Opinion

Moments in Time

The History Channel

• On Dec. 2, 1867, English writer Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the United States, in a New York City theater. Dickens was a hit with the American public. The line for his first reading was more than a mile long.

• On Dec. 6, 1884, in Washington, D.C., workers place a 9-inch aluminum pyramid atop a 555-foot tower of white marble, completing construction of the Washington Monument. A city law passed in 1910 restricted the height of new buildings to ensure that the monument would remain the tallest structure in Washington, D.C.

• On Dec. 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol. Mississippi, the last dry state in the Union, ended Prohibition in 1966.

• On Dec. 4, 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt closes the books on the Work Projects Administration (WPA), one of the government’s most ambitious public-works programs. Fueled by $11 billion of government money, the program created jobs for 8.5 million people during the Depression.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

By Samantha Weaver

• It was American author, humorist and storyteller Garrison Keillor who made the following observation: “They say such nice things about people at their funerals, that it makes me sad to realize I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.”

• According to a recent poll of pet owners, the most popular name in the United States for male dogs is Max; for female dogs, it’s Maggie.

• The murre, a bird found in the Arctic, actually dives into the water and swims to catch the small fish that comprise its diet. Interestingly, its eggs aren’t like those of any other bird in the world: The egg “whites” are blue, and the yolks are bright-red.

(c) 2008 King Features Synd. Inc.

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