Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Jack Slade For Western Wednesday...!

Sometimes we forget that the criminal types in the West often started out as one of the good guys. Somewhere down the line they changed direction morally.This was the case with ol' Jack Slade!

Jack Slade joins the army

Jack Slade, who later became a victim of the Montana vigilantes, begins his involvement with the West by joining the military.

Born in 1829 in Illinois, Joseph Alfred Slade was the son of a prominent businessman and congressman. He joined the 1st Illinois Infantry when he was 18 and was introduced to a hard but adventurous life when his unit traveled to New Mexico. Slade left the army after only one year and returned to Illinois, but he headed westward again in 1850, reportedly fleeing charges that he had killed a man with a rock.

For several years, Slade wandered about the West–even visiting California during the height of the gold rush. By the late 1850s, he was finding steady work as a wagon boss supervising the shipment of freight across the Overland Trail. Slade earned a reputation both as a skilled frontiersman and as a hard-nosed boss given to vicious drunken rages. According to one source, Slade killed one of his own teamsters west of the Green River in Wyoming while he was drunk, though the murder was unverified and he was never prosecuted for any such crime.

Many employers considered a certain amount of violent ruthlessness to be a useful trait in a wagon boss, and Slade’s tough reputation and experience eventually won him a new job. He became an agent in charge of operations on the Overland Mail Company’s stage line from Julesberg, Colorado, to South Pass, Wyoming. It was one of the roughest sections of the line, plagued by attacks from hostile Indians and outlaws. Fearless, cool, and merciless, Slade worked with law enforcement officers to tame his segment of the trail by hanging any stage robbers or horse thieves he could catch and keeping his drivers armed.

Though he certainly presided over a number of vigilante-style executions, evidence that Slade personally killed people is sparse. Legend has it that Slade viciously killed a man by the name of Jules Reni (or possibly Beni) by having him lashed to a corral post and then slowly shooting him to death, but discrepancies and contradictions abound in accounts of the incident. Slade did carry a pair of human ears with him, which he claimed were Reni’s.

In 1862, the Overland Mail Company fired Slade for a drunken spree. The following year he joined the gold rush to Virginia City, Montana. He established a freight business in the booming frontier-mining town and began ranching along the nearby Madison River with his wife Maria. When sober, Slade was by all accounts a peaceful and upstanding member of the Virginia City community. When drunk, he became boisterous and threatening. Several times, he shot up saloons and businesses, though he always paid for the damages after sobering up. More worrisome, he sometimes made wild threats to kill prominent Virginia City citizens.

In 1863, many of the people of Virginia City banded together and formed a committee to halt the depredations of the violent Plummer Gang, which had committed a string of robberies and murders. Within a year, the Montana vigilantes had tracked down and executed much of the gang, and they turned their attentions elsewhere. Swayed by unverified rumors that Slade was a ruthless murderer, many of the vigilantes believed it was just a matter of time before he made good on his threats to kill someone. On March 10, 1864, the vigilantes arrested Slade, gave him a few minutes to pen a last letter to his wife, and summarily hanged him. The questionable justice of hanging a man who had committed no crime in Virginia City more serious than shooting up saloons helped convince many Montanans that the vigilantes were no longer useful. After Slade’s death, the organization became less active, and the vigilantes had faded into history by 1867.

One thing we have to admit about Jack. He was certainly a colorful fellow. His lifestyle was his choice and his downfall!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. OK with you?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Some Humorous Quotes...!

It's been a while since I've done a post featuring featuring humorous quotes from famous people, so I figured this would be a great time!

A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, 'At my age, I don't even buy green bananas.'
Claude Pepper

I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me.
Stephen Fry

My definition of an intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.
Billy Connolly

Older people shouldn't eat health food, they need all the preservatives they can get.
Robert Orben

We owe a lot to Thomas Edison - if it wasn't for him, we'd be watching television by candlelight.
Milton Berle

If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners.
Johnny Carson

I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they now do.
Will Rogers

He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.
Raymond Chandler

A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.
Yogi Berra

There! I hope you enjoyed these bits of humor. Some I even laughed at.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Medical Miracle For Monday Mystery...!

Sometimes things seem to happen for which there is just no explanation...thus the mystery!

Hospitals have been the place for a number of these unexplained happenings. The story that follows will show you just what I mean.

The Miraculous Recovery Of Chucky McGivern

In December 1982, seven-year-old Chucky McGivern was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and diagnosed with a rare disease called “Reye’s syndrome,” which attacked his brain, liver, and nervous system. Chucky soon went into a coma, and his family was told he only had a 10 percent chance of survival.

Hoping for a miracle, Chucky’s mother pinned a medal to his bed featuring the likeness of St. John Neumann, a noted religious figure who became the Bishop of Philadelphia during the mid-19th century and was eventually canonized by Pope Paul VI. For whatever reason, the presence of this medal seemed to pave the way for a series of miraculous events.

The medal containing St. John’s likeness had been threaded to a safety pin alongside two other medals. But on numerous occasions when Chucky’s mother returned to the room, she discovered that the medal had been unthreaded and turned face down.

Things got even stranger when a picture of St. John was found taped to the wall. No one from Chucky’s family or the hospital staff admitted to doing these things. An unidentified boy also kept showing up in the ward, entering Chucky’s room, and interacting with his family. Whenever security was called, they couldn’t find this boy. No one ever saw him entering the hospital, either.

Four days after falling into his coma, Chucky suddenly woke up and made a miraculous, unlikely recovery. He described a dream in which he saw this same, mysterious boy standing over him. After Chucky was discharged from the hospital, his family made a trip to the Shrine of St. John Neumann (pictured above) and saw a painting of St. John when he was 12 years old. He looked exactly like the mysterious boy everyone had seen at the hospital.

Was it a true miracle...or not? Whatever the reason, the young man came out of the coma and all ended well That's the important thing!

Coffee out on the patio today The weather guy says no rain!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Nudes Of Dr. Seuss...!

The man we all know as Dr. Seuss was actually a successful artist before writing the Dr. Seuss books.

He worked for the government for a while making the "Pvt. Snafu" propaganda films. He wanted to do something a bit different, so that's how the book about the 7 nudes came about.

Smut About Seven Naked Ladies

Photo credit: Random House via Amazon

Before Dr. Seuss started his career as everyone’s favorite children’s author, he made an unusual deal with Random House. Seuss demanded a clause in his contract that allowed him to write a book about seven nudist sisters before he started writing children’s books.

As Seuss was convinced that such a book would be popular, he wanted his publisher to give him a chance to titillate the public with his erotic pictures. So he wrote The Seven Lady Godivas.

The pictures looked much like you’d expect from Seuss. In fact, his naked ladies looked exactly like the people in his kids’ books except that his erotic people didn’t have any clothes on.

But the erotic book flopped. Seuss lamented that he’d failed because he couldn’t draw the “sexy babes” as he’d wanted to. Then he went on to become the world’s most popular children’s author—all because he couldn’t draw a sexy enough picture. If you want to know more about this famous man, you can check him out on line. The place to start is right here!

Coffee out on the patio today. I don't have a clue what the weather is going to do!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The First Woman President...!

Even if Hillary manages to win the election, she will not be the first acting female president. Another woman was the first!

It's true that Mrs Woodrow Wilson was never sworn in, but she took over many of the tasks of running the White House when her husband became ill. Here is her story, straight from the folks at Listverse.

The First Female President Of The United States

Photo credit: Library of Congress

Unless you’re reading this years after it goes live, you’re probably aware that there’s a buzz surrounding a former first lady becoming the first female president of the US. Whether or not Hillary Clinton takes the crown in November is something we’ll have to wait to find out. But even if she carries the election, Hillary might do well to remember that she’s not the first woman to take control of the White House. In 1919, another first lady beat her to it.

In October that year, Woodrow Wilson suffered a titanic stroke that left him bedridden, incoherent, and in need of constant monitoring. Vice President Thomas Marshall moved to have Congress declare Wilson incapacitated, making him de facto president. Unfortunately for Marshall, Wilson had other ideas. In this instance, we don’t mean Woodrow. Edith Wilson shut her husband up in a bedroom to recover and proceeded to take over as acting president.

For the next four months, Edith oversaw meetings, saw governors, senators, congressmen, and the press and conducted the White House’s internal affairs. While never sworn in, she did everything a president has to do, including making life-or-death decisions that affected millions worldwide. It has even been suggested that she didn’t consult her husband on many of these decisions, meaning that Edith was for all intents and purposes running the country.

Of course, calling Edith the “first” female president depends on how you define “president.” Edith never took an oath of office, potentially disqualifying her. (She wasn’t elected, either, but neither were guys like Gerald Ford or Andrew Johnson.) On the other hand, she did everything we expect a president to do, all while helping her husband get back to good health. It’s a remarkable story and one that deserves to be more widely known.

As most of you know, I don't get into politics or religion very much on this blog. In this case though, I thought it important to remind us all of the accomplishments of Mrs. Wilson. In my opinion, she did an outstanding job!

Coffee in the kitchen once more. Another couple of inches of rain is expected this weekend!

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Charnel House On Freaky Friday...!

Nothing brings on the realization of how real death is, until we see bones piled up. A LOT of bones!

You might not think that piles of bones would be a great tourist attraction, but would probably be surprised at just how popular they are. I was surprised myself!

Eggenburg Charnel
Eggenburg, Austria

Photo credit: zyance

The small town of Eggenburg, Lower Austria, houses one of the most unique charnel houses in Central Europe because of the completeness of its contents. Even so, this is one of the least known charnels. Many tourists pass through Eggenburg without experiencing it.

However, if you are planning a visit, you should temper your expectations. The view is truly humbling, but you can only enjoy it from a platform above the pit that contains the bones. Although visitors are not allowed to enter, it is still worth the trip even if you only see the structure through plexiglass.

Of the skeletal remains of the 5,800 individuals deposited there, 2,200 can be traced back to medieval times. Studies conducted on the skulls of this latter group have revealed that 410 showed a wide variety of injuries and 430 displayed various pathologies.As a result, this charnel house is more than a simple tourist attraction.

If this wasn't freaky enough for ya, follow the link to Listverse, where they have many others on display. Not the actual bones, but the pictures!

Coffee inside this morning. Rain is coming...again!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

More Backstories For Well Used Phrases...!

Yesterday I posted about the term "cakewalk" and how it came to be. Let's do that again!

Today's phrase is actually derived from a nick-name given to an actual person. Here from the folks at Listverse is the whole story.

‘Smart Aleck’

A “smart aleck” (or “smart alec”) is a person who, to the irritation of everyone around, acts like they know everything. The phrase was inspired by a 19th-century man named Alec Hoag. Hoag and his wife, Melinda, were robbers in New York City. They developed a con that involved Melinda posing as a prostitute and luring innocent customers into a dark alley. While making out with the unsuspecting victims, she’d slyly steal valuables from their pockets and hand them to Hoag, who was hiding nearby. The duo, knowing that some of their victims would report to the authorities, struck a deal with several police officers to split the valuables with them.

Hoag stopped giving the police officers their share after he ran into some financial troubles. To avoid suspicion, he came up with the “panel game.” In this new scheme, Melinda would instead lead the victims to their apartment, where she would have them take off their clothes and give a subtle signal. Alec would emerge and secretly take the valuables from the clothes before leaving through an exit. Then, to the horror of the victim, Hoag would knock on the door. Melinda would tell the victim that it was her husband, who’d returned from a trip earlier than expected. The victim would quickly pick up their clothes and escape through the window.

The police soon discovered the couple’s new scheme and subsequently arrested and jailed them. The nickname “Smart Alec” was given to him by police officers mocking him for trying to outsmart them, and it soon became widely used in the decades that followed.

I've known more than one person that the nick-name could apply to. In each case, the name was well earned!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Supposed to be drying out today!