Nation's first monument located far away from Washington, D.C. : Reflections : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Nation's first monument located far away from Washington, D.C.|
|by Roger Matile|
So here it is July in northern Illinois, and we're right in the midst of another summer on the prairie.
There's lots of stuff going on, but time was about all there was to do on a July day in Kendall County was find a highway and count license plates from faraway places or listen to the corn grow.
Nowadays, we enjoy a variety of community celebrations-yesterday's Independence Day activities are excellent examples-and modern multi-lane limited access highways provide high-speed routes for our cars to quickly get bogged down in massive traffic jams.
But as I said, there's plenty to do in today's Fox River Valley, and a lot of it is free. Taking an early morning stroll along the banks of the Fox River and watching nature at work, taking in one of the dozens of youth sports events in the evening, checking out a book at your local library and reading while sitting under the spreading branches of a tree in one of our communities' parks are all pretty much free of charge.
And of course, there's also the daily mail delivery if you're really looking for some high quality entertainment, especially each day's junk mail component. Just this past week, for instance, the mail carrier pulled up out front and dropped off a whole bunch of stuff, amongst which I was able to find the following things that struck my fancy:
The nations' first national monument was Devil's Tower. It's 865 feet high and is located in the Black Hills Region of Wyoming. It was named a national monument in 1906, thanks to Teddy Roosevelt.
In one day, the average person inhales 15,000 quarts of air, which puts a whole new spin on that second hand smoke thing.
Modern dance is said to have begun with Isadora Duncan, born in San Francisco in 1878. Isadora was quite the avant-garde lady, too, favoring flowing scarves as part of her dances. That fondness for flamboyant neckwear proved her undoing. While driving her sports car in France, one of those flowing scarves streaming from her neck wrapped around the rear wheel of her sports car, snapping her neck at the age of 50.
Bad skin? No problem. The outer layer of a human being's skin is entirely replaced by Mother Nature every 28 days.
In case I haven't made the point emphatically enough, teepees and wigwams are not the same thing, even if they were both developed by American Indians. A teepee is a conical tent or bark shelter, while a wigwam is a dome-shaped bark house. Know it, learn it, live it.
Because author Thomas Wolfe was almost seven feet tall, no ordinary desk suited his needs. As a result, he often wrote standing up, using the top of a refrigerator for his work table. Whatever works, I guess.
The first woman in the U.S. to own and edit a newspaper was Sarah Porter Hillhouse. She started The Washington Gazette in Georgia in 1802. From what I've seen, that was probably the last progressive thing to happen in the old Confederacy for a century and a half.
If you had a time machine and could go back 12,000 years, you could visit Alaska and find elephants, lions, and camels roaming the landscape.
Ice Mountain at North River Mills, W. Va., has "ice vents" at its base from which cold air issues even on hot summer days. Boreal plants more often found in Alaska and northern Canada can be found in small colonies around the vents. Anecdotal evidence suggests that global climate change is causing the vents to release air warmer than it was many decades ago, however.
In Scotland long ago, water was sometimes called "Adam's wine," since Adam, it was surmised, had nothing but water to drink in the pre-wine Garden of Eden.
The earliest known zoo belonged to Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt about 1500 B.C.
Lentils, licorice, sweet peas, broom, gorse, wisteria, and groundnuts are all part of the legume family called peas.
One 100-watt incandescent light bulb produces more light than two 60 watt bulbs, with about 17 percent less energy consumed.
Holy smoke! Says here kilts are not native to Scotland. Instead, they originated in France. Next they'll try to tell me Scotch tape was invented in France, too.
The shrew eats twice its weight in food every day.
Peanuts are fairly healthy, containing appreciable amounts of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and magnesium, all of which are good for you. Unless you're allergic to peanuts, of course.
Remember the days of actual telephone dials? Two letters not included on those venerable gadgets were "Q" and "Z." Modern pushbutton keypads have both letters.
Turquoise, according to folklore, brings prosperity in love.
Says here the most popular dessert in America is ice cream, followed closely by chocolate cake, and then apple pie.
One estimate reports that it takes about 30 minutes for the average person to reach a level of deep sleep.
Us average folks can distinguish about 150 different colors. Meanwhile, color experts can pick out more than 100,000 different colors and hues. Just thinking, maybe the rest of us just don't care?
A young eel is called an elver.
The first city to be lighted by outdoor gas lights was Baltimore in 1817. The gas was manufactured by Baltimore's Gas Light Company by cooking coal to drive off methane.
Stinging is fun for neither stinger or stingee. A bee is required to use 22 different muscles to sting somebody. Or something.
Finally, and I think I may have mentioned this before, but just in case you've got a long-standing game of Trivial Pursuit going on, here it is again: The real name of James McNeil Whistler's painting of his mother is not "Whistler's Mother" or even "Mom." It is "Arrangement in Grey and Black."
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