“Oysters Growing on Trees”

Mr. C.H. Williams, of the Geographical Society of England, tells us how oysters inhabit the Mangrove woods in Cuba: ‘For several years I resided in that island, and have several times come across scenes and objects which many people would consider great curiosities — one in particular. Oysters grow on trees, in immense quantities, especially in the southern part of the island. I have seen miles of trees, the lower stems and branches of which were literally covered with them, and many a good meal have I enjoyed with very little trouble in procuring it. I simply placed the branches over the fire, and, when opened, I picked out the oysters with a fork or a pointed stick. These peculiar shell-fish are indigenous in lagoons and swamps on the coast, and as far as the tide will rise and the spray fly so will they cling to the lower parts of the Mangrove trees, sometimes four or five deep, the Mangrove being one of the very few trees that flourish in salt water.’

— Frank H. Stauffer, The Queer, the Quaint and the Quizzical, 1882

Mill Ends Park

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The smallest park in the world is Mill Ends Park in Portland, Oregon. You’re looking at it: 452 square inches, barely two feet across. The nearby Forest Park is 60 million times as big.

Mill Ends started in 1948, when Oregon Journal journalist Dick Fagan noticed a forgotten hole outside his office on Front Street. He planted flowers and began to write a weekly column about goings-on there, including “the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland.”

When Fagan died in 1969, Portland took up the tradition, dedicating Mill Ends as an official city park in 1976. Today it has a swimming pool for butterflies (with diving board), a miniature Ferris wheel, and statues, and it hosts snail races, weddings, and regular rose plantings.

Just goes to show, you don’t need a large lot if the location’s good.


Once upon a time, there lived a rich farmer who had 30 children, 15 by his first wife who was dead, and 15 by his second wife. The latter woman was eager that her eldest son should inherit the property. Accordingly one day she said to him, “Dear Husband, you are getting old. We ought to settle who shall be your heir. Let us arrange our 30 children in circle, and counting from one of them, remove every tenth child until there remains but one, who shall succeed to your estate.”

The proposal seemed reasonable. As the process of selection went on, the farmer grew more and more astonished as he noticed that the first 14 to disappear were children by his first wife, and he observed that the next to go would be the last remaining member of that family. So he suggested that they should see what would happen if they began to count backwards from this lad. She, forced to make an immediate decision, and reflecting that the odds were now 15 to 1 in favour of her family, readily assented. Who became the heir?

16 children

— W.W. Rouse Ball, Mathematical Recreations & Essays, 1892

“A Glutton”

Titus Angles of Darlington, has again shewn symptoms of a voracious appetite, by devouring five pounds and a half of old bacon, nauseous to the extreme. After finishing his repast he was taken in triumph round the town in a cart, and afterwards ducked in the Skerne.

— “Durham Paper,” cited in The Cabinet of Curiosities, 1824

Avoiding a Scandal


Three beautiful women and their jealous husbands want to cross a river, but the boat will hold only two people at a time. How can they arrange the crossing if no woman is to remain with a man unless her husband is present?

Click for Answer

Wile E. Coyote

Species designations for Wile E. Coyote:

  • Famishus vulgarus
  • Eatius slobbius
  • Hardheadipus oedipus
  • Carnivorous slobbius
  • Evereadii eatibus
  • Apetitius giganticus
  • Hungrii flea-bagius
  • Overconfidentii vulgaris
  • Caninus nervous rex
  • Grotesques appetitus
  • Nemesis ridiculii

Chuck Jones said, “Wile E. is my reality, Bugs Bunny is my goal.”