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January 4, 2012 Published Weekly

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TIDBITS® CROSSES SOME MOUNTAIN PASSES by Patricia L. Cook Mountain passes around the world can be high, steep, rocky and just plain challenging to traverse. But they’re worth exploring, so join us! • So what is a mountain pass? It is the most easily accessible point between mountains where you can “pass” through. The pass is considered the highest point or summit at which you traverse the area. Passes have always been very important finds for pioneers moving across the country, as well as road and rail builders. The definition of a mountain pass is actually: “The location in a range of mountains of a geological formation that is lower than the surrounding peaks.” • Other terms used in North America for a pass are saddle, notch and gap. Pass and saddle are most commonly used in the West, while the East Coast tends to use the terms notch and gap. • Semo La, a pass in central Tibet, at 18,258 feet (5,565 m), is considered to be the highest pass accessible by vehicles. It is a high, isolated place in the Chang Tang region of Tibet. Also in Tibet is the highest mountain pass accessible by train. The Tanggula Pass in the mountains of the same name has a rail station at 16,640 feet (5,072 m). By the way, “La” in Tibetan means pass. (turn the page for more!)

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Tidbits® of Salina

Citrus-Glazed Salmon This sweet and savory salmon dish tempts every part of the palate with a melange of perky winter flavors. 1 1/2 pounds fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped, fronds chopped and reserved for garnish 1 small (6- to 8-ounce) all-purpose potato, peeled and chopped 1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice 1/4 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce 4 (6 ounces each) center-cut salmon fillets Salt and pepper 1 tablespoon margarine or butter 1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Line 15 1/2-inch by 10 1/2inch jelly-roll pan with foil; grease foil. 2. In 4-quart saucepan, combine fennel and potato. Add enough cold water to cover. Cover, heat to boiling on high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer 18 to 22 minutes or until vegetables are tender when pierced with tip of knife. 3. Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, heat juice to boiling on high. Boil 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Stir in soy sauce and boil 1 minute longer. 4. While fennel and juice cook, season flesh side of salmon with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Arrange salmon in single layer in prepared pan, skin side up. Roast 12 to 18 minutes or until paler in color and knife pierces easily through side. Carefully peel skin off salmon and discard. 5. Drain fennel and potato, and transfer to food processor with knife blade attached. Add margarine, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Puree until smooth. Divide among serving plates. 6. Arrange salmon skin side down on top of fennel puree and spoon orange glaze over. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve immediately. Serves 4. „ Each serving: About 420 calories, 16g total fat (3g saturated), 108mg cholesterol, 495mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 41g protein. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at

MOUNTAIN PASSES (continued): • At 7,239 feet (2,206 m), the highest pass with a paved road in Canada is Highwood Pass in Kananaskis Country, a multi-use park area in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta, west of Calgary. You can’t get there during the winter as the road is closed from mid-December to mid-June due to heavy snowfall. It is a spectacular drive and a great place to take photographs during the summer. • The Beartooth Pass on U.S. Highway 212, also known as the Beartooth Highway, is the highest point on the 68-mile (109-km) road that begins at the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park near Silver Gate, Montana. The road goes in a northeastern direction mostly through Wyoming, ending in Red Lodge, Montana. The highway was built in the 1930s and is still considered a great engineering feat. It hugs mountains along curvy switchbacks up, across and back down through the alpine plateau. The pass is 10,947 feet (3,337 m) above sea level, and the road is one of the highest elevation roads in the United States. The highway was named for a distinct peak that looks like a bear tooth. • Known as one of the most scenic drives in North America, the Beartooth Highway is designated as a “National Scenic Byways All-American Road.” The high elevation of the road and the high snowfall amounts in the region make it accessible only in the warmer months; it is usually open from May through October. This highway is considered an “orphan” road because no federal or state agency claims actual ownership.

He’s a proven innovator, and his track record in broadcasting is truly remarkable. Howard is very passionate about this show and is fully committed to its future success.” *** Q: I have been following the career of Sam Neill ever since “Jurassic Park.” I loved him in “The Tudors,” “Happy Town,” “The Horse Whisperer,” “Wimbledon,” “Daybreakers,” “Crusoe,” etc. What does he have coming up next? -- Will O., via e-mail Q: I really miss Christopher Meloni on “Law & Order: SVU.” Please tell me I can see him on another series or in a movie soon. -- Randi E., via e-mail A: You’ll be able to see Christopher as soon as this summer on the small screen when he makes his debut on the sixth season of HBO’s “True Blood.” Details are hush-hush, as it always is with “True Blood,” but according to executive producer Alan Ball, Chris will play “an ancient, powerful vampire who holds the fate of Bill and Eric in his hands.” For the big screen, you can see him sometime this year (a release date has not yet been announced) in the comedy “Awful Nice.” And in June 2013, he co-stars as Colonel Hardy in the new “Superman” film, “Man of Steel,” which also stars Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, and slew of other top-notch stars. *** Q: With Piers Morgan gone, will they be getting another judge for “America’s Got Talent,” or just stick with Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne? -- Callie H., Portland, Ore. A: In a move that is causing some controversy (when hasn’t controversy followed this man?), shock-jock Howard Stern has been tapped to be the third “Talent” judge. Said NBC exec Paul Telegdy: “Howard Stern’s larger-than-life personality will bring a thrilling new dynamic to ‘America’s Got Talent’ starting this summer.

A: Sam is rumored to be returning as Dr. Alan Grant for “Jurassic Park IV,” which doesn’t have any production or release-date details as the movie was too recently announced. He co-stars in the big-screen adaption of Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge,” to be released later this year. But you can catch him even sooner. Sam comes back to the small screen on Monday, Jan. 16, on Fox when he stars in the new series “Alcatraz.” This show looks creepy, scary and super exciting, and I plan to tune in to see exactly what all the hubbub is about. *** Q: It seems like it’s that time of year again ... when will the next season of “American Idol” be on? I am kind of disappointed by “The X-Factor,” and I could really use my Steven, Jennifer and Randy fix right about now. -Tina R., Wheeling, W.Va. A: You don’t have to wait much longer: America’s most popular talent competition will be back Wednesday, Jan. 18, on Fox, with the show airing Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c. 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. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: Which youth group’s slogan is “Learn by doing”? 2. TELEVISION: Who was the German commandant of Stalag 13 in TV’s “Hogan’s Heroes”? 3. U.S. GOVERNMENT: Which state did Harry Byrd represent in the U.S. Senate for 32 years? 4. INVENTORS: Who was the inventor of the first practical process of photography? 5. MYTHOLOGY: Who was the Greek goddess Persephone? 6. HISTORY: What did Jack Ruby, who killed JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, do for a living? 7. SPORTS: When was the Stanley Cup first awarded? 8. THEATER: Tennessee Williams won a Pulitizer Prize for which one of his plays in 1948? 9. GEOGRAPHY: The city of Cartagena, Spain, lies next to which body of water? 10. EXPLORERS: What was the nationality of polar explorer Roald Amundsen?

Pillow Vase Q: I have an unusual family heirloom that was given to my great grandparents when they were married in Buffalo, N.Y., in June 1900. It is a sea-green “pillow vase” painted and signed by Edward Diers. I’ve seen a duplicate in a pottery book, but no value was given. I don’t want to sell it since it’s an heirloom, but I am nevertheless curious about its value. My neighbor is a pottery collector and thinks it could be worth as much as $1,000 because of its unique design. -- Barbara, Yonkers, N.Y. A: This is yet another reason why you should never put much stock in the opinions of neighbors -even those who think they are experts --- when it comes to antiques and collectibles. I contacted several certified appraisers and they seem to agree that your “pillow vase” by Edward Diers could be worth as much as $30,000. *** Q: Several years ago I bought a framed picture at a tag sale of Louisa May Alcott’s “Orchard House” in Concord. I would like to know its value and if a library would benefit in having it. -- Cynthia, Barre, Vt. A: I recommend you contact the curator of the Louisa May Alcott “Orchard House” museum, 399 Lexington Road, Concord, Massachusetts 01742. *** Q: My mom recently gave me a two-gallon crock that she thinks is at least a 100 years old. It has a white glazed surface with a large “2” and Monmouth Pottery Company, Monmouth, ILL” imprinted on the side. I have been offered $150 for it, but think it might be worth more. -- Laura, Hondo, Texas A: Take the $150. Your crock is worth about $75, according to the “Antique Trader Stoneware and Blue and White Pottery Price Guide” edited by Kyle Husfloen. I recently saw a similar crock made by the same company sell at auction for $45. *** Q: We have a copy of The New Zealand Fantail Hobbies magazine from 1972. It is 36 pages and appears to be typed on a typewriter. It is in very good condition. -- Martins, Phelps, N.Y. A: Although your publication is interesting, it does not have any real value as a collectible. 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 large volume of mail he receives, Mr. Cox is unable to personally answer all reader questions. Do not send any materials requiring return mail.

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For Advertising Call (785) 404-1000 MOUNTAIN PASSES (continued): • South of Yellowstone in the Teton Range of the Rockies, Teton Pass Road runs between Jackson, Wyoming, and Teton Valley, Idaho. The highway has a steep 10 percent grade with lots of twists and turns and can be a real test of driving skills in the winter. It tops out at 8,431 feet (2,591 m), and the Wyoming Department of Transportation uses blasting to control avalanches and keep the road open most winter days. • Colorado, with its many “fourteeners” (peaks that are more than 14,000 feet (4,267 m) above sea level), has many amazing mountain passes. Independence Pass that connects Twin Lakes and Aspen during the summer (closed in winter) has expansive views where three of the five tallest mountains in the state can be seen: La Plata Peak, Mount Massive and the tallest peak in the Rocky Mountains, Mount Elbert. The summit for the pass is 12,095 feet (3,687 m). • The song “Wolf Creek Pass,” written by Bill Fries and Chip Davis and sung by C.W. McCall in 1975, made the pass of the same name in southern Colorado somewhat famous. The country song describes a wild ride in an 18-wheel truck carrying a load of chickens. From the top of the pass at 10,857 feet (3,309 m) to the town of Pagosa Springs, there is a 5,000-foot (1,524-m) drop in elevation. The driver is going much too fast down the pass, and as the singer explains, “I’m not the type to complain, but the time has come for me to explain, that if you don’t apply some brake real soon, they’re gonna have to pick us up with a stick an’ a spoon.” • When the song was written, Wolf Creek Pass was an intimidating two-lane road. A tunnel was completed in 2005, and an expansion to a multi-lane, widened highway was finished in 2006 to make the road a bit easier to navigate.

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“Lightbringer” by K.D. McEntire (Pyr, $16.95) Reviewed by Ealish Waddell Wendy has a lot on her plate. Her mom lingers in a coma, and Wendy’s grieving family depends on her to keep the household running. Her grades are slipping, and her best friend is dropping some pretty big hints that he’d like to be more. And with all the responsibility for the family business falling on her shoulders, the last thing Wendy feels like doing is reaping the dead. Wendy and her mother are the latest in a line of spiritual sentries who journey into the shadowy limbo dimension of the Never to help deceased spirits marooned there, guiding them -- shoving them if necessary -- forward into the mysterious Light. But lately Wendy has been neglecting her task, instead spending the nights scouring the Never for her mother’s missing soul. Then she meets Piotr. He is a Rider, a type of ghost who gathers and protects the vulnerable souls of the Lost, children thrown too soon into the dangerous Never. For more than harmless shades roam this place -- the monstrous Walkers, and the mysterious White Lady who controls them, are ever eager to score themselves a hit of potent Lost essence. As Wendy finds herself falling more and more for the noble Piotr, she is torn between her duty and her heart. But the White Lady is growing stronger, and Wendy knows she must be stopped, even if it means sacrificing her newfound love to the Light -- and possibly herself as well. “Lightbringer” creates a intriguing version of the afterlife, with unusual, unexpected details revealed slowly over the course of the story so that we are piecing the truth of this world together in much the same way Wendy is. Wendy’s friends and family (especially her steadfast BFF Eddie) and Piotr’s tribe of disparate allies are all drawn with distinct and engaging personalities, and the final pages set up the welcome possibility of a series. ( (

HOLLYWOOD -- Is anyone bothered by “Arthur Christmas,” who Sony Pictures claims is the son of Santa Claus? Santa can be traced back to 1823, when Clement Clarke Moore gave the world the poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” He also was known as Father Christmas and Kris Kringle, and in Greek and Byzantine folklore he is referred to as Basil of Caesarea. In l996, a TV movie with music by Jerry Herman (“Hello Dolly” and “Mame”) and starring Angela Lansbury gave us a detailed and close-up look at “Mrs. Santa Claus.” In 2002, ABC Family gave us “Santa Claus, Jr.” with Nick Stabile as Kris Kringle Jr., and now we have “Arthur Christmas,” in 3D no less. Not only did they create Arthur out of thin air, but they’ve also invented a brother named Steve and Santa’s father, Grand-Santa. The questions that beg for answers are ... if Santa and Mrs. Claus are almost 200 years old, can they still have children? Does anyone with a pen have the right to make up family members for one of the greatest folklore figures the world has ever known? Judging from the disappointing box-office receipts for “Arthur Christmas,” people aren’t in a rush to update the family tree for Father Xmas! *** The cable station Antenna TV recently revived the old

Three Stooges shorts. The Farrelly Brothers homage to “The Three Stooges” is being released in April by Sony Pictures, which just happens to own Antenna TV. Chris Diamantopoulas is Moe, “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes is Larry, and “Mad TV’s” Will Sasso is Curly. This film won’t be like the 2000 TV film which had Paul Ben-Victor as Moe, “Sex and the City’s” Evan Handler as Larry and “The Shield’s” Michael Chiklis as Curly. That film was about how the Stooges were taken advantage of by Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn, who produced their black-and-white short films. This new film is about the characters in those shorts, with all the physical humor and slapstick. Added star power is provided by “Glee’s” Jane Lynch, “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara, “Dreamgirls” Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Larry David and “Jersey Shore” stars Snookie and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. In true Farrelly Brothers fashion, they’ve crafted a vehicle that has the Stooges trying to save their childhood orphanage, inadvertently stumbling onto a murder plot and starring in a reality TV show. The trailers online look very funny, but can they sustain it for a full-length film? Even the Stooges would?ve done a double take at having to work with Snookie and The Situation! Hey Snookie, “pick 2 fingers!” Send letters to Tony Rizzo’s Hollywood, 8306 Wilshire Blvd., No. 362, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

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Tidbits® of Salina

Lupus Targets Young Women DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I recently tested positive for lupus, about which I know nothing. Please furnish me with some information. -- E.L. ANSWER: Men, children and the elderly can come down with lupus, but the main target group is young women between the ages of 15 and 45. Lupus causes a staggering number of signs and symptoms. No one person develops all, but some have many. Joint swelling and pain; a drop in the number of white and red blood cells; a tendency to form clots in veins; skin rashes; malfunctioning of nerves, the brain and the spinal cord; inflammation of the coverings of the heart and lungs; kidney damage; and an injuring sensitivity to sunlight are the major troubles facing lupus patients. All of this comes about because the immune system declares war on body organs and tissues for reasons not fully understood. Antibodies -- products of the immune system -- are signs of the immune attack. They are useful for diagnosing the illness. When you say you tested positive for lupus, do you mean you had a positive blood

Kids’ Artwork Makes a Home Memorable Paintings and pets, or rather paintings of pets, is a dominant theme throughout the bright and cheery Hughes home in Scotts Valley, Calif. It’s impossible to pass from the kitchen hallway to the living room without taking a pause to view portraits of guinea pigs Clover and Bubbles artfully arranged next to paintings of loveable cats and dogs. Painted sculptures of favorite animals and birds are tucked here and there, too. A pony, penguin and parrot sit in a row on a bedroom shelf, keeping watch over the kids’ comings and goings. “Eleven-year-old Gilian and 9-year-old Gabbie love to care for, play with and draw pictures of animals, especially our own pets,” says mom Serina. “Skittles, our leopard gecko, hasn’t made the wall yet because he’s new, but I’m sure they’ll do a portrait of him soon. Showcasing the girls’ animal art as part of our home decor says a bit of who we are and what we love as a family,” she adds. Are you swimming with your kids’ artwork? Why tuck it away in a closet? Show it off and make your home truly unique. Here are some quick ideas for displaying and storing art: --Hang six to nine same-size clipboards in rows on a hallway wall or family gathering space. They’ll always be ready for displaying the latest creations in an instant. Mix and match this contemporary art display with large photos, too. --Think outside the frame, and set your child’s pottery or craft projects together with a houseplant or mini bouquet of flowers. Place the arrangement on an end table by a sofa or chair. --Take photos of paintings, drawings and crafts. Burn a CD or create a special “Kid Art” photo file on your computer. Set to music and enjoy watching the art show over and over together. --For extra keepers, store rolled-up paper artwork in mailing tubes, available at office-supply stores and the post office. Label with your child’s name and grade. *** 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 www. .

test? One frequently used is the ANA (anti-nuclear antibody) test. A positive ANA suggests lupus but is not diagnostic of it. Two other antibody tests, anti-dsDNA and anti-SM, are stronger evidence of lupus. Lupus is a formidable illness, but modern treatment has taken away much of its dread. In the past, it shortened life. Now 80 percent to 90 percent of lupus patients live 10 or more years. Lupus is subject to flare-ups and periods when it greatly quiets down. For flares, the cortisone drugs are put into play. For quiet periods, medicines with fewer side effects are prescribed. The list of medicines available for lupus is large. A new one has just come on the market. The booklet on rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, two similar illnesses, gives a comprehensive view of lupus and its treatment. To order a copy, write: Dr. Donohue -- No. 301W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery. *** Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. *** (c) 2011 North America Synd., Inc. All Rights Reserved

MOUNTAIN PASSES (continued): • Another Colorado road worth mentioning is Train Ridge, U.S. 34, which goes through Rocky Mountain National Park. The highest continuous auto road in the country, the road is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It meanders for 48 miles (77 km) through glacier-carved valleys with views of majestic peaks and crystalline lakes and crosses the Continental Divide. While it doesn’t have sheer cliffs to scare drivers and passengers, it definitely has memorable scenery. • South of the equator in South America, there are 42 mountain passes between Chile and Argentina, whose border runs from north to south through the Andes Mountains. It is the third longest international border, 3,300 miles (5,300 km) long. An interesting statue at what was once a main route between the two countries is the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). At the top of the pass, at 13,780 feet (4,200 m) above sea level, the statue stands tall at 26 feet (8 m) and weighs 12,000 pounds (5.4 metric tons). • The Cristo Redentor was taken by train to Uspallata, Argentina, and then the rest of the way by mule in 1904. It commemorated the peaceful conclusion to a territorial dispute between the two countries. Today, the dirt road is only accessed by tour busses and adventure seekers, with the main route between the countries being the Cristo Redentor tunnel that opened in 1980. This Cristo Redentor is not as well known as the famous statue of the same name on top of the mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. • Whether you are exploring the mountains of North America, South America, Asia or elsewhere, you are sure to find some terrific mountain passes and outstanding views. Just don’t forget your camera!

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For Advertising Call (785) 404-1000 FAMOUS LANDMARKS OF THE WORLD: THE TETONS There are many beautiful mountain ranges in the world but few are as recognizable as the peaks in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyoming. Let’s climb high for some Teton Tidbits! • When Grand Teton National Park was first established in 1929, it only encompassed the mountain peaks and the lakes near the base. It took years of wrangling with local ranchers, residents, sheepherders, politicians and others for the park to be enlarged. • In 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established Jackson Hole National Monument, combining acreage in the Teton National Forest and other federal properties including Jackson Lake with a generous 35,000-acre (14164ha) donation by John D. Rockefeller Jr. • After years of arguments, on September 14, 1950, the original 1929 Grand Teton National Park and the 1943 National Monument, including Rockefeller’s donation, were combined to create the present-day boundaries. • During the years of debate, many pushed for the Teton Range of mountains and the valley of Jackson Hole, including the town of Jackson, Wyoming, to be included in Yellowstone National Park. • With the establishment of the Grand Teton National Park, 97 ranchers endorsed a petition that read: “That this region will find its highest use as a playground…The destiny of Jackson’s Hole is as a playground, typical of the west, for the education and enjoyment of the Nation, as a whole.”

Can Rabbit be Trained? DEAR PAW'S CORNER: My pet rabbit, a lop-ear named "Jake," seems pretty active and alert. He flicks his ears when I hold a treat out for him, and I noticed he does the same when I move my hand in a similar way even when there is no treat. Do you think a rabbit could be trained similar to the way a dog is trained? -- Clarissa T., Butte, Mont.

By Sam Mazzotta

Heidenreich uses positivereinforcement training to teach her rabbits to perform on cue. One lop-eared rabbit, Loretta, "runs a seven-piece agility course, retrieves, spins in a circle and digs on cue. Loretta was adopted as an adult and learned most of her tricks in just a few weeks," according to a promotional release by pet behavior and training-products DEAR CLARISSA: According to company Good Bird Inc. animal trainer Barbara Heidenreich, Heidenreich says that positive it's entirely possible to do so; in reinforcement training isn't just for fact, she's trained two of her teaching pet tricks; owners also can rabbits to do agility courses. use this method to address

problem behaviors and, overall, get more connected to their pets. As these fluffy animals become more and more popular as pets, she feels that learning to do more than just care for rabbits is necessary but also rewarding. If you'd like to learn more about training Jake to do tricks, visit, Heidenreich's site. Send your questions or tips to, or write to Paw's Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

“Petbits” is sponsored by: Always Home

Pet Sitting Service

Leaving town? We'll take care of the family staying at home! We are insured and have 20 years of experience caring for dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles. We provide in-house service anywhere in the Salina area. Also, in some cases your pet can come stay with us in our home to receive extra love and attention. Please call with questions or to check our availability on certain dates. Phone: (785) 787-2422 Email:

Why Drain a Hot-Water Heater? Q: A neighbor of mine said that he drains his hot water heater twice a year to keep it clear. Won’t draining the heater damage it? -- Sal P., Tallahassee, Fla. A: Actually, draining the water heater can help it heat water more efficiently and even extend its service life. The trick is to turn it off and let the water cool for a few hours. Then, shut off the water supply to the heater so it won’t refill as you drain it. Note: If you need to turn off the water supply to the entire house or part of the house in order to turn off the heater’s supply, open the taps on the other sinks in your house. Attach a length of garden hose to the water-heater drain spigot, just long enough to comfortably hang over the edge of the bucket you’ll use to catch the drained water. (If a utility sink is nearby, that’s an

even better option; run the hose to the sink.) Turn the spigot on slowly, until it’s fully open. Drain the tank as far as possibleÑthis could mean detaching the hose and catching the last of the water in a bucket. Then, close the spigot and turn the water supply back on to fill the tank, and turn on the heater. If you had to turn on the other taps in the house, once the water supply is back on, turn the taps off. (You want water to run through them after a shutoff to prevent air from getting trapped in the pipes.) Draining the water heater once or twice a year will remove sediment that can build up due to a number of factors. It’s not always done in the wintertime, but if you have a day or two that is above freezing and you can let the heater cool overnight, go for it. HOME TIP: Setting the water heater’s temperature to “low” or “warm” -- just below 120 F -- will save on the cost of heating and prevent accidental scalding from water that’s too hot. 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 The Teatons (continued): • Even though many refer to the area as the “Grand Tetons,” the Grand Teton is actually the most prominent peak in the Teton Range at an elevation of 13,770 feet (4198 m). The Teton Range is actually 40 miles (65 km) long and 7-9 miles (11-14.5 km) wide. The three most widely known and recognized peaks in the Tetons are the Grand, Middle and South Tetons. • The Tetons sit on a massive fault line where earth movement caused the mountains to rise and the valley to be lowered. An interesting thing about these mountains is that there are no foothills, which allows gorgeous photos to be taken with the mountains mirrored in lakes at the valley floor. There are actually seven morainal (created by glaciers) lakes at the base of the range with Jackson Lake being the largest. The elevation of Jackson Lake is 6,750 feet (2,057 m), with the Tetons towering above. • During the winter months in the area, snow accumulates an average of 191 inches (490 cm). Of course, this makes for excellent skiing at Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee Resorts, the local ski “hills.” • The melting snow flows into the Snake River, which starts in Yellowstone, just north of the Tetons. The Snake “snakes” its way through the park into Idaho, Oregon and Washington before it flows into the Columbia River in southern Washington and heads for the Pacific Ocean. • Mountain climbers come from all over the world to climb “The Grand” and other mountains in the Tetons. If you plan to visit, you don’t have to be a climber or a skier. There are approximately 100 miles of paved roads and nearly 200 miles of hiking trails in the park.

Get Ready to File Your 2011 Tax Return You’ll be receiving your W-2 and 1099 income forms in the next few weeks. Your 1099 for bank interest and 1098 for mortgage interest paid in 2011 should show up in the same time frame. When they arrive, check them immediately. Compare to interest reported on your bank statements and your year-to-date income and the deductions from your last paycheck of 2011. If you’re self-employed, check the figures you’ve kept all year. If there are any discrepancies, report them immediately, before you file. The company issuing the forms will be required to send amended forms to you and the IRS. Even before your forms arrive, you can use your same estimate figures from above to run what-if scenarios with tax software on your computer. If the numbers don’t match once the forms arrive, you’ll be able to make changes in the program. (Take that opportunity to investigate why your numbers don’t match.) If you’ve never used computer tax software, some of the fairly easy ones are TurboTax by Intuit, TaxCut by

H&R Block and TaxACT. Beware any off-brand names that offer to let you do your taxes online. They could be data collecting, and your Social Security number, name and address are valuable to thieves. Enter the data carefully, especially your Social Security number, amounts and employer ID. Save your file often. If you used a software program last year and are happy with it, purchase the same brand again. Let the two programs talk to each other. (When it asks if you want the program to import the data from the previous year, click yes.) Assuming you haven’t changed jobs or banks, much of the data, such as employer ID and company name, will transfer to your new software. The earlier in the season you buy tax software, the more important it is to do the program updates. Tax changes can (theoretically) happen at any time. Every time you sit down to work on your taxes, ask the program to check for updates. Do the same thing with your state tax software. Most programs will let you do an efile of your tax return. Whether or not you chose this option, be sure to print out a copy (forms and all supporting documentation) of your tax return, including the state return. 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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For Advertising Call (785) 404-1000

TOP TEN VIDEO, DVD as of DECEMBER 26, 2011 Top 10 Video Rentals 1. Cowboys and Aliens (PG-13) Daniel Craig 2. The Hangover Part II (R) Bradley Cooper 3. The Help (PG-13) Viola Davis 4. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (PG) Jim Carrey 5. Super 8 (PG-13) Kyle Chandler 6. Friends With Benefits (R) Mila Kunis 7. The Smurfs (PG) Neil Patrick Harris 8. 30 Minutes or Less (R) Jesse Eisenberg 9. The Debt (R) Helen Mirren 10. Our Idiot Brother (R) Paul Rudd Top 10 DVD Sales 1. The Hangover Part II (R) (Warner) 2. The Help (PG-13) (Buena Vista) 3. Cowboys and Aliens (PG-13) (Universal) 4. The Smurfs (PG) (Sony) 5. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (PG) (Fox) 6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (PG13) (Warner) 7. Cars 2 (G) (Buena Vista) 8. Friends with Benefits (R)(Sony) 9. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (PG-13) (Warner) 10. Star Wars: The Complete Saga (PG-13) (Fox) Source: Rentrak Corp.

1. Name the four N.L. pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in consecutive years. 2. It took just 1,303 innings for pitcher Kerry Wood to record 1,500 career strikeouts. Who held the mark for fewest innings to reach that mark before Wood? 3. Who holds the NFL record for most TD passes caught in a season? 4. Three No. 11 seeds have advanced to the NCAA Final Four in men’s basketball. Name two of them. 5. True or false: Until the 2010-11 NHL campaign, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Los Angeles Kings had never gone to the playoffs in the same season. 6. How many total medals did U.S. boxers tally in the Olympics between 2000 and 2008? 7. Who was the last senior golfer before John Cook (2010-11) to win the last tournament of one Champions Tour season and the first tournament of the next season?

It was American essayist Logan Pearsall Smith who made the following sage observation: It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people. The word "avocado" is derived from a South American Indian word that means "testicle." When the miniskirt was introduced to the world in the 1960s, the reaction was swift and often harsh. Women who wore them in the Malagasy Republic were sentenced to 10 days in jail. Congolese police arrested 300 women for wearing the new style, and Egyptian law branded the garment as indecent. In Caracas, Venezuela, the clergy got involved; churches admonished women to give up their minis or "be condemned to hell." Perhaps the seeming overreaction wasn't entirely unjustified, considering the effect the miniskirt had in some places. It was reported that two women

wearing minis caused a two-hour traffic jam in downtown Cairo, and a 63-year-old man in Rio De Janeiro was sentenced to three days in jail after biting the legs of the miniskirt-clad woman seated next to him on a bus. The first animated color TV commercial was broadcast in 1949, and it was created by none other than venerable children's book author Dr. Seuss. The ad was for the Ford Motor Company. Historians say that Abraham Lincoln had a shrill, high-pitched voice rather than the deep and sonorous tones we usually hear when the 16th president is portrayed in film and television. Those who study such things say that Americans' favorite T-shirt color is white, followed by blue and black. *** Thought for the Day: "If you have an important point, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time -- a tremendous whack." -Winston Churchill (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

On Jan. 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three “mermaids” and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.” They were in reality manatees. Mythical mermaids have existed in seafaring cultures since the time of the ancient Greeks. On Jan. 14, 1639, in Hartford, Conn., the first constitution in the American colonies, the “Fundamental Orders,” is adopted. The Fundamental Orders declared that “the foundation of authority is in the free consent of the people.” On Jan. 10, 1901, a drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas, produces an enormous gusher of crude oil, signaling the advent of the American oil industry. The geyser flowed at an initial rate of approximately 100,000 barrels a day and took nine days to cap. On Jan. 15, 1919, two million gallons of fiery hot molasses floods the streets of Boston, killing 21 people and a dozen horses. The molasses burst from a 58-foot-high tank in the heart of the city. An 8-foot-high wave of molasses swept away freight cars, knocked over the local firehouse and pushed over the support beams for the elevated train line. On Jan. 13, 1939, Arthur “Doc” Barker is shot and killed while trying to escape from Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay. Barker, of the notorious “Bloody Barkers” gang, was spotted on the rock-strewn shore of the island after climbing over the walls and tying pieces of wood together into a makeshift raft. On Jan. 11, 1973, the owners of America’s 24 major-league baseball teams vote to allow teams in the American League to use a “designated pinch-hitter” that could bat for the pitcher, while still allowing the pitcher to stay in the game. On Jan. 12, 1984, a panel overseeing the restoration of the Great Pyramids in Egypt abandons modern construction techniques in favor of the method employed by the ancient Egyptians. Restorers stopped using mortar and adopted the system of interlocking blocks practiced by the original pyramid builders. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Tidbits® of Salina

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Jonah Hill (yes, he's a serious actor in this one) humanize the mathematics without getting in the way of the story. It's an underdog story without the cheese, and a true-life baseball story that you don't have to be a "SportsCenter" addict to EDITOR'S NOTE: DVDs reviewed in this appreciate. column will be available in stores the week of Jan. 9, 2012. "Killer Elite" (R) -- Jason PICKS OF THE WEEK "Moneyball" (PG-13)-- The nuts and bolts of managing a baseball team might seem like a criminally dull topic, but in an admirable labor of love, Brad Pitt and director Bennet Miller turn it into a tale of challenging conventions and revolutionizing America's favorite pastime. Based on the story of Oakland A's manager Billy Beane (Pitt), "Moneyball" is a surprisingly funny and relentlessly engaging story of how somebody changed the game without setting foot on the field. While the characters are talking about team budgets and player stats, Pitt and

anything more than an extended cameo.

One after a certain number of relationships, Ally seizes the trite plot device and goes on a quest to see if any of her former beaus are "Boardwalk Empire: The actually the man she's meant to marry. Complete First Season" This is the most tragic comedy on the shelf, (TV-MA) -- If you haven't been folks. A staggering amount of comedy talent watching or you don't is weighed down by the most inane, subscribe to HBO, take this predictable, slapdash romcom script ever put chance to check out this rich together. Andy Samberg and Joel McHale are series. Set in Atlantic City at among the wasted funnymen in bit roles. the onset of Prohibition, the Anna Ferris is the most tragic of all; she's show follows "Nucky" charming, cute and funny, but just can't seem Statham, Robert De Niro and Thompson, the remorseless to find that special movie that will make it all Clive Owen serve up a gritty racketeer played by Steve happen. action flick with that magical Buscemi. "The Sopranos" is so mixture of thrilling and 1990s, but it's not too late to TV RELEASES forgettable. Danny (Statham) jump on this worthwhile "Hawaii Five-O: The 12th and Final Season" is an ex-special forces kinda bandwagon. "An Idiot Abroad" guy who teams up with his "Dennis the Menace: Season Four" mentor, Hunter (De Niro) to DOG OF THE WEEK "G.I. Joe Series 2: Season 1" take down Clive Owen's "What's Your Number?" (R) -- "Best of Petticoat Junction Collection" underground badguy society. Ally Darling (Anna Ferris) is a That's as coherent as the plot city girl with a ridiculous name (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc. gets -- or needs to be. For a who has had a string of no-brainer night of tough ridiculous lovers. When she guys and explosions, "Killer comes across a magazine Elite" is a decent action flick article stating that single that won't disappoint, unless women are doomed to be you want to see De Niro in alone if they haven't found The Answers 1. Sandy Koufax (1965-66), Greg Maddux (1992-95), Randy Johnson (1999-2002) and Tim Lincecum (2008-09). 2. Pedro Martinez did it in 1,337 innings. 3. Randy Moss had 23 TD receptions for New England in 2007. 4. LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and Virginia Commonwealth (2011). 5. True. 6. Seven medals (one gold, two silver and four bronze). 7. Gil Morgan, 1997-98.

Trivia Quiz

Answers 1. 4-H 2. Col. Wilhelm Klink 3. Virginia 4. Louis Daguerre 5. Queen of the underworld 6. Ruby was a Dallas nightclub owner 7. 1893 8. “A Streetcar Named Desire” 9. Mediterranean Sea 10. Norweigan


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