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D © 2008E



August 29, 2008

Vol. 2, Issue 36


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WEIRD & WACKY NEWS by Ryan Toepfer

Several readers have written us to request a follow-up compilation of news items that make us smile... or roll our eyes... or slap our heads in disbelief. Tidbits is more than happy to oblige. • Just earlier this year, a Kansas man was working with a friend to install some lattice for his wife’s garden. Suddenly, he felt a slight sting on the side of his head. His friend had been untangling the air hose of his nail gun and – ouch! – it misfred. The victim said it didn’t really hurt, even when the ER doctor removed the two-inch nail with a claw hammer. (Traditional medical tools had failed to accomplish the job). Luckily, the patient was fne and suffered no permanent damage as a result of the mishap. • The Milwaukee area had been inundated with nine inches of rain over one weekend in June 2008. Such a rainfall can easily overburden a city’s sewer system, which may cause manhole covers to shoot up into the air like champagne corks. Cheri K. was driving over one such manhole on College Avenue at the very moment it blew. Witnesses said the blast lifted the rear of her van about fve feet into the air. It also knocked the right rear tire off. Cheri was frightened but unharmed.

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Tidbits® of Branson Area

WEIRD NEWS (continued): •

Motor scooters, okay, but motor coolers? Yes, they exist. In New York State, they’re regulated like other vehicles – so it’s illegal to drive them while intoxicated. A Washington County man was pulled over while driving his Cruzin’ Cooler erratically down a major thoroughfare at a speed of only about 12 miles per hour. He’d just left the local American Legion hall and was found to have 14 beers inside his “vehicle.” Early one morning, Stephen S. of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, was awakened by a phone call from his brother, who said he’d be unable to drive Stephen to his scheduled court date that day. Stephen didn’t want to miss his appointment and be subject to an arrest warrant, so he walked to court. Twenty-fve miles. In 90 degree weather. He arrived late, dehydrated, and a little light-headed, but the judge admired Stephen’s pluck and deferred his sentencing until a later date. A doorman for a Park Avenue apartment building in New York City recently won $5 million in the state lottery. Ironically, he still can’t afford to live in the building where he works. The only apartment for sale there is priced at a cool $9.5 million! In early 2008, a group called the Center for Health, Environment and Justice made headlines briefy with the frightening information that shower curtains were downright deadly. The “group” claimed that its studies revealed that a typical PVC shower curtain releases 108 different toxic chemicals into the air. Many groups, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, questioned the Center’s methodology. (It was later revealed that they’d only tested one shower curtain. Not one brand; one curtain.) The truth: unless you’re renting a room from Norman Bates, you probably won’t die in the shower.

Biggest-Ever Cadillac Q: Greg, what were the biggest Cadillacs ever produced? My husband says the 1975 and 1976 full-size Cadillacs were biggest ever, both in terms of wheelbase and engine size. Is he right? -- Addie K., e-mail from Pennsylvania A: Addie, your husband is partly correct. The 1975 and 1976 Cadillac Deville and Fleetwoods had 500 cubic-inch V-8 engines as standard equipment, making them the biggest standard V-8 engines ever available in the Cadillac line. The smaller Seville that year relied on a 350-inch engine. The 500-inch engine frst appeared in 1970 in the Eldorado, with 472-inchers available in the Deville models and Fleetwoods from 1968 through 1974. Notice I’ve only addressed V-8 engines, because as far back as 1930, Cadillac had a 452inch V-16 and a 368-inch V-12 available through 1937. In 1938, Cadillac dropped the V-12 and reduced the V-16 to 431-inches. It lasted through 1939, and then it was V-8 only from there on. As for wheelbase, the 1975 and 1976 models carried the same 130 inches that Cadillac produced back in 1959. However, in the standard Cadillac, not limo or stretched Fleetwoods or Sixty Specials, the 1930 Cadillac had a 140-inch wheelbase, making it the longest standard-size Caddy ever built. Thanks for your question. Write to Greg Zyla in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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1. Is the book of Colossians in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. Which book may be summarized as, “The end of the world as we know it”? Proverbs, Ephesians, Hebrews, Revelation 3.From Acts 22, where was Paul brought up? Jerusalem, Derbe, Anathoth, Jericho 4.How many books of the Bible (KJV) begin with letter “Z”? Zero, 1, 2, 3 5.From Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time to kill and a time to do what? Plant, Embrace, Heal, Rest 6.In James 3, what can no man tame? Evil, The tongue, Lions, Revenge

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little.”

If you’re like the typical American, the food you eat travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from the farm where it was grown to your plate. It was English journalist, political essayist and novelist George Orwell, probably best known for his works “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “Animal Farm,” who made the following sage observation: “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.” In Florida, there is one boat for every 18 residents of the state. In an interesting social experiment, Walpole Prison in Massachusetts introduced yoga into inmates’ routines to see what would happen. It’s had a benefcial effect, apparently: Since the routine was introduced, recidivism has been reduced by 40 percent.

Paleontologists claim that Neanderthals used toothpicks. How can they tell, you might well ask? It seems that toothpick use leaves distinctive grooves on teeth. Are you familiar with lycanthropy? Unless you’re a fan of old horror flms, probably not. “Lycanthropy” is the ability to morph into a wolf. Those who study such things say that in a human, the sense of smell is about 10,000 times more sensitive than the sense of taste. The heaviest rainfall in a 24-hour period ever to fall in the United States occurred in Alvin, Texas, in 1979. In that year, a total of 43 inches of rain fell in the space of a single day. Did you know that August is offcially Immunization Awareness Month? Yep. I’m not entirely sure what we’re supposed to do about it, though. (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

WEIRD NEWS (continued):

• Passers-by alerted the Miami Fire Department of a dog seen pacing over a storm drain grate in the roadway. Firefghters investigated and found a nine-week-old shepherd mix puppy whimpering in the sewer. Two rescuers donned HAZMAT gear, climbed down into the drainage system, and retrieved the frightened pup. When the pooch was returned to street level, the excited mother dog licked and nuzzled both her offspring and the frefghters who’d saved him. • A Salina, Kansas, man lost control of his car and drove it into the front steps of a house. His defense was the dreaded “brain freeze” followed by “chest freeze.” The driver had taken a sip of a large frozen drink he’d just purchased at a fast food restaurant, and was apparently overcome by some sort of overall ice cream headache. He was treated for minor scratches and bruises and released. • A not-so-smart thug in London, England, robbed three teens on the city’s Underground (subway) at knifepoint. After demanding and receiving their jewelry, he took time out to try on one of the necklaces he’d just taken and admire his refection in the lens of an on-board security camera. Armed with 15 seconds of flmed close-ups of the perpetrator’s face, London’s fnest were able to apprehend him just a short time later.

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Tidbits® of Branson Area

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A “Miscellaneous” $6.9 Billion The Department of Veterans Affairs got its hand slapped again recently with the results of a Government Accounting Offce report on $6.9 billion in expenses that were categorized as “miscellaneous.” The money, as best the GAO can fgure, was spent on things like medical and dental services for veterans, drugs and hospital supplies, as well as transportation for treatment. Shouldn’t those things be genuine categories in a budget? Calling them “miscellaneous” leaves too much wiggle room for error, waste and fraud. Granted, it doesn’t look like somebody pocketed the whole $6.9 billion, but the GAO identifed $30.2 million in goods that likely were converted to personal use. The policies and procedures “were not designed to prevent one person from performing multiple roles in the

process of authorizing and executing miscellaneous obligations,” the GAO said. In other words, the same person could request funds and approve them, and then take receipt of the merchandise, without anybody being the wiser. It gets better: There was no policy on what got flledin on the request forms for the money’s purpose. So why did the VA abuse the “miscellaneous” category so much? Because it’s easier, apparently, to pay for goods and services that don’t already have contracts. If a purchase order is issued when a specifc quantity or price is unknown, that purchase order can’t easily be modifed once those numbers are known -- and it causes “undue burden” on the ones flling out the paperwork. The VA did come up with some new guidelines, but informed the GAO that those guidelines “were not subject to legal review.” Makes you wonder how many loopholes they left. Write to Freddy Groves in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 328536475, or send e-mail to

(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

Joe Namath is a Hall of Fame quarterback. There are a lot of people who don’t think his statistics are worthy of the recognition; nonetheless, that’s his smiling mug on the bust at Canton. Ask Namath and he’ll tell you: He’s in the hall because of what he brought to the game and when he brought it. Namath was pro-football’s frst mega-star. He was “Broadway Joe,” the guy who popularized the term “long bomb” in football. He was the frst quarterback to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season during a time when the NFL only played 14 regular-season contests and the passing game more resembled a match of “kill the guy with the ball.” Namath also was the last Jet that mattered. Look down the all-time roster of great Jets players postNamath, and you’re stuck with a ripped-up “New York Sack Exchange” poster. The Jets haven’t been relevant in New York since Namath left (the Bill Parcells era fnally saw them break back onto the back pages of the New York tabloids, but it wasn’t enough). Until today. Today, arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game, a legitimate American sports hero, stands on the Jets sideline. He is Brett Favre. To many, it just doesn’t seem right. Favre was (and will always be remembered as) a Green Bay Packer. And the off-season retirement/comeback story was so bizarre, it could only be described in schoolyard terms: They broke up, and they’re dating other people now, as crazy as that seems for their friends. “The problem is that there’s been a lot of damage done, and I can’t forget it,” Favre told the press when it seemed like Green Bay and he would fnally get back together. “Stuff has been said, stories planted, that just aren’t true. Can I get over all that? I doubt it.” So now the stage is set in New York. The Jets, long mired in mediocrity, fnally have a chance. Should Favre bring the Jets to the playoffs -- a very strong possibility -- his legacy, already complete, will reach stratospheric heights. Should he win a Super Bowl for New York, he will have engineered one of the greatest fairy-tale stories in sports. In 1977, it was Jets fans who couldn’t believe their eyes. Yes, that was Joe Namath in a Los Angeles Rams uniform. Hobbled by years of pounding and injuries, Namath stood on the sidelines, awaiting Chuck Knox’s call to enter a playoff game that never came. Fans watched him slink off the feld after the Rams loss, a far cry from the guy who trotted off the feld after his Super Bowl III win. The question now in New York is: How will Favre leave the feld this year? Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter and publisher of The Parkville (Mo.) Luminary. (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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WEIRD NEWS (continued):

Mild Exercise Helps Manage Arthritis I bought a bicycle to help with my arthritis. The next-door neighbor thought I was crazy, saying it would make the arthritis worse. He was wrong. Studies have shown that gentle range-ofmotion exercises actually make arthritis pain easier to manage. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is “critical” for those with arthritis because it “increases strength and fexibility, reduces joint pain and helps combat fatigue.” That’s good enough for me. Because I live in an area with hills, and mostly because I know I won’t go out every day to the YMCA for swim classes once winter comes, I bought an indoor recumbent bike. There are a number of benefts to this: I can read or watch TV while pedaling, there’s no danger of falling to the pavement, so a helmet isn’t required, the weather doesn’t matter, and best of all, since it’s right here, I’m more likely to use it. I’ve settled on a routine of 10-minute sessions, at a slow pace, three times a day, and I can already feel a difference, as promised by the studies. That’s not to say that using this bike is now all the exercise I do, but my right knee isn’t as “hot” as it used to be, and I sense an overall increase in leg strength. Another idea, if you already have a bicycle, is to buy a trainer stand. Your regular bike goes up on the stand, and you pedal normally while the wheel spins behind you. If you would rather fnd an arthritis-friendly exercise program, consider the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program or Aquatic Program. Check or call 1800-283-7800 to locate classes in your area. Ask your doctor frst if gentle range-of-motion exercises are recommended for you. Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

• The Bulova Company should use Teddy Bacon in its advertisements. Bacon was aboard a war ship near Gibraltar during World War II. He lost his watch in the Atlantic Ocean when throwing a line to shore. Just recently, the 89-year-old vet received a package in the mail. Inside was his beloved watch. A group of divers had found it and returned it. Even though it was underwater for 67 years, the timepiece was not scratched or rusted. More amazing? It still keeps perfect time! • A 22-year-old mugger picked the wrong guy to rob when she assaulted Harry Kopenis as he withdrew money from an ATM. The 71year-old Korean War veteran chased after her, assisted by a good friend who joined the pursuit in his motorized wheelchair. The two men caught up with the woman and managed to tackle her to the ground. They even managed to hold her until the police arrived. • A photographer for the Ogden StandardExaminer was busy snapping photos at the Utah high school track and feld championship earlier this year when he accidentally wandered into an “off-limits” area. That particular area was off-limits because it was the receiving area for the javelin throw. You can predict what happened next. The shutterbug was taken to the hospital, where the spear was removed from his leg. The resultant wound was sewn up with 13 stitches. • Phil K. of Brighton, Michigan, inadvertently wrote out his property tax payment check for the wrong amount. It was no massive mistake: he only shorted the city 48 cents. But the traditional 6 percent late fee was added on to his bill, so the city sent him an invoice for a total of 51 cents. Naturally, the government sent this bill to him via certifed mail, which cost them $5.21 in postage. • Researchers in the U.K. reported that men who press weights for 45 minutes three times per week are more likely to go bald. Supposedly, the testosterone rush of pumping iron causes thinning of the hair. • Chris Dunn met Pam Jensen in an online chat room called CompuServe CB Simulator. They were married in 1983 and the media referred to them as “The World’s First Internet Couple.” We’re pleased to report that in April 2008, Pam and Chris celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Congratulations!

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Tidbits® of Branson Area

House Sounds It’s early. The alarm clocks are beginning to sound -- a high-pitched beep, beep from my son’s room; roosters crow from my daughter’s room. Bathroom pipes wail as showers begin. Music blares from the teen’s room down the hall. The preteen makes his own music as he drums on his dresser and wall. The coffee pot gurgles, the dog paws on the back door wanting in, and the cat stands by the refrigerator begging for a drop of my coffee creamer in her bowl. It’s time for breakfast when I hear the stairs creak -- a tennis shoe-clad boy shuffes down. These are the sounds I’m used to. Gone are the sounds of wailing and cooing babies or the click, click, click of a baby swing and the grinding noise of winding it back up when the infant cries for more movement -- noises that used to permeate our home. My husband and I no longer spend dinnertime making airplane noises to get toddlers to eat green peas. Instead, the sounds are of the kids exchanging insults or jokes, or announcements -- rather than requests -- about their weekend social calendar. The evening is flled with the clink, clank of dishes being cleared from the table -- the kids negotiate tersely over who should empty the dishwasher. Homework sounds begin after dinner. Books unloaded from backpacks and dropped on the bar, opened and pages rustled to fnd assignment pages. “I can’t fnd the answer to this question,” one child asks. Familiar parent response, “Have you read your chapter?” Bedtime sounds begin when 9 o’clock rolls around. “Do I have to go to bed?” I can’t count how many times in this child’s short life he’s asked that question. “Yes. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.” How many times have I said that since I’ve been a parent? Sink water runs, fans are turned on to provide white noise, bedroom doors closed. The dog fnds a spot on the foor and begins to snore lightly. The 10 o’clock news weatherman keeps silence at bay for just a little bit longer with his seven-day forecast. I “tuck in” the house when I turn off the lights and check and lock the door with one last click. Goodnight house sounds -- at least until the alarm clocks start us up again in the morning. Write to Taprina Milburn in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

Christian music is among the world’s most beautiful music. Songs like Because He Lives, It is Well With My Soul, What a Friend We Have In Jesus and To God be the Glory have become not only traditional but are also incredibly inspirational. Have you ever wondered about the origins of Christian music? You might be surprised to learn about its early beginnings. For example, church music was shaped by Greek, Syrian and Hebrew influences. The music was different than today’s music because it was “monophonic” unison melody music, which did not have any sort of harmony or chords. Jewish psalmody were based on verses from the Hebrew “book of praises” and these biblical psalms were sung every day in the ancient Hebrew Temples. Did you know that Hymns came after the psalms and many of them were adapted melodies from early chants, which were associated with Pope Gregory, and this is why they are called Gregorian Chants. As you might imagine, more and more composers began adding and altering the basic Gregorian Melodies to such a degree that the music became far too difficult for church members to sing. Church officials soon decided that music for worship must be within reasonable bounds so that everyone could sing in church. In the 1600’s and 1700’s the great composers began writing music for the church. In fact, Bach composed a Mass in all twenty-four keys! Think about that, amazing! You probably know that Mozart and Beethoven also wrote music for the church. Of course one of the most famous composers of church music was Handel for his “Messiah.” Christian music has certainly changed over the past 300 years. Some of it has changed with the ti mes while some remains pure to its origins. Regardless, the main common theme in Christian music is praise, worship and thanks to God and/or Christ. About the author: David Lomascola is an adjunct professor of piano at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He performs his show, The David Lomascola Show featuring his million dollar piano at the Branson Star Theatre. You can learn more about Lomascola on line at

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GROVER CLEVELAND When Richard and Ann Cleveland welcomed young Grover into the world, they probably hoped (like many parents) that he would grow up to become president. But they certainly had no idea that he would become president twice. • Stephen Grover Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey. After his family moved to New York, Cleveland attended school with thoughts of applying to college. Those dreams ended when his father, a Presbyterian minister, passed away in 1853. Grover was forced to fnd employment, so he moved to Buffalo. There, he studied law and took a job as a clerk at a local frm. Cleveland passed the bar and earned his license to practice law in 1859. • When the Civil War broke out, 24-year-old Grover was drafted into the Union Army. At the time, draftees were legally allowed to hire replacements to take their spots in the service. Many who could afford this option chose it, and Cleveland was one of those. As sole support of his mother and (eight) siblings, he felt that he was needed more at home than on the front lines. • During the War, Cleveland was named the assistant district attorney of Erie County. His success there led to his frst elected offce, that of county sheriff. He wasn’t interested in the job itself, but knew that the handsome salary would help his family. Although voted in as a Democrat, Cleveland made it clear that politics would not affect his decisions as a public servant. (This popular position would serve him well on the road to the White House).

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Tidbits® of Branson Area How old was pitcher Cy Young when he recorded his 511th, and last, major-league victory in 1911? Which pitcher has recorded the most career wins in the modern era without appearing in a World Series? Name the last team the Dallas Cowboys beat in the

NFL playoffs. How many consecutive seasons has the Kent State men’s basketball team won 20 or more games, and how many times during that stretch have the Golden Flashes made the NCAA Tournament? Name the last NHL team before the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NHL playoffs and win the Stanley Cup. Brazil has won fve World Cups in men’s soccer. How many gold medals has it won in men’s soccer at the Olympics? Name the only badminton player to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

Lemon Strawberry Shake Here’s a great way to cool off on a hot summer afternoon or a quick healthy snack you can help the kids make when they get home from school. 1 1/2 cups Dannon plain fat-free yogurt 1/2 cup diet ginger ale 1 (4-serving) package Jell-O sugar-free lemon gelatin 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

In a blender container, combine yogurt, ginger ale and dry gelatin. Cover and process on HIGH for 10 to 15 seconds. Add strawberries. Re-cover and process on HIGH for 15 to 20 seconds or until mixture is smooth. Evenly pour into 2 glasses. Serve at once. Makes 2 ( 1 1/2 cup) servings. • Each serving equals: 120 calories, 0g fat, 10g protein, 20g carbs, 221mg sodium, 238m g calcium, 1g fber; Diabetic Exchanges: 1 FatFree Milk, 1/2 Fruit; Carb Choices: 1.

Visit Healthy Exchanges at, or call toll-free at 1-800-766-8961 for more information about the only national food newsletter for diabetics, heart/cholesterol concerns and healthy weight loss. (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

GROVER CLEVELAND (continued): • Back then in New York State, the enforcement of capital punishment was a duty of the sheriff of the county where the party was convicted. A longserving deputy had previously handled executions, but Grover pointed out that the law stated specifcally that the action was the responsibility of the sheriff. As such, he personally conducted the hangings of two murderers... not an easy job for anyone, much less a minister’s son. • Both individuals and business leaders appreciated Cleveland’s by-the-book stance, and his popularity enabled him to run for mayor of Buffalo in 1881. There, he earned the nickname “the Veto Mayor” because he chose to reject any measure of law that failed to meet his strict standards. He wanted a clean government, a refreshing change in the post-Civil War era. • A year later, Grover’s popularity had expanded statewide. Promising heavy reforms, he won the New York gubernatorial election in 1882. He continued his hardball stance against government corruption and waste. By 1884, his name was being considered as Democratic presidential candidate. (Mind you, he’d only been a county sheriff three years prior.) He was chosen as the nominee, and was narrowly elected our 22nd president. • Cleveland’s devotion to family and work had left him a bachelor, but he wed Frances Folsom in 1886 (becoming the frst president to be married in the White House). Although he won the popular vote during his re-election effort in 1890, Republican opponent Benjamin Harrison received more electoral votes and became the victor. When tough economic times gripped the nation, Grover was prompted to run again, and voters returned him to offce in 1894. He’s the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms.

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Americans seem to love examining things “by the numbers,” so here are some eye-opening statistics we hope you’ll enjoy. • On average, U.S. traffc accidents increase about 7 percent the morning after we turn our clocks forward in the spring for Daylight Saving Time. As you might expect, this is due not only to sleepy drivers, but those rushing to get to work after oversleeping. • A 2006 Harris poll determined that 86 percent of Americans own a cell phone. About one in three of those folks admit to regularly using their phones while in the bathroom. And far too many of them use their phones while driving, which is downright dangerous. Some localities have passed laws restricting the use of cell phones by drivers. • Forty-seven percent of college freshmen enrolled in 2005 had a 4.0 (straight A) grade average in high school, compared to only 20 percent in 1970.

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Tidbits® of Branson Area STATISTICALLY SPEAKING (continued):

• The average small serving of French fries at a fast food restaurant contains 40 fries. Of course, as we all know, this number fuctuates depending on who eats the fries. If you split them with someone, the order will be inordinately small. But if you each order your own, you’ll both get more fries than you can eat. (No, we don’t know why.) • In a 2006 survey conducted by the American Society of Microbiology, 97 percent of females and 92 percent of males responded that they always washed their hands after using the restroom. However, hidden cameras pointed at the sinks in public bathrooms at various events tell a different story. In those real-life cases, only 75 percent of the women and 58 percent of the men reached for the soap and water. • During routine U.S. airport screening in 2005, offcials confscated 9.4 million cigarette lighters from passengers. • If you suffer from a fear of escalators, you should consider relocating to Wyoming. As of this writing, there are only three moving staircases in the entire state.

1. He was 44 years old. 2. Phil Niekro, with 318 wins. 3. Minnesota, in the 1996 season. 4. Ten seasons, advancing to the NCAA Tournament fve of them. 5. The Red Wings, in 2001-02. 6. None. 7. Joseph Alston.

More Than One Way to Leash a Cat By Samantha Mazzotta DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I read your column She likes being outside, but does not want to be on cats wearing leashes and wanted to tell you anywhere where she can’t see us. In turn, we our experience. Our cat, “Baby,” is not allowed don’t put her outside unless one of us is at home out of the house without her halter on. She goes to check on her. to the door and meows when she wants out. I would say she is trained, but I believe Baby has a 20-foot leash that we attach to it is the other way around. Yes, there is a lot posts placed strategically around the yard for her of “let me out,” “let me in,” but to my way of comfort. She lets me know exactly which one she thinking, if you can’t treat an animal as part of wants to be on. We keep a water bowl handy for your family, you shouldn’t have one. Their needs her, and she has plenty of shade, room to roam are like a child’s: love, warmth, food, exercise, a without becoming entangled, and comfortable safe home and more love. -- Jill T. in New York places to relax. When she’s had enough of being outside, she meows for me to come get her. DEAR JILL: True words, there. Cat training At 5 p.m., she will sit extended to the end of is more often than not a cooperative venture, and her leash and meow for her “walk.” My husband it appears that you and your cat have worked out takes her for one every night. She will go to the a way to use the leash that’s acceptable to both. end of our property, lie down and wait for him Kudos to you! to pick her up and carry her back! No dummy, is Send your tips, questions and comments to Paws she? Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. She is very aware of her limitations, and Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or e-mail in four years has never tried to go to the street. them to (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Step Aerobics Without the Sore Knees By Andrea Renee Wyatt, M.S.S., C.S.C.S.

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Q. One of my favorite group exercise classes used to be step aerobics, but over time it began to bother my knees. My gym just started offering these classes again, but I’m worried about hurting my knees. Is there a right and wrong way to do step classes? A: Step group-exercise classes were extremely popular in the past and are again becoming more and more integrated in group-exercise classes. The concept of using a “step” for cardiovascular and strength training is now being used in a combination of group exercise classes, and even though we step up and down each day as we walk through life, there are ways to ensure you are not injured during step classes. Concerns about hurting the knees are very common in step classes. Many adults deal with achy, sore, tired knees all day, and the last thing they want to do is stress already bothered knees. To keep this from happening, you can take precautions. First, choose the appropriate height of risers under the step you are using. A step that is too high for your height and leg length can add unnecessary stress to your knee. Many people want a higher step to add more intensity to their workouts; however, a too-high step can cause pressure on the knee and hip, and over time can cause pain or injury. A proper step height would be with the knee at approximately a 60-degree angle when one foot is on the step. When starting out, you can use a lower step, but the 60-degree angle should be your maximum step height. Second, while stepping, it is important to step at a distance that is only one shoe length behind the step. Before beginning, place your toes touching the step and step back one shoe length. Notice how far you are from the step, and while stepping down, be sure not to step back any farther. It may take a little time to get used to this motion, but you want to make sure you are stepping up and not forward. Another tip is to make sure you are stepping up on the step with your heel frst and making sure your whole foot is on the step without your heels hanging off the edge. Landing on the step with your toes frst can keep you from standing up completely and also can put added stress on the knees. Be sure to speak with the step-class instructor beforehand about all of these proper stepping techniques to keep you safe. Stepping is great for cardiovascular and strength conditioning, and with proper technique, you can keep stepping toward your goals. Always consult a physician before beginning an exercise program. If you have a ftness or training question, write to Andrea in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475 (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

• A person has a one in 1,506 chance of being born on February 29th. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, an estimated 4.1 million people in the world share that birth date. About 187,000 of those are Americans. • Statistically, the most common phobias are arachnophobia (fear of spiders), aerophobia (fear of fying), social phobia (fear of meeting new people and/or public speaking), agoraphobia (fear of a specifc place), claustrophobia (fear of small spaces) and acrophobia (fear of heights). • Seventy percent of the dust in your house is comprised of dead skin cells sloughed off by you and your family. • More than 7.5 million Americans hold down multiple jobs. Four million of those people hold down one full time job during the day and a second part time gig at night. • Three billion pizzas are sold in the U. S. annually. About 93 percent of us eat pizza at least once per month, and Super Bowl Sunday is by far the biggest pizza consumption day of the year. (Ask any delivery driver!) • Those of us wishing to shed a few pounds have a diffcult road ahead. Studies have revealed that fewer than 4 percent of long-term Weight Watchers members manage to stay at or below their goal weight fve years after reaching it.

Get Free Stuff at FreeCycle Even better than a dollar stretched is a dollar that isn’t spent at all. It’s always good to get things you need for free. FreeCycle is an online network made up of 4,500 smaller groups around the world. Its main purpose is to keep things out of landflls, but what it means for you is free stuff that you need. Members offer things they want to give away or ask for things they need. No item is too small or large, it seems. You can fnd a new bottle of shampoo used only once (the buyer didn’t like it), or a washing machine that still has some life left in it but can’t be taken in a move. The list of requested items is just as diverse. Each FreeCycle group is managed by a moderator who makes sure everyone keeps to the rules. (Rules vary by group, but typically include things like no selling of email addresses, no free pets and no bartering or trading.) Signup can be a bit complicated, but you only have to do it once. Each group (broken down by towns or small areas) has a Yahoo Groups site where you can sign in to read

messages or view the photos of items that members have posted. Or you can opt to have each listing sent to you in e-mail. (This is easier.) To read the FAQ and sign up, go to Your best bet is to start by reading the postings for a few days and then giving something away. This establishes your sense of fair play with the group. Craigslist is another site with a Free section, although this one is under the For Sale category. Check it out at and click your city or state on the right side of the screen. The best listings are the ones with pictures included. If there isn’t a photo, you can reply to the ad and ask that one be sent to you. The standard cautions apply. Don’t put your phone number or address in your post. Ask for the sender’s phone number for any replies you get. That way you can call and weigh your own level of comfort in where/how to transfer the items. David Uffngton 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

Tidbits of Branson is hiring experienced sales representatives. Call 230-7010

( c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

sure you place the sheets near a safe fabric, not silk or anything delicate.” -R.L. in North Carolina

On Sale in September: Cookware and dishes, pool and patio equipment and new cars (check for deals on the current year’s model after the new model year’s release). What’s “in season” for fall? Try squash, apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, caulifower, coconuts, cranberries, grapes, mushrooms, parsnips, pineapple, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and Swiss chard. “I use this trick in my linen closet all the time, but you can also do it in your regular clothes drawers. Place a fabric softener sheet in dresser drawers or between towels and sheets when you put them away. Your clothes will retain a nice, freshly laundered scent. Make

Studies show that having a late-afternoon snack of 100-200 calories high in protein can not only help you stave off the pre-dinner hungries, it also can save you as many as 400 calories at suppertime. You aren’t as likely to be overhungry, so you can pay attention to when your body tells you to stop eating. Clean up your mailbox: To get off of junkmail lists and to opt out of credit-card offers, take note of these handy Web sites. The Consumer Credit Reporting Industry maintains an offcial Web site at for those who do not wish to receive preapproved offers regarding insurance and credit. The Direct Marketing Association handles requests for opting out of other mailers at

Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475 or e-mail JoAnn at (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

The term “yellow journalism” was coined during the late 19th century to describe sensationalist stories printed by The New York World and The New York Journal in their cutthroat competition for readership.

Tidbits Branson #36  

Aug 26 2008

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