Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Stagecoach Mary For Western Wednesday...!

We have talked about Mary before, but I figured we could pay her another visit.

While there were many colorful men in the old west, not many women are heard about. That's one reason that Mary is so unique. Not only was she colorful, but quite well known in certain states. Interesting history surrounding Mary, as this article from Listverse shows.

Mary Fields



Photo via Wikimedia

Also known as “Stagecoach Mary,” Mary Fields was one of the most formidable women of the Old West. Said to be a match for any man, she enjoyed brawling and was known to brag that she could knock any challenger out with a single punch. Newspapers of the time claimed that she broke more noses than anyone else in central Montana and she always backed herself up with a six-shooter holstered under her apron. She liked to drink, smoked bad homemade cigars, and was so respected in her adopted hometown of Cascade, Montana, that her birthday was made a school holiday every year.

Born a slave in Tennessee, Mary gained her freedom after the Civil War. She subsequently worked on the steamboat Robert E. Lee during its famous race with the Natchez, when the crew even tossed ham and bacon into the boilers and sat on the release valves to build the steam pressure higher. In 1885, she moved to Cascade, Montana, to work for the nuns of St. Peter’s Convent. She did all the heavy work, including hauling supplies, carpentry, and stonemasonry. One of her most famous deeds came when wolves attacked her supply wagon during a night run. The horses were spooked and the wagon overturned, but Mary stood guard over the supplies until morning, keeping the wolves at bay with her trusty revolver.

The nuns loved Mary, but she was forced to resign after Montana’s first Catholic bishop heard of her brawling and a rumored gunfight. Shortly afterward, she hitched a team of horses faster than any other applicant and was hired to deliver mail to the towns around Cascade, braving blizzards and harsh terrain in the process. She was 60 at the time and only the second woman ever hired by the US Postal Service.

There was also a softer side to Mary. She loved baseball and always presented the Cascade team with bouquets of flowers from her garden. She babysat for most of the children in town, including the actor Gary Cooper, who recalled her fondly later in life. After retiring from delivering mail, she tried to open a restaurant, but went broke because she always let those in need eat for free. When her house burned down in 1912, the whole town came together to build her a new one. A 1910 contract to lease a hotel in town includes a clause stipulating that Mary could always eat for free. She was also the only woman allowed to drink in the local saloon. She passed away of liver failure in 1914.

Yes indeed...I'd say Mary was quite the character. One of those types that certainly helped to create the "Wild, Wild West!"

Coffee in the kitchen this morning because it's storming again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Strange Superstitions About Ships...!

There should be no surprise at the number of superstitions in the maritime profession. Racked with mysteries and legends by the boatload (no pun intended ), the seas are certainly prime for superstitions concerning ships.

Ship Names



Some seafarers believe that a ship with a name ending in the letter “A” will have bad luck all around. It is thought that this superstition came about with the sinking of the Lusitania and Britannia during World War I.

It is also feared that changing a ship’s name will cause bad luck to befall it. An example of this superstition in action is the ship that used to be called Aurora. Before Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail for Antarctica in 1914, he renamed his ship Endurance. He wanted to see the whole of the continent during his journey, but the ship became stuck in the ice and ended up being completely destroyed. Fortunately, Shackleton and his entire crew were rescued.

The reasoning behind the name change belief is that superstitious sailors believe that once a boat or ship is named and inaugurated, it has a personality and life of its own. If a new name must be given, a de-naming event is required to take place first. One can do this by putting the existing name of the ship in a wooden container and burning the entire thing. Afterward, the remains of the burnt container must be scattered into the ocean.

It's actually a small wonder that there are so many superstitions surrounding the sea and the ships that travel on it. Because of the very size of the seas and the nature of ocean travel, legends and myths (along with all their superstitions) were bound to follow.

Coffee out on the patio, after the morning rain.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Devil's Footprints For Monday Mystery...!

This is one of those cases that would seem like an urban legend at first glance, but is pretty well documented.

Seems to have happened in other parts of the world as well, which would lend to it's validation. This article came from Listverse again.

The Devil’s Footprints



Devil FootprintsThe Devil’s Footprints was the name given to a peculiar phenomenon that occurred in Devon, England on 8 February 1855. After a light snowfall, during the night, a series of hoof-like marks appeared in the snow. These footprints, measuring 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide and eight inches apart, continued throughout the countryside for a total of over 100 miles, and, although veering at various points, for the greater part of their course followed straight lines. Houses, rivers, haystacks and other obstacles were travelled straight over, and footprints appeared on the tops of snow-covered roofs and high walls which lay in the footprints’ path, as well as leading up to and exiting various drain pipes of as small as a four inch diameter. Reports of similar anomalous, obstacle-unheeded footprints exist from other parts of the world, although none is of such a scale as that of the case of the Devil’s Footprints.

This is a strange one indeed. Seems too elaborate to be a hoax, and the fact that it has been to other countries is curious as well.

Coffee out on the patio today. Keep an eye out for strange footprints.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

No Post Today...!

No post here due to an unexpected visit from my oldest and my grand daughter! I hope you understand!

Help yourself to the coffee pot. You know where it is!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

I Don't Like Spiders...!

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I don't like spiders!

Although some of them eat the 'skeeters and such, something about spiders just gives me the creeps, ya know? Here's one that has a different way of hunting than most. You might find it interesting.

Spitting Spider



Photo credit: Andre Karwath

Forgoing a web for a more mobile mode of hunting, members of the family Scytodidae, the spitting spiders, constitute a particularly unique form of arachnid exceptionalism. Spitting spiders lack the silk-producing spinnerets common to more typical spiders.

Instead, these creatures live in forests and scamper around in pursuit of small prey items, which they capture by spitting a sticky, venom-infused mixture of fluids that immobilize the prey. The fluids are expelled from the poison glands and then fall upon the prey.

Next, the spider seizes the victim and injects a powerful venom that liquefies the insides of the prey before consumption. With a spindly appearance, the spiders have notably large venom glands to facilitate their copious spraying of venom and mucus.

The larger the prey, the greater the amount of mucus lobbed in its direction. The mucus is distributed through a head-shaking, spraying motion. Furthermore, these spiders have an interesting reproductive history to complement their remarkable hunting strategies. Females take two to three years to reach maturity and select males based on their pheromones. Mating takes place based on chance encounters, with care being taken by males to avoid being mistaken for prey.

Just what I need! A spider that actually spits at me. Bad enough when I get the web across my face and beard, now I have to worry about them spitting on me!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Watch out for spiders, though!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Making Clothes From Gelatin...?

We are always searching for "greener" products to use, right? Here's one that might surprise ya!

Gelatin



You know gelatin as the stuff in your JELL-O, some frosted cereals, and sometimes even yogurt. Where you won’t find gelatin is in your clothes.

Yet.

While you probably think of gelatin as being gooey and jiggly in consistency, it’s actually a powder made from crushed skin, cartilage, bone marrow, and other animal by-products. This makes it a perfect candidate for a sustainable, less wasteful material from which to make clothes.

Researchers have succeeded in spinning yarn out of gelatin. The yarn is then treated with a spray of formaldehyde gas and lanolin, producing a strong, warm yarn you can spin into gummy-bear mittens (sugary flavor not included).

Using gelatin to make clothes isn’t all that weird, either. The textile industry experimented with using vegetable and food by-products as far back as a century ago, until the petroleum-based industry took over.

Today, as we look for greener and less biologically harmful ways to live, scientists—and designers—are looking for more natural sources for what we wear. It might sound strange now, but you probably won’t give a second thought to wearing JELL-O socks, bamboo dresses, or sour milk shirts in the future.

I found this information interesting, to say the least. I can get behind most of the alternate ways for making clothes, except maybe for the sour milk shirts! Gotta draw the line at some point, ya know? You can thank the folks over at Listverse for the info.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The "Benjamin Button" Jellyfish...!

Did you know that there are some jellyfish that can reverse their aging process?

Scientist are studying the creature to see if any helpful knowledge can be gained for use by humans. I can see where growing younger instead of older might appeal to some folks, I don't think I want to sign up for this program just yet. Still, it's something interesting to find out about, right?

What Is The Secret To The Immortality Of Some Jellyfish Species?



Photo credit: Bachware /Wikimedia

The “Benjamin Button” jellyfish has an incredibly unique feature. While they normally reproduce and die in a manner you would expect, if they see serious trauma, they can reverse the aging process and start transforming themselves to a younger state of existence. This allows them to heal from injuries and survive great stress as a species and is currently making them a great threat to the world’s oceans. They are starting to crowd out parts of the oceans, making it difficult for other marine life to propagate and provide proper balance.

While scientists are skeptical that there is any answer to true immortality from jellyfish, others say we mustn’t dismiss the possibility of learning great things from them. These jellyfish can reactivate earlier programs encoded into their DNA and also switch cells to almost anything they need to be. If we could learn even a few things from how they can accomplish this, we could potentially use it to fight the spread of cancer. Unfortunately, it may be a long time before we find out if these jellyfish can provide us with that stronger anti-cancer weapon, as there is little if any research currently involved in the study of these amazing creatures.

Imagine that! Learning to live longer from a jellyfish! Pretty wild, I'd say. I got this article from Listverse, so gotta give credit where credit is due.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Don't worry...no jellyfish around here!