Friday, May 29, 2015

Let's Talk About Fairy Floss...!

What's that, you say? You probably know it by another name...cotton candy!

Did you ever wonder when it was invented and by who? Bet the answer will surprise ya! The answer is a little freaky, for sure!

A dentist invented cotton candy. We swear we’re not making that up. The year? 1897. The place? Nashville, Tennessee.

Dentist William Morrison – perhaps seeing more than a few holes in his appointment book – teamed up with candy maker John C. Wharton to invent the device that makes cotton candy as we know it today. At the time, the air-spun sugary treat was called Fairy Floss. Whether Doc Morrison actually advocated flossing teeth with it, we don’t know.

The sticky sweet substance was a huge hit at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, where the duo sold 68,655 boxes of it.

Though cotton candy may have been a dentist’s homespun invention, its precursor may be an Italian goody from the 1400s, when cooks started using a new, labor-intensive culinary technique to create spun sugar. Using a fork, the cooks melted sugar and separated it into very fine strands which they draped over objects to create various decorative forms. Because of the high cost of sugar and the labor involved, this was a treat that only the very wealthy could afford.

At the World’s Fair, Doc Morrison and Wharton sold Fairly Floss for $0.25 a box, a hefty price back in 1904, equivalent to $5.99 today. The partners grossed $17,163.75, more than $410,000 in today’s dollars. Not bad, considering back then the average U.S. worker was earning between $200 and $400 a year. (Did we mention the cost of sugar was only four cents a pound and this well-received new confection was mostly air? These guys were literally spinning gold!

In 1920 Fairy Floss was reborn as cotton and in 1972, inventors patented an automatic cotton candy making machine, greatly speeding up the production process.

Nowadays, a circus just wouldn’t be a circus, a carnival just wouldn’t be a carnival, and Animals & Acrobats just wouldn’t be Animals & Acrobats without cotton candy! Oh, and popcorn too, which kids get FREE when you buy tickets online to this weekend’s circus extravaganza at Van Cortlandt Manor.

But, if cotton candy is your thing, make sure you brush and floss and take heart: at a mere 115 calories per serving, moderate consumption won’t expand the waistline.

I got this article freom the folks at HudsonVally.org. Amazing where some of this stuff comes from, right?

Coffee inb the kitchen this morning. Rain is supposed to come back with a vengence.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The First Roller Blades...!

Actually I don't knw if roller blades would be correct, but these wearable wheels were far ahead of their time.

Like so many other inventions we think of as new, the first ones were invented and used long ago. I can only imagine what funny looks the folks wearing them got as they rolled down the street or sidewalks. I'm sure a lot of people had to do a double take!

Wheel Skates


Photo via Scientific American

Wheel skates look somewhat like regular inline skates, except that the wheels are much larger, up to the size of bicycle tires. They are seen as a cross between an inline skate, a ski, and a bike. Recently, a company called Chariot Skates said they had come up with something unique—the Chariot wheel skates. According to the company, wheel skates are “revolutionary new skating product[s].” Revolutionary? They do at least revolve. New? No. The first wheel skate was made more than 142 years ago.

It even featured in the March 19, 1870, issue of Scientific American magazine. Made by Thomas Luders from Olney, Illinois, and called a “pedespeed,” the wheels then were much smaller, measuring around 36 centimeters (15 in) in diameter. Luders also said the skates could be used by anybody, irrespective of their physique. He himself was a large, heavy man, and he claimed he could use them for two straight hours without getting tired. Another version of wheel skates, appearing in 1923, had its tires on the inside of the foot rather than outside. (Other than the size of the wheels, the main improvement made by Chariot Skates is the small tire at the back of the bigger tire for increased stability.)

If you want to see the modern version, YouTube has some video of them. Just look for wheelskates. I guess the old saying is true...what goes around, comes back around!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. How about some sausage and biscuits?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Doc George Goodfellow For Western Wednesday...!

We often overlook an important factor in the wild west...the good doctor.

Often a well trained doctor could make the difference between life and death. George Goodfellow seems to have been a very knowldgeable doctor and evidently had a good sense of humor as well!

1887
George Goodfellow investigates earthquake

Reflecting a scientific spirit that was rare among frontier physicians, Tombstone doctor George Goodfellow rushes south to investigate an earthquake in Mexico. Though keenly interested in earthquakes, Goodfellow is best remembered today for being one of the nation’s leading experts on the treatment of gunshot wounds, a condition he had many opportunities to study in the wild mining town of Tombstone, Arizona.

Born in Downieville, California, in 1855, Goodfellow studied medicine at Cleveland Medical College and graduated with honors in 1876. He practiced briefly in Oakland, but then went to Prescott, Arizona, where his father was a mining engineer. After working for a time as an army contract surgeon, he relocated to Tombstone in 1880, one year before the Earps and McLaury-Clantons shot it out at the O.K. Corral. Since Tombstone was also home to dozens of other gunslingers and criminals, Goodfellow’s skills as physician, surgeon, and coroner were in steady demand.

Although he was a serious and studious physician, Goodfellow was not above indulging in a bit of gallows humor, which was well suited to a town like Tombstone. Describing the condition of one murder victim, he wrote that the corpse was “rich in lead, but too badly punctured to hold whiskey.” In his role as coroner, he deflected guilt from a vigilante lynch mob by officially ruling that the victim “came to his death from emphysema of the lungs, a disease common to high altitudes, which might have been caused by strangulation, self-inflicted or otherwise.”

Yet Goodfellow did much more than perform autopsies on murder victims and treat bullet wounds. He developed new methods of operating on the prostate gland and performed the first successful prostatectomy in history. He was among the first surgeons anywhere, much less in the remote regions of the Wild West, to use spinal anesthesia. He advocated an open-air treatment of tuberculosis that soon made the desert climate of the Southwest the home of hundreds of sanatoriums.

In a time when many self-professed doctors had little or no formal training and used treatments that often did more harm than good, Goodfellow was a dedicated scientist who believed diseases could be cured with rational methods. He made frequent trips east to remain abreast of the latest medical breakthroughs. He was also a talented linguist and an avid student of geology, rushing to the Sonora Desert on this day in 1887 to study the effects of a powerful earthquake.

After 12 years in Tombstone, Goodfellow returned to California and became a leading physician in San Francisco. For those 12 years, though, Tombstone—today best known for its gunslingers, gamblers, and desperados—had one of the most scientifically advanced doctors in the West. Goodfellow died in Los Angeles in 1910 at the age of 64.

Sounds like the kind of doctor I would want around if I lived back then. Many folks needed all the help they could get!

Coffee outside this morning. We may have to fight off the 'skeeters, but that's OK.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Creepy Island Story For Tuesday...!

Lighthouses, ghost ships, sunken cities, and now we have some island stories! Kinda covering all the bases, ya know?

Given the right circumstances, I reckon any place could be creepy. Throw in a unusual history and that helps a lot! Tha's a little of what today's story is all about.

Isola La Gaiola


Photo via Wikipedia

At first glance, Isola La Gaiola seems like a perfect example of the beauty and romance of southern Italy. Situated in the Gulf of Naples, the island is split into two sections joined by a rough stone bridge. Surrounded by ruins dating back to Ancient Rome, the island is at the center of Gaiola Underwater Park, an area famous for its rich marine wildlife. At one time, Isola La Gaiola was a status symbol for the rich, with Europe’s wealthiest vying for ownership. Today, the island stands deserted—due in part to the string of unfortunate incidents that plagued its former owners, leading to rumors that the island is cursed.

Fittingly, the island’s first recorded inhabitant was a hermit known only as “the Wizard,” who lived there in the early 19th century. Later, a rustic villa was built. Talk of a curse began in the 1920s, when the owner of the villa was found murdered, his body concealed inside a rolled-up carpet. Shortly afterward, his wife apparently drowned in the gentle seas of the Gulf.

The island then passed to a wealthy German named Otto Grunback, who soon suffered a heart attack while staying there. The next owner, a Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon, went insane and committed suicide. So did the son of legendary Fiat head Gianni Agnelli. His nephew, who had replaced his son as heir to the Fiat empire, died of an extremely rare type of cancer shortly afterward. Yet another owner bankrupted himself with his lavish spending, while J. Paul Getty’s grandson was famously kidnapped shortly after he purchased La Gaiola.

The island and its decaying villa have been abandoned since its last owner was jailed in connection with the collapse of his company. Unsurprisingly, nobody has been rushing to buy it.

Isn't it strange that some of the prettiest places seemed to be cursed or haunted? I wonder why that is?

I think that we better have our coffee inside this morning. The weather has been crazy the past couple of days!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Brazilian Atlantis For Monday Mysteries...!

Seems like many different groups have been searching for Atlantis for years. Until now, none have had any luck.

Some of the latest finds by one group has raised some interesting questions, t say the least. If nothing else, their discovery may create as many questions as it answers

The Brazilian Atlantis

The legendary lost continent of Atlantis has captured the imagination of generations of explorers, with many wishing they could make a discovery that would turn myth into reality. In 2013, it seemed that a group of Brazilian geologists might have done just that.

Working with Japanese scientists, the Brazilians announced that they had found granite around 2,500 meters (8,000 ft) underwater. Since, granite is only formed on land, the discovery pointed to the existence of an ancient continent now lying submerged on the ocean floor. Further supporting the theory was the discovery of quartz deposits, which also only form on land. According to the researchers, the granite found resembled a cliff and they expect to make further discoveries confirming the existence of the submerged continent.

That hasn’t happened yet, so the exact cause of the granite in the ocean remains a mystery. Some have even speculated that the researchers might just have stumbled upon ballast dumped from a ship, although admittedly the odds of that happening in the middle of the vast ocean are astronomical. While the potential new continent is unlikely to be the mythical Atlantis, it might be the closest we get.

There are so many natural mysteries we know nothing about. Someday we may come across one that can be explained, but until then we'll have to just enjoy them for what they are...Mysteries!

How about coffee out on the patio this morning? Sound good?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday...And I'm Back !

I appreciate you letting me take the day off yesterday. How about we celebrate with some old 'toons?

Some of these are older than I am and that's saying something!



See what I mean? On to the next one...



Now, I know you all remember this next story...



Well, I reckon that's all for today. Again, I'm sorry for whimping out yesterday. I do appreciate you still dropping by all the time!

Coffee in the kitchen again today. How about some cream cheese filled buns?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No Post Today...Sorry!

Something has come up, so I won't be doing a post today.Thanks to the folks that came by and I'm sorry that I didn't have anything for ya this morning, OK? Have a good Saturday!