BY JAMES K. WHITE | APRIL 4, 2012
I did not make this up
In 1862 an American astronomer named Alvan Clark noticed a small dim light near the famous Dog Star (Sirius). The newly discovered star was dubbed Sirius B, but a few of the word-witty amongst those hilarious astronomers soon began to refer to the little star as “Pup.” Others of the clique (who wished to flaunt their educational backgrounds) designated the star as Canicula (which is Latin for “little dog”). I find the situation Sirius and shall not make light of the subject.
I had heard rumors some vessels of wine sell for more than the $20 limit that I once splurged. Research seems to confirm the gossip. A bottle of 1787 Chateau d’Quem was on the market for $60,000 and a bottle (I “supposed” the containers to be bottles and not those handy paper cartons) of 1811 Chateau d’Quem recently sold for $117,000.
Many horticulturists believe that the apricot originated in Armenia. In fact, an alternative name for the apricot is “Armenian apple.” There are at least 50 varieties of apricot and all are said to contain high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin C. Even timber from the tree is prized. It is used to make the musical instrument, the duduk (often called “apricot pipe”). I did not make this up.
Billions of people eat mushrooms. The most popular is the white (or “button”) mushroom. There are thousands of known mushroom species, but only 60 of the varieties are commercially cultivated as food. However, approximately 2,000 varieties are being scientifically analyzed as potential sources of special medicines that may be effective in battling cancers, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, high cholesterol, etc.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to appear on television. The event was in 1939 and FDR was telecasting from the World’s Fair in Chicago.
Many of the highly trained engineers and scientists who were previously employed as assemblers of nuclear weapons became unemployed for much of the last decade. However, there has now emerged a thriving industry involved with disassembling nuclear weapons. It is a dangerous business where boo-boos can render severe consequences. Experienced disassemblers are much in demand and are reportedly paid handsomely.
Researchers and environmentalists often stress that precious water resources have been inefficiently utilized. As an example, the experts cite that in 2010, an average of 100 gallons of water were consumed in order to produce one pint of apple juice.
Well, I suggest that you purchase Chateau d’Quem for special occasions only – and that you have a most pleasant week.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be careful what you plant
A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose
one of you." The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by – still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil. He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all of the young company executives brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach; it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed. Jim told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!
His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.