Be careful how you make your eyes sparkle

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MULLETT OVER BY JAMES WHITEThe Ouija (pronounced wee-jee) board was first patented in the 1890s by a man from Maryland (Elijah Bond). He enjoyed moderate financial success when he marketed the board and its accoutrements as a parlor game. However, the history of a very similar contrivance (sometimes called a planchette panel) dates back to the 10th Century in China. The Qing Dynasty issued a decree forbidding any practices that involved a Ji Ban (Planchette Panel).

Fire fighters began using Dalmatian canines as mascots in the 1800s. The dogs seemed to be the breed ideal for running out ahead of horse-drawn fire pumps while barking to announce the presence of an emergency vehicle. The Dalmatians were also noted to protect the belongings and equipment of the firemen as they performed their duties dousing flames.

More than 90 percent of the hydrogen commercially produced in the USA is derived by using a steam process to reduce methane (natural gas). The method is quite promising as not only is the procedure relatively inexpensive, CO2 emissions have been reduced by 60 percent when compared to most other production schemes. When clean hydrogen combusts, the only chemical emission is water vapor. Autos fueled by hydrogen should soon be available to many of the world’s consumers.

Go Big Blue. Studies have consistently shown that weight lifters who perform in rooms with blue walls can lift heavier weights. Various other hues have been tried, but “the figures don’t lie.” Numerous theories have been offered as to “why” while the “what” seems to be convincingly established.

In 1992, a total of 30,000 residents of Maui signed a petition to have that island’s name changed to Gilligan’s Island. Many are thankful that the effort was not successful.

For centuries, a favorite make-up for women desiring to appear more attractive was juice from the nightshade plant known as Belladonna. A few drops in each eye made the eyes “sparkle” while small dabs on one’s lips and cheeks slightly reddened those regions. Undesirable side effects sometimes included delirium, convulsions, comas and death.

Dmitri Borgmann offered that the American presidential candidate with the most letters in his last name would usually win the popular vote. Almost uncannily, the theory held 1876 through 1960 wherein the most-letters guy won 20 out of 22 times. I wonder if that could be why the 2000 election (Gore vs. Bush) was such a difficult tabulation to complete. Oh well, be cautious about how you make your eyes sparkle – and have a great week.

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