Jewish World Review August 4, 2004 / 17 Menachem-Av, 5764

Jeff Elder

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Origins of the news anchor; f only female mosquitoes bite, what do the male mosquitoes eat?; more | Q: What's the history behind the term "news anchor"? Who first coined the term, and who was the first to be called an anchor? - John Carter, Charlotte, N.C.

A: In 1952, CBS News decided to cover the political conventions in a new way.

On television, live, coast-to-coast and gavel-to-gavel.

But there was a problem.

Edward R. Murrow, Charles Collingwood, Howard K. Smith and the other battle-hardened studs of CBS News' World War II corps were radio men. They had zero interest in leading the breakthrough televised event. They'd help out, sure, but none of them wanted to play host.

"That damn picture box may ruin us all," Eric Sevareid griped.

So Sig Mickelson, the young head of the network's embryonic TV news operation, turned to a 34-year-old correspondent who had been with CBS for only two years: Walter Cronkite. Mickelson put him in the center of the coverage to "anchor" the reports.

The 1952 convention coverage established CBS as the leader in TV news and made Cronkite a star.

CBS credits Mickelson with coining the term, but Don Hewitt, creator and former producer of "60 Minutes," says he first used it during the conventions to convey the sense of a news broadcast as a relay race.

Hewitt, who ran track in high school, once said, "The anchorman in a relay race was the guy who carried the baton across the finish line."

He wasn't called an anchorman, but the first host of a nightly TV news show was John Cameron Swayze, who fronted NBC's 15-minute "Camel Newsreel Theatre" beginning in 1948.

As part of sponsorship, a Camel cigarette had to be burning visibly in an ashtray during the broadcast.

Cronkite, the quintessential anchor, began hosting CBS Evening News in 1963.

SOURCES: CBS News, "Glued to the Set" by Steven D. Stark

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Q: If only female mosquitoes bite, what do the male mosquitoes eat? - Shannon

A: Shannon, what on earth makes you ask about mosquitoes this time of year? Could it be because nature has provided us all with the fashion accessory of an itchy bump on the ankle? (And the forearm, and the shin ... )

The males spend all day hanging out around the water with their buddies, drinking nectar and looking for females.

Hey, I know those guys.

Male mosquitoes eat plant nectar - and that's actually where females get most of their energy, too. This sugar is burned in flight, and both sexes have to slurp it up daily.

Females eat animals' blood primarily to help with the production of eggs. That's why the males don't need it.

The itching of a mosquito bite is mostly caused by a saliva the female injects into us to keep our blood from clotting. If she finishes her before being driven away, a lot of that saliva is removed, and experts say we won't itch as much. (I'd still smack the bug.)

There haven't been as many reports of human cases of West Nile virus in many areas this summer, but be careful and use repellant with DEET.

Mosquito is Spanish for "little fly," but they ain't so little in number. Experts peg their global population at 100 trillion. SOURCES: AskYahoo, Britannica Student Encyclopedia



This one is a brain-teaser:

1. Complete the following: C C D C F.

2. Dr. Traffic likes to drive a Lexus but not a Toyota. She likes to drive an Acura but not a Honda. A Subaru but not a Dodge. Would she prefer a Mercedes or a Mustang? Why?

3. Lisa finished Princeton in 1974. When she entered as a freshman, she was in the first class that admitted women. Now she's a queen. Who is she?

4. Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?

5. Mr. Washburn likes 8 but not 9. He likes 1,000 but not 1,100. He likes 2,197 but not 2,198. Would he like 342 or 343? Why?



1. The answer is E. The musical notes C C D C F E open the song "Happy Birthday."

2. Mustang. Dr. Traffic only likes cars with the letter "U" in their names.

3. Lisa Halaby, otherwise known as Queen Noor of Jordan.

4. Ha ha.

5. 343. Mr. Washburn only likes numbers that are cubes. The cube roots of these numbers are 2, 10, 13 and 7.

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Jeff Elder is a columnist for The Charlotte Observer. Comment or try to stump him by clicking here. If you send him a great question, he'll send you a Glad You Asked T-shirt.


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