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December 10, 2015

Published by: Wick Publications

Issue # 947

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TIDBITS PLAYS WITH

Mrs.

TOYS

Talk to your neighbors, then talk to me. Sharon Opdahl, Agent Sharon 2534 17thOpdahl Avenue South Grand Forks, ND 58201 Agent Bus: 701-746-0495

701-772-8239 ®

by Janet Spencer

December is National Safe Gifts & Toys Month, so come along with Tidbits as we play with toys!

ack says...

“Tis the Season”

TACKY TOYS

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• A toy company trying to compete with the Barbie doll came out with the Tressy doll who had a hank of hair in the center of her head which could be hauled out and screwed back in. • In 1975 Mattel introduced a new doll called Growing Up Skipper. When the arm was twisted, the doll grew taller, developed an hourglass waist line, and sprouted breasts. Twist the arm again and the doll once again reverted to an adolescent figure. Carpet Cleaning • In the late 1970s Ideal came out with a line of Services, Inc. cherubic angel dolls. They were called Angel Babies and didn't sell well because consumCarpet Cleaning • Carpet Cleaning ers thought of dead babies in heaven when SPECIAL! they saw the name Angel Babies. Upholstery $149 •Cleaning 5 Rooms, Hallway • 1958 Ideal came out with a Christ Child doll & 1 Stairway • Water which came complete with kneeling Mary Not valid with any other offer. Extraction Expires 12-31-15 and Joseph dolls and a manger. Parents didn't buy them because they couldn't picture Christ attending tea parties with Raggedy Ann. • The anatomically correct Baby Brother Ten701-775-8500 Residential & Commercial derlove doll caused such controversy that stickers were placed over the sensitive area BUY 1 VACUUM on the package. Turn the page for more!

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Quiz Bits 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. What 1982 movie did Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason star in together? What toy is considered to be the 6. What was the name of the little first toy mankind ever played four-wheel drive, battery-operwith? ated, toy trucks from the 1980s What will the average American that came with a set of rubber child will use up about 730 of tires and a set of foam tires? before age ten? 7. What was the name of the toy What company is the biggest toy company that originally promanufacturer in the world? duced Cabbage Patch Kids? What year did the movie Toy TRIVIA Story debut in theaters?

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FAMOUS TOYS

• Lego blocks are one of the world's most popular toys and are sold in 125 countries. They were invented in 1949 by a Danish carpenter and toymaker named Ole Kirk Christiansen, who named them ‘Legos’ because it's a contraction of the word ‘legodt’ which is Danish for ‘play well.’ Lego also means ‘to gather together’ in Latin. • In Denmark 84% of households own Legos. Denmark's LegoLand is the 2nd most popular tourist attraction in the country, behind Copenhagen. Built with over 32 million Lego bricks, LegoLand has models of Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty (made from 1.4 million Legos), the Columbia space shuttle, the Parthenon, and Copenhagen Airport (which took eight people two years to build). The scale model of the Danish royal family's palace is one of only three places where the royal flag is allowed to fly. • Currently there are more than 1,200 different styles of Lego pieces that come in 12 colors. Two 8-studded pieces of Lego can be put together in 24 ways, and 6 pieces can be connected in over a million ways. • In Bridgeport, CT, William Frisbie owned the Frisbie Pie Company. The pies came in all flavors, but all of them had a returnable tin pie plate with “Frisbie’s Pies” stamped on the bottom. In 1900, William’s son Joseph took over the business and expanded the route to include Yale University. Suddenly, he noticed that many pie tins were not being returned. Someone on campus had discovered that with a flick of the wrist, frisbie pie tins would fly. • Instead of demanding the return of the pie tins, Frisbie began spreading the word that they made a great toy. Pie sales soared and the frisbie was born. Wham-O began mass-producing them and in 1959 changed the spelling to Frisbee.

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FAMOUS TOYS (continued): • Josh Cowen was always fascinated with toy trains. As a kid he fashioned an electric train that ran on a track around his bedroom, carrying his toys in its cars. Years later, he took his electric train to a man who owned several toy stores in New York, saying that if he placed the train in his front window during the Christmas season and loaded the cars with toys, this animated advertisement would increase sales of the toys. The shopkeeper agreed, bought the train from Josh, and set it up in his window. The next day Josh went down to the toy store to see his train in action and was shocked to see it was gone. The shopkeeper explained that people wanted to buy the train rather than the toys. He asked Josh if he could supply more toy trains, and Josh went to work on it. They sold as fast as he could make them. • In 1906 Josh started a company, which he named after his middle name. Soon his factory was turning out toy cattle cars, coal cars, passenger cars, train stations, tunnels, bridges, and more. When business dropped during the Great Depression, he invented a $1 wind-up handcar pumped by Mickey and Minnie Mouse. For a time in the 1950s, his company was the largest toy manufacturer in America. Josh’s middle name, carried on millions of toy trains, was Lionel.

• The original Mr. Potato Head was a sack of plastic parts, and kids had to supply their own potato. Mothers, however, got tired of finding moldy potatoes under the bed and behind the couch, so a plastic potato was added to the kit. Mr. Potato Head was the first toy to be advertised on American television, appearing on the tube in 1952. Sales soared after Mr. Potato Head appeared in the 1995 film "Toy Story." In 1997 Mr. Potato Head starred as the spokespotato for Burger King's French fries.


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• Sanford Contact your local agent for for more information: moreMedicare information: t for more information: Supplements <Agent Name> • Life Insurance Financial Services <Agency Name> • Annuities <Address> Roger Parkinson • 701-772-1872 H2409, H2410, H2450_2058 (01-2009) <City, ST ZIP> ©2009 Medica. Medica contracts with the federal government. <Phone> Call for Appointment • 2750 17th Ave. S. • Ste. B • Grand Forks <Hours of Operation> >

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STEERABLE SLED

• In 1866 Samuel Allen established a farm implement company that manufactured machines which he designed. It was a seasonal operation and workers were laid off when orders slowed. Samuel felt sorry that he couldn’t provide year-round work for his employees. He needed a winter product. • One day his eye fell on an advertisement for a child’s sled. Samuel had done much sledding in his youth, but the problem with sleds of the day was that it was nearly impossible to steer them. The only way to change direction was to drag a foot and lean, which was awkward and slowed the sled. Samuel set about designing a sled that could be steered. • By creating a weak spot in the metal runners, a crossbar on the front of the sled could flex the runners, causing the sled to slide in the desired direction. He called it the Fire Fly and set out to market it. It didn’t sell well, however, and his employees were upset that their annual vacation time was being cut short. He was advised to scrap the idea and stick to farm implements. • Instead, Samuel changed the name and hit the road again. An advertising campaign touted the sled’s steering ability, safety, speed, and the fact that it was easier on shoes than dragging a foot. Finally

the sled caught on, especially after Macy’s Department Store in New York City agreed to sell them. Within a few years, Samuel’s company was selling 120,000 annually and the company, now employing workers year-round, was earning more from sleds than from farm equipment. The name of the sled is the Flexible Flyer. • A California developer introduced a motorized pogo-stick. It reportedly got 30,000 hops to the gallon. In 1968 a Japanese toy company introduced a toy atomic bomb that flashed, banged, and emitted a cloud of real smoke.

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• It was noted American journalist, fabulist and satirist Ambrose Bierce who, in his work "The Devil's Dictionary," defined "painting" as "the art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic." • Only one state has a one-syllable name: Maine. • A married couple in Batavia, New York, had such a turbulent marriage that the wife had a restraining order issued to keep her husband away from her. After the divorce, though, they worked things out and planned a second wedding. At the reception, the second-time groom got into an argument with one of the guests, and the police were called. The argument didn't end up being the real problem; the officers on the scene arrested the groom on charges of criminal contempt. It seems the original restraining order was still in effect -it was illegal for him to be near his bride on their wedding day. • Those who study such things say that dead people can get goosebumps. • Arguably, the best-known battle of the U.S. Civil War occurred in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1863. This battle saw the most casualties of any during the war, and it is considered by many historians to be a turning point. Many don't realize the sheer volume of gunfire that occurred there, though; so many bullets were fired during the three-day battle -- and so many went astray -- that trees near the battlefield later died from lead poisoning. • You might be surprised to learn that the game of Chinese checkers isn't from Asia at all; it was invented in Germany. *** Thought for the Day: "One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us." -- Kurt Vonnegut © 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.


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NOTEWORTHY INVENTIONS:

SLINKY

• Richard James, born in Delaware in 1914, grew up to become a mechanical engineer. During World War II, he worked in a shipyard building tools for subs and ships. • One day in 1943, while working on a system to stabilize instruments on ships, he accidentally knocked a box of spare parts off an overhead shelf. In the resulting mess, he was amused to see a long spring wobble and then fall, walking its way down a stack of books, across his desk, and down to the floor. Richard played around with the spring for the rest of the day, highly entertained. That evening he told his wife Betty that he thought he could get it to walk down a ramp or a flight of stairs if he could only get the tension right. • Over the course of the next year, he experimented with different types of wire before finding that high carbon steel wire half an inch in diameter and curled in a coil would “walk” effortlessly down a flight of stairs. His wife Betty named it, dubbing it the Slinky not only because that’s what it did, but also because that’s what it sounded like. • Richard formed a company, had 400 of them made, and distributed them to toy stores. It was a major flop. No one bought them. When Richard scored a major deal with Gimbels department store in Philadelphia just before Christmas, he was sure his fortune was made, but even Gimbels couldn’t sell them. • Finally, he took matters into his own hands. He showed up at Gimbels one afternoon and put on a show right there in the middle of the store, demonstrating all the neat things the Slinky could do. Ninety minutes later, he had sold all 400 of them, and there was a line out the door demanding more. By Christmas, over 20,000 had sold.

• Richard opened his own factory in Albany, New York, where he could turn out a Slinky in five seconds flat. Each was 2.5 inches tall, contained 80 feet of high-grade blue-black Swedish steel wire wrapped into 98 coils, and came packaged in simple box. The following year, the debut of the Slinky at the American Toy Fair in New York City ensured the success of the toy. By the end of 1947, the fad had swept the nation. • He sold over a billion of them at $1 each, raking in the revenue. Later he introduced other Slinky toys, such as the Slinky dog, the Slinky caterpillar, and the Slinky train. • But it was his wife Betty who carried the business when Richard abandoned the project, gave his entire fortune to charity, fled to Bolivia, and left her saddled in debt just as the fad was fading and sales were declining. • It was Betty James who commissioned a TV ad with a jingle that became the longest running jingle in the history of TV: “Everyone wants a Slinky; You want to get a Slinky.” She championed the plastic tangle-free version of the toy. She paid off the debt, reinvigorated sales, and negotiated a spot in the movie “Toy Story” which boosted sales once again. • All in all, she sold enough Slinkys to circle the Earth 121 times, earning herself a spot in the Toy Industry Association’s Hall of Fame. “The simplicity of the Slinky,” she told an AP reporter in 1995, “is what made it so successful.” In 1945, the Slinky sold for $1.00; by the late 90s, the same model sold for just 89 cents more. • Richard James died in Bolivia at the age of 56, but Betty James lived to the age of 90. She died in 1998, having revolutionized the business her husband started and abandoned.

Answer

Weekly SUDOKU

Answer

King CROSSWORD

Thanks for Reading Tidbits!


SANTA FOR HIRE!

• On Dec. 16, 1773, in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor in protest of the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773. • On Dec. 18, 1865, following its ratification by the requisite three-quarters of the states earlier in the month, the 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist within the United States." • On Dec. 14, 1909, workers place the last of the 3.2 million 10-pound bricks that pave the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. Since then, most of that brick has been buried under asphalt, but a 1-yard strip remains exposed at the start-finish line.

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• On Dec. 15, 1936, writer George Orwell delivers the manuscript for his book "The Road to Wigan Pier," which chronicles the difficult life of the unemployed in northern England. Orwell's last novel, "Nineteen Eighty-four," brought him lasting fame with its grim vision of a future where all citizens are watched constantly. • On Dec. 20, 1963, more than two years after the Berlin Wall was constructed by East Germany to prevent its citizens from fleeing its communist regime, nearly 4,000 West Berliners are allowed to cross into East Berlin for one day to visit relatives. • On Dec. 17, 1975, a federal jury in Sacramento, California, sentences Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of incarcerated cult leader Charles Manson, to life in prison for her attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford. • On Dec. 19, 1998, the House of Representatives approves two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton, after being acquitted on both articles of impeachment, said he was "sorry." © 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.

DELIVERY HAS BEGUN! DIRECTORY

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(Answers located 2 pages after this one)

• After Christmas sales are a great time to buy not only gift wrap (look for solid colors that you can use all year long), and holiday cards and decorations, but also next season’s winter wear. Things like scarves and gloves can be great bargains. And even coats can go on sale. Take advantage — especially if you have kids — and buy up. — A.K. in Tennessee • For every side dish that requires extra preparation time, plan for one or two that don’t. For instance, if you are preparing a casserole with many ingredients and complicated instructions, serve a package of vegetables that require nothing more than steaming. • How to peel potatoes: Boil whole potatoes with skin on for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes). You should be able to stick a knife all the way through without resistance. Then remove them to an ice bath for 10 seconds each. The skin will slip right off. • Researchers tell us that the best time to interview is late morning on a Tuesday. You will avoid the interviewer’s likely Monday/Friday crunch, and have his or her full attention. Do your homework on the company, and get ready to shine! • “Have kids make their own whipped cream with a jam jar! Fill a screw-top jar (glass, chilled, works really well) halfway with heavy cream, a little sugar and any flavoring extracts you like, then seal and shake. Kids also can make butter with cream in a jar. You may add a pinch of salt instead of sugar, and shake longer.” — A.A. in Florida • Wine buyers tip: Experts say to multiply the number of adult guests by a half bottle to determine how many bottles of wine to buy for your holiday gathering. Add an additional glass of wine per guest for every hour after dinner you expect guests to linger. Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. © 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Put a Bow on It! Our Obsession With Gift Wrap

By Lucie M. Winborne

Some of us hate it enough to pay someone else to do it. Others take delight in folding corners just so, or the challenge of covering uneven angles, not to mention the seemingly endless varieties of design and texture. But why do we wrap gifts in paper in the first place?

www.dakotacommercial.com/apts well for a couple of stationery store-owning brothers in Kansas City, Missouri, that they ran out of colored tissue paper. Fortunately, a search of their inventory yielded a supply of "fancy French paper" designed for lining envelopes. In the true spirit of American ingenuity, they put it on sale at 10 cents a sheet. Guess what was snapped up in a Kansas City minute? The enterprising brothers tried their experiment again the following year, and the year after that. Finally convinced they were on to something, they began designing and producing their own decorative paper, solely for the purpose of wrapping gifts.

As with so many modern practices, it dates back to ancient cultures. First came the Chinese and their priceless gift of the invention of paper in 105 A.D. That was followed in the eighth century by the Japanese "furoshiki" and Korean "bojagi," reusable wrapping cloths originally designed for transporting goods or preventing clothing mix-ups in traditional baths, as well as covering gifts. By 1509, a new English invention appropriately dubbed wallpaper filled a similarly dual purpose, but not for long, since it easily cracked and tore upon folding. The Victorians, whose notions of decor are considered "fussy" by many nowadays, applied a like aesthetic to their gift wrapping, using elaborately decorated paper adorned with ribbons and lace. But that paper also was heavy and rather unwieldy. It gave way in the early 20th century to colored tissue ... which is still in use today, but more as an interior covering. So what happened in between? Chalk it up to yet another example of necessity being the mother of invention. In 1917, holiday business boomed so

Still, let's face it -- gift wrap isn't practical. In fact, it's downright wasteful. So why do we spend more than $2 billion on it every year? Maybe it's the element of surprise. Maybe it's because, as research has suggested, we feel more positive about a gift that is wrapped. Or maybe it's just because that paper is so darned pretty. Whatever the case, those two brothers from Kansas City knew a good thing when they stumbled upon it. Because, in case you hadn't guessed it, their last name was Hall. As in Joyce and Rollie Hall. As in Hallmark. You heard it here.

(c) 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.


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TINY TRUCKS

• In 1946 in the town of Mound, Minnesota, Lynn Baker and two of his friends started a business called the Mound Metalcraft Company. They owned metal-stamping equipment and produced garden tools such as rakes, shovels, and hoes. A neighboring firm that sold lumber products had attempted to branch out into selling toy metal trucks. The trucks didn’t sell as well as expected, but their lumber sales kept growing. The owner of the lumber company offered the rights to the toy truck to the Mound Metalcraft Company, and Baker thought the idea would make a good sideline. Garden tools sell well in the summer, but toys sell well in the winter, and soon they were manufacturing a toy steam shovel and a toy crane. • Baker attended the New York Toy Show in 1946 where he discovered there was a market for sturdy toys in the post-World War II baby boom. Soon demand for the toys outstripped the demand for the garden tools, so they designed more models such as dump trucks, fork lifts, and fire engines, eventually adding 125 different models to their inventory. Children loved them because they were realistic, and parents loved them because they were indestructible. Soon they were turning out 400,000 toys a week. • In 1955 the company’s name was changed. The Minnesota factory overlooked a lake, and part of the lake’s name came from the Sioux word meaning ‘great.’ Because the trucks were indeed a ‘great toy’ the name was appropriate, and that's how Tonka Trucks were named after Lake Minnetonka. • Over a quarter million Tonka trucks have been sold since 1947. If you lined them all up, they would stretch from Rhode Island to Los Angeles and back again eight times.

(Solution on Next Page)


DIFFERENCES: 1. Jewelry rack is missing. 2. List is shorter. 3. Feathers are missing. 4. Pendant is missing. 5. Skirt is different. 6. Sign is different. © 2015 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.

• After World War II, Leslie and Rodney went into business together in England, combining their first names to form Lesney Products. Answer: Dell. They bought surplus die-casting machines A VERY LARGE NUMBER and began turning out industrial parts. Later • they Edward Kasner was a mathematician. In 1938 hired Jack Odell, who began designing he was asked to come up with a name foraf-a die casts for toy vehicles, modeling them very large number: the numeral one, followed ter a line of toy trucks called Dinky Toys. by a hundred zeros. He asked his two young • In 1950 the company was would just about to release nephews what name they suggest. toy wedding Milton coach when disastera struck: • aNine-year-old suggested name the Korean War began. Zinc, in the out of the funnies. A cartoonessential strip character die casting process, waspopular. no longer available named Barney was very Milton chose Barney’sitlast for the because wasname needed for number. the war. The wedcoach was moth-balled company • ding Kasner announced the new and namethefor the big struggled, turning out tin toys instead. number in his next book, altering the spelling. • Sixty years Larry Sergey Brin • In 1952 the later, ban on zincPage was and lifted. Just then developed a new internet search engine. Other Britain’s King George VI died, and his daughsearch engines searchedhim each webpage and ter Elizabeth succeeded as queen. Lesney ranked them according to how many times a decided to transform the wedding coach into specific term appeared on them, but Page and aBrin coronation and the new to toy was redesignedcoach, their search engine search for leased just before Elizabeth ascended the the specific term and then find out how many throne. links there were that led back to that page, which resulted in aofbetter search was engine. • The first version the coach 15 inch• es They neededOdell’s a name that longdecided and theythey sold well. daughter reflected how many websites the search wanted to take one to school for show-andengine searching. They name tell, but was the teacher would onlytook allowthe children of Edward Kasner’s very large number, only to bring items that were small enough to fit they misspelled it slightly, so it ended up being into a standard box of matches. Odell subsespelled exactly the same way the cartoon quently a coronation was characterdesigned Barney spelled his lastcoach name.that What’s less than two inches long. The company sold it called? (Answer at bottom of page) over a million. They shrank all of their toy COMPUTER FACTS vehicles to this size, selling them for 40 cents. • They In 1981 Bill Gatespopular. said, “640 of memory were wildly And kb because of the ought to be enough for anybody.” teacher's prohibition against toys bigger than • aMoore’s Law states thatvehicles computerwere performance matchbox, the tiny dubbed doubles every 18 to 24 months, and ever since Matchbox toys. 1971, this has been true. • Over 12,000 different have been • HP, Google, Microsoft,models and Apple were reall leased over the years. The company is now started in garages. owned Google, by Mattel. Answer: from googol.

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Tidbits Grand Forks - December 10 Issue  

"Toys," "Slinky" and "Tiny Trucks"

Tidbits Grand Forks - December 10 Issue  

"Toys," "Slinky" and "Tiny Trucks"

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