MULLETT OVER BY JAMES WHITEMullet Over: An apparent genius

The famous symbol now known as the Liberty Bell was first cast in England in 1752. Shortly after the bell arrived in Philadelphia, a crack appeared. The bell was melted and recast. The owners were dissatisfied with the results, so the mostly copper and tin mass was again melted – and cast a third time. The famous large crack now present is said to have appeared in 1835 as officials were tolling for the death of Chief Justice John Marshall, but this is a disputed contention. The label “Liberty Bell” was bestowed by abolitionists in the 1830s, perhaps inspired by the bell’s featured quotation from Leviticus 25:10. The celebrated national icon weighs 2080 pounds and all of those pounds are owned by the City of Philadelphia.

It is recorded that Pope Alexander VI (the Borgia Pope) was assassinated (1503) by receiving a “special” personal appeal from Caterina Sforza. The written message was delivered inside a container that had been wrapped in clothing from a plague victim. Pope Alexander soon thereafter contracted the dreadful black plague and died in agony.

The fastest growing tissue in the human body is bone marrow. I would have guessed belly fat.

Purported actual question in court during a recent civil trial – and how far apart were the two vehicles at the time of the collision?

For centuries, people serving food to the public commonly featured only one food item. Patrons could purchase poultry or eggs or bread, etc., but it was necessary to travel to different vendors for different selections. In 1765 an apparent genius, Monsieur Boulanger (a soup-seller), offered several choices at the same site. The concept spread quickly. So did the name Boulanger had called his soups, which was the French word for “restorative” (restaurant). Restaurant has since been used in reference to countless eateries which proffer meal choices.

Every 24 hours, approximately 200,000 Americans undergo some form of surgery.

In northeastern China, efforts are under way to plant a “Great Green Wall” that will eventually stretch more than 2,800 miles along one edge of the Gobi Desert. Establishing the line of trees and shrubs is an ambitious attempt to arrest the encroachment of sand blowing in from the Great Gobi. Over time many thousands of acres of farmland and even entire towns have been covered by dunes that may exceed 30 feet in height. Well, the next time that you patronize your favorite eating place, you might (silently) thank Monsieur Boulanger. Have a great week.

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