• It was French playwright and actor Louis Verneuil who made the following sage observation: “The prime purpose of eloquence is to keep other people from talking.”
• With only two known to exist, the rarest U.S. postage stamp is an 1868 1-cent Benjamin Franklin Z-Grill, so called because of the shape that was impressed into the stamp. One of the ZGrills is in the collection of the New York Public Library, and the other was sold in 1998 for $935,000. That’s not the end of the story, though; in 2005, the same stamp was traded for a block of stamps valued at $3 million.
• The year 1828 was a sad one for winemakers. For unknown reasons, 80 percent of the bottles of Champagne bottled that year exploded.
• There is a law on the books in Maine that prohibits having your shoes untied in public. I assume that one is not much enforced.
• In 2002, in an effort to be more environmentally friendly, Ireland decided to try to reduce the use of plastic grocery bags by levying a 15-cent tax on each one. It worked, too — use of the bags dropped by 95 percent.
• Back in 1935, the owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team predicted that night games were “just a fad.” He wasn’t much of a prognosticator, it seems.
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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) 2019 King Features Syndicate, Inc.