Royal fool

mullet over

– Entomologists in Brazil have recently been border-line ecstatic after discovering “unicorn” praying mantises which feature singular hornlike  structures centered on their heads (the bugs, not the entomologists). The newly discovered mantises are of the genus Zoolea.

– Meanwhile, scientists have occupied themselves studying the motions and shapes of dandelion seeds. What were thought to be random puffball shapes at maturity are actually efficiently engineered to utilize the forces of simple breezes. Hovering vortices of upward airflows and “air-holes” allow seeds to drift for miles and settle upon sites to sprout and thrive as lovely new dandelions.

– In centuries past, royal courts of England would often appoint someone to the position of Royal Fool. It wasn’t such a bad gig as clothes and food was provided and there was a nice annual salary. Mostly the Fool’s job was to make people laugh – sort of an appointed comedian. The last Royal Fool attended King Charles I. It seems that Charles I was decapitated and apparently decapitation jokes are difficult to humorously deliver. Unsubstantiated rumors float about that many later candidates for the office of Royal Fool found their ways to America and got elected to Congress. I find those tales difficult to believe.

– It was not until 1867 that the paper bag was invented by one Luther Crowell. Movies often fall prey to this antebellum anachronism with the not-yet-existing container used in various “general store” scenes.

– Folks that may not find themselves productively employed have discovered that approximately 1,000 words make up 90% of spoken English. I shall not list the thousand here.

– The Latin word for “cow” is “bos.” Thusly, innumerable bovines were named “bossy.”

– It was during the 1700’s in Cantalupo (or Cantaluppi), Italy that a new type of tasty melon was developed and sold. That fruit is considered by many to be yummy and nutritious and is commonly called a cantaloupe.

– Records indicate that Columbus was reluctantly and finally paid about $320 for discovering America. His surviving sailors made about $2.50 per month. Still, that was more than insegnanti (public school teachers) earned. Many insegnanti were skinny.

– John Quincy Adams lived 1767- 1848. For much of his life, he truly enjoyed swimming in the nude. This was a recreation that he pursued while he was the sixth President of the United States (1825-1829). He would frequently slip out very early in the morning and “take a refreshing dip.” At least once, a local tramp stole Quincy’s duds. That morning, the President persuaded a lad who was fishing nearby to fetch the unclad leader of the United States some clothes from the White House. Well, maintain decorum when discussing unicorn mantises – and have a great day.

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