Trivia Bits

March 31, 2016  

Thursday March 31


Brother and sister Charles and Mary Lamb collaborated on “Tales from Shakespeare,” a young people’s introduction to the Bard that’s so influential it hasn’t been out of print since 1807. Their lives had drama to rival any Shakespeare play. In 1796, at age 32, Mary stabbed their mother to death. Rather than see her committed to a mental institution, 21-year-old Charles took responsibility for Mary’s care. They lived and worked together for nearly 40 years and are buried in a shared grave.


What was the name of Jodie Foster’s character in “The Silence of the Lambs”?

A) Anna Crowe

B) Phoebe Forrester

C) Cecily Pigeon

D) Clarice Starling


Previous answer: Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is a character in books by Michael Connelly.

Some Smelly Situations Cause Extra Toil and Require Extra Patience

March 31, 2016  
Filed under Blogs

Covering her nose after a bad smellEVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE



It is rare, but now and then I hear from a reader who is frustrated using one of my all-time favorite products: Nok-Out. I love Nok-Out because it eliminates odors, it’s non-toxic, fume-free and kills bacteria, too. Awesome stuff. I mostly receive feedback filled with praise and gratitude, but this week I heard from Linda, who is facing a tough smelly situation that requires more toil and patience because of its location,.

DEAR MARY: I have been using Nok-Out (which was recently renamed SNiPER) very successfully for months. Thank you for the recommendation.

However, I have cat urine odor on my sofa and chair that I can’t get out. She sprayed on them. (Did you know that a spayed female cat will spray under stress?) I have soaked the stains thoroughly, more than once. Sometimes the stench goes away for a short period of time; other times it smells like a combo of urine and Nok-out for awhile. But the full odor returns. Help! I can’t stand it. — Linda

DEAR LINDA: Oh boy, this is bad. The offending odor soaked into the stuffing of those pieces of furniture. Nok-Out has to penetrate successfully to reach every area that was infected. If the cat truly sprayed, is it possible that the spray went in all directions and you might need to expand the area of treatment?

I sent an SOS to Ted Price at Nok-Out asking him what he thinks your best bet is. I certainly know why you’re having this problem, but I’m not fully confident in a solution: The following is my correspondence with Ted. — Mary

DEAR TED: Can you take a look at Linda’s cat odor problem, which is included in this column, and weigh in on how to use Nok-Out to eliminate this horrible odor once and for all? — Mary Read more

Trivia Bits

March 30, 2016  

Wednesday March 30


Medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch depicted everyday life as utterly sinful — creatures with trumpets for noses, pig-faced men, demons on ice skates, weird stuff. His view of heaven was much rosier, although his vision of life on earth makes it clear that he didn’t expect most people to reach the pearly gates. Bosch died 500 years ago and his hometown of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands will be commemorating his work throughout 2016.


Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is the main character in novels by which author?

A) Harlan Coben

B) Michael Connelly

C) Laura Lippman

D) Ian Rankin


Previous answer: Umami, or pleasantly savory, is the “fifth taste” after salty, sweet, sour and bitter.


Keep Lemons Fresh, and Other Great Reader Tips

March 30, 2016  
Filed under Blogs




I’m a lucky woman. My husband and I make a quick trip to California once a month to tend to business, see friends and visit our older son, who just happens to have the most prolific Meyer lemon tree on Earth in his backyard. I always try to bring an empty bag with me so I can load up on these beautiful ripe lemons. Many thanks to our first reader for her tip to keep my lemons ripe long enough to use them all. It works for me!

FRESH LEMONS. “If you like to keep lemons on hand even when you don’t have a specific need, submerge them (washed with peel on) in a bowl of water in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for weeks on end. I have had a bowl in my refrigerator for the past two months, and they are still beautiful. Wow. What a money saver, too.” –Ashley

DRIVE-THRU FIRST. “Taking youngsters to a fast food restaurant can be a fun treat, but standing in a long line with an active brood can be stressful. Solution: Place your order in the drive-thru and ask the server to put your food on a tray instead. By the time you park and get everyone inside, you can pick up the tray and go directly to a table.” — Rhonda

ULTRA-QUICK DRY. “Do you need to dry a pair of jeans or pajamas in a hurry? Put them into the dryer with a completely dry bath towel. They’ll be dry in a fraction of the time.” — Patsy

BACK SPONGE. “Instead of using an expensive blow-up bathtub backrest (even the best ones stop holding air after a few uses), buy an inexpensive baby bath sponge. It will stick to the tub and is large enough to rest your whole back. It stays warm as long as the water does. Just run it through the washing machine occasionally to freshen.” — Roxy

PAINT STAINS. “Even if it’s been there for a long time, you can get latex paint out of carpet or fabric with lacquer thinner (not paint thinner), available at hardware or home improvement centers. Using a clean white cloth, wet the dried paint with the thinner. Let it penetrate the paint and then gently blot with the cloth. Be sure to test the area in an inconspicuous place first. Also, keep the thinner out of children’ and pets’ reach, and ventilated the room.” — Bradley

ICE BAG. “Pour 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol into a quart-size Ziploc bag, sealing it tightly. Put the bag inside another bag and seal it for double protection. Label the bag as non-edible and freeze. It will remain slushy because the alcohol cannot freeze. It’s perfect to put on a wounded area when you need an ice pack.” — Dr. Bob

FREE FRAMES. “My insurance allows one new pair of prescription eyeglasses every other year. One time, I needed new frames but it was not the year to be covered. So I asked my eye doctor if they had free frames. They pulled out a drawer with about 20 different frames. I picked one and only paid for new lenses. I’ve received more compliments on those frames than any other ones I’ve ever owned. If I hadn’t asked, I would have never known about this perk.” — Marion

Trivia Bits

March 29, 2016  

Tuesday March 29


We all know that our senses become less acute over time, but which one tends to be the first to go? That would be your sense of taste, according to a recent study of “older adults” — people age 57 to 85 — conducted at the University of Chicago. Researchers found that 74 percent of the people they studied showed a deficit in their sense of taste.


What Japanese loan word refers to a taste that is pleasantly savory?

A) Bento

B) Karaoke

C) Umami

D) Wasabi


Previous answer: Winners at the Venice Film Festival are awarded the Golden Lion statuette.


5 Easy Steps to Take Your Closet from Chaos to Calm

March 29, 2016  
Filed under Blogs




What’s behind your closet door? Orderly rows of shoes, neat stacks of folded T-shirts and clothes arranged by color and season? Or could your closet be declared a national disaster?

If it’s the latter, you could ask the president for federal disaster relief funds. But, knowing that you would most likely feel guilty taking funds from hurricane victims, here are simple steps to find calm in all that chaos. By the way, you can apply these tips to linen and utility closets, too.

STEP ONE: Remove everything. This lets you see exactly how much space you have to work with. Prepare to be shocked by the amount of stuff that comes out of that closet.

STEP TWO: Now that you can see the light of day, give that closet a good cleaning from top to bottom. Follow with a fresh coat of white paint. Read more

Trivia Bits

March 28, 2016  

Monday March 28


Africa’s biggest and most prestigious film festival is FESPACO, the Panafrican Film and Television Festival. It takes place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in alternate years. The 25th edition will be Feb. 25 to March 4, 2017. Winners receive a statuette called the Golden Stallion of Yennenga, which depicts the 12th-century warrior princess Yennenga on the back of a rearing horse. The Moroccan film “Fievres (Fevers)” took the grand prize in 2015.


The Golden Lion is awarded to winning films at which international film festival?

A) Berlin International Film Festival

B) Cannes Film Festival

C) International Film Festival of India

D) Venice Film Festival


Previous answer: The Italian cake tiramisu is made with mascarpone cheese.

On Saving Money and Spreading Manure

March 28, 2016  
Filed under Blogs



As you may know, the mission of this column is to discover ways to save time and money every day. You help me by sending me your great tips, tricks and ideas; I help you by boiling it all down here. That answers what the column is for, but (SET ITAL) why (END ITAL) should you read this column?

Why should anyone be concerned about saving money? Have you ever thought about that? Who cares?

While you’re pondering, I thought I’d share with you the ultimate reason that saving money is so important to me, personally. But first, let’s define some terms.

Saving money is defined in two ways, which many people use interchangeably:

–Saving is spending less than I would have because an item is on sale or a particularly good deal is offered. It’s like saying, “Wow, I just saved on these really cute boots that originally cost $225 but were on sale for just $188!”

–Saving also refers to accumulating money to be stored in a safe place and not be touched, as in, “I save $100 a month by having it automatically transferred to my savings account.”

Technically, unless you stash away that $37 you saved on the boots and don’t touch that money, you’re not really saving anything — you’re just spending less than you would have if those boots had not been on sale.

So, why do I save money? I see it as a tiered proposition. My goal is to spend less than I earn so that I have money to save for these purposes: Read more

Trivia Bits

March 26, 2016  

Saturday March 26


Unlike Betty Crocker (a creation of the General Mills marketing department), Duncan Hines was a real person. A traveling salesman from Bowling Green, Kentucky, he sampled local restaurants as he crisscrossed the country for work. His list of favorites became the basis for his 1935 book “Adventures in Good Eating,” a veritable bible for road-tripping food lovers that made Duncan Hines a household name. In 1948, he formed a company that marketed everything from ice cream to the packaged cake mixes you know him for today.


The Italian cake tiramisu traditionally is made with what type of cheese?

A) Mascarpone

B) Mozzarella

C) Parmesan

D) Ricotta


Previous answer: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released “Deja Vu” in 1970.


Trivia Bits

March 25, 2016  

Friday March 25


You learn an obscure fact and then, almost immediately, it comes up again in a different context. That phenomenon has a name. Two names actually. “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon” was coined by a reader of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the 1990s after hearing the Baader-Meinhof Group (a West German militant political organization) mentioned in two unrelated instances within the same week. The more scientific-sounding “frequency illusion” refers to the fact that once you become aware of something you notice it more often, which makes it seem to arise more frequently.


Which band from the original Woodstock lineup released the album “Deja Vu” in 1970?

A) Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

B) Grateful Dead

C) Jefferson Airplane

D) Santana


Previous answer: Thomas Edison produced a talking doll, but it wasn’t a success. Kids thought its scratchy voice was scary.

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