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Words, Dec. 9

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Off-week:

Probably snowbound, Drew Jansen of Minneapolis read a little too closely an item in the Nov. 18 issue of the Arkansas Times:

"Sen.-elect John Boozman fell in lockstep with his party leaders (surprise) to swear off seeking special spending for Arkansas projects. The benefits to Arkansas in highway, park, research and other 'earmark' projects over the years has been significant."

Jansen writes, "Has they really?"

Apparently Mr. Jansen didn't make it back to the movie page in the same issue. There he would have found, "Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal have been receiving the lion's share of publicity lately for their soul and skin-bearing performances in 'Love and Other Drugs' ... "

Bob Lancaster writes: "I took my sister Nita to a book sale at the Saline County Library recently, and as we were leaving I asked her about the books she'd bought. 'I got a regular Duke's Mixture,' she said. It was a term I didn't know, and that surprised her since we grew up in the same household and she said she'd heard it all her life."

I heard Duke's Mixture from elderly relatives when I was growing up, but not recently. As Lancaster learned by googling, Duke's Mixture was a brand of loose tobacco used by people who rolled their own cigarettes. Washington Duke of Durham, N.C., began manufacturing and selling Duke's Mixture after the Civil War, and by the 1880s, it was widely known. Apparently it was cheaper than its biggest competitor, Bull Durham, and so acquired a reputation for being thrown together from tobacco odds and ends. This led to the use of Duke's Mixture for any sort of hodgepodge. The Duke family became very big in the tobacco business and in 1925 gave $40 million to Trinity College for changing its name to Duke University. Tobacco money is still used today to buy players for the Duke basketball team.

n Go Odyssey:

The best name I've heard so far in the new basketball season belongs to a player on the Baylor women's team — Odyssey Sims.

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