Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dangerous Potty Break...!

Heard the old saying "when in Rome..." before? I'm sure we all have.

It turns out that not everything that was early Roman was cool.One place that probably could have used some improvement was a few of the public toilets.


Photo credit: The Atlantic

We’ve all walked into a neglected gas station bathroom and found ourselves estimating how much longer we could hold it without doing permanent damage, but that fluorescent horror show’s got nothing on the latrines of old. The toilets of ancient Rome were a true test of one’s fecal fortitude, consisting of a stone bench with a rough hole leading to the city’s primitive sewer system. This direct connection meant all manner of vile critters could sink their teeth into the exposed buttocks of an unfortunate bathroom visitor. Worse yet, the methane buildup meant that it was not uncommon for toilets to spontaneously erupt into flame.

To quell this embarrassing epidemic, Romans would scribble images of Fortuna, the goddess of luck, and incantations meant to ward off evil spirits on bathroom walls. Believing laughter also repelled these demons, caricatures of religious figures were used as well, beginning the noble tradition of inappropriate bathroom stall graffiti.

Come to thin of it, some of the early outhouses (or Thunder boxes) were not that far removed from the Roman days, I reckon.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Proof Of The Legend For Western Wednesday...!

In this day of electronic marvels, we forget that it hasn't been that long ago that photography was something new and exciting. This story is about a first in the history of the early west and in photography.

Elusive Mount of the Holy Cross photographed

William Henry Jackson becomes the first person to photograph Colorado’s elusive Mount of the Holy Cross, providing reliable proof of its existence.

Rumors had abounded for years that a natural cross of snow lay hidden high in the rugged mountains of Colorado. Many claimed to have seen the cross, but others were unable to find it. In August 1873, the photographer William Henry Jackson set out to prove its existence by taking a picture of it. Jackson was an experienced wilderness photographer who had accompanied wagon trains to California in 1866 and was employed as expedition photographer on Ferdinand Hayden’s survey of the Yellowstone region in 1871. Published in popular mass-circulation magazines like Harper’s Weekly, his images became immensely popular and showed Americans a rugged western wilderness that most would never see firsthand.

Jackson had heard rumors of the extraordinary cross of snow that occasionally appeared on the face of a high mountain peak. Jackson led a small party to the supposed site in north central Colorado in the summer of 1873. Jackson found the cross, though there was nothing miraculous about its cause. After thousands of years of erosion, two deep ravines had formed in the steep rocky face of a mountain peak. Intersecting at a 90-degree angle, the ravines sheltered the winter snow from the sun well after the rest of the mountain snow had melted away. For a brief time, a nearly perfect cross of snow appeared on the rock face, though it often melted away later in the summer.

In the pre-dawn hours of this day in 1873, Jackson prepared the heavy camera equipment he had carried up the mountain opposite the cross. He took his photos of the cross just as the first rays of the sun angled low across the crevassed face, emphasizing the lines of the cross. The best of the resulting photos became one of Jackson’s most popular and famous images, and it ended any further doubts about the existence of the Mount of the Holy Cross.

Imagine what a sight that must have been and what a stir the picture must have caused when seen for the first time. Amazing!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Consider The Lowly Banana...!

The banana is considered the most devoured fruit in the world, which is not surprising to me.

One of the first pieces of fruit given to a child, it seems to be a favorite of people all over the world. When you read this article from Listverse, you may find out some little known facts about this wonderful snack.


It seems like bananas were practically designed for us primates: They’re soft, seedless, tailor-made for the grip of our hand, and even come with a tab for easy opening. In reality, wild-type bananas are mostly inedible, and the plantains we eat today are completely different after genetic modifications. Wild-type bananas, which are tiny, tough, and filled with pit-like seeds, sometimes produce mutant variants without seeds.

Humans have been playing with this specific mutation for at least 6,500 years to produce all the varieties of seedless bananas available today. The banana’s design might even be too popular at this point; today’s mass-produced bananas are considered too genetically uniform, making them susceptible to diseases. Looks like we have some more work to do.

Personally I like bananas, especially in something like Banana Pudding. There's something about the flavor of a banana that is very satisfying to me. I really like the Banana Pudding Ice Cream by Blue Bell!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, if we can beat the rain!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Rack Man For Monday Mystery...!

I have something a little different for ya today. Something wet!

This one is sort of strange because of no one being able identify the body.

Rack Man

Photo credit: Adam J.W.C.

On August 11, 1994, fisherman Mark Peterson set out on his boat and moved slowly up the Hawkesbury River just north of Sydney. It was a lovely day, and Mark became excited he felt a heavy tug on his fishing net. It was sure to be a good haul of fish. But when he drew his net from the water, it contained a heavy piece of steel fashioned into a crucifix. Tied to it was the remains of a human body.

Shocked, Peterson immediately called the police, who examined the remains and confirmed they were human. A forensic pathologist noted that the remains were of a male between 21 and 41 and that the bones were anatomically arranged on the crucifix. The victim’s entire body and head was wrapped in plastic. In addition to the plastic, there was wire wrapped around the head and torso.

The man has yet to be identified, partly because his fingerprints had literally been eroded by the water. He was given the nickname Rack Man. Police are still working on several leads, including one from the public that stated that Rack Man may be Joe Biviano, a drug dealer who had gone missing from Drummoyne in 1993. They are still hoping to match the DNA.

The remains of Rack Man are still lying in the morgue.

I wonder just how many dead bodies have been discovered by fishermen over the years? Evidently quite a few. Hope I never catch one!

Coffee out on the patio again today!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"Toons On Sunday...!

Gotta have a few 'toons on Sunday, right?

And one more...

Have a great day, OK?

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Strange Looking Squid...!

Once again, Mother Nature gives us a look at one of her strange but beautiful creatures.

The depths of the oceans contain some really astonishing creatures that we very seldom get to see. Because of the depths where so many of these beauties live, even pictures of most of them are few and far between.

Purple Googly-Eyed Squid

Photo credit: Sydney Morning Herald

Scientists aboard the undersea exploration vessel Nautilus in the Pacific were recently treated to a sight rarely looked upon by humans—Rossia pacifica, a type of bobtail squid that typically sticks close to the ocean floor. As you can see, they had no trouble spotting it, as it looks like a living, swimming plush animal.

The squid have been recorded dwelling as deep as 1,300 meters (4,000 ft) below the ocean’s surface, where intense cold and pressure can cause native lifeforms to take on strange and alien appearances. The Nautilus researchers were forced to consult several different institutions, including the University of California Santa Barbara, to identify the cute little guy. On the rare occasions when they are spotted, these squid tend to freeze up, as they are used to extremely dark environments, resulting in picture-perfect poses like the one above.

It really does look like some kind of plush toy you might find in a child's collection, doesn't it? Strange little critter, for sure. I took this article from Listverse again.

Coffee outside this morning, OK?

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Hollinwell Incident For Freaky Friday...!

Sometimes there are cases of what appears to be mass hysteria that just can't be explained.

In this case, taken from the pages of Listverse, there was an incident involving an entire marching band. How's that for creepy?

The Hollinwell Incident

Photo via the Birmingham Mail

On July 13, 1986, students gathered on the Hollinwell Showground in England’s Kirkby-in-Ashfield for a marching band competition. Witnesses reported that suddenly, hundreds of students fell silent, and nearly 300 of them collapsed. One victim was a three-month-old baby.

The students would describe the same symptoms—burning eyes and throat, nausea, headaches, and stomach cramps. By the time it was over, 259 would be taken to the hospital, and the event was given an ominous name: All Fall Down.

Decades later, it is still unclear what caused the mass collapse of marching band performers. Some claim it was mass hysteria, while others point to the possibility that a pesticide sprayed on the field was responsible for the students’ collapse, but nothing has ever been confirmed.

All I can say is that whatever caused this incident was pretty serious. How could it be faked when one of the victims was an infant? Strange to say the least!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, but be ready to move inside if the rain comes back.