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by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & Strike My What? & r & & r & Alex Marshall in Britain's The Guardian has tracked down the national anthems of all 205 nations competing at the Olympics, and not surprisingly, "190 of them are wretched." Alas, it's unlikely that a medal ceremony anytime soon will play such badly titled but apparently stirring tunes as Nigeria's "Arise O Compatriots, Nigeria's Call Obey" or Senegal's "Strum Your Koras, Strike Your Bonfalons." (Since you asked, they're like harps and xylophones.)

Snapple Polygraph

As investigative journalists, we learn much of what we know from Snapple bottle caps. (Diet Lemon Iced Tea, usually, since you asked again, Mr. Pesky.) But this business about chewing a stick of gum to prevent crying while you're peeling an onion... that can't be... wait. Oh. Seems that breath intake while chewing gum reduces the amount of onion fumes that waft up your nose. OK. But surely beavers can't actually hold their breath for 45 minutes. And in fact -- in a triumph of inquisitive vigor and the American can-do spirit -- we can announce that, as most Internet authorities agree, beavers can only hold their breath for 10 to 15 minutes. Which is a lot less than that David Blaine guy.

Not an Oxymoron

"Idaho arts," that is. They're raking in the awards over there. Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre, for example, was one of four recipients of the Idaho Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts; Susan Jacklin was one of two winners in Support for the Arts; and Steve Gibbs, owner of The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d'Alene, has been reappointed to the Idaho State Arts Commission for four more years. Congratulations to all.


The non-symphonic lineup at the Fox this fall promises variety. In a short span (Oct. 18-26), we'll be treated to jazz pianist Marcus Roberts (who started playing with Wynton back in '85 and has since recorded tributes to Nat King Cole and the Duke), the dance-contortionists known as MOMIX, and the African Children's Choir. Mid-December will bring two nights of the touring version of director John Doyle's production of Sweeney Todd (the one in which the actors play their own musical instruments). Visit

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