Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How About Those "Crazy Ants...?"

You probably know all about these destructive critters, but I figured we would talk some more about them.

Man, these guys are bad to have around. Not only do they do a lot of damage, but they are really hard to get rid of.

Ants That Eat Computers


In certain states in the Southeast US, fire ants are being slaughtered. That’s good news for most people, but their replacement might be even worse. In 2002, a species of invasive ant was discovered by an exterminator in Texas. Dubbed “crazy ants,” they were killing all the fire ants in sight. But crazy ants are becoming infamous because of the bizarre way they invade electronics, chew through the circuitry, and kill themselves when they reach the live electric wiring.

But as they die in a puff of smoke, they send out a chemical that calls other ants to the electric source to avenge their death. The result is a swarm of ants attacking the wiring in computers, cell phones, and TVs.

And they’re spreading. What started in Texas quickly moved across Mississippi and Florida, and is now moving north through Georgia. Crazy ants have a knack for reproducing faster than native ant species, out-competing them for food, killing everything that’s left, and taking over their nests.

Now, I don't know about you but I could go a long time and be happy not seeing any of these bad boys around. I'm funny that way, I guess!

Coffee in the kitchen in case the rain comes back, OK?

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Bird Mystery For Monday...

I try to find an interesting subject for Monday Mysteries and this one might just fit the bill.

While the mass deaths of some birds here in the states are more and more common, this one from India seems even more strange. I found this story over sat Listverse.


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Birds have been dropping dead worldwide in recent years, and this is a lot worse than finding your pet canary at the bottom of its cage. In Kentucky, hundreds of sterlings and robins were found on one woman’s property. In Chile, thousands of flamingos, 1,200 penguins and 60 pelicans died over the course of 2 months. Mass bird deaths are happening with alarming frequency in recent years, but one place in particular stands our more than any other: Jatinga, India. Every year in this small village, birds will fly themselves into the ground. There are many mysteries surrounding this case: Why do they do this at all? Why does it affect different types of birds? Why do the birds only do this along a small stretch of the road? Why does it only happen in September? And why do the birds do this after sunset, when they are usually only active in daylight? Many people visit this spot every year to see the phenomenon occur for themselves.

You have to admit there is something really mysterious going on with all these mass deaths involving birds. Whatever it is, I'm glad it doesn't happen close to where I live!

Coffee in the kitchen again today. there may be some more rain coming.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Already...?

Well, I reckon it is, at that! I swear I don't know where the time goes anymore.

Of course, being Sunday and all, we have to have some 'toons. Well, we don't really have to, but some folks like to have them, ya know? Besides, it's better than hearing more of the terrible news from around the world, don't ya think?

We don't see much of Pluto anymore. Back in the day, he was fairly popular, though!

Funny how we can get so many emotions just from the expressions on the face of a cartoon, isn't it?

Just one more to start the day! Certainly more fun than cleaning the patio!

Guess this is what they mean about "if ya can't beat 'em, join 'em", ya reckon?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Cinnamon rolls all around!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Little Forensic Mystery For Saturday...!

Just to be doing something a tad different, I figured I would post a good forensic story here for your enjoyment.

Sometimes the answer to what seems to be a total mystery can be a very simple one. This story will show what I mean!

Colonel William Shy’s Grave

9- william shy

The Facts: On December 15–16, 1864, the city of Nashville became a battleground for the already bloody American Civil War. William M. Shy, a Confederate Colonel of the 20th Tennessee Regiment, was shot in the head at point-blank range on the second day of the Battle of Nashville. This is where the story should have ended, but a 1977 excavation of his grave site proved that Colonel Shy was not yet through with the world.

The Weird: In December 1977, forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass arrived in Nashville to investigate a case of vandalism at William Shy’s grave. The grave had been excavated, and a headless body had been propped upright on top of a 19th-century cast-iron coffin. The body appeared to be in an advanced state of deterioration and decay, but some discernible flesh and joints were still completely intact. Dr. Bass and the other forensic experts on the case made the natural assumption that the body had not belonged to the colonel, because his body should have already decomposed to dust.

After further examination, Dr. Bass declared that the body had been dead less than a year, and therefore definitely could not belong to Col. William Shy. But the inconsistencies kept piling up. Soon after the initial investigation, the body’s head was found—with a gunshot wound through the skull. Further, the clothes and casket did seem to be authentic Civil War-era artifacts. The answer was almost laughably simple, but it kept the forensic experts baffled for weeks. The cast-iron coffin—which was a rare privilege reserved for someone of Col. Shy’s social status—was secure enough to keep out all moisture, insects, and oxygen that would have progressed the decomposition process. With none of those present, the body was essentially trapped in a time capsule.

See what I mean? Simple answer if you know what to look for.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Raining lightly out on the patio.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Good Story For Freaky Friday...!

I believe that the mystery lovers in our midst will like this story sent to me by Baby Sis. I enjoyed it, but then I always like stories dealing with the ironic!

For the mystery fans...

Better than Agatha Christie

Anyone want to take a shot at the odds of this ever happening again? For those who have served on a jury, this one is something to think about. Just when you think you have heard everything!

Do you like to read a good murder mystery?

Not even Law and Order would attempt to capture this mess.

 This is an unbelievable twist of fate!

 At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science (AAFS), President Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death.

 Here is the story: On March 23, 1994, the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus, and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head.

Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide. He left a note to that effect indicating his despondency.

As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building workers, and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

The room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun! The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife, and the pellets went through the window, striking Mr. Opus.

When one intends to kill subject 'A' but kills subject 'B' in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject 'B.'

When confronted with the murder charge, the old man and his wife were both adamant, and both said that they thought the shotgun was not loaded. The old man said it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun.

He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, assuming the gun had been accidentally loaded.

The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident.

It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother.

Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.

Now comes the exquisite twist...

Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son, Ronald Opus, had actually murdered himself. So the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

A true story from Associated Press.

I would say that this is the ultimate story of irony, wouldn't you? I mean, who could make this stuff up?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Fresh cantaloupe on the side.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Did You Say " Heroic Politicians...?"

It isn't often that you hear the words heroic and politician together. In fact, this may be one of the first I know of.

Helping women to get the vote was not considered a good way to advance your political future, yet several did just that. They risked a lot to see that the right of women to vote became the law of the land. I reckon that heroic could rightly be used in this case, don't you?

Heroic Politicians

“Heroic” and “politician” don’t usually go together, but some of America’s male politicians were definitely suffrage heroes. In 1878, Senator Aaron Sargent of California—a friend of Susan B. Anthony and a steadfast supporter of women’s rights—introduced a bill nicknamed “the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.” It stated that no citizen could be prevented from voting because of their gender. Unfortunately, the bill took a while to pass.

Forty years later, three congressmen went above and beyond to help the Anthony Amendment (now officially the 19th Amendment) pass the House of Representatives. Thetus W. Sims of Tennessee had a painful broken shoulder, but he not only showed up to vote with his arm in a sling, he also lobbied his Southern colleagues to vote for the bill, too. Indiana’s Henry Barnhart was carried into the House on a stretcher to give his vote. And Congressman Frederick Hicks of West Virginia obeyed his dying wife’s request to leave her bedside so he could make sure the amendment passed.

But the drama wasn’t over even when the 19th Amendment finally won passage in both the House and the Senate—it still had to be ratified by at least 36 states. The press followed the frantic trip of West Virginia State Senator Jessie Bloch as he rushed home from a vacation in California because the governor had called a special ratification session. He knew the bill wouldn’t pass without him—and he arrived just in time to cast the vote that made West Virginia the 34th state to ratify the Amendment.

Even more dramatic was the saga of 24-year-old State Representative Harry Burn. His vote made Tennessee the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, and thus was the deciding vote in making women’s suffrage the law of the land. Desperate anti-suffragists demanded that Harry change his “aye” to “nay.” They accused him of taking bribes, ordered his mom to make him change his mind, and generally harassed him until he had to hire bodyguards. But Harry stood firm, proud of his action “to free 17 million women from political slavery.”

I can't help but wonder how many politicians today would do the same thing? My guess is that very few would step up, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More Lewis And Clark For Western Wednesday...!

There is something about the Lewis and Clark expedition that continues to call out to a lot of us. I don't really know what it is, but the call is there.

Here is a bit of history from that expedition that I didn't know until now. I thought I might share it with you!

Lewis and Clark promote Patrick Gass to sergeant

Following the death of Sergeant Charles Floyd, Lewis and Clark promote Patrick Gass as his replacement.

Barely three months into their journey to the Pacific, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark lost the only man to die on the journey. On August 20, 1804, Sergeant Charles Floyd died from a disease Lewis diagnosed as "Biliose Chorlick," or bilious colic. Based on the symptoms described, Floyd's appendix had probably ruptured and he died of peritonitis. After burying Floyd on a high bluff above the Missouri River, the expedition moved on toward the Pacific Ocean.

Two days later, the captains held an election among the men to determine Floyd's replacement. Private Patrick Gass received a majority of the votes. A native of Pennsylvania, Gass had joined the U.S. Army in 1799 at the age of 28. He proved to be a reliable soldier and soon won promotion to sergeant. When a call for volunteers to join Lewis and Clark's journey of exploration to the Pacific was released, Gass jumped at the chance. Lewis overrode the commander's objections to giving up his best noncommissioned officer, and Gass joined the Corps of Discovery as a private.

Gass proved himself a capable man in the first weeks of the mission. The captains agreed with their men--Gass was the best choice to replace Floyd as one of the two sergeants on the expedition. On this day in 1804, Lewis issued an order promoting Gass to the rank of "Sergeant in the corps of volunteers for North Western Discovery." Gass proved more than equal to the task. He served faithfully during the long journey to the Pacific and kept a careful journal throughout the journey, an important historical contribution.

After the expedition returned, Lewis and Clark released Gass from duty, giving him a letter testifying to his excellent service. Gass settled in Wellsburg, West Virginia, where he prepared for the publication of his journal. Appearing seven years before the official narrative of the journey was published, A Journal of the Voyages and Travels of a Corps of Discovery was a well-crafted account of the journey that continues to be useful to historians.

Having already completed the adventure of a lifetime, Gass still had many decades ahead of him. He served again in the army, lost an eye during the War of 1812, married at the age of 58, and fathered seven children. For most of his later years, Gass was the sole surviving member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. He lived until 1870, dying only a few months short of his 100th birthday.

Looks like this old boy had a lot going for him. To live that long at the time was quite an accomplishment in itself. Anoither unsung hero in our colorful history, I reckon!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, but we may have to go to the kitchen if it starts raining!