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Issue XV, Vol. 1


by Kathy Wolfe What would Saturday mornings be like without our favorite cartoons? This week, Tidbits takes a look at some of our long-time favorites, guaranteed to inspire more than a few good memories. • TV Guide has ranked Bugs Bunny as the greatest cartoon character of all time. Homer Simpson is No. 2 on the list, and Rocky and Bullwinkle hold the No. 3 slot. • Beep! Beep! Wile E. Coyote started chasing the Roadrunner across the Southwestern desert in 1949. The coyote’s pursuit involved many complex contraptions manufactured by the Acme Corporation, but his elaborate schemes were foiled every time. He regularly caught on fire, was run over and plummeted to the bottom of a canyon in his attempts to nail the elusive bird. The coyote’s creator, Chuck Jones, used the same design for another cartoon character known as Ralph Wolf. Each work day, Ralph and Sam Sheepdog punched into a time clock, exchanged pleasant greetings, and spent the day battling each other over a flock of sheep. Although the two characters’ designs were nearly identical, the coyote’s nose was black, while Ralph’s was red.

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CARTOONS (continued): Wearing a Roman soldier’s uniform of helmet and skirt, Marvin the Martian was modeled after Mars, the Roman god of war. He was forever trying to destroy the Earth with his Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, but his efforts were outwitted every time by the clever Bugs Bunny. These failed attempts made him “very angry, very angry indeed.” In the midst of the Cold War, the world of cartoons had its token Russian spies, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. These bumbling villains attempted to do the will of their Fearless Leader, such as stealing secret rocket fuel formulas. All the while, Natasha called everyone “dollink” as Boris snapped, “Sharrup you mouth!” Natasha was voiced by June Foray, whose other credits include Dudley Do-Right’s lady friend Nell Fenwick, Rocky the flying squirrel, Tweety’s owner Granny and Lucifer the Cat in Disney’s 1950 production “Cinderella.” The Jetsons were just an average family living in the year 2062. Their home in Orbit City’s Skypad Apartments was filled with futuristic, labor-saving devices. George Jetson’s work life consisted of pushing a computer button three hours a day, three days a week at Spacely Space Sprockets. Jane was assisted in her wifely duties by the robot maid Rosie. The series, produced between 1962 and 1963, was the first program on ABC to be broadcast in color. “Ruh-roh!” became a common expression after it was frequently used by the Jetsons’ dog Astro. Voice actor Don Messick was the source for “Rats Rall Right, Reorge!” You might recognize his voice as that of other cartoon dogs Scooby-Doo and Muttley.

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Did you receive a $250 check from the government? Chances are that means you’re in the no-man’s land of the doughnut hole -- also called the Medicare Part D coverage gap -- along with the 300,000 others who also received the check. The money is to help with drug costs. The Medicare coverage gap works like this: You must spend $2,830 for your deductible and drugs. Once you reach amount, the doughnut hole kicks in, and there’s no more help until you pay $4,550 out of pocket. Then your coverage starts again. Once you hit that amount, the government will send you a check for $250 in about six weeks. Thankfully, this amount is going to go up. Until 2020, the Affordable Care Act dictates that the doughnut hole will get smaller and smaller until it disappears. And soon those who get Medicare and who are in the doughnut hole will be able to get a 50 percent discount on certain medications. Meanwhile, if you’re in the doughnut hole, there are a few ways to get help. Ask your doctor if you can switch to generics. Find out if any drug companies are offering help with the cost of your drug at the Patient Assistance Program. Put that name in the search box at Also check the state program. If your income is very low, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 for help programs. Beware the scammers, as usual. They’re trying to convince seniors that the check won’t arrive without an application, which the scammers will fill out for a fee. Meanwhile, they’ll ask for your personal information, bank account number and Social Security number. Don’t fall for it. If anyone approaches you with this offer, report them. Call 1-800-633-4227 (the Medicare number) as well as your local police.




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CARTOONS (continued): A 1945 cartoon entitled “Hare Trigger” introduced a cantankerous red-haired cowboy with an extreme dislike of rabbits. After several cartoons featuring the meek and mild Elmer Fudd as Bugs Bunny’s adversary, Yosemite Sam was created as a more formidable foe who was not so easily put off. With six-guns in hand, Sam frequently thundered at Bugs, “Say your prayers, Varmint!” He was voiced by Mel Blanc, who had undergone a spell of road rage on the day he came up with Sam’s voice and merely screamed at the top of his lungs. Known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Mel Blanc was the voice behind many of our favorites, including Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Sylvester, Tweety, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, Woody Woodpecker, Speedy Gonzales, Barney Rubble, Pepe LePew and George Jetson’s boss Mr. Spacely. He set a record of the longest voiceover, having spoken for Daffy Duck for 52 years. The inscription on Blanc’s gravestone appropriately reads, “That’s All, Folks.” “I yam what I yam,” is muttered in a gravelly voice by a rough and ready, muscular sailor with anchor tattoos. Popeye was created in 1929 as a comic strip by E.C. Segar but didn’t hit the movie screen until 1933. The woman of his dreams, Olive Oyl and her brother Castor Oyl, were on the scene 10 years before Popeye. Popeye was well known for eating spinach for strength, and he sang, “I’m strong to the finich, ‘cause I eats me spinach.” He was so popular during the 1930s that there was a 33-percent increase in spinach consumption during that decade. The sailor’s family members included his adopted baby son Baby Swee’ Pea, nephews Pipeye, Pupeye, Poopeye, and Peepeye, and father Poopdeck Pappy. Hamburger-loving Wimpy and the bully Bluto completed the cast.

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Page 3 • For sunburned skin, try using cold mayonnaise as a balm. And next time, wear sunblock!

• “Here’s how I remember to take my daily pills: I place the pill bottles by my coffeemaker. In the morning, I fix my cup of coffee and get all my pills together. Then I set the bottles on the opposite counter. In the evening, I prep the next day’s pot of coffee and move the bottles back to the coffeemaker. If they are by the coffeemaker, and it’s not set up, I have not taken them yet.” -- M.R. in Florida • “I know it’s still summer, but I am gearing up for the holidays early. I have been taking advantage of sales all year long to purchase fun, interesting and inexpensive items so that when December rolls around, I will not be caught off guard (or out of cash!). It’s not too late to start now.” -- S. in Washington • When giving pills to dogs, try this old trick: Hide the pill in peanut butter. It masks the scent and taste of most pills, and will work for many dogs. • Help for mosquito bites: Try rubbing a bit of Vick’s Vapo-Rub into an itchy mosquito bite. The menthol will soothe the itch. • Purchase a set of inexpensive Frisbees at a discount store and use them as food plates in the car or at the picnic table. They can be “filled” with a snack or more, and they travel well, since there is a nice-size “lip” to keep food in place.

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2. In 2008, Mike Mussina became the oldest major-league pitcher to win 20 games in a season for the first time. How old was he? 3. Who is the only two-time winner of The Associated Press’ NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award? 4. Which two teams hold the NCAA mark in men’s basketball for consecutive conference victories? 5. When was the last time before the 2009-10 NHL season that the Chicago Blackhawks won a division title? 6. Name two of the three drivers to be in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. 7. Entering 2010, who held the ATP record for most wins by a doubles combination?

High Hopes for Jeff Gordon Jeff Gordon’s hometown could be considered Vallejo, Calif., where he was born, or Pittsboro, Ind., where he grew up. Based on his record there, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is another place where Gordon feels right at home. He has won NASCAR’s annual visit to the Brickyard a record four times. (As an aside, Gordon has won five times at Infineon Raceway, the track closest to his birthplace.) Gordon’s most recent Indy victory occurred in 2004. In the five races since then, though, Jimmie Johnson has won three times and Tony Stewart twice. Forty-eight races have passed since Gordon’s last victory anywhere. He won at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2009. Still, a winless Gordon is better than most drivers who have won multiple races this year ... literally. Gordon, 38, ranks second in the Sprint Cup point standings, trailing only Kevin Harvick, and has more top-five finishes (10) than any other driver. “Our team’s been consistently running up front,” said Gordon. “We just haven’t had the car to win or all the pieces as a team to get ourselves into victory lane. “At times we’ve had the car. For whatever reasons -- blame it on me, blame it on incidents, I don’t like to point fingers -- but we haven’t gotten to victory lane. ... We think we’ve got some


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things up our sleeve for Indy, but I’m sure that’s what a lot of guys out there are thinking.” Only five drivers -- Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarbrough -- have ever won more races at NASCAR’s highest level than Gordon. Three more victories would put him ahead of everyone except Petty and Pearson. But it’s been “82 and holding” ever since the 2009 Texas victory. Some have speculated that the end of Gordon’s career is near. He disputes this. “Man, I do (feel old) when I get out of that race car and everything aches,” he said, “but no, I mean, I’m still enjoying the sport very, very much. I feel like I’m way more comfortable with where I’m at in the sport today. That’s fun. I like all the years of experience that now I get to benefit from. “The only thing I’d change right now is getting some of those wins back. It’s tough. It’s very competitive. We know we’ve got to pick up the pace.” PHOTO CUTLINE: Former NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon (right, with team owner Rick Hendricks) is second in the standings despite not winning a race. (John Clark/ NASCAR This Week photo)

CARTOONS (continued): • November 18, 1928, is considered the birthday of Mickey Mouse. It’s the day he debuted in “Steamboat Willie” at New York City’s Colony Theater. Starring as a riverboat deckhand, Mickey’s voice was that of Walt Disney himself. Mickey had actually appeared six months earlier in a cartoon short entitled “Plane Crazy” with Minnie Mouse at his side, but “Willie” was the first of his cartoons with sound. Mickey didn’t appear in color until 1935. He went on to star in more than 120 different cartoons, and was voiced by Disney until 1946. Mickey was the first cartoon character to receive a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. • A different kind of mouse regularly defended the citizens of Mouseville. Wearing a yellow jersey and red cape, inspired by the Superman character, Mighty Mouse came to the rescue, singing, “Here I come to save the day!” This superhero squelched the threats of villain Oil Can Harry against the townspeople, and more specifically, his girlfriend Pearl Pureheart. • A similarly-named sweetheart, Sweet Polly Purebred, was the love interest of the endearing Shoeshine Boy. When danger was imminent, the Boy quietly slipped into a nearby phone booth and retrieved a Super Vitamin Pill from his ring’s secret compartment, exiting the booth as Underdog. Polly was a TV reporter, who could be heard pleading, “Oh where, oh where, has my Underdog gone?” • Chrysler paid $50,000 to Warner Brothers for the privilege of using the cartoon image of the Road Runner on the side of the Plymouth Road Runner muscle car, which began manufacture in 1968. They also expended $10,000 to develop a horn with a “Beep, Beep!” sound effect.

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The pleasing harmonies that are the trademark of the music of the Beach Boys immediately conjure up thoughts of 1960s California and its culture of cars, surfing and young love. Tidbits takes you on a backstage tour of their rocky road to fame. • In 1961, three brothers, Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, gathered around the family piano in Hawthorne, California, practicing vocal harmonies. Their cousin Mike Love was soon on board, as was a friend from the football team, Al Jardine. • They adopted the name The Pendletones, a play on the brand name Pendleton, a popular wool shirt frequently worn by California surfers. Soon they had recorded their first single, entitled simply “Surfin.’” The name change to the Beach Boys came at the time of the song’s release, and the tune remained on Billboard’s Hot 100 for six weeks. • The band’s first four hits all contained the word “surf,” from 1961’s “Surfin’” and 1962’s “Surfin’ Safari” to 1963’s “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Surfer Girl.” Although all the songs were popular, none hit the No. 1 spot on the charts. That feat was accomplished in 1964 with “I Get Around.” It was quickly followed by their second No. 1, “Help Me, Rhonda,” and their third, “Good Vibrations,” the first hit to go platinum. • The Beach Boys didn’t sing just about surfing; they also sang about cars, such as “Little Honda,” “409” and “Little Deuce Coupe.” The summer was a popular theme as well, as evidenced by “Summer of Love,” “Summer Means New Love,” “Things We Did Last Summer” and “Your Summer Dream.”

Disability Claims Going Paperless I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to go paperless for disability claims. On the one hand, millions of pieces of paper (multiple pages for each and every claim) are hard to track, and the VA isn’t always good at it. Remember the tales of mail being ditched or shredded? On the other hand, it’s far too easy to blame missing documents on computers. “It never got here,” is always a handy excuse. The VA hasn’t had a good track record of taking things online either. Look at the $127 million it spent on an appointment scheduling system. Then it had to start over. But we still hear about cases of rigging the appointments. It’s called “gaming,” and employees

are doing it so their performance looks better. All it takes is one (or dozens) of wayward employees to make changes in the data. There are cases of clerks canceling appointments moments before the veteran arrives, or changing the date the appointment was initially made to make it look like the veteran is getting a fast appointment, and more. Still, the VA is going to try to get it right this time, and it’s awarded a $9.1 million contract to IBM for a fully automated online-claims processing system. To his credit, VA chief Eric Shinseki wants to start small. Initial claims will be limited to Vietnam veterans with the following illnesses: B-cell leukemia, Parkinson’s disease or ischemic heart disease. At this point, those three haven’t been completely cleared for presumptive service-related disability, but that’s supposed to happen later this year. The new claims system is slated to be ready in November. The hope is that this will allow claims decisions in 125 days.

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Catch Summer Memories With Do-Together Fun Has it been a while since you let your hair down as a parent? Well, today’s the day to start. The relaxing, less-formal days of summer lend themselves to play and memorable family fun. And it’s easy to get in the mode when you include your children at various turns in the day’s events. Thirty-four-year-old Margo Farrell, marketing researcher and mom to 5-year-old daughter Arianna and 1-1/2-year-old son Lucas, has discovered that you can make everyday moments special with the kids, even when checking off errands on a weekend “to-do” list. “My husband and I lived in West London, England, for five years where we enjoyed walking from our home to the post office, hardware store, restaurants and boutiques,” she says. “Walking was such an integral and pleasant part of our lifestyle that we intentionally looked for a family home in a

THE BEACH BOYS (continued): • Success took its toll on the group early in their careers. While on tour in 1964, 22-year-old Brian Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown and left the tour. He was replaced by singer Glen Campbell for several months. Wilson’s problems were to plague him for years to come. He was in and out of the band several times, as he abused drugs, suffered from depression and paranoia, and experienced weight gain up to 320 pounds. He was officially dismissed in 1982 and entered a detox program. • It was the heartbreaking drowning death of brother Dennis in 1983 that seemed to bring the group back together. Their fourth No. 1 hit, “Kokomo,” came along in 1988, 22 years after their third. Cousin Mike Love sued Brian for songwriting royalties along the way, contending that Brian had failed to give him credit as the co-writer of 79 of the group’s songs. Yet another reconciliation followed, with plans for another studio album, followed by more tragedy in the Wilson family. Lung cancer claimed the life of brother Carl, a long-time heavy smoker, in 1998. • Despite their hardships, the Beach Boys top the list of sales of singles and album revenues, making them the No. 1-selling American band in history. They’ve logged 56 Hot 100 hits, 36 Top 40 hits and four No. 1 singles over the years. They received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1980, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy in 2001. • It’s interesting to note that while the group is best known for its surfing tunes, Dennis Wilson was the only one who surfed.

‘walking community’ when we returned to the states.” Now in Minneapolis, walking to neighborhood shops to do Saturday errands has become routine. “The kids look forward to the jaunt all week long,” she says. “We might pick up a gallon of milk at the co-op, find a birthday gift at the toy store or wander over to the bakery to grab freshly baked breadsticks for a special treat. Whether I have only a few minutes, a half-hour or even an entire summer day ahead of me with the kids, there is so much joy in discovering what is around us, right where we live.” Here are some easy, do-together summer ideas to enjoy where you live: --On a walk in a park, along a shoreline or in the woods, tell your children to be on the lookout for nature’s “chairs,” such as a smooth-sided boulder, tree stump or a cozy patch of grass. Stop, relax and share a special snack that you brought along. Tell a story from the point of view of a squirrel, blue jay or the ant crawling on your cookie. --Visit your local zoo and let your kids be the safari photographers. Organize the photos on your computer when you return, for your own family nature show. --Sit on a hillside or special viewing spot and watch a sunset on a summer evening. Take turns describing the colorful changes in the sky..

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Nearly everyone on Earth is familiar with the creations of genius Walt Disney. Follow his path from humble beginnings on a Missouri farm to film mogul and theme partk creator. • An artist from childhood, Disney was already selling sketches at age seven. In high school, he worked on the school newspaper while attending night school at the Academy of Fine Arts. • In 1918, Walt tried to enlist in the military but was turned away because he was only 16. His alternative was to sign up with the Red Cross, who sent him overseas. He spent a year driving an ambulance, decorated from top to bottom with his drawings and cartoons. He served in a unit with Ray Kroc, who, decades later, would found the McDonald’s fast food chain. • Disney’s career in advertising began after the conclusion of World War I. In 1920, he created his first animated cartoons, and three years later, headed for Hollywood with $40 to his name. He joined up with his brother Roy, and the two borrowed $500 and built a camera stand in their uncle’s garage where they started production of cartoon “featurettes.” • Mickey Mouse hit the big screen in 1928, and four years later, Disney was awarded the first of his many Oscars for a film entitled “Flowers and Trees.” • In the midst of the Great Depression, Disney produced “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” for the astronomical sum of $1,499,000. It took two million illustrations using 1,500 shades of paint to create the 1937 masterpiece. Fifty different names were considered for the dwarfs, including Gabby, Blabby, Hotsy, Nifty and Shifty. Disney had first conceived the idea for the film at age 15, when he saw a silent film version of the tale.

Dog’s Marking Doesn’t Do Deck Any Favors By Samantha Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I have two 2-yearold neutered canine brothers (I found out after the fact that it is not a good idea to get them from the same litter). They have lots of forested room to roam, but “Jake” -- the dominant one -- occasionally insists on peeing on the deck. I can’t catch him at it. Why does he do that, and how can I get him to stop? -Carolyn V., via e-mail

DEAR CAROLYN: That can be tough to stop, since the deck is often considered part of the family living area for everyone, including the dogs. You’ll need to regain control of the deck area and remind Jake who’s boss. Whenever the dogs are off-leash, roaming through the yard and woods, block access to the deck and don’t allow them on until you have called them up the steps and clipped a leash on Jake and his brother. You may want to have a second person

leash the less-dominant dog. Jake may, at this time, attempt to tug himself over to his usual marking spot, and drag you with him. Give him a firm “no” and order him to sit and stay. At this time you can take his brother inside the house while you work with Jake. For the next several days or weeks, the deck is going to become Training Central. Work with Jake and his brother, separately. Whenever Jake begins to sniff around or tries to mark something, firmly tell him “no” and continue giving him basic obedience commands. When he follows your commands, and especially when he stops sniffing and obeys rather than tries to mark, give him lots of praise and treats (if you choose). To further discourage marking, clean the areas he has marked and treat with an odor neutralizer.

1. ADVERTISEMENTS: What was the name of the finicky eater in the Nine Lives cat-food commercials? 2. LITERATURE: Who is the author of the bestseller “Roots”? 3. TELEVISION: What was the setting for the “I Dream of Jeannie” TV show? 4. WANT GEOGRAPHY: WhatYOUR was theOWN Netherlands’ basic TO RUN BUSINESS? currency before it adopted the euro? a Paper in M.P.? Your Area 5.Publish ABBREVIATED TITLES: What is an If You Can Provide: Sales ExperienceSt. · A Computer · 6.Desktop ARCHITECTURE: Who designed Paul’s CathePublishing Software · A Reasonable Financial Investment dral in London? We provide the opportunity for success! 7. HOLIDAYS: What holiday is celebrated on July 14? Call 1.800.523.3096 8. In “Forrest Gump,” what was the nickname of Forrest’s best friend in the Army? 9. ASTRONOMY: What is the first planet beyond Saturn in our solar system? 10. MEASUREMENTS: What does the Mercalli Scale measure? Information in the Tidbits® Paper is gathered from sources considered to be reliable but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.

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1. The Cincinnati Reds (1975, ‘76) and the Detroit Tigers (‘84). 2. He was 39. 3. Quarterback Chad Pennington (2006, 2008). 4. Kentucky (1945-50) and Memphis (200610), both with 64. 5. The Blackhawks won the Norris Division crown in the 1992-93 season. 6. John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart. 7. Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, with 61.

1. Morris 2. Alex Haley 3. Cocoa Beach, Florida 4. The guilder 5. Member of Parliament 6. Sir Christopher Wren 7. Bastille Day 8. Bubba 9. Uranus 10. Intensity of earthquakes

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• It was American actress and comedian Lily Tomlin who made the following sage observation: “Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.” • According to Henry Heimlich, the inventor of the abdominal thrust technique known as the Heimlich Maneuver, the food upon which people most commonly choke is peanut butter straight out of the jar. • Astronauts on the International Space Station see the sun rise every 90 minutes.



• You’ve probably heard that Eskimos have 50 words for different types of snow, but you might not realize that their language doesn’t have a word for just plain snow. • You might recall Glenn Ford, an actor from Hollywood’s Golden Era, from such films as “3:10 to Yuma,” “Blackboard Jungle” and “The Big Heat.” You probably didn’t know, though, that when he was born in Quebec he was named Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford. The inspiration for his stage name was the town of Glenford, Canada. • Those who study such things say that every day in the world, 62 square miles of land becomes desert. • When groups of shrimp end up with too few males to sustain the population, some of the females turn into males.

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• Michael Crichton is best known as an author and screenwriter, and most of his fans are aware of the fact that he was a medical doctor, as well. It’s interesting to note, however, that as an undergraduate student he majored in anthropology. • If you’re like 80 percent of Americans, you will experience some kind of back trouble at least once in your lifetime. • Businesswoman Mary Kay Ash, before she founded the Mary Kay Cosmetics empire, sold encyclopedias door-to-door.

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