Mullet Over

BY JAMES K. WHITE  | JULY 27, 2011

Three months to thaw out

james k whiteA big change concerning drilling for petroleum is predicted in our not-too-distant futures. Conventional boring with bits and drill pipe might one day be obsolete. New and powerful lasers are expected to revolutionize the industry by super-heating rocks to fracture (and melt) a path to fossil fuel sources.

Perhaps you are not familiar with the Fayoumi chicken. This species provided eggs for consumption by ancient Egyptian pharaohs and is still popular because of its resistance to high temperatures and its ability to consistently lay large quantities of delicious eggs.

In 1975, the continent of Antarctica was covered by a layer of ice that averaged 2.9 miles in thickness. Scientists have not completed a more recent survey, but many believe the layer will be thicker because of a hole in the ozone layer that hovers above the region.

The shortest-ever papal reign consisted of only two days in 752 by Stephen II.

Should your family be planning a wedding to surpass all previous weddings, I might mention that in 2003 Christa Rasanayagam had a marriage ceremony with 79 identically dressed bridesmaids in attendance.

Northern Ireland occupies only one-sixth of the island shared with Ireland.
The heaviest lemon ever recorded was an eleven pound nine ounce monster grown in Israel.

Some folks endure truly strange experiences. For instance, Tsutomu Yagaguchi was visiting Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 when the famous atomic bomb exploded. Surviving, but being quite shaken, he went home to Nagasaki. On August 8, 1945 he was approximately two miles from the war's second atomic bomb blast. Both times Tsutomu experienced only minor physical injuries.

I have never been to Luxembourg, but apparently residents there are doing "okay" financially. Recent data indicates that Luxembourg has the highest annual GDP per citizen ($88,000) of any nation in the world.

Where were you on July 21, 1983? If you happened to be in Vostok, Antarctica, you could have enjoyed an outside temperature of minus 128.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That is a world record. I was once outside when it was minus 27 degrees. I required three months to thaw out. I cannot even imagine conditions more than one hundred degrees colder.

In 2010, the United States used 12 million barrels of oil making plastic bags. It is estimated that it costs businesses about 11 cents per plastic carry-out bag. You know it eventually costs the consumers. Well, keep your Fayoumi chickens out of Vostok -- and 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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A man and his dog

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble.

At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?' 

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.

'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.
'Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'
The man gestured, and the gate began to open. 'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveler asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed.
There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside,leaning against a tree and reading a book....

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'
'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'
'How about my friend here?' the traveler gestured to the dog.
'There should be a bowl by the pump,' said the man.
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree..

'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked. 
'This is Heaven,' he answered.
'Well, that's confusing,' the traveler said.
'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'
'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'
'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'
'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'

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