The onion is one handy vegetable

mullet over

Did you ever complain about too much snow? That situation seems like a dream in this summer heat. Back in the winter of 1879-1880, employees at the Summit Station between Sacramento and Reno recorded 783 inches of snow. Trains were delayed, but the surrounding scenery was said to be breath-taking.

What must be admirably quick scientists have declared the average width of a lightning bolt is about six inches. Never believe lightning somehow does not strike twice in one place. At a site in Bogor, Java, lightning has been observed to strike 322 times in one day. Bogor is home to more than 900,000 people and hosts thousands of tourists who flock in to enjoy the usually temperate climate. The city features Mongolian tents offered for brief occupancy. Beware of relámpagos.

The cloth called corduroy has an interesting history. In the late 1700s, the rugged soft fabric became fashionable among rich nobility and even royalty. Corduroy became the fabric to don for hunting forays (different from “hunting for rays”). The popular reference for the material was “corde du roi”, French for “cloth of the king”. “Corde du roi” was easily Anglicized to “corduroy.”

I have to constantly check for poor grammar as I compose – and I sometimes overlook errors. However, even I thought these recent newspaper headlines could benefit from editorial attention: “MAN SHOOTS NEIGHBOR WITH MACHETE”, “STOLEN LOOT FOUND BY TREE”, and “MAN FOUND DEAD IN CEMETERY.”

This information will be news for some readers: Rice paper contains no rice. No barley, either. Rice paper is made from the piths of small trees grown mostly in Taiwan. I wonder if I just authored a pithy observation. Not likely.

Few vegetables have been attributed to offer more diverse applications than the common onion (Allium cepa). Throughout history, the onion has been declared with absolute sobriety to ward off evil spirits, cure earaches, absorb poisons, effectively treat dog bites, cure warts, cure baldness, frighten vampires, enhance hamburgers and flavor stews. The onion is one handy vegetable.

My athletic feats cannot match those of Mexican Winter Olympic Skier Roberto Alvarez (1988 competitor). He finished last in the 50km Cross-Country event. Roberto was so far behind his fellow-competitors that officials became concerned and sent out a search party. Alvarez was located struggling more than one hour behind the skier just ahead. Alas, Roberto did not “medal.” Well, never give up and have a great day.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at

More stuff:

I have no data on local lifespans, but a recent survey reveals that more cigarettes are consumed per capita in Constantinople than in any other city in the world.

Have you ever seen a magnolia tree in bloom? The trees can grow to impressive heights while displaying large fragrant white flowers. The magnolia is the state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi. The beautiful plant is named after Pierre Magnol, a French botanist active in the 1600s.

Some words are formed through logical use. Twelve dozen represents 144. One hundred forty-four items is one gross. Food merchants of yesteryear offering their goods wholesale often sold several gross at a time. These venders were called grossers – and “grossers” evolved into “grocers.”

The highest point in North America is Mt. McKinley (aka Denali) measured to be 20,320 feet. There are 38 peaks in South America taller than Mt. McKinley. The tallest of these is Aconcagua towering at 22,841 feet. I have scaled neither McKinley nor Aconcagua and while comfortably hovering at age 72 – I have no plans to ascend anything more challenging than some diminutive steps at our nearby hamburger joint.

Soccer crowds have been disturbingly rowdy for centuries. Case in point: It was in 1540 that King Henry VIII banned soccer because of the ferocity and the frequency of riots erupting after scheduled matches.

George III of Great Britain had bouts of strange behavior, even suspected insanity. For several days he would speak freely while inexplicably ending almost every sentence with the word “peacock.”

Policemen have used automobiles while fighting crime for more than 100 years. Records indicate that the Boston Police Department purchased a special transport car in 1903. It was steam-powered.

Tommy Bolt was a rather famous and accomplished professional golfer. He won the U.S. Open in 1958. However, he is also of renown for being the only professional golfer (thus far) to be fined for excess flatulence during competition. I am not making this up.

Do you desire to hike the entire Appalachian Trail? If so, wear excellent footwear and take plenty of water. The celebrated route is two thousand one hundred seventy-four miles long.

The Utah towns of Kamas and Samak are neighbors. Take notice of the two spellings.

Some slang of the Old West warrants explanation. For instance, “coffin varnish” referred to yesterday’s coffee still in the pot. Yum. Well, have a groovy day. Peacock.