I taught my dog to eat a biscuit

mullet over

– A local sage has advised me: “Adept authors almost always avoid alliterations.”

– Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild (1868-1937) spent most of a huge family fortune studying and amassing specimens for his colossal zoological collection. He employed more than 400 professional hunters and was fascinated with the “art” of domesticating wild animals. One of his more famous stunts involved riding in a zebra-drawn carriage as he arrived at Buckingham Palace.

– Lord Rothschild would likely have been enthralled by feats that scent-detecting dogs can now perform. Some canines can sense and signal when they discover certain human afflictions, even cancers. Of course dogs have also proved invaluable in finding illegal drugs. In a similar vein, a group of specially trained hounds have been taught to alert on both stolen paintings and pilfered archeological treasures. I taught my dog to eat a biscuit.

– Nature is forever amazing me. In recent decades bark beetles have busied themselves attacking and destroying Pinus contortas (lodgepole pines) to such an extent that survival of the iconic trees was considered to be in doubt. The last few years lodgepole conifers have fought back. Many of the trees have begun to excrete large quantities of sticky sap that has killed millions of the voracious bark beetles.

– The surname Kellogg was derived from a name meaning “hog killer.” The Kellogg brothers built a financial empire marketing corn flakes to the world. A small bit of irony: Those siblings whose name means “hog killer” were both vegetarians. Rich vegetarians.

– On April 10, 1815, Mount Tambora exploded with a thunderous volcanic boom. That eruption simmered and spouted for 10 days. The Indonesian Island of Sumbawa was pretty much destroyed. Additionally, human devastation on a large scale transpired in North America and Europe. Dust from the Tambora discharge regionally blocked out our sun for months. The extent of the damage became apparent during the following year. 1816 was known as “the year with no summer.” In New England, unseasonable freezes continued well into June. Very few crops matured or provided anything edible. In Europe conditions were even worse. Historians estimate that in excess of 200,000 Europeans perished from starvation and malnutrition-related illnesses.

– It was in the 1960’s when McDonald franchise folks decided that Catholics would love to buy HulaBurgers to eat on Fridays during Lent. The sandwich was just like a hamburger except the meat was replaced with a thick slab of pineapple. The HulaBurger did not sell well. Soon HulaBurger was replaced with Filet-O-Fish. Well, remember that April is International Guitar Month and strum up a pleasant week.

James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at jkwhite46@gmail.com.