MULLET OVER BY JAMES K. WHITE  |  september 30 , 2015

Super-glued your fingers together?

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james k white Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) gets its common name from a willow tree whose Latin genus is spirea. Lagniappes: Modern aspirin was invented when a Dusseldorf physician named Bayer refined an old folk remedy in 1893 hoping to develop a pain reliever for his arthritis-stricken father.

Conventional wisdom of a few years back declared that only four words in the English language began with “dw.” Researchers have located 34 “dw” words which include “dwine” and “dwelt” and several more.

Canada was not an independent country until 1982.

It likely does not amaze you that Warsaw is the city that contains the world’s largest assemblage of people with Polish ancestry. What may surprise you is that Chicago has the second largest such group.

Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) purchased and outfitted a warship at age nineteen. In 1776, he sailed to America to offer his services to George Washington. Washington accepted the Marquis’ services and awarded Lafayette the rank of general with the understanding that he was to receive no salary. The young man proved to be an able military leader and was a key influence in obtaining French support for the colonies during the American Revolution. When Lafayette returned to France, he transported a container of American soil in which he was later buried. He asked that an American flag be flown daily over his grave and this request has been fulfilled since 1834 (even secretly with small flags during the Nazi occupation of France, 1940-1944).

In 1894, two brothers – John Harvey Kellogg and William Keith Kellogg first marketed their corn flakes. I do believe the cereal is still in production.

Archives indicate the New York Knickerbockers became the world’s first organized baseball team in 1845. That team may have since disbanded – or started playing basketball.

In February of 1963, Great Britain experienced its all-time record snowfall when 65 inches fell on Tredegar, Gwent (Wales) during a series of three successive storms.

Super-glued your fingers together? Nail polish remover also removes super-glue.

From 1910 until 1913, William Howard Taft kept a personal cow on White House properties. The cow was a Holstein named Pauline Wayne. Miss Wayne replaced a cow named Mooley Wooly. I do not make these things up. Pauline’s job was to provide milk for the president, his wife and three children. There are photos of Pauline grazing serenely on the White House lawn.

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