Saturday, March 31, 2012

Would You Eat This Fruit...?

I'll admit that I've eaten some pretty strange foods in my life, but nothing like this!

Just reading the description made me wonder why anyone would even consider this as food! I guess if you are hungry enough, you'll eat anything. However, up to this point, I haven't been that hungry! What about you?

Durian
Durionaceae


The Durian is a large fruit that is highly revered throughout Asia and is native to Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is well known as the king of the fruits and can become up to 30cm long with an average mass of 1 to 2 kg. The flesh, inside the spiny outer peel, releases a very pungent smell (sometimes likened to that of a rotting corpse) that can even penetrate through the skin, causing the fruit to be banned from many public transport systems. The inside flesh can be either pale yellow or red, depending on the species. The smell released can either evoke feelings of intense appreciation by local people, or an intense disgust for people that are not familiar with the fruit. The smell has been described as a combination of turpentine, gym socks and rotten onions. Surprisingly the taste of the fruit makes a complete contrast from the smell, and the taste has been described by naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace as “a rich custard highly flavored with almonds”. The fruit can be eaten in various levels of ripeness and even the seeds can be eaten when cooked.

I guess I shouldn't be so judgemental about what some folks like, but I'm not eating anything that smells like a corpse! Call me picky, but that's the way I feel!

Coffee on the patio this morning. We can watch the handyman clean the gutters! WHAT...you didn't think I was going to do it, did ya?

Friday, March 30, 2012

No Socks? No Problem...!

Many politicians should learn from this guy!

It's not always what you wear, but what you stand for that makes the difference! Being smart enough to turn your opponent's slams into a usable symbol is a real talent that some true politicians understand fully!

I'm thinking that a leader like this man would certainly come in handy about now!

Mar 30, 1891:
"Sockless" Simpson rallies populist farmers

Signaling a growing movement toward direct political action among desperate western farmers, "Sockless" Jerry Simpson calls on the Kansas Farmers' Alliance to work for a takeover of the state government.

Simpson was one of the most popular and influential leaders among Populist-minded western and mid-western farmers of the late 19th century. Angered over low crop prices, crippling bank loans, and high shipping rates, farmers began to unite in self-help groups like the Grange and the Farmers' Alliances. Initially, these groups primarily provided mutual assistance to members while agitating for the regulation of railroads and grain elevators. Increasingly, though, they became centers of support for more sweeping political change by uniting to help form the new nationwide third-party movement known as the Populists.

Simpson understood the West and the challenges of making a living in that difficult land. Since 1878, he had operated a ranch in southwest Kansas, where he first became involved in Republican politics. During the economic downturn of the 1890s, he became disgusted with the Republican's timid and ineffective efforts to help farmers and ranchers. Like many other men and women who worked the land for a living, he abandoned the major parties to try to achieve more fundamental change through the Populists.

Simpson became one of the most influential Populist leaders, thanks in part to his extraordinary wit and talent for cagey publicity stunts. Running for the U.S. Congress in 1890, Simpson's opponents sarcastically accused the Populist candidate of being a backcountry rube who did not even wear socks. Simpson quickly turned the insult to his advantage, proudly calling himself "Sockless Jerry" or the "Sockless Socrates of the Plains." Simpson's down-home manner and humor won him wide support, and he served in Congress three times during the 1890s. Had he not been Canadian by birth, he would likely have been nominated as the Populist's presidential candidate.
As with most third party movements in the history of the U.S., the Populist Party was short-lived. By 1898, Simpson was out of the Congress and Populism was all but dead. Still, Simpson and the Populists did succeed in pushing elite Americans to adopt some of their ideas. The Progressive-minded politicians of the early 20th century achieved at least some of the Populist goals, such as regulation of the railways. Shortly before he died in Wichita in 1905, Simpson noted that the Progressive politicians of the day were "just learning now what the farmers... knew fourteen years ago."

I don't know about you, but I'm about ready for a hero to show up. If not a hero, how about a truly honest, down home, almost common man! You know, like the most of us! Someone who will talk with us, not talk down to us!

Guess those days are over, huh? Just breaks your heart, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, as the rain made it too wet to sit outside! How about some apple pie?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Mad Bomber Strikes Again...!

This might just be the guy that started all the craziness!

This fool ran amok for many years without getting caught! He became a real nightmare for law officers and it was only decades after he started that he was stopped!

Mar 29, 1951:
The Mad Bomber strikes in New York

On this day in 1951, a homemade device explodes at Grand Central Station in New York City, startling commuters but injuring no one. In the next few months, five more bombs were found at landmark sites around New York, including the public library. Authorities realized that this new wave of terrorist acts was the work of the Mad Bomber.

New York's first experience with the so-called Mad Bomber was on November 16, 1940, when a pipe bomb was left in the Edison building with a note that read, "Con Edison crooks, this is for you." More bombs were recovered in 1941, each more powerful than the last, until the Mad Bomber sent a note in December stating, "I will make no more bomb units for the duration of the war." He went on to say that Con Edison, New York's electric utility company, would be brought to justice in due time.

The patriotic Mad Bomber made good on his promise, although he did periodically send threatening notes to the press. After his flurry of activity in 1951, the Mad Bomber was silent until a bomb went off at Radio City Music Hall in 1954. In 1955, the Mad Bomber hit Grand Central Station, Macy's, the RCA building and the Staten Island Ferry.

The police had no luck finding the Mad Bomber, but an investigative team working for Con Ed finally tracked him down. Looking through their employment records, they found that George Peter Metesky had been a disgruntled ex-employee since an accident in 1931. Metesky was enraged that Con Ed refused to pay disability benefits and resorted to terrorism as his revenge.

Metesky, a rather mild-mannered man, was found living with his sisters in Connecticut. He was sent to a mental institution in April 1957 where he stayed until his release in 1973.

Even though he was probably as mad as a hatter, you have to give him credit for stopping the bombing during the war! Turns out that he was true to his word.

How about we have our coffee on the patio this morning. Rains coming back, so we have to enjoy the sun while we can!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Was That A Yawn...?

Ever notice that it's almost impossible NOT to yawn when someone else does?

Believe it or not, that's a common trait with all of us! I found some information over at Listverse.com that sort of explains this exercise!


Yawning

A yawn is a natural human reflex. It involves the inhalation of air, stretching of the eardrums, and is followed by a large exhalation of breath. Yawning is associated with tiredness, stress, lack of stimulation, and boredom. It is one of the most bizarre human functions. Yawning can be infectious and is triggered by seeing others yawn, hearing a yawn, or talking on the phone with someone who is yawning. A number of theories have been proposed that attempt to explain why animals yawn, but nothing has been substantiated. One theory states that yawning occurs when a person’s blood contains an increased amount of carbon dioxide and needs oxygen. However, other studies show that yawning decreases oxygen intake.

Another theory states that yawning is a person’s way of controlling brain temperature. It has been suggested that a yawn can reduce or increase blood pressure in the brain. This theory has been supported by the fact that people get a desire to yawn while making a drastic change in elevation. Another speculated reason for yawning is the desire to stretch one’s muscles. Contagious yawning may be a way of keeping a group of animals alert. It may be an instinctual reaction from one member of the herd to the next, reminding everyone to stay alert. Anecdotal evidence suggests that yawning helps increase the state of alertness.

Interesting Fact: It is possible that yawning is a territorial reflex, a process that is meant to make the body appear bigger by stretching out the arms and opening the mouth. When animals are witnessed yawning, the human reaction is to become aware of the creature’s teeth and fighting potential.

It's nice to know that we share this reflex with animals. After all, they beat us out with nearly everything else.

Now, I have fresh coffee on the patio and some fresh baked white bread to go with it! No yawning, please!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Fountain Of Freedom...!

No revolution is bloodless! The cost is paid with lives every time!

Sometimes the revolution starts unorganized, with no clear leaders, no clear plan. More often than not, all it takes to pull people together is an act of murder. Such was the case in the Goliad Massacre!
Mar 27, 1836:
Mexicans execute defenders of Goliad

In a disastrous setback for the Texans resisting Santa Anna's dictatorial regime, the Mexican army defeats and executes 417 Texas revolutionaries at Goliad.

Long accustomed to enjoying considerable autonomy from their Mexican rulers, many Anglo Texan settlers reacted with alarm when Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna proclaimed himself dictator of Mexico in 1835. Santa Anna immediately imposed martial law and attempted to disarm the Texans. Yet, this move merely fed the flames of Texan resistance.

In November 1853, Texan leaders proclaimed their resistance to Santa Anna's dictatorship, though they stopped short of calling for independence. The next month, the Texans managed to defeat 800 Mexican soldiers stationed in San Antonio. However, the rebel leaders remained deeply divided over what to do next, making them vulnerable to Santa Anna's ruthless determination to suppress dissension.

While the Texas rebels dallied, Santa Anna moved decisively. In mid-February he led a massive Mexican army across the Rio Grande, and after a 13-day siege of the Alamo, crushed the rebels in San Antonio. Meanwhile, to the south, Santa Ann's chief lieutenant, General Urrea, moved to destroy another faction of the rebel army attempting to defend the town of Goliad.

Disagreements among the Texans had led to a division of the rebel forces. James W. Fannin was left with only slightly more than 300 Texans to protect Goliad, a position the rebels needed in order to maintain their supply routes to the Gulf Coast. As Urrea's much larger 1400-man army approached, Fannin acted with indecision, wondering if he should go to the aid of the besieged men at the Alamo.

Belatedly, Fannin attempted to fall back from the approaching Mexican army, but his retreat order came too late. On March 19, Urrea surrounded the small column of rebel soldiers on an open prairie, where they were trapped without food, water, or cover. After repulsing one Mexican assault, Fannin realized there was no chance of escape. Rather than see his force annihilated, Fannin surrendered.

Apparently, some among the Texans who surrendered believed they would be treated as prisoners of war. Santa Anna, however, had clearly stated several months before that he considered the rebels to be traitors who would be given no quarter. In obedience to Santa Anna's orders, on this day in 1836 Urrea ordered his men to open fire on Fannin and his soldiers, along with about 100 other captured Texans. More than 400 men were executed that day at Goliad.

Ironically, rather than serving to crush the Texas rebellion, the Goliad Massacre helped inspire and unify the Texans. Now determined to break completely from Mexico, the Texas revolutionaries began to yell "Remember Goliad!" along with the more famous battle cry, "Remember the Alamo!" Less than a month later, Texan forces under General Sam Houston dealt a stunning blow to Santa Anna's army in the Battle of San Jacinto, and Texas won its independence.

All through history, when tyrants try to use massacres and murder to cure the thirst for freedom, the results are not what the tyrants expected! This type of thirst can only be quenched at one place...the fountain of freedom!

How about fresh coffee on the patio? To go along with it, fresh baked wheat bread with butter and jam...or honey, if you prefer!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Now THAT Was A Party...!

It's nice to find out that some of our founding fathers really knew how to enjoy themselves.

It wasn't often, but it seems that they could turn any event into a big party. Got a little wild, I'll bet! Here is a piece of how one such party got it's start!

Mar 26, 1804:
Jefferson presented with a "mammoth loaf" of bread

On this day in 1804, President Thomas Jefferson attends a public party at the Senate and leads a diverse crowd in consuming an enormous loaf of bread dubbed the mammoth loaf. The giant bread was baked to go with the remnants of an enormous block of cheese.

Two years earlier, a group of Baptist women from Massachusetts had sent Jefferson a 1,200- pound hunk of cheese in gratitude for his support of religious tolerance. The cheese, they said, illustrated Jefferson's claim that North America's superior natural resources would one day enable the U.S. to outstrip all of Europe in agricultural production.

Early Americans' use of the descriptive term mammoth arose from the discovery of a giant woolly mammoth skeleton in New York in 1801. Jefferson, fascinated with the natural sciences, was a member of the American Philosophical Society and helped the organization raise funds to complete the archaeological project. Jefferson's Federalist opponents ridiculed the president's scientific side projects as frivolous. In an attempt to embarrass the president, they dubbed the giant dairy product the mammoth cheese. To the Federalists' surprise and disappointment, the general populace embraced the term with nationalistic zeal. Almost immediately, butcher shops and markets advertised mammoth-size products from sides of veal to pumpkins and loaves of bread.

The unveiling of the mammoth loaf occurred at a Senate-sponsored March 26 party to rally support for a naval war against the Barbary States. At noon, a Navy baker wheeled in the mammoth loaf along with the remnants of the Baptist women's mammoth cheese, an equally enormous side of roast beef and copious amounts of alcohol. President Jefferson stepped up, pulled out his pocketknife and cut the first slice of bread. According to written observations, the party quickly degenerated into a noisy, drunken affair.

You know one of the coolest things about this story? How about the fact that "President Jefferson stepped up, pulled out his pocketknife and cut the first slice of bread." Imagine That! The president of the United States carrying a pocket knife! Bet that wouldn't happen in this day and age.

How about some fresh coffee on the patio this morning? Looks like planting time to me!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cartoon Sunday Again...!

I know that I should put something deep and meaningful on here today.

However, since I'm very seldom very deep and meaningful, I decided against it. Besides, it is Sunday! A day to be at rest, in body and mind and in thought!

With that being said, a little frivolity is in order! I think that I can provide as little as anyone!

Cartoons are in order!!!



Since it's Sunday, I think a second one is in order here, right? Hey...my house, my rules!



Well, that should start things off right this Spring day!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Biscuits and gravy sound good?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

How About Some Weapons History...?

Nearly all of know a little bit about famous weapons, I'm sure.

However, what do we really know about the folks that invented them! One that comes to mind is the Bowie Knife. I mean, who in America hasn't heard of the Bowie Knife? Do you know who made the knife? Probably not!

Don't feel badly, most of us don't. I am going to tell you a few things about the maker...a man named James Black!
James Black
1800 – 1872


James Black was an Arkansas blacksmith and the creator of the original Bowie knife designed by Jim Bowie. Bowie was already famous for knife-fighting from his 1827 sandbar duel. But his killing of three assassins in Texas and his death at the Battle of the Alamo made him, and the blacksmith’s knife, legends. Black’s knives were known to be exceedingly tough yet flexible. Black kept his methods for creating the knife very secret and did all of his work behind a leather curtain. Many claim that Black rediscovered the secret to producing Damascus steel which is a type of steel used in Middle Eastern sword making from 1100 to 1700 that could cut through lesser quality European swords. The original techniques to make James Black’s knife cannot be duplicated even today. Black died on 22 June 1872 in Washington, Arkansas.

Interesting Fact: In 1839 shortly after Black’s wife’s death, he was nearly blinded when his father-in-law and former partner broke into his home and attacked him with a club, having objected to his daughter having married Black years earlier. After the attack Black was no longer able to continue in his trade.

I say we should have our coffee out on the patio today. Just too nice to be inside!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Food Fact Friday...!

Most of you have seen me write about the fact that I'm fond of food!

I really enjoy finding out some interesting facts about anything and everything, so I thought I would sort of combine the two! After all, we should all know something about the food we eat, right?

Nutmeg


The nutmeg tree is the only tree that provides two spices: nutmeg (the one we are all familiar with) and the lesser known mace. Mace was very popular in the 18th century as a flavor additive to meat products and is an essential ingredient in the traditionally made French white sauce, where the mace is steeped with an onion in hot milk before being added to a mixture of flour and butter to produce b├ęchamel sauce – the French “mother” sauce. Pictured above the nutmeg is the brown seed and the mace is the red outer layer.

See? Notice how I managed to find out something about a spice often used in the baking of some pies? Think that is a coincidence? I wonder about that myself!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Gonna be a beautiful Spring morning!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Maybe We Should Pay Attention...!

Most of you know who Paul Harvey was.

Back in 1965, he did a piece that is maybe even more appropriate today than it was back then. I feel that we should revisit this at least one more time.

I'm putting the video on first, followed by the text for those who might not be able to see the video. That OK with you?



This speech was broadcast by legendary ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey on April 3, 1965:


If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . .

If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine yound intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an athiest to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them.

If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.

Paul Harvey, Good Day.


I don't know about you, but this all sounds very familiar to me. Maybe we should pay attention!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. The weather is supposed to be nice!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yes, There Was A "Broncho Billy"...!

This might have been a name many of us used in jest, but it turns out that there was a character by that name!

The real story, though, is in how the character came about...and why!

You just never know what you might find when exploring history.

Mar 21, 1882:
"Broncho Billy" Anderson born

Gilbert M. Anderson, the first western movie star, is born in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Better known as "Broncho Billy," the name of the western hero he played in over 300 short films, Anderson was the first western movie star. Furthermore, he played several small parts in one of the first movies ever made, The Great Train Robbery. In 1903, Anderson won a role as a bandit in the film after telling the director he could ride like a Texas Ranger. When it became clear that Anderson could hardly get onto a horse, he was made an "extra" and played several minor parts. Later that year, the 10-minute movie received an enthusiastic reception from the public, and Anderson decided to make a career in the promising new business of telling stories in moving pictures.

Anderson moved to Chicago, which was becoming a minor moviemaking center. After a few years directing and occasionally starring in movies produced by others, Anderson decided to create his own production company. Forming a partnership with old friend George K. Spoor, in 1907 Anderson created the Essanay Company, which would later be credited as one of the best of the early movie studios.

At first, Anderson made comedies, but remembering the brilliant success of The Great Train Robbery, he eventually turned to Westerns. Anderson was one of the first movie producers to realize that the public needed a central character in the movies, a "star" on which they could focus their attention. In 1909, though, there were no movie stars and stage actors were reluctant to risk films. Anderson decided to make himself the star, creating the character "Broncho Billy" out of ideas about the West culled from popular dime novels.

In 1909, Anderson released his first western, Broncho Billy and the Baby. It was an enormous success and convinced Anderson that he should stick with Westerns starring the Broncho Billy character. Over the next five years, Anderson made over 300 short one- or two-reel movies featuring Broncho Billy. Physically, Anderson was not especially handsome or dashing, but audiences liked Broncho Billy for his courageous virtue and bravery.

In 1915, Anderson released his last film in the series, Broncho Billy's Sentence, and thereafter turned to writing. A few years later he attempted a comeback, but by then the western field was dominated by more dashing actors like Tom Mix and William S. Hart. He made comedies for several years before retiring. Later recognized and honored for his pivotal role in the development of the Western, in 1965 he made a cameo appearance in a modern Hollywood Western called The Bounty Killer, his first talking picture.

Anderson died in his sleep on January 20, 1971, at the age of 88.

It's always fun to find out the origin of fictional characters, don't you think?

How about some fresh coffee in the kitchen? It's still raining outside, but I have some sweet potato pie I'll share.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Teller Of Tall Tales...!

Many of the folks who could spin a good yarn made a great living doing just that!

Back in the early days, most folks didn't seem to care if the stories were true or not...as long as they were exciting! Often the stories didn't have many actual facts or even the slightest grain of truth, but they were popular, to say the least!

Seems like the more outrageous they were, the more the masses liked them! Here is a good example!
Mar 20, 1823:
Ned Buntline born

Ned Buntline, the "dime millionaire" and discoverer of Buffalo Bill, is born in Stamford, New York.

Perhaps more than any single writer, Ned Buntline was responsible for creating a highly romanticized and somewhat misleading image of the American West as the setting for great adventure and excitement. Born Edward Zane Carroll Judson, in 1845 he founded a sensationalistic magazine, called Ned Buntline's Own, in Nashville, Tennessee-Ned Buntline became the best known of several pseudonyms he used during his career.

Buntline's goal in life was straightforward: he wanted to make as much money as possible writing stories that the public would pay to read. He filled the pages of Ned Buntline's Own with all manner of outrageous stories, having a particular affinity for nautical adventures. An incorrigible womanizer (he married seven times), in 1846 he killed a jealous husband who suspected him of seducing his wife. Although Buntline had acted in self-defense, townspeople sympathetic to the dead man hanged Buntline from an awning post in the public square. Luckily, Buntline's friends cut the rope before he strangled and he was spirited out of town.

Buntline relocated to New York, where he resumed publishing his magazine. Though he had once dreamed of becoming a serious writer, he was desperate to make a living so he began to write more for a mass audience. Buntline's popular adventures were wildly successful, and he churned out dozens of melodramatic "shocking" stories over the course of only a few years. By the time he was in his late 20s, Buntline had earned the title "King of the Dime Novels" and was making an excellent living.
After traveling to San Francisco in 1869, Buntline realized he could easily adapt his stock adventure plots to a setting in the American West. At about the same time he met a handsome young scout and buffalo hunter named William Frederick Cody. Buntline claimed to have given Cody the nickname "Buffalo Bill," though Cody said he earned the name years before as a hunter for the railroads.

Buntline's decision to write a dime novel starring Buffalo Bill Cody made the relatively unknown scout into a national media star. Buntline's book The Scout of the Plains grossly exaggerated Cody's western adventures, but the public loved the thrilling tale. Always the promoter, Buntline turned the novel into a play that he staged in Chicago. In 1872, Buntline convinced Cody to travel to the city and play himself in the production. Cody was a poor actor, but his participation brought in people and money.

Cody broke with Buntline after a year, but the national fame he gained because of Buntline's work eventually allowed "Buffalo Bill" to create his famous Wild West show. Buntline churned out other western dime novels, and he eventually became the nation's top literary money earner, surpassing the income of writers like Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. Buntline prized his wealth, but he remained scornful of his own work. "I found that to make a living I must write 'trash' for the masses, for he who endeavors to write for the critical few, and do his genius justice, will go hungry if he has no other means of support."

Buntline died at his home in Stamford, New York, in 1886. He was 63 years old and had written more than 400 novels and countless other short stories and articles

Ya know, there is a lot of similarity in the old "dime novels" and the modern day newspapers! Seems to me that so many of the things we read in the papers now days are edited and manipulated to the point of almost being total works of fiction!

Just my opinion, but I reckon that the old saying "don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see!" could very easily be applied to news sources as well! Again, that's just my opinion!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, as the rain is coming back with a vengeance today! At least that what the talking heads that do the weather say!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Few Worthy Quotes...!

Winston Churchill was quite an interesting man.

Never one to spare the words, good or bad, he made a formidable orator. So many good quotes can be attributed to Churchill, there is just no way I could include them all. I have instead put some on today that could apply to all men everywhere!

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
Winston Churchill

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.
Winston Churchill

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
Winston Churchill

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
Winston Churchill

Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.
Winston Churchill

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
Winston Churchill

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
Winston Churchill


So many quotes like this could very easily be applied to the way things are right now. Funny how the truth never really goes out of style, isn't it?

Coffee on the patio this morning, just so we can listen to the morning doves calling! Man, don't they sound pretty?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Need Me A Little Bugs Bunny...!

Ol' Bugs has been around for a very long time!

Probably one of the most imitated cartoon characters there ever was! At least his way of talking! One thing about Bugs...he just never seems to age! You notice that?

Come to think about it, I can't think of a single cartoon character appearing older! Must be something in the water!



Seems like all the 'toons had their favorite food! Too bad it was often each other!



Sometimes the silliest things are funny! Considering when these things were made, they really aren't bad! Better, in fact, than some of the crap made today!

Coffee on the patio this morning. I have some peanut putter cream cookies!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day...!

I know that nearly everyone remembered, but today is St. Patrick's Day!

I picked up a short little history of St. Patrick from the Old Farmer's Almanac that I wanted to share with you. I'm sure there are many more detailed histories of him out there, but as I said, I'm keeping this one pretty short!

Who Was Patrick?

Was there really a St. Patrick? Definitely. Did he really drive the snakes out of Ireland? Probably not. At age 16 (around A.D. 400), Patrick was kidnapped from his home on the west coast of England and carried off to Ireland. After 6 years, he escaped; upon returning home, he received his call (in a dream) to preach the Gospel. He spent the next 15 or so years in a monastery, preparing for his missionary work. Although some Christians lived in Ireland at the time, it was Patrick who spread Christianity throughout the land and brought an organized church into existence.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States was held in New York City on this day in 1762. We wear a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day because Patrick used its three leaves to explain the Holy Trinity. But, as far as we know, he never drank green beer!


Time for some fresh coffee on the patio. Sorry, but I couldn't figure out how to make it green!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Funnies...!

I thought that we would start a new tradition here at the Hermit's.

All week long we hear almost nothing but bad news, so I figured that throwing in just one day of frivolity couldn't hurt! Nothing caps off the week like a grin. Heck, nothing starts off the week like a little humor, either! Here's hoping this helps a little.


As a Piper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a Pauper's' cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in Place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played Out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends.I played like I've never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes And started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say;

"I NEVER SEEN NOTHIN' LIKE THAT BEFORE AND I'VE BEEN PUTTING IN SEPTIC TANKS FOR TWENTY YEARS."

Apparently I'm still lost....it's a man thing!

We all know someone like this guy, right? Someone that won't ask directions when a little turned around! Heck, I've done that very thing. Anyway, I thought you might find a little humor in this!

How about fresh coffee on the patio this morning? Homemade bread with honey and butter on the side...or jelly, if you prefer!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beware The Ides Of March...!

I didn't want anyone to think that I forgot about the Ides of March!

If it weren't for Shakespeare, many folks would not even know about the 15TH of March and it's contribution to the infamy of ancient Roman politics! The Bard wrote quite a good play about  Roman politics in his Tragedy of Julius Ceasar! Pretty good reading if you have the time!

The ides of March: Julius Caesar is murdered

Julius Caesar, the "dictator for life" of the Roman Empire, is murdered by his own senators at a meeting in a hall next to Pompey's Theatre. The conspiracy against Caesar encompassed as many as sixty noblemen, including Caesar's own protege, Marcus Brutus.

Caesar was scheduled to leave Rome to fight in a war on March 18 and had appointed loyal members of his army to rule the Empire in his absence. The Republican senators, already chafing at having to abide by Caesar's decrees, were particularly angry about the prospect of taking orders from Caesar's underlings. Cassius Longinus started the plot against the dictator, quickly getting his brother-in-law Marcus Brutus to join.

Caesar should have been well aware that many of the senators hated him, but he dismissed his security force not long before his assassination. Reportedly, Caesar was handed a warning note as he entered the senate meeting that day but did not read it. After he entered the hall, Caesar was surrounded by senators holding daggers. Servilius Casca struck the first blow, hitting Caesar in the neck and drawing blood. The other senators all joined in, stabbing him repeatedly about the head.

Marcus Brutus wounded Caesar in the groin and Caesar is said to have remarked in Greek, "You, too, my child?" In the aftermath of the assassination, Antony attempted to carry out Caesar's legacy. However, Caesar's will left Octavian in charge as his adopted son. Cassius and Brutus tried to rally a Republican army and Brutus even issued coins celebrating the assassination, known as the Ides of March. Octavian vowed revenge against the assassins, two years later Cassius and Brutus committed suicide after learning that Octavian's forces had defeated theirs at the Battle of Philippa in Greece.

Antony took his armies east, where he hooked up with Caesar's old paramour, Cleopatra. Octavian and Antony fought for many years until Octavian prevailed. In 30 B.C., Antony committed suicide. Octavian, later known as Augustus, ruled the Roman Empire for many more years.

Seems to me that politics haven't changed much since the Roman times, except that in today's world the politicians wouldn't be able to work together long enough to do anything like this!

Of course, that's just my opinion...for what it's worth!

Coffee outside this morning! I'm baking bread today, so we'll have some for tomorrow. OK?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Got Beehive...?

When you live in the big city, you almost get used to folks stealing what you have.

Most often, the items stolen are those that can be quickly turned over for cash. Sometimes, though, what they steal makes no sense at all...at least for the thieves!

Still, for someone that knows the true value, this was a good score!

Beehive stolen from outside Houston restaurant
Posted: Mar 13, 2012 12:54 PM CDT Updated: Mar 13, 2012 1:15 PM CDT
Posted by Cody Lillich - email

HOUSTON (AP) - Some thieves might truly have sticky fingers after a 500-pound beehive was swiped from a garden outside a Houston restaurant.
Houston police spokesman Victor Senties said Tuesday that nobody has been arrested.

Surveillance security video shows a truck pulling up before dawn Saturday near the Haven Restaurant. Authorities believe at least two people loaded the box-style hive into the vehicle and drove away.

Chef Randy Evans says the thieves apparently knew what they were doing by taking the hive during rainy, chilly weather. He says bees are usually inactive during such conditions.

Evans says about 5,000 bees lived in the hive, worth an estimated $1,000. Honey made by the bees is used in some restaurant dishes, plus the insects help pollinate the garden.

One more example of what we can always look forward to in the sewer we call Houston! Someday...someday!

Coffee outside on the patio this morning! All I have to offer on the side is a few cookies, if that's OK?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm Sorry, Can You Repeat That...?

It's really getting crazy in this world when some Amish youngsters get drunk and then run from the police! In a buggy, no less!

What a sad state of affairs when even the Amish kids are falling under the spell of the crazies out there!

4 Amish charged with illegal alcohol possession after buggy collides with police car
Published: Monday, March 12, 2012, 9:10 AM 


SHERMAN, N.Y. — Authorities in western New York say they've charged four young Amish adults with illegal possession of alcohol after their buggy collided with a police car responding to a report of a drinking party under way.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office tells media outlets that the crash occurred around 7:15 Sunday in the rural town of Sherman, near the Pennsylvania border in New York's southwest corner.

Officials say deputies were responding to reports that people were drinking in several Amish buggies on a country road.

As a patrol car arrived on the scene, one of the Amish buggies changed lanes, colliding with the police vehicle. The buggy flipped onto its side, causing minor injuries to one of the people on board.

Police say several other buggies fled the scene.

Get you get that last part? Not just one buggy, but several other buggies fled the scene! I don't know if this whole story makes me laugh or makes me sad! All I can say is CRAZY!

Fresh coffee on the patio this morning. Warm and dry so far!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Very Special Gift For A Child...!

Just because someone is rich and famous doesn't mean that they don't have feelings.

In this case, a simple letter from a child was enough for a truly inspired man to take notice and act accordingly. Often it's amazing what faith can be found in the heart of children.

The idea of Wright never reading his letter, much less responding to it, probably never even entered this young man's head.

Doghouse designed by Wright rebuilt for film

By SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press – 10 hours ago


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The Fallingwater home in southwestern Pennsylvania. But a child's doghouse?

Frank Lloyd Wright designed hundreds of landmark buildings and homes during a prolific career that spanned more than seven decades. But in what is widely considered a first and only for the famed architect, Wright indulged a young boy's humble request for a dog house in 1956 and sent him designs for the structure.

"I was probably his youngest client and poorest client," Jim Berger, now 68, said during a recent phone interview.

Berger rebuilt the doghouse last year with his brother, using the original plans. It was featured in a documentary film and will be displayed during screenings starting this month.

Wright designed Berger's family's home in the Marin County town of San Anselmo, prompting the then-12 years old Berger to ask his dad if Wright would design a home for his black Labrador, Eddie.

Berger's dad said he didn't know, so Berger decided to write to the great architect himself.

"I would appreciate it if you would design me a doghouse, which would be easy to build, but would go with our house...," read the letter dated June 19, 1956. "(My dog) is two and a half feet high and three feet long. The reasons I would like this doghouse is for the winters mainly."

Berger explained that he would pay Wright from the money he made from his paper route.

"A house for Eddie is an opportunity," Wright wrote back. But he said he was too busy at the time (construction on the Guggenheim began in 1956) and asked that Berger write him back in November.

Berger did so on the first of the month, and the plan for the doghouse followed — at no charge.

"The story of a 12-year-old kid having the chutzpah to write a letter to the greatest architect of all time and having him design something as modest as a doghouse..., I just knew it was a great story," said Michael Miner, who produced and directed the documentary, "Romanza," which features the doghouse and other structures Wright designed in California.

The Dallas, Tex. filmmaker is scheduled to screen the documentary at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, Ill. on March 25, according to his website, designedbyfranklloydwright.com. Screenings are scheduled to follow in Iowa, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey and New Hampshire. The doghouse will be on hand.

Berger said the original doghouse was not built until about 10 years after he received the designs. Since Eddie had died by then, Berger's father and brother built their house for another family dog.

That doghouse, however, later ended up in the dump because Berger said his mother did not have a dog, and did not see much other value in it. He rebuilt it for the documentary last year, working off Wright's original plan, which said, "Plan of Eddie's house."

"When I wrote him originally to design the doghouse, I specified that it be real easy to build," said Berger, who became a cabinet maker. "It was a nightmare."

The roughly 3-foot wide-by-5-foot long-by 3-feet high doghouse has a sharp triangular shape, with a sloping shingled roof. It is made of Philippine mahogany and weighs about 250 pounds.

"It's definitely in the master's hand," Oskar Munoz, assistant director of archives at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, said of the design for the doghouse.

Munoz said Berger's is believed to be the only doghouse Wright designed. Wright likely sketched it out and then handed it to a draftsman in his studio who turned it into a working drawing, he said.

Wright was past 80 and likely busy with dozens of projects at the time, Munoz said, so for him to take the time to make the sketch was unusual. Wright died in Phoenix in 1959.

Berger, who now lives in the Sacramento area and has three rescue beagles, said he's not sure what he will do with the doghouse.

Although his beagles are worthy of it, he said they would probably prefer to stay in the house.

"My feeling is that I'd like it to go to a museum because it is a historical monument," he said.


Like a great person once said "with faith all things are possible!"

Maybe it's a signal that we should all start having a little more faith! If you need a little help on trying to remember just how to dream, then may I suggest you ask a child! Couldn't hurt, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, providing the wind doesn't blow your cup off the patio table!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Droopy Sunday...!

As far back as I can remember, I've always loved the way that Droopy talked!

I used to copy his voice and memorized some of his sayings. I could usually get a laugh or two, and that was what I was after! Maybe these will make you grin a bit this morning.



Gosh! Looks like we have time for just one more, OK?



Hope this helps to get your day off to a great start!

Now, how about some fresh coffee on the patio? Gotta hurry before the rain starts again!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Heck, I could Have Told Ya That...!

For years we've been told that having things like cake, chocolate, candy, all the good tasting stuff for breakfast was bad for us!

Finally, there's a report that shows we can go back to eating some of the good stuff for breakfast again...and it might be good for us! Check this out!

Study: Eating dessert for breakfast is good for your diet

Chocolatey cereal could help you lose weight.

Going against the advice of moms everywhere, researchers found eating chocolate for breakfast actually helps dieters curb cravings throughout the day and lose weight.

The Atlantic wrote up the study, conducted by researchers in Tel Aviv, Israel, and published in the journal “Steroids.”

“Starting the day with a full meal that includes a sweet dessert can bolster and maintain a dieter’s weight-loss progress,” the article said.

In the study, obese adults who ate desserts as a part of their breakfasts each lost an average of 40 pounds more than adults who had low-carb, low-cal breakfasts.
Bring on the Cocoa Puffs.

I could have saved all these guys a whole lot of time and effort, but as usual...no one asked me! I always figured stuff like this was good for ya! It just taste way too good NOT to be!

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. It's cold and raining still this morning, so I'll serve up some hot chocolate if you want!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Start Of The Border Wars...!

No telling just how many times in the past we have done this sort of thing!

We start off by befriending and supporting one side, then we tire of them and start supporting the opposing side! I guess we just never learn!

Mar 9, 1916:
Pancho Villa attacks Columbus, New Mexico

Angered over American support of his rivals for the control of Mexico, the peasant-born revolutionary leader Pancho Villa attacks the border town of Columbus, New Mexico.

In 1913, a bloody civil war in Mexico brought the ruthless general Victoriano Huerta to power. American President Woodrow Wilson despised the new regime, referring to it as a "government of butchers," and provided active military support to a challenger, Venustiano Carranza. Unfortunately, when Carranza won power in 1914, he also proved a disappointment and Wilson supported yet another rebel leader, Pancho Villa.

A wily, peasant-born leader, Villa joined with Emiliano Zapata to keep the spirit of rebellion alive in Mexico and harass the Carranza government. A year later, though, Wilson decided Carranza had made enough steps towards democratic reform to merit official American support, and the president abandoned Villa. Outraged, Villa turned against the United States. In January 1916, he kidnapped 18 Americans from a Mexican train and slaughtered them. A few weeks later, on this day in 1916, Villa led an army of about 1,500 guerillas across the border to stage a brutal raid against the small American town of Columbus, New Mexico. Villa and his men killed 19 people and left the town in flames.

Now determined to destroy the rebel he had once supported, Wilson ordered General John Pershing to lead 6,000 American troops into Mexico and capture Villa. Reluctantly, Carranza agreed to allow the U.S. to invade Mexican territory. For nearly two years, Pershing and his soldiers chased the elusive Villa on horseback, in automobiles, and with airplanes. The American troops had several bloody skirmishes with the rebels, but Pershing was never able to find and engage Villa.

Finally losing patience with the American military presence in his nation, Carranza withdrew permission for the occupation. Pershing returned home in early 1917, and three months later left for Europe as the head of the American Expeditionary Force of World War I. Though Pershing never captured Villa, his efforts did convince Villa never again to attack American citizens or territory. After helping remove Carranza from power in 1920, Villa agreed to retire from politics. His enemies assassinated him in 1923. The resentment engendered in Mexico by the efforts against PanchoVilla, however, did not fade with his death, and Mexican-American relations remained strained for decades to come.

You know, sometimes I think that for way too long we have been sticking our noses into the business of other countries and their politics. Most of the time it only leads to trouble! I'm thinking that maybe we should start cleaning our own house and stay the hell out of places we don't really belong!

Besides, with our own political situation being in such a mess, we have more than enough to keep us busy for quite a while, don't you think? Now this is, of course, just my opinion!

Coffee in the kitchen, all nice and fresh! Mom made a lemon cake yesterday, so I'll sneak over and get us some! Sound good?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

You Do The Crime, Then You Do The Time...!

I know that some of the bad guys from the days of old sure did enjoy there work.

They loved the money, the fame, the notoriety, all of that! What they didn't enjoy was getting caught! Slowly, but surely they were all caught or killed. Back then, prison time was hard time...not like today! No matter how famous or well known you were, sooner or late you had to pay the price!

Mar 8, 1893:
Emmet Dalton goes to prison

Emmet Dalton, the only survivor of the Dalton Gang's disastrous attempt to rob two Kansas banks, begins serving a life sentence in the Kansas State Penitentiary.

Born in 1871, Emmet was the youngest of the three Dalton brothers, who banded together to pursue a life of crime. Initially, his brothers Bob and Grat were reluctant to include Emmet in their crimes because of his youth--when the two elder brothers traveled to California to rob trains in 1889, they refused to take along the 18-year-old Emmet. After returning to Oklahoma several years later, though, Bob and Grat judged Emmet sufficiently mature to assist them in a string of train robberies that made the three brothers and their gang famous throughout Oklahoma and Kansas. By then, Emmet had a sweetheart named Julia Johnson, but he gave up his dreams of a normal family life to remain with his brothers. "What had I to offer Julia?" Emmet later mused. "I rode away. An outlaw has no business having a girl, no business thinking of marriage."

Emmet's wild days riding with his two older brothers were short-lived. On October 5, 1892, the brothers attempted a daring dual robbery of two Coffeyville, Kansas, banks in broad daylight. The plan might have worked had the citizens of Coffeyville not been alerted to the arrival of the bandits. While Emmet and Bob were stuffing $21,000 in grain sacks in one bank, the townspeople quietly surrounded the building. When the boys tried to leave, a barrage of gunfire forced them back inside. They fled through a rear door and managed to reunite with Grat and the other team of robbers, who were also under attack. In a back street-later named "Death Alley" by the proud citizens of Coffeyville-the gang was blasted by heavily armed townspeople. Bob and Grat were hit first. Emmet tried to pick up Bob, but as he reached down from his horse a bullet slammed through his hip and a load of buckshot hit him in the back.

Bob, Grat, and two other gang members died, and the people of Coffeyville propped them up for a famous series of grisly photographs. Townspeople carried the wounded Emmet to a nearby hotel and he lived to stand trial. Sentenced to life in prison, he began serving his time in the Kansas State Penitentiary on this day in 1893.

After 14 years in prison, Emmet won parole and returned to society a reformed man. He finally married Julia Johnson and began a successful career as a real estate agent. When the couple later moved to the booming Los Angeles area, Emmet even found work in Hollywood as an authenticity consultant for western movies. He died in 1937.

I guess the prison life made a believer out of young Emmet! Maybe some of the old time prison could help in the taming of a few of our modern day "bad guys!" Ya think?

Fresh coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is expected and better safe than sorry!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To Help In The Spring Cleaning...!

As we all know, it won't be long until Spring cleaning time is here.

I know that many of you make your own cleaners, or at least some of them. I've got a little list of homemade cleaners from the Old Farmer's Almanac that might come in handy. You may already know these, but just in case you don't...here it is!

Make Your Own Cleaners

Make your own cleaning products. Homemade cleaners are simple and a great way to save money.

WARNING: Never mix cleaning products containing bleach and ammonia, as dangerous fumes will result.

Oven Cleaner
2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid
2 teaspoons borax
1/4 cup ammonia
1–1/2 cups warm water

Mix the ingredients together, apply to oven spills, and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Scrub with an abrasive nylon-backed sponge and rinse well.

Easy Scrub
3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup borax
dishwashing liquid

Combine the baking soda and borax. Mix in enough dishwashing liquid to make a smooth paste. If you prefer a pleasant smell, add 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice to the paste.

Jewelry Cleaner
1/4 cup ammonia
1/4 cup dishwashing liquid
3/4 cup water

Mix all the ingredients well, then soak your jewelry in the solution for a few minutes. Clean around the stones and designs with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Buff dry. (Caution: Don't use this with gold-plated jewelry; with soft stones such as pearls, opals, or jade; or with costume jewelry, because it could ruin the plastics or loosen the glue.)

Heavy-Duty Disinfectant Cleaner
1/4 cup powdered laundry detergent
1 tablespoon borax
3/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup pine oil, or pine-based cleaner

Slowly stir the detergent and borax into the water to dissolve. Add the pine oil (available at hardware stores and supermarkets) and mix well. For bathroom cleaning, use the mixture full strength. In the kitchen, dilute it with water.

Wood Floor Polish
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix the ingredients well, rub on the floor, and buff with a clean, dry cloth.

Rug Cleaner
1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
1 cup lukewarm water

Combine the ingredients. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution over a large area, or use the solution to spot-clean nongreasy stains. (Don't use laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent in place of dishwashing liquid, as they may contain additives that can affect the rug's color.)

Toilet Cleaner
1 cup borax
1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice

Combine the ingredients to make a paste. Apply it to the inside of the toilet bowl, let sit for 1 to 2 hours, and scrub.

Mildew Remover
1 tablespoon powdered laundry detergent
1 quart chlorine bleach
2 quarts water

Combine all the ingredients in a pail. Wearing rubber gloves, wash off the mildew.

Floor Wax Remover
1 cup laundry detergent
3/4 cup ammonia
1 gallon warm water

Mix all the ingredients together and apply to a small area of the floor. Let the solution sit long enough for it to loosen the old wax, at least 5 to 10 minutes. Mop up the old wax (or scrape it up, if there's a lot of it, using a squeegee and a dustpan). Rinse thoroughly with 1 cup vinegar in 1 gallon water and let dry before applying a new finish.

Furniture Polish
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon boiled linseed oil
1 tablespoon turpentine

Combine the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until blended. Dampen a cloth with cold water and wring it out until it's as dry as you can get it. Saturate the cloth with the mixture and apply sparingly to a small area at a time. Let dry for about 30 minutes, then polish with a soft cloth. Note that this mixture gets gummy as it sits, so make just enough for one day's work.

Glass Cleaner
2 tablespoons ammonia
1/2 cup alcohol
1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
a few drops blue food coloring
water

Combine the ammonia, alcohol, dishwashing liquid, and food coloring, then add enough water to make 1 quart. If you prefer a nonammoniated cleaner, substitute 3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice for the ammonia.

Carpet Freshener
1 cup crushed dried herbs (such as rosemary, southernwood, or lavender)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda

Combine all the ingredients in a large jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to blend. Sprinkle some of the mixture on your carpet, let it sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up. It will give the room a pleasant smell and neutralize carpet odors.

Scrubbing hand General-Purpose Cleaner
1 teaspoon borax
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
2 cups hot water

Combine all the ingredients. If you don't have washing soda (generally found in the laundry section of supermarkets), use 1 teaspoon baking soda instead. For a more pleasant smell, use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Be sure to label the bottle accordingly. 

I do hope that some of these recipes help a little. Never hurts to know how to make some of these products, especially if you run out of your regular cleaner.

Fresh coffee in the kitchen this morning. looks like the rain just might move back in!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Really Love This Stuff...!

For something that was originally a natural product, this stuff has certainly come a long way!

To this day, aspirin is one of the few medicines that I have total faith in! I have plenty of personal experience with aspirin and know that, for me, it works 100% of the time. I can't imagine NOT having a bottle or two in my medical supplies.

I'm not supposed to take it because of the blood thinners that I take, but I sneak one or two from time to time if I have some aches or pains. Like I said, it really works for me!

Mar 6, 1899:
Bayer patents aspirin

On this day in 1899, the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin registers Aspirin, the brand name for acetylsalicylic acid, on behalf of the German pharmaceutical company Friedrich Bayer & Co.

Now the most common drug in household medicine cabinets, acetylsalicylic acid was originally made from a chemical found in the bark of willow trees. In its primitive form, the active ingredient, salicin, was used for centuries in folk medicine, beginning in ancient Greece when Hippocrates used it to relieve pain and fever. Known to doctors since the mid-19thcentury, it was used sparingly due to its unpleasant taste and tendency to damage the stomach.

In 1897, Bayer employee Felix Hoffman found a way to create a stable form of the drug that was easier and more pleasant to take. (Some evidence shows that Hoffman's work was really done by a Jewish chemist, Arthur Eichengrun, whose contributions were covered up during the Nazi era.) After obtaining the patent rights, Bayer began distributing aspirin in powder form to physicians to give to their patients one gram at a time. The brand name came from "a" for acetyl, "spir" from the spirea plant (a source of salicin) and the suffix "in," commonly used for medications. It quickly became the number-one drug worldwide.

Aspirin was made available in tablet form and without a prescription in 1915. Two years later, when Bayer's patent expired during the First World War, the company lost the trademark rights to aspirin in various countries. After the United States entered the war against Germany in April 1917, the Alien Property Custodian, a government agency that administers foreign property, seized Bayer's U.S. assets. Two years later, the Bayer company name and trademarks for the United States and Canada were auctioned off and purchased by Sterling Products Company, later Sterling Winthrop, for $5.3 million.

Bayer became part of IG Farben, the conglomerate of German chemical industries that formed the financial heart of the Nazi regime. After World War II, the Allies split apart IG Farben, and Bayer again emerged as an individual company. Its purchase of Miles Laboratories in 1978 gave it a product line including Alka-Seltzer and Flintstones and One-A-Day Vitamins. In 1994, Bayer bought Sterling Winthrop's over-the-counter business, gaining back rights to the Bayer name and logo and allowing the company once again to profit from American sales of its most famous product

One thing I've discovered about aspirin, the plain ol' house brand works for me the best. I don't need the fancy name brand at all! I can remember when we were kids and had a fever, Mom would sometimes give us an aspirin dropped into a coke! What a treat!

I've heard all the warnings about aspirin causing stomach problems, but I've been taking it nearly all my life and never had any problems! I'm sticking to it regardless!

Coffee on the patio this morning. The sun really looks nice and warm today!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Some Toys Just Won't Go Away...!

Some of the older toys, despite their age, are still fun to play with.

A lot of the toys from the 50s and 60s are still made and sold today, probably because they were enjoyable to play with! Most kids today know what hula hoops are called and seem to instinctively know what to do with them! Not bad for a silly little toy over 50 years old!

Mar 5, 1963:
Hula-Hoop patented

On this day in 1963, the Hula-Hoop, a hip-swiveling toy that became a huge fad across America when it was first marketed by Wham-O in 1958, is patented by the company's co-founder, Arthur "Spud" Melin. An estimated 25 million Hula-Hoops were sold in its first four months of production alone.

In 1948, friends Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr founded a company in California to sell a slingshot they created to shoot meat up to falcons they used for hunting. The company’s name, Wham-O, came from the sound the slingshots supposedly made. Wham-O eventually branched out from slingshots, selling boomerangs and other sporting goods. Its first hit toy, a flying plastic disc known as the Frisbee, debuted in 1957. The Frisbee was originally marketed under a different name, the Pluto Platter, in an effort to capitalize on America's fascination with UFOs.

Melina and Knerr were inspired to develop the Hula-Hoop after they saw a wooden hoop that Australian children twirled around their waists during gym class. Wham-O began producing a plastic version of the hoop, dubbed "Hula" after the hip-gyrating Hawaiian dance of the same name, and demonstrating it on Southern California playgrounds. Hula-Hoop mania took off from there.

The enormous popularity of the Hula-Hoop was short-lived and within a matter of months, the masses were on to the next big thing. However, the Hula-Hoop never faded away completely and still has its fans today. According to Ripley's Believe It or Not, in April 2004, a performer at the Big Apple Circus in Boston simultaneously spun 100 hoops around her body. Earlier that same year, in January, according to the Guinness World Records, two people in Tokyo, Japan, managed to spin the world's largest hoop--at 13 feet, 4 inches--around their waists at least three times each.

Following the Hula-Hoop, Wham-O continued to produce a steady stream of wacky and beloved novelty items, including the Superball, Water Wiggle, Silly String, Slip 'n' Slide and the Hacky Sack.

One thing so many of these toys had in common. They brought the kids outside to play! Plenty of exercise involved in using them as intended! Funny how you could help the kids get their workout disguised as play, isn't it?

I think that coffee on the patio is in order this morning, as the temps are moving back up to the 80s!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How About Some Sunday Cartoons...?

I figured that today we would share a little flashback to the days when the cartoons were fun!

Believe it or not, I can remember my Dad laughing out loud at some of the old Roadrunner cartoons. Not many things made Dad laugh out loud, but the Roadrunner cartoons, Jerry Lewis, and all the characters on Hee-Haw sure got his funny bone going!

I thought that maybe today would be a good time to recall a touch of what that was like. Besides, a grin or two is always a great way to start the day, don't you think? I know I could use one this Sunday!



Ya know, that was so much fun that I figured one more couldn't hurt! OK? However, this one has the coyote chasing after ol' Bugs Bunny instead of the roadrunner!

Lots of similarities, if you ask me!



Let's have our coffee out on the patio this morning. Might just be a good day today, right?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A...Pine Cone ?

I've seen some really unusual things from Mother Nature, but this is one of the strangest!

I've been around pine trees and pine cones a large part of my life, but thankfully I've never been in a neighborhood where these thing were a problem

Warning over watermelon-sized pine cones
By Gus Goswell
Updated March 02, 2012 14:54:20


PHOTO: The watermelon-sized pine cones weigh up to 10 kilograms each. (Baw Baw Shire Council)

A council in eastern Victoria has issued a warning about potentially dangerous pine cones falling from a tree in the town of Warragul.

The 120-year-old heritage-listed bunya pine in the grounds of the Courthouse Hotel has been dropping huge pine cones.

The Baw Baw Council says they weigh up to 10 kilograms each.

Mayor Diane Blackwood says the cones are potentially lethal.

"These things are enormous," she said.

"They are the size of a watermelon, falling literally out of the sky from potentially 20 metres high.

"So you wouldn't want to be under one, I tell you."

The area was cordoned off while council workers removed the remaining pine cones.


I will say this...even as hard as my ol' head is, I think this might have hurt! Heck, just thinking about it makes my head hurt!

We can have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. Gotta watch the biscuits so they don't burn, OK?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wanna Join The Texas Navy...?

I always say that folks need to help themselves in times of trouble, if at all possible.

I knew we were working on a Texas air force for a while, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that we would start our own Navy! One thing about it, with all the armament on these bad boys I don't think too many folks will be willing to start an argument. I know I wouldn't!

Texas 'navy' to patrol the Rio Grande

Texas is getting its own navy.

Next month, the state's Department of Public Safety will deploy the first of a fleet of six gunboats on the Rio Grande, the river that forms the border between the state and Mexico, CNN affiliate WFAA-TV reports.

The 34-foot-long boats, each powered by three, 300-horsepower outboard engines, will have bulletproof plating and six machine guns apiece, not unlike the river patrol boats the U.S. Navy used during the Vietnam War.



The vessels will be able to operate in as little as 2 feet of water, according to the report, and will work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to combat drug smuggling coming across the Rio Grande.

"They're finding out when those people are coming across, and one of the things they need to be able to do is interdict them on the water," Texas state Rep. Paul Workman told CNN affiliate KVUE-TV when the first of the boats, the JD Davis, was christened in December.

"If you're trying to suppress organized smuggling activity, there's no substitute for putting people on the ground," Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw said at the December ceremony. "The way they're operating right now, you need them on the water as well."
"It sends a message: Don't mess with Texas," Jose Rodriguez, a regional commander of the Texas Department of Safety, told WFAA.

The six boats will be named after Texas state troopers killed in the line of duty. The first was named after Jerry Don Davis, who was shot and killed in 1980. Another, to be commissioned Thursday in Austin, will be named in honor of trooper David Irvine Rucker, who was killed in 1981, according to The Brownsville Herald.

I have to admit that with most of the crossings of the Rio Grande being done in rubber rafts, this might seem to be overkill. However, if this is what it takes to help stem the drugs coming into the U.S. then so be it!

Talk about bringing a machine gun to a knife fight...! This should be an attention getter, that's for sure!

Coffee on the patio this morning. How about some banana cake to go with it?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Non-Boring Bandages...!

There is no reason why Prepping has to be boring.

While looking around for some new style bandages for my B.O.B., I found some really interesting band aids. After all, prepping should be fun as well as practical, right?

Over at Fark.com, I found a LOT of funny and interesting bandages. I put a few of my favorites on here just to share with you!

These sort of call up memories of when Mom would kiss your boo-boo and make it all better!


This was probably why Dad wasn't the one to do any boo-boo kissing!


If you were wearing these, you might have to watch out for all the bacon lovers, ya know?


Now as much as I like Spam, I might just have to get some of these just because...


Want to see the Spam strips out of the can?


Thia last one is especially good for all the gardeners out there!


There are many, many more over at Fark that you might find more interesting. Like I said, these were just some of my favorites!

Let's have our coffee out on the patio this morning. Too nice a day to stay inside, don't you think?