• It was Canadian-American economist John Kenneth Galbraith who made the following sage observation — which seems more and more prescient every day lately: “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”
• In 2004, celebrities Paris Hilton and Ludacris appeared in a “Vote or Die” advertising campaign designed to encourage young people to participate in the electoral process. It’s interesting to note, however, that they themselves didn’t register to vote in that election.
• In The Old Granary Burying Ground, a cemetery in Boston, the grave of Mother Goose is more popular with visitors than the graves of American patriots Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
• According to a national poll, the average teenage boy spends more on getting ready for the prom than the average teenage girl: $545 versus $530.
• The saguaro cactus, found mainly in America’s Southwest and in Mexico, can live for more than 150 years. It only grows about 1 inch in the first 10 years of its life, but can eventually reach a height of 50 feet.
• You may not realize it, but you’re almost certainly quite proficient at dactylonomy — counting on your fingers. If you’re deaf, you’re probably good at dactylology — communicating by using signs made with your fingers.
• With the holiday season approaching, you might want to remember to check the policies of the stores whose gift cards you receive. In 2006, the electronics chain Best Buy made $43 million off gift cards that were not used before they expired. In the United States, an estimated $5 billion in gift-card cash expires every year.
(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.