Friday, February 28, 2014

Worth More Than Gold...!

Now here is a bit of history from the folks over at KnowledgeNuts than you may not know! I'll admit it came as a real surprise to me!

See? That's what happens when you think you know it all. Along comes something like this and ruins it all for you! Reckon I'm not as smart as I thought I was!

The Metal That Was Once Worth More Than Gold
By J. Wisniewski on Thursday, February 27, 2014

Aluminum is one of the three most common elements found within the Earth’s crust. However, until relatively recently, extracting aluminum from the bauxite ore in which it naturally occurs was a costly and difficult process. And prior to the advent of efficient chemical and electrical processes to separate aluminum from bauxite in the late 1800s, the shiny, flexible metal was more valuable than gold.

Supposedly, aluminum’s discovery dates back to the ancient Roman Empire. One Roman history tells of an unusual goldsmith who gave the Roman emperor Tiberius a plate crafted from a silvery and lightweight new metal made from “clay.” When Tiberius saw what was most likely an aluminum plate, he ordered the execution of the goldsmith. Tiberius feared the goldsmith’s new metal might reduce the value of Rome’s vast stores of gold and silver. Tiberius’s beheading of the unfortunate goldsmith kept aluminum in the ground for the next two millennia.

Almost 2,000 years would pass before aluminum reemerged in Europe, and when it did so, it was in incredibly rare quantities. Pure aluminum was a far rarer find than gold or silver, and prices during the 19th century reflected this. Early attempts at extracting aluminum from bauxite proved too laborious or expensive and were mostly nonstarters. Until more efficient extraction procedures were developed, annual US production of aluminum did not exceed about 93 kilograms (3,000 troy ounces). By comparison, US goldmines produced 93,300 kilograms (3 million troy ounces) of gold in 1853.

Aluminum’s status as the world’s most precious metal attracted the interest of European royalty in search of the most conspicuous and costly modes of consumption. King Christian X of Denmark sported an aluminum crown. To impress dinner guests, Napoleon III’s tables were set with tableware made from aluminum. And as late as the 1880s, when the Washington Monument was being built and aluminum was chosen for the pyramid’s capstone, the metal’s worth was still roughly equivalent to silver.

Aluminum’s value took a nosedive in 1886, though, when a new method was devised to extract aluminum from bauxite. The electrolysis process devised in the US and France allowed for the affordable isolation of aluminum from bauxite. Shortly after, the cheap, flexible, non-toxic metal flooded the market in a variety of uses. By the early 20th century, aluminum could be found in the wrappers and bags of countless foods and commercial products. Just decades after only the wealthiest European elites could afford to dine off of aluminum, the hoi polloi was ripping open aluminum-wrapped Lifesavers rolls.

Just think about it. If the simpler process had not been discovered, we might have been collecting coins made from pieces of aluminum! Sort of boggles the mind!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! Sunshine and apple butter fritters for everyone!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How About A Guard Goose...?

Anyone that has ever had a goose or two, or even been around them much will tell you the same thing. Geese can be mean!

Many different sources will tell you just how good a goose is as a guard animal. Heck, many homesteaders could probably tell you some pretty good horror stories along the same lines! These are not the animals you want to mess with, believe me!

Geese Are The Best Guard Animals In History
By Morris M. on Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Ancient Greek myth, the entrance to the underworld was guarded by Cerberus: the meanest, ugliest, most ornery, three-headed dog that underworld money could buy. But it turns out that Hades, the ruler of the land, missed a trick. From the two birds that saved Ancient Rome to their modern equivalent guarding Brazilian prisons, history has shown that even Hercules would likely have been flummoxed by a simple guard goose.

Remember that scene in Lethal Weapon 3 where Mel Gibson manages to bust up some bad guys after befriending their guard dog? Well, had those cocky gun-runners gone with a guard goose, things may well have turned out differently. According to National Geographic, geese are literally the best guard animals in existence.

For one thing, their eyesight is incredible. Not just when measured against dogs, but measured against humans too. Thanks to an extra light sensor in their eyes, geese can see further and in clearer detail than any of us could ever hope to. They’re also super-territorial and—unlike dogs—can’t be paid off with a packet of biscuits you happen to be carrying. Try and distract a goose and it just honks louder, alerting the nameless goons next door to their incoming comeuppance.

So, why do we never hear about these wonder guards? Well, we do. In 390 B.C., two geese alerted Rome to an impending Gaul attack, potentially saving the city from destruction. For generations after, the event was commemorated by having a pampered goose watch the city’s treacherous guard dogs get crucified. In modern times, too, these super-birds have their uses: Chinese cops in the Xinjiang province use them to guard police stations, while at least one Brazilian prison has them patrol the grounds in case of a mass breakout.

In fact, in just about every head-to-head contest geese put our canine friends to shame. Need to stop those pesky kids next door from messing up your lawn? It’s time you bought a goose.

If you don't want to take my word for it, you can see more information over at KnowledgeNuts or at National Geographic. Just be careful around strange barnyards, ya hear?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. Wet and cold here this morning!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Louisiana Hayride On Western Wednesday...!

Even though this popular radio show is not part of the "Old West" we think of, it did introduce many folks to the world of country music!

Many stars got their big break on shows like the Louisiana Hayride, and it fast became one of the leaders in the music world!

Apr 3, 1948:
The Louisiana Hayride radio program premieres on KWKH-AM Shreveport

Even the most ardent non-fans of country music can probably name the weekly live show and radio program that is regarded as country music's biggest stage: the Grand Ole Opry, out of Nashville, Tennessee. Yet even many committed country fans are unfamiliar with a program that, during its 1950s heyday, eclipsed even the Opry in terms of its impact on country music itself. From its premiere on this day in 1948 to its final weekly show in 1960, The Lousiana Hayride, out of Shreveport, Louisiana, launched the careers not only of several country-music giants, but also of a young, genre-crossing singer named Elvis Presley, the future King of Rock and Roll.

In many ways, The Louisiana Hayride was a straightforward knock-off of the Grand Ole Opry, but with two key differences. While both programs focused on country music and targeted the same geographic area with their 50,000-watt signals, The Louisiana Hayride embraced new artists and new musical innovations that the staunchly traditionalist Grand Ole Opry would never consider. While the Opry would rarely if ever feature a performer who had not yet had a hit record, the Hayride often featured up-and-coming artists who had yet to find an audience. And while the Opry banned the electric guitar, the Hayride embraced the instrument that would help transform one strain of "hillbilly music" into the new, hybrid form called rock and roll.

The Louisiana Hayride was the brainchild of Horace Lee Logan, who first became a radio host on Shreveport's KWKH-AM in 1932 at the age of 16. Because most of the talented country artists who got their first breaks on the Hayride—Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Webb Pierce, Faron Young—would eventually move on to Nashville, it was common to hear The Lousiana Hayride referred to as "the Grand Ole Opry's farm team." Logan, however, always referred to the Opry as "the Tennessee branch of the Hayride."

In addition to giving Hank Williams his first wide radio audience in 1949 and then welcoming him back after the Opry fired him for drunkenness in 1952, Logan and The Louisiana Hayride also gave 19-year-old Elvis Presley a crucial break in October 1954. After a lackluster, single-song debut on the Grand Ole Opry failed to garner him a return invitation, Elvis gave a knockout performance of That's All Right (Mama) and Blue Moon of Kentucky on The Louisiana Hayride that set him on his path toward stardom.

An interesting footnote to the story of The Louisiana Hayride involves the origin of a famous Elvis-related phrase. In gratitude to Horace Logan for the boost he'd provided when Elvis was an unknown back in 1954, Presley gave a return performance on the Hayride in December 1956, at the very peak of his popularity. Midway through the show, thousands of young Elvis fans abandoned their seats after the King's performance, noisily chasing after him in the wings while the live broadcast continued. It was then that Logan took the microphone and coined a famous phrase: "Please, young people...Elvis has left the building...please take your seats."

This is the type of show that helped music make the jump from "Hillbilly" to "Rockabilly" which became...ROCK And ROLL!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, as it turned chilly again!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Old Folks And Being Green...!

Bet you have had a conversation like this one at some point in recent history. Shows just how messed up we "old folks" are!

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days." The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
She was right -- our generation didn't have the 'green thing' in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized, and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
Too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn't have the "green thing" in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the "green thing." We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then?

Any of these things ring a bell with you? I know that I can remember just how many of these things were part of our everyday life! The only difference is that we didn't call it "being green", We called it "common sense!"

Coffee out on the patio again today. Anyone have an extra donut?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Art On Monday Mystery...!

Actually, this article is about an artist and not about his art! Both are pretty mysterious, if you ask me!

Wonder why it is that so many artist feel the need to be different or strange? I reckon they think that somehow it makes the art worth more or something like that! They may be right about that, in some cases!

The Most Successful Painter To Never Exist
By Kristin Lovett on Sunday, February 23, 2014

He was known by the name Pietro Psaier. He was a contemporary of some of the greatest pop artists to date, including Andy Warhol, the man who catapulted the genre into the public’s eye. The only problem is nobody seems to know who he was. He existed, certainly, or at least the name did. Many paintings are accredited to him, and his existence was acknowledged in a press release in 1963, which contained many details on his identity, such as his age, accomplishments, and relationship with Warhol. Otherwise, almost nothing at all is known about the man, and his existence is a complete mystery.

According to a 1963 press release, Pietro Psaier was born in 1936 and is responsible for a very large number of works of pop art, the genre which Andy Warhol had popularized. It is stipulated that Psaier and Warhol were contemporaries and even alleged that they once had a love affair together. However, for someone undoubtedly so close to such a famous artist, almost nothing at all is known about the man. It isn’t too far-fetched to think that an artist is a bit of a recluse, and wants to shy away from the public eye, but the odd case of Pietro Psaier is much stranger than that.

There are very few photographs of Psaier, or at least the man identified as Psaier, and the most well known was taken with Warhol. However, there are very eerie discrepancies in the age of Psaier between photographs. For example, he seems to not have aged in the years between being picture with Warhol and a photograph dated to the ’90s. Perhaps the man just has amazing genes. Nevertheless, this lends to the strange ties that this man seemed to have with Warhol. Almost any time you hear about Psaier, it is in relation to Warhol, as if the two were very close friends and colleagues. But for a man who is so well known (Warhol) it seems mystifying that someone so close to him is essentially a ghost.

Even stranger is the man’s death. Allegedly he was killed in 2004, placing him at an age of nearly 70. He was reportedly killed in the tragic Sri Lankan tsunami, and essentially all evidence of his existence was swept away with the waves. Despite this, the church in which he was contracted to work in Sri Lanka denied his presence during the tsunami, or at any point at all. Everything stops there. There is little, if any information about Psaier after this point. The only real thing that is known is that someone going by the name Pietro Psaier existed in some manner or another, for his death certificate has been produced (though only made official in 2011) and several individuals have confirmed his existence.

What is going on here? Well, many people think that Psaier’s “works” are a part of an elaborate scam. The identity of Pietro Psaier was retroactively inserted into Warhol’s factory and life so as to sell bogus art at an astronomically high fee. While this does seem to be the most logical explanation, it does mean that someone has done a very good job of giving just enough information to build up a mystique, and still avoid accusations of a scam. Unfortunately, Andy Warhol is no longer alive to confirm or deny Psaier’s existence, and it would seem that no one other than the man himself could definitively do so. Whatever the reason, there is something very mysterious and eerie about the man called Pietro Psaier.

I really never cared much for the art of Warhol and the like, but everyone has their own taste in art and music. That's what makes the world such an interesting place!

Coffee out on the patio today. Who knows what the weather may bring, so it might get interesting real quick!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bugs On A Sunday...!

Sunday! That means cartoons. That means coffee with friends or family. Sound good? Alrighty then!

Don't you just love these older cartoons?

What did we do before cartoons came along? Read them in the papers, I guess!

I'd say that Elmer has changed a tad over the years, wouldn't you? But then, I guess we all do!

Sorry, but I just couldn't resist that last one! I'm a sucker for the old military 'toons!

Well, guess that will have to do for now. Don't want to take up all your time today. Me...I'm going out and enjoy the sun!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! Looking good out there!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

No Milk For Kitty...?

I read a while back that milk wasn't good for cats, and here is an article from KnowledgeNuts that explains why. My cats seem to drink it down without a problem!

I actually give my cats some of my chocolate milk and they treat it like a real treat. Guess they don't know that it's bad for them either! I reckon that we all learned something from this article. Now all I have to do is convince them that they can't have any more of my milk! That should be fun!

Cats Are Actually Lactose Intolerant
By Jessica Woolum on Friday, February 21, 2014

Few species of animal enjoy lactose outside of infancy, and even fewer of those enjoy the lactose of another animal. As common a theme as a cat lapping at a saucer of milk might be, lactose intolerance is the norm for most of any adult mammal. Only humans are found to enjoy the milk of another animal well into their adulthood.

Typically, mammals end up on a diet of milk in their early lives brought to them by their mother’s milk. This is often the first source of nutrition available, and “mother’s milk” also has a lot of other positive properties outside of base nutrition, such as proteins to help build the immune system. To properly handle and digest lactose our bodies have to produce its own enzyme known as lactase. Lactose is made up of two sugars, glucose and galactose, so for mammals to properly digest lactose it needs to be broken into two singular sugars, which is where lactase comes into play.

Lactase is produced in the body whenever lactose is consumed, so as long as lactose is in your diet, lactase will help you keep it all down. However, since most cats are natural carnivores, milk stops playing such a role in their diet once they are old enough to hunt and forage. Once cats move on to field mice, birds, and other local rodents, the build-up of lactase ceases. So as darling an image as a saucer of cream might be for that newly arrived feral cat, it is much safer and healthier to opt for a bowl of water.

While a lactose-intolerant cat typically won’t die from ingesting lactose, there are some troubling symptoms and complications that could arise. Upset stomach, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal cramps are the most common signs of lactose intolerance. Your cat should fully recover after the lactose has made it through digestion, so no worries there.

There is actually little harm in testing the waters to see if your cat is lactose intolerant. Giving your kitty a small amount of milk and watching for signs of arising symptoms is often regarded as safe practice. Some cats might even prefer milk over water, despite their digestive tract hating it, and for them there is a lactose-free alternative made special for cats.

As with most things, lactose intolerance can be taken on a case-by-case basis with each individual cat. Some cats that grew up with a heavy-lactose diet all their life would likely still produce the lactase needed to make milk a comfortable option for hydration. Some cats might find a preference for milk over certain tap waters, depending on the types of chemicals used in the local filtration.

Other potential dairy products should be treated similarly to milk, though some cheeses are much lower in lactose, and are even recommended by some veterinarians for slipping pills into, which allows an easier time medicating your kitty.

Most cat foods will provide your cat with the proper, square nutrition needed to be healthy. There are very few reasons to actively find out if your cat is or is not lactose intolerant, short of wanting to make your cat more comfortable with more options or preferences.

Somehow, I don't think that my cats are going to be as understanding as I would like, but as everyone knows dealing with cats is a crap shoot at best. At least most of the time it is!

Coffee out on the patio again. It may start to rain, but let's take a chance, OK?

Friday, February 21, 2014

American Scalping For Money...!

Some things that the colonist picked up in the New World were not very nice. In fact, one might say they were a bit barbaric, know what I mean?

Feb 20, 1725:
American colonists practice scalping

In the American colonies, a posse of New Hampshire volunteers comes across a band of encamped Native Americans and takes 10 "scalps" in the first significant appropriation of this Native American practice by European colonists. The posse received a bounty of 100 pounds per scalp from the colonial authorities in Boston.

Although the custom of "scalping" was once practiced in Europe and Asia, it is generally associated with North American native groups. In scalping, the skin around the crown of the head was cut and removed from the enemy's skull, usually causing death. In addition to its value as a war trophy, a scalp was often believed to bestow the possessor with the powers of the scalped enemy. In their early wars with Native Americans, European colonists of North America retaliated against hostile native groups by adopting their practice of scalp taking. Bounties were offered for them by colonial authorities, which in turn led to an escalation of intertribal warfare and scalping in North America.

I don't know who originally came up with this idea, but I'm glad that this particular practice has been done away least as far as we know!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's trying to rain some, but the onions I set out need a good drink, so that's good!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Very Early Chemical Warfare...!

Come to find out, the early governments were pretty handy at finding new ways of inflicting suffering and death on their enemies, long before modern man.

You would hope that somewhere down the line, we would have developed more of a sense of moral right, but I reckon that is wishing for too much. Our brutality toward our fellow man is only getting worse, if you ask me. I guess that finding new and better ways to kill is just in our jeans. Pretty sad, I'd say!

Chemical Weapons Got Their Start In Ancient Rome
By Debra Kelly on Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Use of and the threat of chemical agents used in modern warfare have sent governments worldwide scrambling for a way to regulate the use and possibility of chemical warfare. It’s not a new idea, however, and archaeologists have found evidence that the idea of using poison gas as a weapon dates to about A.D. 256, when it was first used in what is now Syria.

The use of poison gas was outlawed with the Geneva Protocol in 1925, and it turns out that it took mankind almost 17 centuries to do it.

The first evidence of chemical warfare comes from an area of Roman-controlled Syria in the year A.D. 256 and it was engineered by the Persians. The city of Dura-Europos was situated on the Euphrates River, and was a Roman sanctuary surrounded by the Persian Empire. This obviously didn’t sit well with the Persians, who laid siege to the Roman city in an attempt to recover control.

One of the methods used was the construction of tunnels beneath the Roman walls. The Romans also began digging their own tunnels in order to counter their attackers, but the Persians had the upper hand. It’s thought that they heard the movements of the Romans and could judge where they were going to be, so they prepared a deadly mixture of sulfur and bitumen. Once ignited, the burning chemicals would fill the tunnels with a deadly gas, probably helped along from Persians safely outside and armed with bellows. (That’s still an unconfirmed part of the excavation, and with no written records to tell exactly what happened inside and outside the walls, it’s unlikely to be anything but conjecture.) What is known, though, is that with the Persian tunnel lying below the Roman one, a naturally-formed chimney effect was likely to have also helped the process along.

And what they set out to do is exactly what they did. Excavations have uncovered piles of Roman bodies, still clad in armor, still in the tunnels where they died. There was also the discovery of a single Persian warrior, laying apart from the others, who had most likely been the one to set the fires in the first place and become one of the first victims to the deadly gas.

The Romans themselves were known for using strategically placed piles of gypsum powder near the entrances to enemy tunnels and outside enemy walls, rendering the air un-breatheable with a good gust of wind. Similar techniques were used by the Chinese in A.D. 178, with limestone-filled chariots instead of piles of gypsum; the result of the circling chariots was dust-filled air that was even more potent than modern tear gas. These early predecessors to chemical warfare set the tone and sparked ideas.

In 1346, the Crimean city of Caffa was brought to its knees when disease-ridden corpses were hurled over their walls by catapults manned by besieging Tartars. The corpses were bodies of those that had been killed by the plague, introducing it to the city in early germ warfare.

Although it took until 1925 for chemical warfare to be outlawed in modern warfare, the Geneva Protocol isn’t the first time people have come together to agree that chemical warfare is less than noble. A Hindu code of laws dating from the fifth century B.C. outlaws the use of poison arrows, and an Indian treatise written in the fourth century B.C. outlined procedures for creating deadly gases and toxins. It also warned against their use, however, stating very clearly that they were only a last resort and there were better ways to win a battle.

Even though we in modern times were not the first, it seems to me that we continue to carry on the traditions in chemical warfare started so long ago. If anything we struggle everyday to find ways of improving on what our ancestors started. Sadly, we have made more than a few improvements in the brutal art of killing!

This article came to us from the fine folks over at KnowledgeNuts! Thanks, guys!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. More sunshine and temps at close to 80!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Masterson's Final Gunfight On Western Wednesday...!

Many of the legends of the Old West died like they lived...with their boots on. Others, like Bat Masterson, were luckier.

Bat seemed to be one of the folks that managed to roll with the punches and live to a fairly ripe old age. Still, he remains a legend of the earlier wild and wooly times in the old days! Many of us do seem to like our legends, right?

Apr 16, 1881:
Bat Masterson's last shootout

On the streets of Dodge City, famous western lawman and gunfighter Bat Masterson fights the last gun battle of his life.

Bartholomew "Bat" Masterson had made a living with his gun from a young age. In his early 20s, Masterson worked as a buffalo hunter, operating out of the wild Kansas cattle town of Dodge City. For several years, he also found employment as an army scout in the Plains Indian Wars. Masterson had his first shootout in 1876 in the town of Sweetwater (later Mobeetie), Texas. When an argument with a soldier over the affections of a dance hall girl named Molly Brennan heated up, Masterson and his opponent resorted to their pistols. When the shooting stopped, both Brennan and the soldier were dead, and Masterson was badly wounded.

Found to have been acting in self-defense, Masterson avoided prison. Once he had recovered from his wounds, he apparently decided to abandon his rough ways and become an officer of the law. For the next five years, Masterson alternated between work as Dodge City sheriff and running saloons and gambling houses, gaining a reputation as a tough and reliable lawman. However, Masterson's critics claimed that he spent too much as sheriff, and he lost a bid for reelection in 1879.

For several years, Masterson drifted around the West. Early in 1881, news that his younger brother, Jim, was in trouble back in Dodge City reached Masterson in Tombstone, Arizona. Jim's dispute with a business partner and an employee, A.J. Peacock and Al Updegraff respectively, had led to an exchange of gunfire. Though no one had yet been hurt, Jim feared for his life. Masterson immediately took a train to Dodge City.

When his train pulled into Dodge City on this morning in 1881, Masterson wasted no time. He quickly spotted Peacock and Updegraff and aggressively shouldered his way through the crowded street to confront them. "I have come over a thousand miles to settle this," Masterson reportedly shouted. "I know you are heeled [armed]-now fight!" All three men immediately drew their guns. Masterson took cover behind the railway bed, while Peacock and Updegraff darted around the corner of the city jail. Several other men joined in the gunplay. One bullet meant for Masterson ricocheted and wounded a bystander. Updegraff took a bullet in his right lung.

The mayor and sheriff arrived with shotguns to stop the battle when a brief lull settled over the scene. Updegraff and the wounded bystander were taken to the doctor and both eventually recovered. In fact, no one was mortally injured in the melee, and since the shootout had been fought fairly by the Dodge City standards of the day, no serious charges were imposed against Masterson. He paid an $8 fine and took the train out of Dodge City that evening.

Masterson never again fought a gun battle in his life, but the story of the Dodge City shootout and his other exploits ensured Masterson's lasting fame as an icon of the Old West. He spent the next four decades of his life working as sheriff, operating saloons, and eventually trying his hand as a newspaperman in New York City. The old gunfighter finally died of a heart attack in October 1921 at his desk in New York City.

Funny to look back and realize that more than one of the figures from the old west eventually went to work as a news reporter. Better to report the news than to always be making it, I reckon!

Coffee outside again. I'm really liking this warmer weather, ya know?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Strange Death Of Stonewall Jackson...!

I don't believe I ever knew about this and that really surprises me, as much as I read history!

Funny how we never seem to consider just how someone from our past died, don't you think? Maybe because we just aren't interested, or because we think of it being a "natural" death.

The Death Of Stonewall Jackson

Most people who are familiar with Civil War history know that Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, the famous Confederate Lieutenant General, died a very peculiar death. His own men accidentally shot him in the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863.

But what really happened on that fateful night? Although historians generally state that Jackson was shot because of the darkness and confusion on the battlefield, the waters of history have been fairly muddy on this particular subject. Jackson’s fame led many people—from both sides of the conflict—to claim that they were involved in his death, and conspiracy theories of murder and foul play have surfaced every once in a while.

The question was finally answered in 2013, near the 150th anniversary of the great general’s death (which may or may not have been a happy coincidence). Two astronomers painstakingly calculated the phases of the moon during that fateful night. When Jackson was returning to his troops, the moon was so dim it would only have revealed his silhouette. When the fatigued, frightened soldiers were startled by this mysterious, soldier-shaped shadow, they instinctively opened fire . . . only to find to their horror that they had felled their own commander.

I can only imagine how stunned the troops were after finding out they had just killed their General! That would be a battle scar that would be with you the rest of your life, I would think!

Coffee out on the patio again today!It's supposed to go up to 78 today, so the patio is looking good to me!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Glowing Soldiers On Monday Mystery...!

Even though this story has a good ending, it stayed a mystery for so long it qualifies for Monday Mysteries!

When I first heard about this, I figured it to be something like an Urban Legend. Further investigation proved me wrong about that! Plenty of proof to show it's a real fact. Pretty cool, if you ask me!

The Glowing Soldiers

The Battle of Shiloh was one of the bloodiest in the entire Civil War. It was a constant, two-day struggle that left little time for the medics to tend for the wounded, and the massive amount of wounded soldiers meant that many of them would be left just lying on the battlefield for days. As the wounded men lay in agony, a strange thing happened: Some of their wounds started glowing. The eerie sheen was clearly visible in the dark, and no one could understand what was happening. However, the strangest part happened when the medics actually started treating the wounded: The soldiers with glowing wounds were healing much better than the ones with normal, non-glowing injuries.

The phenomenon soon became known as Angel’s Glow. Its nature remained a mystery, and many suspected the healing shine was actually divine in origin.

The strange secret of Angel’s Glow was finally solved in 2001 by two high school students who were investigating the phenomenon for a science fair project. They figured out that the glow on the wounded soldiers was most likely Panellus stipticus, a ”good” bacteria with bioluminescent properties that was transported to the wounds by the many insects that were infesting them. Although P. stipticus wouldn’t usually survive in human body temperature, it was able to survive in the hypothermic wounded soldiers, allowing it to fight the bad bacteria that were trying to infect their wounds.

You can find out more about this incident at this link right here!See what fun a little research can be? Actually, I stole this story from the folks at Listverse, so they get the credit!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Sunny and in the high 70s later, so all is good!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Is Cartoon Day...!

But most of you already knew that, right? Seems like it happens every Sunday!

Gonna try something a little different today. I'm reaching back a long time for a couple of these, mainly because of the music! Enjoy!

In today's world, that cartoon wouldn't be allowed no matter how good the music was!

I guess that folks had a different sense of humor back then. Still, in some the music is pretty cool!

Sometimes I wish we had some more music like in the old days. I really like the sound of some of the older swing tunes, ya know? Certain a lot of what is called "music" today just doesn't quite do anything for me.

Coffee out on the patio today. In the 70s and sunny again!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Animal Funnies...!

I figured that today would be a great day for some good animal pictures. Ya start the day off with a grin or two!

You can see a lot of pictures that, given the right caption, could just be hilarious. I know you have seen one or two yourself! Baby Sis sent me these, so I'm passing them on to you! Enjoy!

If these don't start the grin machine working, better check your pulse! Either that or you're getting old and grumpy like me!

Coffee outside again! Back up in the 70's, so let's celebrate with some peach cobbler!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dog Story For Valentine's Day...!

Normally I don't do Valentines day, being single and pretty much a recluse. Guess hermit would be a better description.

However, since many of my faithful readers may pause to celebrate today, I decided to find a feel good story to share! Hey, secretly I'm a nice guy!


Bamse was a Saint Bernard that served aboard a Norwegian minesweeper during World War II. Despite his cute and cuddly appearance—Bamse means “cuddly bear” in Norwegian—he was extremely tough. Bamse was originally brought on board by the ship’s captain. When the captain tried to take Bamse with him when leaving for another posting, the crew, who had grown fond of the dog, threatened to leave the ship if he was taken away. They loved the dog so much that they would have mutinied rather than lose him.

Bamse became legendary in Dundee and Montrose, where the ship was stationed during World War II. He rode buses alone with a specially made bus pass tied around his neck, made sure that drunken sailors made it back to their posts, and allegedly put a stop to bar fights. Once, he rescued a crewman who’d fallen overboard by diving in to drag him to safety. He rescued another crewman cornered by a knifeman by barreling into the attacker and dragging him into the water. But Bamse was more than just a hero—he was also a peacemaker. It was reported that when sailors got into fights on board, he forced them to stop by standing on his hind legs with his paws on their shoulders as if to say, “Calm down, it’s not worth it.” And Bamse wasn’t just famous in Scotland, where his ship was based—every Christmas, he was dressed in a little sailor’s hat and photographed so that his picture could be put on Christmas cards and sent to the crewmates’ relatives in Norway. Awwww.

Maybe we need a few more dogs like this one around instead of some of the two legged creatures that show up in the news all the time. I'd sure feel better with a lot of dogs doing good things, than having to associate with a over abundance of so-called humans doing stupid and evil crap, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio today. It's supposed to go up to 73 and sunny, so that's what I'm giving for Valentines Day, OK?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated Report From Airport Scans...!

With everything in the world being so crazy as of late, I just wanted to pass on to you this update on some full body scans!

It's always good to watch your tax dollars at work, don't you think?


CATSA disclosed the following Airport Screening Results

October 2013 Statistics On Airport Full Body Screening From CATSA :

Terrorists Discovered -0

Transvestites- 133

Hernias- 1485

Hemorrhoid Cases- 3172

Enlarged Prostates -8249

Breast Implants- 59350

Natural Blondes- 3

It was also discovered that 308 politicians had no balls.

Just thought you'd like to know.

I'm just trying to keep everyone informed at the successes in keeping us all safer, ya know? I know this info will help you rest easier at night!

How about we take a chance and have coffee out on the patio this morning? You game?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Charlie Russell On Western Wednesday...!

I'm sure that most of you have either seen one of Russell's paintings or sculptures, maybe without even knowing who it was from.

The ones I have seen are simply amazing, to say the least. I especially like his sculptures of the cowboys and their horses but his paintings are very enjoyable as well! You can find pictures of many of them on line.

Mar 19, 1864:
Artist Charlie Russell born

Charles Marion Russell, one of the greatest artists of the American West, is born on this day in St. Louis, Missouri.

According to family lore, Charlie Russell displayed an aptitude for art from a young age, reportedly drawing pictures and modeling in wax when he was a small child. At 16 years old, Russell's parents sent him to Montana under the care of a sheepherder. The independent young man struck out on his own soon after, finding work as a cowboy in the booming Montana ranching industry.

During long, often tedious days watching over cattle on the open range, Russell sketched the scenes around him. In the winter, when many cowboys were unemployed, Russell lived in various frontier towns and painted pictures to pay for his food and lodging. Friends said Russell also began carrying modeling clay with him during this time, making small sculptures during his spare moments.

Russell likely would have continued as an itinerant cowboy and amateur artist for the rest of his life had he not met a young woman named Mary Cooper. In 1896, the couple married, and Russell's new wife began to guide him toward a serious career in art. Russell found there was a growing market, especially among wealthy East Coast residents, for images of the disappearing American frontier. By 1920, he was making frequent trips to New York to paint western pictures for an increasing number of supportive patrons.

Russell rarely painted or sculpted from models or from life, relying on memory to recreate scenes from the life he had experienced. He had no real art training and little interest in the formal aesthetics of art. Though critics often ignored or derided his work, the public loved it. Initially, Russell's paintings and sculptures documented his early life as a cowboy, but later in his career, he also began to depict scenes from the lives of American Indians and historical figures. Many of his later paintings express Russell's melancholy attachment to the unspoiled West and his dislike of the "progress" that had plowed under the Great Plains and fenced in the open range.

Russell spent his final years in Great Falls, Montana, where he continued to paint until his death in 1926.

Thanks to artist like Russell and Remington, we have some fairly accurate depictions of real life in the old west. We owe them a great big "Thank You!"

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's still a tad chilly outside!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lesson For Life...!

My baby Sis sent me this in an email and I wanted to share it with you. You might have seen it before, but it never hurts to be reminded of this little lesson.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a Roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of Vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

 Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition!

Seems like a good thing to remember all through our journey through life, don't you think?

Better have our coffee inside this morning. Raining a little and it's cold, so the patio isn't a good place to be right now!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Isdal Woman For Monday Mystery...!

Now here is one I don't think you have heard before, mainly because it's from Norway!

This is another one of those "long left unsolved" types of mysteries. It always bothers me a bit when a case goes this long without some type of solution. I hate to think of the family of the victim (if there is one) going all these years without knowing what happened to their loved one, ya know?

Isdal Woman

In November of 1970, hikers came across the charred, battered body of a woman in Norway’s Isdalen Valley. The body was surrounded by sleeping pills (many of which had been ingested) and bottles of gas. Her fingerprints were sanded off. She was later linked to a pair of suitcases found in a train station in Bergen; police found all the labels in her clothes had been removed. They also found 500 German marks, a prescription bottle for lotion (with the doctor’s name and date torn off), and a diary with coded entries. Her autopsy indicated dental work performed in Latin America. It was eventually discovered that the woman had traveled throughout Europe using different fake names. There were other clues; witnesses reported her in different wigs, changing hotels frequently, and speaking multiple languages.

Information on the case is scant and hard to come by; a witness came forward three decades later, claiming to have seen the woman in the forest followed by two men in black coats, saying the police told him to keep quiet when he initially reported what he’d seen. It is generally assumed that the Isdal woman must have been some sort of spy; 1970 would have been a ripe year for undercover activities in the Cold War. Despite one of the most massive investigations in Norwegian history, the woman’s identity will likely forever remain a mystery. Curiously—and very creepily—this tale bears a striking resemblance to the Taman Shud case in 1948 which also involved an unknown victim with tags removed from his clothes, a coded diary, and a suitcase turning up in a train station abandoned. That case is also still unsolved.

I got this story from Listverse where they have a large section devoted to mysteries and such! Do any of you have an interesting mystery that you think we should discuss here? If so, I'd sure like to hear it. I love this stuff!

Coffee outside once again! Man, being on the patio could become habit forming!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Tom And Jerry Sunday...!

Why Tom and Jerry you ask? Just cause I like 'em, that's why!

Of course, there's always the smile factor to figure in. I get plenty of that with most Tom and Jerry 'toons, and I hope you do also!

That t.v. set looks almost like one I used to have! They have really changed over the years!

I can't see why folks think there is too much violence in cartoons. Lots of slapstick, but really very little violence.

At least the last one has me thinking about Spring. Hopefully it won't be long now! I'm ready!

Coffee outside this morning! I even have some fresh brownies I'll share!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

You Gotta Love Yogi Berra...!

Probably fewer people get quoted any more than Yogi Berra, and that's a fact!

Whether or not his many funny messed up quotes were done on purpose or not is besides the point. He said some pretty funny stuff! Here are just a few of the better ones for your entertainment!

1. “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

2. “We made too many wrong mistakes.”

3. “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

4. “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

5. “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”

6. “If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

7. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up some place else.”

8. Responding to a question about remarks attributed to him that he did not think were his: “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

9. “The future ain’t what it use to be.”

10. “I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house.”

11. On why he no longer went to Ruggeri’s, a St. Louis restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.”

12. “I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.”

13. “We have deep depth.”

14. “All pitchers are liars or crybabies.”

15. When giving directions to Joe Garagiola to his New Jersey home, which is accessible by two routes: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

16. “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

17. “Never answer anonymous letters.”

18. On being the guest of honor at an awards banquet: “Thank you for making this day necessary.”

19. “The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”

20. “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”

21. As a general comment on baseball: “90% of the game is half mental.”

22. “I don’t know if they were men or women running naked across the field. They had bags over their heads.”

23. “It gets late early out there.”

24. “Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?” -Carmen Berra, Yogi’s wife. “Surprise me.” – Yogi

25. “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

I'm sure that most of you have heard one or more of these at some point. The man was truly a pleasure to listen to, that's for sure! A little humor can be a great way to start the day, don't ya think?

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

Friday, February 7, 2014

Were The Scottish Cannibals Real Or Myth...?

Here is something you don't here about too often, I'll bet! Trouble may or may not be true!

Either way, it makes for an interesting story and is worth wondering about. Like I said, it's not something we hear about very often!

The Cave-Dwelling Cannibals Of Scottish Legend
By Debra Kelly on Sunday, February 2, 2014

According to legend, Sawney Bean was the head of a cannibalistic clan that operated out of a network of caves on the coast of Scotland. It took 400 men and a pack of dogs to bring the clan to justice, and it was only after killing more than 1,000 people that they were executed. The problem is, no one knows how much—if any—of it is true.

According to the story, Alexander Sawney Bean was the patriarch of a Scottish family that made their home in the caves near either Galloway, Ayrshire or Ballantrae on Bennane Head. He ran away from his home village of East Lothian with a wife that was just as mean, lazy, and hateful as he was. In time, their family grew to include 14 children and 32 grandchildren, all from incestuous relationships.

Over the course of 25 years, it was said that they killed more than 1,000 people. They started out preying on single travelers, but as they grew in numbers they would accost groups of people on the road, then kill them and drag them back to their caves. Possessions would be stripped away and the bodies dismembered then eaten.

And more than just the people that the family killed and ate, there were other deaths attributed to them as well, albeit indirectly. Since the family was said to prey on travelers, suspicion would often fall on innkeepers who had guests regularly disappearing; it’s not known how many of these innocent innkeepers lost their lives after being falsely accused, but it’s said that the area around the Bean family caves became more and more desolate as the more honorable of the citizenry fled to safer grounds.

The Bean family eventually attacked a couple returning home from the fair. While the unfortunate wife was pulled from her horse, slaughtered, and butchered on the spot, the husband struggled long enough that a crowd appeared on the road behind them and forced the family to run away. When the husband took his case to the king, dogs were sent searching for the family and found a cave entrance that had been hidden from view for more than two decades decades. It took 400 men, but the Bean family was finally delivered to justice and dragged from their caves, which was described as being lined with body parts, both fresh and pickled in jars. The men were drawn and quartered, and the women were burnt at the stake.

But just how true is it? No one really knows.

The legend is told with a number of different elements, most drastically the time period it’s set in. According to some versions, the Bean family stalked the Scottish coast in the 15th century. In others, it’s a 17th-century tale. Sometimes, the king that brings the family’s rule to an end is James I, sometimes it’s James VI. Either way, there are no actual records of any such family or trial until at least the 18th century, and there are no records of large-scale murders or even of accusations hurled at local innkeepers and other scapegoats. And when the legend does first appear, it appears in England.

While some people believe the story to be a historical fact, others say it’s nothing more than some impressively gruesome English propaganda. It appeared in its earliest written forms during the Jacobite risings, and this was a time when the English particularly scoffed as the uncivilized, unnecessarily aggressive Scots to their north.

Now, it’s become a strange tale between truth and fiction, and a popular tradition that more people embrace than hate.

Now one thing to keep in mind about this or any other legend or myth. They all had at least a small kernel of truth to them at first. Over time most stories like this grow and expand with each telling, until at last the truth is hidden from view. I believe that all legends are like this, but what do I know?

Better stay inside for coffee this morning! How about some biscuits and honey...or peach jam?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Tale Of Nellie Bly...!

We often talk about the adventures of some folks here at the Hermit's, but not often enough do we mention the women folks! Today we shall!

All in all, there were some very interesting women in our history. A lot of their names we don't remember, but I'll bet that many have heard the name of Nellie Bly! There might be some confusion as to what she did, but this article from Listverse should clear that right up!

Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly may be the most recognized name on this list, but she was born Elizabeth Cochran. Her adventures came about due to her work for the New York World paper. This was the age of ‘stunt’ journalism, and Bly’s first report was to be an exposé of a women’s lunatic asylum. Pretending to be demented, Bly was admitted and experienced the lot of the patients confined on the island. The food was rancid, the nurses brutal, and the asylum hardly fit for humans. The article she wrote was a breakthrough in investigative journalism, and led to reform for mental hospitals. Her next adventure was one that brought her worldwide fame. Bly undertook a challenge to make a trip around the world in a time faster than Phileas Fogg’s eighty days. She set out with a special passport signed by the Secretary of State, on November 14, 1889. Her voyage started in seasickness but would end in triumph. In France, she met Jules Verne, who thought she might manage the trip in 79 days, but never the 75 she hoped. Having steamed across seas, gone through the Suez Canal, seen Colombo and Aden, visited a Chinese leper colony and bought a Monkey, Bly made it back to New York in a time of 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes.

I'd bet that many a young lady was impressed enough by the actions of Nellie that they felt empowered to go out and start making their own mark in the world! Certainly wouldn't surprise me one bit!

Coffee inside again today. It's colder than it has been and inside sounds good to me! I hate cold feet!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chisolm Trail History On Western Wednesday...!

Often we refer to a certain place or time in history without knowing the story of it's beginning! I reckon the Chisolm Trail falls into that category.

The story of Jesse Chisholm is interesting in it's own right. He was one of those men we don't hear much about, but considering what all he accomplished maybe we should learn more about him!

Mar 4, 1868:
Founder of Chisholm Trail dies

Jesse Chisholm, who blazed one of the West's most famous trails, dies in Oklahoma of food poisoning.

Although the trail named for him later came to be one of the major cattle-drive routes between Texas and Kansas, Jesse Chisholm was a frontier trader, not a cattleman. Born in Tennessee of a Scottish father and a Cherokee mother, Chisholm was among the early pioneers who moved west into what is now the state of Arkansas. In his 20s, he joined a community of Cherokee Indians in northwestern Arkansas and became a frontier trader. His familiarity with both Anglo and Native American culture and language (he could reportedly speak 14 different Indian dialects) helped him build a thriving trade with the Osage, Wichita, Kiowa, and Commanche.

Chisholm's knowledge of the Native Americans also made him useful to government officials. The U.S. was eager to negotiate treaties with the tribes in the region, and Chisholm served as a liaison between tribal leaders and federal officials at several important councils. Many Indian leaders trusted and respected Chisholm, and he successfully negotiated for the release of numerous Anglo captives taken by the Kiowa and Commanche.

Chisholm's vast knowledge of southwestern geography were invaluable in trailblazing. He led several important expeditions into the Southwest during the 1830s and 1840s, and during the Civil War opened a trading post near present-day Wichita, Kansas. Following the war, he blazed one of the first trading routes south down from Wichita to the Red River in central Texas. Eventually extended all the way south to the Gulf of Mexico, the trading route became known as the Chisholm Trail.

A straight wagon road with easy river crossings and few steep grades, Chisholm designed his trail for the lumbering heavy freight wagons used for commerce. In 1867, a year before Chisholm died, his trail also began to be used for a different purpose: cattle drives. The rapidly growing Texas cattle industry needed to move its herds north to the railheads in Kansas, and Chisholm's gentle trail provided an ideal route. During the next five years, more than a million head traveled up the road, trampling down a path that was in some places 200 to 400 yards wide. Hooves and the erosion of wind and water eventually cut the trail down below the level of the plains it crossed, permanently carving Chisholm's Trail into the face of the earth and guaranteeing its lasting fame. Traces of the trail may still be seen to this day.

It's easy to see that men like Chisholm certainly made it easier for the masses that followed. Thanks to men like him, some of the hardships of the journey westward were lessened. That's my opinion, at least!

Coffee inside again. How about some honey dew melon to snack on?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fun Sport But Dangerous Job...!

I'm sure that most of us have been bowling at some point in our lives, but the dangerous job of resetting the pins used to be done by real people and not machines!

Believe me, this was not the sort of job most folks would want. Still, in a time when any kind of work was needed to put food on the table it probably seemed as a last resort!


In the days before the automated pinsetter became a mainstay in bowling alleys, the job of putting the pins back in place was done by teenage boys. On paper, being a pinsetter looked boring and safe enough. However, it was a whole different story out on the lanes. For one, pinsetters had to be on constant alert for pins flying their way. They also faced the very real danger of a bowling ball being hurled right in their faces by inattentive bowlers.

What the pinsetters really had to watch out for, however, were the drunken bowlers—some would deliberately target a pinsetter just for kicks. To avoid injury, a pinsetter had to be quick and light-footed. The unfortunate few who weren’t fast enough ended up with bruised legs or busted heads—some were so seriously injured that they had to be picked up by ambulances. As if that wasn’t enough, pinsetters also had to endure covering several lanes if a co-worker was absent—a task that usually ended up with the pinsetter totally exhausted from the vigilance needed to avoid being hit with pins and bowling balls from all angles.

Makes me feel very fortunate that I never had to take this job. I did work at a bowling alley when I was in school, but I worked in the shoe rental room!

Coffee in the kitchen again today. However, I do have some cherry cheese danish I'll share!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Evil Justice On Monday Mystery...

I always used to think that we folks here in Texas were pretty level headed about dispensing justice, and then I found this article over on KnowledgeNuts!

I guess the real mystery here is why it took so long for these people to be investigated and what happened to the justice they deserved?

When you read the article, you'll see that Texas dropped the ball on punishing these folks properly for what they did. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't start doing something like it all over again!

The Modern-Day Texas Slave Ranch
By Nolan Moore on Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Ellebrachts were characters ripped straight out of a low-budget horror movie. This twisted family lived in the Texas Hill Country, chopping down trees and selling the lumber. However, their business relied on slave labor. Plenty of unlucky hitchhikers ended up on their ranch, bound in chains and forced to work . . . and not all of them survived.

The Ellebracht clan lived in the woody hills of Kerr County, Texas during the 1980s, and when they drove into nearby Mountain Home, it was like the Sawyer family had come to town. Walter Ellebracht Sr. and his 33-year-old son, Junior, weren’t partial to baths, and they often walked around in their bare feet. The Ellebrachts made money chopping down trees and selling the wood to San Antonio businesses. They also sold little homemade key chains to nearby gas stations, and it was Ellebracht Sr.’s dream to become the “key chain king of the Texas Hill Country.” But to be a king, you need a lot of servants.

With the help of their foreman, Carlton Robert Caldwell, the Ellebrachts picked up hitchhikers and offered them lodging in exchange for work. It sounded like a good idea, but the drifters quickly found out once they checked in, they could never leave. The men were put to work chopping down trees, and at night, they were chained to their beds inside of a dilapidated, old bunkhouse. The Ellebrachts threatened their slaves with guns and knives, and when two men asked to leave, they were chained together and forced to dig their own graves.

While all the prisoners suffered, Anthony Bates had it the worst. Caldwell and Ellebracht Jr. took special pleasure in tormenting the one-eyed Alabamian and encouraged other slaves to take part. Bates was bound and zapped with an electric cattle prod. His tormentors shocked his genitals and tongue, all the while goading him to scream louder. Someone taped the torture sessions, and the recordings began with the disturbing announcement, “Live from the bunkhouse—it’s shock time!” Eventually, Bates was electrocuted to death, and his body was burned while the Ellebrachts played Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

Finally, in 1984, someone escaped from the Ellebrachts and phoned the police. Authorities swarmed the ranch on April 6, and Ellebracht Sr., Junior, and Caldwell were tried for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder. Despite witnesses, bone fragments and the taped torture sessions, the defendants got off relatively easy. Their lawyer was Richard “Racehorse” Haynes, one of the best in the state. He had a flair for theatrics and had a member of his team shock himself with a cattle prod to prove it didn’t hurt that all that badly. Haynes played the torture tapes over and over to desensitize the jury, and he pointed out that several of the prosecution’s witnesses had also taken part in the torture sessions. Thanks to his extreme tactics, and perhaps a bigoted attitude towards homeless drifters, Ellebracht Sr. was given probation, and both Junior and Caldwell were given 15 years behind bars. Neither served their full sentence, proving Texas justice isn’t always swift and harsh.

Sad to think that people as evil as this group can get away with such light punishment for their crimes, but when you consider the state of our judicial system in most places, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at all! Sure doesn't make us look too good here at home in this case, does it?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'm thinking that apple butter fritters are in order!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Sunday Funnies...!

Well, here it is the first Sunday of February, so we'll have some February fun to start the month off right!

How about some Droopy? We haven't seen him in a while!

Something about Droopy that I really like. Can't quite put my finger on it, though.

Want another? Sure...why not!

Well, that should get the month started off properly, don't you think? At least it will help a bit!

Coffee inside due to the rain. How about some buttered grand biscuits and sausage gravy?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Hole To Hell...!

Sometimes the most fascinating things can be found while doing research on the web.

Strange that so many folks have reported places like this, but no proof has ever been found to substantiate it. I personally don't ever want to even get close to one, ya know?

Mysterious Mel And The Hole To Hell
By Debra Kelly on Thursday, January 30, 2014

The tale of a Devil’s Hole, of a gateway into another dimension, a mysterious, bottomless pit that could resurrect the dead . . . it sounds like a tale out of Celtic mythology, right? In 1993, a Washington State man named Mel Waters came forward with tales of a mysterious well on his property. Not surprisingly, he refused to divulge the location, instead limiting himself to telling story after story about the phenomenon surrounding the bottomless well. The story got a boost in popularity when a Native American medicine man claimed to have visited the hole when he was a child.

Supposedly, people keep stumbling across a mysterious, seemingly bottomless well in the wilderness of Manatash Ridge, Washington. Everyone who claims to have seen it also speaks of mysterious and eerie feelings, and of a universal bad vibe around the place. It’s said that no matter what is thrown into the hole, it’s never heard to hit bottom. Said to have been used as a dumping ground by many, it’s also said that if a dead animal is thrown into the well, it will return—alive.

It seems as though it’s a story that’s been passed down from generation to generation, but the story was given a huge boost in popularity in 2008. A Native American medicine man Red Elk claimed to have visited the hole in 1961 . . . but he, of course, can’t remember where it is. He’s pretty sure, though, that it’s actual purpose is to connect us with the quasi-reptilian creatures that live in the center of the Earth.

For a demon hole that is supposed to have such a long history, many of its most detailed stories are surprisingly recent. In 1993, the property that supposedly contains the hole was bought by a man named Mel Waters—giving it the name of Mel’s Hole. Waters says he became obsessed with the hole, whose location he still refuses to divulge. He claims to have used thousands and thousands of feet of marine fishing line to try to determine how deep the hole is, but he could never find the bottom.

He says that the only thing he had been able to determine for sure was that the hole was more than 24 kilometers (14 mi) deep. And that it could resurrect the dead.

One of the stories Waters told was about a hunter who threw the body of his dead hunting dog into the hole. The dog returned, not long after, according to the hunter.

In 1997, Waters went on a national radio show with Art Bell, during which time he discussed many of the stories and his own observances about the hole. There was such an overwhelming response from the public that he returned to the show three days later to answer more questions.

Going public wasn’t without its price, according to Waters. Within months of taking his story to the public eye, Waters says that he was accosted by government agents and presented with offers to buy the land, on the condition that he also leave the country.

Waters says that he accepted, using the money to rescue wombats in Australia. Upon returning to Washington, however, he was presented with divorce papers and a cancer diagnosis. So he decided that there was nothing left for it but to go on a search for other devil’s holes.

And he supposedly found them.

Whether or not the hole really exists . . . skeptics say, obviously not. In fact, local papers have published stories saying that they haven’t even been able to prove the existence of a man named Mel Waters. But what can’t be denied is that the story—and the man—captivated more than 10 million radio listeners and spawned a host of search parties trying to find the mysterious hole. People still go out and search for the hole, suggesting that there are people out there who are still searching for the unknown . . . and know the value of a good story.

Call me crazy, but I have enough problems without going around looking for something like this! I can think of a few folks I could send to explore one of these holes for me! Know what I mean?

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's supposed to rain today so why take a chance?