A Change Of Pace

Mullet Over
The beautiful oleander plant is quite toxic

By James K. White | December 24, 2008

Word origins are often curious items. I offer the word fleabag for consideration. The earliest written reference appears to occur in the 1830’s and was used as slang for a soldier’s bed. Pronunciations can also surprise. In most dictionaries the preferred pronunciation of the word “often” is with the “t” silent. Look it up … or look “often” up or ... I’ll move on.
The beautiful oleander plant is quite toxic to our species. The flowers are poisonous, the leaves are poisonous, the stems are poisonous and even the water that runs off of the oleanders can be poisonous. There have been instances wherein smoke inhaled from a fire with oleander branches burning has caused erratic pulses and heart attacks in humans.


Are you the proud owner of the famous Japanese knives known as Ginsu? The original Ginsu knives were manufactured in Fremont, Ohio.

The author Guy de Maupassant thought that the Eiffel Tower in Paris was so ugly the he would of(t)en have his lunch at the base of the structure so he would not have to look at the “pile of beams” on the horizon as he enjoyed his noon meal.

In China a person can have an arranged marriage after he or she is dead. At least that is what I read.

In 2009 the Burj Dubai building is scheduled to be completed as the tallest skyscraper in the world. It is being erected in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and is supposed to be well over 2,200 feet in height when completed. That would be higher than 314 seven foot basketball players stacked on each other. The building is designed to have 56 elevators and should be visible on a clear day from a distance of more than 60 miles. I wonder if Hollywood will make a giant ape movie there.

If you are determined to wear a toque, you should wear it on your head.

The Latin word for silver is argentums and that is what the South American country of Argentina was named after.

It is a rather strange sounding superstition but now confirmed: several NASCAR drivers go to great efforts to avoid all peanut shells while at racing tracks.

A group of wild boar hogs is called a sounder. While that might not cheer you up, you might recall the popular TV series Cheers. The Sam Malone character was originally supposed to be a retired professional football player. When Ted Danson was selected for the role, the script was altered to make Sam a retired professional baseball player. Mr. Danson’s physique seemed to be a better match for baseball than for professional football.

Washington. D.C. was not officially our nation’s capital until the year 1800.

You might not approve of our health care system for the elderly, but it is likely considered superior to the method used by the Alaskan Inuits until well into the nineteenth century. The feeble elderly were stripped of most of their belongings and set adrift on icebergs. That seems pretty cold.

Well, avoid those oleander salads and have a great week.



Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument; and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand, today my best friend slapped me in the face.

They kept on walking, until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.

The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: 'Today my best friend saved my life.'

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, 'After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?'

The friend replied, 'when someone hurts us we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.'

Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone.