Revenge pranks

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MULLETT OVER BY JAMES WHITEFrom my junior high school joke source: How did Vikings send secret messages? They used Norse Code.

Beef, poultry, fish and pork are eaten by billions of people. However, those foods are protein sources that much of the world population cannot regularly access. The scarcity of sustenance derived from farm animals, fish, etc. is one reason that more than 2 billion people include insects in their daily diets. Beetles, ants, termites, locusts, grasshoppers and flies are some of the more than 2,000 species of insects commonly consumed by Homo sapiens.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was begun in 1173. Within months, the builders were aware that the structure was tilting. Spongy soil seemed to be the principal problem. In fact, “Pisa” means “marshy land” in either Greek or Apache – I forget which. Years ago, I ascended/descended the famous campanile and found my brief trips up and down to be unnerving. The 183 foot tower is approximately 13 feet out of vertical and said to be “stabilized” by descendants of those who constructed the original.

Oh, those 16th century revenge pranks. Michelangelo’s famous The Last Judgment fresco was painted on the Sanctuary Wall inside the Sistine Chapel. As work neared completion, a Vatican official rebuked Michelangelo for the “extreme nudity” depicted in the work and demanded some changes be made. The artist did make a few changes which included altering the face of the judge of the underworld so that it strongly resembled the face of the complaining official.
During ancient Roman times, yellow was the featured color at most weddings – for the bride, groom, decorations, attendants and guests.

It is a matter of perspective, I suppose: In the United States, “the Orient” is usually a reference to China and/or Japan. In Europe, “the Orient” is almost always a reference to India.

You likely have never heard of William Taynton; but for a while, the 15 year old was the biggest star on television. This situation was made possible in 1938 because he was the very first person on commercial television. William was simply a nearby convenient test subject.

Results from a recent survey indicate that less than 10 percent of adult Americans can correctly name all 13 of the original colonies: Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Texas. Okay, I sort of lied about Texas. Well, use caution when chastising fresco-painting geniuses – and have a great week.

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