Week of March 5, 2012
Vol. 2, Issue 3
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by Kathy Wolfe How much do you know about the manufacturers of our favorite automobiles? Tidbits enlightens with some facts about the history of famous cars and their makers. • Ransom E. Olds started manufacturing vehicles in 1897 in Lansing, Michigan. The Oldsmobile soon became one of the country’s top-selling automobiles. Although Henry Ford is often credited with creating the first auto assembly line, it was actually Olds who was responsible. (Ford’s innovation was the first moving assembly line.) Olds used the concept to mass-produce the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, beginning in 1901. The assembly line quintupled his output from 425 cars in 1901 to more than 2,500 the following year. Differences of opinion with his business partner led to Ransom Olds’ exit, and General Motors purchased Oldsmobile in 1908. Ransom’s new company, the REO Motor Car Company, produced the REO Speedwagon, the predecessor of the pickup truck. • During its 107 years of operation, Oldsmobile produced over 35 million cars. It was discontinued in 2004, at which time it was the oldest American automobile brand. The R.E. Olds Museum in Lansing is home to the last Oldsmobile (an Alero) to roll off the assembly line. • Louis Chevrolet was a Swiss auto racer who went into partnership with William Durant to produce automobiles. Chevrolet had already been in the news as a frequent race winner, driving his Buick up to 72 miles per hour. He wanted to build a luxury car, while Durant’s idea was to produce inexpensive cars to compete with the Ford Model T. Chevrolet won the debate and lent his name to the Classic Six. However, a few years later, while Louis was on a European vacation, Durant introduced a smaller, cheaper car. Upon Chevrolet’s return to Michigan, the two men’s dispute grew, and Chevrolet sold out his shares and left the company. Durant went on to control General Motors, acting as president until 1920. • The names of Edward Murphy and Alanson Brush are probably not familiar ones, but you’ve certainly heard of their business venture, the Pontiac Buggy Company. First manufacturing horse-drawn carriages in Pontiac, Michigan, the business evolved into producing two-cylinder engines. When Murphy died unexpectedly at age 45, General Motors bought the company. Production of
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Page 2 For Advertising Call 251-285-4116 THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL Stephanie made it her business to try to convince Liam to give his marriage to Steffy another chance. Meanwhile, Steffy received a surprise gentleman caller at her front door. Amber confided in Marcus about her rediscovered love for Rick. Owen and Bridget returned to Los Angeles with big news. Jackie felt physically ill at the thought of losing Owen for good. Stephanie criticized Brooke for always taking Hope’s side over Steffy’s. Bridget and Nick reflected on their marriage. Hope surprised Liam by telling him that she would move in with him. Steffy’s blunt comments did not sit well with Hope as she prepared for an important night with Liam. Wait to See: A committed couple gets remarried. Phyllis Diller guest stars as Gladys Pope.
If you’re like me and love broccoli, I can almost promise that this tasty side dish will become a favorite. If you hate broccoli, then I guess you’ll just have to skip over this recipe. But, oh, what good food you’re missing! 3 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder 3/4 cup water 2 eggs or equivalent in egg substitute 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes 10 reduced-fat butter-flavored crackers, made into crumbs 1 (8-ounce) can cream-style corn 1 (8-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter-flavored cooking spray. Evenly arrange broccoli in prepared baking dish. 2. In a large bowl, combine dry milk powder and water. Add eggs, onion flakes and half of the cracker crumbs. Mix well to combine. Stir in cream-style corn and whole kernel corn. Spread corn mixture evenly over broccoli. Sprinkle remaining cracker crumbs evenly on top. Lightly spray top with butter-flavored cooking spray. 3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Place baking dish on a wire rack and let set for 5 minutes. Divide into 6 servings. ¥ Each serving equals: 142 calories, 2g fat, 8g protein, 23g carb., 242mg sodium, 3g fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch, 1 Vegetable.
GENERAL HOSPITAL Sam kept Jason in the dark about a secret in order to prevent a fatal episode. Starr Manning arrived in Port Charles. Matt didn’t like the idea of Maxie and Spinelli being roommates. Helena kidnapped Luke and tied him up. Holly Spencer made a surprise entrance at Wyndemere. Carly and Johnny grew closer. Michael felt responsible for Starr’s circumstances. Holly and Ethan shared an important talk about the past. Starr’s mother, Blair, followed her to Port Charles. Johnny agreed to hide his father as Dante searched the Quartermaine mansion. Anna asked for Luke’s help in finding Robert. Wait to See: Todd Manning and Sonny Corinthos meet. Carly is up to her old tricks at the hospital. THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS Avery overheard George’s deathbed confession about stealing the money. Later, Avery informed Phyllis that she got Daisy released from prison early. Phyllis was devastated when Daisy arrived with a police officer to take her daughter into her own custody. Lauren swore to Michael that she could cope with her post-traumatic stress disorder. Adam was confident that he was a changed man and asked Sharon if they could return to Genoa City. Tucker warned Harmony not to pursue Neil, as he was a married man. Patty confessed to Paul that Adam was the one who helped her escape. Wait to See: Paul blamed Ricky for Patty’s downfall. Devon’s family anxiously await the results of his surgery.
1. Name the group that netted Top Ten hits with “Rain on the Roof” and “Nashville Cats.” 2. “You Might Think” and “Magic” were hits for what group? 3. Which artist wrote and released “Yankee Rose” in 1986? 4. What was the Human Be-In? When was it? 5. What is Doo-wop? 6. Name the group that had a No. 1 R&B hit with “Just to Be Close to You” in 1976.
Answers 1. The Lovin’ Spoonful, in 1966. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. 2. The Cars, in 1984. 3. David Lee Roth. It’s said that Roth is one of a half-dozen male artists who can sing notes in four octaves. 4. The Be-In was a San Francisco counterculture gathering in January 1967 that led to the Summer of Love. Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead and others provided music. In New York, it was called the Central Park Be-In. 5. Doo-wop is an R&B style that was created in the 1950s using vocal harmonies with nonsense syllables to replace rhythm instruments. “Sh-Boom” by The Chords in an example. 6. The Commodores. Lionel Richie was an original member of the group, but went solo in 1982.
DAYS OF OUR LIVES Sami falsely accused Marlena of telling Rafe about her infidelity. Meanwhile, Rafe and Carrie struggled with their feelings for one another, but Carrie was determined to stay true to her marriage to Austin. Daniel brought Nicole to the hospital after she fainted; her test results revealed that she was pregnant. John and Hope traveled to Alamainia to dissolve their marriage, where John’s contact agent with the ISA was secretly murdered. Madison swooned as Brady confessed his love. Lucas flew in from Hong Kong to help Sami with her latest crisis. Abigail followed Austin and Carrie on their romantic getaway. Gabi was determined to make Chad hers despite his rediscovered feelings for Melanie. Wait to See: Sami finds out that Lucas is engaged. Bo slips into a coma.
Pontiacs in America continued until 2009, when a G6 model became the final car produced. • Ford is not America’s oldest automobile company, as many believe. That distinction belongs to Buick, ahead of Ford by one month. Founded by Scotsman David Dunbar Buick, it was incorporated in 1903. Mr. Buick had previously been in the plumbing business, successfully inventing a process for creating white porcelain bathtubs and inventing an innovative lawn sprinkler. He invested his earnings in a new business venture, producing two-cylinder engine automobiles. Almost from the start, the company had financial problems, and David Buick signed his company over to William Durant in 1904. Soon afterward, Buick became part of General Motors. • Before there was the Ford Motor Company, there was the Detroit Auto Company, Henry Ford’s first endeavor in 1899. The venture failed completely, leaving him in financial ruin. After acquiring new investors (including the Dodge brothers), he began a second company, another one he left behind. (This business later became the Cadillac Company.) Finally, in 1903, Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company, and by 1906, it was the No. 1 car manufacturer in America. He introduced the Model T in 1908, which was a less expensive auto designed for the common man. Famous Ford names include the Thunderbird, introduced in 1954, the Edsel, a failure that debuted in 1957, and the Mustang, launched in 1964. • Henry Leland was assigned to liquidate the assets from Henry Ford’s second company and ended up taking it over. Leland named the company after the founder of Detroit, a French explorer named Cadillac, who reportedly was one of Leland’s distant ancestors. He operated the company until 1909, when it was purchased by General Motors. Cadillac is noted for producing the first vehicle with an electric starter in 1912, followed by the first mass-produced car with an eight-cylinder engine. In 1924, the company was also the first to use lacquer paint, giving customers the choice of several different colors, rather than what other competitors were offering — black! • Gothenburg, Sweden, is the birthplace of the Volvo, with the first one rolling out of the factory in 1947. The name came from Latin, meaning “I roll.” Eight years later, the company had produced 15 million vehicles. Today, Volvo has more than 90,000 employees. • When you hear the name of John DeLorean, his sleek stainless steel two-seater with the unusual fullwing doors might come to mind. However, DeLorean achieved fame first for his contributions at General Motors, most notably the Pontiac GTO and Firebird. At age 27, with a Masters degree in automotive engineering, he joined the Chrysler organization. Less than a year later, he was working for the Packard Motor Company. Two years later, DeLorean made the move to GM, where he eventually became a vice-president. He is considered by many to be the creator of the “muscle car.” At age 48, he abruptly resigned from GM to start the DeLorean Motor Company. He chose Belfast, Ireland, for his manufacturing plant, and the factory began production in 1981, anticipating sales of 30,000 cars per year. By early 1982, the company had collapsed and was in receivership and closed in November, having produced only 9,000 cars in a 21-month period. • Although we frequently associate Lee Iacocca with the Chrysler Corporation, he initially worked for Ford Motor Company from 1946 to 1978. He was the head designer of the Ford Mustang in 1964 and became president of the company in 1970. Because of ongoing conflict with Henry Ford II, Iacocca was fired in 1978. He joined Chrysler, which was losing millions of dollars and on the verge of closure. He went to work rebuilding the company, turning it around completely. • Fiats have been around since 1899 when the Fabbrica Italiana Automobli Torino (translation: Italian Automobile Factory of Turin) was founded. The company built its first factory in the United States in 1908.
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1. LITERATURE: Which of Shakespeare’s plays features the line, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”? 2. LANGUAGE: What would a diaper be called in Great Britain? 3. HISTORY: In what year did man first walk on the moon? 4. GAMES: Who invented basketball? 5. AD SLOGANS: What fast-food restaurant chain urged customers to ?have it your way?? 6. RELIGION: Who was the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? 7. FOOD & DRINK: What is the main liquor used in margaritas? 8. MOVIES: Which character was the only non-Jedi to use a lightsaber in the first “Star Wars” trilogy? 9. ANATOMY: Where are the deltoids located in the human body? 10. TELEVISION: How many seasons did the comedy series “Bewitched” run on TV?
Answers 1. “Hamlet” 2. A nappy 3. 1969 4. Sports coach James Naismith 5. Burger King 6. Joseph Smith 7. Tequila 8. Han Solo 9. Shoulders 10. Eight
HOLLYWOOD -- Disney’s re-release of “Beauty and the Beast” in 3D has been a big moneymaker. That has prompted a remake of the l946 classic live-action French version, which starred Jean Marais. Guillermo Del Toro is set to produce, write and direct the reboot, which likely will star “Harry Potter’s” Emma Watson as Belle. Del Toro gave us “Mimic” (‘97), “Blade II” (‘02), “Hellboy” (‘06), “Pan’s Labyrinth” (‘06) and “Hellboy II (‘08). In addition, he produced “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Puss in Boots,” and wrote both parts of the upcoming “Hobbit” films being released this year and next. Del Toro also is set to direct a remake of “Frankenstein” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” He recently announced he’d produce and direct a 3D remake of Disney’s “The Haunted Mansion.” In his hands, “Beauty and the Beast” is sure to be as tender and touching as the original ‘46 version. *** Kodak’s recent financial woes, which led to its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, also has forced it to drop the naming rights to The Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are broadcast. This may give the Academy an out of its contract with the theater, which the Oscars have outgrown. The Academy has been considering other venues, such as the Nokia Theatre. Seems 3,300 seats are just not enough to hold all the people who desperately want to attend the awards. *** Billy Bob Thornton has directed and written his first film in more than a decade. “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” is a drama, set in the l960s, about two families from different countries whose cultures clash. Billy Bob won an Oscar in l997 for the screenplay of “Swing Blade.” This film features an incredible cast: Oscar winner Robert Duval, John Hurt, “The Birds” Tippi Hedren, Kevin Bacon and “Terminator 2” villain and “X-Files” regular Robert Patrick. Also top-lining is Ray Stevenson, who had “Kill the Irishman,” “Thor” and “The Three Musketeers” out last year and the recently completed “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” starring red-hot Channing Tatum. The title refers to the car accident in which sex symbol Jayne Mansfield died in l967. I knew and photographed Jayne many times and remember when she headlined The Latin Quarter nightclub, owned by Barbara Walters’ father, Lou Walters. Jayne came out of her dressing room to pose for pictures, wearing the lowest-cut dress I’d ever seen on a woman. When I asked her to take a deep breath, on a dare, she did, and had the most wonderful wardrobe malfunction that put Janet Jackson’s little Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction to shame ... if you know what I mean.
Q: I love Annie Potts in just about everything I see her in, and her new show “GCB” is definitely included. Where does she get her inspiration for the fun and eclectic characters she portrays? -- Ginny W., via e-mail A: For her role of Gigi Stopper, Annie found inspiration from a dear friend, the late Dixie Carter, whom she starred with on “Designing Women.” I spoke with Annie recently about “GCB” -- which I agree is a mustsee -- and she told me how she formed the character of Gigi: “I have lovingly borrowed from Dixie Carter. Were she still alive, the role would have been hers and should have been, but since she took early leave, I just decided to play it like her. I think that she would approve. “Dixie was sensationally beautiful, religious, Republican, conservative and had two daughters whom she worshipped. She always had stockings on, and she was immaculately groomed all the time. Even if I went
over there to her house early in the morning, she always looked good. And she was always in the pew on Sunday. I think that’s the way Gigi is.” See for yourself, and check out “GCB” on ABC Sundays at 10 p.m. ET. *** Q: Will Noah Wylie’s new show, “Falling Skies,” be back for another season? It was my favorite new show of last season. -- Frankie A., Charlotte, N.C. A: “Falling Skies” will return to TNT this summer as part of its exciting original summer-programming lineup. “Lost” alumnus Terry O’Quinn will join Noah for at least two episodes, playing a mentor of sorts for Tom Mason. *** Q: I loved “Wedding Crashers.” Will Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn make another movie soon? They are so good together. -- Alec. D., via e-mail A: A lot of people agree with you, including the dynamic comedy duo themselves: Owen and Vince have signed on to co-star together in the new big-screen comedy “Interns,” where they’ll play two middle-aged men forced to reevaluate their careers after being laid off. It follows their resulting struggle to reclimb the corporate ladder. ***
Dear Readers: Because I get tons of letters asking about “The Waltons,” I wanted to share this programming information with you. The Hallmark Channel will air “A Walton Easter” on Saturday, March 31, at 6 p.m. ET/PT, 5 p.m. CT. The television movie, which originally aired in 1997, takes place in 1969, where John-Boy (Richard Thomas) is now a married New York TV news anchor and is writing a new book. When John-Boy and his very pregnant wife, Janet (Kate McNeil), join his family for the celebration of his parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, John-Boy yearns to move back to the mountain, which conflicts with Janet’s wishes to stay in New York. Immediately following, enjoy “A Decade of the Waltons,” a family special that highlights the greatest moments from “The Waltons,” and is hosted by Earl Hammer Jr., creator and narrator of the original show. PHOTO: Annie Potts
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The Best for First The Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s greatest race. Of that there is little doubt, though some drivers cite the Brickyard 400 as comparable. Why is it NASCAR’s greatest race? Unlike the greatest events of other sports, the Daytona 500 opens the season rather than concludes it. The Super Bowl, World Series, et al. determine championships. The Daytona 500 isn’t even in the Chase. Winning it isn’t even a significant factor in determining the Sprint Cup champion. More than any other major sporting event, it stands alone, comparable more to the premier events of golf and tennis than team sports such as football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer. The 500 pays far more than any other race on the schedule, however, and to understand its importance, one also must understand unique aspects of automobile racing in general and NASCAR in particular. “From a talent standpoint ... it’s harder to win at Martinsville, it’s harder to win at Bristol, it’s harder to win at Kansas and most other tracks,” Jeff Gordon said, “but I think there isn’t anybody who doesn’t want to win the Daytona 500. That’s the difference. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a restrictor-plate race or not, or how much skill or luck goes into it. You want to win it. “The longer you go without winning it, the more challenging it becomes and the harder you think it is, and when you do accomplish it, I think there is that much more meaning behind it, not
to mention the fact that this race means the world to a race-car driver.” Gordon has won “the Great American Race” three times: 1997, 1999 and 2004. But many of the sport’s greats, most notably Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip, waited many years before finally claiming the Harley J. Earl Trophy. Rusty Wallace never won it. Tony Stewart hasn’t won it yet. Stewart, the reigning champion, said it was at the top of his “bucket list.” The race does not always go to the sport’s superstars. In 2011, both Sprint Cup winners at Daytona claimed their first career victories. Trevor Bayne won the 500, and David Ragan won the Coke Zero 400. This Daytona 500 could well be another major surprise. It almost surely will be dramatic.
Trevor Bayne’s Cinderella story of winning the Daytona 500 last year makes him a driver to watch for this year’s race. He’ll be running the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford. (John Clark/NASCAR This Week photo)
Page 6 For Advertising Call 251-285-4116 A Teaching Clock for Preschoolers To help your preschoolers learn how to tell time on a traditional clock, make a teaching clock with a pizza pan. Personalize it with photos and drawings to remind them of the activities and ¥ On March 18, 1852, in New York City, Henry Wells and William G. Fargo join with several other investors to launch their namesake business. In July 1852, their company shipped its first loads of freight from the East Coast to mining camps scattered around northern California.
chores they do throughout the day. There’s no time like the present, so get started with these four easy steps: Step 1: NUMBER from 1 to 12 around the edge of a metal pizza pan to create a baseline clock face. Use self-sticking numbers,
¥ On March 17, 1901, paintings by the late Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh are shown in Paris. Van Gogh had committed suicide 11 years earlier without any notion that his work was destined to win acclaim beyond his wildest dreams. In his lifetime, he had sold only one painting.
stickers or permanent markers.
¥ On March 14, 1914, stock-car racer Lee Arnold Petty (father of Richard Petty) is born near Randleman, N.C. In 1959, he won the Daytona 500. It’s said that Lee Petty never lost a race on account of being too kind to his competitors, even if his competitors were family.
Step 3: CUT OUT two craft foam or cardboard arrows for clock hands, making one 3 inches long and the other 4 inches long.
¥ On March 16, 1926, at Auburn, Mass., American Robert Goddard successfully launches the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket. The 10foot rocket, fueled by liquid oxygen and gasoline, traveled for 2.5 seconds at a speed of about 60 mph, reaching an altitude of 41 feet and landing 184 feet away.
fast, brush teeth, play outside, pick up toys, brush the dog, read a story, etc. Glue the images to small cardboard squares, attach
¥ On March 13, 1942, the Quartermaster Corps of the United States Army begins training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or “K-9 Corps.” Perhaps the most famous war dog was Rin Tin Tin, an abandoned puppy of German war dogs found in France in 1918 and taken to the United States, where he made his film debut in the 1922 silent film “The Man From Hell’s River.” ¥ On March 15, 1954, the Chords record “Sh-boom.” The song’s lighthearted melody and nonsensical lyrics kicked off a new era of “doo-wop” music. Doo-wop hits included “Earth Angel” by the Penguins and “In the Still of the Night” by the Five Satins. ¥ On March 12, 1969, the London drug squad appears at house of George Harrison and Pattie Boyd with a warrant and drug-sniffing canines. Sergeant Pilcher, the man behind the raid, was later convicted of planting drugs in other cases and went to jail in 1972.
Step 2: COLLECT 12 large plastic milk-jug caps and number them on the top from 1 to 12. On the backs, attach a piece of thick, self-sticking magnet (available in rolls at hardware stores).
Attach magnets to backs. Step 4: DRAW pictures or cut out snapshots or magazine photos of what your child does in a typical day. For example: Eat break-
magnets to the backs, and use interchangeably with the numbers on the clock to help your child understand what happens at different times throughout the day. Make extra cards for activities your child might do weekly, such as “visit Grandma and Grandpa,” “walk to story hour at the neighborhood library,” “attend ballet class,” etc. At bedtime, kids can choose the cardboard activity square that represents a specific special activity for the following day. Store them in a small box or basket when not in use. Extra Tips for Use: Remove all numbered caps and replace by matching the numbers on the caps with the numbers on the pan. Use numbered caps to practice counting. Note: Small plastic milk-jug caps may pose a choking hazard to children 4 and under.
For Advertising Call 251-680-7052 ‘Minor’ Heart Attacks Can Still be Deadly
PURE POISON Pretty on the outside, toxic on the inside! Take a look at these plants that can be hazardous to your health. • The hardy perennial shrub known as belladonna, or deadly nightshade, is one of the most toxic plants in
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband, 46, died suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. An autopsy showed that he died from what the doctor said was a minor heart attack. How does a minor heart attack kill? It was major for him and me. -- C.C. ANSWER: The pathologist who performed the autopsy must have found that only a small section of heart was involved, and only a small heart artery was obstructed. Minor heart attacks can lead to major complications, including death. They can generate abnormal heartbeats, so abnormal that the heart’s pumping action stops. You have my deepest sympathy. The booklet on heart attacks explains why they happen and how they’re prevented. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 102W, 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: I want to get rid of a lot of expired medicines. I have heard that flushing them down the toilet or putting them in the garbage will make them end up in our drinking water. What is the proper solution? -- M.S. ANSWER: Different government agencies have different recommendations for medicine disposal. Congress is trying to resolve those differences.
First, check with your drugstore to see if it has a program to dispose of medicines; many do. Also check with your town, county or state to see if it has “take-back” programs. Many do. If you can’t find a facility that accepts old medicines, mix them with coffee grounds, sawdust, kitty litter or similar materials (making them less appealing for children or pets to eat), seal them in a plastic bag and put them in your trash. A few drugs ought to be flushed down the toilet or the sink. These drugs are mostly powerful painkillers, like morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone and Demerol. They pose a danger to children, pets and even adults if accidentally ingested. This advice comes from the Food and Drug Administration. You can find the complete list at www.fda.gov. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have an ingrown toenail that’s giving me much grief. I’d like to take care of it myself. I’m out of work and have no insurance. Will you give me some directions on what to do? -- H.A. ANSWER: You can try to handle it on your own, but be careful. Don’t traumatize the toe or skin. Soak your foot in warm, soapy water for 10 minutes. To free the nail from the corner of the skin in which it is imbedded, try to work a small ball of cotton between the nail and the skin. Dental floss hooked under the corner of the skin helps you accomplish this. From this day onward, cut your toenails on a horizontal plane. Don’t round off the edges. That’s an invitation to an ingrown toenail. If all of this is a bit overwhelming, let a podiatrist free the nail for you. Make some arrangements for a later payment.
the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, this plant has bright appealing berries with a sweet taste that pose a temptation to young children. Ingestion of just a few berries can be deadly. The roots are just as toxic. Its poisonous alkaloids disrupt the body’s parasympathetic nervous system and cause blurred vision, increased heart rate and loss of balance. Confusion, delirium and hallucinations are not uncommon. • Daffodils, narcissus and hyacinth may look lovely in your garden, but ingesting the bulbs leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions and even death. Likewise, all parts of rhododendrons and azaleas are poisonous, producing vomiting, difficult breathing, coma and occasionally death. And the beautiful ground cover Lily of the Valley is extremely poisonous. Eating any part of the plant can bring death. • You may recall that the philosopher Socrates died from drinking poison hemlock, after he was found guilty of “corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens” and of “not believing in the gods of the state.” After drinking the mixture, he was made to walk around until his legs went numb, a numbness that slowly advanced to his heart. This was the result of the alkaloid coniine, which paralyzes the central nervous system. • Just one mushroom cap of the Amanita virosa (destroying angel) species can kill a man. This variety contains one of the deadliest poisons found in nature. Mushroom hunters should steer clear of any parasol-shaped mushrooms with white gills. • Have you heard the old saying “leaves of three, let it be”? This advice is for hikers who want to avoid poison ivy. A chemical called urushiol found in the sap of the plant is what creates the itchy blistering bumps. All it takes is 1 billionth of a gram to cause a rash. Although about 85 percent of people are allergic to urushiol, it can take up to 10 days for a rash to appear after a person’s first exposure, and most don’t even have a reaction that first time they touch it. • The pharmaceutical product digitalis is used by heart patients to control an irregular heart rate. It is extracted from certain species of the beautiful, tall, spiked flowering plant, the foxglove. Some varieties contain deadly steroidal glycosides, of which just a tiny bit is potentially fatal. Even a deeply inhaled breath can bring heart block, increased or decreased heart rate and death. Wild hallucinations and delirium often come first, along with severe headaches and abdominal pain. • Kiss your sweetheart under the mistletoe, but don’t eat the berries! Many children and adults have perished from consuming these poisonous fruits. • You might love rhubarb pie, but stay away from the leaves! Ingesting large amounts of either raw or cooked leaves can lead to convulsions, coma and even death, due to the present of oxalic acid salts. • Pits from cherries, peaches and plums as well as seeds from apples and pears contain cyanogenic glycosides, compounds that release small amounts of cyanide. You won’t die from swallowing a few seeds, but it’s a habit to avoid. Large quantities can lead to death, although you’ll probably vomit violently before that point.
Online Gaming Our local senior center shares a building with an after-school program for teens. One recent afternoon I spied one of my friends heading up the stairs to the teen area. Thinking she had volunteered to run a shift, I was surprised to learn that she was on her way to a computer game convention -- with the teens. Sure enough, when I looked later, there she was in a huddle with a group of kids all hooked into a “role-playing” game on the center’s laptops. A study done about senior gamers revealed that older women are the fastest-growing segment of those who play online, and they spend more time at it than any other group. We like role-playing, adventure and mystery online games. We want mental stimulation rather than those games that require fast reflexes. We like exploration games that actually have a storyline with puzzles to be solved. While most of us like single-player games, many players, like my friend, prefer being in a multi-player game. Here’s what I learned at the senior center: --Online gaming is generally not free, if you play as a subscriber. Beware that when you buy more in-game currency or other items, it gets added to your credit card. --It can be addicting. Yes, it’s fun using a cartoon persona, but don’t let it take over your life. Sitting for so long at a computer isn’t good for your health. --Depending on the game, it can be serious brain food as you have increasing events and components to coordinate and take care of. Want to learn more about our peers who are gaming online? Go online and search for a study called “The Truth About Baby Boomer Gamers.”
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Mortgage Help for Homeowners If you have mortgage problems, parts of a $25 billion settlement could be coming your way. Five of the nation’s largest banks accused of abusive practices have agreed to help 1 million homeowners. The banks are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Ally Financial. Allegations included the extensive use of robo-signers (foreclosure documents were signed without even being read), failure to offer foreclosure options and incorrect handling of loan modifications. Borrowers who are underwater (the house is worth less than what’s due on it) but still holding on will get come help in the form of reduced debt, either from lowered interest rates or principal reduction.
It’s thought that 11 million borrowers owe more than their homes are worth, which means they haven’t been able to sell or refinance. Lenders will be required to rework loans and reduce the principal for those nearing foreclosure. If you lost your home to foreclosure (as did 750,000 families) between 2008 and 2011, you could receive a payment of $2,000. That’s not to say all the problems are over. For some, the nightmare continues: While the investigations into alleged abusive practices were going on, some lenders just called a halt to the final steps of foreclosures. Families continued to live in their homes without making any payments. Now that the guideline are clear, lenders are likely to press forward with those foreclosures. Neighborhoods that saw too many empty houses due to fore-
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closure could see many more, as not everyone will qualify for assistance. This could force home prices down even more in neighborhoods hardest hit as more bank-owned properties come on the market and investors pick up properties to turn into rentals -- never a good way to stabilize a neighborhood. Ideally, banks won’t release all the properties at once. The programs funded with the $25 billion settlement are set to run for three years, but lenders are being given incentives to act within the first year. What to do if your mortgage is in trouble: Call your lender. Ask specifically who is holding your note, as changes might have been made when loans ended up in various secondarymarket packages. Take the names of those you talk to. Ask what specific programs will be available to help you. Ask for a time frame and follow up weekly.