Mullet Over


james k whiteExperiment goes under the “oops” column

Many strange events transpired during the American Civil War. On that list is the circumstance wherein Missouri never seceded, yet the state was readmitted to the Union (1861).

When Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain on August 3rd of 1492, he had a contract with the Spanish royalty that gave him perks such as a 10 percent share of all profits, a governorship and the title of Admiral if his mission were deemed “successful.” On October 12, 1492 (at approximately 2 a.m.), land was sighted and the world began to change.

Some years back (12 million), the region we call Nebraska was occupied by herds of three toed horses (Cormohipparion occidentale). Since then, the one-toed variety has pretty much replaced the Cormo-whatevers.

William Taft was the first U.S. president to regularly play golf. Otherwise, he seemed rather normal.

So many products are produced in China these days that one might assume (incorrectly) that the Asian giant would be the number one producer of chopsticks. However, Americus (population 17,000), Georgia has been producing approx. 10,000,000 sets per week and exporting the eating utensils to Japan, South Korea and yes, China. A scarcity of the required raw materials in Asia has prompted the situation.

As of 2010, there were 442 cities worldwide that have recorded populations that exceed one million. China encompasses 89 such municipalities while India contains 46 of the burgeoning urban (different from urbane) regions.

In 1946, some enterprising Argentinians introduced 25 pairs of beavers into their country in an effort to develop a local fur trade.

Things have since gotten way out of hand. In 2010, there were an estimated 100,000 beavers thriving in an area with no natural predators and a defunct fur industry. Streams and small rivers have been dammed, forests destroyed and ecosystems significantly altered. This experiment goes under the “oops” column (apologies to Mr. Perry). The bordering nation of Chile has been beaver-invaded and an alarmed Chilean Environmental Minister said “the landscape will never be the same.”

A short while back, some clever people in New York City launched a winter campaign to sell a particular brand of coffee. Manhole covers were painted to resemble a cup featuring a famous coffee logo and the “steam” drifting from around the “cup” produced a truly effective visual illusion. The problem was that most of these covers were over sewers, so the smell hardly resembled any delicious brew. The ad campaign was short-lived. Well, be on the alert for a three-toed Nebraskan pony and have a delightful week.

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

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Costello calls to buy a computer from Abbott

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'W' if you don't start with some straight answers.
What about financial bookkeeping? Do you have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. At no extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
(A few days later)
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on 'START.'

Written by Tom King (c) 2004, 2009 Flint, Texas

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