Thursday, January 31, 2013

Silver In Your Socks...!

I had no idea that silver was used in this fashion.

It's always fun to find that precious metals have other uses besides just jewelery! Some of the medical uses of silver I was aware of, but the rest was new to me.

Stops Your Socks from Smelling

Did you know the socks you’re wearing right now might contain silver? Apart from its many uses in dentistry, jewelry, optics and photography, silver also has some serious antibacterial properties. It can inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi in fabric, which makes it nature’s own odor stopper. 

Because of this, the clothing industry uses quite a lot of silver—in nanosilver form—to stop the clothes they make from smelling. Apart from socks, almost all of your clothes (up to and including your shoes) may well have some silver in them. Silver’s antibacterial superpowers have also made the metal very popular in the world of medicine as a very effective disinfectant and antiseptic.

One of the greatest things about the internet is that it allows us to learn something new each and every day! I really like that! I'm a sucker for obscure information!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Toasted sourdough bread on the side!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Western Wednesday With Belle Starr...!

We don't often talk about the women of the old west, but they were a very important part of western development.

Although most women of the west were unknown to us by name, such is not the case with Belle Starr! She was, without a doubt, one of the "bigger than life" characters in the shady side of the early days! From the folks at, here is her story!

Belle Starr murdered in Oklahoma

The outlaw Belle Starr is killed when an unknown assailant fatally wounds the famous "Bandit Queen" with two shotgun blasts from behind.

As with the lives of other famous outlaws like Billy the Kid and Jesse James, fanciful accounts printed in newspapers and dime novels made Belle Starr's harsh and violent life appear far more romantic than it actually was. Born Myra Belle Shirley on a small farm near Carthage, Missouri, in 1848, she received an education in the classics and became a competent pianist. Seemingly headed for an unexciting but respectable middle-class life, her fate was changed by the outbreak of the Civil War, which ruined her father's business as a Carthage innkeeper and claimed the life of her brother Edwin. Devastated, the Shirley family abandoned Missouri to try to make a fresh start in Texas.

In Texas, Belle began her life-long pattern of associating with men of questionable character. In 1866, she met Cole Younger, a member of the James-Younger gang that was gaining notoriety for a series of daring bank and train robberies. Rumor had it that Younger fathered Belle's first child, Pearl, though the father might have actually been another outlaw, Jim Reed. Regardless, Belle's relationship with Younger was short-lived, and in 1866 she became Reed's wife. Belle was apparently untroubled by her new husband's reputation and she had become his partner in crime by 1869. She joined him in stealing cattle, horses, and money in the Dallas area. Riding her mare, Venus, and sporting velvet skirts and plumed hats, Belle played the role of a "bandit queen" for several years.

In 1874, a member of his own gang killed Reed, and Belle was suddenly on her own. Pursued by the law, she drifted into Oklahoma Indian Territory, where she led a band of cattle and horse thieves. There she met a handsome young Cherokee named Sam Starr, who eventually became her common-law husband and new criminal partner. The Starrs managed to elude capture for nearly a decade, but in 1883 they were arrested for horse theft and both served five months in the Detroit federal prison.

Freed from prison, the couple immediately resumed their criminal careers. In 1886, Belle again lost a husband to violent death when Sam Starr was killed in a gunfight with an old enemy. Belle wasted no time in finding a third companion, a Creek Indian named Jim July, an outlaw who was 15 years her junior. In 1889, July was arrested for robbery and summoned to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to face charges. Belle accompanied her young lover for part of the journey but turned back before reaching Fort Smith. On her way home, someone ambushed and fatally wounded her with two shotgun blasts to her back. Jim July believed the murderer was a neighbor with whom the couple had been feuding, but no one was ever convicted of the crime.

Just like her male counterparts, ol' Belle made enough enemies to last for two lifetimes. I'd say that one of them finally caught up to her! That was often the case in the Wild West, regardless of your gender!

Coffee inside today. Cold front is supposed to move in today, and that means rain!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Creepy Plant Tuesday...!

After the post on the mysterious seeds yesterday, I thought we should look at a really creepy plant today.

There is something about creepy that is fun and scary at the same time, especially if it concerns living things! This one certainly prove of creepy plants!

Bleeding Tooth Fungus

The bleeding tooth fungus looks kind of like a wad of chewing gum that leaks blood like a rejected prop from The Shining.

They're also called the strawberries and cream, the red-juice tooth, and the devil's tooth. Whoever is in charge of naming scary bullshit seems really insistent that this thing looks like a tooth, while mostly skirting over the fact that it freaking sweats blood.

Oh, and they are listed as "inedible," which implies that someone attempted to eat one at some point. On the other hand, the bloodlike substance has anticoagulant and antibacterial properties. It's nature's next penicillin! All you have to do is lick it. Go ahead!

Read more:

I may have to make these creepy plants a regular feature here at the Hermit's. What do ya think?

Better have our coffee inside today. Looks like rain!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Mystery About Seeds...!

With so many folks having dreams about Spring and their future gardens, I thought we would talk about a seed mystery!

What better way to accompany the browsing of the seed catalogs than to have a nice mystery to consider? So, grab a fresh cup of your warm beverage and enjoy today's mystery!

Rain of Seeds
February 1979


Roland Moody of Southampton, England, was startled to hear small, solid objects hitting the glass roof of the conservatory attached to his house. The objects turned out to be hundreds of seeds—small mustard seeds and cress seeds coated in a jelly-like substance. More seeds continued to fall during the day, eventually covering his garden. One of his neighbors, Mrs. Stockley, told Moody she’d had a similar experience the previous year.

The following day, Moody’s home was struck by corn, pea, and bean seeds that seemed to simply fall out of the sky. His neighbors on both sides were also pelted with peas and beans. Only those three houses in the neighborhood were targeted for the bizarre showers of seeds, and a police investigation was unable to pinpoint a source.

The phenomena gradually decreased and went away. By that time, Moody and his neighbors had endured twenty-five separate barrages and collected ten pounds of beans from their gardens. Moody himself gathered eight buckets of cress seeds. He claimed the produce grown from the seeds was good quality. Both Moody and Stockley were interviewed for Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World television series in 1980. To date, no adequate explanation for the weird showers has been found.

I'm thinking that if we all had a rain like this one, we could have one heck of a garden, right? Would you eat the veggies that grew from seeds from the sky?

Coffee on the patio this morning. I'll break out some fruit bars that are pretty good!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Grins With Tom And Jerry...!

What would Sunday at the Hermit's be without some cartoons?

Most of you know that, and the fact that many folks continue to stop by on Sunday means that it's OK ! Gotta have a little fun from time to time, right?

Don't tell anyone, but I actually had to laugh out loud at these sound effects. That's my favorite thing about Tom and Jerry!

For many folks, Sunday is a good day for golf. We can do golf! Well, maybe we can't actually do golf, but we can certainly watch!

Well, I guess that's all for today! Should be enough smiles to at least get you started!

Coffee on the patio today. It's a little foggy, but I have donuts if that helps!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ben Franklin, The Prankster...!

Many things have been written and said about ol' Ben, but here is a bit of trivia you may not know! Ben loved a good hoax!

It's said that Ben always had a good hoax in the works. Being as how his main talent was in writing and printing, he could often pull off things that others couldn't.

Native Indians Sending Scalps to the British

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) is a renowned 18th century philosopher, man of science, and statesman . . . but he was also a prolific hoaxer. From witch trials, and prophesies, to tales of flying kites in thunderstorms, Franklin always had a hoax on the go and in the midst of the American Revolutionary War, Franklin pulled one of his best pranks.

In 1782, a mysterious newspaper called The Supplement to the Boston Independent Chronicle printed a letter revealing that Indian warriors were being paid by the British to send thousands of American scalps, including those of women and children, to the British royal family and members of parliament as trophies of war. Within days the contents of the letter had reached European shores, where people were obviously horrified.

However, it was all an elaborate trick set up by Franklin. He’d printed the paper himself and handed it out to friends, one of whom had leaked it to a contemporary on the other side of the pond. In truth, the article did its job. Franklin had always intended to turn European opinion against the British in the hope of helping the war effort and he did just that.

You have to respect a man that can pull off a prank of that magnitude, ya know? When you can change the attitude of many folks in a country, you have done something pretty cool!

Coffee on the patio this morning. The temps are supposed to be in the 80's today!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Travels To 1945...!

Seems like lately I have been posting some very dark subject matter. It's time for a happier story.

We are going back to the year 1945 and the dropping of the very first atomic bomb on a city. The destruction and devastation was beyond believe! However, this is a story of one man that survived!

Double Nuked

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was the only officially recognized survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb blasts at the end WW2.

On 6 August 1945, Yamaguchi, a young engineer, was visiting Hiroshima. Seconds after getting off a tram at 8.15am he saw a massive flash of light and was knocked to the ground by the force of the bomb, and passed out as it detonated 600m above the city.

Around 140,000 of Hiroshima’s 350,000 people perished instantly. Though less than two miles from Ground Zero, Yamaguchi suffered only serious burns to his upper body and a perforated eardrum. He spent the night in an air-raid shelter, with people dying and screaming in pain all around him. The following day, Yamaguchi navigated through the piles of burnt and dying bodies to catch a train 180 miles back home to Nagasaki – which, like Hiroshima, was an important industrial and military base.

At 11.02am, and once again less than two miles from the centre, Yamaguchi saw a familiar flash of light. This time a 25-kiloton plutonium bomb exploded above Nagasaki, throwing Yamaguchi to the ground.

As well as almost total deafness in one ear, his skin wounds were bandaged for 12 years, and his wife was poisoned from the radioactive fall-out. She died in 2008, aged 88, of kidney and liver cancer. Their son, exposed to the Nagasaki radiation at six months old, died in 2005 – aged 59.

Before his death of stomach cancer, Yamaguchi became a passionate anti-nuclear weapons campaigner – but he never expressed any anti-Americanism.

I would say that this gentleman was watched over by an angel, without a doubt! One of the most amazing things about this guy, is that he never voiced anti-American feelings! That, my friends, is a miracle in itself!

Coffee on the patio this morning. There are some fresh oranges on the table we can share!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reckon They Know Something...?

After reading this article, I am convinced that these folks have a totally different idea of what "food storage" is than I do.

I mean, here even FEMA recommends at least 3 months of emergency food storage for an average family. However, in case these people are really worried about a big bomb going off I don't think that any amount of food storage is going to help them!

India warns of nuclear threat to Kashmir

January 22, 2013 9:34PM

OFFICIALS in India-controlled Kashmir are warning people to build bomb-proof basements, store enough food and water for two weeks and be prepared for a possible nuclear war.

There was no official reason given for the sudden concern about a nuclear attack in the region, repeatedly fought over by nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.

However, a series of deadly skirmishes along a cease-fire line in recent weeks has heightened tensions between the two countries.

Kashmir police published the advisory on Monday in the Greater Kashmir newspaper.

The notice advised people to build bomb shelters with toilets and to stockpile food. It also provided advice on how to survive attacks with chemical and biological weapons.

Local authorities did not answer calls for comment.

Now, I don't know about you, but this is a little scary to me! If the public in India is being warned about something like this, then maybe...just maybe, we should be just a little jumpy! You can read the story right here!

Coffee on the patio today. We'll take a chance on the weather outside for a change!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Western Wednesday Murder...!

Over the years, many cases of wrongful action were performed by the government and some of the military leaders of the time.

It is a sad and shameful part of our history we seldom hear much about, and you can bet it isn't taught in the schools! From the folks at, this is one such story!

Jan 23, 1870:
Soldiers massacre the wrong camp of Indians

Declaring he did not care whether or not it was the rebellious band of Indians he had been searching for, Colonel Eugene Baker orders his men to attack a sleeping camp of peaceful Blackfeet along the Marias River in northern Montana.

The previous fall, Malcolm Clarke, an influential Montana rancher, had accused a Blackfeet warrior named Owl Child of stealing some of his horses; he punished the proud brave with a brutal whipping. In retribution, Owl Child and several allies murdered Clarke and his son at their home near Helena, and then fled north to join a band of rebellious Blackfeet under the leadership of Mountain Chief. Outraged and frightened, Montanans demanded that Owl Child and his followers be punished, and the government responded by ordering the forces garrisoned under Major Eugene Baker at Fort Ellis (near modern-day Bozeman, Montana) to strike back.

Strengthening his cavalry units with two infantry groups from Fort Shaw near Great Falls, Baker led his troops out into sub-zero winter weather and headed north in search of Mountain Chief's band. Soldiers later reported that Baker drank a great deal throughout the march. On January 22, Baker discovered an Indian village along the Marias River, and, postponing his attack until the following morning, spent the evening drinking heavily.

At daybreak on the morning of January 23, 1870, Baker ordered his men to surround the camp in preparation for attack. As the darkness faded, Baker's scout, Joe Kipp, recognized that the painted designs on the buffalo-skin lodges were those of a peaceful band of Blackfeet led by Heavy Runner. Mountain Chief and Owl Child, Kipp quickly realized, must have gotten wind of the approaching soldiers and moved their winter camp elsewhere. Kipp rushed to tell Baker that they had the wrong Indians, but Baker reportedly replied, "That makes no difference, one band or another of them; they are all Piegans [Blackfeet] and we will attack them." Baker then ordered a sergeant to shoot Kipp if he tried to warn the sleeping camp of Blackfeet and gave the command to attack.

Baker's soldiers began blindly firing into the village, catching the peaceful Indians utterly unaware and defenseless. By the time the brutal attack was over, Baker and his men had, by the best estimate, murdered 37 men, 90 women, and 50 children. Knocking down lodges with frightened survivors inside, the soldiers set them on fire, burnt some of the Blackfeet alive, and then burned the band's meager supplies of food for the winter. Baker initially captured about 140 women and children as prisoners to take back to Fort Ellis, but when he discovered many were ill with smallpox, he abandoned them to face the deadly winter without food or shelter.

When word of the Baker Massacre (now known as the Marias Massacre) reached the east, many Americans were outraged. One angry congressman denounced Baker, saying "civilization shudders at horrors like this." Baker's superiors, however, supported his actions, as did the people of Montana, with one journalist calling Baker's critics "namby-pamby, sniffling old maid sentimentalists." Neither Baker nor his men faced a court martial or any other disciplinary actions. However, the public outrage over the massacre did derail the growing movement to transfer control of Indian affairs from the Department of Interior to the War Department--President Ulysses S. Grant decreed that henceforth all Indian agents would be civilians rather than soldiers.

Almost makes me wish I hadn't found this example of criminal action by the Army, especially since the act went unpunished! Man's cruelty to his fellow man never ceases to amaze me!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. How about some fresh apple pie?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Remembering Will Rogers...!

Sometimes we should take a little time to remember some of the truly humorous folks from our past!

Not only was Will Rogers funny, but he was a very talented man. If you read some of his quotes, you'll find that he considered the government fair game for his many barbs and snide comments! A man after our own hearts, that's for sure!

Will Rogers 1879-1935

Born William Peen Adair Rogers, a Cherokee-Cowboy, “Will” became best known as an actor, a Vaudvillian, a philanthropist, a social commentator, a comedian, and a presidential candidate. Known as Okalahoma’s favorite son, Rogers was born to a well respected Native American Territory family and learned to ride horses and use a lasso/lariat so well that he was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for throwing three ropes at once—one around the neck of a horse, another around the rider, and a third around all four legs of the horse. He ultimately traveled around the world several times, made 71 films (50 silent and 21 “talkies”), wrote more than 4,000 nationally-syndicated newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. He died in a plane crash in 1935.

I'm just guessing here, but I suspect that if he were alive, ol' Will would have a ball with everything going on today in the world of politics! What do ya think?

Let's have our coffee inside this morning. I have some Chocolate Fudge Pie that I'll share!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mystery Of The Carnac Stones...!

For Monday's mystery we are stepping back in time a bit.

There are probably unexplained mysteries all over the world, and this one is from England. Thanks to the power of the internet, we can look at a few of these great mysteries and maybe solve a few of them while we are at it! Heck, that's part of the fun, right?

The Carnac Stones

Everyone has heard of Stonehenge, but few know the Carnac Stones. These are 3,000 megalithic stones arranged in perfect lines over a distance of 12 kilometers on the coast of Brittany in the North-West of France. Mythology surrounding the stones says that each stone is a soldier in a Roman legion that Merlin the Wizard turned in to stone. Scientific attempts at an explanation suggests that the stones are most likely an elaborate earthquake detector. The identity of the Neolithic people who built them is unknown.

Ya know, it largely in part to sites like Listverse that we know about places like this. I visit their site often, and might suggest that you spend some time there. It's a great place to learn new things.

Coffee on the patio again. I'm really liking these sunny mornings that remind me of Spring.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday With Daffy...!

We haven't had too much from Daffy in a while, so I figured this would be as good a time as any!

One thing about cartoons, especially the older ones, is that the sound effects have a very big part in the 'toon itself. The sound effects basically make the 'toon! Mel Blanc made a fortune because of his ability to do so many character voices. I don't think I ever heard his natural voice, but I have enjoyed his many characters! Bet you have too!

I can't help but wonder just what it would be like to spend some time as a character in a cartoon! Sometimes I feel as though I'm in one, but it doesn't last very long!

Sorry, I get started and just can't stop myself! Just one more...OK?

Well, now that I have that out of my system I can go back to work. Er...did I just say work? I must be getting a little Daffy myself!

Coffee on the patio this morning. I'll run down and get us some sausage kolaches...OK?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pancho And Pershing...!

Sometimes the right folks can turn a blunder into a p.r. success! Pershing did just that!

I'm not sure why he came out of this looking like a hero, but it certainly didn't hurt his public image any! Guess he had the makings of a true politician. He would probably fit right in with the guys in D.C.

The Pancho Villa Expedition

How many Americans does it take to catch a Mexican bandit? At least 5,000, because John Pershing and his 4,800 American troops spent the better part of 1916 chasing Pancho Villa around Northern Mexico with almost nothing to show for the effort.

Pershing spent eleven months trying to capture Villa who had been raiding American border towns. Despite failing to complete his sole objective, Pershing was undeterred and in an enormously ballsy PR move declared the mission a great learning experience (and thus actually a success). Apparently, Texans ate that “learning experience” garbage up, since Pershing’s expedition was greeted by large crowds and applause upon their rather un-victorious return to El Paso.

Guess I've going about things all wrong for a long time! Of course, I never wanted to be a general or a hero either!

Coffee outside again this morning. Gonna be another really nice day!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Travels To Japan...!

Here is a great idea from Japan. Not only is it pretty, but it's practical as well!

I'm thinking this could be just the thing for anyone looking to decorate their house and grow some extra food in the process!

A Self-Contained Food System Disguised As Corporate Art

A Japanese retail company has developed an aquaponics system that’s being used as an art piece in hospitals and nursing homes. The system is capable of growing fish as well as plants; the nitrate waste from the fish is used as fertilizer by the plants. At the same time, the plants filter and clean the water, which is then piped back into the fish tank— in exactly the same way a natural system (such as a pond) would work. Although it doesn’t create energy, the system doesn’t consume any either.

Large-scale systems like this are also being developed to help create renewable food sources in areas of the world that don’t have a lot of water. Since the water cycles continuously through the system, desert regions with limited rainfall can use it as a viable means of year-round food production.

Coffee on the patio this morning! The foundation guys are done and gone, the temps are going up, and the sun is shining! Life is good!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

This Explains A Lot...!

We are all aware of just how successful the Japanese are in the world of big business. They often are at the forefront of the modern electronics and technology, and have been the driving force behind many of the products we use today.

Have you wondered why this is the case? To put it simply, I believe that the main reason is education! Does that sound too simplistic for you? Then allow me to show you a couple of pictures and you can judge for yourself! OK?

First the Japanese...!

Pretty nice, huh? Now let's take a look at India!

I'm sure there are many reasons for the difference, and as usual it's the children that pay the price for the inequities. Seems like that's always the case!

Coffee on the patio, but we'll have to move the table. The guys are working out on the outside!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Politics Of The Old West...!

I figured that today for western Wednesday, we would look at some of the politics of the old west! That's a bit of history that we don't discuss that often.

It would seem to me that not much has changed in the "good ol' boy's club" from then until now. If you make the wrong folks mad, or don't "play the game", then your political future is almost over as fast as it began!

Jan 16, 1847:
Fremont appointed Governor of California

A leader in the successful fight to wrest California away from Mexico, the explorer and mapmaker John C. Fremont briefly becomes governor of the newly won American territory.

Still only in his early mid-30s at the time, Fremont had already won national acclaim for his leadership of two important explorations of the West with the military's Corps of Topographical Engineers. Shortly after the government published Fremont's meticulously accurate maps of the Far West, they became indispensable guides for the growing numbers of overland emigrants heading for California and Oregon. In 1845, though, the lines between military exploration and military conquest began to blur when President James Polk sent Captain Fremont and his men on a third "scientific" mission to explore the Rockies and Sierra Nevada—with 60 armed men accompanying them. Polk's ambition to take California from Mexico was no secret, and Fremont's expedition was clearly designed to place a military force near the region in case of war.

When Mexico and the U.S. declared war in May 1846, Fremont and his men were in Oregon. Upon hearing the news, Fremont immediately headed south, calling his return "the first step in the conquest of California." When the Anglo-American population of California learned of Fremont's arrival, many of them began to rebel against their Mexican leaders. In June, a small band of American settlers seized Sonoma and raised a flag with a bear facing a five-pointed star—with this act, the revolutionaries declared the independent Republic of California.

The Bear Flag Republic was short-lived. In August, Fremont and General Robert Stockton occupied Los Angeles. By January 1847, they had put down the small number of Californians determined to maintain a nation independent of the United States. With California now clearly in the U.S. hands, Stockton agreed to appoint Fremont as the territorial governor. However, a dispute broke out within the army over the legitimacy of Fremont's appointment, and the young captain's detractors accused him of mutiny, disobedience, and conduct prejudicial to military discipline. Recalled to Washington for a court martial, Fremont was found guilty of all three charges, and his appointment to take the position of governor was revoked. Though President Polk pardoned him and ordered him back to active duty in the army, Fremont was deeply embittered, and he resigned from the military and returned to California a private citizen.

Although he never regained the governorship of California, the turmoil of Fremont's early political career did not harm his future prospects. In 1851, citizens of California elected him a senator, and became the territorial governor of Arizona in 1878. Today, however, Fremont's youthful accomplishments as an explorer and mapmaker are more celebrated than his subsequent political career.

Guess that it's another case of the PTB in Washington trying to control the states, regardless of what the citizens want.Like I said, not much has changed over the years in politics.

Coffee outside again, as the floors inside Mom's are all torn up. Boy, what a mess!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gonna Be A Mess...!

Well, today is going to be different if nothing else!

A foundation company is coming over today to level Mom's house. She had the outside edge of the foundation done several years ago, but now the house is sinking in the middle. That means that the foundation has to be leveled from the inside! This is not an easy task, from what I've read!

First thing we had to do was to make sure the company had a good reputation. As in anything in this day and age, due diligence is all important. Company experience, word of mouth of folks that had used the company before, and a check with BBB is a always a good idea. Secondly, all the work has to be done inside, like I said. After pulling up the carpet, holes have to be made in the floor and the foundation. To say that it's messy, noisy, and dusty is an understatement!

The true fun starts when someone has to go down in the whole, jack up the foundation, and place one or more concrete piers in the right spot! According to all the measurements and level readings, it is going to take a total of 14 pier spots. That's a lot of drilling, to say the least!

We've been talking about doing this for a while, but finally decided that waiting any longer would not be a good idea. The center of the house is about 4 1/2 inches lower than the outside. Of course, that means cracked drywall, doors that won't close, wallpaper peeling in all the wrong spots, ect. Plus, when you come in the front door, you always feel like you're walking downhill because you are!

Anyway, I'm having Mom go and spend a couple of days at one of the niece's house. I'll watch her cat, keep an eye on the work crew, and mainly just stay out of the way! Since I don't live in her house, but in an apartment behind...I'm the logical one to do this! I don't mind, and I'm glad that Mom isn't going to be there to see the mess and maybe trip and fall, ya know? Besides, it really needs to be done!

By the way, there is a serious amount of sticker shock when pricing a job like this. It is NOT cheap! In all fairness, though, it is one hell of a lot of work! One of those things I'd rather pay someone else to do, even if it hurts the pocketbook!

Because of the mess inside, we better have coffee out on the patio! It's chilly, but the coffee is hot!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Old Time Monday Mystery...!

Maybe today's mystery should be in a classification all of it's own. We might have to start a separate topic for "supernatural mysteries" somewhere in the future!

While some of these stories get embellished over time, there is often enough truth in them to make them interesting, don't you think?


The lore of all ages is rife with stories of cursed objects. From Robbie the Doll to the priceless Hope Diamond, the idea that an object can inherently evil is a fascinating one because, after all, if you can't trust an object, what else is waiting to betray you?

This is the story of the Crying Boy or, more specifically, The Portrait of the Crying Boy. According to legend, a fire gutted a home in 1985 destroying everything inside with one strange exception... pulled from the wreckage was an odd painting of a crying child. The painting was uncharred and completely undamaged aside from a little soot.

As the story goes, the painting passed hands and, in 1988, there was another fire in the home of the new owners and, again, the sole surviving artifact was the painting of the crying boy.

The myth says that the painting of the crying boy was found in the remains of several homes gutted by fire. One woman even said that she only had the painting for six months before her home was destroyed.

With any urban legend, there is a great deal of embellishment when it comes to the story to the point that it's almost become impossible to tell fact from fiction. It's possible that there was more than one "crying boy" painting and it's possible that the lacquer on the painting repelled the flames long enough for it to survive.

Whatever the case... fact or fiction... there is one fact that is both insidious and comical at the same time. When a retiring Yorkshire Fireman was given a framed copy of the painting as a going away gift, he politely refused it.

Maybe he knew more than he was letting on?

By the way, this interesting story came from the folks over at

Some of these mysteries just don't go away, but seem to get better with time! That's the kind we like, right?

Coffee inside this morning. Too cool to sit outside comfortably, ya know?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bugs On A Sunday...!

Got your attention with that title, didn't I? Gotta watch us old guys...we can be pretty tricky, ya know?

Don't mind me this morning. I'm just being a little bit crazy, just like the weather. What is going on with the weather, by the way? From a high of 72 one day, then a high of 47 the next day! That's a crazy swing, in my opinion. Makes me dizzy to read the forecast!

Speaking of dizzy things, let's have some Bugs Bunny this morning, OK?

See? I told ya it was a little bit on the crazy side! Cartoons are nothing more than escapism on steroids, if ya know what I mean! Another one? Sure!

Looking at that guy is like looking at myself in the mirror before my coffee! Maybe I can handle one more dose of silly, just for good measure!

Nothing like a little golf on a Sunday, right? Bet ol' Billy Bob knows all about golfing on Sunday!

Coffee in the kitchen today. Turned off chilly and wet this morning again!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Working Together...!

I've said before that mankind could take a lesson from Mother Nature in getting along. Here is a good example of what I'm talking about!

Unlikely Mates

Amazing Fact: Red Ants and Large Blue Butterflies work together

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.

I figure that if ants and butterflies can do it, then those of us that claim to be human and more advanced should be able to follow that example. See what I mean?

Let's have our coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll share my coconut macaroons!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Magical Friday Travels...!

Since we have been doing these Friday trips, we have seen some strange and beautiful places and today is no exception.

Today we are going to a place I've never heard of Yemen! In fact, we are going to an island called Suqatra Island. Strange but beautiful place!

Suqatra Island

This enchanting and little known island also known as Socotra is located off the coast of Yemen in the Middle East. Isolated from the rest of the world its plants have evolved into many bizarre shapes and forms that are unknown in other parts of the world. One of the most famous of these is the Dragon's Blood Tree the sap of which is used to make crystals that can be used as a dye or as an alleged aphrodisiac. The plant depicted above is the strange Desert Rose (Adenium obesium) but sometimes more popularly called the Elephants Leg Tree. The Island is slowly becoming known to the world and has great potential for eco-tourism as long as the visitors don't do more damage than good. Other species include the Cucumber Tree and the Socotran Fig. Suqatra was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008

None of us will ever have the time or opportunity to visit all of these marvelous places, but thanks to the power of the Internet, not only can we visit them at our leisure but we can do so from the comfort of our own home! Once in a great while, technology is a real boon to us!

Coffee on the patio this morning. It's supposed to be sunny with a high in the 70's! Some Winter, huh?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another Thought Filled Thursday...!

One thing I want to point out here. You'll notice that there are a lot of many different names that gave us these quotes. In a way, this is sort of like life...many different folks, from all walks of life, and each one has their own point of view! The secret to making the best of these pearls of wisdom is to carefully read them, understand them, and then apply them as needed in your life.

Coffee outside this morning. It is clear right let's hope it stays that way!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Wet Western Wednesday...!

Looks like the wet weather will be here for a day or two.

Some places around Houston are expected to get around 1 1/2 to 7 inches of rain. As you might have guessed, we don't have the best drainage system for that much rain. I'm hoping that the majority of the rain misses me, but you just never know! Anyway, today let's talk about Crazy Horse!

Jan 8, 1877:
Crazy Horse fights last battle

On this day in 1877, Crazy Horse and his warriors--outnumbered, low on ammunition and forced to use outdated weapons to defend themselves--fight their final losing battle against the U.S. Cavalry in Montana.

Six months earlier, in the Battle of Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse and his ally, Chief Sitting Bull, led their combined forces of Sioux and Cheyenne to a stunning victory over Lieutenant Colonel George Custer (1839-76) and his men. The Indians were resisting the U.S. government's efforts to force them back to their reservations. After Custer and over 200 of his soldiers were killed in the conflict, later dubbed "Custer's Last Stand," the American public wanted revenge. As a result, the U.S. Army launched a winter campaign in 1876-77, led by General Nelson Miles (1839-1925), against the remaining hostile Indians on the Northern Plains.

Combining military force with diplomatic overtures, Nelson convinced many Indians to surrender and return to their reservations. Much to Nelson's frustration, though, Sitting Bull refused to give in and fled across the border to Canada, where he and his people remained for four years before finally returning to the U.S. to surrender in 1881. Sitting Bull died in 1890. Meanwhile, Crazy Horse and his band also refused to surrender, even though they were suffering from illness and starvation.

On January 8, 1877, General Miles found Crazy Horse's camp along Montana's Tongue River. U.S. soldiers opened fire with their big wagon-mounted guns, driving the Indians from their warm tents out into a raging blizzard. Crazy Horse and his warriors managed to regroup on a ridge and return fire, but most of their ammunition was gone, and they were reduced to fighting with bows and arrows. They managed to hold off the soldiers long enough for the women and children to escape under cover of the blinding blizzard before they turned to follow them.

Though he had escaped decisive defeat, Crazy Horse realized that Miles and his well-equipped cavalry troops would eventually hunt down and destroy his cold, hungry followers. On May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse led approximately 1,100 Indians to the Red Cloud reservation near Nebraska's Fort Robinson and surrendered. Five months later, a guard fatally stabbed him after he allegedly resisted imprisonment by Indian policemen.

In 1948, American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began work on the Crazy Horse Memorial, a massive monument carved into a mountain in South Dakota. Still a work in progress, the monument will stand 641 feet high and 563 feet long when completed.

Our Winter weather this year gives us a good idea of what some of the conditions that faced Crazy Horse and his followers. The main difference being that today we are better prepared for it, and we aren't being pursued by folks trying to destroy or capture us, ya know?

Better have our coffee inside this morning. Anyone up for donuts?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Heard Of The Water Bear...?

We've talked about some of the many amazing creatures that Mother Nature comes up with, and this one certainly fits right in!

Every time we get to thinking just how wonderful our species is, along comes another marvelous creature from nature to serve up some humble pie! Mankind will never outdo nature when it comes to survival, that's for sure!

Water Bears

These tiny, caterpillar-like creatures are some of the most amazing creatures in existence. They can live practically anywhere, from hot springs to arctic regions. More amazingly, these things can enter a cryonic state that makes them almost impervious to environmental hazards. They can briefly survive temperatures of over 150 degrees Celsius as well as near-absolute zero temperatures. They can withstand massive pressures, radiation, and even the deadly vacuum of space. Their metabolism also grinds to a near halt. They are most frequently found on mosses, lichens, and other damp places.

I know I've said this before, but if you want an interesting site to prowl around, drop by Listverse! That place is pretty interesting, for sure!

Coffee inside for sure this morning, 'cause some really nasty weather is headed this way!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Texas Mystery For Monday...!

Sometimes we can find some great old mysteries almost right on our own doorstep!

I guess the most worrisome thing about some of these older crimes is the fact that many of them have never been solved. Guess that Texas hasn't changed all that much over the years...we still get our share of blood thirsty killers from time to time. I don't think many are like this one though!
Servant Girl Annihilator
Jack’s Trial Run?

The Servant Girl Annihilator, or Austin Axe Murderer, was a serial killer or killers who terrorized Austin, Texas, between 1884 and 1885. It is thought that at least seven women, mostly servant girls, died at the hands of the killer, who typically dragged his victims from their beds and raped them before slashing or axing them to death. Several victims were stabbed by some sort of spike in the ears or the face. His first victim was Mollie Smith, on New Year’s Eve, 1884. Many people were arrested for the crimes, but none were convicted. The last killings were a year after the first, ending with the murder of two wealthy white women, Eula Phillips and Sue Hancock, in central Austin, on December 24, 1885. The crimes represented an early example of a serial killer in the United States, three years before the Jack the Ripper murders in London. Some have even attempted to prove that the Annihilator and Jack the Ripper were one and the same. You can read more about this killing spree here.

You have to wonder what it is in some folks' mind that makes them do things like this. Guess the crazies were abundant even that far back, even in Texas! Sad, isn't it?

How about coffee in the kitchen again this morning? It's drizzling outside!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rainy Sunday Cartoons...!

It's been raining for a couple of days now. Good opportunity to catch up on book reading or on conversation with friends.

Of course, it's always a good day for some 'toons, especially when going outside is pretty much out of the question! Don't you think?

Funny how something like a few old fashioned cartoons can brighten the day. Getting a dose of silly is good for you once in a while! Takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown...but you already knew that, right?

I can't help myself! I just love this guy, ya know?

Sure has come a long way since the cartoons of the 30's and 40's...don't you think?

I could do this all day long, but I have things to do, places to go, and people to see! Not really...but it sounded good, didn't it?

Coffee in the kitchen, my friends. Too wet to sit outside!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

People Are So Strange...!

If someone told you that you could buy a perfume that smelled like a funeral home, would you buy it? Better yet, why would anyone buy it?

When I first found this story, I thought it was made up. But then I went to the web site of the company that makes not only this outlandish scent, but others that are just as strange! Believe me, you might want to check this out!
Funeral Home Perfume

Demeter claims that they didn’t actually plan this particular name for their perfume. They claim that they were making a new fragrance; someone said that it smelled like a grandfather’s funeral, and that they should call it “Funeral Home”. According to Demeter, they loved the idea – and the rest was history. 

I’m not sure I really believe that a professional fragrance company would name its new perfume on a whim – but we can be sure that you would struggle to find a less attractive name for a fragrance. If you want everyone to think you are dead – or at least wish you were – then pick up a bottle of Funeral Home today

If you want to see some of the crazy perfumes folks have come up with, you can find a interesting list right here!  It blew me away, I'll tell ya!

Let's have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. Bread baking day...that's what you smell!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Traveling To The Ice Towers...!

Thanks to the folks over at Listverse, our travels for this Friday take us all the way to Antartica for a look at the ice towers!

I know that many of you may feel like this is a picture of your neighborhood, but I certainly hope that's not the case! I mean, there's cold...and then there's COLD!  This is , without a doubt, the latter! I hope you are a lot warmer than you would be in this location!

Ice Towers & Caves of Mount Erebus


Screen Shot 2012-12-06 At 4.27.27 Pm

Mount Erebus is Antarctica’s second largest volcano and has been observed to be continually active since 1972. Atop the mountain are a number of ice towers formed as a result of steam emissions from volcanic activity. Many of the ice towers constantly emit steam giving them the appearance of chimneys jutting out of the icy volcano’s frozen sides. In addition to these chimney-like pillars the volcanic mountain is home to a variety of ice caves, formed naturally in a number of ways, all resulting in glowing blue, eerily cavernous subterranean chambers. 

This is a good example of why living in the deep south is good! Snow and ice is pretty in a picture, but I don't want to get up close and personal with any of it, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. Even these pictures made me shiver! As you can tell, I don't do cold very well!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thinking Thursday...!

 When I was younger, I read a lot of science fiction...and I mean a LOT!

One of my favorite writers was, and is, Robert Heinlein. Many of his thoughts, many of his stories are just as pertinent today as they ever were! I'm thing that maybe I should go back and re-read some of his work again! Guess it's true that good ideas never go out of style!

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
Robert A. Heinlein

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
Robert A. Heinlein

Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
Robert A. Heinlein

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
Robert A. Heinlein

Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

Sex without love is merely healthy exercise.
Robert A. Heinlein 

One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

They didn't want it good, they wanted it Wednesday. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

I never learned from a man who agreed with me. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors... and miss. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

One man's theology is another man's belly laugh. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.
Robert A. Heinlein 

Never insult anyone by accident. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. 
Robert A. Heinlein 

Some of these thoughts are pretty good, don't you think? Maybe by just reading words already by someone else, we can better organize our own thoughts and plans of action. Guess you could say we are helping build our future by listening to our past!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'm in the mood for some gravy bread and bacon. How about you?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

First Western Wednesday For 2013...!

Now that the holidays are pretty much history, it's time to get back on track!

Western Wednesday has always seemed to be a popular topic for discussion, so it's appropriate to start off with it, don't you think? Besides, I think that there are a large number of us that are cowboy lovers at heart!

Jan 4, 1847: 
Colt sells his first revolvers to the U.S. government

Samuel Colt rescues the future of his faltering gun company by winning a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers.

Before Colt began mass-producing his popular revolvers in 1847, handguns had not played a significant role in the history of either the American West or the nation as a whole. Expensive and inaccurate, short-barreled handguns were impractical for the majority of Americans, though a handful of elite still insisted on using dueling pistols to solve disputes in highly formalized combat. When choosing a practical weapon for self-defense and close-quarter fighting, most Americans preferred knives, and western pioneers especially favored the deadly and versatile Bowie knife.

That began to change when Samuel Colt patented his percussion-repeating revolver in 1836. The heart of Colt's invention was a mechanism that combined a single rifled barrel with a revolving chamber that held five or six shots. When the weapon was cocked for firing, the chamber revolved automatically to bring the next shot into line with the barrel.

Though still far less accurate than a well-made hunting rifle, the Colt revolver could be aimed with reasonable precision at a short distance (30 to 40 yards in the hands of an expert), because the interior bore was "rifled"--cut with a series of grooves spiraling down its length. The spiral grooves caused the slug to spin rapidly as it left the barrel, giving it gyroscopic stability. The five or six-shoot capacity also made accuracy less important, since a missed shot could quickly be followed with others.

Yet most cowboys, gamblers, and gunslingers could never have afforded such a revolver if not for the de facto subsidy the federal government provided to Colt by purchasing his revolvers in such great quantities. After the first batch of revolvers proved popular with soldiers, the federal government became one of Colt's biggest customers, providing him with the much-needed capital to improve his production facilities. With the help of Eli Whitney and other inventors, Colt developed a system of mass production and interchangeable parts for his pistols that greatly lowered their cost.

Though never cheap, by the early 1850s, Colt revolvers were inexpensive enough to be a favorite with Americans headed westward during the California Gold Rush. Between 1850 and 1860, Colt sold 170,000 of his "pocket" revolvers and 98,000 "belt" revolvers, mostly to civilians looking for a powerful and effective means of self-defense in the Wild West.

I don't think that even Colt himself would even imagine just how the Colt revolver would become, both as an everyday tool back then and as a collectors piece today! I know that I would sure like to have one!

Coffee in the kitchen again today. It's trying to rain some more and the wind is picking up again!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Well, We Made It...!

Well, despite everything that has happened this past we are!

More than likely 2012 will be talked about, wondered about, and joked about for a long time to come! Many, many changes and surprises, some good and some bad...but I guess the same thing could be said for all the years past. I'm sure that we all have moments that stand out for us this last year. I know I did!

I guess that the best thing for me in 2012 was all the new friends I've made, mostly  from blogging. As you can guess, I don't go out very much. My choice, I might add! I just believe that being in a crowded public place can greatly increase the chance of being caught up in situations that often turn out badly. That is certainly one thing that 2012 has shown us, right?

I was looking back at my stats today, just to see how much has changed since my first post. I started blogging back on November 17th in 2007. As of this writing, I've made 1869 published post. More surprising to me was the fact that this blog has had a total of 343,040 page views! I have no idea where that many folks come from, but I reckon that many of those views are just from searches or something similar!

 Let me state again how much it pleasures me that so many of you have chosen to make me a regular on your reading list! I hope you continue to find some enjoyment in dropping by and sharing a cup of coffee on the patio! Lord knows I wouldn't be here without you!

Let me leave you to celebrate the New Year with your friends and family! However, I couldn't leave without showing you a picture of my cat "Buddy" and the playmate I got for him...a young lady cat aptly named "Kitty!" Boy, these two really play well together! Makes me tired to watch them!

Coffee in the kitchen today! Baking bread again and I love the smell!
 Happy New Year, everyone!