BY JAMES K. WHITE | AUGUST 14, 2013
Pointy dental things
The opossums (pronounced “uh-possums” or in Texas, simply “possums”) are often considered to be unattractive animals. They resemble large rats, have toothy “grins,” generate repulsive odors and can hiss loudly. Traits we might list in the plus column: Opossums usually do not carry diseases and they devour pests such as roaches, mice, scorpions and spiders in large quantities. Contrary to popular myth – opossums do not have the most teeth (usually 50) of any land animal – that would be certain species of snails which typically have more than 25,000. Most of any mammal: Spinner dolphins with 252. Most of any land mammal would be the giant armadillos which can possess 100 pointy dental things.
Southern California long had the reputation of being a sun-kissed paradise with clean air, beautiful countryside and glistening white beaches washed by pristine blue waters. However, “success” has changed the region drastically. The Los Angeles metro area has the highest vehicle per capita ratio in the world. Nearby port complexes move more than 50 percent of all goods shipped to and from the United States. Air monitoring agencies use phrases such as “environmental nightmare” and “diesel death zone” when describing the exhaust-filled industrial corridors.
The official dance of Mexico is The Mexican Hat Dance. Official dance of Hawaii: Hula. Official dance of Kentucky: Clogging (which also happens to be a significant problem for some Kentucky sewer lines).
A well trained drug-sniffer dog at an airport can check as many as 1,000 bags in one hour.
Henry Knox (1750-1806) was a bookseller in Boston when the American Revolution began. Henry convinced George Washington that he was knowledgeable about cannon warfare. The claim turned out to be valid. Knox managed to transport British artillery captured at Fort Ticonderoga over icy, snow covered roads. He then relocated the cannons to highly visible positions overlooking British General Howe’s army. I wonder if Howe knew his name was also an Indian greeting. Anyhow(e), the maneuver so intimidated the General that he and his troops hurriedly abandoned a strategic campsite previously thought secure. No shots were fired by either side. Knox later ably commanded cannon battalions against British troops in several military clashes including a critical battle against General Cornwallis. Both Knoxville, Tennessee and Fort Knox (Kentucky) were named after Henry Knox. I am uncertain about the well-known School of Hard Knox. Well, don’t get devoured by any slimy mollusks gnashing 25,000 teeth – and have a great week.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.