Only the females bite to obtain blood

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– Wildland firefighters battle against dreadfully destructive conflagrations. Those men and women are of a special breed.  Wildfire season has begun and these folks are already struggling long hours to save lives, homes, forests and grasslands. A special tip of my hat goes out to those valiant people.

– This last weekend, I read that entomologists have identified more than 3,500 distinct species of mosquitos. Thank goodness only the females bite to obtain blood.

– Scientists claim that the Appalachian Mountains make up the oldest mountain range on the North American continent. Age of the Appalachians is listed at 480 million years, give or take several months.

– When Margaret Mitchell finished her classic 1936 novel Gone With the Wind, another title she considered for the work was Baa Baa Black Sheep. I think she chose correctly.

– Decades earlier (1838), Edgar Allan Poe wrote a novel named The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. The storyline was about four shipwreck survivors adrift for weeks in an open lifeboat. Those survivors drew straws in order to determine who would be killed and eaten. A young man named Richard Parker was the unlucky chosen. He was killed and eaten. The other three survived to be rescued. Let us fast-forward to 1884. Four real-life shipwreck survivors were adrift for many days in an open lifeboat floating in the South Atlantic Ocean. One of the four was killed and eaten. The other three survived to be rescued. The name of the “sacrificed” was Richard Parker. Is that just plain weird?

– The name of the famous movie monster Godzilla was reportedly derived by combining two Japanese words that mean “gorilla” and “whale.”

– Many in the Kaingang (I am not making this up) tribe of Brazil believe their ancestors’ spirits live in the bodies of various species of ants. The Kaingangs perceive squashing “holy” Formicidae to be acts of murder.

– In 1997, a woman purchased an “interesting” mahogany table for $25 at a garage sale. She was fascinated by the table’s inlay work and brought the item for examination at one of the “Antiques Road Show” productions. The table was identified to be the work of John and Thomas Seymour (circa 1797). It was later sold at auction for $500,000.

– You likely already suspected: Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis) is the only deer without antlers of any ilk. However, male Chinese water deer are equipped with sharp durable fangs (tusks?) approximately two inches in length. Well, I suggest that IF your name is Richard Parker, you might consider eschewing boat rides.

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