Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Desert Mystery For Monday...!

Have you ever seen a piece of desert glass? I haven't, but I really would like to.

The whole thing about desert glass is the high temperature it takes to make it. When I say high, I mean crazy high! Like atomic explosion high, ya know? This article from Listverse will explain all the details for you much better than I could.

Desert Glass

photo via Wikipedia

Tests on a scarab jewel that once belonged to King Tut proved that the glass it was made from was produced before the earliest Egyptian civilization. Curious for answers, scientists discovered an area in the Sahara Desert where mysterious blocks of glass litter the sand. The first atomic test in New Mexico in 1945 left a similar fingerprint.

The detonation left behind a thin sheet of glass, but the Egyptian glass eclipsed the test site in sheer size. Whatever event made the glass had to be hotter than an atomic explosion. The suspects include a meteor impact or a phenomenally hot air burst. Since there is no evidence of an impact crater, scientists tested the air burst theory with computer simulations. Results showed that if a Shoemaker-Levy type impact exploded into Earth’s atmosphere, the resulting fireball would hit the ground surface like a furnace, cooking sand into glass with temperatures up to 18,000 degrees Celsius (32,500°F).

Interestingly enough, this correlates with the zircon that was found in the Sahara glass. By measuring how degraded the zircon is, the heat the sample was exposed to can be calculated. The Egyptian glass gave a reading roughly the same as the simulation. Nothing terrestrial can create that kind of heat, which makes the air burst theory very plausible.

Whatever it was, it’s hit the planet before. In Southeast Asia, 800,000-year-old glass stretches over an area of almost 800 square kilometers (300 mi2). It’s suggestive of an event deadlier than the one that created the Egyptian glass field.

It's been hot enough around here this summer that I expect to find some of this glass out in my yard! Wait...I can't. I have no sand in my yard! Wonder what those temps would do to gumbo?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Roadrunner And Coyote For Sunday...!

We haven't had any road runner and coyote 'toons for a while, so I reckon it's time.

I can't help but wonder if the creator of these characters had any idea how popular they would become? Probably not...but I don't know of anyone that doesn't enjoy them.

I'll bet that hurt!

That coyote sure heals fast, doesn't he?

Maybe just one more to start the day!

I need some coffee. Let's move to the patio, OK?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

One Ringy-Dingy...!

Remember the character of the switchboard operator on the show Laugh-In? She used to say that that all the time.

The history of the telephone operators is actually quite different than you might think. Here is a little information from Listverse that will fill in the early history of telephone operators.

Telephone Operators

In the early days of the phone, people couldn’t simply dial a number and expect to be connected. Instead, they would first call their telephone operating center, where a telephone operator would manually operate a switchboard to route the call to the intended recipient. A particularly complicated call might require up to six operators furiously plugging switches into wall-sized switchboards.

The first call operators were young teenage boys. Telephone companies knew that working a switchboard was hard work and thought teenage boys would have the dexterity, energy, and reflexes needed. More importantly, they were cheap.

Unfortunately, there were some predictable problems with employing only teenagers. The boys soon developed a reputation for playing practical jokes on callers, including ending their calls without warning and deliberately connecting two strangers together to enjoy the resulting confusion. They also had a tendency to swear at customers and were known for fighting and drinking alcohol while working.

The whole thing was such a disaster that Bell eventually fired all of its teenage male operators en masse, replacing them with young women, who were considered more genteel and equally cheap. Other telephone companies followed suit and men only became operators again after equal rights legislation was passed in the 1970s.

Probably most kids under twenty have never even seen an actual switchboard. Guess it would be considered ancient history to most of them. I'll bet many haven't even had to find and use a pay phone either! Many memories for some of us tied up in those things, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Another Friday Funny...!

Once again Baby Sis sent me something I thought would bring a smile, so I figured I'd share it with you.

The ever present "reminder" of the value of the youngest among us!

As we SILVER Haired Surfers know, sometimes we have trouble with our computers. Yesterday, I had a problem, so I called Georgie, the 11 year old next door, whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over. Georgie clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.

As he was walking away, I called after him, 'So, what was wrong? He replied, ' It was an ID ten T error.'

I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, " An, ID ten T error ? What's that? In case I need to fix it again.'

Georgie grinned... 'Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before' ?

'No,' I replied.

'Write it down,' he said, 'and I think you'll figure it out.'

So I wrote down: ID IO T

I used to like Georgie, the little ****head.

A sign of the times, my friends! A sign of the times!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Wonderful Popcorn Machine...!

Many of us have fond memories of going to the theatre and treating ourselves to a giant box of popcorn. Ah, nothing like the smell of popcorn when it's fresh and hot.

Ever wonder about who invented those poppers that made it that way? You are in luck, 'cause I'm gonna fill you in!

Charles Cretors originated from Lebanon, Ohio. He traveled the Midwest and settled in Fort Scott, Kansas for a few years, and then Decatur, Illinois. He spent his time working in the painting and contracting business, opened a bakery, and eventually a confectionery shop. As each venture led to the next, Cretors discovered he had a passion for how things worked. As an addition to the confectionery shop, Cretors purchased a peanut roaster to broaden his offerings to include fresh roasted peanuts. Not satisfied with how the machine worked, he redesigned it to work better. It was at this time that Cretors moved his wife and family to Chicago where he felt he could become a commercial success by selling his new machine. It was 18850.

Cretors wanted to test his new roaster under everyday conditions, and he also needed money. So, he purchased a vendor's license and put his machine on the sidewalk in front of his shop to test it and sell product at the same time. The date on the vendor's license is December 2, 1885, which marks the inception of C. Cretors & Company. The new roaster was driven by a small steam engine, which automated the roasting process, which was a new concept. A chance meeting happened between Cretors and a traveling salesman who purchased a bag of roasted peanuts. The salesman, J.M Savage, was very intrigued with the new peanut roaster, and offered to sell it in his territory. Cretors agreed to the proposal, and hired his first salesman.

By 1893, Cretors had created a steam powered machine that could roast 12 pounds of peanuts, 20 pounds of coffee, pop corn, and bake chestnuts as well. Popcorn was becoming the next popular choice for snackfood. Cretors redesigned his automated roasting machine so it would roast peanuts and pop popcorn at the same time. Cretors' machine design offered several advantages over the hand-operated process. First as a machine, it made operation more predictable and it provided an attraction for both the retailer and the customer. There was the novelty of the steam engine, and the Tosty Rosty Man, a small mechanical clown that acted as a merchandiser for the machine. Cretors' machine became the first automated machine that could pop popcorn uniformly in its own seasonings. As a result, the product came out the same way every time. Cretors applied for a patent on his new automated peanut roaster and popcorn popper machine on August 10, 1891. U.S. Patent 506,207 was granted to Cretors on October 10, 1893.US patent 506207 

Charles Cretors took his new popcorn wagon and peanut roaster to the Midway of Chicago's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and introduced the new corn product to the public in a newly designed machine that included a popcorn wagon. After a trial period where Cretors gave away samples of his new popcorn product, people began to line up to purchase bags of the hot, buttered popcorn.

I can almost taste the hot, fresh popcorn as I post this. One of those smells that makes your mouth water, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

McCurdy's Corpse For Western Wednesday...!

It's not often that a persons corpse has a more interesting life than the man did, but in this story that was the case.

This whole story is fairly strange and sad at the same time. Probably ol' Elmer McCurdy didn't mind at all. He would probably be proud that he was remembered all this time for something.

Failed bandit Elmer McCurdy’s corpse had a more interesting life than the man did.

In 1911, Elmer McCurdy mistakenly robbed a passenger train he thought contained thousands of dollars. The disappointed outlaw made off with just $46 and was shot by lawmen shortly thereafter. McCurdy’s unclaimed corpse was then embalmed with an arsenic preparation, sold by the undertaker to a traveling carnival and exhibited as a sideshow curiosity. For about 60 years, McCurdy’s body was bought and sold by various haunted houses and wax museums for use as a prop or attraction. His corpse finally wound up in a Long Beach, California, amusement park funhouse. During filming there in 1976 for the television show “The Six Million Dollar Man,” the prop’s finger (or arm, depending on the account) broke off, revealing human tissue. Subsequent testing by the Los Angeles coroner’s office revealed the prop was actually McCurdy. He was buried at the famous Boot Hill cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas, 66 years after his death.

I reckon that being remembered for something is better than being forgotten altogether. Turns out he was more useful dead than alive. That to me is the sad part!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It seems to be a little cooler!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Julia Child Undercover...!

Sometimes people we think we know have secrets that we don't find out about until years later.

More often than we can even imagine, famous folks are used as spies or intelligence persons. being well known often makes their secret job much easier. In a case like Julia's, she would have probably never have been suspected of anything. She certainly didn't look the part for undercover work, ya know?


Credit: Bachrach/Getty Images

The California-born Child, then known by her maiden name, Julia McWilliams, got her first taste of intelligence work in the spring of 1942 as a civilian volunteer in Los Angeles with the Aircraft Warning Service, which tracked shipping along the California coast in an effort to prevent enemy attacks. She soon applied for the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), but at 6’3” was rejected for being too tall. Determined to do her part for the war effort and interested in intelligence work, she got a job with the OSS in Washington, D.C., as a research assistant to the agency’s leader, William Donovan. The following year, she moved to a new department, the Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section, which developed ways for downed pilots to survive in remote locations; while there, she helped create a chemical shark repellent. From 1944 to 1945, Child took assignments in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and China, where as head of the OSS registry she was responsible for handling high volumes of top-secret documents. Although Child technically wasn’t spying on other people, the OSS classified her as a senior civilian intelligence officer.

While in Ceylon, Julia met Paul Child, a fellow OSS officer, who she married in 1946. In 1948, Paul Child took a job with the U.S. Information Agency in France, and Julia fell in love with the nation’s cuisine and studied at Le Cordon Bleu. In 1961, she published “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” the book that launched her career.

I would have never thought of Julia Child as part of the Intelligence community. Somehow she never fit in with my idea of someone capable of handling secret documents. I reckon my way of thinking is influenced by too much modern fiction. You may have had the same problem once or twice.

Coffee out on the patio today. If the rain starts, we'll go inside, OK?

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Canadian Story For Monday Mystery...!

It isn't often we hav e a tale from our neighbors in Canada, so maybe this is right on time.

A good mystery has no bounds or borders, that we already know. This one is as good a mystery as we have seen for a while. I picked it up from the folks over at Listverse.

The Redpath Mansion

Another century-old cold case concerns the 1901 murder of Ada Maria Mills Redpath and her son, Clifford, in their luxurious Montreal mansion. Ada was an extremely wealthy widow who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Her son, on the other hand, was as healthy as a horse and in the process of preparing to take the Canadian bar exam. One newspaper speculated that Clifford couldn’t handle the stress of the exam and murdered his mother before shooting himself. Another paper claimed that the widow Redpath suffered from such severe insomnia that she tried to take her own life. When her son intervened, he was accidentally shot to death by his own mother.

Strangely, the coroner wrote his report on the case from details given by a doctor who wasn’t even at the murder scene. On such evidence, his report concluded that Clifford was an epileptic and must have had an episode of temporary insanity on the day he and his mother died. Even stranger is the fact that police were never called to the mansion. The tragedy happened on a Thursday evening and less than 48 hours later the burials were done and dusted. In a matter of weeks, life in the neighborhood resumed as usual. No one mentioned the murders again.

The Redpath Mansion murders remain one of the most fascinating mysteries in Canadian history.

Call me crazy, but this whole thing just reeks of some kind of cover-up. Seems to me that the whole thing was haphazardly handled from the start, ya know? I'm thinking there has to be more than just one mystery to this story. What do you think?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cartoons For Sunday Again...!

Reckon we'l ever get tired of Sunday cartoons? I hope not!

I reckon that as long as YouTube stays on the air, we'll have the 'toons for Sunday. If not, I'll have to find another way to have cartoons on Sunday or start actually writing a regular post, ya know?

And just one more...

OK...that's enough for this time around. Have a great day and try to smile a tiny bit this morning, alright?

Coffee out on the patio, OK?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Story Of "Jim Crow"...!

I'm sure we have all heard the term "Jim Crow", but was Crow a real person? Actually, he was, but not like you may think.

Sometimes we use a term for a long time, never really knowing where it came from. This history of Jim Crow is an interesting bit of history you might like to know about.

Was Jim Crow a real person?
 2014 By Evan Andrews

The term “Jim Crow” typically refers to repressive laws and customs once used to restrict black rights, but the origin of the name itself actually dates back to before the Civil War. In the early 1830s, the white actor Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice was propelled to stardom for performing minstrel routines as the fictional “Jim Crow,” a caricature of a clumsy, dimwitted black slave. Rice claimed to have first created the character after witnessing an elderly black man singing a tune called “Jump Jim Crow” in Louisville, Kentucky. He later appropriated the Jim Crow persona into a minstrel act where he donned blackface and performed jokes and songs in a stereotypical slave dialect. For example, “Jump Jim Crow” included the popular refrain, “Weel about and turn about and do ‘jis so, eb’ry time I weel about I jump Jim Crow.” Rice’s minstrel act proved a massive hit among white audiences, and he later took it on tour around the United States and Great Britain. As the show’s popularity spread, “Jim Crow” became a widely used derogatory term for blacks.

Jim Crow’s popularity as a fictional character eventually died out, but in the late 19th century the phrase found new life as a blanket term for a wave of anti-black laws laid down after Reconstruction. Some of the most common laws included restrictions on voting rights—many Southern states required literacy tests or limited suffrage to those whose grandfathers had also had the right to vote—bans on interracial relationships and clauses that allowed businesses to separate their black and white clientele. The segregationist philosophy of “separate but equal” was later upheld in the famous 1896 Supreme Court decision “Plessy vs. Ferguson,” in which the Court ruled that the state of Louisiana had the right to require different railroad cars for blacks and whites. The “Plessy” decision would eventually lead to widespread adoption of segregated restaurants, public bathrooms, water fountains and other facilities. “Separate but equal” was eventually overturned in the 1954 Supreme Court Case “Brown vs. Board of Education,” but Jim Crow’s legacy would continue to endure in some Southern states until the 1970s.

Isn't it interesting to find these little tid-bits of info about some of our history? I think so.

Coffee in the kitchen again today.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Grave Story For Freaky Friday...!

Sometimes truth actually wins out, but it may take many years to do so. This is one suc story, taken from the folks at Listverse.

Truth Wins Out

In 1859, Sam Slick made the first public note of an odd situation that had begun in 1821 in the village of Montgomery, England, which lasted about 100 years. In 1821, a man named John Newton was accused by two men, named Parker and Pearce, of attempting a highway robbery. On their word alone, Newton was found guilty and sentenced to death. Newton had only moved to the town two years previously and had few friends, but he was a diligent bailiff at the Oakfield manor house and had saved the owners from losing the estate to debt. He had also apparently attracted the attentions of the daughter of the household, though they were not publicly a couple. When asked if he had any reason why he should not be found guilty, Newton replied to the effect that he knew there was nothing he could say or do that would convince the court of his innocence or the falseness of the testimonies against him, so he would most certainly die. However, as proof of his innocence, Newton earnestly prayed to Heaven that for the length of at least one generation no grass should grow upon his grave.

Newton was indeed found guilty and was executed and buried in the Montgomery churchyard. The grave remained free of grass. When another author, S. Baring-Gould, visited the grave in 1903, he found it was still devoid of grass. As for the men who accused Newton, Parker’s ancestors had once owned Oakfield, and he hoped to gain it with Newton out of the way; Pearce had his eye on the daughter of the family and also wanted Newton out of the way. Parker became a dissolute drunkard, eventually dying in a blasting accident at a limeworks, and Pearce, realizing the woman would never have him, became despondent and wasted away.

The saddest part of a story like this is that no one actually wins. Only truth is gained for the family of those falsely convicted.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's still too wet on the patio.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Signs Of The Apocalypse...?

I got an email from my Baby Sis that seems to fit in with today's world. I figured I'd share it with you for Thursday, OK?


The recession has really hit everybody really hard.

· My neighbour got a pre-declined credit card in the mail from Capital ONE.

· Wives are having sex with their husbands now because they can't afford the batteries.

· CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

· Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

· A stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.

· I saw a Mormon today who had only one wife.

· If the bank returns your cheque marked "Insufficient Funds," you need to call them and ask if they meant you or them.

· McDonald's is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

· Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

· Parents in New York and San Francisco have fired their nannies and are learning their children's names.

· My cousin had an exorcism but couldn't afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!

· A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

· A picture is now only worth 200 words.

· When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

· The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

Just thought I'd put this out there in case you needed a smile this morning. I hope this helps in that regard.

Better have our coffee in the kitchen today. Rain is hanging around.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cyrus Skinner For Western Wednesday...!

Another story about one of the really bad boys in our early history. The west was full of mthem, I reckon!

As far as the bad guys went, Skinner was probably one of the most blood-thirsty of them all. All around mean is a good way to describe him.

Cyrus Skinner released from San Quentin

Cyrus Skinner, who would later be hanged by the Montana vigilantes, ends his first stay in the California state prison at San Quentin.

Skinner was typical of the thieves and killers who terrorized the gold fields of Montana in the early 1860s. Born in Ohio in 1829, Skinner began robbing people as a teenager. He immigrated to California in 1850 and was promptly arrested for burglary. He served two years in San Quentin prison before being released on this day in 1853. Within six months, he was again arrested, this time for burglarizing a business in Yuba County, California. He was sentenced to three years in San Quentin, but he escaped and committed five more robberies before being recaptured and sentenced to 15 years.

. In early 1859, an old friend joined Skinner at San Quentin, a desperado named Henry Plummer. Plummer, serving time for a minor robbery, was released after a few months. In May 1860, Skinner escaped from San Quentin for the third and final time. He fled north to the isolated gold camps of Idaho, where Plummer had organized a dangerous band of road agents that preyed on gold miners and travelers.

When the people of Idaho began to grow suspicious of him, Skinner moved east over the mountains to the new Montana gold fields, establishing saloons at Bannack and Virginia City. Plummer and others from the gang soon joined him, and they began to rob and murder Montanans. Skinner was one of the most brutal of Plummer’s gang, occasionally killing his victims seemingly just for the fun of it. By early 1864, Plummer, Skinner, and the other outlaws had killed at least 100 people.

Determined to stop the murderous robberies, the citizens of Bannack and Virginia City formed a vigilante group and began tracking down and hanging the criminals. On January 10, 1864, the vigilantes arrested Plummer and hanged him along with two of his partners. Skinner wisely left town but the determined vigilantes tracked him down at Hellgate, Montana, in late January 1864. Faced with an agonizing death from hanging, Skinner broke away and ran, hoping the vigilantes would shoot him down instead. They denied the brutal killer even this small mercy. The vigilantes recaptured Skinner and hanged him, one of the last of the 24 bandits executed by the group.

Seems to me that Skinner was the type that put the "wild" into the "Wild West!" I'll bet not many were sad to see him gone!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Supposed to be a tad cooler...!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

History Of The Vitamin Donuts...!

Not often does the government get involved with our food in such a way that is acceptable to us. This may be one of those times!

Funny how something like this can catch people's attention. I don't know if there was a follow up study or not, but I would imagine volunteers would be easy to find.

When The Government Advertised Vitamin Donuts For Health
By Debra Kelly on Saturday, August 15, 2015

Vitamins are everywhere, and the whole vitamin craze got started in the 1940s. During World War II, the US government wanted to make sure its citizens were getting all the nutrition they needed to support the war effort and keep the home fires burning. The idea of vitamin-enhanced foods like Vitamin Donuts (and even vitamin-enhanced tobacco) took off, and we haven’t looked back since.

Head to any shopping mall and you’re guaranteed to find at least a couple of stores that are selling nothing but vitamins, supplements, powders, and miracle muscle-builders. We’re obsessed with diet pills and caffeine capsules, protein shakes and high-nutrition smoothies. That’s nothing new. Decades ago, they had vitamin donuts.

During World War II, the US government was worried that its people on the home front weren’t getting all the nutrition they needed to stay at the top of their game and fight the good fight from home. In order to keep those home fires burning, we looked at new and creative ways to get around wartime rationing, as well as some pretty fun ways to make sure kids and adults alike were getting all their vitamins.

Studies done in the early 1940s seemed to back up the importance of one vitamin in particular—B1, or thiamine. At the 1941 National Nutrition Conference for Defense, scientists called it the vitamin that made “life seem tremendously worth living,” and it was one of the vitamins that kicked off the supplement revolution that we’re still in the middle of today.

According to the research, thiamine was responsible for giving people everything from improved attitude and good digestion to a healthy complexion. The New York Times called it the “morale” vitamin, and it was supposedly responsible for giving us all the energy we needed to get through the day and perform at our peak capacity.

The supposed findings spawned a huge movement for thiamine-enhanced products. Patents were even taken out on thiamine-enhanced tobacco, but our favorite is still the Vitamin Donuts. Posters featuring pretty standard-looking, plain donuts and slightly manic-looking children advertised Vitamin Donuts “For Pep and Vigor.” The donuts were supposedly enhanced “with a minimum of 25 units of Vitamin B1,” and it went without saying that it was your patriotic duty to start your morning off right with some pep donuts.

While that’s one diet trend we can definitely get on board with, it wasn’t without its controversy. Wording became important, and after much debate, it was determined that the government-sanctioned donuts were only to be marketed as “enriched flour doughnuts” rather than vitamin donuts, as it was the flour that had been enriched with the vitamins.

Minor details.

Thiamine continued to support the idea of the vitamin revolution, and during a time of rationing and wartime shortages, it’s easy to see why people could have legitimate concerns about nutrition. Thiamine deficiencies were also linked to a condition called beriberi, which meant swollen feet, increased swelling and pressure on the ribs, and eventual suffocation. Pretty horrible stuff, so it’s completely understandable that people went mad for their vitamins.

And it hasn’t stopped yet. If the idea that Vitamin Donuts seems crazy, even crazier is the current number of products on the market as vitamins, somewhere around 85,000, as of 2015. And, because the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, they don’t keep track of what’s in them or what we’re potentially putting in our bodies, or what kind of side effects and drug interactions happen.

We’ll take a dozen Vitamin Donuts, thanks.

I'm not really interested in whether or not my donuts have vitamins, but for the government to suggest I eat them worries me just a tad!

Coffee out on the patio with cookies on the side!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Creepy Hotel Story For Monday Mystery...!

Older hotels can be a great source of mystery stories, or of stories of haunting due to sad circumstances.

Room 256 is one of those stories that continues to this day. Sadness forms the background for this tale, but that is often the case in most of the hotel mysteries I've found.

The Hauntings Of La Posada

In 1932, a six-acre estate in Santa Fe was converted into La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, one of the most historic hotels in New Mexico’s state capital. The centerpiece of La Posada is a three-story Victorian mansion known as the Staab House, named after a wealthy family who once owned the property. The mansion was built in 1882 by a prominent resident named Abraham Staab.

Abraham and his wife, Julia, were very popular in Santa Fe social circles, and the couple had seven children. However, when their eighth child died of illness shortly after birth, Julia went into a deep depression. After more unsuccessful pregnancies, Julia became withdrawn and spent the majority of her remaining years in a self-imposed exile in her bedroom, where she passed away on May 14, 1896, at age 52.

When the Staab House was converted into a hotel, Julia’s former bedroom became Room 256, and it is rumored to be haunted by her ghost. The first known sighting occurred in 1979, when an employee cleaning Room 256 saw a vision of a well-dressed woman resembling Julia Staab before she abruptly disappeared. There have been numerous sightings of this woman in Room 256, along with stories of voices being heard from behind the door when the room is empty. Hotel operators have also reported phone calls going through this room, even though the line is disconnected.

The alleged hauntings are not confined to Room 256, as there have been sightings of Julia’s ghost in the dining room, along with reports of glasses being knocked off the shelves and unexplained gusts of wind blowing out the candles. To this day, La Posada is still considered to be one of the most infamous haunted hotels in the United States.

I have a feeling that stories like this will linger as long as mankind exist. We seem to be drawn to hauntings and ghost stories for some reason or another. I wonder why that is!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

One More Sunday With The 'Toons...!

Seems like we do this every Sunday. Know why? Because we do! At least some things just don't change that much, right?

And one mo0re!

That's all for today, guys. Have a good one!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I got home made chocolate chip cookies!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dog Days Of Summer...!

Man, we certainly have been having our share of the Dog Days. Know where that name came from? I didn't until I found the answer over at the site.

I know many of you probably already know this, but I'll put what I learned from history right here in case you forgot or didn't know, OK?

Why are they called the “dog days” of summer?

1 The sultry “dog days” of summer might spark visions of listless canines baking in the oppressive heat, but the moniker has nothing to do with panting pooches. Instead, it’s a throwback to the time when ancient civilizations tracked the seasons by looking to the sky. The ancient Greeks noticed that summer’s most intense heat occurred during the approximate 40-day period in the early summer when Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, rose and set with the sun. To them it was simple math. The daytime addition of the warmth of Sirius—ancient Greek for “glowing” or “scorcher”—to the blaze of the sun equaled extreme heat. According to Greek mythology, Sirius was the dog of the hunter Orion, and the ancient Romans placed the star in the constellation Canis Major (Latin for “Greater Dog”). The Romans thus referred to the sweltering period when the rising of the sun and Sirius converged as the “dies caniculares” or “days of the dog star.” By the 1500s, the English world began to call the same summertime point on the astronomical calendar as the “dog days.”

Due to a wobble in the Earth’s rotation that shifts the position of the stars in the night sky, the dates of the “dog days” now fall several weeks later on the calendar than they did thousands of years of ago. The ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago noticed Sirius’s heliacal rising, when it was visible just before sunrise, just prior to the annual flooding of the Nile River and the summer solstice. Today, the precise dates vary by latitude, but the Old Farmer’s Almanac reports the traditional timing of the “dog days” in the United States is between July 3 and August 11. In approximately 10,000 years, the date of the heliacal rising of Sirius will fall back so late on the calendar that future civilizations in the northern hemisphere will experience the “dog days” of winter.

What ever you call them and no matter the's been HOT! Know what I mean, jelly bean?

Coffee in the kitchen. I got donut holes I'll share!

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Potato Ban For Freaky Friday...!

The potato got off to a rough start as a favorite food of many. In fact, it was even banned for a while from the palace in England. Crazy, right?

But wait! It gets even worse for the poor spud. How the potato made it this far is beyond me. I'm certainly glad that it did, hgowever.

Eating Potatoes In Court

In ancient times, the potato was met with superstitions wherever it was introduced. Opponents of the potato labeled it poisonous, strange, and, in extreme cases, evil. In France, it was fingered as the cause of leprosy, syphilis, narcosis, scrofula, premature death, and impotence. It was also accused of destroying the soil in which it grew. In Besancon, France, it was against the law to plant potatoes.

The potato found its way to England when Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer, planted it on his estate. He later offered it as a gift to Queen Elizabeth I, who invited several nobles and landowners to a banquet with the potato on its menu. Unfortunately for everyone present at the banquet, the cooks threw away the edible tubers and cooked the leaves and stems, which are poisonous, as it turns out. Everyone who ate the meal ended up sick, and the innocent potato was banned from being served in the palace.

Guess you can't blame them for being a little spooked by the potato, but in this case the food and it's supporters won. Thank goodness!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, providing it doesn't rain!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Power Is Back On...!

Believe me when I tell ya that mtwo days without power of any kind, especially if the temps are above 100, truly sucks!

In a nutshell here's what happened. Tuesday morning one of the main breakers to Mom's house went out. Of course that meant that no AC would work. Half the plugs and lights didn't work, even the ceiling fans. First the repair for Reliant Energy. They said that Reliant doesn't do the repairs, so I had to call Centerpoint Energy. Seems as though any energy company you pay uses Centerpoint's equipment and repair service.

Centerpoint guy shows up Wednesday morning and says one of the wires from the meter to the transformer is bad. Call a electrician to replace the bad wire, then call Centerpoint again to wire the transformer and restore power. Back on the phone again late Wednesday to centerpoint to tell them the bad wires are replaced. They say to call Reliant to issue a restore service work order. I do that and am promptly told that the city of Houston has to issue a work permit to accomplish that. The permit was issued but the offices all close at 5 PM. Par for the course, right? Finally, with a lot of help from the electric repair company, things get straightened out this morning. Thank you to Mr. Electric, the folks that did the wire replacement!!!

Finally at 2:00 PM the Centerpoint folks show up and by 2:10 power is back on! That's where I've been all day. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Sorry about no post, but at least you now know the reason. Things can only get better from here, right?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sam Bass For Western Wednesday...!

Well, we got a little rain yesterday and that's a good thing! Before the rain, we had reached 106.To celebrate, we'll do a little history of Sam Bass, the outlaw.

I know we have had ol' Sam on here before, but he fits right in today. Still holds the record for the biggest haul from a Union Pacific train robbery, for all the good it did him!

Sam Bass
July 21, 1851- July 21, 1878

Bass started out an honest man. After running away from the abusive uncle who raised him, he went to work in a sawmill in Mississippi. His dream was to be a cowboy and he eventually made his way to Texas. After one season, he decided he didn’t like it. In 1876, Bass and a rough character named Joel Collins drove a herd of longhorns up north where the prices for cattle were higher. They were supposed to go back to Texas to pay off the owners of the herd, but instead they took the $8,000 profit for themselves. He and Collins wasted the money from the cattle drive on gambling in Deadwood. A few months later, he and Collins went into another venture- stagecoach robbery. After holding up seven stagecoaches, they didn’t make much money. They set their sights on bigger prizes and turned to train robbery. Bass and his gang robbed the Union Pacific gold train from San Francisco, netting over $60,000, which is to this day the largest single robbery of the Union Pacific. He was wounded by Texas Rangers on the way to rob a small bank in Round Rock, and died two days later on his 27th birthday

A little side note about Bass. He is rumored to have hidden some of his ill-gotten gains somewhere around Round Rock, Texas. Folks have been searching for a long time for a bit of that particular treasure, but so luck!

Coffee in the kitchen again. Hopefully the rain will come back again!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Horrors Of Unit 731...!

We all know that during times of war, some really bad things go on. Most of what we hear is bad enough, but when you read about the crimes committed in Unit 731, shock is the first thing that comes to mind.

Forgotten Horrors: The Human Experiments of Unit 731
By Morris M. on Tuesday, July 23, 2013

During the occupation of China, the Japanese army set up the secretive Unit 731. Behind closed doors doctors infected civilians with plague, subjected them to extreme temperature changes, and had them dissected alive.

When the bombs landed in China’s Quzhou province, locals didn’t know what to make of them. Instead of exploding, they merely cracked open – spilling rice, wheat and microscopic fleas across villages. It wasn’t for another week that their purpose became apparent, when an outbreak of Bubonic Plague began to decimate the countryside.

Such plague bombs are only one of the atrocities linked with Unit 731: the Japanese answer to Mengele’s Auschwitz. In a vast complex on the edge of the Chinese mainland, surgeons took turns at dissecting civilians alive, removing organs one by one until the patient died. Some were hung up and vivisected without anesthetic. Others were tied to the ground in freezing weather to see how quickly they would succumb to frostbite. Yet others were gassed or herded into decompression chambers, where researchers timed how long it took their eyeballs to explode. And then there were the germs.

Cholera, typhoid, dysentery and anthrax were spread over Chinese cities. As many as 200,000 people died in outbreaks that lasted until 1948. Russian, Filipino and Allied prisoners were infected then pickled in formaldehyde. Yet, for all this brutality, no-one was ever punished. US forces exchanged immunity for data and helped cover-up the evidence. There has been no apology, no compensation, no recognition. Unit 731 remains a darkly open secret—one its victims still suffer with 70 years later.

This article came from Knowledgenuts, but if you want to read more about this modern chamber of medical horrors, read the N.Y. Times article right here! The ability of Man to come up with ways to inflict pain and suffering is far beyond my ability to understand.

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning! Fresh cookies are there to share.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Numbers Station Mystery For Monday...!

This is one of those mysteries that seem to have been around for a long, long time. A spy station that to this day has never really been found.

Simple seems to work better in some cases, this being one of them. Thanks to the folks over at Knowledgenuts for this one.

The Mysterious Numbers Station Formerly Known As UVB-76
By Heather Ramsey on Sunday, August 9, 2015

Although their purpose has never been confirmed, unlicensed “numbers stations” have been broadcasting on shortwave AM radio since at least the Cold War. Unlike digital communications that leave a record, these low-tech transmissions are perfect for sending unbreakable, encrypted messages to spies who don’t want to be tracked. One of the most eerie stations, formerly known as “UVB-76,” transmitted beeps and buzzes continuously from Russia for years, almost completely unchanged throughout decades of Russian political upheaval. Then suddenly in 2010, silence. After a few months of unpredictable broadcasts, the station’s call sign was changed to MDZhB and the eerie broadcasts continued.

Although their purpose has never been confirmed by a government or anyone else, unlicensed “numbers stations” have been broadcasting on shortwave AM radio since at least the Cold War and possibly as early as World War I. They’re bizarre broadcasts that don’t seem to make any sense: beeps and buzzes, a voice counting or reciting letters, sometimes short bursts of music. Despite the evolution of technology, you can still find these stations broadcasting in many languages. Experts in espionage have suggested that numbers stations are a way for intelligence agencies to transmit information to agents in territories where they can’t risk two-way communication. Sometimes, they’re aimed at embassies or residencies.

It’s a secure, indecipherable way to send a message. “This system is completely secure because the messages can’t be tracked, the recipient could be anywhere,” Akin Fernandez, creator of the Conet Project, a comprehensive archive of numbers stations, told the BBC. “It is easy. You just send the spies to a country and get them to buy a radio. They know where to tune and when.” A former officer of the British intelligence organization, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), agrees.

Unlike digital communications that leave a record, these low-tech transmissions are perfect for sending unbreakable, encrypted messages to spies who don’t want to be tracked. They use a one-time pad, an encryption key that changes randomly each time a message is sent. The receiver decrypts the message with a matching key. It doesn’t matter if anyone else listens. They won’t be able to crack the code because it changes with each message.

There have been anonymous leaks of arrests made of people who had shortwave radios and one-time pads on them. In 1989, the United Kingdom arrested a Czech spy when his malfunctioning equipment transmitted into flats occupied by people not involved with his operation. According to the former GCHQ officer, Romanian broadcasts completely stopped when Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown and executed in 1989. A Russian spy ring that was exposed in America in 2010 may have also received transmissions from numbers stations. But no one will officially confirm or deny the stories.

One of the most eerie stations, formerly known as “UVB-76,” is nicknamed “The Buzzer.” Once isolated in a forest north of Moscow, UVB-76 transmitted beeps and then buzzes continuously for years, almost completely unchanged throughout decades of Russian political upheaval. From the Cold War to Mikhail Gorbachev to the collapse of the Soviet Union to Boris Yeltsin and even to the ascendancy of Vladimir Putin, UVB-76 continued to transmit its indecipherable signal. It’s believed that when the buzzes stop, it’s a signal that the station is about to broadcast a command code of letters and numbers. Once the message is sent, the buzzer restarts.

Then suddenly on June 5, 2010, silence. After a few months of unpredictable broadcasts, things got really strange. On August 25, 2010, the station went silent again. But all of a sudden, there were sounds like shuffles and knocks that suggested someone had entered the broadcasting room. But still, nothing decipherable.

In early September, the broadcasts were frequently punctuated with recorded bursts of music. It sounded like Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Little Swans.” Finally, on September 7, 2010, at 8:48 PM in Moscow, an unidentified man announced a new call sign, MDZhB, for the station. Then a series of numbers and letters was broadcast before eventually returning to mostly buzzing.

No one on the outside seems to know for sure what the purpose of UVB-76 is. JM, a former European official, believes the station sends encrypted orders to the military within Russia instead of to spies outside the country. A young production engineer in Florida thinks JM is right. He also explains the unpredictable broadcasts of 2010 as sound engineers upgrading or calibrating the equipment. The station is such an obsession with some listeners that music albums and bands have been named after UVB-76.

There’s one more enigma about the station. After all the commotion in 2010, its physical location appeared to move, coinciding with a reorganization of the Russian military. Some people believe the station is now somewhere around Pskov, a Russian town near Estonia. But, as with all things UVB-76, no one knows for sure.

Now call me crazy, but usually if a government won't confirm nor deny something, I feel sure that means it's true and does exist. Seems to be thew way most PTB handle speculation!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Too darn hot outside!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hot 'Toons For Sunday...!

Hard to have any other kind this time of year. Still, turn on the fan and the AC and we'll watch them together!

One more to end this session.

OK...that's enough for today. Too hot to do anything else but stay in and read.

Coffee in the kitchen today!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

60 Year Old Missing Plane Mystery...!

This is something a little different for a Saturday. An airplane mystery! How about that?

This whole story from Knowledgenuts is strange. I would even say that there is something a little suspect about it, but what do I know? Still, I am having a very hard time understanding the story as it exist. Seems to me there are way too many loose ends, know what I mean?

The B-25 Bomber That Crashed In Pittsburgh 60 Years Ago (And Is Still Missing)
By Heather Ramsey on Thursday, August 6, 2015

In 1956, a B-25 Mitchell bomber flying from Nevada to Harrisburg crashed into the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh. Two of the six crew members died in the river. Despite many searches, no one has ever found the plane, fueling conspiracy theories about the purpose of the flight and whether the federal government secretly removed the plane from the water in the dead of night.

On January 31, 1956, a B-25 Mitchell bomber flying from Nevada to Olmstead Air Force Base in Harrisburg crashed into the Monongahela River (the “Mon”) in Pittsburgh. Two of the six crew members died in the river. Despite many searches, no one has ever found the plane, fueling conspiracy theories about the purpose of the flight and whether the federal government secretly removed the plane from the water in the dead of night.

Produced by North American Aviation, the B-25 Mitchell was a twin-engine bomber designed for use at medium altitudes. In World War II, the plane became famous when US Army Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle used it to bomb Japan in 1942. At that time, pilots often flew these planes at low altitudes, dropping bombs from the height of treetops or making strafing runs. Most B-25s were retired after World War II. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the few that continued to fly were used for reconnaissance, support roles, or training.

The purpose of the B-25 that disappeared in Pittsburgh is unclear. According to documents that were declassified long after the 1956 crash, the plane was on a routine flight that just happened to pass through Pittsburgh. The pilot deliberately landed in the Mon when it became clear that the plane didn’t have enough fuel to reach the next airport.

What happened next has people questioning the official story. Rescuers safely hauled four of the crew out of the icy water. The other two died. Tugboat captain Carol E. Long helped with the crew recovery that day. Supposedly, he also saw wreckage from the plane taken away by barges. But Long stopped talking after receiving phone calls that warned him not to reveal what he’d witnessed. “He wouldn’t talk to anybody about it,” said his daughter, Cheryl Haberstock, after Long died. “He was too scared.”

Shortly after the accident, an unidentified man called the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to report seeing a wrecked B-25 bomber at a Dayton, Ohio, air force base. The man stated that he was once an Air Force officer.

Maybe that’s why no one can find the plane in Pittsburgh. In 1976, author Robert Johns and researcher Robert Goerman interviewed some of the surviving crew members and witnesses of the accident. According to Goerman, one crew member insisted there were eight people on the plane, not six as the official report stated. Goerman also said that towboat captains at the scene that day claim the FBI was there and that two uniformed military men without insignia were rescued from the water.

All of these contradictions—and the missing plane—led to conspiracy theories that the B-25 was carrying something top secret, such as a UFO, a nuclear weapon, or maybe a passenger like Howard Hughes. The theories go on to say that the American military covertly recovered the B-25 at night, then transported it in pieces out of Pittsburgh.

Even people who believe the plane is still in the water are stymied. “[The fact that no one can find the plane] is a mystery,” Andrew Masich of Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center, an organization helping to search for the missing B-25, told TribLive. “There is nothing logical about losing a 15-foot plane in a 20-foot river.” But Masich is convinced that the government didn’t do anything sneaky because reports show that the Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard tried to find the plane for two weeks after the crash. Once they recovered the crew members, Masich explained, it didn’t make sense to close the river to traffic in a busy industrial city like Pittsburgh.

So how did the B-25 mysteriously disappear in the polluted water of the Mon without being salvaged? Robert Shema of the all-volunteer B-25 Recovery Group believes that the bomber got swallowed by a 14-meter (47 ft) hole at the bottom of the river. Earlier in the 1950s, Dravo Corporation had dug the hole to get fill material for mooring cells, which were used by J&L Steel to secure barges at their loading docks downriver. Over the years, silt has filled about 5 meters (15 ft) of the original hole. Although previous salvage efforts by the Recovery Group were unsuccessful, they now want to dig out some of that silt to see if they can find evidence of a plane. If they do, they’ll attempt to excavate the remains. By now, the plane’s exterior has probably corroded, so the volunteers will search for tires, landing gear, propellers, and engine blocks. The Recovery Group’s 2014 permit application to dredge the river is still pending approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Nothing like a little mystery for a Saturday, right?

Coffee out on the patio today!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Grave Robbing For Freaky Friday...!

I know most of us have heard how graves were robbed for supplying medical schools with training aids. However, there is a part of this sad practice that we were not told about as a rule.

At one point, there were squads formed to protect the fresh graves from being emptied. In some cases, riots broke out to try and force some positive action from the PTB. Here is the history of some of the early attempts at protecting the dead.

The Deadly Riots To Stop Grave-Robbing In 18th-Century New York
By Heather Ramsey on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

In April 1788, New Yorkers rioted against New York Hospital doctors and medical students who were practicing on cadavers that had been robbed from graves. The riot left up to 20 people dead and propelled the living to form “Dead Guard Men” groups to protect the dead in cemeteries. There were at least 17 similar riots over grave-robbing and dissections between the mid-18th and the mid-19th centuries. In the 21st century, dead bodies have become big business. Even bodies donated to medical schools have sometimes been stolen, stripped for parts like a car and illegally sold for personal profit.

In the 18th century, doctors weren’t required to graduate from an accredited medical school. So some students in New York took less-formal classes at New York Hospital, which emphasized the dissection of cadavers as a training tool. Without a consistent source of bodies, however, the med students began to steal them from area cemeteries for poor people and African Americans. Although they didn’t demand that the robberies stop, both slaves and free black men petitioned the Common Council to treat the corpses of their relatives and friends with respect.

However, nothing happened until a white woman’s body was taken from a church cemetery. Then the public got mad. There are conflicting stories as to how the riot started. But most of the doctors and medical students ran for their lives. Their medical specimens were set on fire.

The “Doctors’Riot” of April 1788 left up to 20 people dead and propelled the living to form “Dead Guard Men” groups to protect corpses buried in cemeteries. There were at least 17 similar riots over grave-robbing and dissections between the mid-18th and the mid-19th centuries. These riots spurred the passage of legislation to regulate the use of cadavers and outlaw grave-robbing. However, the theft of bodies continued, just more quietly.

Grave-robbing may seem barbaric to us now. But even in the 21st century, dead bodies are big business. Almost every corpse is a potential source of profit. Obviously, hearts, kidneys, and livers can be used for life-saving transplants. But bones, cartilage, corneas, ligaments, skin tissue, tendons, and veins are also in great demand. A lot of people refuse to donate organs for transplant, so prices for body parts remain high, whether trade is occurring in the legal or illegal areas of the market. Even the body of Alistair Cooke, once the host of Masterpiece Theater, was stolen and sold for parts.

However, more than profits is at stake. These bodies and body parts aren’t treated with the proper safety protocols. As a result, unnecessary diseases can be spread to patients who receive stolen body parts. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous doctors are still engaging in the theft of dead bodies. But this time, they’re not practicing medical techniques for educational purposes, they’re selling parts for profit. (Note: This does not include Planned Parenthood. The heavily edited Planned Parenthood videos in the news lately have been widely debunked.) Some nurses, funeral directors, and others are also involved in this illegal trade. Poor people are still often the target.

Sometimes, people’s bodies have been plundered before the viewing at a funeral home. There have been cases where a corpse’s leg bones were sawed off, then plastic pipe was screwed into the affected areas before the skin was sewn up. When pants were put over the pipe legs, families couldn’t tell what had happened.

Thousands of families have sued after discovering their loved ones’ bodies have been stolen from funeral homes and crematoriums. Even bodies donated to medical schools have sometimes been stolen, stripped for parts like a car and illegally sold for personal profit.

I borrowed this story from the folks over at Knowledgenuts. I figured this was an unpleasant part of history that we should know. Pretty freaky, wouldn't you say?

Coffee on the patio today. Temps are predicted to be 101 and may go higher!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Some Really Old Cheese...!

Now, I like cheese pretty much. I sure eat my share, believe me. Aged cheddar is one of my favorites.

That being said, I don't think I would want any of this cheese to spread on a cracker or put on a sandwich, ya know? Even I have some limits, believe it or not!

3,800 Years Old

While the art of making cheese is certainly not new, finding old examples of cheese is rare. Mostly, we find fat residues suggesting that some artifacts once contained cheese. Time is not dairy’s friend, especially if we’re talking millennia. But excavations at China’s ancient Xiaohe Cemetery (aka “Ordek’s necropolis”) revealed pieces of 3,800-year-old cheese sitting on the chests and necks of several mummies.

Tests on the yellow substance showed that the cheese was nutritious, easy to produce, and similar to a present-day fermented dairy drink called “kefir.” Its low salt content hinted that it wasn’t meant to be kept for a long period of time but rather consumed after production. However, the remarkable preservation of the Ordek samples most likely occurred because two conditions were present at burial: The coffins were sealed with cowhide, which prevented air from entering, and the soil was salty.

As the cheese was also easy to digest, it helped researchers understand why the milking of animals became so widespread in the early Bronze Age despite lactose intolerance in people at that time.

Coffee on the patio this morning. I'll set out some crackers and cheese, but the cheese may be a tad newer in my case.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mary E. Walker For Western Wednesday...!

I don't think we have talked about Mary Walker before, even if we have she deserves another look.

I've said before that we don't give the women in our early history enough credit, but this gal certainly paid her dues and is entitled, I think.

Mary E. Walker

Credit: APIC/Getty Images

On January 25, 1866, Dr. Mary Edward Walker became the first—and so far the only—woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, in recognition of her service as a battlefield surgeon during the Civil War. Born in 1832 in Oswego, New York, Walker worked as a schoolteacher to pay her way through medical school, graduating from Syracuse Medical College in 1855. She married one of her classmates, Albert Miller, and opened a joint practice in Rome, New York. When the Civil War broke out, Walker traveled to Washington, D.C. and attempted to enlist in the Union Army. Refused a place because of her gender, Walker persisted until she was given a series of temporary appointments as an assistant surgeon.

Attached to the 52nd Ohio Infantry, Walker was working among civilians (and possibly spying for her commander) when Confederate soldiers captured her in northern Georgia in 1864. Held captive for four months in Richmond, Virginia, Walker was released to rejoin her unit following a prisoner exchange. Lingering injuries from her imprisonment made Walker unable to practice medicine after the war. For the rest of her life she subsisted on fees as a public speaker on issues ranging from temperance to woman’s dress reform (she favored trousers). Her Medal of Honor was revoked in 1917 along with 910 others not received in uniformed combat but restored again in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter.

One of many women often overlooked when talking about strong and colorful women of that era. We should search them out and celebrate them when possible, in my opinion.

Coffee is going to be out on the patio again...OK?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Some Toothbrush History...!

Something that most of us use everyday, but seldom think about...that describes the toothbrush pretty well.

Now you might think the toothbrush is a fairly new invention, but it's been around for a lot longer than most would believe.

Who invented the toothbrush?

Looking for an innovative dental hygiene enthusiast to thank next time you polish your pearly whites? Turns out it’s not that simple. People have been cleaning their teeth for millennia, starting with the ancient Egyptians, who are thought to have scrubbed their choppers with a special powder made from ox hooves and eggshells as far back as 5000 B.C. The Romans opted for sticks with frayed ends, while the Greeks used rough cloths. About 800 years ago, the Chinese began fashioning proto-toothbrushes by attaching coarse animal hairs to bamboo or ivory handles; during the Middle Ages, travelers brought these devices to Europe.

Fast-forward to the late 18th century, when an Englishman named William Addis landed in jail for inciting a riot. To while away the time—and freshen up in the process—he carved a bone handle, drilled holes into it and inserted boar bristles that were held in place by wire. Addis starting mass-producing his contraption after leaving prison and died a wealthy man. In 1938 the DuPont company developed the first toothbrush with nylon fibers, which proved sturdier and more efficient than animal hairs. But in the United States, at least, it wasn’t until soldiers returned home from World War II indoctrinated with military hygiene habits that brushing one’s teeth regularly became a widespread practice.

So, I have to wonder if the design we have today is the one we will stay with? Knowing how mankind is, I reckon the whole design will change over and over, finally reaching a point where no new designs exist. After all, Man never seems to be satisfied, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio...surprise, surprise!

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Korean Monday Mystery...!

Most of the mysteries we review here on Monday are the typical murder, ghost, or crime type. Today we are going to look at a slightly different type. Different, but still amazingly sad.

Anytime a mystery involves women or children, the mystery seems to be even more sad. Any mystery that causes human misery is terrible and often almost impossible to fully understand.

The Strange Tale Of The Western Family Trapped In North Korea
By Morris M. on Friday, July 31, 2015

In 1978, promising young Romanian artist Doina Bumbea agreed to take a job in the Far East. It was the start of a nightmare. On arriving in Asia, Bumbea was kidnapped and smuggled into North Korea. There she was introduced to her real mission: to become the loving wife of American defector James Dresnok, now a PR tool for the regime. Together, they started a Western family in the heart of the most dangerous state on Earth. Her children remain trapped there to this day.

In 1962, Joe Dresnok was in trouble. A newly enlisted GI with few friends, a failing marriage and a discipline problem, he was due to be chewed out by his superiors for deserting his post. The reason had been a prostitute Joe was seeing near the South Korean base he was stationed on. He’d forged a superior’s signature to get to her. Now, with his chickens coming home to roost, Joe decided he’d had enough. Arming himself with a shotgun, he set out toward the Korean Demilitarized Zone. GI Joe was going to walk to North Korea.

As one of the first defectors to the Communist pariah state, Joe was a major PR coup for Kim Il Sung’s new regime. Along with three other Americans, he became part of the DPRK’s latest propaganda campaign; reading out radio messages to his countrymen about the glorious life he was living across the border. It would be fair to say his reports were exaggerated. In 1966, all four defectors escaped into the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, begging for asylum. The Russians responded by handing them back.

Yet Joe and his friends were too valuable to be just dumped in a gulag. Instead, the regime seems to have decided to make them as happy as possible. It wasn’t long after this that all four began to slowly accrue wives and mistresses, from the most improbable of places.

Fast-forward a decade, and Doina Bumbea had every reason to be happy. A beautiful, talented Romanian artist living in Rome, she’d just been offered lucrative work in the Far East—either Japan or Hong Kong, she was told. Boarding a plane, she jetted off to start her exciting new life, only to find it spiraling into a nightmare.

The plane took her to Pyongyang where she was detained and taken to a training camp. Soon after, she was introduced to Dresnok. While never confirmed, it’s been suggested women like Bumbea were chosen specifically by the regime to give the defectors something to live for. Whatever the truth, Bumbea, unable to leave North Korea, wound up marrying Joe. They had two children, Joe Jr. and Ted. Bumbea wasn’t even 30.

Not long after, Dresnok turned deeply abusive. A fellow defector who escaped back to the West in 2004 claimed Joe was an “eager torturer.” He beat his friends to a pulp. He bullied his wife physically and emotionally. By 1981, Bumbea was desperate to escape. But there was nowhere to go. Officially, North Korea denied her existence. In 1997 she died of cancer, unable to lay eyes on her beloved Italy one final time.

The tale doesn’t end there. At time of writing, Joe Jr. and Ted are still trapped in North Korea under the watchful eye of their abusive father. The Kim regime denies they exist. The US State Department avoids asking about them. Despite being perhaps the only Western-looking North Koreans in existence, no one knows what has happened to them. Are they happy there, praising the Dear Leader? Or, like their mother, do they yearn to leave the Hermit Kingdom and strike out for Romania, Italy, the US? The sad truth is we may never know.

To hear a story like this makes me feel so blessed to be living where I live. For the most part, I'm allowed to live the way I want. Certainly without the restrictions a country such as North Korea imposes. Thanks to the folks over at Knowledgenuts for this story.

Coffee out on the patio , hot or not!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Roadrunner Sunday...!

Seems like everyone likes the Roadrunner and the Coyote. Never seems to get old!

And just one more!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, right?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Armadillo Fights Back...!

Over at Yahoo News, I found a story that could only be from Texas! Seems as though the Armadillos are fighting back. Guess it's true that you don't mess with Mother Nature.

Texas man shoots armadillo, gets hit in face by bullet ricochet
Reuters By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS (Reuters) - An East Texas man was wounded after he fired a gun at an armadillo in his yard and the bullet ricocheted back to hit him in his face, the county sheriff said on Friday.

Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said the man, who was not identified, went outside his home in Marietta, southwest of Texarkana, at around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. He spotted the armadillo on his property and opened fire.

"His wife was in the house. He went outside and took his .38 revolver and shot three times at the armadillo," Rowe said.

The animal's hard shell deflected at least one of three bullets, which then struck the man's jaw, he said.

The man was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where his jaw was wired shut, according to Rowe.

The status of the animal is unknown.

"We didn't find the armadillo," the sheriff said.

Ya know, it's bad enough when the critters start fighting back. But to fight back by throwing your own bullets back in your direction seems a little weird to me. We have some frisky critters around Texas, I guess!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Watch out for the fighting critters, OK?