Saturday, December 11, 2010

Today -100: December 11, 1910: Of censuses, talking German dogs, perfect utopias, and cocking

The 1910 census records that in the continental US, the population is 91,972,266, a 21% increase over 1900. Add Alaska, Hawaii and Porto Rico (as it was then spelled), and it’s 93,402,151. Add all US possessions, meaning American Samoa, the Philippines and the Canal Zone, and it’s 101,100,000.

New York, with 9,113,614, was the most populous state, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Massachusetts, etc.

Roughly 45% live in urban areas with populations of 2,500 or more, while 28½ million live in cities over 25,000, a 35% increase over 1900. In the South, only 12.8% live in cities over 25,000.

The entire military and navy consisted of 55,608 men.

Scoop of the Day -100 (from the NYT Magazine section, presumably a pre-William Safire “On Language” column): Germany has a talking dog. At least according to his owner, who is a Prussian official (a royal gamekeeper) and therefore incapable of lying. The pointer or setter speaks 6 words of German: haben, kuchen, hunger, ja, nein, and Don (his name). And he can form them into sentences: Don hungry, want cakes.

Raymond Bayle, a candidate for the French senate in Ard├Ęche, promised a perfect utopia. A perfect utopia would have omnibuses traveling between the fairs of the region, steam heat to aid agriculture in the mountainous regions, airships and airplanes to bring pilgrims to the local shrines, the abolition of money, and the roads asphalted and then enameled white. He received exactly two votes. The French were evidently just not ready for a perfect utopia in 1910.

Headline of the Day -100: “Big Cocking Main in South.” I was thinking of not clicking on the link and just letting all our filthy, filthy imaginations run wild, but unfortunately I did click, and it turned out to be more obscene than anything I’d come up with: a 10-day cockfighting tournament.

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