Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Looking For Adventure...?

At some point in our lives, we all feel the need to have an adventure.

Some call it wanderlust, others just say "I've got some rabbit in my blood". No matter what we call it, many find the craving too strong to resist. Here is a true story about a young man who set out to enjoy a real life adventure!

Sebastian Snow’s Amazonian Adventure

Sebastian Snow started his exotic exploits in the 1950s. Compared to everyone else on this list, his adventures are quite recent. However, his eccentricities and royalist attitude were very reminiscent of Victorian explorers from the good ol’ days. Whenever trying to communicate with foreigners, his strategy was to “just speak the Queen’s English loud enough, and everybody understands.”

When he was 22, Snow signed up for an expedition looking to discover the source of the Amazon River. His group aimed to verify the notion put forward by a couple of French explorers that Ninococha, a glacial lake, was the water source for the Maranon River, the largest tributary of the Amazon. Snow and his companion John Brown set off in April 1951 and confirmed the theory.

This was the point where the mission should have ended. However, Snow wanted to become the first person to raft down the entire length of the Amazon. This was completely spur-of-the-moment. Snow was unprepared and barely had any supplies. He managed to survive by stumbling from one friendly village to another, where he could find supplies and food.

Snow had to deal with dangerous rapids, violent bouts of malaria and dysentery, and all the lethal animals the Amazon could throw at him. At one point, he was even approached by a pirate canoe, but he just started yelling Spanish-like gibberish at them, randomly shouting the word pistola until they went away. Despite all the perils, Sebastian Snow completed his journey in July 1952.

BTW, the list referred to in the first paragraph is on Listverse, right here!

Coffee adventure is out on the patio this morning, and you don't even need to be brave!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Switzerland Tale For Monday Mysteries...!

All parts of the world have some strange tales to share from time to time, if we know where to look. This one I found to be very interesting.

Stories like this really grab your attention. Seems that it gets more interesting as time goes on, too!

Le Loyon

Something creepy is taking place in the woods in western Switzerland. A man dressed in a military uniform with a gas mask over his face seems to be “haunting” the place.

For more than 10 years now, locals who live near these woods have reported seeing the man walk the same path every day. They have given him the name Le Loyon, and they are terrified of him. He doesn’t speak and, when he encounters someone, he simply stares at them, and then walks away in silence. A photographer who tried to take a picture of the mysterious man reported him to be almost 2 meters (6’6″) in height.

Children are too scared to play in these woods anymore, even though the man doesn’t seem to be threatening in any way. At one point, people saw him carrying what looked like flowers while slowly walking down a pathway in the woods. According to the authorities in charge of the area, there is nothing that can be done to get the man to leave the woods since he is not trespassing and has done nothing wrong.

At one point, his clothes were found abandoned in the woods with a note saying he was leaving because “The risk of a hunt for the Beast” was too great.

It is unknown where the man lives, why he wears a gas mask, and why he doesn’t speak. Several theories speculate that he might be mentally disturbed or have a skin disease which would cause him to not want to be seen by others. But, until someone gets him to take off the mask, or at least speak out, the mystery man will remain a mystery.

Someday, when you have time, you might want to visit Listverse. They have many more interesting articles to wander through...believe me! Well worth the trip!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. How about some sausage Kolaches?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Once more it's Sunday 'Toons...!

Been a while since we had the Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote on, so let's do that today!

OK...I reckon that's enough to get everyone started this morning. I'm off to read for a while!

Coffee out on the patio if you're interested.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wartime Pranks Used As Weapons...!

We all know that war can be a nasty business, but the history of some strange weapons are worth looking at.

What might have been considered a childhood prank could be used as a weapon, and often was! Here is one example!

Itching Powder

As part of their remit to demoralize the enemy, the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) decided to take a cue from school pranksters and started mass-producing itching powder. The powder, which had a powerful irritant effect on exposed skin, was smuggled into occupied Europe disguised as talcum powder. There it was distributed to resistance members at laundries and clothing factories, where it could be secretly sprinkled over German uniforms. This wasn’t a small-scale operation: In October 1943, the SOE reported that 25,000 U-boat crew uniforms had been contaminated with itching powder. Apparently this was successful in getting at least one U-boat to return to port, as the crew had become convinced they were suffering from severe dermatitis.

Meanwhile, other SOE agents decided to get even more creative. The agency’s Stockholm office began gathering German envelopes from Swedes with relatives in occupied countries, filling them with itching powder, and sending them back into the German postal system. However the scheme reached its horrifying apex in Norway, where local resistance members started putting the powder into condoms intended for German troops. The contaminated condoms were shipped mainly to the Trondheim area, where the local hospital soon filled up with soldiers complaining of “painful irritation.”

You have to admit some very imaginative folks came up with some interesting ways to fight the enemy. Many other creative forms of distraction were used according to Listverse. You can find out what others there were by following the link!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. That, my friends, is NOT a prank!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Axeman of New Orleans For Freaky Friday...!

This one should fit right in for Freaky Friday. One of those little things left out of the history books, I guess.

The Bizarre Case Of The Axeman Of New Orleans

By Jeff Kelly on Saturday, November 16, 2013


When you think of serial killers, your mind probably jumps to Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac Killer, Son of Sam, and the Boston Strangler. But there was another, lesser-known serial killer terrifying the city of New Orleans in 1918 and 1919 who offered people a unique way to guarantee he wouldn’t kill them. He told them he’d spare anyone playing jazz music in their homes. This was the bizarre modus operandus of the man known as the Axeman of New Orleans.
For whatever bizarre reason, we’ve always held a certain gruesome fascination when it comes to serial killers. From Jack the Ripper, to the Zodiac Killer, to the Son of Sam and the Boston Strangler, our morbid curiosity keeps these mass murderers in the forefront of popular culture. That’s why it seems oddly peculiar that so few people seem to have ever heard of the Axeman of New Orleans.
The Axeman operated from May 1918 until he vanished in October 1919, but in that span he terrified the city of New Orleans, who all feared they’d wake up in the middle of the night to find him brandishing his axe at the foot of their beds. The majority of his victims were of Italian descent, which has led to theories ranging from these being a series of hate crimes to possibly having Mafia connections.
What made the case more bizarre was a letter penned by the Axeman and published in the local paper, in which he said that anyone playing jazz music in their homes would be spared. This in turn led to a completely off-the-wall theory that, for whatever reason, the Axeman was simply a jazz enthusiast who was trying to promote his favorite style of music.
In all, the Axeman is believed to have attacked 11 people, including women and children. The case was so brutal and strange that it led one former New Orleans detective to describe it as a real-life version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. To this day, no one is sure who exactly the Axeman was, though there was some suspicion it was a man named Joseph Mumfre, who was shot to death in December 1919. Mumfre was believed to have left the city shortly after the final victim was killed, and the person doing the shooting was the widow of that last victim. In true Hollywood fashion she confronted him dressed all in black, stepping out of the shadows to cap the potential mass murderer.
After Mumfre was killed, the Axeman murders stopped in New Orleans. It could simply be a coincidence, or it could have been the fact that the woman doing her best Charles Bronson impression had in fact chosen the right target. The widow, who had told police she had seen the murderer fleeing the scene of her husband’s grisly demise but could not identify him at the time, spent three years in prison for killing Mumfre, only to vanish upon being released, presumably roaming the country serving up justice by way of hot lead.

Come to think of it...maybe it's better we never heard of him before. All we need is another crazy to occupy our dreams...or nightmares!

Coffee out on the patio today. Rain is gone for now.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Saving The Slinky...!

I think that nearly everyone knows about the invention of the "Slinky". Although the inspiration was an accident, the original Slinky quickly became a big success.

Sometimes, though, folks just don't handle success very well. This bit of history I borrowed from KnowledgeNuts shows that fame and fortune don't guarantee happiness. There is probably a useful message in there somewhere!

How One Woman Rescued The Slinky From A Cult-ish Ending
By Heather Ramsey on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Although Betty James came up with the toy’s name in 1944, her husband, Richard James, is credited with inventing the Slinky, a toy spring that walked down stairs and delighted children. This simple toy became an incredible success, but Richard James didn’t handle it well. He gave away large sums of money to questionable religious charities, then abandoned his wife and six children to join a cult in Bolivia. With the business in shambles and her family nearing bankruptcy, Betty James revived the company and built an empire, all around an inexpensive toy spring that ultimately got her inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

Although Betty James came up with the toy’s name in 1944, her husband, Richard James, is credited with inventing the Slinky, a toy spring that walked down stairs and delighted children. Richard was an engineer in the Navy when he watched a spring fall off a shelf and bounce around doing a version of the Slinky walk we all know so well. That gave him the idea to make a walking toy from a spring. It took him two years to get it right, but the Slinky finally debuted around Christmas in 1945 at a Philadelphia department store.

After demonstrating the new toy to the crowd, the entire stock of 400 Slinky toys sold out in an hour for $1 each. Although Richard and Betty James founded their company, James Industries, with a $500 loan, their simple toy soon became an incredible success. A little over 10 years later, they owned a 12-acre property in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, headed a thriving company, and had six children.

But Richard James couldn’t handle the success or the fame he derived from Slinky. He gave away large sums of money to questionable religious charities, then abandoned his wife and six children to join a cult in Bolivia in 1960.

“The children then were ages 2, 4, 6, 8, 16 and 18,” Betty James recalled in an interview with the New York Times. “So, no, I wasn’t interested in South America. When we first had Slinky, we got a lot of publicity, made a lot of money, and he just didn’t handle it well. He thought he was big time. And these religious people always had their hands out. He had given so much away that I was almost bankrupt. I sold the factory and decided to move from the Philadelphia area back to Altoona, where I grew up, with the business.”

Mrs. James took out a mortgage on her house, traveled to a toy show in New York, and watched orders surge. She also kicked off a television advertising campaign with a memorable jingle that became known nationwide. Ultimately, Betty James revived the company and built an empire, all around an inexpensive toy spring that saw her inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. In 2001, Slinky also became the official state toy of Pennsylvania.

Of course, there were offshoot toys like the Slinky Dog, which also contributed to the company’s success. Slinky has appeared in the movie, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and a revamped Slinky Dog appeared in the Toy Story series. Through it all, Mrs. James was determined to keep the basic Slinky affordable, so that parents could buy them for their kids without breaking the bank.

Mrs. James retired when James Industries was acquired by Poof Products in 1998. Sadly, she passed away in 2008.

Ya know, as far back as I can remember we always seemed to have at least one Slinky around the house somewhere. It was one toy that seemed to facinate children (and adults) of all ages! It still shows up at Christmas from time to time!

Better have our coffee inside this morning. The weather guy says rain is on the way.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fanny Porter For Western Wednesday...!

In keeping with the topic of notable women of the old west, today we learn about Miss Fannie Porter.

She certainly wasn't like Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke, but still she was quite the character!

Fannie Porter

Painting by William Hogarth

Easily one of the most successful businesswomen of all time, you could say Fannie Porter was a natural entrepreneur. By the age of 20, the young widow was running her own luxury bordello in San Antonio, Texas, and catering to the likes of the Wild Bunch as well as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. For a while, the country’s most famous outlaws visited Fannie’s establishment, hiding from the law and falling in love with her girls. Although she was well-known for her personal ties with outlaws, Fannie did regularly interact with the right side of the law and was even paid a visit by the infamous detective and lawman William Pinkerton.

When brothels could no longer openly operate in Texas, Fannie sold her house and disappeared. No one knows what happened to her, but one thing is for sure: She left the prostitution business a wealthy woman.

Thanks to people like Fannie Porter, the west was a much more interesting place! Thanks to the folks over at Listverse, we all can share the knowledge of these people of interest.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Anyone want some sliced peaches?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wartime Money Bonfires In Hawaii...!

This is a wartime bit of history I didn't know. Probably not many folks in this day and age are even aware of it!

I can certainly understand the reasoning behind this move, but I reckon it did NOT please the people in Hawaii much. If it weren't for the folks over at KnowledgeNuts, I would never have known this tidbit of history. See what you can find if you do a little research?

When The US Burned All Of Its Money In Hawaii
By Larry Jimenez on Saturday, March 21, 2015

At the start of the Pacific War, there was the very real danger of the Japanese invading Hawaii. The possibility of the enemy getting their hands on $200 million circulating in the islands worried authorities. Their extreme solution? Burn all of it.

Wartime emergencies often call for extreme measures. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was placed under martial law. It was an unprecedented and unparallelled experience for the territory’s American citizens. They were subjected to curfews, blackouts, and censorship of news and mail. Residents who were considered dangerous (mostly those of Japanese origin) were arrested and sent to internment camps.

In anticipation of a possible land invasion, the populace began hoarding basic items and cash. It was the latter that worried the military brass. At the time there was about $200 million worth of Uncle Sam’s money circulating in the territory. If the Japanese captured and occupied the islands, they could help themselves to the cash, which couldn’t be differentiated from the rest of the currency stock, and use it anywhere in the world. It would be a supreme irony if they could finance their war courtesy of the US.

Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Military Governor Delos Carleton Emmons issued an order on January 10, 1942 to recall all US paper money in Hawaii. Individuals were allowed to keep only $200 each and businesses $500 plus a little extra for payroll purposes. To keep the economy going, the restrictions were lifted six months later with the issue of new, overprinted notes on June 25. These were ordinary dollar bills but for the word “HAWAII” stamped across the reverse side and two smaller prints on the sides of the obverse.

The idea behind the overprinted notes was to make Hawaiian currency distinctive so that it would be easy for the government to declare the money worthless should the Japanese seize it. There was no more need for residents to hold onto the non-overprinted notes and these were subsequently recalled. From August 15, only the new notes could be used in Hawaii, Palmyra, and Midway Islands, but GIs also spent it in places like the Philippines.

There remained the problem of what to do with the $200 million of regular notes confiscated by the authorities. It could be shipped back to the mainland, but the military found logistical problems in ferrying the bulky cargo across the sea. They determined that the most sensible option was to burn all of it. The money was sent to a local crematorium where the burning commenced. A fine mesh was placed over the smokestacks to keep unburned scraps from floating out, ensuring complete destruction. But there was so much money that it was taking too long to destroy. Authorities had to requisition the bigger furnaces of the Aiea sugar mill to make double time on the work.

The overprinted notes continued to serve as legal tender until October 1944 and were recalled in April 1946. Today, they are extremely collectible, especially the $5 note, of which only nine million were printed. There are also the even more valuable “star notes,” which are bills with an asterisk after the serial number to indicate that they were replacements for damaged money. So if you ever come across some Hawaiian currency, don’t throw it out. It might be worth something.

I'm glad I didn't have the job of burning all that money. It would have broken my heart! Still, it's an interesting part of history we should know, I think. Don't you?

Let's have our coffee out on the patio this morning. Sound good to you?

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Classic For Monday Mystery...!

Sometimes you just can't beat the classics. whether it's plays, movies,or books...the classics are hard to beat!

I'd say that this play by Agatha Christie falls into the classic catagory, but it's sa that the inspiration came from a real crime. Here's the story found on Listverse.

The Mouse Trap

The world’s longest-running theatrical play is a murder mystery by Agatha Christie. The Mouse Trap has been running for over 60 years, and its plot is loosely based on a murder that shocked wartime Britain. In 1945, a doctor was called to a remote farm in Shropshire, England to examine a sick child. The doctor declared that the boy had been dead for hours, and a murder investigation began.

Reginald and Esther Gough were foster parents to both the dead 13-year-old Dennis O’Neill and his 11-year-old brother, Terence. Both brothers suffered from malnourishment that bordered on starvation, and both had ulcerated sores and scars that likely came from constant blows. When the coroner determined that Dennis had died from a beating, the Goughs were arrested.

At first, the Goughs’ story was that the boys’ injuries had come from fighting one another and that they were being treated for their ulcerated sores. But at the trial, Esther Gough admitted that Dennis was dead when she called the doctor and that she’d neglected the boys on her husband’s orders. He controlled the household, beating his wife and cruelly starving and beating the O’Neill boys nearly every night.

The jury was only able to give Esther six months for neglect because there was less proof against her. When Reginald was convicted of manslaughter, the public raised an outcry and an appeals court changed the verdict to murder. The public also called for reforms, since Reginald had a violent criminal record before the two boys were even put into his care. The failure to protect Dennis and Terence became a key to the mystery in Agatha Christie’s famous play. More importantly, it resulted in the Children Act of 1948, which established trained officers throughout Britain to ensure the healthy development of foster children and protect them from mistreatment.

It would seem to me that the biggest mystery here is one we still face every day. How can anyone mistreat children in this manner? It seems to me that it often takes the authorities way too long to find out about abuse, mainly because so many folks just don't want to become involved. Shame on those folks that won't speak out!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, alright?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Church Bulletin Funnies For Sunday...!

Instead of the usual 'toons this Sunday, I found some really entertaining material from the folks that do the weekly church bulletins. I hope you get a kick out of them!

They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for the church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced at church services:

The Fasting & Prayer conference includes meals.
Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.'The sermon tonight:'Searching for Jesus.'
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered..
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM .. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

And this one just about sums them all up. The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday:
'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.'

Just a little Sunday humor for ya today! I hope you enjoyed them!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. No rain in the forecast!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Doc Susie" Anderson..!

Not many of us ever gave thought to the women of the medical profession in the past. Maybe because there weren't that many.

Most of the medical women of old were very fondly remembered. That was the case of "Doc Susie." I'd say she made a lasting impression on quite a few folks in her long career.

Susan “Doc Susie” Anderson

Photo via Wikipedia

Few women practiced medicine in the 1800s, and even fewer trekked on foot through the frontier to tend to patients, but that is exactly what Susan “Doc Susie” Anderson did.

Susan’s father encouraged her to become a doctor and paid for her education at the University of Michigan. After earning her medical degree, Susan decided to move back to Cripple Creek, Colorado with her family to begin a medical practice. She quickly earned a reputation as a skilled physician, often helping injured miners.

After numerous personal setbacks, Susan left the roughneck mining town to practice medicine in Denver. Despite her skill, she was unable to establish a steady practice and instead ended up nursing for six years in Greeley, Colorado. Years before, Susan had contracted tuberculosis, and she decided that the high altitudes of Fraser, Colorado would better suit her condition. It was in Fraser that Susan really flourished as a physician and earned the nickname “Doc Susie.” Because her patients were often poor, Susan was usually paid in food or firewood. With little monetary income, Susan was fairly destitute herself until she was named the Grand County Coroner. This medicine woman continued to make house calls until the age of 84

Now this is a case of someone that is very dedicated to their profession and my hat is certainly off to them. I can't even imagine a doctor today making house calls, especially at the age of 84. Sure could use a few like her today!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, I think. 94% chance of rain!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lucky Gunfight For Freaky Friday...!

Sometimes a little luck goes a long way in winning a gunfight. Ask ol' W.W. Pitman.

I think in his case, he was more lucky than good. Seems to ave gotten the job done, though. From Listverse, here's the story of his lucky gunfight!

W.W. Pitman

At first glance, W.W. Pitman doesn’t seem that colorful or crazy. A short, quiet guy, this town marshal wasn’t the type that inspired songs or novels. But Pitman earned his place in gunfighter lore when he fired the craziest shot in Wild West history.

On the evening of September 15, 1917, suspected bandit Francisco Lopez got smashed and started shooting up the town. As marshal, it was Pitman’s job to confront the crook. When he found the intoxicated gunslinger on Main Street, Pitman walked up to the outlaw, told him he was under arrest, and asked him to come along peacefully. Drunk and angry, Lopez proclaimed he wasn’t “under anything” and went for his gun.

Pitman wasn’t a professional gunfighter. In the five years he’d served as marshal, he’d never shot to kill. Lopez, on the other hand, was quick as lighting. The outlaw shot two stray bullets before Pitman could fire even once.

But then Pitman did fire, and Lopez fired at the exact same moment. Lopez screamed and dropped his weapon. Against all odds, Pitman’s bullet had gone up the barrel of the outlaw’s gun, smashing into Lopez’s slug. There was even a bulge where the hot lead had collided. It was the most implausible shot in the Old West, and it earned Pitman a free vacation. In 1932, the marshal entered his story in a Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” contest and won an all-expenses-paid trip to Cuba. The fabled gun itself is on display at the Ripley’s Odditorium in Williamsburg, Virginia.

I reckon ol' W.W. Pitman had an angel on his shoulder that day!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is expected on the patio.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another Government SNAFU...!

Crop circles as we know them surprisingly are not new. Even the government had a hand in stirring up some panic because of them. Just what you need during a time of war, right?

I think they got their first taste of how strong public opinion could affect politics. In certain cases, trying to fool the public can backfire.

The Wild Crop Circle Paranoia Of World War II
By Debra Kelly on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

In the opening days of World War II, a panic broke out across the eastern seaboard of the United States when papers ran the story that the military was on the lookout for more mysterious signs like that ones that had already been popping up in farmers’ fields up and down the coast. Fields were being plowed in such a way that they appeared to point toward valuable military targets, and it could very well all be in preparation from a German invasion. It was absolutely not true, even though the same thing had been happening in Britain at the same time. (The Brits just kept it quieter.)

In 1942, major outlets of the United States press released some terrifying news: All along the eastern seaboard, farmers’ crops were being plowed and harvested in such a way that they were leaving coded messages that could be seen from the air and were in complete preparation for a German invasion.

And they had the pictures to prove it.

The papers ran photos of what seemed to be arrows plowed into fields, and hay bales arranged in some suspicious patterns. It was said that sacks of grain left out in a field, lying in the shape of a “9” were, like other markers, pointing toward high-value military targets.

It wasn’t just the United States, either—the same thing was happening in Britain, but there, the government was keeping it quieter. According to the memoirs of Western Command counterintelligence agent Major H.R.V. Jordan, RAF pilots began reporting seeing strange crop formations about the same time the story was hitting the American papers. These formations were very, very similar to those that would later create such a UFO panic in the 1990s, and for a time, it was thought that they might be created by Nazi sympathizers.

MI5 investigated a lot of the claims, and found that they were pretty innocent occurrences, except, perhaps, the pretty clueless farmer who thought that plowing a hammer and sickle pattern into his field would be funny.

Other so-called signs were nothing more than roads being constructed, or the gradual use of leftover seed in a time when nothing was left to waste.

Eventually, it was found that the so-called coded messages on the American side were pretty innocent, too. More than that, the government had even had a hand in creating some of them. One of the arrows that was supposedly pointing directly at a military base had been created by the state’s Fish and Game Warden as a feeding ground for native birds.

Others, like the grain sacks, were complete accidents. That one was made by farmers throwing the sacks off the back of a truck, leaving them to dry in the sun. Papers, including The Milwaukee Sentinel, reported that the farmer who owned the field in question wasn’t just interviewed by military personnel, but that he was a well-known, upstanding citizen of the town whom no one had any real cause to doubt in the first place.

The whole thing got even less popular when it was discovered that the photos that ran in the papers were months old.

The backlash was fast and it was hard. Papers claimed they had been misled by the government, and they were victims just like their readers. The public claimed that the government was guilty of nothing less than a black propaganda campaign that the Nazis themselves would have been proud of, getting neighbors to look at each other with suspicion and contempt. Papers began calling for a full investigation and a court martial of those that were responsible for the information.

The US military apologized, saying that they had been mistaken.

This is just another case of the PTB thinking the general public would get totally caught up in a made-up hoax, for whatever reason. I can't imagine what they expected to accomplish by their actions, but the thinking of most politicians is a complete mystery to most of us. It must be something in the water, I reckon!

Coffee out on the patio again today. Gotta love this weather!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The "Real Cowboys" For Western Wednesday...!

When it come to stories about the Wild West, I think most of us already have a certain picture in mind.

Truth is, the west was a lot more diverse than we think. I hate to be the one to pop the bubble, but many cultures and races came together to create the original genuine cowboy. The cowboy of our imagination was a product of the movies and dime novels of the period. I'm sure it made for some interesting story telling around the campfires at night.


The classic Hollywood picture of the West involves white, all-American tough guys teaming up with or fighting other American white guys. Sure, you’ll get a few black people in there, maybe a handful of Mexicans and the odd Irishman for ‘comic’ effect—but it was predominantly true-blooded Americans, right?

Nope. Like late 19th century New York, the Wild West was a hotbed of multiculturalism, with people of all nationalities vying for some room. Rock Springs in Wyoming counted as many as 56 nationalities in a population of under 10,000. Slovakians, Finns, Norwegians, Germans, Ottomans, Swedes and Chinese all poured into the South and Midwest; an influx that only increased with the Californian Gold Rush. The image of the old West as a bedrock of American values is a Hollywood holdover from a time when casting non-American voices and faces was pretty much a no go.

I merely brought this up because of the fact that we often forget about the influences of other cultures and peoples had on us down through the years. Maybe we can find some way to try and make that work again, ya think?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. That OK with you?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Female Terror Of London...!

Not all of the bad guys are male, ya know. Some women, like this one, can be a terror as well!

I believe from what I've read that this was one crazy old lady. Reminds me a little of some folks I've known in the past. Hopefully, I'll never see them again! Thanks to the folks over at KnowledgeNuts for this story!

The Vindictive Mrs. Prodgers, Terror Of London
By Debra Kelly on Sunday, September 7, 2014

In the late 1880s, London cab drivers were always on the lookout for Mrs. Giacometti Prodgers (as she always insisted on being referred to by her full and proper name). During a 20-year period, she took more than 50 cab drivers to court over fee technicalities, suing them when they tried to collect a full fare after she requested they stop just short of her destination. She was so hated she was immortalized in song and in skit form, and burned in effigy on Bonfire Night.

Things are annoying. We all have our little grievances and things that drive us mad, and we certainly wish we could do something about it. But few of us take it as far as Mrs. Giacometti Prodgers.

Mrs. Prodgers hated London cabs. While it’s unclear just what they did to bring down her wrath upon them, it must have been a pretty big offense.

No one ever said Mrs. Prodgers was normal, either.

The first time she found herself in the courts was in 1871, when she was in the process of divorcing her husband. The proceedings were so bizarre and so scandalous that they were a longtime favorite in all the newspapers, including her questioning of the legitimacy of her own children. (Take a second to enjoy just how ridiculous that is.) Eventually it was decided that since she was richer than he was, she would pay him support—of course, it wasn’t long before she lapsed on that and ended up back in court.
br/> Whether she had an honest beef with London cab drivers or she just relished her day in court and seeing her name in the newspapers is up for debate. But not long after her divorce proceedings ended, she turned her attention to the hapless cab drivers of London.

She started by memorizing the fare chart, a massive sheet of all the stops and distances and prices of taking a cab around London. She would catch a cab going from Point A to Point B, and just before the distance and fare rate would increase, she’d call a halt to the cab. If the poor cab driver tried to collect the full fare, she’d take him to court.

Mrs. Prodgers spent nearly 20 years stalking the streets of London, preying on cabbies like some grandmotherly, avenging angel (at least, that’s how we like to picture her). She ended up dragging more than 50 cabbies into court, not fussed by the fact that everyone thought she was less avenging angel and more of a nuisance. Even the judges began suggesting she buy her own carriage if she was that concerned, as she could certainly afford it.

When she showed no signs of slowing down, drivers would look out for each other, calling her name down the line when one saw her coming, so all could take the opportunity to scatter.

There were other weird incidents that she found herself in the middle of. She took her former cook to court for being in her home and having the audacity to sing while she was there. She refused to pay for newspapers that might have her name in them. She obviously liked to cause trouble, and cause trouble she did.

Mrs. Prodgers was in turn appropriately honored by the good people she harassed. She was featured in cartoons and poems in satirical magazines of the day, and she also had the dubious honor of being burned in effigy on Bonfire Night, often alongside Guy Fawkes and while cabbies and their supporters performed less-than-flattering skits about her.

Bizarrely, there was one man in London who seemed to take her and her crusade seriously. She was a good friend of the explorer Sir Richard Burton, and he was known to give her legal advice from time to time. Just what relationship they had was a matter of speculation, but for some reason he tolerated her when others were dancing around her burning effigy.

When Mrs. Prodgers died in 1890, her obituary stated: “Mrs. Giacometti Prodgers, the terror of London cabmen, is dead.”

I do hope when I pass on that I am remembered better than this. At least by some, ya know? Others will just have to think what they will...I can't change that!

Coffee is outside on the patio this morning. Feels a lot like Spring here in Houston.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Vela Incident For Monday Mysteries...!

I reckon that there isn't a government in the world that ever tells the whole truth to the people of their country. At least, it seems that way!

Although no one will fess up to the causs of this "incident", it's obvious that someone knows what caused it and just won't tell us. Guess we can't handle the truth, ya know?

Vela Incident

The Vela Incident (sometimes referred to as the South Atlantic Flash) was an as-yet unidentified double flash of light detected by a United States Vela satellite on September 22, 1979. It has been speculated that the double flash was characteristic of a nuclear explosion; however, recently declassified information about the event says that it “was probably not from a nuclear explosion, although [it cannot be ruled] out that this signal was of nuclear origin.” The flash was detected on 22 September 1979, at 00:53 GMT. The satellite reported the characteristic double flash (a very fast and very bright flash, then a longer and less-bright one) of an atmospheric nuclear explosion of two to three kilotons, in the Indian Ocean between Bouvet Island (Norwegian dependency) and the Prince Edward Islands (South African dependencies). US Airforce planes flew into the area shortly after the flashes were detected but could find no signs of a detonation or radiation.

In 1999 a US senate whitepaper stated “There remains uncertainty about whether the South Atlantic flash in September 1979 recorded by optical sensors on the U.S. Vela satellite was a nuclear detonation and, if so, to whom it belonged.” There is some speculation that the test may have been a joint Israeli / South African initiative which has been confirmed (though not proven) by Commodore Dieter Gerhardt, a convicted Soviet spy and commander of South Africa’s Simon’s Town naval base at the time.

I can't hep but wonder what else we might find the answer to if we had full access of all the files. I reckon many mysteries would be solved, and many answers found. Just my opinion, of course!

Coffee ot on the patio this morning. Close to 80 again today!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's Sunday, So Here Come The 'Toons...!

I know. Strange that Sunday is already here again, but it is.

I noticed that fewer and fewer folks are watching the 'toons lately. Wonder why that is? Darned if I know. Guess taste just changes after a while.

Did you ever consider where Goofy came from? Neither did I.

Wonder if anyone in the newer generations will remember any of the older 'toons? Guess not!

Even after all these years, I'm still amazed at the artwork needed to make a simple cartoon! Lots of labor involved, ya know?

Guess that's enough for today. Reckon we'll sit back and enjoy the sunshine for a while now, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Too nice to stay inside!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Little William Walker...!

Without a doubt, all of us have a dream of some kind. Some goal we want to reach one day. Mr. Walker certainly had his!

Granted, the dreams of Mr. Walker were a little different than most, and more ambitious as well. The article below from the folks at KnowledgeNuts explains just how different those dreams were!

The Many (Failed) Revolutions Of William Walker
By Nolan Moore on Friday, March 13, 2015

William Walker wasn’t much to look at. He stood 157 centimeters (5’2″) and weighed a mere 55 kilograms (120 lb). But despite his diminutive frame, Walker was a man with great ambition. This guy wanted to conquer a Latin American country and declare himself president.

Everybody has dreams. Some want to become pro-athletes or famous novelists. Others want to become movie stars or renowned scientists. William Walker wanted to start his own country. Unlike most people, Walker actually achieved his goals . . . sort of.

Born in 1824, Walker was one of those cocky kids who graduate summa cum laude at 14. After earning his sheepskin, this teenager toured Europe, studying at some pretty prestigious universities before opening his own practice in Philadelphia.

Eventually, Walker grew bored, hung up his stethoscope, and earned a law degree. However, lawyer life didn’t really keep his attention and soon he founded his own newspaper in New Orleans. After hanging around “The Big Easy” for a while, he headed west in 1849 and set up shop in San Francisco.

Then in 1853, Walker finally realized what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to become a filibuster. Derived from the Spanish word for “pirate” or “plunderer,” 19th-century filibusters didn’t stand around and give long-winded speeches. Instead, they invaded other countries and overthrew foreign governments. Some wanted their own little kingdoms. Others hoped to join the US as a new slave state and screw up the Missouri Compromise.

Either way, filibusters were like 19th-century rockstars (Manifest Destiny, baby). So this short, slim, 29-year-old journalist with no military training rounded up a ragtag band of about 50 misfits and invaded Baja, California. Calling themselves the First Independent Battalion, Walker’s army conquered Baja’s capital city. Afterward, the pint-sized trespasser declared himself the newly appointed president of the pro-slavery “Republic of Lower California.”

When word of the revolution made it back to the States, excited Americans started trekking to Mexico, eager to join up with Walker’s outfit. Emboldened by his success and new troops, Walker decided it was time to expand his empire. After moving his capital to Ensenada, “el presidente” annexed the entire state of Sonora. Of course, talk is cheap, and Walker couldn’t really back up his bold play. Thanks to a rough climate, lack of supplies, deadly illness, and savage outlaws, Walker soon found himself without an army.

Beaten (but not yet broken), Walker returned to the US in 1854 where he was put on trial for attempting to conquer another country. But the jury was full of pro-slavery Walker groupies who were incredibly impressed with his blustery speech on the importance of expanding America’s borders. After eight minutes of deliberation, the jury came back with a “not guilty” verdict.

The once-and-future president was back in business.

In 1855, Walker wrangled up another gang of weirdos and troublemakers. This time, he set his sights on Nicaragua. The country was in the middle of a civil war, so Walker allied with the losers and proceeded to take over. Along the way, he executed quite a few people and even leveled the city of Granada. Eventually, the miniature general declared himself president (again), legalized slavery (again), and decided English was Nicaragua’s new national language.

At first, things were going along just swimmingly. Even US President Franklin Pierce officially recognized Walker’s new government. But the Nicaraguan dictator made one big mistake. He ticked off Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the richest men in America. Vanderbilt ran a prosperous shipping company in Nicaragua, and when Walker’s revolution threatened to jeopardize business, the millionaire convinced the president to withdraw support and supplied the Costa Rican army with enough cash and firepower to take Walker down.

Once again, the diminutive dictator was sent home with his tail between his legs. Once again, he was put on trial, and once again, he was acquitted. After all, Walker was a legend. People wrote songs about the man. There was even a play about the guy’s life. He was a national hero. What’s more, he was completely obsessed with going back to Nicaragua.

Over the next few years, Walker invaded that poor Central American country three more times, but he never came close to overthrowing the government. Each time, he was sent packing back to the US. Each time, he was tried and acquitted. Well, all except for that fourth and final invasion.

In 1860, Walker rounded up 91 numskulls and tried to sneak into Nicaragua by way of Honduras. Only the Hondurans weren’t exactly pleased to see the so-called “Gray-Eyed Man of Destiny” wandering through their jungles. Walker and his motley crew soon found themselves outmatched by the Honduran military, and any hopes of reinforcements were crushed when the British navy blocked off the coast.

Walker was trapped. His men were dying of bullets and disease, and he had nowhere to run. Desperate, the runty rogue handed himself over to the British navy. They had other plans for William Walker, though. Instead of taking him back to the US, the Brits passed Walker along to the Hondurans, who decided to stop this filibuster once and for all. On September 12, 1860, 36-year-old President Walker was executed via firing squad, miles away from the country he’d once ruled.

Sounds to me that all his education didn't help when it came to knowing when to call it a day. I mean, why was he so set on Nicaragua in the first place? Guess we will never know.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. the temps will be in the 70s the next few days.

Friday, March 13, 2015

All Male Knitting Guild On Freaky Friday...!

That's right. Up until the invention of the knitting machine, knitting was dominated by men!

Today both men and women enjoy the craft in ever increasing numbers. Heck, I even knit myself (but I use the Knitting Looms). I really enjoy it and it brings me a little peace of mind.

The Ultra-Manly History Of Knitting
By Debra Kelly on Monday, March 9, 2015

Knitting might seem like a female-oriented pastime these days, but during the Middle Ages, it was a craft that only men were allowed to perfect. They would spend six years doing so, allowed into guilds of knitters only after passing a rigorous exam. Professional, guilded knitters were responsible for an amazing amount of clothing well into the 16th century. Once the knitting machine was invented, though, it became something that men didn’t need to do any more and women could take up as a hobby.

Knitting has seen a massive resurgence lately. Social media is full of people sharing their latest creations, asking opinions on creating pop culture icons with nothing more than yarn and knitting needles, swapping patterns and asking for advice on colors. Today, it’s mainly thought of a woman’s pastime, although there are more and more men that are picking up the knitting needles as well. That’s not an odd thing at all—in fact, they’re following in the footsteps of centuries of manly knitters.

The history of knitting is a little foggy, but it’s been suggested that the earliest roots of the craft were found in the minds and hands of resourceful fishermen. The theory, although it’s unproven, says that when you’re feeding a family or village, catching fish one at a time with a single line was difficult and time-consuming. Fishermen wove ropes together to form nets, used the nets to catch the fish, and the roots of knitting were born.

When it comes to fabrics that were knitted in the terms of the definition we know (using two needles to make yarn into a piece of material) the earliest knitted objects we’ve ever found are some pretty impressive Egyptian socks. The socks, which are little more than remnants at this point, have some small, intricate patterns on them that seem to indicate they’re absolutely not the first of their kind, and the art form had been just about perfected by that time, around A.D. 1000.

European knitting came around by 1275 or so, and it was something for the upper class. Knitted items were found in the tombs of Spanish royalty, and they’ve also been a huge part of religious regalia for Spain as well. Knitted garments weren’t just worn: They held the relics of saints. By the 1400s, it was such a divine skill that the Virgin Mary was often portrayed as knitting.

Also in the 1400s was the establishment of guilds to teach the craft and art of knitting, to control quality and to control pricing. The guilds were exclusively male, and the process that was required to join them was no less rigorous than the one needed to, say, join a blacksmith’s guild.

Teenage boys who were destined for the knitters’ guild had six years of training ahead of them before they could even think about becoming an official knitter. The first half of their training was an apprenticeship with one of the masters of the guild, while the last half would be spent traveling. It was necessary for a master knitter to learn not only from the knitters of his own country, but to learn stitches and patterns from other countries and their masters as well.

Men would then need to complete a sort of entrance exam for the guild. They would be required to create a series of finished products that would often include stockings, a shirt, a hat, and, most often, a knitted carpet. The carpets weren’t simple, single-color pieces, either; the examples of knitted carpets and wall hangings that are at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London are exquisite pieces of repeating patterns and often scenes, sometimes drawn from the Bible.

And, if he was really, really talented, a master could end up the dedicated, favorite knitter of his country’s royal family.

The shift in knitting from a male-only occupation to a female-dominated hobby came in the Victorian era. With the invention of knitting machines, it was no longer necessary for tradesmen to go through all the years of training that were once necessary to turn out amazing goods. By 1880, the idea of women knitting scarves, socks, and gloves for a lover was a notion romanticized in poetry, along with being a domestic skill that increased a woman’s wifely value.

It's funny how a craft can suddenly open up to the general public after centuries of being dominated by men. If it weren't for the folks over at KnowledgeNuts, I would have never known about this so-called "Knitters Guild"!

Once more w are in the kitchen for coffee, thanks to the rain. I know, let's bake some peanut butter cookies!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Do The Sitting Rising Test...!

Some folks really want to know just how long they have left. I'm not one of them. Figure I'm better off not knowing.

What's the point in knowing when you are going to be gone? I figure that when it's time, I'll have to go. I can't really control that, ya now? No need worrying about something you can't control!

Your Friends Can Tell You How Long You’ll Probably Live
By Heather Ramsey on Wednesday, March 11, 2015

You can go to the doctor, read all the latest medical news, and obsess over your health all you want. But a recent study shows that your friends, especially close ones, can tell how long you’ll live based on your personality in your twenties. If you’re a man whose friends see you as open and conscientious, you’ll probably live longer. For women, you want your friends to see you as agreeable and emotionally stable.

We’re always looking for new ways to predict how healthy we are and how long we’ll live. Some of the more recent news tells us that our life spans can be predicted by chemical changes that occur in our bodies as we age. By analyzing blood samples for methylation, a chemical change that affects how certain genes are turned on or off, we can come up with a biological age for any individual. If your biological age is greater than your actual age, then you’ll probably die sooner than someone whose biological age equals his or her actual age.

Unfortunately, that test requires a trip to the doctor. If you want to skip the doctor, you can try a simple test called the Sitting Rising Test (SRT). Invented by a doctor in Brazil, the SRT is supposed to predict the probability that you’ll die within five years. To take the test, you cross your feet and sit on the floor for five points. Then you get back up for another five points. You lose a point every time you use a hand, arm, or knee to help you. Another half point is deducted each time you lose your balance, whether sitting down or getting up. Every point is worth a 21 percent reduction in your risk of dying.

But there’s an even easier way to predict your longevity, and if you’re a people person, it’s a lot more fun. It’s based on the results of a 75-year study that shows your friends are better at predicting how long you’ll live than you are. Washington University psychologists looked at data from the 1930s through 2013 concerning the health of 600 men and women. When the study began, the participants were in their mid-twenties with most engaged to be married. The participants and their close friends, which included members of their wedding parties, rated the personality traits of people in the study.

Combining this information with follow-up studies from the original research as well as death certificates, the psychologists came to a surprising conclusion: Your friends, especially close ones, can tell how long you’ll live based on your personality in your twenties. If you’re a man whose friends see you as open and conscientious, you’ll probably live longer. For women, you want your friends to see you as agreeable and emotionally stable.

The researchers believe your friends are better than you at predicting your life span for a couple of reasons. “First, friends may see something that you miss; they may have some insight that you do not,” said psychologist Joshua Jackson. “Second, because people have multiple friends, we are able to average the idiosyncrasies of any one friend to obtain a more reliable assessment of personality. With self reports, people may be biased or miss certain aspects of themselves and we are not able to counteract that because there is only one you, only one self-report.”

We can thank the folks over at KnowledgeNuts for the test. I have to say, take it at your own discretion and take the results with a grain of salt...know what I mean?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. Early rain predicted...bummer!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hat History For Western Wednesday...!

We have probably covered this before, but it's worth revisiting, I think.

Like many things from the old west, the hat became a thing of legend. So many stories involved the "10 gallon" hat, the true origin of the name almost got lost to history. I figured you might find this interesting.

Why do we call it a 10-gallon hat?

The popular image of a cowboy would not be complete without the wide-brimmed “10-gallon hat,” yet even the most hardened cattlemen can’t agree on how the iconic headgear first got its name. The conventional explanation is that “10-gallon” refers to how much liquid could be carried inside the hat. In fact, a famous ad for the Stetson company once even depicted a cowpoke giving his weary horse a drink from the crown of his hat. While it’s certainly in keeping with the romantic conception of life in the Old West, this image is probably as much of a myth as gunfights at high noon. Not only is the name “10-gallon hat” an obvious exaggeration—even the most comically large cowboy hats could only hold a few quarts of water—carrying liquid in the crown of any hat would most likely damage it beyond repair.

Most experts argue that the name “10-gallon hat” is actually an import from south of the border. Cattle drivers and ranchers in Texas and the Southwest often crossed paths with Mexican vaqueros who sported braided hatbands—called “galóns” in Spanish—on their sombreros. A “10 galón” sombrero was a hat with a large enough crown that it could hold 10 hatbands, but American cowboys may have anglicized the word to “gallon” and started referring to their own sombrero-inspired headgear as “10-gallon hats.” Yet another linguistic theory argues that the name is a corruption of the Spanish phrase “tan galán” —roughly translated as “very gallant” or “really handsome”—which may have been used to describe the majestic image of a hat-wearing cowboy in the saddle.

Whatever its origin, the 10-gallon hat wasn’t even the preferred headgear for most people in the Wild West—top hats and bowlers were more common. The nickname didn’t enter the popular lexicon until the 1920s, when silent film stars like Tom Mix and Tim McCoy helped popularize the oversized hat in Hollywood Westerns. The 10-gallon hat went on to earn a place as a quintessential piece of the frontier wardrobe, and presidents like Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson would later use them to cultivate a rustic image while serving as commander in chief.

This hat became a true icon of the Old Wet, no matter where the name came from. Folks all over the world recognize the 10 Gallon hat as truly American.

Coffee out on the patio again today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tale Of "Mike The Durable..."!

Some people just refuse to go away or refuse to even die as expected. It seems that sometimes murder just ain't easy!

This story from Listverse is about an ol' boy that must have had one heck of a constitution, plus a real desire to live. Did a pretty good job of for a while, that's for sure!

Michael Malloy

Michael Malloy was a homeless alcoholic who lived in New York City during the 1920s–1930s. He had no known family and nothing would be thought of his sudden demise, leading five men to come up with a cunning plan. The men, dubbed The Murder Trust conspired to take out a life insurance policy on Malloy. They then planned to kill him in order to collect the money. Their method of murder was inspired by Malloy’s alcoholism: let him drink himself to death.

One of the involved men owned a speakeasy, so he gave Michael unlimited credit to drink to his heart’s desire, hoping he would quickly die of his indulgences. But Malloy continued to pound drinks back for the entire working day, every day. Noticing that Malloy hadn’t yet succumbed to his own alcoholism, the Trust began to add secret ingredients to his beverages. First, they added antifreeze, which Malloy didn’t even notice. Next they tried turpentine, horse liniment, and rat poison, all of which failed to affect Malloy.

Deciding on another final solution for their pesky problem, they fed Michael oysters soaked in methanol. Then came sandwiches full of spoiled sardines and rat poison, with just a hint of carpet tacks. After that failed miserably, the Trust threw creativity out the window and simply waited for Malloy to pass out, then dragged his unconscious body into the -14 °F (-26 °C) night and tossed him in a snow bank. They then dumped 5 gallons (19 liters) of snow on his bare chest and left him to die.

Certain that Malloy was dead, the Trust were astonished when he strolled in the next morning, looking no worse for wear. At this point the Trust was running out of patience and ideas, so one member bit the bullet and ran Malloy over with his taxi, which was traveling at about 45 mph (72 kmh). This put him in the hospital with broken bones for three weeks, during which time the Trust attempted to collect the insurance money on him, but failed.

Michael eventually reappeared in the bar for his routine drink, so the Trust initiated their last ditch effort: they allowed him to pass out again, dragged him to the room of one of the Trust members, then inserted a hose in his mouth that was connected to a gas jet, killing Michael within minutes. For their trouble, they earned about $61,000 by today’s standards and a trip to the electric chair for all but one of the gang after they were unable to keep quiet and started talking about “Mike the Durable” around other speakeasies. Obviously they never read Top 10 Tips to Commit the Perfect Crime.

One thing about it...with friends like this you don't need many enemies! Tough old bird, wasn't he?

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

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sleepy Village For Monday Mysteries...!

No ghost or missing ships or disappearances today. Just a real puzzler of a modern mystery.

Sometimes the true mysteries of everyday life seem to be solvable, then at other times the truth escapes us all together!

Kalachi Village

Something strange is happening to residents of the Kalachi village in Kazakhstan. They just can’t seem to keep their eyes open. Every day, several villagers just fall asleep in broad daylight and remain asleep for at least a couple of hours. Some of them have reported only waking up after a couple of days. There is no apparent reason for these “sleep incidents,” and more than 100 residents have inexplicably fallen asleep when they weren’t tired over the course of a few years.

In September 2014, several children who were attending school on the first day of the new academic year also fell asleep for no reason. Medical experts were unable to come up with a verified explanation, much less a “cure” or form of prevention. Naturally, some of those who suffer from this “condition” are terrified that they might die in their sleep.

Some of the “sleepers” have reported strange feelings of memory loss, vertigo, and extreme nausea after waking from their sleep. Other symptoms even include hallucinations. In addition to all this, doctors have found that some of the people suffering from this ailment have suffered other health scares such as brain dysfunction and even strokes.

The sleeping villagers are not good for the economy; not only are there hours of work lost, but fear is causing many people to leave the area. Radiation levels have been tested in the area but nothing abnormal has been found. Ongoing investigations have yet to turn up any clues as to why this strange affliction has befallen the little village. In 2015, scientists found high concentrations of carbon monoxide in the town. While the findings aren’t conclusive, they may provide one more clue in this mystery.

To me this is the strangest kind of mystery. After you consider that the village has been studied for years with no answers, the village seems to be a place to stay away from. I certainly don't want to take a chance and visit the place, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again today. Pretty warm by most standards in the country today!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cartoons For The First Day Of Daylight Savings Time...!

As usual, it's time for the Sunday 'toons.

Today we have some slightly off-beat 'toons. Something a little different to keep us from getting bored, ya know?

Hold on...there's more to come!

I told ya they would be a little off-beat!

How about one more?

Well, those wern't too bad, were they? Gotta love something a little different once and a while.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning! Have a good one!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Reunited In Death...!

It's often said that love has no boundaries and no end. Some even say that true love continues, even after death.

This story from Listverse shows just how far some people will go to pronounce that love to the world. We should all have someone love us this much, I think.

Reunited In Death

In a secluded corner of an old cemetery in Roermond, Netherlands are two gravestones on opposite sides of a high cement wall. One grave belongs to Colonel J.C.P.H. Of Aeffderson, an officer in the Dutch army and a Protestant. The other belongs to his wife, J.W.C van Gorkum, a Dutch noble and a Catholic.

The two were married for 40 years, and when the Colonel died, he was buried in the Protestant plot of the Het Oude Kerkhof, Dutch for “Old Cemetery.” According to tradition, his wife would be buried in the family tomb, across the wall in the larger Catholic section of the cemetery.

But van Gorkum didn’t see eye to eye with tradition. Before her death, she had a gravestone erected directly on the other side of the wall from her husband’s then had a hand built out from each one to reach over the wall. To this day, the lovers’ graves are still clasped in a final, eternal embrace.

No doubt that true love is a very powerful thing. I feel we could certainly use a lot more of it in our lives, don't you agree?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Justice Served By A Burrito...!

Justice is often blind, especially when helped by a shady lawyer! But then, we all know how lawyers are, right?

This is one story that proves how luck can often save the day. I'd say that this defendant was more lucky than smart, and I'll bet he would certainly agree!

How A Moldy Burrito Saved A Man From A Wrongful Conviction
By Steve Wynalda on Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On a September night in 1988, there was a gun battle in a central Los Angeles alley. When it was over, one man was dead, another wounded. Despite his claims that he was just a bystander, the wounded man was arrested for murder. For two years, the defendant asserted his innocence. Few believed him, especially after he signed a confession to the murder. And, during the trial, the jurors found it hard to swallow his story. But at the last minute, even as the jurors were about to decide his fate, a burrito was discovered that supported his story. When it was revealed to the jury, they acquitted him.

In September 1988, a man in a white T-shirt began firing a semi-automatic into the air in an alley behind an LA liquor store. Across the alley, a 42-year-old security guard named Israel Martinez was protecting a canteen truck. Martinez approached the man and asked him to stop shooting. A gun battle ensued and Martinez was mortally wounded in the chest.

One other person—a 23-year-old Cal State student named Edward Vasquez—had also been shot. Despite his admonition that “I didn’t shoot no one; I don’t even own a gun,” Vasquez was arrested as the white-T-shirted killer. After hours of interrogation by the police, Vasquez signed a confession that he killed Martinez in self-defense.

At the trial two years later, Vasquez’s defense attorney, Jay Jaffe, claimed that his client was a bystander, purchasing a burrito at the canteen truck at the time of the shooting. Vasquez insisted that he wasn’t even wearing a white T-shirt, instead wearing a green jacket. The police had, indeed, picked up a green jacket at the crime scene and had kept it as evidence since. Finally, Jaffe claimed Vasquez’s confession was coerced. “He naively thought he would say what they wanted to hear and [would] straighten it all out later,” he said.

The prosecution countered by saying that Vasquez couldn’t have been wearing the green jacket. He was shot, after all, and there was no blood on the jacket. The defense pointed out that Vasquez had been shot in the butt and the jacket only reached his waist. To prove the point, Vasquez put on the green jacket in front of the jury.

There were problems with the prosecution’s case. For one, Vasquez’s hands were tested for gunpowder residue just an hour after the shooting and none was found. The jury would later admit there were several “inconsistencies” in the prosecution’s testimony.

Finally, the jury retired to deliberate and Vasquez spent a sleepless night thinking about the jacket. The next morning, he told his attorney that the jacket seemed too heavy when he put it on and he thought he knew why. After the Jaffe talked to the judge, the jury was summoned back to the courtroom.

Once the jury was seated, Jaffe held up the jacket. “He didn’t shoot the security guard,” the attorney shouted, “and this proves it.” He then dramatically pulled a foil-wrapped burrito from the right pocket. He gave it to the jury to examine, and they found it to be moldy and two years old.

It was clear that if Vasquez had been wearing the green jacket, he was, indeed, purchasing a burrito at the time of the shooting. Before the burrito revelation, the jury had been split 8 to 4 for acquittal. Afterward, the jury voted unanimously not guilty. “This [prosecution] should never have happened. It’s shameful,” Jaffe said.

The lawyer’s indignation may have been justified. After the burrito was found in the jacket, District Attorney Christine Gosney admitted that she found a photo of a small boy in another pocket of that same jacket. On the back of photograph was inscribed the words “To my cousin Eddie.”

Gosney admitted she destroyed the photograph because she worried it would elicit sympathy for the defendant. Really? Or was it because it might support Vasquez’s contention that the jacket belonged to him? If the existence of the photo had been divulged to the defense as it legally should have been, Jaffe could have brought Vasquez’s cousin into court and had him verify that the picture was of him.

It’s also hard to believe that if Gosney found the photo, she did not also find the burrito. Which means she not only knew Vasquez was telling the truth, she knew he was indeed wearing the jacket instead of the perp’s white T-shirt. And she still proceeded to prosecute the young man.

A month later, Gosney was allowed to resign to avoid dismissal. Martinez’s killer has never been found.

BTW, thanks for being understanding about my day off yesterday. I had to get a new water heater installed at Mom's house, then play taxi driver for one of the "sewing circle" ladies. They don't really sew anymore, but just visit and talk. But it makes them happy, so that's OK.

Coffee inside this morning. Kinda chilly outside!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Day Off...!

Sorry folks, but I have some issues that I nee to deal with today. Because of this, there will be no post today.

Thanks for coming over anyway! You guys are the best!

You know where the coffee is, right?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chisholm Trail Founder For Western Wednesday...!

Jesse Chisholm is a name that will probably be associated with the old west.

Actually, the cattle drive trail known as the "Chisholm Trail" will be what everyone thinks of when the name Chisholm comes up. It's always nice to find out a bit of history about the folks responsible for creating something of such importance, I believe.


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.

I find it a little ironic that the man responsible for bringing so many steaks to the table of others, died from food poisoning. Probably wasn't all that uncommon back in those days, though.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Supposed to turn cold again tonight, so we better enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How Strange Was This Guy...?

Sometimes I'm surprised by how incredibly crazy some folks are and how they can actually find others that follow them in their crazy beliefs!

I don't know why this surprises me but it does! Guess there will always be crazies living among us, right?

When ‘Master Metaphysicians’ Tried To Raise An Immortal Baby
By Debra Kelly on Monday, January 5, 2015

According to James Schafer, head of the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians, the key to raising an immortal baby is diet and insulation from bad thoughts. His experimental baby, Baby Jean, only spent a year with him before her parents decided they wanted her back—not surprisingly. It was only a matter of a few more years before he was arrested and found guilty of fraud. Baby Jean returned to her parents and lived a relatively normal life, but Schafer and his wife committed suicide after his stint in Sing Sing.

According to James Schafer, head and founder of the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians, he knew the secret to raising an immortal baby. And he was going to do just that, with Baby Jean.

Baby Jean came to the organization from parents who saw themselves as having little choice in the matter, as they weren’t able to adequately care for her. Their savior—and hers—seemed to come in the form of the charismatic Schafer.

Schafer took Jean home, and by “home” we mean the former Vanderbilt mansion. Located on Long Island, New York and renamed “Peace Haven” by the group, the mansion was to be not only her home, but the place where she would be raised to be the first immortal human.

As cults go, the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians was in the realm of being stranger than they were creepy. Attempts at forming an actual, tax-exempt organization were shot down by the State’s Supreme Court in a decision that was echoed by Time Magazine.

Some of their basic beliefs included the idea that meat was inherently bad for you, and that coffee and tea are equally off the list of approved foods. Smoking and alcohol were also bad for you, and diet was something that should be carefully controlled—so controlled that the members of the fraternity were given new guidelines every week. Everything was vegetarian, and there were no spices, vinegars, or mustards.

In order to join, the faithful needed to pay dues that the society called “love offerings.” The fee was $250 in 1940, which equates to a little bit over $4,000 in today’s economy. That wasn’t the only place that the money was coming from, either—invitations to see Baby Jean were also bringing in the cash. Kids could also get in on the action, becoming a part of his “Cosmic Network” through the donations of stamps.

In return, he issued certificates drawn on the Inexhaustible Bank of the Infinite in the Universal Mind that were payable in Ideas and Everything Desired With No Limitations.

The trick to raising an immortal baby wasn’t nearly as complicated as you might think it would be. Baby Jean had her own nursery and her own nurses, who were with her constantly and made sure she was never exposed to any negative thoughts. She would never know there was anything such as death or disease until she was old enough to understand that it was simply something that just didn’t need to happen to her. She was going to be raised within the philosophy, and when she was an adult, she would take over the organization as its immortal leader.

When she was 15 months old, her parents sued to have her back. In spite of his claims that he planned on adopting her, Schafer never did and she was reunited with her mother. And in spite of being sent detailed instructions, her mother took her off her immortality plan.

The idea of an immortal baby was just a part of Schafer’s plan. He also claimed that he could make things (and people) dematerialize, and that he could train willing participants to avoid the pitfalls of illness by the power of positive thoughts.

Positive thoughts couldn’t keep him out of jail, though, and not long after Baby Jean went back to her parents, Schafer went to Sing Sing. Unhappy former members had filed charges against him for fraud, and he was sentenced to five years in prison. Once he got out, he tried opening a correspondence school and founding a magazine about his beliefs, but nothing ever really took off.

In 1955, he and his wife committed suicide, leaving behind a note and instructions for their daughter to keep up their work. Baby Jean is grown and happily married, although she doesn’t talk about her immortality or her experiences with the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians.

Thanks to the folks over at KnowledgeNuts for having articles like this to teach us just how screwed up some folks can get!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. High in the 70s again expected!