Originally created 08/10/00

In the know



TV WITHDRAWAL:

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."

PORTRAIT TELLS A LIE:

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.

POLE-AXED:

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."

BLOWING IN THE WIND:

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."