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December 28, 2011 Published Weekly

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TIDBITS® EXPLORES SOME OF LIFE’S CROSSINGS by Patricia L. Cook Tidbits crosses many paths in researching information for your reading pleasure. This issue will look at some familiar crosses and crossings that we all encounter. • The first type of crossing that comes to mind for most is a railroad crossing. Many drivers encounter railroad crossings every time they drive. Rail lines are prevalent in North America, which highlights the fact that railroads play a huge part in transporting goods and people across this continent. • Where railroads exist, crossings also exist. Railroad crossings are intersections where a roadway crosses a railroad at-grade. In the United States, they are referred to as grade crossings. In Canada and many other places, they are called level crossings. • As of 2005, there were 147,681 public grade crossings and 94,583 private crossings in the United States. Public crossings are maintained by a public authority, but private crossings, not intended for public use, are not. They are for the use of the owners of the property and usually on farms or industrial complexes. • Grade crossings in all countries have always been accident-prone areas. When vehicles or pedestrians cross the paths of trains, trains win. The good news is that in recent years, accident rates have gone down. turn the page for more!

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Issue 19

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Tidbits® of Salina

Stovetop Chili A quick weeknight chili that’s packed with buttery black soy beans, tender-crisp green beans and meltin-your-mouth sweet potatoes. Serve with a chunk of warm corn bread. 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander 2 cloves garlic, crushed with garlic press 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and each cut crosswise in half 3 (about 1 1/2 pounds) medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks 1 teaspoon sugar 1 salt 2 cans (15 ounces) black soy beans, rinsed and drained, substitute black beans Sour cream (optional) 1. In nonstick 5-quart to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. 2. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic and jalapeno, and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add tomatoes with their juice, green beans, sweet potatoes, sugar, salt and 2 cups water; heat to boiling over medium-high heat, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. 3. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Add soybeans and cook 2 minutes longer to heat through. Serve with sour cream, if you like. „ Each serving: About 275 calories, 5g total fat (1g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 635mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate, 11g dietary fiber, 14g protein. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at (c) 2011 Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved

Q: Like you, I am an avid fan of “New Girl” on Fox. I was wondering what happened to Coach, the character played by Damon Wayans Jr., who was in the first episode and then suddenly left? -- Giselle F., via e-mail A: When “New Girl” filmed its pilot episode in spring 2011, the original roommates were Coach (played by Damon), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Nick (Jake Johnson), with Jess (Zooey Deschanel) taking Winston’s room, since he was off playing basketball in Latvia. However, Damon also was co-starring on the ABC show “Happy Endings,” which at the time “New Girl” began production was looking like it wasn’t going to get renewed for another season. So, when “Happy Endings” did indeed get renewed, the producers at “New Girl” had to find a new fourth roommate and opted for Winston (Lamorne Morris) to return from Latvia to reclaim his old room. *** Q: I was super-bummed when I found out that “Cougar Town” wasn’t going to air on ABC until January as a midseason replacement, and now I am hearing that that might not even happen! Please tell me it hasn’t been canceled. -- Bridget D. in North Carolina A: I have good news and bad news: The goods news is that “Cougar Town” will be back this season; the bad

CROSSINGS (continued): • The U.S. Department of Transportation has reported that crossing accidents between vehicles and trains decreased 84 percent between 1972 and 2009. In 2009, there were 1,900 collisions, compared to 12,000 in 1972. • Much of the improved safety at railroad crossings has been attributed to the Operation Lifesaver program that was started in Idaho in 1972. The Idaho governor’s office, Idaho Peace Officers and Union Pacific Railroad started the program with a six-week public awareness campaign. Fatalities fell 43 percent in the inaugural year, and within a decade, the program spread all around the country. Canada added Operation Lifesaver in 1981. A national office was created in 1986 for the non-profit organization to support the efforts of the states. The United Kingdom, Estonia, Mexico and Argentina also have Operation Lifesaver programs. • The warning signs at railroad crossings are similar worldwide. The “crossbuck” or X sign usually contains the words “railroad crossing” in the United States and “railway crossing” in Canada. The “crossbuck” is also called a “saltire” or Saint Andrew’s cross. Saint Andrew was a disciple of Jesus Christ who was martyred on an X-shaped cross as opposed to a traditional cross. The saltire is used in many flags, including Scotland’s, where Saint Andrew is the patron Saint. Nova Scotia, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. states of Florida and Alabama are others with the saltire on their flags. • The Scottish flag, a white saltire on a blue background, is believed to be the oldest flag in Europe. The village of Athelstaneford, birthplace of the Scottish flag, has a Flag Heritage Centre and Saltire Memorial. news is its return has been pushed back until March. More bad news: Instead of its planned 22-episode season, the order has been cut to 15 episodes. This news makes me super-bummed too, as I have been going through some serious withdrawals, and have been forced to drink wine out of Big Joe while reading Laurie Keller’s hilarious Twitter feed ( and throwing pennies in my Bobby Cobb Official Competition Penny Can as I wait with bated breath for new episodes from my favorite Pinot-swilling gals and their awesome sidekick fellas. *** Q: A while back you mentioned that Fox was going to make an animated version of “Napoleon Dynamite.” Are those plans still going forward? -- Jeremy G., via e-mail A: It’s full-steam ahead on the weekly cartoon adaption of “Napoleon Dynamite,” which will be voiced by the movie’s stars, including John Heder, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Aaron Ruell, John Gries and the gang. The 13-episode series premieres on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 8:30 ET, right in the middle of Fox’s super-successful “animation block.” *** Q: I was watching “Robocop” over the weekend and wondered what its star, Peter Weller, can be seen in now? He was so good in that movie! -- George T., Omaha, Neb. A: Peter Weller, who very recently was a regular on “Dexter” playing Stan Liddy, is the latest big-name star to be cast in the newest “Star Trek” movie, which is yet untitled. The film’s details are being kept under wraps, but I can tell you that Peter is playing a principal character in the May 2013 sequel to the 2009 megablockbuster. Write to Cindy at King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; or e-mail her at (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

1. LANGUAGE: From what language are all the modern Romance languages derived? 2. SCIENCE: What term describes the lowest point in a satellite orbiting the Earth? 3. HISTORY: When did Labor Day become a federal holiday in the United States? 4. INVENTIONS: What was Eli Whitney’s most famous invention? 5. GOVERNMENT: In what year was the U.S. Constitution ratified? 6. GEOGRAPHY: What nation calls itself Espana in its native tongue? 7. ANCIENT WORLD: Where did the Minoan culture flourish? 8. POETRY: Who wrote the poem called “The Waste Land”? 9. MUSIC: What Beatles’ album features the songs “Rocky Raccoon” and “Helter Skelter”? 10. MEASUREMENTS: How many pints are in a quart?

Steamer Trunk Q: I have inherited an old steamer trunk, and I am curious about its value. -- Cooper, Aurora, Colo. A: You didn’t provide me with much information, so I am afraid that my answer will be rather general. The value of a trunk is determined by several factors, including quality, condition, age, style and if it has any unusual features. High-quality makers such as Louis Vuitton, Gillmore, Haskell and Goyard are especially prized, and the older a trunk, the more valuable it generally is. Style is also important, so look for dome tops, embossed metal covered, curve tops, flat tops, plain metal covers and wardrobe designs. Does your trunk have any unusual features such as special compartments in the lid, an extra tray or two, brass banding or large brass buttons. When assessing values, the history of a trunk might also play a role. Did it go West in a covered wagon during the great migration of the 19th century? Was it owned by a famous person? Although there are several excellent guides, my personal favorite is “Antique Trunks: Identification and Price Guide” by Linda Edelstein and Paul Pat Morse (Krause, $24.99). A good source is The Trunk Shop, 62 Canaan Back Road, Barrington, NH 03825. In addition to buying, selling and restoring trunks, this business also has trunk parts and features an indepth refinishing book. *** Q: Can you advise me of a source to evaluate the value of a signed baseball that has the autographs of six members of the 1958 N.Y. Yankees team. -Frances, Albuquerque, N.M. A: Although there are several shops in Albuquerque that specialize in sports memorabilia, I spoke to the people at Bubba’s Baseball Bullpen, New Mexico’s largest sportscard superstore, and they have agreed to help you. Bring the baseball to them for their verbal opinion. The address is 8206 Menaul Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110. *** Q: I have a 1988 Happy Holiday Barbie doll, mint and still in the box. What is it worth? -- Virginia, Casper, Wyo. A: I found a 1988 Happy Holiday Barbie doll in original box, never opened, for $144 on eBay. I have several price guides, some listing this particular doll for more, others for less. Write to Larry Cox in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to Due to the

For Advertising Call (785) 404-1000 CROSSINGS (continued): • The idea for the Red Cross was born in 1859 when a young Swiss man, Henry Dunant, saw soldiers in Italy on a battlefield wounded and dying and not receiving assistance. He organized local people to come to their aid. • In 1863, five men from Geneva, Switzerland, including Dunant, set up the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, which later became the International Committee of the Red Cross. This led to the creation of the Geneva Convention, in which 12 governments agreed to offer care for the wounded, and paved the way for medical services to be “neutral” on the battlefield. • The emblem for the Red Cross was set as a red cross on a white background, the inverse of the Swiss flag. While that emblem has changed a little through the years, the symbol of the Red Cross is recognizable worldwide. • Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was working in Washington, D.C., in 1861 when wounded Civil War soldiers needed help. She gathered supplies and distributed them for the soldiers. She also read to them, wrote letters for them and prayed with them. Barton was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.” • Barton’s organizational efforts and commitment to helping soldiers along with observations of the International Red Cross at work in Europe led to the creation of the American Red Cross in 1881. Barton was 60 years old and led the new American organization for 23 years. • Today, the American Red Cross is a part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which was founded in 1919. These organizations bring aid to victims of disasters throughout the world.

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1. New Year’s Eve (PG-13) Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron 2. The Sitter (R) Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor 3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 (PG-13) Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson 4. The Muppets (PG) Jason Segel, Amy Adams WANT TO RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS? 5. Arthur Christmas (PG) animated Publish Paper in YourGrace Area 6. Hugoa(PG) Asa Butterfield, Chloe If You Can Provide: Sales Experience · A Computer · Moretz Desktop Publishing Software · A Reasonable Financial Investment 7.We The Descendants (R) George Clooney, provide the opportunity for success! Shailene Woodley Call 8. Happy1.800.523.3096 Feet Two (PG) animated 9. Jack and Jill (PG) Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes 10. Immortals (R) Henry Cavill, Luke Evans (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc. Information in the Tidbits® Paper is gathered from sources considered to be reliable but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.

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“Dangerous Ambition, Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson: New Women in Search of Love and Power” by Susan Hertog (Ballantine Books, $30) Reviewed by Larry Cox Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson were two of the most talented writers of the 20th century, selfmade women who came of age between the wars and fought to create a balance between convention and the opportunities of the postwar global world. Drawn to men who also were ambitious and hungry for love, the relationships they had with their husbands and lovers would, in the end, be sacrificed for the sake of their work. Cicely Fairfield was born in London in 1892. As a young woman, she took the nom de plume of Rebecca West, the iconoclastic feminist character in Ibsen’s play “Romersholm.” She fell in and out of bed with H.G. Wells and even gave birth to their illegitimate son, Anthony Panther West. During an era when speaking the truth could get a woman blacklisted or worse, she was outspoken and fiercely independent. For example, she once observed that there was no reason for the existence of the male sex except that one sometimes needs help moving a piano. She received acclaim as a book critic, author and correspondent. Her coverage of the Nuremburg Trials for The New Yorker following World War II received international acclaim. Dorothy Thompson was born in 1893 in Lancaster, N.Y., and she, too, was determined to be a journalist. After arriving in London in 1921, she met West and later married Sinclair Lewis after divorcing her first husband. Thompson was one of the first foreign journalists to interview Hitler, and her reporting of fascism so outraged him that in 1934 she was expelled from Germany by the Nazis. Susan Hertog, a New York-based freelance journalist and photographer, is the first author to link the two women and document the indelible impact that both had on our culture and the profession of journalism. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc. (

HOLLYWOOD -- It’s make it or break it time. NBC isn’t saying whether “Community” is coming back, even though TV Guide readers voted it the show they most wanted to save. Now ABC is on the brink of cancelling “PanAm.” Karine Vanasse (Colette) recently tweeted, “We received THE call ... “PanAm” is only coming back for one more episode, after Christmas.” ABC quickly stated there are five more shows to air through February, and it’s still in contention for a second-season pickup. What they’re not saying: If ratings don’t improve, the show is toast! So if you love “PanAm,” as I do, better get those cards, letters and e-mails to ABC, or “PanAm” won’t be flying on the network anymore. *** In 1978, I met Judy Lewis, then Barbara Vining on “General Hospital.” We became good friends, and she trusted me with a big secret about her life. I already knew she was the daughter of “The Farmer’s Daughter”: Oscar-winning film and TV star Loretta Young. But what nobody knew was that she also was the daughter of film legend Clark Gable. Apparently, Young and Gable had a night of passion while filming “The Call of the Wild” in l935. Young hid Judy in a convent for 19 months while she arranged to adopt her. When Judy

was 15, Gable unexpectedly turned up at her house. She was thrilled to meet him, but didn’t know why he wanted to spend time with her. It wasn’t until much later that she learned the truth. I kept her confidence until l994, when she revealed the truth in her book “Uncommon Knowledge.” She told me at that time, “It feels so good to be able to openly be who I really am; you can’t know how important that is!” Loretta Young never acknowledged that Gable was the father until her autobiography was published after her death in 2000. Judy passed away Nov. 25 in Gladwyne, Pa., of cancer. She was 76. *** I received a letter asking about John Davidson. “I loved ‘The John Davidson Show’ and ‘Hollywood Squares’ when he hosted, but he’s fallen off the radar. Where is he?” I met John at one of his first jobs, “The Prince and The Pauper,” in a little theater across the street from Carnegie Hall in NYC. He soon landed “Foxy,” a Broadway show with Bert Lahr (the lion in “The Wizard of Oz”). He’s currently wowing them, live, in “The Palm Springs Follies” in Palm Springs, Calif., until Dec. 31. To see him now, Google “Palm Springs Follies” with John Davidson, and you’ll see that there may be snow on his roof, but there’s still fire in his 70-year-old furnace! Send letters to Tony Rizzo’s Hollywood, 8306 Wilshire Blvd., No. 362, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Tidbits® of Salina clearance for such exhausting exercise, he is tempting fate. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: A friend has a case of constant hiccups. Can you suggest any possible cures? -- P.W.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband is 73. I am sure he’s going to die this winter. He insists on shoveling our snow, and we have lots of it. He says it’s good for him; it gives him exercise. This from a man whose other exercise consists of popping open a beer can. He comes in after he’s cleared the walk, puffing and exhausted. Please talk some sense into him. -- M.L. ANSWER: After every snowstorm, city emergency rooms fill with older men who have had a heart attack after cleaning their snow-covered walks. Snow shoveling is strenuous exercise. It burns 420 calories an hour. The heart rate of a shoveler rises to 170 beats a minute, and the systolic blood pressure (the first number of a reading) exceeds 200. Of course, the demand depends on the depth and weight of the snow. Older hearts cannot support such stress. In addition to the work of shoveling, cold weather adds more demands on the heart. Unless a man your husband’s age has had medical

“Cool” Candles Add Warm Glow Let’s make fire with ice! Impossible, you say? Well, it just depends on how you look at it. Follow my easy process for creating these super “cool” candles that add a warm glow to any evening. To make several medium-size candles, you’ll need: --1-pound box of paraffin wax (available in the canning section at most markets) --1 saucepan and a tin can, such as a coffee can --Candle coloring (optional) --Ice cubes crushed into medium-size chunks. Your kids may fill a gallon plastic bag about three-quarters full with ice. Secure the top. Let them use a hammer to break the ice into small chunks. --Empty and clean pint- or quart-size cardboard milk cartons with the tops cut off --A white or colored taper candle for each ice candle, 1 inch shorter than the cut carton. Trim the candle from the bottom, if necessary. An adult should fill the bottom of the saucepan with a few inches of water and place the tin can in the center. Put a chunk of paraffin inside the can along with extra candle stubs you might have around the house. Add coloring if you wish. Stir occasionally as the wax melts, keeping a constant eye on it since it is flammable. For a wick, your school-age child can place a taper candle in the middle of a milk carton and pack the ice around it. When the wax is melted, an adult should use a potholder to lift the can out of the saucepan and pour the melted wax directly into the milk carton over the ice and around the taper candle. As the wax melts the ice, you’ll hear cracking and popping! Once the wax is hard, drain off the water a time or two. Peel the carton away from the candle and enjoy the surprise of your work of art! The ice will have formed interesting pockets, like a chunk of Swiss cheese. To use, set it on a plate and surround it with marbles. When you light the candle, give your preschooler the job of saying “Ta-da!” as you stand around proudly watching the creation flicker on a winter’s night. Note: An adult should always be present when burning candles. *** Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.” (c) 2011 Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Synd.

ANSWER: Hiccups come from involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, the horizontal muscle sheet that lies between the chest and the abdomen. It is the principal breathing muscle. Sometimes persistent contractions can be traced to gallbladder problems, diseases of the pancreas, reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus (heartburn) or an abscess on the abdominal side of the diaphragm. However, most of the time, no cause is found. For temporary hiccups, gulping food and simultaneously swallowing air sometimes brings them on. So can carbonated beverages. Through the years readers have provided me with hundreds of home remedies for dealing with hiccups, and I welcome new additions. Swallowing a teaspoon of sugar irritates the throat, which sets in motion a reflex that can end hiccups. Breathing into a paper bag raises the blood carbon-dioxide level, which, in turn, raises blood acidity, and that triggers a release of calcium. Calcium can spark nerve signals to stop hiccups. Putting angostura bitters on the back of the tongue is another sometimes-successful trick. Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours aren’t likely to respond to home remedies. Medicines have to be turned to. Chlorpromazine, omeprazole, metoclopramide and baclofen are often successfully used. In cases that are resistant to medicine treatment and that are disrupting a person’s life, doctors can interrupt, in a number of ways, the transmission of nerve signals conducted to the diaphragm by the phrenic nerve.

CROSSINGS (continued): • The building housing the headquarters of the American Red Cross, located in Washington, D.C., was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. The building has many historical artifacts, writings and more from the organization’s past. An original set of paneled, stained-glass Tiffany Windows, commissioned in 1917 and designed and constructed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, are on display in their original state. The beautiful windows illustrate the most significant values of the Red Cross: hope, faith, charity and love. • One of the most loved poets of Victorianera Britain, Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote the poem “Crossing the Bar:” It reads: “For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place, The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face, When I have crossed the bar.” • Being a Poet Laureate meant being appointed as a member of the royal household for life. Tennyson was expected to write wonderful poems celebrating national and royal events in Britain. • Written in 1889, three years before his death, “Crossing the Bar” was not his final work, but Tennyson requested that it appear as the final poem in all of his collections. The poem described his attitude about death, using a sand bar to describe the barrier between life and death. Another image that many thought he intended to convey with the poem was that of “crossing” oneself as Catholics do in a religious gesture of devotion. OVERCOMING THE ODDS: FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE Named after Florence, Italy, the city of her birth, Florence Nightingale was born to wealthy parents on May 12, 1820. She felt called by God to help others as a nurse.

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For Advertising Call (785) 404-1000 • In England in the 1800s, nurses were not valued in society. Being from a wealthy family, Nightingale was expected to marry, raise a family and carry on life in “high” society. Her social circle didn’t look kindly at working-class women. She lived with her parents and sister in Embley Park, Hampshire, England. • Nightingale was very close to her father. He did not have a son and took great pains to educate her. He taught her Latin, Greek, French, Italian, German, mathematics, history and philosophy. Yet with all of the education he provided, he was opposed to her seeking training as a nurse. • Nightingale’s desire was not necessarily to be a career woman but to help others in need. She spent 11 years visiting the sick in hospitals. She was greatly encouraged when she visited two St. Vincent de Paul sisters at a convent in Alexandria, Egypt. She felt they were more caring and were better nurses than the ones she had seen in England. • Nightingale was further encouraged to pursue a medical career when she met Elizabeth Blackwell at a hospital in London. Blackwell was the first woman to qualify as a medical doctor in the United States. Blackwell had overcome great obstacles in pursuit of her medical career and urged Nightingale to keep trying to convince her father to allow her to study. Finally in 1851, when she was age 31, Nightingale’s father gave her permission to seek nursing training.

Americas, the Maya even used cacao beans as currency. It was American journalist and satirist Ambrose Bierce who made the following sage observation: "There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don't know." Those who study such things say that when a ladybug is frightened, it squirts a foul-smelling goo from its knees. You might be surprised to learn that approximately 40 percent of the oxygen in the world's atmosphere is provided by the verdant plant growth of South America's Amazon River basin. Mayan artwork dating back as far as 700 A.D. shows people preparing chocolate beverages. Chocolate was so valued by the natives of the

For reasons that aren't quite clear, in 1960 Macy's department store introduced a vending machine that dispensed men's underwear. After an initial flurry of shoppers coming to see the new contraption, the machine was doomed to obscurity due to lack of interest. Here's a question for the ladies: Are you a philematophobe? If you're a woman who hates to be kissed, you are. In 1958, then-Vice President Richard Nixon made a state visit to Venezuela. It seems he wasn't terribly popular there, and one of the protesters spit on him. The

Home Mantienance in the New Year

Ready for the new year? Me neither. It’s too soon after what’s been a really long and frenetic holiday season, starting with a pre-Halloween snowstorm that had me and my neighbors juggling snow shovels and carved pumpkins, and then moving straight into Thanksgiving and Christmas almost too fast to blink. I’m looking forward to catching my breath this week, however, and putting together my home maintenance plans for next year. January will be pretty quiet, except for the monthly furnace filter change and making sure ice dams and snow aren’t building up on the roof and gutters. Melting or removing them quickly will prevent much more expensive repairs. February is more of the same, but I’m also laying out what I’ll be planting in the deck garden this year. If there’s no snow on the ground, I’ll be scattering grass seed over bare or thin patches in the lawn and protecting it from the birds with a light layer of straw. In March I’ll be inspecting the exterior and yard for damage from fallen limbs or wind-blown debris,

Secret Service detained the man, and an irate Nixon kicked him in the shins. Only about 37 percent of the newspapers published in the Unites States are recycled. The next time you're thinking about getting a new pet, consider this: Animal behaviorists say that a puppy can't hold a memory for more than 45 seconds. Researchers at Yale University have determined that people think more efficiently in the winter than in the summer. *** Thought for the Day: "A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company." -- Gian Vincenzo Gravina

and if the snow has melted, clearing those debris from the yard. Garden tools will come down from the highest shelf of the garage, ready to be put to use in a few weeks, but the snow shovel will stay near the side door just in case. April is still iffy for some garden plants, but once there’s no danger of a hard frost, soil can be turned over and, in the meantime, the lawn can be treated and prepared for the growing season. It’s also time to start repairing any exterior damage to the roof, eaves, gutters and downspouts, as well as remove and repair storm windows and put up screens in their place. That’s the first four months of the year: gradually getting busier, hopefully with no major storms or unplanned home repairs like busted furnaces or hot water heaters. May will bring much warmer temperatures and more maintenance work, but that’s a thought for another quiet day. HOME TIP: Keep a home maintenance calendar in your workshop with important projects highlighted so that you can plan for them well in advance. Send your questions or tips to ask@thisisahammer. com, or write This Is a Hammer, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 328536475. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Tidbits® of Salina FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE (continued): • Nightingale studied at the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserwerth, Germany. Two years later, she started work at a London hospital for women. • In March 1853, Russia invaded Turkey, and Britain and France stepped in to help Turkey in what became known as the Crimean War. British soldiers soon became infected with cholera and malaria in great numbers. Nightingale volunteered her services to help the soldiers. She took 38 nurses with her to the army hospital near the conflict. • Nightingale was appalled at the conditions of the army hospital. The lack of hygiene and good elementary care available to the British soldiers was causing and prolonging a lot of the health issues. She started a campaign to improve the quality of nursing in military hospitals. She also encouraged the soldiers by establishing recreation and reading rooms at the hospitals. • In 1856, Nightingale met with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and gave evidence of the horrible conditions to the 1857 Sanitary Commission. This resulted in the Army Medical College being formed. • Also, Nightingale founded the Nightingale School & Home for Nurses at St. Thomas Hospital and became involved in training nurses for employment in workhouses that were established for the poor. • Known as "The Lady with the Lamp" for her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale was and will always be remembered as a national heroine in England. Worldwide recognition is given to her in the Nightingale Pledge that is taken by new nurses, and the annual International Nurses Day is held on her birthday.

Internet Fraud Soars, Are You Prepared? If 2012 has a theme, it might well be the Year of Increased Internet Fraud. The problems don’t occur as much with what we block out with our virus protection as they do with the parts we do let in: email we open and websites we visit. One source pegs the increase in “phishing” (getting your information) at 1,200 percent in just the past six months. It’s only going to get worse. During the recent holidays, right in the middle of online shopping season, customers received fake messages supposedly from a major online store. The email looked genuine: the content looked right, the subject line was one that many people would open -- but the sender’s address was forged, and it asked for personal information. That’s the key right there: When an email or a site wants your data, beware. The collection form might be a duplicate of the info-gathering method of the legitimate site and look very authentic. What do they want? They want your personal information any way they can get it. It might be a direct steal when you help by typing in your name and in-

formation. It might be that you’re tricked into downloading a keystroke logger program that will capture everything you type in. Here are some initial steps you can take to protect yourself: 1. Err on the side of caution. Be skeptical. Don’t click any links, even out of curiosity. (Even clicking might start a download of spyware.) Don’t provide any personal information that’s asked for. If in doubt, close the email, close your email client completely, delete your browsing history and close all your browser windows. Then navigate to that company’s website in your normal way by typing in the URL. Be sure your browser’s phishing filter is turned on. 2. Better yet, pick up the phone. Call the company and tell them about the email you’ve received. (They’ll want to know.) Ask if the mail was legitimate and if something is wrong with your account. To learn more in general about online fraud, go online to Fraud Watch International []. Explore the tabs for Fraud Education and Consumer, but especially the Phishing Alerts. Click one event in the very long list, especially if you recognize the company, and explore how the fraud was accomplished. There are graphics and text to describe each step. David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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TOP TEN VIDEO, DVD as of December 19, 2011 Top 10 Video Rentals 1. Super 8 (PG-13) Kyle Chandler 2. 30 Minutes or Less (R) Jesse Eisenberg 3. Friends With Benefits (R) Mila Kunis 4. Our Idiot Brother (R) Paul Rudd 5. The Smurfs (PG) Neil Patrick Harris 6. Conan the Barbarian (R) Jason Momoa 7. The Change-Up (R) Ryan Reynolds 8. Crazy, Stupid, Love (PG-13) Steve Carrell 9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (PG13) Daniel Radcliffe 10. Captain America: The First Avenger (PG-13) Chris Evans Top 10 DVD Sales 1. The Smurfs (PG) (Sony) 2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (PG13) (Warner) 3. Cars 2 (G) (Buena Vista) 4. Friends With Benefits (R) Sony 5. 30 Minutes or Less (R) Sony 6. Super 8 (PG-13) (Paramount) 7. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13) (Buena Vista) 8. Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special (PG) FOX 9. Tyler Perry’s a Madea Christmas: The Play (NR) (Lionsgate) SPORTS QUIZ By Chris Richcreek 1. In 2009, Philadelphia’s Chase Utley became the second player to hit five home runs in a World Series. Who was the first? 2. Who was the oldest player to steal a base in the major leagues? 3. Name the first college football Division I player to have 1,500 yards rushing and 1,500 yards passing in the same season. 4. In the 2009-10 season, Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans became the fourth rookie in NBA history to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game. Name two of the first three to do it. 5. Entering the 2011-12 season, how many times had Jaromir Jagr tallied 40-plus goals in an NHL season? 6. Northwestern has won the women’s lacrosse national championship six times in the past seven seasons (2005-11). Name the only other school to win a title during that time. 7. Who was the first mixed martial-arts fighter to win major titles in two weight classes?

On Jan. 5, 1643, in the first record of a legal divorce in the American colonies, Anne Clarke of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is granted a divorce from her absent and adulterous husband, Denis Clarke, by the Quarter Court of Boston. On Jan. 7, 1785, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travel from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a gas balloon, making the first crossing of the English Channel by air. After almost crashing, the two men were forced to throw nearly everything out of the balloon to lighten the ship. On Jan. 4, 1847, Samuel Colt rescues the future of his faltering gun company by winning a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers. Though never cheap, by the early 1850s, Colt revolvers were inexpensive enough to be a favorite with Americans headed westward during the California Gold Rush.

Pets to the Rescue By Sam Mazzotta

There’s a good crop of pet books this season, but two really stand out from the pack of training and pet-care tomes I normally receive. These are perfect for curling up with beside the fire in the new year. You might, or might not, remember the story of the library cat named Dewey, who ruled the Spencer, Iowa, public library for nearly two decades as its resident cat. Library director Vicki Myron along with author Bret Witter published a series of books about Dewey. Now, they’re back with another great addition to the plucky cat’s story: “Dewey’s Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions”(New American Library). Myron and Witter present nine true stories of cats and their people, illustrating the way pets affect and change our lives for the better. If you’re more interested in a good piece of fiction, take a break with “Walking Back to Happiness” (Berkeley Books) by Lucy Dillon. It’s a wellcomposed, smart tale of Juliet, who is grieving

On Jan 8, 1877, Crazy Horse and his warriors -- outnumbered, low on ammunition and forced to use outdated weapons -- fight their final losing battle against the U.S. Cavalry in Montana. On May 6, Crazy Horse led approximately 1,100 Indians to the Red Cloud reservation near Nebraska’s Fort Robinson and surrendered.

the recent loss of her husband and rarely leaves the house except to walk her husband’s terrier, Minton. Her mother and sister both try to lift her spirits in between their own busy lives, but it isn’t until Juliet begins walking her mother’s aging Lab, Coco, that things begin to change. It’s a sensitive depiction of grief and healing, with a bit of romance thrown in.

On Jan. 6, 1925, in Madison Square Garden, Finnish long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi sets a new indoor world record, running a mile in 4:13.5. In the 5,000-meter race, the “Flying Finn” broke another indoor world record in 14:44.6. Nurmi often ran holding a stopwatch to pace himself, an innovation he developed.

Send your questions or tips to ask@pawscorner. com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit

On Jan. 3, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower closes the American embassy in Havana and severs diplomatic relations between the United States and Fidel Castro’s government in Cuba. The action signaled that the United States was prepared to take extreme measures to oppose Castro’s regime.



for more information call (785) 404-1000

On Jan. 2, 1971, 66 football (soccer) fans are killed in a stampede at a stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, as they attempt to leave a game. The tragedy was caused by the crush of spectators all leaving at the same time on the same stairway. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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carry the comedy well and precipitate chemistry with Cheadle's straight man. "The Guard" shows that the buddy-cop comedy is still good for a laugh, provided moviemakers are handy with the right setting, script and talented performers who can EDITOR'S NOTE: DVDs reviewed in this have fun with it. column will be available in stores the week of Jan. 2, 2012. "Contagion" (PG-13) -- This fast-paced, broad-scoped PICKS OF THE WEEK and paranoia-inducing "The Guard" (R) -- In the small, stony disaster flick follows a deadly grey part of Ireland, a murder becomes plague and its effects on the single thread that could unravel a human life as we know it -big wool sweater of crime. It's the kind while ending a lot of it. of oddball setup and sinister Gweneth Paltrow picks up a conspiracy that can be tackled only by new super-bug in Hong a mismatched duo from contrasting Kong, then spreads it all over worlds: a doughy, sardonic small-town the place on her way back Irish cop (Brendan Gleeson) and a home to her Matt Damon straight-laced, authoritative FBI agent husband. A star-lined cast (Don Cheadle.) adds gravitas to the lives of The two proven actors handle the the various folks feeling the lowered-brow comedy like a brain impact of the epidemic, surgeon handles a game of Operation. including Marion Cotillard, Gleeson's quips and character-acting

Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet and Jude Law. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the story ably shifts focus from wide-angle to up close and intimate. The film really shines with its examinations of the many points of contact we have with each other in everyday life. When shaking the wrong hand or eating the wrong bar nut could end your life, people try to adapt to a new, sterile way of life.

but the majority are charmingly optimistic and at least a little thought-provoking.

DOG OF THE WEEK "I Don't Know How She Does It" (PG-13) Sarah Jessica Parker reprises her favorite role as a grating, self-martyring career woman. Except in this movie, career women are borderline sociopaths, and stay-at-home moms are piranhas waiting to gnaw away at mothers who work uptown. Parker plays Kate, a working mom who has it all in her glittering upper-middle-class life, which is just so gosh-darn hard. Poking fun at the quirky challenges of everyday life is a valid premise for a story, but this movie's world is charmless and polished "I Am" -- Director Shadyac clean. Parker is downright annoying as made his millions directing Jim Carey in movies like "Ace everyone else looks straight into the camera Ventura" and "Bruce Almighty." and heaps praise on her for working so hard After an accident left him with to send emails and throw elaborate parties. a long, painful recovery to think about life, he decided to TV RELEASES put together a small crew and "Justified: The Complete Second Season" "Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Five" talk to experts about what's wrong with the world and how "Royal Pains: Season Three -- Volume One" "Thats My Boy: Complete Series" to fix it. Some segments are shallow and saccharine-sweet, "Red: Werewolf Hunter"

Answers 1. Reggie Jackson of the New York Yankees, in 1977. 2. Arlie Latham was 49 years old when he stole a base for the 1909 New York Giants. 3. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, in 2010. 4. Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James. 5. Six times. 6. Maryland beat Northwestern in 2010. 7. Randy Couture.

Trivia Quiz

Answers Answers 1. Latin 2. Perigee 3. 1894 4. Cotton gin 5. 1789 6. Spain 7. Crete 8. T.S. Eliot 9. “The Beatles” (The White Album)


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