“Trimalchio in West Egg”

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Statistics have repeatedly shown that U.S. television audiences for soap opera weddings are consistently larger than the viewing audiences for presidential addresses.

Some dedicated group conducted studies revealing that Britons annually lose an estimated 93,000 liters of beer in facial hair and on the backs of sleeves. I understand that the studies involved men only.

Czech biologist Vlastimil Hart took photos of more than 14,000 carp swimming in tanks at various fish markets and discovered that most of the carp oriented their bodies along a north/south course indicating that the fish somehow detect Earth’s magnetic lines.

“Trimalchio in West Egg” was a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that was retitled “The Great Gatsby” prior to publishing (1925). Excellent retitle, my opinion.

U.S. patent #3,477,070 is a locking device designed to prevent unauthorized access to toilet bowls. I do not own one (the lock, I mean).

Ants are thought to be the most abundant insect on earth with approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000 of the little critters alive at this very moment.

Added to my list of favorite oxymorons: Mature Men and Airline Food.

Doh! An embarrassing moment occurred at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) when the prized painting by Matisse titled “Le Bateau” was hung on a wall “le upside down.”  The work was thusly displayed for more than six weeks before anyone noticed.

The Cleveland Indians baseball team was named in honor of Louis Sockolexis, a Maine Indian and the first Native American to play professional baseball.

December 31 is National Make Up Your Mind Day. Wait, it might be December 30.

In 1868, a Massachusetts woman named Margaret Knight invented the flat-bottomed paper bag. The idea was not patented, but her new bag design did quickly become very popular. She even designed a machine to mass produce the bags and did not patent that invention either.

However, an idea-thief “friend” did. In 1871, an attorney came to the aid of Ms. Knight and obtained for her the machine patent she rightfully deserved.

Recent statistical analyses indicate the typical arsonist is male and lights most of his fires seven days after a new moon.  I simply report the “what” and make no attempt to explain the “why.” Well, carefully guard your great inventive ideas – and have a splendid week.

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