Mullet Over


james k whiteHappiness intensities

More than once I have read that the elephant is the only animal species that cannot jump. While it is correct that elephants cannot jump, other animals are similarly limited. Slugs cannot jump. Sponges are classified as animals and they cannot jump. Sea anemones cannot jump. There are likely other examples.

You roller coaster fans might be interested to know that the world’s fastest public amusement ride can be found inside a theme park named Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. The coaster train is shaped and painted like a Formula One racer. Passengers “enjoy” a top speed of 149 mph and complete the course in 92 seconds. This ilk of entertainment does not tempt me.

Biologists claim that there are literally billions of animals (mostly insects) migrating at any given time. No one seems to have any verified knowledge as to where most of those animals come from, where they are going or why they migrate. Scientists are hopeful that by studying animal migrations, they might gather information that would make possible accurate predictions of certain disease outbreaks and the identifications of regions where earthquakes are imminent.

A hedonimeter is an instrument that supposedly has the capacity to measure levels of happiness in people. While no reliable hedonimeter yet exists, a professor at Stanford University is using color-coded readouts from something called an fMRI in an attempt to observe certain bio-changes. The prof and colleagues from the National Health Institute suggest that the scans of blood flows in brains can be revealing as to the “happiness intensities” of the people being monitored.

Do you have the latest HDTV? If you do, enjoy it quickly because two of the larger television manufacturers have announced models with 2000-plus pixel screens for retail by the end of 2011. The same companies have plans to offer screens with more than 4000 pixels by the end of 2013.

The company division that made Pyrex glassware was sold to new owners in 1998. A short while later the original formula was altered and the resulting new formula glass is not nearly as shatter-resistant when subjected to rapid heat changes. This is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that the illicit process of manufacturing crack cocaine was compatible with the older formula glassware, but is very difficult using the newer Pyrex.
Legitimate science laboratories often have to keep old formula borosilicate glassware locked away like precious jewels in order to prevent theft. Well, I hope that your hedonimeter reads high and that you have a great week.

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

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Kids and ChapStick

We had a great 10 year old cat named Jack. Jack was great and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and almost nothing bothered him. We have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 yrs old, 3 yrs old and 1 year old.

The middle one is Eli. Eli really loved ChapStick. LOVED it. He often would ask to use my ChapStick and then would lose it.

Finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I kept my ChapStick and explained he could use it whenever he wanted, but he needed to put it right back in the drawer after he finished because I used it several times each day.

That year, on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around to try to get ready for church with everyone fussing and carrying on. The oldest and youngest were fighting over a toy in the cereal box.

Things were hectic, as usual.

We were at last ready to go and I could not locate Eli. I had searched nearly everywhere when I finally looked in the bathroom.

There was Eli – applying my ChapStick very carefully to Jack's rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped right there."

Now if you have a cat, you know that their little bottoms do look chapped. Jack didn't seem to mind the process. The only question to ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's butt. Answer: "Not the first."

There will always be days when a parent realizes: "your ChapStick has been on a cat's butt ... frequently."

We were unable to identify the author of this piece. It is one of over 15,000 copies, online, often run for Mother’s Day.