Sunday, May 31, 2015

Something Different For Sunday...!

I thought we would have some regular comic strips right out of the paper for today, OK?

And one more...

I hope you enjoyed theae comics. Different, but still fun!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, OK?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ever Hear Of The "White Coke?"

Seems that a company like Coca Cola will go to extremes to keep it's customers happy, especially if they are heroes.

This is a scheme that I didn't know about until I read this article from Knowledgenuts. Pretty cool move, I'd say!

When Coca-Cola Made ‘White Coke’ For A Soviet War Hero
By Nolan Moore on Friday, February 14, 2014

Georgy Zhukov was a Soviet war hero with a serious drinking habit. The man loved Coca-Cola. However, the Soviet government considered Coke a sign of American imperialism and forbade its citizens from enjoying the soda. Unwilling to give up his favorite beverage, Zhukov asked America for help, and the Coca-Cola Company rose to occasion.

What’s red, white, and enjoyed across the planet? Coca-Cola! The sugary soft drink is the world’s bestselling soda, but despite its international appeal, Coke is usually associated with America. And that posed a pretty big problem for Georgy Zhukov.

Zhukov was a Soviet general and a beloved World War II hero. He successfully defended Leningrad from the Nazis, was appointed Commander in Chief of the USSR’s western front, and fought the Germans at Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, and Berlin. However, when the Russian officer wasn’t crushing enemy troops, he was refreshing himself with the cold, crisp taste of Coca-Cola.

It was pretty easy to find a bottle of Coke during World War II, even if you were a soldier in the middle of a combat zone. In 1943, General Dwight D. Eisenhower asked the Coca-Cola Company to set up 10 bottling plants in North Africa. Before the war was finished, there were over 60 plants across Europe and the Pacific, all built as close as possible to the front lines. On top of that, the US government considered Coke crucial to defeating the Axis powers, going so far as to exempt the Atlanta-based corporation from sugar rationing.

With Zhukov pursuing the Germans across Europe, it was only a matter of time before he discovered America’s ice cold sunshine. In fact, Eisenhower himself gave Zhukov his first bottle, and soon, the Soviet general was a Coke addict. But when the war ended, Zhukov realized his drinking habit was in danger. Thanks to its association with the US, the Soviet government viewed Coca-Cola as a symbol of capitalistic decadence. The soft drink was forbidden inside the USSR, and it looked like Zhukov would have to live without his favorite drink.

Only this Soviet officer wasn’t going to give up so easily. Desperate for his soda pop, Zhukov went to the highest authority outside Russia: Harry Truman. He asked the President if America could secretly send him a stash of Coke . . . but not just any Coke. These drinks had to be special. If someone saw him chugging an American soft drink, he’d probably end up in a Siberian gulag or worse, courtesy of Joseph Stalin. Truman was only too happy to help a war hero and asked the Coca-Cola people to work on a solution.

The first problem was the drink’s instantly recognizable brown color. However, a Coca-Cola chemist experimented with the recipe and found a way to create a clear soda. Secondly, the curvy bottle had to be redesigned as it was a dead giveaway. The final product was White Coke, a clear liquid in a straight bottle, complete with a red Soviet star on a white cap. Now Zhukov could safely sip his soda in public, and everyone else would think he was drinking vodka.

Not long after the White Coke incident, Georgy Zhukov fell out of favor with the Communist Party. He was forced out of power in 1957 and finally died in 1974, one year after Pepsi-Cola was allowed to sell its products inside the USSR. If Zhukov had only lived 12 more years, he would’ve been able to buy a regular Coke without fearing for his future. “The pause that refreshes” was finally allowed inside the Soviet Union in 1985, complete with contour bottle and the caramel-colored liquid Zhukov had loved so much.

Pretty amazing story, right? Just imagine a big company like Coke doing that sort of thing in this day and age. Not going to happen, I think.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Rain, rain go away!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Let's Talk About Fairy Floss...!

What's that, you say? You probably know it by another name...cotton candy!

Did you ever wonder when it was invented and by who? Bet the answer will surprise ya! The answer is a little freaky, for sure!

A dentist invented cotton candy. We swear we’re not making that up. The year? 1897. The place? Nashville, Tennessee.

Dentist William Morrison – perhaps seeing more than a few holes in his appointment book – teamed up with candy maker John C. Wharton to invent the device that makes cotton candy as we know it today. At the time, the air-spun sugary treat was called Fairy Floss. Whether Doc Morrison actually advocated flossing teeth with it, we don’t know.

The sticky sweet substance was a huge hit at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, where the duo sold 68,655 boxes of it.

Though cotton candy may have been a dentist’s homespun invention, its precursor may be an Italian goody from the 1400s, when cooks started using a new, labor-intensive culinary technique to create spun sugar. Using a fork, the cooks melted sugar and separated it into very fine strands which they draped over objects to create various decorative forms. Because of the high cost of sugar and the labor involved, this was a treat that only the very wealthy could afford.

At the World’s Fair, Doc Morrison and Wharton sold Fairly Floss for $0.25 a box, a hefty price back in 1904, equivalent to $5.99 today. The partners grossed $17,163.75, more than $410,000 in today’s dollars. Not bad, considering back then the average U.S. worker was earning between $200 and $400 a year. (Did we mention the cost of sugar was only four cents a pound and this well-received new confection was mostly air? These guys were literally spinning gold!

In 1920 Fairy Floss was reborn as cotton and in 1972, inventors patented an automatic cotton candy making machine, greatly speeding up the production process.

Nowadays, a circus just wouldn’t be a circus, a carnival just wouldn’t be a carnival, and Animals & Acrobats just wouldn’t be Animals & Acrobats without cotton candy! Oh, and popcorn too, which kids get FREE when you buy tickets online to this weekend’s circus extravaganza at Van Cortlandt Manor.

But, if cotton candy is your thing, make sure you brush and floss and take heart: at a mere 115 calories per serving, moderate consumption won’t expand the waistline.

I got this article freom the folks at Amazing where some of this stuff comes from, right?

Coffee inb the kitchen this morning. Rain is supposed to come back with a vengence.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The First Roller Blades...!

Actually I don't knw if roller blades would be correct, but these wearable wheels were far ahead of their time.

Like so many other inventions we think of as new, the first ones were invented and used long ago. I can only imagine what funny looks the folks wearing them got as they rolled down the street or sidewalks. I'm sure a lot of people had to do a double take!

Wheel Skates

Photo via Scientific American

Wheel skates look somewhat like regular inline skates, except that the wheels are much larger, up to the size of bicycle tires. They are seen as a cross between an inline skate, a ski, and a bike. Recently, a company called Chariot Skates said they had come up with something unique—the Chariot wheel skates. According to the company, wheel skates are “revolutionary new skating product[s].” Revolutionary? They do at least revolve. New? No. The first wheel skate was made more than 142 years ago.

It even featured in the March 19, 1870, issue of Scientific American magazine. Made by Thomas Luders from Olney, Illinois, and called a “pedespeed,” the wheels then were much smaller, measuring around 36 centimeters (15 in) in diameter. Luders also said the skates could be used by anybody, irrespective of their physique. He himself was a large, heavy man, and he claimed he could use them for two straight hours without getting tired. Another version of wheel skates, appearing in 1923, had its tires on the inside of the foot rather than outside. (Other than the size of the wheels, the main improvement made by Chariot Skates is the small tire at the back of the bigger tire for increased stability.)

If you want to see the modern version, YouTube has some video of them. Just look for wheelskates. I guess the old saying is true...what goes around, comes back around!

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Doc George Goodfellow For Western Wednesday...!

We often overlook an important factor in the wild west...the good doctor.

Often a well trained doctor could make the difference between life and death. George Goodfellow seems to have been a very knowldgeable doctor and evidently had a good sense of humor as well!

George Goodfellow investigates earthquake

Reflecting a scientific spirit that was rare among frontier physicians, Tombstone doctor George Goodfellow rushes south to investigate an earthquake in Mexico. Though keenly interested in earthquakes, Goodfellow is best remembered today for being one of the nation’s leading experts on the treatment of gunshot wounds, a condition he had many opportunities to study in the wild mining town of Tombstone, Arizona.

Born in Downieville, California, in 1855, Goodfellow studied medicine at Cleveland Medical College and graduated with honors in 1876. He practiced briefly in Oakland, but then went to Prescott, Arizona, where his father was a mining engineer. After working for a time as an army contract surgeon, he relocated to Tombstone in 1880, one year before the Earps and McLaury-Clantons shot it out at the O.K. Corral. Since Tombstone was also home to dozens of other gunslingers and criminals, Goodfellow’s skills as physician, surgeon, and coroner were in steady demand.

Although he was a serious and studious physician, Goodfellow was not above indulging in a bit of gallows humor, which was well suited to a town like Tombstone. Describing the condition of one murder victim, he wrote that the corpse was “rich in lead, but too badly punctured to hold whiskey.” In his role as coroner, he deflected guilt from a vigilante lynch mob by officially ruling that the victim “came to his death from emphysema of the lungs, a disease common to high altitudes, which might have been caused by strangulation, self-inflicted or otherwise.”

Yet Goodfellow did much more than perform autopsies on murder victims and treat bullet wounds. He developed new methods of operating on the prostate gland and performed the first successful prostatectomy in history. He was among the first surgeons anywhere, much less in the remote regions of the Wild West, to use spinal anesthesia. He advocated an open-air treatment of tuberculosis that soon made the desert climate of the Southwest the home of hundreds of sanatoriums.

In a time when many self-professed doctors had little or no formal training and used treatments that often did more harm than good, Goodfellow was a dedicated scientist who believed diseases could be cured with rational methods. He made frequent trips east to remain abreast of the latest medical breakthroughs. He was also a talented linguist and an avid student of geology, rushing to the Sonora Desert on this day in 1887 to study the effects of a powerful earthquake.

After 12 years in Tombstone, Goodfellow returned to California and became a leading physician in San Francisco. For those 12 years, though, Tombstone—today best known for its gunslingers, gamblers, and desperados—had one of the most scientifically advanced doctors in the West. Goodfellow died in Los Angeles in 1910 at the age of 64.

Sounds like the kind of doctor I would want around if I lived back then. Many folks needed all the help they could get!

Coffee outside this morning. We may have to fight off the 'skeeters, but that's OK.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Creepy Island Story For Tuesday...!

Lighthouses, ghost ships, sunken cities, and now we have some island stories! Kinda covering all the bases, ya know?

Given the right circumstances, I reckon any place could be creepy. Throw in a unusual history and that helps a lot! Tha's a little of what today's story is all about.

Isola La Gaiola

Photo via Wikipedia

At first glance, Isola La Gaiola seems like a perfect example of the beauty and romance of southern Italy. Situated in the Gulf of Naples, the island is split into two sections joined by a rough stone bridge. Surrounded by ruins dating back to Ancient Rome, the island is at the center of Gaiola Underwater Park, an area famous for its rich marine wildlife. At one time, Isola La Gaiola was a status symbol for the rich, with Europe’s wealthiest vying for ownership. Today, the island stands deserted—due in part to the string of unfortunate incidents that plagued its former owners, leading to rumors that the island is cursed.

Fittingly, the island’s first recorded inhabitant was a hermit known only as “the Wizard,” who lived there in the early 19th century. Later, a rustic villa was built. Talk of a curse began in the 1920s, when the owner of the villa was found murdered, his body concealed inside a rolled-up carpet. Shortly afterward, his wife apparently drowned in the gentle seas of the Gulf.

The island then passed to a wealthy German named Otto Grunback, who soon suffered a heart attack while staying there. The next owner, a Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon, went insane and committed suicide. So did the son of legendary Fiat head Gianni Agnelli. His nephew, who had replaced his son as heir to the Fiat empire, died of an extremely rare type of cancer shortly afterward. Yet another owner bankrupted himself with his lavish spending, while J. Paul Getty’s grandson was famously kidnapped shortly after he purchased La Gaiola.

The island and its decaying villa have been abandoned since its last owner was jailed in connection with the collapse of his company. Unsurprisingly, nobody has been rushing to buy it.

Isn't it strange that some of the prettiest places seemed to be cursed or haunted? I wonder why that is?

I think that we better have our coffee inside this morning. The weather has been crazy the past couple of days!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Brazilian Atlantis For Monday Mysteries...!

Seems like many different groups have been searching for Atlantis for years. Until now, none have had any luck.

Some of the latest finds by one group has raised some interesting questions, t say the least. If nothing else, their discovery may create as many questions as it answers

The Brazilian Atlantis

The legendary lost continent of Atlantis has captured the imagination of generations of explorers, with many wishing they could make a discovery that would turn myth into reality. In 2013, it seemed that a group of Brazilian geologists might have done just that.

Working with Japanese scientists, the Brazilians announced that they had found granite around 2,500 meters (8,000 ft) underwater. Since, granite is only formed on land, the discovery pointed to the existence of an ancient continent now lying submerged on the ocean floor. Further supporting the theory was the discovery of quartz deposits, which also only form on land. According to the researchers, the granite found resembled a cliff and they expect to make further discoveries confirming the existence of the submerged continent.

That hasn’t happened yet, so the exact cause of the granite in the ocean remains a mystery. Some have even speculated that the researchers might just have stumbled upon ballast dumped from a ship, although admittedly the odds of that happening in the middle of the vast ocean are astronomical. While the potential new continent is unlikely to be the mythical Atlantis, it might be the closest we get.

There are so many natural mysteries we know nothing about. Someday we may come across one that can be explained, but until then we'll have to just enjoy them for what they are...Mysteries!

How about coffee out on the patio this morning? Sound good?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday...And I'm Back !

I appreciate you letting me take the day off yesterday. How about we celebrate with some old 'toons?

Some of these are older than I am and that's saying something!

See what I mean? On to the next one...

Now, I know you all remember this next story...

Well, I reckon that's all for today. Again, I'm sorry for whimping out yesterday. I do appreciate you still dropping by all the time!

Coffee in the kitchen again today. How about some cream cheese filled buns?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No Post Today...Sorry!

Something has come up, so I won't be doing a post today.Thanks to the folks that came by and I'm sorry that I didn't have anything for ya this morning, OK? Have a good Saturday!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Looks Can Be Decieving...!

If ever two guys didn't look like what they were, it was Izzy and Moe.

Ya know that old saying about judging books by their cover? Well, Izzy and Moe were a perfect example. That's probably why they were so good at what they did! This story just shows that middle age can be fun...and maybe just a tad dangerous as well.

Izzy Einstein And Moe Smith

Photo via Wikipedia

Isidor “Izzy” Einstein and Moe Smith were two middle-aged men from New York’s Lower East Side who managed to arrest 4,932 offenders, haul in roughly five million bottles of illegal liquor, and sport a conviction rate of 95 percent from 1920–25. Before becoming the premier booze detectives of their day, the Austrian immigrant Einstein had been a street peddler and a postal clerk, while Smith had owned a cigar store. When the duo first applied to work for the Prohibition Bureau for $40 a week, the G-men in charge weren’t overly impressed. Somehow, Einstein and Smith managed to convince their superiors by selling them on the idea that hoodlums would never suspect two portly, regular-looking guys of being undercover agents.

Einstein and Smith, like Sherlock Holmes before them, gained a reputation for being excellent at concocting disguises that actually worked. Sometimes, the pair got away with hiding in plain sight, even though most speakeasies had their pictures hanging on the wall. Ultimately, it wasn’t the criminals who sank the careers of Izzy and Moe, but their own fellow agents, who grew increasingly jealous of the pair’s success.

Unlike fictional detectives, Einstein and Smith weren’t neurotic geniuses who relied on their vast wealth of knowledge. For the most part, the pair became successful detectives because of their willingness to work long hours and their native knowledge of New York City life. Einstein was also gifted with languages—when need be, he could converse with suspects and witnesses in Yiddish, German, Polish, Hungarian, and even Chinese.

If I had not found this article over at listverse, I would never had the pleasure of reading about these guys. The Internet is a wonderful tool for information!

We better have our coffee inside today, just in case the weather clowns are correct about the rain!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Al Capone In The Milk Business...?

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? According to his grand daughter, it's true!

This article I found over at KnowledgeNuts explains how it all came about. Sure surprised me, I'll tell ya!

How Al Capone Got Expiration Dates On Milk Bottles
By Heather Ramsey on Monday, May 18, 2015

American gangster Al Capone fought to have expiration, or “sell by,” dates put on milk bottles, supposedly after one of his relatives became sick from drinking milk that had expired. But his grandniece gave us a more likely reason: Al Capone was looking for a legitimate business that could fund his lifestyle after the end of Prohibition. It was believed that all stamping equipment for milk expiration dates was under his control. However, many “sell by” dates don’t reflect food safety, causing 90 percent of Americans to throw out perfectly good food. Taking the opposite view, the National Health Service (NHS) in England believes the public is endangering their health by ignoring “use by” dates.

In the 1920s and early 1930s, Al Capone ran the Chicago Outfit, also known as the Chicago Mafia, when gangs battled for control of illegal alcohol distribution during Prohibition. According to Capone’s grandniece, Deirdre Marie Capone, her Uncle Al made over $100 million per year from bootlegging. As Prohibition was nearing its end, Capone needed to find another way to fund his grand lifestyle. But he was tired of the mortal danger that came with his illegal business activities. Members of other Chicago gangs thought nothing of breaking their promises or threatening violence against other families. Frightened that he or his family might be killed, Capone was plagued by nightmares. He wanted to leave the Outfit.

“I’ve got to get out, Ralph,” Capone would rant to his older brother. “I’ve got enough money. I don’t need this insanity. Weiss, Moran, and [the members of the other gangs] are idiots. You can’t do business with crazy people. I’ve been shot at, almost poisoned with prussic acid, and there is an offer of $50,000 to any gunman who can kill me. They don’t understand that there’s enough for all of us. [. . .] They’re [mad] because I run a better business. I make more money than they do. [. . .] I run my outfit like a business. It is a business.”

Shortly after, Capone thought of milk. It fit his criteria for a legitimate business that could make a lot of money. Almost everyone uses milk every day, especially families with kids. The markup on milk was greater than that of alcohol. Best of all, the Chicago Outfit already controlled bottling facilities for illegal alcohol distribution, which could be adapted for milk.

Although Deirdre Capone doesn’t seem to confirm the story, some reports say that Al Capone got into the milk business after one of his relatives got sick from drinking milk that had expired. Either way, the lack of regulations on milk production provided Capone with an opportunity to corner the market. He had already developed a reputation for being something of a latter-day Robin Hood in Chicago. During the Depression, Capone opened the first soup kitchen, offering three meals daily to financially struggling individuals and their families. The soup kitchen was so popular that he opened more. But Capone went beyond spending money to help people. He actually went to the soup kitchens and served meals himself. So it seemed in character for him to lobby the Chicago City Council for a law to stamp expiration, or “sell by,” dates on milk bottles to protect the city’s children from harm.

Capone set his sights on acquiring Meadowmoor Dairies, a milk processor. It was believed that all stamping equipment was already under his control. After Chicago passed the law mandating visible expiration dates on all milk bottles, Capone had the ability to effectively control the local milk market.

But he still had a problem. Back then, only Teamsters’ Union milkmen delivered fresh local milk to Chicago homes. Capone wanted to use nonunion truckers to deliver less expensive, imported milk from Wisconsin. When he couldn’t work out a deal to make that happen, he had the union’s president kidnapped. With the $50,000 ransom, Capone bought Meadowmoor Dairies. Deirdre Capone says her uncle didn’t really enjoy the milk business because it wasn’t as good or glamorous as illegal liquor. In any case, three months after his milk business opened, Capone was imprisoned.

Even though Capone went away, milk expiration dates stayed. However, many “sell by,” “use by,” and “best before” dates don’t reflect food safety, causing 90 percent of Americans to throw out about $165 billion of perfectly good food each year. Laws throughout the nation are contradictory and often unjustified. According to a Natural Resources Defense Council report, “This convoluted system [of] date labeling [doesn't] provide indicators of freshness. Rather, this creates confusion and leads many consumers to believe, mistakenly, that date labels are signals of a food’s microbial safety.”

Taking the opposite view, the National Health Service (NHS) in England believes the public is endangering their health by ignoring “use by” dates, the final day a food can be consumed safely, and “best before” dates, the day a food’s quality starts to deteriorate. “It’s tempting just to give your food a sniff to see if you think it’s gone off,” explains food safety expert Bob Martin. “But food bugs like E. coli and salmonella don’t cause food to smell off, even when they may have grown to dangerous levels. So food could look and smell fine but still be harmful.” It appears to be a bit of a mixed bag.

If you want, you can read more about this topic over here.

Coffee out on the patio again. Another hot and muggy day ahead.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Frank E. Butler For Western Wednesday...!

What's that, you say? Never heard of Frank Butler? Bet you know of his wife...Annie Oakley.

Butler was quite a figure in his day, and famous in his own right. For some of us his name doesn't get remembered all that much, though.

Frank Butler

Photo credit: Heritage Auction Gallery

Annie Oakley is one of the most famous names to come out of the Old West. Her skill as a sharpshooter was legendary, and she became an American icon once she joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. However, it is usually forgotten that her husband, Frank E. Butler, was right beside her all the way.

Butler was also a marksman who took part in variety shows. As part of his act, he would invite members of the audience to test their skill against him. Unsurprisingly, he would usually win. However, on one occasion in Cincinnati, Ohio, his opponent turned out to be a small, 15-year-old girl named Annie Oakley. The two of them went head-to-head: 25 targets, 25 shots. Annie went 25-for-25, but Butler missed his last shot. Instead of feeling humiliated, he was instantly enamored with Annie and began courting her. The two eventually married sometime between 1876 and 1882 (the records are a bit hazy).

Initially, Butler remained the performer of the family, while Annie simply tagged along. However, one night, his regular partner fell ill, so Annie substituted for him to the roaring approval of the crowd. Realizing they had a golden act on their hands, the Butlers became a performing duo, eventually earning a spot on Buffalo Bill’s popular show. By then, Annie was the big draw, so Butler took on a managerial role. Both died in 1926, just 18 days apart. Supposedly, Frank refused to eat after Annie died and starved himself to death.

What a great bit of history of one of the most iconic couples in American history. It's always interesting to find out more of the back story, don't you think?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Did You Know About Poe...?

Many things come to mind when we think about Edgar Allen Poe, but a military man is probably not one of them.

Poe was another one of those folks that seem to be doomed from the start. In a life filled with bad choices and experiences, it's as though his destiny was to be badly thought of. His writings never really caught on until after his death.

Edgar Allan Poe Was Court-Martialed

Now recognized as a literary genius, Edgar Allan Poe spent most of his life in poverty, stumbling from one bad situation to another. While he never sank so low as to aid the enemy or spy on his acquaintances, this long period of drunken wandering in his life did wind up with him getting officially court-martialed by the US military.

On May 3, 1830, a young Poe entered West Point with soldier experience under his belt, hoping to graduate as a lieutenant within six months. It didn’t work out. To Poe’s surprise, his previous soldiering counted for nothing, and he was expected to last out the full four years. At the same time, his foster father slowed down payments to the young author, leaving Poe in penury. Since he wasn’t allowed to leave West Point without express consent from his guardian (who wouldn’t give it), Poe decided the only way out was through dismissal.

Starting on January 7, 1831, Poe began a campaign of disobedience that put him on a crash course with his superiors. After a whole month of failing to report for class or duty, the military court-martialed Poe and threw the book at him. Poe was disgraced and thrown out of the US military.

Oddly, this wasn’t quite the end to his military adventures. Only a couple of months after his court-martial, Poe begged West Point’s superintendent for a recommendation so he could go fight the Russians in Poland. He was refused.

Like the good book says... the road to Hell is paved with good intentions! It's a shame that Poe had to live so long in a self inflicted version of Hell, but bad choices in life can do just that!

I hope that Poe found some sense of peace in his later years, and maybe he will be thought of in a kinder light from now on. Seems to be the least we can deo.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Should be almost 90 again today!

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Old Mike" For Monday Mysteries...!

Once in a while we come across a semi-local mystery that needs to be talked about.

This particular mystery is from our friends and neighbors in Arkansas, and is worth looking at again, I think.

Old Mike

In the early 1900s, down in Nevada County, the man who would come to be known as “Old Mike” was a familiar face in and around the city of Prescott. A traveling salesman, he would swing by each month to sell stationery to homes and local businesses. He occasionally stayed overnight, but he always left the following day on the afternoon train.

One day, residents found Mike lying motionless under a tree. He had apparently passed away the night before. Knowing him only by his first name—and after a postmortem search failed to turn up any identification—the townspeople did the only sensible thing they could think of. They embalmed him and put his corpse on display outside of the local funeral home.

That’s where Mike sat for the next six decades. He was originally placed there in hopes that someone would identify him or claim the body, but no one ever came forward. Eventually, in 1975, the state attorney general’s office requested that he be buried, and Mike was finally laid to rest later that May. His true identity will likely forever remain a mystery.

If you want, you can read more about "Old Mike" right here. I can't help but wonder why they waited that long to bury the guy, ya know? Just another unsolved mystery, I reckon!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. We'll take a chance on the weather.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Another Set Of Older Cartoons...!

Sometimes the older 'toons are just better. At least to me.

For one thing, the music was certainly better than the newer 'toons. Everyone that comes by on Sunday seems to like the older ones better. At least, that's what they tell me!

See what I mean? A good story and some nice music!

Some old things just never seem to go out of style, ya know?

As long as we are doing some old stuff today, here is a coffee related song that I'll bet you remember! Careful now, it might get stuck in your head!

Speaking of coffee...we better have ours in the kitchen this morningt, just in case!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Here Kitty Kitty...!

I guess this article I found over at KnowledgeNuts just proves what most of us already knew. Cats are NOT domesticated as much as we thought. Being a multiple cat owner, I can certainly go along with that.

Although I can attest to the fact that I'm allowed to pet them once in a while, they seem to think that my sole purpose is to furnish the chow. Heck, I knew that!

Cats Aren’t Really Domesticated
By Debra Kelly on Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ask anyone who doesn’t like cats and you’ll hear them testify that they’re standoffish, only occasionally sociable, and would be absolutely fine with digging into us for a meal should we die in our sleep. While others swear that cuddly little Fluffy would never do that, it turns out that there are only a few genes that separate Fluffy from the king of the jungle. There are about 13, to be more precise, and it’s only the genes that govern things like fear and docility that have changed. The rest of the house cat is still a wild cat, and researchers are now saying that at best, they’re only semi-domesticated.

When it comes to the age old question of cats vs. dogs, there are some very distinct and well-established views on who makes the better companion. Critics of cats often describe them as aloof, unpredictable creatures that merely tolerate our presence for their convenience. Well, it turns out that they may actually be more duplicitous than even their harshest critics have given them credit for. According to researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, they’re not even actually domesticated.

They’re just letting us think they are.

Cats have been living with and alongside humans for 9,000 years. In those 9,000 years, though, they’ve retained most of their genetic makeup. Researchers mapped out the DNA of a domestic cat named Cinnamon and compared it with the DNA of humans, dogs, and wild cats. And there’s not that much difference at all between the genetic makeup of our house cats and their wild cousins.

In fact, they found that over 9,000 years of supposed domestication, there’s only a difference of 13 genes between the cats that lounge at the foot of the bed at night and the ones that we see at the zoo.

When it comes to most genes, cats remain the same as they were in the wild. They’ve kept all the same senses and abilities, they’ve kept the same meat-based diets, and the digestive systems to cope with being a carnivore. Because they’re still mainly carnivores and they’re still equipped to be able to hunt and find their own food, they don’t actually need us.

While dogs have been bred over generations and generations to accent certain traits and get rid of others, cats have only been bred into distinct breeds for the last 200 years or so. That means that dogs have had thousands and thousands of years to become more dependent on us for their survival, while cats . . .

Cats really do just tolerate us.

The difference in the genes between wild cats and our household companions are, obviously, cosmetic ones. They’re in the colors and patterns, they’re in the genes that determine the structure of their faces, and they’re in genes for docility. This goes hand in hand with how we think we domesticated the cat.

The theory says that humans generally realized cats were useful for keeping pests away from homes and food. Cats would kill rats and the like, and they’d be rewarded for it. But rather than actually domesticating the animals, we were just encouraging a natural behavior in the cats that were most inclined not to be afraid of us.

We succeeded in selecting the cats that were genetically more docile, friendlier, and more accepting of a human presence, but we absolutely didn’t domesticate them. We didn’t breed out the traits that might have made them as unmanageable as many people think that they can be today. We still wanted them to be able to hunt, to catch mice, and to patrol our fields, our crops, and our barns. What makes them useful is what makes them independent, and that goes for all of the estimated 600 million “domesticated” cats in the world.

They also continue to breed with wild cats, helping to keep their wild genes running through the population. The result is a constant companion that really just keeps us around because we have thumbs that can open and navigate the complications of the treat packages making them, at best, only semi-domesticated.

While I agree with this article on the whole, I have to admit that cats are sure a lot of entertainment. If they think the same about me, I can live with that!

It would be nice if they would stop bringing me dead birds and mice!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is coming back again!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ever Wonder What Became Of Frank James...?

I did a little research and found out that Frank lived a lot longer than I would have expected.Pretty lucky, considering his unfortunate past.

I reckon that crime does pay, but only if you live long enough to enjoy it.

Frank James Avoided Jail And Lived Off His Fame

Photo via Wikimedia

In an era of famous outlaws, none was as notorious as Jesse James. But another key member of the James-Younger gang was Jesse’s brother Frank. And while Jesse was killed by fellow outlaw Robert Ford in 1882, Frank James made it well into the 20th century.

After years of running from the law, Frank eventually decided he had had enough and turned himself in to the Missouri authorities at the age of 40. But in a stunning development, Frank presented his case so skillfully that he was acquitted on all charges, shocking the nation. Now a free man, he worked a series of odd jobs, from circus barker to telegraph operator. He also went on a lucrative lecture tour, regaling audiences with his life as an outlaw. And he invested in one of the many Wild West shows that capitalized on his fame

Finally, he settled down with his family at the James Farm, where he made a living giving tours to visitors. He died in 1915, at the age of 72. At the time, he wasn’t especially wealthy, but at least he was a free man.

I'm really glad that the old guy finally found some peace in his later years.He certainly had some memories to keep him company!

Coffee outon the patio this morning. The rain is expected back this afternoon, so we have some time!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Conundrums For Thursday...!

We haven't done any conundrums for a while, so this is a good day to rectify that!

“ A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again."

The definition of the word Conundrum is: something that is puzzling or confusing.

Here are six Conundrums in the United States of America:

1. America is capitalist and greedy - yet half of the population is subsidized.

2. Half of the population is subsidized - yet they think they are victims.

3. They think they are victims - yet their representatives run the government.

4. Their representatives run the government - yet the poor keep getting poorer.

5. The poor keep getting poorer - yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.

6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about - yet they want America to be more like those other countries.

Think about it! And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century.

Makes you wonder who is doing the math.

These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:

1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.

Funny how that works. And here's another one worth considering...

2. Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. But we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What's interesting is the first group "worked for" their money, but the second didn't.
Think about it.....and Last but not least,

3. Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens

Am I the only one missing something?

Some of this stuff makes my head hurt, ya know? Thanks to Baby Sis for sending me this. Now I have something to help me sleep at night...NOT!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Neighbors rain guage holds 5 inches, but I had to empty it out last night! (I'm house-sitting)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dick Fellows For Western Wednesday...

If it weren't for bad luck, Dick Fellows wouldn't have had any!

When you read about Fellow's life, it's hard to say if he was either very unlucky or a natural born loser. His success were far outnumbered by his failures as an outlaw, it would seem.

Outlaw Dick Fellows is released

Dick Fellows, an inept horseman but persistent outlaw, becomes a free man after spending five years in the San Quentin prison.

Like many western bandits, Fellows drifted into life of crime when his efforts to make an honest living failed or provided only a poor income. Born George Lyttle in Kentucky in 1846, he came from an upstanding family and planned to become a lawyer. The outbreak of the Civil War put his ambitions on hold, though. While still in his teens, he fought with the Confederate Army until he was captured in 1863 and spent the rest of the war in a northern prison camp. After his release, he returned home and attempted to obtain a license to practice law, but his fondness for hard drinking apparently interfered.

With few opportunities available to him in Kentucky, Fellows headed West. He traveled to California in 1867, but failed to prosper there either. Low on funds, he began robbing stagecoaches near Los Angeles and adopted the alias Dick Fellows. Fellows found that robbing stages provided a reasonably good income, but he fled when lawmen began to close in on him. In an effort to go straight, he and a partner bought 600 hogs, but a fire burned the operation to the ground.

Fellows again turned to robbing stages, concocting a plan to hold up a coach carrying Wells Fargo’s chief detective, James B. Hume. A man of such importance, Fellows reasoned, must be escorting a major shipment of gold or money. In fact, Fellows was right–the coach was carrying $240,000. However, he missed his chance to rob the stage when the horse he had stolen threw him, knocking him cold for several hours. Refusing to walk away with nothing, Fellows stole a second horse and held up a different stage. He succeeded in taking the heavy treasure box, but only then realized he had forgotten to bring the tools he needed to break it open. When he tried to lift the box up on his horse’s saddle, he startled his mount and it, too, raced off, leaving him alone in the wilds with night falling.

Fellows had little choice but to lug the heavy box by hand. In the darkness, he fell over a high bluff, knocking himself unconscious for the second time that day. When he came to, he discovered that his left leg was broken and the treasure box had crushed his left foot. He managed to limp to a nearby construction camp, where he fashioned a crude pair of crutches and used a stolen axe to break open the box. The $1800 he found inside was trivial compared to the $240,000 he had missed, but it was better than nothing.

Unfortunately, the luckless Fellows never had a chance to spend his ill-gotten gains. The Wells Fargo detectives soon tracked him down, and he was sentenced to eight years in the San Quentin prison. Pardoned and released on this day in 1881, Fellows made yet another stab at earning an honest living, working briefly for a newspaper and even teaching Spanish for a time. Again, the money was inadequate to Fellow’s tastes, and he returned to robbing stages. By the time he was recaptured in February 1882, Fellows had become a celebrity. While in jail in San Jose, he received more than 700 visitors.

Sentenced to life in Folsom Prison, Fellows devoted part of his time there to teaching a course in moral philosophy to his fellow inmates. Pardoned in 1908 at the age of 62, he returned to his home in Kentucky and faded from the historical record. It is tempting to lampoon Fellows for his inept horsemanship and astonishingly bad luck, but as one biographer noted, “For daring, he is the equal of any outlaws with whom I ever had dealings.”

I find it interesting that he wanted to be a lawyer before he became an outlaw. Seems as though there is a lot of that still going around!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Bad weather still hanging around.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A President That Done Good...!

Bet yo never thought you would see that saying at the Hermit's house! To tell the truth, I never figured I'd say it.

However, after reading this article over at KnowledgeNuts, I have to admit I was wrong. Pretty good story here if you take the time to research it.

The Sitting President Who Worked On The Smallpox Vaccine
By Heather Ramsey on Sunday, May 10, 2015

In 1796, English doctor Edward Jenner discovered the power of vaccination by using cowpox serum to protect healthy people against smallpox. Four years later, Jenner sent a sample of this smallpox vaccine to Harvard professor Benjamin Waterhouse, who enlisted the help of an amateur scientist in Virginia to test the vaccine on a larger population. Even after he became the third US President, Thomas Jefferson continued to work on the vaccine in his spare time. Benjamin Franklin also advocated vaccination. In 1980, the World Health Assembly declared that smallpox had been officially eradicated worldwide.

In 1796, English doctor Edward Jenner discovered the power of vaccination by using cowpox serum to protect healthy people against smallpox. Four years later, Jenner sent a sample of this smallpox vaccine to Harvard professor Benjamin Waterhouse, who tried the vaccine on his own family. To prove the effectiveness of the serum, Waterhouse later exposed some of his family members to patients with smallpox. The vaccine was a success.

However, Waterhouse wanted to get the word out to a larger population. He couldn’t do it on his own, so he wrote to Thomas Jefferson, an amateur scientist in Virginia. Jefferson was excited about the idea, and the two men partnered long-distance to make it happen. Jefferson helped Waterhouse figure out how to package the vaccine to survive the trip to Virginia. In fact, even after he became the third US President, Thomas Jefferson continued to work on testing and promoting the new vaccine.

Jefferson had always been an advocate of “inoculation,” although this earlier method gave the actual disease to the patient in a milder form to provide immunity. Depending on the progression of the disease, it could be deadly to the person inoculated and to people who were exposed to that person, if he or she weren’t quarantined properly. Despite the risks, Jefferson had insisted on having himself, his children, and some of his slaves inoculated with this dangerous earlier method.

Benjamin Franklin was also an advocate of this more deadly form of inoculation. In his newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, he published studies showing the value of inoculation. In one such study in 1730, 72 people were inoculated, but only 3 percent of the patients died. When people normally contracted the disease, about 25 percent died. Franklin also set up the Society for Inoculating the Poor Gratis so that the high cost of inoculation wouldn’t leave the poor unprotected. Franklin had a personal reason for his interest in inoculation: His young son, Francis Folger Franklin, had died of smallpox at just four years old.

Benjamin Franklin died several years before inoculation was replaced by the discovery of vaccination against smallpox. That left Jefferson to be the champion of the cause. He chose a teenage kitchen slave to be the first test case, but the vaccination didn’t “take.” Later, he vaccinated two more slaves. This time, the experiment was a success.

In short order, Jefferson had vaccinated almost 200 of his extended family and neighbors. When some of them were later exposed to smallpox, they were fine. Jefferson conducted these tests, keeping careful notes, all while he was President of the United States. The smallpox vaccine slowly spread. But it wasn’t until 1980 that the World Health Assembly declared that smallpox had been officially eradicated worldwide.

It's nice to know that long ago even the President could and would take the time to do something that was really for the people. Thanks to men like Jefferson and Franklin, this vaccine was made available to all. For that we can all be thankful!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. The weather is going to turn nasty later!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Missing Bodies For Monday Mystery...!

There is a graveyard in California that is a very sad reminder of how mean our past was at times.

Caretakers for graveyards and their records are so important in keeping a good accounting of the persons buried there, but in this case many factors made that task almost impossible.

Anaheim Cemetery’s Tricky Body Count

Anaheim Cemetery was the first cemetery in Orange County, California open to non-Catholics. As a result, it became the burial destination of choice for the huge numbers of Chinese migrants who came to work in California in the late 19th century. A patch of the cemetery is marked off with Chinese dawn redwood trees, planted in 1989. Yet the cemetery owners have no idea whether any bodies lie under that section of ground.

Records note 33 burials around the turn of the century, but the grave markers are long gone. They were made of wood, and caretakers burned them to get rid of weeds. Chinese workers weren’t thought of very highly a century ago.

The immigrants preferred their burials in the US to be temporary. As soon as they could afford it, bodies would be dug up and shipped back to China to be buried in their homeland. While the burial records survive, all interment records have been lost.

The body count will probably stay unknown, as the attitude toward the workers has improved. According to a trustee who looks after the cemetery, “Even if we found this area to be empty, I can’t see us using it. The Chinese played an important part in the development of Anaheim, and we can’t forget that.

I need to mention that I took this article from Listverse. Credit where credit is due, ya know!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Rain has yet to show up.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mothers Day Cartoon Sunday...!

I hope you don't mind having some 'toons for Mother's Day.

This may just be the last edition of cartoons on Sunday. I haven't totally decided as of yet. I might go in a new direction, ya know? We'll have to see. However, it's 'toons as usual!

Must have been a very ugly gal, or a very pretty one!

Now you know why I don't go anywhere on the weekends!

I know...I kinow! Kinda silly, aren't they?

That reminds me...I have to go fix Mom some fancy lunch for her special day. I do hope you are treating your Moms special this Mothers Day. They are super special folks, after all!!!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Happy Mothers Day, all you Moms out there!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Hero With Feathers...!

We haven't had a hero story here for a long time, so I reckon it's good to have one today!

The Greatest Pigeon Of World War II

 Photo credit: Department of Defense

Animals played a key part in bringing down the Nazis, especially our fine feathered friends. In the past, we’ve read about some really weird World War II weapons involving birds, but while plans to build pigeon-guided missiles were eventually scrapped, pigeons remained important in the war against the Germans.

Since pigeons have the uncanny ability of finding their way back home from pretty much anywhere, these guys served the Allies as messengers. In fact, the US government thought pigeons were so crucial to national defense that in 1917, the US Army Signal Corps set up a pigeon service and encouraged pigeon fanciers to register their lofts for military service. Bases like Ft. Monmouth in New Jersey were used as breeding facilities, and Congress even thought about banning people from hunting pigeons.

The birds were carried into battle in specially made baskets or slings, and they were sometimes even dropped out of planes in parachute cages. Life as an Army pigeon was pretty dangerous. They were released in the middle of war zones, with shells going off everywhere. Also, the Nazis and the Japanese were equipped with shotguns, so they could prevent the pigeons from making it back to base. They had good reason to be scared. Out of the 30,000 pigeon messages sent overseas, a whopping 96 percent made it back to camp.

And perhaps none of those messages were more important than the single scrap of paper carried by one gutsy bird named G.I. Joe.

On October 18, 1943, the Allies were trying to take the Italian village of Colvi Vecchia. The British were on the ground, and the Americans would attack from the sky. But the Germans didn’t even put up a fight. They took off running, and the Brits took the town without a problem. Now, they just had to contact the Americans and call off the bombing—but their radios weren’t working.

It wasn’t like they could send a jeep, either. The American base was 30 kilometers (20 mi) away, and the bombs were set to drop in 20 minutes. After taking the town from their enemies, the British were going to die at the hands of their allies. But they sent G.I. Joe, an American-born pigeon, with a message on his back. Some of these birds flew up to 80 kilometers (60 mi) per hour, and G.I. Joe tore through the air, across country he’d never seen before, making it to the base just as the planes were about to take off.

G.I. Joe saved the lives of over 1,000 men, and for his service, he was awarded the Dickin Medal for Gallantry, the highest award the British gave out to animals.

It's always nice to hear that some of our feathered friends were recognized for their actions. Thanks to Listverse for featuring stories like this for us all!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's cludy, but that's OK.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Moon Illusion For Freaky Friday...!

For anyone that's ever seen it, the "Moon Ilusion" is pretty impressive. It also is pretty freaky, so that's why it's on here today!

This is another one of Mother Nature's surprises. It's free and it's beautiful, and so far science doesn't fully understand it! What more do ya need?

Moon Illusion

The Moon Illusion has existed since Ancient times, back in the days of Aristotle and the Ancient Greeks and Chinese. The illusion is that the moon seems to appear much larger lower in the sky than it is higher in the sky. In the past people have suggested things such as an atmospheric effect, or something physical, but these have been debunked. Others have suggested such things as relative size, or apparent distance as explanations for this illusion, yet this still baffles scientists. So far no one, even with modern science, has been able to definitively explain this mysterious phenomenon.

Like the mystery of the flowers, who really cares why nature does what it does. We should just be thankful for the beautiful gift and enjoy it, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Hot biscuits and honey sound OK?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Let's Talk About Flowers...!

Who doesn't like flowers? Most flowers can grow in places that nothing else would ever make a showing. Ever wonder why that is?

Nature can be chock full of mysteries, as we all know. Flowers are one of those mysteries that sometimes confound us. In many cases, that's a good thing!

Why Flowers Are Everywhere

Flowering plants form a class of plants called angiosperms, and as you may have noticed, they’re everywhere. What may come as a surprise, however, is that this was not always the case. Flowering plants took over other plant types in a quick time period about 400 million years ago, and as a result they constitute about 90 percent of all plant species today.

The problem worried Charles Darwin so much that he called it “an abominable mystery.” Rapid evolution of flowers shortly after their origins ran directly against his theories of slow evolution through natural selection. And there is nothing evolutionarily beneficial about flower-producing plants—for the nutrient cost of making flowers, the plant could invest in growth or other things that could put them higher on the evolutionary ladder. Because plants don’t leave any fossil records when they die, it has been difficult to determine how this hobo species came from nowhere and so quickly conquered everything else.

This is one of those times when I don't really care why the flowers grow where they do, but all I know is that I like it for the most part! I'd rather have a vacant lot full of wildflowers next door than some of my present neighbors, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again today. Gotta beat the rain!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show...!

I figured that for today's version of Western Wednesday. we would talk about ol' Buffalo Bill.

If Bill was anything, he was a great promoter of things western, true or not. He gave the public what they wanted to see...their vision of the Wild West in action. You could say that he did a lot to keep the legend of the west alive with his show. That could be one reason it ran so long.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show opens

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show opens in London, giving Queen Victoria and her subjects their first look at real cowboys and Indians.

A well-known scout for the army and a buffalo hunter for the railroads (which earned him his nickname), Cody had gained national prominence 15 years earlier thanks to a fanciful novel written by Edward Zane Carroll Judson. Writing under the pen name Ned Buntline, Judson made Cody the hero of his highly sensationalized dime novel The Scouts of the Plains; or, Red Deviltry As It Is.” In 1872, Judson also convinced Cody to travel to Chicago to star in a stage version of the book. Cody broke with Judson after a year, but he enjoyed the life of a performer and stayed on the stage for 11 seasons.

In 1883, Cody staged an outdoor extravaganza called the “Wild West, Rocky Mountain, and Prairie Exhibition” for a Fourth of July celebration in North Platte, Nebraska. When the show was a success, Cody realized he could evoke the mythic West more effectively if he abandoned cramped theater stages for large outdoor exhibitions. The result was “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,” a circus-like pageant celebrating life in the West. During the next four years, Cody performed his show all around the nation to appreciative crowds often numbering 20,000 people.

Audiences loved Cody’s reenactments of frontier events: an attack on a Deadwood stage, a Pony Express relay race, and most exciting of all, the spectacle of Custer’s Last Stand at the Little Big Horn. Even more popular were the displays of western outdoor skills like rope tricks, bulldogging, and amazing feats of marksmanship. Cody made a star of Annie Oakley, an attractive young Ohio woman who earned her nickname “Little Sure Shot” by shooting a cigar out of an assistant’s mouth.

Many American’s were convinced that Cody’s spectacle was an authentic depiction of the Wild West. Cody encouraged the impression by bringing audiences “genuine characters”-real Native American performers Cody had recruited from several tribes. Even the famous Sitting Bull toured with the show for one season. Enthralled by the site of “genuine” Indians, few audience members questioned whether these men wearing immense feathered headdresses and riding artfully painted horses accurately represented tribal life on the Great Plains.

Having effectively defined the popular image of the West for many Americans, Cody took his show across the Atlantic to show Europeans. He staged his first international performance at the Earls Court show ground in London on this day in 1887 to a wildly appreciative audience. Queen Victoria herself attended two command showings. After London, Cody and his performers amazed audiences throughout Europe and then became a truly international success. One bronco rider, who stayed with the show until 1907, traveled around the world more than three times and recalled giving a performance in Outer Mongolia.

Though his Wild West show waned in popularity in the 20th century-in part because of competition from thousands of local rodeos that borrowed his idea-Cody remained on the road with the show for 30 years. When the show finally collapsed from financial pressures in 1913, Cody continued to perform in other similar shows until two months before his death in 1917. More than 18,000 attended the great showman’s funeral, and the romantic power of his vision still draws thousands of visitors a year to his gravesite on Lookout Mountain above Denver.

Like I said, give the folks what they think they want and success will follow. Don't believe me? Take a look at American politics! You'll see that the truth isn't as important as putting on a good show!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ghost Town Called Bodie...!

I love the old ghost towns. Imagine if they could talk what stories they would tell!

I think a wonderful vacation would be traveling around the country, visiting the many ghost towns and studying their history.What fun that could be!

Bodie, California

Credit: Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Bodie, California was officially founded in 1876, after miners stumbled upon rich deposits of gold and silver in its hillsides. Gold-crazed prospectors flocked to the settlement at a rate of more than two-dozen per day in the late-1870s, and its population eventually soared to some 10,000 people. Thanks to larger-than-life accounts of whiskey-fueled shootouts, the outpost soon earned a reputation as a “sea of sin” filled with rough men, prostitutes and opium dens.

Like most boomtowns, Bodie eventually went bust. By the 1880s, it had outgrown its meager infrastructure, and a succession of harsh and deadly winters convinced many of its prospectors to move to more profitable locales. The population dwindled until the 1940s, when the last residents finally shipped out. Since then, Bodie has become known as one of the nation’s most well preserved ghost towns. Its 200 ramshackle buildings are kept in state of “arrested decay” by park rangers, and tourists flock to the site to explore its 1880s Methodist church, saloons and post office as well as the ruins of a burned-out bank vault.

Ya know, I've never been to a real ghost town. One more thing I need to put on my bucket list!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, alright?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Now Who Has The Missing Flag For Monday Mystery...?

Over time, many of histories most popular artifacts go missing. This is one of those times.

I know many folks would love to get their greedy little hands on it, but I can't say that I'm one of them. What happened to it? I don't really know or care!

What Happened To The Blutfahne?

1923, Hitler made a failed attempt to overthrow the German government and install his own in its place. Spurred on by political actions that implied Germany was taking the fall for starting World War I, the 35,000 members of the Nazi party were aiming high, but their failure set the groundwork—and the mythology—for the rise of their party years later. Hitler and 600 of his men attempted to take over a beer hall at which the Bavarian Prime Minister was speaking . . . and Hitler managed to gain the support of the audience. Now with 3,000 men, the Nazis attempted to take key government buildings. It was a failure, though. Hitler was arrested two days later and tried for treason.

During the shootout, 16 Nazi party members died. After Hitler was released from prison, he was given a flag that had been stained with the blood of his fallen comrades—they became the first martyrs of the Nazi party. The flag became known as “Die Blutfahne,” or “the Blood Flag,” and it was one of the earliest symbols of the mythos and ritual that would grow around the Nazi party. It was used in all the major ceremonies, its touch was thought to sanctify other flags with its power, and SS officers swore their oath to it. It even had its own keeper: an SS member named Jakob Grimminger.

The last time Die Blutfahne was seen in public was in October 1944. No one knows whether it was destroyed in the bombings at the end of the war, rescued and shuttled away, or whether an unwitting Allied soldier took it, unaware of its significance. The keeper of the Blood Flag not only survived the war, but later took a minor position as a city official in Munich. All his property had already been confiscated, and he died a poor man

Now if you have this missing flag, or know anything about it...don't worry. Like I said before, I don't care where it is. Still, I kinda hope it was destroyed. To me it is nothing more than a symbol of so many bad things, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Just a warning here. Hanging out in Texas could get you in trouble with the government, if you know what I mean!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Silly Sunday 'Toons...!

I know, I know...what would Sunday be without the cartoons? Just Sunday, right?

Never fear! The Hermit is here with another dose of silliness for ya. That's what I do, ya know.

And just one more...!

That should be enough to start your day. Don't want to overdo it, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio today. Temps going back up to the 80's.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Thoughts For Saturday Morning...!

I'm too lazy to post anything today, so I figured I'd just put up some deep thoughts for you to ponder, OK?

And the last one of the day...!

I hope you all enjoy your day today. After all, it is Saturday, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, if that's alright.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Death Race For Freaky Friday...!

Sometimes greed gets in the way of good ol' common sense.

Such was the case when a number of pilots, some amateurs included, entered a race put on by the pineapple magnate James Dole. Because of the enticement of the $35,000 prize common sense and clear thinking went right out the window. Here from the folks at Knowledgenuts is the story and tragic outcome of the race.

The Terrifying Death Race Sponsored By Dole Pineapples
By Alex Hanton on Friday, February 20, 2015

In 1927, deranged pineapple tycoon James Dole, who had turned an entire Hawaiian island into the world’s largest plantation, announced that he would offer a $35,000 cash prize to the winner of an airplane race between California and Honolulu. No one had ever flown to Hawaii before, and it was clearly dangerous to attempt it in such primitive planes. By the time the race was over, 10 people would be dead.

In 1927, James Dole, “the Pineapple King,” was on top of the world. Controlling the entire Hawaiian island of Lana’i, he produced an estimated three-quarters of the world’s pineapples. Dole was something of a technology buff. In 1913, his company had developed a machine that could peel 100 pineapples a minute—and he was enthralled by the possibilities of air travel. He wasn’t the only one. Charles Lindbergh had recently completed his famous flight across the Atlantic and America was crazy for the airplane.

So, that year, Dole announced that he would offer a $35,000 cash prize for an air race between California and Honolulu. There was just one problem: Nobody had ever flown to Hawaii before. The distance was almost as long as Lindbergh’s flight, the conditions arguably worse, and the small islands would be much harder to find than the continent of Europe. Experts cautioned that a race wasn’t the best way to attempt such a dangerous journey, but Dole ignored them.

The huge prize money attracted a ragtag mob of adventurers and daredevils. There was the legendary Hollywood aerial stuntman Art Goebel, who charged $80 to film a parachute jump and $15,000 to blow up a plane in midair. Then there was Mildred Doran, a young Michigan schoolteacher whose flying jacket was covered in fraternity pins from admiring suitors. William Randolph Hearst’s son hired a pilot named Jack Frost to fly for him, while the popular cowboy actor Hoot Gibson entered his triplane Pride of Los Angeles. Legendary World War I flying ace Captain William Erwin was hotly tipped, while Hawaiian local favorite Martin Jensen only managed to enter after his wife rallied the citizens of Honolulu to buy him a plane. In gratitude, he swore to “make it or die in the attempt.” Most intriguing of all were two navy lieutenants in a “mystery monoplane.”

Things went wrong from the start. The “mystery monoplane” slammed into a cliff, ending up as a heap of burning wreckage on the beach below. Another entrant heroically crashed his stalling plane into the sea to avoid the crowd of spectators packed around his runway. (Amazingly, he survived). Mildred Doran was having mechanical troubles as well, which weren’t helped by the fact that she had previously thrown all her tools out of the plane because they were “weighing her down.” Her biplane disappeared at sea and was never seen again. Jack Frost also vanished—and then so did Captain Erwin when he nobly detoured to look for the missing.

Ultimately, the race was won by the stuntman, Goebel, with Jensen a close second. No one else finished the race. In total, 10 people died before or during the race. Heartbroken, Dole offered a $20,000 reward for the missing pilots, but no bodies were ever found.

In a final moment of irony, while Goebel and Jepsen shared the prize money, they weren’t the first men to fly to Hawaii: Two army pilots had pipped them before the start of the race.

I guess what makes me think of this story as Freaky is the fact that so many would even consider participating in such a race. I mean, my life is worth more to me than a change, slim or not, at any money prize! At least I hope so! Maybe I do have a little common sense, regardless of what some frolks say!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll share some peach pie, OK?