Friday / Weekend Open Lines


Friday, August 26th.  “Every dog has its day,” is an idiom dating from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and even earlier. According to one animal welfare advocate, today is that day for America’s canines. Now in its 13th year, this is National Dog Day, about five months after National Puppy Day. The occasion has two goals. One is to honor dogs, which serve humanity as companions, watchdogs, herders, and Seeing Eye dogs. The second goal is to rescue dogs from neglect and abuse through placement in caring homes. In the U.S., there are well over 15,000 non-veterinary pet care businesses, offering such things as pet toys and supplies, and grooming services. At such establishments, we spend about $3.4 billion a year on our animals. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.

Saturday, August 27th. The U.S. petroleum industry got its start on this date in 1859. That’s when blacksmith William Smith saw a dark film floating on the surface of the water in a hole he was boring near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Rising from a depth of just 69 feet, it was the oil he was seeking for his employer, Edwin Drake. Soon, the nation’s first commercial oil well was pumping out crude oil. Western Pennsylvania was the center of the infant industry, as new uses were found for the long familiar product. Today, there are over 600,000 oil wells in the U.S., producing about 13.4 million barrels of petroleum products per day. Some 8,200 businesses engage in extracting oil and gas, employing 138,000 people in a $333 billion a year industry. Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunday, August 28th. What is believed to be the nation’s first radio commercial was broadcast on the new medium on this date 94 years ago. Station WEAF in New York City carried that first ad — not for soap or automobiles — but for a group of apartment buildings in Queens. The cost was $100 for a 10-minute sales pitch. At the time, there were just 30 stations in the whole country, and only 60,000 households had receivers. By 1929, there were more than 10 times the number of stations, and the number of households with radios surpassed 10 million. Now, there are over 5,800 radio stations in the nation. Some two-thirds of Americans over the age of 12, around 179 million people, access the medium daily. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <www.census.gov>.