Monday, April 30, 2012

How About Some Cowboy History...?

No, I don't mean the Dallas Cowboys. I mean a real life cowboy!

Back in the olden days, there were more real men, like this man, than we ever could imagine! Many men that grew up in the same era would have become criminals, but for Mr. Mossman the path was different! I'm glad to say that he was one of the good guys and I wish that there had been more like him!

Apr 30, 1867:
Arizona Ranger Burton Mossman is born

Burton C. Mossman, a rancher turned lawman, is born in Aurora, Illinois.

Little is known about Mossman's childhood in Illinois, though he apparently learned to be self-reliant and resourceful at a young age. When he was 21, Mossman left home and moved to Mexico, where he quickly began proving himself one of the most canny and successful ranchers in the territory. By age 30, he not only had his own spread in New Mexico, but was also the superintendent of a two-million-acre ranch in northern Arizona running 60,000 cattle.

As the size of the southwestern cattle industry increased, cattle rustlers began to take advantage of the lack of surveillance on the isolated ranges to steal stock. In 1901, the territory of Arizona responded by organizing a ranger force to rid the region of rustlers and other outlaws. The governor of Arizona convinced Mossman to sign on as the first captain of the Arizona Rangers.

Mossman was suited to the task. Courageous and skilled with a pistol, he had a knack for surprising rustlers while they were still in possession of stolen cattle, freshly butchered beef, green hides, and other incriminating evidence. Though he could use violence to good effect when needed, Mossman preferred to trick his quarry into giving up peacefully when possible. In one instance, Mossman rode south alone in pursuit of the multiple-murderer Agostine Chacon, who had fled to Mexico. Clearly out of his jurisdiction, Mossman had to act with finesse. With the assistance of Burt Alvard, an outlaw turned lawman, Mossman convinced Chacon that he and Alvard were also outlaws and would help him steal several top horses from a ranch in southern Arizona. When the men crossed the border into Arizona, Mossman revealed his true identity and arrested Chacon, who was later hanged.

The Chacon arrest was a typical example of Mossman's approach to dealing with Arizona rustlers and outlaws. "If they come along easy, everything will be all right," he once explained. "If they don't, well, I just guess we can make pretty short work of them... Some of them will object, of course. They'll probably try a little gunplay as a bluff, but I shoot fairly well myself, and the boys who back me up are handy enough with guns. Any rustler who wants to yank on the rope and kick up trouble will find he's up against it."

After a long and adventurous career with the Arizona Rangers, Mossman eventually returned to the more peaceful life of a rancher. By the time he retired from ranching in 1944, he had business interests in cattle operations from Mexico to Montana, and more than a million cattle wore his brand. He lived out the remainder of his life at his comfortable ranch in Roswell, New Mexico, and died in 1956 at the age of 89.

I'm sure that there were more heroes like Mr. Mossman, but some of them we'll probably never hear about. Thanks to the good folks at, we at least can appreciate the history of Burton Mossman.

Fresh coffee on the patio this morning. Sorry, but I don't have any treats this morning!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Glimpse At The Past...!

It's sort of fun to go back and see what the folks from earlier generations thought about how we might turn out.

I wonder if very many of them would be disappointed if they could see us now? If you take a look at these old cartoons from the 40s and 50s, it's clear that we are not that far off from their visions in some ways!

Almost hit the nail on the head in some spots, right? Here's another one!

It's always good to laugh at ourselves a bit! I'm guessing that most of the folks back then figured we would find new ways to waste time and rot our brains! Right?

Coffee on the patio this morning. Fresh baked wheat bread with butter and strawberry jam OK?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hat Making Material...!

As is the case with much of what we use almost daily, this stuff has an interesting history.

I'll be the first to admit I knew very little about tin foil, so this was very informative for me. I just love this kind of info 'cause it makes me feel so much smarter! Not that I really am, but I just feel that way!


First of all, almost no one uses real tin foil these days. The stuff we all call “tin foil” is actually aluminium foil. Originally foil was made of tin but it gave (not surprisingly) a tin flavor to whatever it touched. It was heavier than modern aluminium foil, which has its benefits but not enough to keep it going strong in our kitchens. Aluminium foil began to surpass tin foil after World War II but it had been available since 1910 when it was first produced by “Dr. Lauber, Neher & Cie.” a Swiss company using the force of a waterfall to drive the foil making machinery. Its first use in the US was as a wrapper on Life Savers candy in 1913.

Interesting Fact: Tin foil was used to fill cavities in teeth before the 20th century. If you have fillings today and have ever chewed a piece of aluminium foil, this fact should make you squirm!

All this fun filled information came from the folks over at Listverse!

I hope you all have a fun filled day! If nothing else, make up some new tin foil hats! Not sure the aluminium foil version will work right!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's trying to rain again today!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Major Maritime Disaster...!

This story from is really sad on so many levels!

Imagine surviving the horror of the Civil War and then being caught up in a disaster of this magnitude! Just breaks my heart, let me tell ya.

Apr 27, 1865:
Union soldiers die in steamship explosion

The steamboat Sultana explodes on the Mississippi River near Memphis, killing 1,700 passengers including many discharged Union soldiers.

The Sultana was launched from Cincinnati in 1863. The boat was 260 feet long and had an authorized capacity of 376 passengers and crew. It was soon employed to carry troops and supplies along the lower Mississippi River.

On April 25, 1865, the Sultana left New Orleans with 100 passengers. It stopped at Vicksburg, Mississippi, for repair of a leaky boiler. R. G. Taylor, the boilermaker on the ship, advised Captain J. Cass Mason that two sheets on the boiler had to be replaced, but Mason ordered Taylor to simply patch the plates until the ship reached St. Louis. Mason was part owner of the riverboat, and he and the other owners were anxious to pick up discharged Union prisoners at Vicksburg. The federal government promised to pay $5 for each enlisted man and $10 for each officer delivered to the North. Such a contract could pay huge dividends, and Mason convinced local military authorities to pick up the entire contingent despite the presence of two other steamboats at Vicksburg.

When the Sultana left Vicksburg, it carried 2,100 troops and 200 civilians, more than six times its capacity. On the evening of April 26, the ship stopped at Memphis before cruising across the river to pick up coal in Arkansas. As it steamed up the river above Memphis, a thunderous explosion tore through the boat. Metal and steam from the boilers killed hundreds, and hundreds more were thrown from the boat into the chilly waters of the river. The Mississippi was already at flood stage, and the Sultana had only one lifeboat and a few life preservers. Only 600 people survived the explosion. A board of inquiry later determined the cause to be insufficient water in the boiler--overcrowding was not listed as a cause. The Sultana accident is still the largest maritime disaster in U.S. history.

Let's have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'm having Mom's house siding and patio pressure washed and we don't want to get wet!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

These Folks Really Need This Class...!

As most of us know, there are some folks that need help...a LOT of help!

I figure there must be a whole lot more to this story. There is probably a very good explanation for this happening, and I would really like to hear the whole story. After all, I don't want to wrongly accuse someone of being stupid or ignorant, ya know?

Virginia Man Accidentally Shoots Himself, Wife During Gun Safety Class

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A Roanoke man and his wife are recovering after he accidentally shot himself and her during a firearms safety class.

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office tells media outlets that Michael L. Deel shot himself in the hand with a .45-caliber handgun. The bullet also struck his wife, Michelle, in the leg as she was sitting beside him.

The incident occurred Saturday during a firearms safety class at a residence. The instructor, Thomas Starke, told police that he had left the room and then heard a shot.

The Deels were taken to a local hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Michael Deel says the shooting was a “stupid accident.”

See, folks...this is the main reason there are Firearms Safety Classes! Some of us need the class more than others!

Coffee out on the patio this beautiful morning! Fresh tomatoes right off the vine over there, but save me one...OK?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A "Gem" Of A Funeral...!

Some folks want to be remembered after they pass away. No matter what!

I guess that this is certainly one way to accomplish that! Actually, this is a pretty cool way to go! I never heard of this before, but I have to say it's different!


Bizarre Fact: A US company will take your remains and turn them into a diamond which can be used by your loved ones.

The company uses the cremated remains of you or a pet to create synthetic diamonds which range in weight and price. A full human body can provide sufficient carbon to make up to 50 one carat diamonds (which cost around $14,000 each). After the carbon from the corpse is purified, it is converted to graphite which is then used in the synthetic diamond process. The resulting diamond is engraved with the name of the dead, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. In 2007 the company used carbon extracted from strands of hair from Ludwig van Beethoven to produce three diamonds for charity. LifeGem retained one diamond, they donated one to John Reznikoff who provided the hair sample, and the third was sold on Ebay for $202,700 US. Get your LifeGem here. Pictured above is an authentic LifeGem (image copyright LifeGem).

The only problem I see with this is that most of relatives would rather have the money this cost instead of the gem! Still, this is pretty unique as a memorial, if you ask me!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Pretty nice outside and I'm ready to enjoy the sunshine!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Desserts Made Easy...!

My Baby Sis sent me this recipe because she knows how much I like easy!

Of course, she also knows that I'm partial to desserts made with as few ingredients as possible! This type of dessert are absolutely perfect for the Prepper, in my opinion.

1 box angel food cake mix

1 box any other flavor cake mix

Combine 2 mixes together dry, and store in 1 gallon Ziploc bag.

To prepare, place 3 Tablespoons of dry mix in a single serving cup or bowl, add 2 Tablespoons water, and mix. Microwave on high for 1 minute.

Ta-Da! That’s it! I would smear peanut butter on top of chocolate, or brown sugar on top of carrot or spice, choc chips on almost anything, maybe powdered sugar……..Let your imagination run wild!

This sounds like it would be the perfect kitchen project to get the kids involved in, and to top it off...they can eat their mistakes ! How good is that?

Coffee on the patio this morning. I have some buttered whole grain toast with honey powder to go with it!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Little Shrimp With A Big Bang...!

Here's a little guy with a big surprise for everyone he wants to share with!

He is called the "pistol shrimp" for good reason, as the article below explains. Just shows that nature does, indeed, have a strange sense of humor!

Front row seats at a rock concert may make your ears ring -- the 120-plus decibel sound output from the stage can put you at risk for tinnitus (ringing in the ears), which typically begins at 127 decibels. Gunshots register at 133 decibels. A Boeing 727, at takeoff, creates sound at about 165 decibels. Blow up a pound of TNT from a few yards away and you'll be near 180 decibels. And when something breaks the sound barrier, that sonic boom weighs in at 213 decibels.

The pistol shrimp, pictured above, laughs at such silence.

The shrimp are, true to their name, tiny -- no more than the size of a finger, per National Geographic. But unlike most shrimp, pistol shrimp have -- proportionally speaking -- a massively enlarged claw protruding from their bodies. And while these shrimp use their claw to subdue their prey, they do not do so in the standard, pinch-and-grab sense. Rather, they use the claws to make mind-boggling loud noises. Literally.

When the shrimp snaps its claw shut, it creates a bubble. The bubble -- and not the snapping of the claw itself -- is responsible for a sound which, according to the Daily Mail, can hit 218 decibels. Nat Geo explains how the sound is created: "When the claw snaps shut, a jet of water shoots out from a socket in the claw at speeds of up to 62 miles (100 kilometers) an hour, generating a low-pressure bubble in its wake. As the pressure stabilizes, the bubble collapses with a loud bang." On top of that, the bubble's burst creates a flash of light which, while not visible to the naked eye, can be detected with the proper instruments. As a study published in Nature concluded, this necessarily leads to extremely high temperatures -- around 5,000 degrees Kelvin. (The temperature of the Sun's surface is believed to be about 6,000 degrees Kelvin, for comparison's sake.)

The entire event happens in a split second, requiring high speed cameras in order for us to study this curiosity of nature. In that split second, however, the shrimp accomplishes its goal. The claw acts like a gun -- hence the name of the shrimp -- and extreme sound and pressure from the claw's snapping action is its ammunition. The "bullet" stuns other shrimp, which the pistol shrimp then drags back into its burrow and eat for dinner.

Just imagine if this bad boy grew to a larger size! Fishermen all over the world would be very careful about catching a net full of them, don't you think?

You can thank Dan over at "Now I Know" for this tidbit!

Coffee out on the patio again. Man, I am loving this weather here lately!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Sunday Again...!

Sunday once again and that means cartoons! I know to some cartoons seem a little silly, but if you think about it...cartoons reflect real life in more ways than one. Maybe they are just one way to laugh a little at ourselves, ya think?

And just because it's Sunday, here's another one!

That's all for now, folks. Enjoy the rest of this beautiful day...and don't forget to give credit where credit is due when you are having a good day, OK?

 Besides, a few more words of thanks to the Boss upstairs is always in order, don't you think?

 Now, let's have our coffee out on the patio this morning. It's nice and cool!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anyone Lose A Rocket Launcher...?

I'm thinking that something like this could only happen in Houston.

I'm pretty sure that the garbage collection guys see a lot of really strange things at the curbside, but probably nothing like this. Might just be a first for all of them! Still, this is kinda a scary sort of way!

 Used rocket launcher left for trash pickup causes Kingwood-area scare 

A military-style rocket launcher left on the curb for trash pickup Thursday in the Kingwood area was confiscated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

 “We have it in our custody,” said Gary Orchowski, acting special agent in charge at the ATF’s Houston office. “We’re awaiting word from the U.S. military on whether they want it back or we are going to destroy it.” 

The launcher, about 3 feet long, was dirty and full of cobwebs and spider eggs, Orchowski said. Leaving it out for trash pickup was not illegal, he said. 

“The preliminary examination of it reveals that the rocket launcher was inert and no explosive material has been identified, so it was not classified as a destructive device,” Orchowski said. “There was no violation of the Gun Control Act, the National Firearms Act or any federal explosive laws.” 

 Several ATF agents went to the scene in the 900 block of Marina Drive after a resident called the federal agency, Orchowski said.

"We notified the Houston Police Department bomb squad and the FBI,” he said. 

The bomb squad responded, but Orchowski said, to his knowledge, the FBI did not.

Orchowski said the launcher, which had a military serial number, has been “demilled,” meaning it’s no longer a military item. He said he couldn’t release photos of the device without permission from the military. 

According to The Humble Observer, a neighbor said a trash collection crew would not pick up the launcher. 

It's getting to be that you just never know what to expect in the big city! The only thing that surprises me is that this piece of equipment didn't belong to one of my neighbors!

We'll have to have our coffee in the kitchen this morning because the rain is coming down again!

Friday, April 20, 2012

So This Is How It Started...!

As many of you know, I love a good mystery.

It's interesting to find out about the story that is considered to be the very first mystery story published! It doesn't surprise me at all that the author of that first tale was none other than Edgar Allen Poe!

Apr 20, 1841:
First detective story is published

Edgar Allen Poe's story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, first appears in Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine. The tale is generally considered to be the first detective story.

The story describes the extraordinary "analytical power" used by Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin to solve a series of murders in Paris. Like the later Sherlock Holmes stories, the tale is narrated by the detective's roommate.

Following the publication of Poe's story, detective stories began to grow into novels and English novelist Wilkie Collins published a detective novel, The Moonstone, in 1868. In Collins' story, the methodical Sergeant Cuff searches for the criminal who stole a sacred Indian moonstone. The novel includes several features of the typical modern mystery, including red herrings, false alibis, and climactic scenes.

The greatest fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, first appeared in 1887, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel A Study in Scarlet. The cozy English mystery novel became popularized with Agatha Christie's Miss Marple series in the 1920s, when other detectives like Lord Peter Wimsey and Ellery Queen were also becoming popular. In the 1930s, sometimes called the golden age of detective stories, the noir detective novel became the mainstay of writers like Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler, and Mickey Spillane. Tough female detectives such as Kinsey Millhone and V.I. Warshawski became popular in the 1980s.

It's always fun to me to find out the origin of something I like. This is definitely one of those times!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bad Man With A Bad Attitude...!

Some of the guys in the history of the old west were plenty tough, but sometimes just not so nice!

Back then, a lawman had to be big and bad, but their temper had to be controlled. Old Wyatt just didn't seem to be able to keep his temper in check! Mr. Earp didn't play nice with others, it seems!

Apr 19, 1876:
Wyatt Earp dropped from Wichita police force

A Wichita, Kansas, commission votes not to rehire policeman Wyatt Earp after he beats up a candidate for county sheriff.

Born in 1848, Wyatt was one of the five Earp brothers, some of whom became famous for their participation in the shootout at the O.K. Corral in 1881. Before moving to Tombstone in 1879, however, Wyatt had already become a controversial figure. For much of his life, he worked in law enforcement, but his own allegiance to the rule of law was conditional at best.

In 1870, residents of Lamar, Missouri, elected Wyatt town constable. He did a good job as constable, but within a year his wife died of typhoid and he began wandering about the West. Not long after, Wyatt was arrested for stealing horses in Indian Territory, and he fled to Kansas to escape prosecution.

In 1873, Wyatt joined his older brother James in Wichita, Kansas, the rowdy cattle town that was the northern terminus of the Chisholm Trail. Wyatt again pinned on a badge. At first, it appears that he worked for a private security force employed by local saloons and businesses to keep order, but Wichita Marshal Michael Meagher hired him as an official city policeman by 1875.

Wyatt soon proved to be a daunting police officer. He knew how to use his Remington pistol, and he kept his skills sharp with frequent sessions of target practice. However, Wyatt also liked the Remington because it had a strap that made it an effective club: whenever possible, he preferred to pistol-whip his opponents rather than shoot them. He was also a formidable fistfighter. His friend and fellow law officer, Bat Masterson, later recalled that, "There were few men in the West who could whip Earp in a rough-and-tumble fight."

During the next year, Wyatt again proved his mettle as a law officer, but his political skills were less refined. In April, Wichita held an election for city marshal. An opponent named William Smith challenged Wyatt's boss, Michael Meagher, for the office. On April 2, Smith made several disparaging remarks about Meagher, and Wyatt took offense. Wyatt confronted Smith and beat him in a fistfight.

Although Meagher won reelection, he was unable to save Wyatt's job. On this day in 1876, a Wichita commission decided that Wyatt's violent behavior was unacceptable and did not rehire him as a police officer. As the town newspaper conceded, "It is but justice to Earp to say he has made an excellent officer," but the young lawman had to learn to control his passions and play the political game.

After losing his job in Wichita, Wyatt immediately moved to Dodge City, where he found work on the police force. A few years later he joined several of his brothers in the booming mining town of Tombstone, Arizona. Unfortunately, wherever Wyatt traveled, trouble seemed to follow. In 1881, the controversial gun battle at the O.K. Corral again raised questions about Wyatt's fidelity to the rule of law. Many claimed Wyatt helped kill Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury at the O.K. Corral not for legitimate law enforcement reasons, but because of a personal feud between the Earp brothers and the Clanton-McLaury clans. Although exonerated by a local Justice of the Peace, Wyatt was soon after involved in several other questionable murders, and he was eventually forced to flee Tombstone.

Wyatt Earp seemed unable to control his passions or play the political game, though his propensity for solving problems with bloodshed waned as he grew older. He spent the next five decades of a long and interesting life wandering around the West, dabbling in mostly unsuccessful business ventures in gold, silver, and oil. He eventually settled in Los Angeles where he died in 1929 at the age of 80.

Evidently, playing the political game was as important to public figures as it is today! Some things just never change, ya know?

Coffee on the patio this morning. Be careful of the dive bombing crows, OK?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Time For Some Laughs...!

I got this from my baby Sis and it was just too good not to share!

With the political front turning into more and more of a joke, maybe this is a perfect time to turn away from the clown antics currently practiced by some of the PTB and enjoy some plain ol' funny stuff!


I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots.
Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport;
you have to be driven there.
I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends,
family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump,
and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have never been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go,
and I try not to visit there.

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often
as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets
the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart!
At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

And more and more I think of the Hereafter. Several times a day,
in fact, I enter a room and think "What am I here after?"

Sound familiar? Join the Club!!

Now I don't know about you, but I found this to be very funny! I can always use a good laugh!

How about some fresh coffee on the patio? Looks like a pretty day ahead!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Bones At Ben Franklin's House...!

Nearly every day, we hear a story about the exposure of a secret of some public official.

Evidently, this has been the case for a long time. In the political world, it isn't necessarily wrong doing that hurts you, but the appearance of wrong doing that can create a world of problems. If you don't believe it, consider the case of Benjamin Franklin and the bones in his basement!

Why were 10 dead bodies found in Benjamin Franklin’s basement?

By Lauren Davis
Apr 14, 2012 9:00 AM

In 1998, a group called the Friends of Benjamin Franklin House began renovations on Franklin's London residence, No. 36 Craven Street, and discovered a nasty surprise: 1,200 pieces of bone from 10 bodies, six of which were children. And the bodies were buried in the basement around the time Franklin was living in the house.

No, Franklin didn't engage in a murder spree in between penning Poor Richard's Almanack and flying kites in lightning storms. In fact, it's unlikely that the bodies were murder victims at all. The bones were sawed through and bore scalpel marks, suggesting the bodies were used for an anatomical study. And it just so happens that Franklin's dear friend William Hewson, whose mother-in-law owned Franklin's home, was a student of the famed anatomist William Hunter. Historical speculation holds that Hewson, after digging up these bodies or paying a "resurrection man" for the remains, set up a lab in Franklin's basement for his own anatomical studies.

The question remains, however: did Franklin know about the bodies? It's possible that he participated in, or at least witnessed Hewson's studies, but Hewson could have used the basement — and then buried the bodies — when Franklin wasn't around. Without further historical evidence, we can't know if the bodies in the basement would have been as much of a surprise to Franklin as they were to the renovation team.

I don't believe for a minute that ol' Ben had anything to do with the collecting or hiding a bunch of human bones, but you have to admit that there is a hint of a mystery behind the whole thing!

I just love a good mystery, don't you?

Coffee on the patio this morning. The rain and stormy weather seems to be gone for now!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Texas City Disaster...!

I have seen first hand the remnants of the explosion that took place so long ago.

The only good thing to ever come from this disaster, was a rash of updated and much needed safety rules. The rules in place at the time were inadequate and ignored.

Apr 16, 1947:
Texas City explodes

At 9:12 a.m. in Texas City's port on Galveston Bay, a fire aboard the French freighter Grandcamp ignites ammonium nitrate and other explosive materials in the ship's hold, causing a massive blast that destroys much of the city and takes nearly 600 lives.

The port of Texas City, a small industrial city with a population of about 18,000, was teaming with chemical plants and oil refineries that provided steady, good-paying jobs for much of the town. In the industrial sector, minor accidents and chemical fires were rather commonplace, and many stood around the port casually watching the reddish orange blaze that broke out on the Grandcamp early on a Wednesday morning. Twenty-seven members of the Texas City Volunteer Fire Department were called out to douse the flames, but the ship was so hot that the water from their fire hoses was instantly vaporized.

At 12 minutes past nine, the fire caught the freighter's stores of ammonium nitrate, a compound used to make dynamite, and Texas City exploded. Wood-frame houses in the city were flattened, additional blasts were triggered at nearby chemical plants, and fires broke out across the city. The mushroom cloud from the blast rose 2,000 feet, and fragments of the Grandcamp were hurled thousands of feet into the air, landing on buildings and people. The ship's anchor, weighing 1.5 tons, was flung two miles and embedded 10 feet into the ground at the Pan American refinery. The explosion was heard as far as 150 miles away.

Devastating fires burned for days, and on April 17 the freighter High Flyer, also loaded with nitrates, exploded, further devastating the port and causing a new string of explosions at nearby plants. Fortunately, most of Texas City's population had been evacuated by then, and the city's losses were primarily material. By late in the day on April 18, emergency crews had the situation under control. Some eyewitnesses said the scene was worse than anything they had seen in Europe during World War II. The Grandcamp explosion was the most devastating industrial accident in U.S. history, with 600 people killed and more than 3,000 wounded.

After watching the massive damage caused by tornadoes around the country this weekend, I was reminded of this early terrible disaster. It's one of those things we never like to talk about, but in studying them we can find ways to help prepare for them and lessen the loss of life! After all, that's the important thing. Things can be replaced, but loss of life...that is another story!

We better have coffee in the kitchen this morning. Looks like the remnants of the storm system are still hanging around!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How About Some Mighty Mouse...?

Straight from the "good old days", which in this case was the 1940's, here comes another hero that we could use today!

It's sad to live in a time where there doesn't seem to be any clear heroes, isn't it? I think it would be nice to have at least one, even if it was in the cartoons. Guess the truth of the matter is, the world was pretty much a matter of black and white, unlike today where there are so many shades of grey with layers of shadow upon shadow!

That's the reason I want to step back for a bit, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy the simple world of villains and good guys! You know, the days of white hats and black hats, when most of the shadows were soon gone.

I don't know about you, but I need another dose of "Hero" this morning!

Hope this helps to make it a great day!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Sorry, no snacks today! How about a banana?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Way To Go, NASA...!

There are times when it really sucks to be a Martian! This would definitely be one of those times, I'm thinking.

While reading this story, I was just wondering if this was going to happen to us? I mean, why should the poor little Martians be the only ones to suffer? Up until now, I always had the impression that the folks here on planet Earth were the good guys...sorta. Now I'm having to go back and rethink all my prior ideas.

BUNGLING Nasa chiefs are believed to have found tiny Martians — but KILLED them by boiling them alive.

Two spacecraft that landed on the Red Planet in 1976 are now thought to have detected live microbes in Martian soil.

Scientists at the time failed to spot the signs of life — and COOKED the bugs at 160°C during experiments. Now an international team has used modern techniques to re-examine data collected by the two unmanned Viking probes.

And biologist Joseph Miller, of the University of Southern California, said: “I’m 99 per cent sure there’s life there.

“To paraphrase an old saying, if it looks like a microbe and acts like a microbe — then it probably is a microbe.”

During the 1976 mission, nutrients were added to the Martian soil. It would have a similar effect to putting plant food on a garden. The soil gave off a gas, believed to be mainly carbon dioxide.

Experts dismissed the possibility that the gas came from bugs. But new tests indicate it DID. Unfortunately, the soil was heated in the original tests, killing any microbes.

Dr Miller wants Nasa to send a craft back to Mars to film the minute creatures.

Man, not only did we invade another planet...but we kidnapped some of the lawful residents, brought them back here, and then murdered them in the name of science! I hate to say it, but this really sounds like the makings of a low budget science fiction movie!

To top it off, now we want to go back and get some more of them? We might not get a friendly welcome this time around!

We better have coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain and hail in the forecast and I really don't like hail in my coffee!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Got A Piggy Bank...?

First of all, let me wish you all a safe Friday 13TH.

That's right! We have 3 of them this year, and that's really unusual. Usually the most we have in a single year is 2. Wonder if that is a good sign or a bad one?

Now, about this piggy bank thing. At one time or another, I'm sure nearly every kid has had some kind of piggy bank. Ever wonder where that name came from? I'm gonna tell ya!

Probably since the advent of coinage, people have been looking for places to keep their money. Sticking dollar bills under the mattress is a relatively new innovation, but putting valuables into jars stretches back centuries. And clay jars have been around for thousands of years, with pot sherds found in China dating back as much as 18,000 years ago, according to the Associated Press. So it only makes sense that early "banks" were simply jars of clay.

According to the Straight Dope, an orange type of clay was rather popular in the Middle Ages, and used for storage of everything -- including valuables and money. The jars made from this orange clay weren't shaped like anything special -- and certainly not like pigs. Rather, they probably looked like regular clay jugs, unadorned in order to keep them economical.

That orange clay used to make these jars was called "pygg" and the jars themselves were called "pygg jars."

Originally, "pygg" was probably pronounced something closer to "pug" than "pig," but as the language evolved and our pronunciation of vowels shifted, "pygg" became a homophone for "pig." And at roughly the same time -- a few generations different, give or take -- the modern meaning of the term "banking" came to be. Together, "pygg jars" became "piggy banks," and soon after, were stylized to look like the animals from which they do not get their name.

I gleamed all this information from a post over at "Now I Know" right here.

Isn't it fun to learn all this almost worthless stuff? Just never know when it might come in handy!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Maybe some biscuits and baked ham snacks to go along with it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The "Utah" War...!

One early conflict of our government was one not mentioned very much in most history books.

A true standoff of state and federal governments that was very close to becoming a "shooting war!" This is a time of history that I'm thinking we should study more closely.

Apr 12, 1858:
First gentile governor arrives in Utah

Salt Lake City offers an uneasy welcome to Alfred Cummings, its first non-Mormon governor, which signals the end of the so-called "Utah War."

The Mormon acceptance of a gentile governor came after more than a year of tensions and military threats between the U.S. government and Brigham Young's Utah theocracy. Sometimes referred to as the Utah War, this little-known conflict arose out of fundamental questions about the autonomy of the Mormon-controlled territory of Utah. Was Utah an American state or an independent nation? Could the Mormon Church maintain its tight controls over the political and economic fate of the territory while still abiding by the laws and dictates of the United States?

When James Buchanan became president in March 1857, he was determined to assert federal control over Utah Territory, where most of the residents were Mormons. Buchanan dispatched a brigade of 2,500 infantry and artillery troops for Salt Lake City under the command of the infamous General William ("Squaw Killer") Harney, who had a reputation for harsh methods. The troops were to establish a federal garrison in Utah and provide support for the new non-Mormon Utah Governor Alfred Cummings, who had been appointed by Buchanan to replace Young.

Buchanan failed to fully inform Young of his intentions. As rumors spread of an impending American invasion, Young and other Mormon leaders reacted with alarm. Fearing the approaching federal army was actually just an armed mob similar to those that had previously driven the Mormons from Missouri and Illinois, Young was determined to make a stand. He mobilized the Mormon's huge militia, the Nauvoo Legion, and ordered it to implement a scorched earth policy in the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake City to deprive the federal army of necessary forage and supplies. Meanwhile, Mormon citizens began manufacturing arms and ammunition in preparation for war.

Much to the embarrassment of the Buchanan administration, severe weather and the Nauvoo Legion's scorched earth tactics initially stymied the federal troops. After a hard winter spent at the burnt out shell of Fort Bridger, the American force prepared to make another attempt to push through the Wasatch Mountains and down into Salt Lake. By this time, Young was ready for peace, but he remained so distrustful that he ordered some 30,000 people to abandon Salt Lake and other northern settlements and make an unnecessary retreat southward.

When Cummings finally arrived in Salt Lake on this day in 1858, the city was nearly deserted. Young peacefully relinquished the governorship and all of his other governmental roles, agreeing to become solely the spiritual leader of Utah Mormons. In exchange, Buchanan gave all Utah residents a blanket pardon for any involvement in the conflict. Several months later, two brigades of American soldiers established Camp Floyd south of Salt Lake City, the largest garrison in the nation until the Civil War.

With the threat of a bloody conflict diminished, Mormon refugees began returning to their homes. Though tensions between the Mormons and the federal government continued for decades, the Utah War ended the dream of a Mormon state geographically and politically separated from nonbelievers. Henceforth, Utah Territory was clearly a part of the American union, and it was granted full statehood in 1896.

The main lesson to learn here is that trying to fight someone on their home turf is not a good idea! Learning all you can about your foe is very important! Most important of all...when you start trying to enforce your rules and control over folks that don't want it, better bring your lunch!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I've got some chocolate cake to go with it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Something A Little Different...!

Today, I'm doing something a little off the wall for me.

I'm going to recommend a book to everyone interested in learning, while being entertained as well. I had all but forgotten about this book until I saw a discussion about it on Listverse.

Considering when this book was written (1959), it covers a lot of topics that could be of importance to Preppers today! It might just be the ideal book to have around in your supplies. You do have some things set aside for entertainment, right?

Alas Baylon

Sadly, this once-popular 1959 novel has been fading into obscurity for a long time. It is without doubt one of the best-imagined depictions of the aftermath of nuclear war for a small community that gets somewhat lucky regarding the fallout pattern.

It is set in Florida. The protagonist gets a little bit of warning, due to the fact that his brother works for SAC. Then folks start figuring out what to do. It becomes almost a treatise on surviving once everything we accept as normal fails. Of particular interest is how race relations are treated… the reader must understand that this was written in the late 50′s, right before the civil rights movement, and many of today’s readers will come away with Malachai as their favorite character. Alas, Babylon must have been quite an eye-opener when it first hit the stands.

Depictions such as a little girl figuring out out how to put fish on the table when they aren’t biting due to oppressive heat, and folks realizing that an actual expedition to find salt (of all things!) is critical to survival, combined with superb characterizations, make this one the best of all. An utter classic, and worth putting in your bomb shelter should you ever build one.

Even though this book is a little dated (OK, a LOT dated) it does touch on many topics that are still important. I would say it is definitely worth a read, or worth re-reading! As always, that's just my opinion!

Losing ground again, I see. We lost another follower according to the count! Guess it was something I said...or didn't say! Oh well, I appreciate all the folks that take the time to drop by from time to time! Like a visit from an old friend, ya know?

We better have coffee inside this morning. The yard guys are coming to do Mom's yard and I don't want grass in my cup, ya know?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No Post ! Spring Fever...!

Sorry, but I am taking this beautiful day off!

Springtime outside, and I want to enjoy it, ya know?

Have a great day! Coffee pot is on the patio!

Monday, April 9, 2012

You'll Get A "Bang" Out Of This...!

Guess we have all had the experience of finding out that some of the eggs that were hidden were never found!

You can bet that no one saw this one coming, though. I'm certainly glad the little guy didn't try and eat this particular egg!

British child hunting for Easter eggs finds hand grenade

Published April 08, 2012

HOLFORD, England – A child on an Easter egg hunt organized by a pre-school group in an English village stumbled upon an unexpected surprise -- a hand grenade.
The hunt was taking place in a field near the town of Holford, Somerset, on Saturday.

The area was cordoned off and the bomb disposal squad destroyed the grenade in a controlled explosion, police said. It also resulted in the closure of a highway for a few of hours.

"We were beginning to count up the eggs at the end of the hunt and I saw a boy of three standing on an object," Stuart Moffatt, who was attending the hunt with his three children, told the Daily Mail.

"It was brown and about four inches high. It looked like an Easter egg, but it was a hand grenade.

"I was shocked. The boy who was standing on it thought it was a rock. The leaders did a great job keeping the children calm."

The grenade was believed to have been a relic from World War II, according to the Mail.

Read more:

When you think of just how bad things could have gone, it's scary! Luckily for all involved, the egg hunt ended without a loud noise! Bet everyone will be talking about this Easter excitement for a long time to come.

Coffee on the patio this morning. No extra eggs, but I do have some fresh baked bread...OK?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter...!

Please don't let the real meaning of Easter get lost in the glamour and commercialism of the day!

Everyone should be reflective, thankful, and respectful today and every day. If you pray, today would certainly be an excellent time to do that. All I'm asking is that we should reflect on all the good things in our lives, and put aside the least for one single day!

Speaking of good things, why don't we have some fresh coffee on the patio this morning. Looks to be a glorious day!

Happy Easter, Everyone...!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Remember This Song...?

When I was a very young kid, I can remember Gene Autry singing this song about Easter time!

Back then it seems that every holiday had it's own theme song, one song that the kids and sometimes even the grownups went around humming or whistling, ya know?

Since Gene Autry was often the one who sang these songs, and tomorrow is Easter, it seems only fair we include him today!

See if this song can bring back a few memories!

I do hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. Sure was a long time ago, wasn't it?

Coffee on the patio again this morning. Want some hot biscuits?

Friday, April 6, 2012

How About Some "Moose Cheese"...?

That's right! You did hear me say moose cheese!

Heck, I didn't even think that you could milk a moose, but I guess that baby moose have figured out the right way to do it.

Now before you start thinking about a new home based business selling "moose cheese", you might want to read this article!

Healthy, Tasty... Expensive

STOCKHOLM (JP) - Farmers in northern Sweden are milking moose, hoping that cheese-lovers with deep pockets will develop a taste for moose cheese.

It's healthy and tasty - and very expensive (nearly $500 per pound) because moose milk is hard to obtain.

Christer & Ulla Johansson started the 59-acre “Moose House” - the only moose dairy farm in Europe - seven years ago in Bjursholm (400 miles north of Stockholm). Moose House has 14 moose in the fields, but only three cows (Gullan, Haelga & Juna) can be milked. The cows were found as abandoned calves in the woods around Bjursholm, and were taken in by the Johansson family. The domesticated moose stay outdoors all year, and weigh about 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds).

Why so expensive? Moose only produce milk between May and September, and it takes up to two hours to milk a moose, with each producing up to a gallon of milk per day. Moose milk contains 12% fat and 12% protein, is kept refrigerated and curdling is done three times per year – yielding 660 pounds of cheese per year. Made in three varieties, the moose cheese can be sampled at the farm’s restaurant. Sales are mainly to upscale Swedish hotels and restaurants, and they have plans to export more cheese - especially their sour feta-type, which is laid down in oil and is easy to transport.

Moose House attracts 25,000 visitors per year, and is the main attraction in an activity center that also offers fishing, golf, canoe tours, and riding.

You can find out more about this high priced cheese here...

I don't think I'll ever complain about the high cost of cheese again! This makes the regular ol' American made cheese look pretty good, regardless of the cost!

Now how about some fresh coffee on the patio? We can watch the crows fight over a slice of stale bread!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

This Should Be A Crime...!

As most of you know, I love me some good ol' peanut butter!

P.B. and jelly, P.B. and honey, P.B. and butter...I didn't think you could come up with a bad combination using peanut butter! It seems like I was wrong!

Whoever came up with this idea should be severely punished! Severely, I say!

The answer to an unasked question: PB&J vodka
By staff

You may have thought that bacon-flavored vodka was bad – and if you tasted it you know this to be hangover-inducingly true. But that may be top shelf compared to peanut butter & jelly vodka.

Evidently, Van Gogh Vodka sees the need for alcoholics to embrace their inner second-grader. PB&J is a thing, as reported by BarBiz mag.

Van Gogh is proud to introduce their own take on the classic PB&J, transforming its timeless flavor into a delightfully smooth peanut butter and raspberry jelly flavored vodka. Master Distiller Tim Vos selected raspberry flavored jelly after taste-testing peanut butter sandwiches matched with various jellies. "For me, the raspberry jelly came out the best," he says. "It is fresh, fruity and mingles very well with the oily structure of the peanut butter."

We’re not even sure how to drink this? Straight up? PB&J-tini? As punishment for crimes in a past life?

For one of the first times in my life, I'm almost totally speechless! I mean it!!

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning! I have to stay close to the cookies baking! Want one?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Unusual Teamwork...!

One of the many things we could learn from Mother Nature is that sometimes, teamwork is beneficial!

You probably would never think of ants and Butterflies working as a team, but it does happen! Not all the time, but on certain occasions and with specific groups! I know it sounds strange, but take a look at this example I found over at!

Large Blue caterpillars feed on wild Thyme or Marjoram flowers for the first few days of development. Afterwards, they seek out the nests of a specific species of red ant, and hibernate inside their tunnels. The caterpillar will spend a further 3 weeks transforming into the Large Blue butterfly adult. After its change from caterpillar to butterfly, the insect emerges from its chrysalis and leaves the red ant nest to find a mate. Usually, red ants will escort the newly emerged butterfly to the surface, taking it to a low plant or shrub nearby. The red ants will encircle the butterfly and ward off any predators that attempt to attack the butterfly as it dries out. After the butterfly is ready to fly away, the ants will retreat back into their nest. To make itself less of an intruder to the red ants, Large Blue caterpillars will adopt the red ant’s scent and mimic the ant’s sounds, in addition to providing the ants with honeydew. Once the caterpillar is inside its chrysalis, it will rub its head against the chrysalis walls to make a scraping sound that the red ants make. Failure to complete any of these disguises will often lead to the caterpillar being eaten by the red ants.

That, my friends, is one way that nature teaches us that we can survive an otherwise deadly time if we only work as a team! It won't happen every time, but if the pairing is right from the start, the chances of surviving are quite good!

Don't believe me? Just ask the large blue butterfly!

Coffee outside on the patio this morning! No cold front came through, so it's back to Spring/Summer type weather!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Texas Tales...!

Today I want to tell you about "Bigfoot" Wallace!

A real person, he became a living legend who would gladly spin a yarn for anyone interested, and more than likely the stories would be true! You have to love this guy!

Apr 3, 1817:
Texas Ranger "Big Foot" Wallace born

The legendary Texas Ranger and frontiersman "Big Foot" Wallace is born in Lexington, Kentucky.

In 1836, 19-year-old William Alexander Anderson Wallace received news that one of his brothers had been killed in the Battle of Goliad, an early confrontation in the Texan war of independence with Mexico. Pledging to "take pay of the Mexicans" for his brother's death, Wallace left Lexington and headed for Texas. By the time he arrived, the war was over, but Wallace found he liked the spirited independence of the new Republic of Texas and decided to stay.

Over six feet tall and weighing around 240 pounds, Wallace's physique made him an intimidating man, and his unusually large feet won him the nickname "Big Foot." In 1842, he finally had a chance to fight Mexicans and joined with other Texans to repulse an invasion by the Mexican General Adrian Woll. During another skirmish with Mexicans, Wallace was captured and endured two years of hard time in the notoriously brutal Perote Prison in Vera Cruz before finally being released in 1844.

After returning to Texas, Wallace decided to abandon the formal Texan military force for the less rigid organization of the Texas Rangers. Part law-enforcement officers and part soldiers, the Texas Rangers fought both bandits and Indians in the vast, sparsely populated reaches of the Texan frontier. Williams served under Ranger John Coffee Hays until the start of the Civil War in 1861. Opposed to secession but unwilling to fight against his own people, Williams spent most of the war defending Texas against Indian attacks along the frontier.

During his many years in the wilds of Texas, Wallace had hundreds of adventures. Once, Indians attacked Wallace while he was working as a stage driver on the hazardous San Antonio-El Paso route. He escaped with his life but the Indians stole his mules, leaving him stranded in the Texas desert. Forced to walk to El Paso, Wallace later claimed he ate 27 eggs at the first house he encountered after his long journey, then he went into town to have a "real meal."

In his later years, Wallace decided he had enough of life as a fighter and adventurer. In exchange for his loyal service, the state of Texas granted him land along the Medina River and in Frio County in the southern part of the state. Always happy to regale listeners with highly embellished tales of his frontier days, Wallace became a contemporary folk hero to the people of Texas. As one of his admirers concluded, Wallace was the perfect symbol of "old-timey free days, free ways, and free land."

Wallace died in 1899 and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

Whenever you find a story like this, you have to be careful. Many times there are multiple versions of the facts, and you need to research all of them to see which one is closest to the truth. Makes for some good reading, that's for sure!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning, because it's trying to rain again. A cold front is supposed to be moving in!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Is Fun Fact Day...!

I figured that we could start the week with some fun facts that you may not know!

Learning something new every day should be fun, but it can help the ol' grey matter stay in shape as well! Think of this as exercise for your brain, which is nothing more than a muscle, ya know?

1. Dracula is the most filmed story of all time. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde comes second and Oliver Twist comes third.

2. Donald Duck has a sister called Dumbella.

3. Coca Cola has a pH of 2.8.

4. Al Capone’s older brother was a policeman in Nebraska.

5. Henry Ford never had a driver’s license.

6. The original name of Pacman was going to be Puck Man until the developers saw the obvious potential for parody.

7. Frank Baum got the name Oz in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ from his alphabetized filing cabinet (O-Z).

8. The Buzz generated by an electric razor in Britain is in the key of G. In America it is in the key of B flat.

9. More than half the world’s population have never made or received a telephone call.

10. Eskimos never gamble.

11. The Snickers bar was named after a horse the Mars family owned.

12. Tomato Ketchup was once sold as medicine

13. George W. Bush was the 17th US state governor to become president.

14. Buenos Aires has more psychoanalysts, per head, than any other place in the world

15. Oscars given out during World War 2 were made of wood, because metal was in short supply.

16. 75 percent of Japanese women own vibrators. The global average is 47 percent.

17. The Christmas holidays are the busiest times in plastic surgeons offices.

18. There has never been a sex-change operation performed in Ireland.

19. In China, the bride wears red.

20. Mexico City has more taxis than any other city in the world.

21. Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

22. President Andrew Jackson once killed a man in a duel because he insulted his wife.

23. The first ice pop dates back to 1923, when lemonade salesman Frank Epperson left a glass of lemonade outside one cold night. The next morning, the ice pop was born – and originally called the epsicle ice pop.

24. Nobody knows were Mozart is buried.

25. Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.

Just think! You can spout off some of these wild facts at your next party...ya know, in case it gets really boring!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Too nice to stay inside if we don't have to!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's Day...!

This is pretty much a day recognized around the world as a day for practical jokes.

However, the day itself has quite a history on it's own. I found part of this history on and thought I would share it with you!

Apr 1, 1700:
April Fools tradition popularized

On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools' Day by playing practical jokes on each other.

Although the day, also called All Fools' Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools' Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as "poisson d'avril" (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools' Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There's also speculation that April Fools' Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools' Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with "hunting the gowk," in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people's derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or "kick me" signs on them.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools' Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia's Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a "Left-Handed Whopper," scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.

I have to apologize for the lack of cartoons today, but being the special day it is, I figured I'd pass on that! Sorry!

We better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain may come back, and I don't want to get least by the rain, ya know?