MULLET OVER BY JAMES K. WHITE  |  February 24, 2016

It's been awhile...

james k whiteHello. It has been about 13 months since I last penned a column. Since then, I have had several visits to the Houston Medical Center for treatment of stage 4 cancer. After undergoing numerous “medical procedures,” there are body parts missing and I have lost just over 100 pounds. However, I feel stronger again and mentioned to my wife I had half a mind to resume writing Mullet Over. She assured me, that quantity of mind was plenty for my particular compositions. So here goes:

A justice on the U.S. Supreme Court is given an annual salary of $249,300. The chief justice makes $260,700. A certain starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals makes $30,000,000 per year which parses to about $1,200,000 per regular season game – no matter how he performs during any particular outing. Illinois is often celebrated as “The Land of Lincoln.” It should be noted that Abe was born in Kentucky in 1809 and spent most of his childhood in Kentucky and Indiana. Also interesting is that a boy named Jefferson Davis was born in Kentucky in 1809. These two lads would have business dealings later (1861-1865).

In 1980, some fortunate soul using a metal detector near Kingower, Victoria, Australia had his beeper “go berserk.” He had found a gold nugget that weighed just over 72 pounds. The specimen was named “Hand of Faith” and is currently on display at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

There are at least 29 distinct species of rattlesnakes in the Americas. At least 65 sub-species have been identified. All rattlesnakes are poisonous, even some of the “dead” ones.

James Madison measured 5 feet 4 inches and has thus far been our shortest president. Lincoln at 6 feet four inches was our tallest chief executive.

In 1924, Kimberly-Clark introduced facial tissues to the American public. Later called Kleenex, the product was promoted as a cleansing aid – primarily aimed at the removal of cold cream. In one of the best merchandise selling moves of all time, Kleenex was soon advertised as a disposable handkerchief. Use suggestions expanded to include baby-cleansing as well as various personal hygienic purposes. The product soon became available in several sizes, colors and fragrances. Ben Franklin was our first U.S. Postmaster General (1775).

I assume most of our readers have seen the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at least once. The scene where Butch (Paul Newman) uses too much dynamite was partly based on a real-life incident. In 1911 Oklahoma, one Elmer J. McCurdy and his gang stopped the Iron Mountain Missouri-Pacific and tried to steal $4,000 from the train’s safe. Elmer used way too much nitroglycerin (which he had stolen from the U.S. Army). The paper money was incinerated and about $450 in silver coin was melted into 3 lumps, which the gang purloined. Well, watch out for rattlesnakes and have a great week.

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

Editor note: Although James White has not been writing over the last 13 months, we were able to publish 'tucked away' columns during his absence. We are so pleased to have him back!