Originally created 08/10/00

In the know


Forget Survivor or Big Brother or The 1900 House. If you want a real test of your ability to cope with extreme conditions and deprivation, take the advice of media critic Donald F. Roberts: Get rid of all but one television. In a Parents magazine article titled Taming the Tube, Mr. Roberts writes: "If you're serious about cutting back on your habit, try owning a single TV." Mr. Roberts proposes deep-sixing the sets in all bedrooms and placing the only television "in a communal space, where the whole family can watch together."


Don't believe everything you see about George Washington. The most familiar image of the Father of His Country is the Gilbert Stuart portrait on the dollar bill. But a Washington biographer who's also a leading authority on early American art says no one has done Washington's historical image more harm than Mr. Stuart. According to Washington Watch, a publication of the Family Research Council, James Thomas Flexner wrote in his Washington biography, The Indispensable Man, that Mr. Stuart did not get along well with Washington - and the unflattering portrait was the result.


What's next, the Dalmatian? The tradition of sliding down a pole to get to the fire engine - which legend has it was born in 19th-century Chicago - is being phased out in that city. "One of the most common injuries for firemen over the years is from sliding down the pole," a department spokesman said. "Going down the pole too fast and hitting the cement floor, they fracture or sprain a bone or ligament."


Cooling your house down on hot summer days is a breeze. So says Family Circle magazine, which recommends teaming up a fan with the air conditioner. "Not only does a fan create a breeze, a table or a floor fan placed next to an air-conditioner unit will direct cooled air to where you want it, while a ceiling fan will distribute it evenly throughout the room."


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