Strange but true

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strange• When you were in school, you may have had to memorize the names of all 50 states. You probably weren’t taught, though, that fully half of those names are derived from the languages of the continent’s native peoples.

• The declarations that the physical book is dead have been overstated (as I’ve always maintained). In a recent survey of college students, 72 percent of respondents made known their preference for print textbooks over ebooks; only 27 percent of this youthful, tech-savvy demographic said they preferred the electronic version.

• Those who study such things report that beloved British author Charles Dickens was adamant that he always sleep with his head pointing north. He even carried a compass with him everywhere to ensure proper positioning.

• If you’re a fan of James Bond, you may be surprised to learn that Ian Fleming, the creator of that notorious character, also wrote the beloved children’s book “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang,” based on bedtime stories the author made up for his young son.

• If you’re traveling in China and propose a toast in someone’s honor, be sure you’re holding the glass with both hands; only rude people — and unenlightened foreigners — use just one hand.

• Clyde Barrow was already a notorious criminal when he wrote a letter to Henry Ford in 1934 complimenting him on the “dandy” automobile he’d made. The Ford V-8 was Barrow’s preferred getaway car. Just a month later, Bonnie and Clyde were killed in a stolen Ford Deluxe V-8 in a shootout with police.

Thought for the Day: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” — Steve Biko

STRANGE BUT TRUE by Samantha Weaver

(c) 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.

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