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July 18, 2008

Vol. 2, Issue 30

Family Press, LLC

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THE BIG RIGS by Jefferson Woodward

This week, Tidbits offers a hearty 10-4 to those big rigs (and the folks who drive them). Thanks for hauling everything from livestock to offce supplies across miles of highway to keep this great country of ours up and running! • According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 72 percent of all freight in the United States is transported by trucks. Between the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, the Federal Excise Fuel Tax, and the Federal Excise Tax on Tractors & Trailers (to name just a few), truck owners pay an average of $10,000 per year in taxes alone. The monies collected are put back into the system to help improve our federal highways. • If it seems to you that the larger trucks on the freeway drive a bit slower than they did only a few years ago, you’re not imagining it. For each mileper-hour of speed below 65 mph, a truck saves about 1.5 percent in fuel consumption. With diesel fuel currently priced at more than $4 per gallon, the savings has proven to be enough of an incentive that some feet owners have installed electronic regulators to monitor their drivers’ speed. turn the page for more!

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Tidbits® of Branson Area THE BIG RIGS (continued):

1. Is the book of Lazarus in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. From Job 40:15-24, what animal is named that some believe to be a dinosaur? Stygimoloch, Levaraptor, Memphian, Behemoth 3. Who was stoned, then burned, after taking silver, gold and a garment from the destroyed Jericho? Joshua, Nathan, Achan, Shamgar 4.In Mark 5, what was the name of the unclean spirits that Jesus cast out? Legion, Colony, Flock, Army 5. According to the Proverbs, what type heart doeth good like a medicine? Warm, Beating, Merry, Young 6.Shem, Ham and Japheth were the sons of ...? Moses, Noah, David, Solomon


Patriotism showing love for one's country



• When we refer to an 18-wheeler as a “semi,” what we’re actually describing is the trailer that the truck is pulling. A semi-trailer only has wheels at the rear; the front end is supported by the towing vehicle. • Truck drivers often identify themselves by the vehicle they drive and/or the type of cargo they carry. For example, auto haulers are those very specialized two-deck trailers that transport new cars and trucks. Flatbed trucks pull unenclosed trailers that haul large bulky items such as steel coils, lumber, and machinery. “Reefer” drivers drive refrigerated trucks that transport perishable goods. • Taxes and fuel costs aside, how much does it cost just to buy a big rig? Just like automobiles, the cab or “tractor” portion of an 18-wheeler is available in the showroom with a number of different options. Expect to pay at least $80,000 for even a basic vehicle. • The trailer portion of a big rig is less expensive than the cab; it might set you back only $30 grand. If you’ve ever taken the time to read the various stickers on the 18-wheeler in front of you on the freeway, you might have noticed that some advertise jobs for drivers, while others indicate that the truck belongs to an owner/operator. An owner/operator is independent and owns the vehicle he is driving. It means he laid out a lot of cash for his rig, but he is his own boss.

Pre-1964 Muscle Cars A recent letter from a reader in Virginia rekindled our interest in “muscle cars,” but with a “Crusin’” twist. So here’s our list of the best pre-1964 muscle cars. All models are two-door. 1) 1949 Oldsmobile 88: This model started the horsepower wars, and off cially receives our f rst true muscle-car nod. Equipped with an overhead-valve V-8, it evolved into a 305-horsepower, 371 cubic-inch shotgun by 1958. This 4,000-pound Rocket accelerated to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and could run over 135 mph in street trim. 2) 1951 Hudson Hornet: The fabulous Hudson Hornets came with an inline 303-inch “Super Six” engine that put out lots of horses and carried Tim Flock to the checkered f ag in 27 of 34 NASCAR races in 1952. 3) 1954 Corvette: The start of America’s love affair. First-year buyers found an inline 235-inch six-cylinder under the hood that pumped out a mere 150 horses. By 1956, the small-block V-8 made its debut, and the power really came on. 4) 1955 Chrysler 300: The f rst of 10 years of Chrysler 300 pleasures. Along the way, the engine grew from 331 to 413 cubic inches, and horsepower scooted all the way to 390. For you historians, we’re discounting “later year” 300s. 5) 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk: A beautifully styled car with a 352-inch, 275-horse power-plant, and the result was poetry in motion. 6) 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air: This car started Chevy’s domination at both drags and circle tracks, and was one of the most aesthetically pleasing cars of the ‘50s. 7) 1959 Ford Thunderbird: A ‘59 four-seater over a ‘57 two-seater? How about 430-inches of Ford power kicking out 350 horses? It was available in ‘59. Honorable Mention: 1961 Chevy Impala SS, 1962 Ford Galaxie 500, 1962 Dodge Dart. 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.

For Advertising Call 1.417.230.7055 THE BIG RIGS (continued): • A truck driver is limited to 11 hours of driving over a 14-hour period, after which 10 consecutive hours of rest is mandated by federal law. It’s intended to reduce driver fatigue, which in turn reduces the number of traffc accidents. If you pull into a truck stop or rest area and see several drivers sitting around seemingly doing nothing, they are most likely waiting out the remainder of the required 10 hour rest period. • To idle or not? The air conditioning, music system, and other accoutrements in today’s big rigs require ample electricity. Until recently, many drivers left their engine running, even while at a rest stop. But with diesel prices skyrocketing, more drivers are investing in an APU, or Alternate Power Unit. An APU is a small onboard diesel generator. Even at a sticker price of about $10,000, the unit quickly pays for itself in terms of fuel savings alone. • You’ve probably seen signs at the weigh stations on some interstates advising truck drivers to “follow in-cab signals.” These instructions are for drivers who use PrePass, which is a transponder installed inside their cab that electronically transmits all their pertinent data to the computer at the weigh station. PrePass also allows the truck to use the WIM (weigh in motion) scale, meaning they can pass over a sensor in the pavement to measure their load, rather than having to pull off at the weigh station and stop.

Keep Your Toes Sandal Ready

“There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.” -- George Santayana

• If you’re thinking of redecorating your child’s room, you might want to keep this in mind: Studies show that the color pink has a soothing effect on children; blue lowers their blood pressure and increases attentiveness; and yellow excites and cheers kids. Avoid red if at all possible; it has been shown to raise children’s blood pressure, respiration and heart rate as well as brain and muscle activity. • The brand name Nike isn’t just a made-up moniker. It comes from Greek mythology, in which Nike was the winged goddess of victory. • It’s been reported that the last words of 19thcentury American author, essayist, biographer and historian Washington Irving were, “Well, I must arrange my pillows for another night. When will this end?” • If you’re planning a trip to New York City this September, you should consider stopping

by Wigstock, the country’s largest festival celebrating the fake ‘do. If you can’t make the road trip, don’t worry; you can check out the festivities from the comfort of your own home. Just rent “Wigstock: The Movie,” a documentary of the event that was made in the mid-1990s. Golfers beware: Don’t chew on the tees. One golfer who was in the habit of gnawing while he played overdosed on pesticides after playing 36 holes in one day. All species of dog have a pink tongue -- except one. Chows’ tongues are black. The longest word in the English language that can be typed using only one hand is “stewardesses.” Studies conducted in offce environments show that women’s desks have, on average, four times more germs than men’s desks do.

(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

Sizzling temperatures have set in across the country, which means that women are baring their feet to stay cool. From fip-fops on the beach to open-toed heels in the offce, summer is sandal season. To keep your toes sandal-ready all season long, let’s take a look at some myths and facts about healthy nails from Creative Nail Design. Perhaps you’ve heard the adage that eating gelatin, which can be found in products ranging from gelatin desserts to jelly and marshmallows, helps nails grow. There’s no need to stock up on gelatin snacks, because this “fact” simply isn’t true. There is no scientifc evidence to prove that gelatin helps nails grow. If regular pedicures just don’t ft into your schedule or budget, consider these myths and facts before treating yourself to an at-home pedicure. Although rumors abound that you shouldn’t use a back-and-forth motion to fle your nails, this motion is fne as long as you’re using a fne-grit fle. When shaping your nails, aim for a roundedsquare shape. Square nails can create sharp edges that can hurt surrounding toes, so trim the corners at 45degree angles to avoid injury. If you’re changing polish, use an acetone nailpolish remover. Even though non-acetone removers are available -- which implies that acetone polish is bad for your nails -- acetone-based removers are best. They remove pigment from the nail, leaving no residue or stain. And speaking of removing nail polish, you don’t need to remove enamel from the nail from time to time to let them breathe. Polish actually helps protect nails, preventing them from becoming dry and brittle. Now, you have no excuse for not baring your toes this summer. Find a bright summer shade, and treat yourself to a pedicure. Write to Barbara Barontini in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to itsawomansworld@ (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Tidbits® of Branson Area

Can Golf Stay On While Tiger’s Off? When Tiger Woods pulled up on the golf course and gripped his left knee, he wasn’t the only person to grimace in pain. Woods, we now know, had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, a chronic problem for the world’s best golfer since his frst surgery on the knee in 1994. Then at Stanford, the surgery removed a cyst from his ACL, and in so doing, took a lot of the ACL with it. Woods began his professional career depending heavily on his hamstring, glute and calf muscles to compensate. Last year, it fnally gave out. “It was just running on the golf course,” he said. “Just happened to take one little step -- it didn’t really take much -- and it just popped.” A lot of air went out of the PGA’s balloon that day, too. Golf without Tiger Woods these days is like kissing your sister. There’s just no excitement to it. Even when a lesser-known takes a tournament these days, they have to take it from Woods. Justin Kite, Rocco Mediate -- they know what I’m talking about. And hey, even after the injury, Woods still won four of his fnal fve tournaments, tying for second in the other. Without Tiger in the feld, without his constant specter on the grounds and in the TV coverage, golf will have lost a considerable amount of its luster. No matter who takes the lead in tournaments, until Woods returns, their wins will always come with a disclaimer: “Yeah ... but would he have won if Tiger was competing?” Tiger is hoping that the surgery will make the second half of his career go just as smooth as his frst -- or, at least a lot more comfortable. “My left knee has been sore for 10 to 12 years,” Woods said last month during a conference call for his AT&T National tournament. “It will be nice to fnally have a healthy leg. ... I’m really looking forward to that.” The surgery was performed by Dr. Thomas D. Rosenberg and Dr. Vernon J. Cooley, who did arthroscopic surgery on Woods’ same knee in April of this year. “We were confdent going in to this surgery, and I am pleased with the results,” said Dr. Rosenberg. “There were no surprises during the procedure, and as we have said, with the proper rehabilitation and training, it is highly unlikely that Mr. Woods will have any long-term effects as it relates to his career.” “It was important to me to have the surgery as soon as possible so that I could begin the rehabilitation process,” said Woods. “I look forward to working hard at my rehabilitation over the coming months and returning to the PGA Tour healthy next year.” Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter and publisher of The Parkville (Mo.) Luminary. (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

Are You Entitled to a Veterans Pension? It’s thought that more than 2 million eligible veterans aren’t claiming their pension. This is money that’s paid to wartime veterans age 65 or over with limited or little income. Under age 65, there must be permanent and total disability. Do you qualify? Here are some of the criteria: • You must have served at least one day in a designated war period, with a total of at least 90 days of military service. After 1980, you must have served at least 24 months. • Your annual family income must be below a certain amount. This part is complicated and involves a computation of medical expenses and earnings, among other things. • You cannot have a dishonorable discharge. • You cannot already be receiving service-connected compensation.

If you’re not sure if you qualify, your best bet is to fll out VA Form 21-526 and let the VA decide. The form is a hefty 23 pages, but there are line-by-line instructions and tips. If you hook up with a Veterans Service Offcer for help, don’t agree to leave the form to be flled out for you to pick up later. Arrange to get help flling out the form on the spot. If you only have a question or two, call the toll-free number 1-800-827-1000. Online go to and put “Veterans Pension” in the search box. Scroll down and look for topics that include the words Veterans Pension. Be sure to look at the Periods of War for VA Benefts Eligibility to be sure your service dates fall within accepted time periods. If you don’t have Internet access, call the toll-free number and ask for the form to be sent to you. You’ll also need a copy of your DD-214 to attach. Write to Freddy Groves 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.

For Advertising Call 1.417.230.7055 THE BIG RIGS (continued): •

In the United States, the federal legal maximum weight for a standard 18-wheeler (without any special permits for an oversized load) is 40 tons, or 80,000 pounds. Laws also specify how the weight of a truck’s load must be carefully distributed over each axle.

Most modern truckers no longer use the CB slang made famous in Smokey and the Bandit and “Convoy.” So much personnel turnover has occurred in the trucking industry in recent years that many drivers aren’t on the job long enough to learn a whole dictionary’s worth of clever catch phrases. Some of the terms have stuck around, however; a state trooper is still a “smokey, ” a weigh station is known as a “chicken coop,” a mile marker is a “yardstick,” and drivers in a hurry are still said to be “putting the hammer down.”

Another curious road sign you might see along America’s highways reads “No Jake Braking Allowed.” You don’t have to worry about this particular regulation, though, unless you happen to be behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler. Most semis are equipped with compression release engine brakes, generically referred to by truckers as “Jake brakes.” (Jacobs Vehicles Systems, Inc., is a major manufacturer of this equipment.) The use of compression brakes causes less wear on the truck’s components, but it does make a very loud and distinctive staccato noise, which is why some areas prohibit them.

Does a career in heavy hauling appeal to you? Currently, the United States is experiencing a shortage of qualif ed truck drivers, so there are plenty of jobs to be had once you earn your Commercial Driver’s License. New drivers usually start out earning a rate of about 25 cents per mile, driving an average of 3,000 miles per week. Once you get some experience under your belt, the rate per mile (and the miles per week) will increase.

However, there is more to hauling than just driving. You’ll work with inexperienced dispatchers who might give the wrong directions and send you to an urban area. You’ll be expected to deliver on time, no matter the weather or traff c conditions. You’ll usually have to tarp and chain your loads yourself, which means climbing, crawling and lifting.

All of us who grouse and gripe at those big trucks holding up traff c should take a moment and remember that these behemoths are bringing fuel to our gas stations, pharmaceuticals to our local drugstores, mail to our post off ces, and fresh produce to our grocery stores. It’s easy to complain that they’re taking up space on our roads, but we’d sure complain a lot more if they weren’t!

Nursing Home Ratings Get a Gold Star

Here’s something that could come in handy, even though most of us hope we’ll never need it: A star rating of nursing homes across the county. By the end of the year, Nursing Home Compare will provide a rating system for Medicare-eligible nursing homes. With this handy visual chart, you’ll be able to scroll down the page and quickly identify the best facilities. Nursing Home Compare already has an excellent system where inspection reports can be viewed at the Medicare site [], and the star system will add to it. Another way to check a nursing home is CareScout []. For a fee, it will do a comparative analysis of nursing homes in your area. One facility report costs $95, however, so it’s not cheap. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin selecting a nursing home. Do a little homework now, in case it’s ever needed. Some important things to consider are: • Location, so family can visit easily • Get references: Friends or relatives who’ve been in nursing homes are great sources of information. • Take a tour yourself: Keep your eyes open, but don’t focus on fancy decorating -- that doesn’t mean anything. Listen for the way staff talks to patients. Consult with management about any possible waiting list, and what would be required to enter the facility. • Consult someone in the know, such as a social worker or a geriatric care manager. See as a place to start. Non-Medicare nursing homes won’t be listed by Nursing Home Compare, so you’ll need to contact your state’s survey agency. The Medicare Web site has a list of contacts by state and category. 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.

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New Shoes A job interview -- the setting was intimidating for a person whose work duties for the past 14 years have included predominantly laundry, triage and shuttle service. I was dressed up and had on my best “I’m talking to grown-ups” attitude. And this is no small effort for someone whose daily uniform is jeans, T-shirt and tennis shoes, and whose conversations on most days sound like, “Mom, where’s my backpack?” or “Honey, I can’t fnd underwear.” Hair combed, lipstick on, business suit and high heels, and already my left foot was killing me. But the right foot felt as if I had on my favorite pair of house shoes. “If all high heels felt like my right foot feels, I’d wear them more often,” I thought. “Roomy.” I looked down at the black shoe on my right foot and had a moment of panic. But here is where I’m going to back up. You see, all this job interview stuff had made me incredibly nervous. As I anticipated it, knots formed in my stomach, and I couldn’t sleep at night because of my silly insecurities: What if I get the job? What if I don’t get the job? Can I do the job? I don’t think I’m good enough. How will my family survive without me hovering over them? After all, I’m the fnder of the backpacks and the underwear. You know how this goes; you’ve been there with your own insecurities. So the night before the interview I said, “God, please help me to not take myself and this situation so seriously.” Back to the moment of panic: The shoe was comfortable because it had a hole in it and my small toe was sticking out. I don’t know how many people saw me schlep around with my toe fying free; I’m horrifed to think about that too much. But it was all I could do, once the anxiety and embarrassment subsided, to not burst out in laughter in the middle of the interview. But the most important thing is this: I fnally relaxed despite my faws and holey shoe -- for the duration of the interview anyway. I went back home and took myself and the situation too seriously all over again. The job was offered to me. I accepted. And with two weeks left as a stay-home mom, I panicked. I have so much to do to get my family ready for this, I thought. Most girls would celebrate a new job with a trip to the mall with her friends. I bought a box of meat. We have more meat than we will eat in a year. “That’s pathetic, Mom,” my 14-year-old said. I searched for crock pot recipes to use when I start work so that I could cook all this meat -- my family might starve, after all. I cleaned closets, remodeled a bathroom, had repairs done to things I’ve had a decade to repair. I’m tired, and I haven’t even started the job yet. The thought hit me in the middle of this frenzy: You are not moving to Africa. You are simply going to work. Thousands of mothers do this every day. Breathe. And so I have. Not only am I breathing again, I have purchased a new pair of black heels. Both shoes pinch my toes. (c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

Frédéric Chopin was born on March 1, 1810. He is widely regarded as the greatest Polish composer, and ranks as one of music’s greatest tone poets. He was born in the village of Zelazowa Wola in the Duchy of Warsaw, to a Polish mother and Frenchexpatriate father, and in his early life was regarded as a child-prodigy pianist. In November 1830, at the age of 20, Chopin went abroad; following the suppression of the Polish November Uprising of 1830–31, he became one of many expatriates of the Polish Great Emigration. In Paris, Chopin made a comfortable living as a composer and piano teacher, while giving few public performances. He later became a French citizen. After some ill-fated romantic involvements with Polish women, from 1837 to 1847 he conducted a turbulent relationship with the French writer George Sand (Aurore Dudevant). Chopin’s musical compositions were written primarily for the piano as a solo. He invented musical forms such as the “Ballade” and was responsible for major innovations in forms such as the piano sonata, waltz, nocturne, etude, impromptu and prelude. His works are primarily of Romanticism in the 19th-century classical music. As a child, Chopin showed an intelligence that was said to absorb everything and to make use of everything for its development. At an early age, he showed remarkable abilities in observation and sketching, a keen wit and sense of humor, and an uncommon talent for mimicry. Chopin received his earliest piano lessons from his older sister, Ludwika and by age six he, was beginning to compose in the form of making up new melodies. One year later, “Little Chopin” began to give public concerts that soon prompted comparison with Mozart as a child, and with Chopin’s contemporary, Beethoven. As a teenager, Chopin would help quiet rowdy children by first i mprovising a story and then lulling them to sleep with a “berceuse” (lullaby) – after which he woke everyone with an ear-piercing chord. Today, Chopin is considered one of the world’s greatest pianists and composers. His music is widely popular and considered important and crucial study for piano students. Some of Chopin’s most famous compositions include his Polonaise, FantasieI mpromptu, The Minute Waltz, Nocturne in E flat and Revolutionary Etude. During my show at the Branson Star Theatre, I often play these famous Chopin pieces and always marvel at how timeless they are. Chopin was always in frail health. In 1849, he died in Paris, at the age of 39, of chronic pulmonary tuberculosis. About the author: David Lomascola is an adjunct professor of piano at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He currently resides in Branson, Missouri where he performs his 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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WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON Most presidents are elected to offce. A few are former vice presidents who take offce upon the passing of their bosses. William Henry Harrison won the vote, but he had little time to assert himself in the job. Read this week’s All the Presidents’ Tidbits to fnd out why. • William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, in Berkeley, Virginia. His father, Benjamin Harrison, signed the Declaration of Independence as a Virginia representative and later served as the state’s governor. (Many years after William’s death, his grandson, named after Benjamin, would also enter the presidency.) • After college, William chose to join the Army and take part in expeditions into the interior of North America. His efforts helped the U.S. gain additional land throughout the Midwest. After serving for eight years in the Northwest Territory, he won an appointment as its delegate to Congress. He cleared the Indiana Territory for settlement, and then cemented his place in folklore by defeating an Indian alliance during the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. There, he earned the nickname “Old Tippecanoe.” • When the War of 1812 broke out, Harrison was tasked with keeping the Midwest safe from both Native American and British forces, who hoped to sandwich the U.S. on the eastern seaboard and attack from both sides. He succeeded not only in standing ground but also taking it. Detroit had been captured by the British, and he was able to wrest it from their hands, giving the U.S. an advantageous point from which to defend itself. When the War ended, he settled down with wife Anna in North Bend, Ohio.

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Tidbits® of Branson Area

WILLIAM H. HARRISON (continued):

• Harrison moved up the political ladder to Ohio representative and senator, and soon found his name being discussed as the Whig candidate for president. He lost to Martin Van Buren in 1836, but the f nancial panic that ensued the following year ensured that the Whigs would take the White House in 1840. They did, with John Tyler as Harrison’s running mate, using the catchy slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too.” • The new commander-in-chief was inaugurated on March 4, 1841. He marked the ceremony by giving the longest inauguration speech ever, an hour and 45 minutes in length. During the speech, he made it clear that he hoped to serve only four years, and even proposed a Constitutional amendment to restrict presidents to one term in off ce. As it turned out, his stay in Washington was much shorter than that. The combination of inclement weather at the inauguration and the stress of a long campaign weakened Harrison’s health. He contracted pneumonia and spent much of the next four weeks in bed. • The illness took the life of the 68-year-old president on April 4, just one month after he took the oath of off ce. It was the f rst time a sitting president had passed away, and both Congress and Harrison’s cabinet were uncertain about the proper procedure for succession. When Tyler was sworn in as president, the press mocked him by referring to him as “His Accidency. ” Harrison’s 31 days in off ce is still the record for the shortest time in off ce by a U.S. president. His death also led to the demise of the Whig party, which collapsed shortly after Tyler took over. Against which team in 1995 did Cal Ripken Jr. break the consecutivegames-played record of 2,130 held Lou Gehrig?

Grecian Pasta Salad A delicious summer salad that’s sure to draw attention not only for how colorful it looks, but for its great taste.

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Three players have hit 40 or more home runs in a season for the Seattle Mariners. Name them.

Between 1997 and 2008, name the only school other than North Carolina and Duke to win the ACC men’s basketball tournament. 5. Name the last team to win the Stanley Cup after leading the league in goals during the regular season. Who are the only two countries to have won back-to-back World Cups in men’s soccer?

(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

In a large bowl, combine rotini pasta, tomato, olives and feta cheese. Add Italian dressing. Toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 6 (full 3/4 cup) servings. HINT: Usually 2 1/2 cups uncooked rotini pasta cooks to about 3 cups. • Each serving equals: 154 calories, 6g fat, 7g protein, 17g carbs, 636mg sodium, 147mg calcium, 6g f ber; Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1 Meat; Carb Choices: 1. Visit Healthy Exchanges at www.healthyexc, or call toll-free at 1-800-7668961 for more information about the only national food newsletter for diabetics, heart/ cholesterol concerns and healthy weight loss.

_3. NFL head coaches Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Don Shula and Dick Vermeil all reached the Super Bowl with two different teams. Which of them won Super Bowls with both teams?

Since 1969, four horses have had undefeated career records through the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Name them.

3 cups cooked garden variety rotini pasta, rinsed and drained 1 cup chopped fresh tomato 1/3 cup sliced ripe olives 1 cup (full) crumbled feta cheese 1/2 cup Kraft Fat Free Italian Dressing


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COMIC MERCHANDISE by Dean Behrendt If today’s younger generation accuses us parents of being cynical and distrustful, well, I blame it on comic books. How many of us were lured by those enticing advertisements in the pages of comics, promising a chiseled physique or even X-ray vision for a dollar or less? • For one measly dollar, you could not only view the bones in your hand, but also peek beneath the clothing of unsuspecting strangers. Unfortunately, most of us didn’t notice the quotation marks in the advertisements for X-Ray Specs (“see ” under their clothes!) which was the loophole for the seller. The Specs were nothing more than two pieces of cardboard with a feather glued in between them. The visions one saw were phantom “illusions” and no type of ray whatsoever. • Who could resist those adorable Sea Monkeys, with their grinning Seuss-like faces, lounging outside their neat Sea Monkey castle? “They swim, play, race and scoot” according to the ads. Well, they may do all that, but you’d need a microscope to appreciate their hijinks. Sea Monkeys are actually a type of brine shrimp, and even when fully grown, they’re only about the size of a mosquito. Not surprisingly, the man who came up with the idea of selling Sea Monkeys also invented those X-Ray Specs. • In the late 1970s, a company called ProArts sold “genuine” Kryptonite rocks. For $2.50, you could become Superman’s friend by sending away for two Krytonite rocks, thus keeping them out of the hands of bad guys. (Green kryptonite, remember, was harmful to the Man of Steel.) The actual product looked suspiciously just like ordinary stones painted green. But unless Clark Kent himself happened to drop by your house, how could someone prove that they weren’t authentic?

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Tidbits® of Branson Area

Red Pepper Spray Can Deter Cats By Samantha Mazzotta DEAR PAW’S CORNER: In a recent column, you described a cat that became extremely ill after ingesting a lily plant. You suggested distracting a cat from poisonous plants with a nearby tray of catnip, or a favorite toy. I have a really great tip for discouraging cats -- and most other critters -- from chewing on plants, furniture or whatever you don’t want them to chew on. Try mixing a few teaspoons of ground red pepper in a spray bottle full of water, then spray the item you want the cat to leave alone. Saturate the item and leave it to dry. This also works for outdoor plants and fowers to keep wild critters away from them. The smell alone repels most animals. Just make sure not to touch your eyes after applying! Also, thank you for the Cat Fanciers’ Association Web site, where you can fnd the list of plants dangerous to cats. -- Stephanie L., Lawrenceburg, Ky.

DEAR STEPHANIE: You’re welcome, and thanks for the tip! I would also recommend that cat owners who have plants in their homes that are dangerous to cats make sure they are lifted well out of the reach of their pet. I’ll even go so far as to say that no plants from the lily family should be in the home, period. No repellent is 100 percent effective, especially from a determined cat. For those who missed the link to the Cat Fanciers’ Association Web site, here it is again so that you can review the list of poisonous plants: Send your tips, questions and comments to Paws Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or email them to

(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Long Plane Ride Can Challenge Body By Andrea Renee Wyatt, M.S.S., C.S.C.S.

Q: This summer I’ll be taking my dream vacation to New Zealand. I have never fown on a plane for more than four hours, and even then my back and knees begin to bother me. A friend suggested I do exercises on the plane to keep from sitting down for so long. What type of exercises can I do in a cramped airplane? A: Air travel can be a challenge, especially if you’re sitting for long periods of time. The secret is to plan before your trip to avoid any discomfort while fying. First, if you have any medical conditions or concerns, speak with your physician before you leave. Be sure to include the length of the airplane ride, stopovers, etc., so he or she will have the information needed to suggest a plan to help you have a smooth trip. Next, begin by getting in shape as much as you can in the weeks leading up to your trip. The ftter you are, the more your body will be able to tolerate the long plane ride to New Zealand. Your muscles, bones and joints are not accustomed to sitting for extended periods of time, especially in the small confnes of an airplane seat. The stronger your body, the better you’ll feel upon arrival. Cardiovascular, strength and fexibility exercises should all be part of your pre-trip exercise routine. Walking or jogging, a total-body strength training routine and fexibility exercises or classes such as Pilates or yoga can be a great combination. If you already have an exercise program, continue with your routine and add any needed exercises. Remember to practice good posture in the weeks leading up to your trip. Try to develop a strong core - which includes your whole trunk region -- and avoid slumping forwarding or leaning to the side while driving or sitting at home. Practicing these habits can help you develop the technique and strength to do this while on a plane. Poor posture while sitting can cause problems with your lower back, neck and shoulders. Sitting for hours on an airplane with this poor posture can begin to cause discomfort. Once on the plane, remember to practice these good posture techniques and continue to move your legs, arms and neck throughout the fight. Many airlines offer exercise suggestions on in-fight screens to remind passengers to move around and move their limbs every hour. Sleeping may seem like the best way to get through a long trip; however, if you plan to sleep, ask someone you are fying with or a fight attendant to wake you occasionally so you can get up and walk, stretch and get the blood fowing throughout your body. While sitting, you can move your legs, roll your ankles, stretch your wrist, shoulders and neck -- and just keep moving. Although the space is limited on an airplane, you can still move enough to keep your body strong and happy on your way to your dream vacation. 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.

1. The California Angels. 2. Ken Griffey Jr. (six times), Jay Buhner (three times) and Alex Rodriguez (three times). 3. None. 4. Maryland in 2004. 5. The Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. 6. Italy in 1934 and ‘38, and Brazil in ‘58 and ‘62. 7. Majestic Prince in 1969, Seattle Slew in 1977, Smarty Jones in 2004 and Big Brown in 2008.


Many of you will remember ads featuring a 97-lb. weakling getting sand kicked in his face at the beach. He sends away for the Charles Atlas course, and then returns to the beach with a newly buff physique to even the score with the bully. Charles Atlas was really bodybuilder Angelo Siciliano, whose special isometric exercise program didn’t require any special equipment, just “muscle against muscle” in order to build strength. The Holy Grail of comic book merchandise was no doubt the Polaris Nuclear Submarine. Priced at a whopping $6.98 back in 1969, it cost a fortune when most allowances were maybe 50 cents per week. The sub was advertised as more than seven feet long (“Big enough for two kids!”) and fred rockets and torpedoes. The ad was irresistible: “Explore the ocean foor! Hunt for sunken treasure!” What kid wouldn’t be compelled by that? Imagine your disappointment when, four weeks later, you receive a long, fat package in the mail (instead of a huge crate). The Polaris Nuclear Sub, vyou see, was made out of cardboard and had to be carefully assembled. The torpedoes fred via a rubber band, and two kids ft inside only if they pushed their legs outside through the holes in the bottom. (Yes, I was one of those so duped.) I probably should’ve learned a lesson from the cardboard submarine, but the Frontier Cabin looked so cool, and it only cost one dollar. The fortress was said to be large enough to ft three kids inside, and came with a personalized name plate. Alas, in reality, the Frontier Cabin was a full-color log cabin printed onto a heavy-duty sheet of plastic, which you then draped over a card table to simulate the Davy Crockett experience.

in Portions Groce Paca 9 9,

The type of big rig that we call a “semi-truck” in the United States is referred to as an “articulated lorry” over in the United Kingdom.

“I use a baster (basting syringe) to water small potted plants. It’s just enough water, and I can get it right where I need it.” -- S.D. in Virginia

Recipe Substitutions: If you need 1 cup of tomato juice, use 1/2 cup of tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup of water. “Cleaning the miniblinds is a real chore, but what makes it easier for me is putting a pair of socks over my hands, and then spraying them with cleaner.” -- R.D. in Iowa

“Tacos are a favorite meal in our house, but very messy -- until we discovered a great use for coffee f lters. We use a f lter to hold the taco. We peel back the paper as we eat, and nothing drips out or falls out, even if the shell cracks!” -- E.B.

“When we go to the beach -- which is pretty often, it seems -- we always bring a drawstring mesh bag. After playing on the beach, we load all the toys into the bag, then drag it through the water a little. The sand washes off into the ocean, and the toys are pretty clean. We then stick it inside a plastic bag for the ride home.” -- I.L. in Florida Grease muff n pans with an old, clean paintbrush dipped in oil. You’ll use less oil, and it’s much less messy. Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 328536475 or e-mail JoAnn at

in Oregon

(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.



Grocery manufacturers have f gured out that consumers are less disturbed by smaller packages than they are by higher prices. So they’re counting on consumers not to notice the smaller packages now on store shelves in increasing numbers for everything from ice cream to sandwich spread. In some cases, the packaging isn’t shrinking, but the contents are. Peanut butter is an example: What used to be an 18-ounce jar of a major brand of peanut butter is now 16.3 ounces -- a full serving gone -- in the same size jar. It’s the same with margarine: same package with less in it. It’s more important than ever to read the unit cost and perserving price of each item you buy. In many cases, what you’re getting now isn’t what you were getting only a few months ago. (Double check to be sure that the unit pricing sticker has been changed to ref ect the now-smaller item. Some stores are slow to make those changes.) Those who are dieting or who have special dietary requirements, such as diabetics, need to be extra vigilant about calories and carbs, as the contents of a package could be different, even if it looks the same. Cooks, too, are f nding that recipes are suffering if the ingredients suddenly change. If your recipe calls for a certain amount of tomato paste, check the can to see if it’s still the size you expect. The same goes for cake and cookie mixes: If you expect to make cupcakes for three dozen children at school as you always have, check the box to see how many cupcakes the mix will actually make now. If ever there was a time to investigate store brands, it’s now. Let the unit pricing be your guide about whether an individual product is a good buy. Start clipping and using coupons, even if you haven’t done that in the past. Suggestion: If you have a favorite food that hasn’t shrunk yet, and if you can combine a purchase with coupons to make it truly worth your while, load up. Check the expiration dates to make sure you’ll use it in time. It’s a feel-good step, but one with benef ts. David Uff ngton 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) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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