On the Lighter Side: True of False

Joe Guilbeau

TRUE OR FALSE: You can’t hum while you hold your nose?

TRUE: You just tested it, didn’t you?  You might be able to get a note or two out, but good luck with a full song.

Normally when you hum, the air escapes through your nose to create the sound and, of course, it can’t do that when you hold your nostrils shut.

Mr. Joe Guilbeau

TRUE OR FALSE: You have a greater chance of dying on your birthday than any other day of the year.

TRUE: In fact, the younger you are, the more likely you are to bite the bullet on your big day. So, go ahead and party – but not too hard.

TRUE OR FALSE: The $100 bill is the biggest bill in circulation.

FALSE: Although the federal government stopped printing them in 1945, the current notes in denomination of $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 are still legal tender. If you’ve never seen them, it’s because most have been snatched up by private collectors.

But even those aren’t the biggest bills ever printed. Between Dec. 18, 1934, and Jan. 9, 1935, the government released $100,000 notes featuring President Woodrow Wilson. However, they were only for transactions between federal reserve banks and never went out to the public.

TRUE OR FALSE: The Declaration of Independence made the United States a sovereign nation.

FALSE: Congress adopted the final text July 4, 1776, but most countries didn’t recognize the government at the time.

The French waited two years, and the British did not formally accept losing their colonies until the Treaty of Paris in 1783

TRUE OR FALSE: Firefighters use chemicals to make water “wetter.”

TRUE: The wetting agents reduce the surface tension of plain water, so it spreads and soaks into objects more easily, which is why fire crews use what is known as “wet water.”

TRUE OR FALSE: The Sahara Desert is the world’s largest desert.

FALSE: Technically, it’s Antarctica. The U.S. Geological Survey defines a desert as “arid land with meager rainfall (usually less than 10 inches per year) that supports only sparse vegetation and a limited population of animals.

Antarctica averages only six inches of rain a year (mostly as snow) and is almost 5.5 million square miles. The Sahara is only 3.3 million square miles. 

TRUE OR FALSE: The current American flag was designed by a high school student.

TRUE: Betsy Ross make way for Bob Heft. He sewed the prototype for a history project in 1958, the year before Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union.

His teacher gave him a “B” because no one knew for certain that the flag would ever need updating. Heavens to Betsy – there’s no proof that Ms. Ross even had anything to do with the original 13-star version of the flag.


My high school classmate and good friend J.L. grew in his backyard a very large blackberry that had been developed by the Horticulture Department at Southwestern Louisiana Institute. J.L. called them “educated berries.”