STRANGE but TRUE• It was American cartoonist, humorist and journalist Kin Hubbard who made the following sage observation: “It seems like the less a statesman amounts to, the more he adores the flag.”

• It requires 30 tons of ore from a gold mine to produce a single new gold ring.

• You are almost certainly aware of the fact that the Impressionist painter Claude Monet is famous for his paintings of water lilies. However, you may not be aware of the fact that he painted more than 300 pictures of water lilies. The same water lilies, in fact — and they can still be seen today in a pond behind his house.

• Medical experts say that men are twice as likely to get leprosy as women are.

• At 17,700 feet, the world’s highest battlefield is in the disputed region of Kashmir, between India and Pakistan. It seems the altitude is more dangerous than the actual fighting, though; more soldiers have died from frostbite, avalanches and other such hazards than have been killed by the opposing forces.

• Chicago gangster Bugsy Moran got an early start in crime; he committed 26 robberies while he was still a teenager.

• Inexplicably, in Florence, Italy in the 15 th century, it was illegal for women to wear buttons.

• The first telephone book ever issued was published by the New Haven District Telephone Company and was distributed in New Haven, Conn., in February of 1878. It contained a grand total of 50 names.

• In the Scandinavian country of Norway you can find 1,800 lakes that contain no fish whatsoever. *** Thought for the Day: “Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.” — Doug Larson

(c) 2009 King Features Synd.,INC.