The History Channel
• On April 1, 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of playing April Fool’s jokes. In keeping with the fun in 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees.
• On April 4, 1812, President James Madison fires an economic salvo at the British government and enacts a 90-day embargo on trade with England. The embargo did little to forestall war: The British refused to cease harassing American ships, prompting Madison to lead America into the War of 1812.
• On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris. At 984 feet tall, the Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.
• On April 5, 1931, Fox Film Corp. drops John Wayne from its roster of actors. Wayne had played bit parts, but failed to impress the studio. In 1939, Wayne finally had his breakthrough in “Stagecoach.” Wayne went on to play in dozens of movies, including “True Grit,” for which he won an Oscar in 1969.
STRANGE BUT TRUE
By Samantha Weaver
• It was W.C. Fields who made the following observation: “Women are like elephants to me. I like to look at them, but I wouldn’t want to own one.”
• Experts on feline anatomy say that a normal cat has 230 bones in its body, but it doesn’t have a collarbone.
• The longest regularly scheduled, nonstop commercial airline flight in the world is 18 hours long, from Newark, N.J., to the island nation of Singapore in Southeast Asia.
• To date, no president of the United States has been an only child.
• Pretty much everyone has wisdom teeth — at least until some dentist removes them — but they’re not known as wisdom teeth everywhere. In Romania, they’re called “mind teeth,” in Turkey they’re known as “20-year teeth,” in Korea they’re called “love teeth,” and in Japan they’re referred to as “unknown-to-parent teeth.”
(c) 2008 King Features Synd. Inc.