“A good place to dig potatoes”

mullet over

– In 1824, a carpenter named Lozier stood upon a wooden platform in order to announce that the local mayor had appointed him to head up a project intended to save a portion of Manhattan Island. Apparently, the accumulated weights all of the recently constructed buildings on Manhattan’s southern tip was causing the island to tilt severely. The citizens were told to not fret because a plan of salvation was already in the works. The end of Manhattan was to be sawed off and then towed out to sea where the hewn land mass would be turned around and towed back for reattachment. Designs for 100 foot saws and 250 foot oars were ordered. Triple wages were offered for those willing to work under water. Schemes for building a mess hall to be used exclusively for feeding laborers were finalized. Tons of food was ordered to serve to men hired for the job. After two months of meticulous preparation, the day for launching the island-saving project arrived. Just about everyone but Lozier showed up to begin. Lozier was in hiding. Many in the crowd were furious. Charges were never filed against the giggling jokester – possibly because officials thought that they might appear ridiculous in court.

– The now-hated swastika symbol was in existence centuries before Nazis adopted the image as part of the national flag of Germany (1935). Even today, regions in Tanzania have numerous swastikas featured as decorations on ancient Hindu edifices. In Hong Kong, a large statue of Buddha displays that image on its breastplate. Several other examples exist wherein the swastika was used either as a good luck sign or a religious representation prior to 1935.

– In 2010, police were investigating a murder scene in Colombia. There were apparently no witnesses to the crime — at least no human witnesses. The widow of the victim was in the murder room one day when one of the victim’s nephews strolled in. The house parrot, Heera, began to screech. The parrot sometimes screeched even louder whenever the nephew’s name was uttered. The bird’s behavior did arouse the widow’s suspicions. She informed one of the investigating detectives concerning the strange avian reactions. Subsequent to “intense interrogation,” the nephew confessed. Some of the deceased’s jewelry and the murder weapon (handgun) were located at the sobrino’s residence. As he was led away in handcuffs, that sobrino of reference reportedly glared and snarled at Heera.

– Topeka became the capital of Kansas in 1866. “Topeka” is thought to be made up of words from the Iowa, Kaw and Omaha tribes. The name translates approximately to “a good place to dig potatoes.” Well, watch out for those Lozier descendants as April first approaches. Have a pleasant day.

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