Mullet Over


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That show-off

The 48 mile long Panama Canal separates two continents and connects two oceans. Those who traverse the waterway save approximately 8,000 miles of sea travel as compared to sailing around the tip of South America. The famous canal also crosses the same continental (hydrological) divide that passes through Alaska, Canada, the Rocky Mountains and Mexico. "Pro Mundi Beneficio."

On April 15, 1912 the R.M.S. Titanic sank. There were approximately 1,500 lives lost on that fateful day. Numerous maritime safety upgrades resulted from the tragedy. Changes included requiring 24 hour mandatory ship radio service (1912), extended lifeboat capacities (1912), patrols that monitor icebergs (1914) and improved ship evacuation training for both passengers and crews (ongoing). There have been no ships sunk by an iceberg collision in the North Atlantic since the 1912 disaster.

The #1 format for radio stations in the U.S.A is COUNTRY (2000 stations in 2009).

The top grossing (double entendre?) musical tour of all time was the Rolling Stones effort in 2005 ($162 million in 38 cities).

In 1917, Schick sold the first electric razors to be offered on the U.S. markets. Safety razors were first retailed in 1895 by the Gillette Company. I am now incredibly careful when I shave (I was once foolishly careless and severely nicked my leg).

A large number of patents are annually recorded in the U.S. Patent Office – many from foreign interests. In a recent year, citizens of Japan received 33,682 U.S. patents.

Russia is the nation with the most forest acreage. Brazil holds the Number Two spot.

Saturn has 60 known moons while that show-off Jupiter has 63. Our Earth has only one moon and the object that is no longer even classified as a planet (Pluto) has 3 moons.

The year 2012 for us is 1433 for the Islam world and 4710 for the Chinese. BTW, should you not have a calendar for 2012, one might consider recycling an old 1984 calendar which had the same setup (except for the year thingy).

The dreaded black mamba (a serious snake) can travel at speeds in excess of 20 mph over short distances. The land tortoise can zip along at .17 mph when in an all-out panic. The tortoise I can outrun, and the black mamba might well be impressed at my sincere sprinting efforts as I attempted to leave his/her personal space.

Well, use caution when grooming with a blade – 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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Designated decoy

Recently a routine police patrol parked outside a bar. After last call the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so intoxicated that he could barely walk.  The man stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing. 

After what seemed an eternity in which he tried his keys on five different vehicles, the man managed to find his car and fall into it.  He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off.  Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off – it was a fine, dry summer night – flicked the blinkers on and off a couple of times, honked the horn, and then switched on the lights.

He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patrons' vehicles left.  At last, when his was the only car left in the parking lot, he pulled out and drove slowly down the road.

The police officer, having waited patiently all this time, now started up his patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over and administered a breathalyzer test.  To his amazement, the breathalyzer indicated no evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol at all!

Dumbfounded, the officer said, 'I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station.  This breathalyzer equipment must be broken.'

'I doubt it,' said the truly proud drunk, 'Tonight I'm the designated decoy.'

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