“Do turkeys have bellybuttons?”

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My, how this annual ritual has been transformed: The first Academy Awards Ceremony was held on May 16, 1929. Approximately 270 people witnessed the proceedings, and the award presentations lasted less than 15 minutes.

Just prior to a recent Thanksgiving Day, the Turkey Hotline (1-800-288-8372) received a call from two people who had been heatedly arguing with each other. The question was “Do turkeys have bellybuttons?” The answer was “no.”

Someone with not much to do counted all the black spots on all the dogs in all the scenes depicted in the movie 101 Dalmatians. The reported total was 6,469,952. I am not going to verify the count.

The Roman Empire was at its largest in 117 A.D. The total land area controlled at that time covered at least 2.5 million square miles. The realm was large but by no means the largest empire ever. The British Empire once encompassed 12.82 million sq. mi. (1938 A.D.) and the Mongol Empire 12.74 million sq. mi. (1279 A.D.). I cannot control the grass and weed “empire” on my .7 acre.

In 1883, businessman Lewis Waterman handed an ink pen to a potential client who was intending to sign a major high-dollar contract with Waterman. The pen gushed forth with so much ink that the contract was unreadable. Mr. Waterman quickly sought out a secretary to re-write the contract, but the process took hours. The potential client changed his mind by the time the new document was prepared. Frustrated and angry, Waterman ceased nearly all other pursuits and developed a reliable capillary-action fountain pen. Sales from his improved pen invention made the entrepreneur a millionaire. Waterman pens are still made and prized today.

Sea level is a relative term. That does not mean that sea level is determined by someone’s aunt. It is a scientifically estimated “zero-elevation” average of the world’s ocean surfaces. The calculation process is complicated by the fact that oceans are never really level. For instance, surface peaks and valleys in the Pacific Ocean typically differ by about 60 feet.

I am uncertain whether the doll known as Tuesday Taylor is still manufactured. I mention this particular bikini-clad doll because the pale skin on the plastic figures would rapidly turn to a tan brown when exposed to light. The tan would last for about an hour. Well, do not spend a lot of time seeking turkey bellybuttons – yet somehow manage to have a great week.

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