing distracted driving and the City’s Activity Guide with hundreds of course listings. Visit our website to sign up for your favorite Irvine classes, programs and activities! • cityofirvine.org/insideirvine •

financial Assistance Available to residents for critical repairs Irvine homeowners who need to make critical repairs to their homes may qualify to receive financial assistance through the City of Irvine’s Residential Rehabilitation Program! For more information, visit cityofirvine.org or call 949-724-7454.

Ongoing through April 15 tAx AssistAnce fOr irvine residents

The City of Irvine in partnership with the United Way of Orange County, is offering tax preparation services at no cost to taxpayers who earned less than $58,000 in 2013. Qualifying taxpayers who live, work or attend school in Irvine are eligible to receive help completing and electronically filing their tax returns through April 15, 2014. Call 888-434-8248 or visit myfreetaxes.com/irvine to schedule an appointment.

Online through february 28 city Of irvine wAlk & bike survey www.cityofirvine.org The City of Irvine is conducting an important study to better understand how residents, employees and visitors walk, bike or get around Irvine. Participants who take the Active Transportation Survey on or before February 28 will be entered in an opportunity drawing to win prizes from local bike and retail shops in Irvine. For more information or to take the survey visit cityofirvine.org.

upcOming events | Orange County Great Park | Every Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. | ocgp.org Certified Farmers Market – Sundays at the Orange County Great Park are headlined by the fresh produce and fun at our Certified Farmers Market. Every week, rain or shine, the Great Park Certified Farmers Market features fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, handcrafted artisan products, live music and entertainment, and a selection of gourmet food trucks.

• On Feb. 26, 1564, poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe is baptized in Canterbury, England, two months before the birth of his fellow playwright William Shakespeare. Historians believe Marlowe served as a spy for Queen Elizabeth while at Cambridge. • On Feb. 25, 1862, the U.S. Congress passes the Legal Tender Act, authorizing the use of paper notes to pay the government’s bills. This ended the long-standing policy of using only gold or silver in transactions, and it allowed the government to finance the enormously costly Civil War. • On Feb. 27, 1915, “The Valley of Fear” by Arthur Conan Doyle is published. Sherlock Holmes had been a popular character since he first appeared in the story “A Study in Scarlet” in 1887. The detective was modeled partly on Dr. Joseph Bell, a medical-school teacher at the University of Edinburgh. • On March 2, 1944, a train stops in a tunnel near Salerno, Italy, and more than 500 people on board suffocate and die. The train’s locomotives were burning low-grade coal substitutes that produced an excess of odorless and toxic carbon monoxide. Approximately 520 passengers were asphyxiated. • On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State, which would send trained American men and women to foreign nations to assist in development efforts. • On Feb. 24, 1981, socialite Jean Harris is convicted of murdering Dr. Herman Tarnower, the author of the bestselling “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet.” Harris claimed that she had been trying to kill herself but that Tarnower was shot when he tried to wrestle the gun away from her. He was shot four times. • On Feb. 28, 1993, at Mount Carmel in Waco, Texas, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launch a raid against the Branch Davidian compound as part of an investigation into illegal possession of firearms and explosives by the Christian cult. During an extended gun battle, multiple agents and Branch Davidians were killed or wounded. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Good Mood Food The cold and gloom of winter often bring with them a change in mood that matches the climate. Need a boost? According to new research, some foods have the same effect on your body as taking a prescription mood-enhancing drug. Do you reach for food or caffeine during the day in an attempt to feel calm, find a jolt of energy or a moment of bliss? But above all else, do you just really crave a better mood? While good habits such as eating breakfast every morning and regular meals and snacks throughout the day form the cornerstone of an energized outlook, science is revealing the vital ways in which food impacts our mood. And it might surprise you that some of the best weapons to help cure crankiness and boost energy can be found in your local grocery store. The following foods will help your mood in two ways. First, they deliver some key nutrients that help support brain chemistry to reduce the risk of depression and help improve the quality of your sleep. And they do something equally important: Powerful combinations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help you build up your energy and capacity to handle life from your body’s deepest levels (your cell’s metabolic and energy pathways). This is what we all should aim for, not the quick burst of stimulation from a sugar or caffeine fix that ultimately leaves you feeling cranky or tired. Make these feel-good foods a part of a new happiness and health routine. Dark Chocolate: - Not only is it delicious, dark chocolate is high in magnesium, a mineral that calms your muscles and reduces anxiety. It also contains tryptophan, which helps reduce symptoms of depression.? Salmon and Walnuts: - These are packed with omega-3s, which help fight off depression and mood swings. Bonus: They also can help improve memory and focus. Spinach: This leafy green is stocked with folic acid, a B vitamin that has been found to boost your mood. It’s also an antioxidant that works to protect your brain cells from free radicals, which can lead to low energy and mood swings. Chicken? - The white meat contains B-12, a vitamin that

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helps to keep you calm. Low B-12 levels can make you moody and tired.? Tofu - Tofu helps muscles relax, causing a calming effect on your body.? Avocado - Contains serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter. It’s also really good for your skin, hair and nails. Greek Yogurt - Not only is it a wonder-food, the probiotics in Greek yogurt help boost your mood and immune system. Green Tea? - It’s full of theanine, an antioxidant that acts as a calming agent.? Berries - Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries contain anthocyanidins and anthocyanins -- nutrients that help reduce stress and depression.? Chia and Flax Seeds - They have about the same amount of protein per ounce, at 4.4 grams and 5.1 grams respectively. However, chia is one of just a few plant sources that is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the needed protein-forming amino acids. Both of these seeds are a great way to get more fiber in your diet, but chia has the edge: an ounce gives you 10.6 grams of fiber, or 42 percent of your recommended daily intake, versus 7.6 grams and 31 percent for flax. These seeds also provide different types of fiber. Chia is one of the richest sources of soluble fiber, the kind that takes longer to get through your digestive tract, which adds bulk and slows glucose absorption. The fiber in flax has been tied to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. In fact, research has shown an association between daily flax consumption and lower cholesterol. GOOD MOOD SALAD Serve a tall glass of green tea along with this mood-enhanc-

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ing salad, and follow with 2 ounces of dark chocolate as a sweet finish to lift your mood and nourish your body and your mind! 8 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped or 8 ounces of cooked chicken breast, roughly chopped 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced 4 cups baby spinach 1/2 cup fresh blueberries 1/4 cup light feta or blue cheese crumbles 1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts Half a medium red onion, thinly sliced Toss all ingredients together until combined. Drizzle or toss with Greek Yogurt Dressing (recipe follows). Makes 2 servings. Greek Yogurt Dressing 1/2 cup Greek yogurt 4 ounces of soft, silken tofu 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon chia or flax seeds 1 tablespoon honey 2 teaspoons stone-ground or grainy mustard 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper Using a blender or a whisk, stir together all ingredients until combined and emulsified. This dressing will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7 days. *** Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva!, on Facebook and go to Hulu.com. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis


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Folks one of the biggest games in Olympic Ice Hockey took place 34 years ago in Lake Placid New York. Well not to take away from that game, the game between team USA and Russia this past Saturday was as an exciting, and tense games I have ever seen. The game had to be decided in a shootout, eight full rounds, with the stars of each team taking several shots each. The game was scoreless after the first period. Then in the second period, Russia struck first at 9:15 with a tally by Pavel Datsuyk. The US tied it at 16:34 with a goal by Anaheim Duck Cam Fowler. In the third the US took the lead at 9:27 on a power play goal by J. Pavelski. Russia would then even it up at 12:44 with another goal by Datsyuk. It appeared Russia would take the lead late in the third period with a cannon shot from the point, but the goal was waved off after it was determined the net was off its moorings. Five minutes of overtime would not be enough, and the game came down to penalty shots. T.J. Oshie would attempt six shots and made good on four of them to lift the US to 3 to 2 victory. On the women’s side the US will face Canada for the Gold medal, in a rematch of the 2010 Winter Games, both teams are from group A, and the US lost to team Canada in the preliminary round. Tune in next week folks and Tidbits will have news from the last week of the Olympics from Sochi, Russia. Till then I’ll leave you with this: “Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”--Gail Devers

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Page 8 Wintertime Roof Leaks Q: This has been a winter of unusually stormy and snowy weather, and it looks like my house isn’t holding up too well. After noticing a water stain on an upstairs ceiling I went into the attic and found water stains on several boxes and a general damp smell. Trouble is, there is still ice and snow coating the rooftop, and I don’t feel safe going outside. How can I deal with this? -George in Virginia A: Climbing onto the roof is definitely not safe in the midst of ice and snow, but you do need to stop water from entering, of course. You can set up a temporary patch from inside the attic, but keep in mind it is very temporary -- you’ll need to check it frequently until warmer weather comes and the roof can be properly repaired. In the attic, trace the water leak to its source. A leak can occur farther up a pitched roof and trickle down the rafters to drip elsewhere. If the water stains follow a path, trace that path upward to where the water marks end and check that area of the roof’s underlayment for damage, holes or apparent water entry points. Sometimes as the sun melts the ice and snow on the roof, you will be lucky (or unlucky) enough to see water actually dripping through. Now that you’ve located the leak (or leaks), you need to control the direction of the drip, so it no longer runs down the rafters but instead into a bucket to catch the water. Do this by placing a large nail in the center of the leak and tapping it through the roof’s sheathing until it reaches the shingle outside. “But Sam,” you say, “I’m trying to fix the leak, not create one!” True, but the damage is already done. For now you need to contain it until a better repair can be made. Underneath the nail you just punched through the underside of the roof, place a bucket to catch drips. Now the water isn’t running all over the attic. Next, put on a dust mask and cut away water-damaged insulation from around the hole. This clears the area you need to patch and helps prevent mold growth. Let the area dry for a day or two; hopefully much of the ice and snow will melt from the rooftop during this time. At any rate, you need the underside of the roof to be fairly dry so that a patch will hold. Once the area surrounding the hole is dry to the touch, you can patch it. Remove the nail from the hole. Make sure the area is very dry. You also might want to warm the area slightly with a hair dryer if it’s a cold day, so that the patch material adheres. Fill the hole with roofing cement or roof patch compound (available at home-improvement stores -you’ll need just a small amount) and smooth out to the sides. In some cases, with spring coming, this small plug is all you need. But some DIYers add a little insurance by cutting a thin sheet of plywood into a square that extends a couple inches beyond the hole on each side, and tacking that tightly against the hole using roofing cement (not nails). Mark the patched area with brightly colored chalk or some other easy-to-see material. When the weather warms, you or a roofing professional must inspect the roof to locate and repair the damage. as the patch will give you only a few months’ reprieve. The roof may be damaged in other areas, or there could be undetected water problems as well.

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HOME TIP: Proper attic ventilation is important at all times, but especially when the roof is leaking, as the airflow helps reduce mold growth. Make sure the attic vents aren’t blocked by boxes or deliberately closed off. Send your questions or home tips to ask@ thisisahammer.com. My new e-book, “101 Best Home Tips,” is available to download on Amazon Kindle! Pick it up it today for just 99 cents. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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