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• It was British novelist Norman Douglas who made the following sage observation: “You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.”

• If you’re like the average American, you will eat approximately 22 pounds of tomatoes this year. And half of that amount will come in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce.

• Those who study such things say that a crack in breaking glass travels at more than 3,000 miles per hour.

• This may not come as a surprise, but studies of university students show that those who major in education drink the least liquor, while business administration majors drink the most.

• From the “Yes, There Is a Word for It” file: A crith is a unit of measure denoting the weight of a liter of hydrogen.

• The famed cable cars in San Francisco are the only U.S. national monument that is mobile.

• The year 1828 was a sad one for winemakers. For unknown reasons, 80 percent of the bottles of champagne bottled that year exploded.

• Add to the list of surprising items you can buy in vending machines in Japan: batteries, umbrellas, soccer balls, live bait, French fries and ties.

• Dead bodies can be a lucrative business: Medical schools and research institutions will pay more than $200,000 for one.

• You might be surprised to learn that Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice” was originally titled “First Impressions.”

• Sir Christopher Wren, the man who designed the famous London landmark St. Paul’s Cathedral, was an astronomer, not an architect. His other achievements included developing a method for calculating eclipses and devising a way to measure the rings of Saturn.

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Thought for the Day: “It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.” — Andre Gide

(c) 2009 King Features Synd.

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