Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let's Finish The Year With Music...

I can't think of a better way to finish out the new year than with some good ol' music from over the years past.

Now these are a few of my all time favorite songs and bring back a lot of good memories for me. After all, that's what the New Year is all about...right ? Looking back at fond memories while making plans for the new ones to come !

Just one more...

That's all I had for this morning. Plenty more musical memories, but I don't have the room to show them all!

Coffee in the kitchen again!

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Watch Of Casey Jones...!

Call it fate or just ironic, but whatever the reason it's never the less amazing that this watch survived.

In case you are unfamiliar with who Casey Jones was, here is a little history that will tell more about him, and why this watch is a great story all it's own.

Casey Jones’s Pocket Watch

Photo credit: Tennessee Crossroads/YouTube

Railroad enthusiasts know the story of John Luther “Casey” Jones, a train engineer who heroically died saving his passengers during a collision near Vaughn, Mississippi. While approaching the station at Vaughn, Jones and his signalman noticed something on the track ahead. They realized too late that it was the tail end of another train that was too long to fit its siding. The signalman leaped from the cab (on Jones’s orders), leaving Casey to his fate. A few seconds later, Jones’s train collided head-on with the other cars.

When Jones’s badly mangled body was pulled from the wreckage later that day, it was found that his pocket watch had stopped at 3:52 AM, the exact time of the impact. Although Jones died as a result of the crash, his actions ensured that he was the only fatality. No one else involved with either train suffered more than minor injuries.

Strange how things like this can just pop up when you least expect them. Another story of a true hero of our past that lives on in only a few hearts and minds.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning...OK?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Texas Becomes Official...!

It took a long time and was a long fight, but on this day in 1845 history was made.

Many folks went through hell to get us here, but here we stand today. Here is a little history of how Texas made it to this point.

Texas enters the Union

Six months after the congress of the Republic of Texas accepts U.S. annexation of the territory, Texas is admitted into the United States as the 28th state.

After gaining independence from Spain in the 1820s, Mexico welcomed foreign settlers to sparsely populated Texas, and a large group of Americans led by Stephen F. Austin settled along the Brazos River. The Americans soon outnumbered the resident Mexicans, and by the 1830s attempts by the Mexican government to regulate these semi-autonomous American communities led to rebellion. In March 1836, in the midst of armed conflict with the Mexican government, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

The Texas volunteers initially suffered defeat against the forces of Mexican General Santa Anna–the Alamo fell and Sam Houston’s troops were forced into an eastward retreat. However, in late April, Houston’s troops surprised a Mexican force at San Jacinto, and Santa Anna was captured, bringing an end to Mexico’s efforts to subdue Texas.

The citizens of the independent Republic of Texas elected Sam Houston president but also endorsed the entrance of Texas into the Union. The likelihood of Texas joining the Union as a slave state delayed any formal action by the U.S. Congress for more than a decade. In 1844, Congress finally agreed to annex the territory of Texas. On December 29, 1845, Texas entered the United States as a slave state, broadening the irrepressible differences in the United States over the issue of slavery and setting off the Mexican-American War.

Many fine people make their home here in the Lone Star State, and most are glad to be here. Not many places could boast about record setting high temps of 82 degrees this late into December. I took this information from the folks over at

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Banana bread and butter already set out!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carry Nation For Western Wednesday...!

Although we may not think of her as a western figure, she was very much a part of the wild times of our early history.

Armed with some rocks, her hatchet, and a very dour expression she waged a personal war against the "demon rum" as she called it.

Carry Nation attacks a Kansas saloon

Convinced that her righteous campaign against alcohol justified her aggressive tactics, Carry Nation attacks a saloon in Wichita, Kansas, shattering a large mirror behind the bar and throwing rocks at a titillating painting of Cleopatra bathing.

Carry Nation’s lifelong battle against alcohol reflected a larger reformist spirit that swept through the nation in the early 20th century and led to laws against everything from child labor to impure food and drugs. But Nation’s hatred of alcohol was also a deeply personal struggle–in 1867, she married an Ohio physician who had a serious alcohol problem. Despite Nation’s efforts to reform him, her husband’s drinking problem eventually destroyed their marriage and he died shortly after they split.

Nation remarried, this time to a Texas minister. She and her new husband moved in 1889 to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, at a time when much of the state was emerging from its wild frontier days. Convinced that drinking was the root cause of all social evil, Nation decided to close down the saloons in Medicine Lodge and other Kansas cities by traveling throughout the state and preaching her temperance message. Nation soon found that her inspiring speeches against “demon rum” had little effect on the wilder citizens of Kansas, though, so she decided to take more aggressive action. Claiming she was inspired by powerful “visions,” in 1900 she began a series of well-publicized attacks on Kansas saloons using her favorite weapon of moral righteousness–her trusty hatchet.

At six feet tall and 175 pounds, the hatchet-wielding Nation was an intimidating sight. She relished chopping up barrels of whiskey, destroying expensive bar fixtures, and berating the stunned bar owners and patrons for their evil habits. The sale of alcohol was already illegal in Kansas but the law was largely ignored, so Nation reasoned that it was the responsibility of law-abiding citizens to destroy not only the alcohol but also the saloons that sold it. Local law enforcement, however, did not usually agree, and Nation was frequently jailed for her disturbances.

Although Nation’s campaign of saloon vandalism won her national fame, the immediate results were disappointing. She managed to pressure Kansas into enforcing its prohibition laws more aggressively, but when she died in 1911, most of the country still sanctioned the sale of alcohol. Ironically, by the time the U.S. adopted prohibition in 1920, Nation was largely forgotten–but the hatchet-wielding Kansas reformer unquestionably helped lay the foundation for America’s “noble experiment.”

Ya know, just her size alone back in those days would be enough to strike fear in most drinkers, I think. The fact that she was armed with a hatchet probably didn't do much to make her seem less frightening.

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Legend Of "Stagger Lee"...

So many of the songs we have grown accustomed to over the years were the work of some song writer's imagination, but a few of them are based on actual happenings. Such was the story of Stagger Lee.

The legend of “Stagger Lee” is born

Murder and mayhem have been the subject of many popular songs over the years, though more often than not, the tales around which such songs revolve tend to be wholly fictional. Johnny Cash never shot a man in Reno, and the events related in such famous story songs as “El Paso” and “I Shot The Sheriff” never actually took place. The same cannot be said, however, about “Stagger Lee”—a song that has drifted from the facts somewhat over the course of its many lives in the last 100-plus years, but a song inspired by an actual murder that took place on this day in 1895, in a St. Louis, Missouri, barroom argument involving a man named Billy and another named “Stag” Lee.

Under the headline “Shot in Curtis’s Place,” the story that ran in the next day’s edition of the St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat began, “William Lyons, 25, colored, a levee hand… was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o’clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis… by Lee Sheldon, also colored.” According to the Globe-Democrat’s account, Billy Lyons and “Stag” Lee Sheldon “had been drinking and were in exuberant spirits” when an argument over “politics” boiled over, and Lyons “snatched Sheldon’s hat from his head.” While subsequent musical renditions of this story would depict the dispute as one over gambling, they would preserve the key detail of “Stag” Lee Sheldon’s headwear and of his matter-of-fact response to losing it: “Sheldon drew his revolver and shot Lyons in the abdomen… When his victim fell to the floor Sheldon took his hat from the hand of the wounded man and coolly walked away.”

In his 2003 book Stagolee Shot Billy, based on his earlier doctoral dissertation on the subject, scholar Cecil Brown recounts the story of how the real “Stag” Lee became an iconic figure in African-American folklore and how his story became the subject of various musical renderings “from the [age of the] steamboat to the electronic age in the American 21st century.” The most famous of those musical renditions were 1928’s “Stack O’ Lee Blues” by Mississippi John Hurt and 1959’s “Stagger Lee,” an unlikely #1 pop hit for Lloyd Price. Versions of the story have also appeared, however, in songs by artists as wide-ranging as Woody Guthrie, Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, James Brown, The Clash, the Grateful Dead and Nick Cave.

Funny, isn't it, how something that happened so long ago can become part of the fabric of our past. I reckon that the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. We are setting record high temps here in Houston.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Strange Cube For Monday Mystery...!

Back again with another find of something that couldn't be explained, that shouldn't even exist...yet does!

Mother Nature really likes to stir things up for us when we get to thinking we know it all, doesn't She? This just proves how wrong we can be, thinking that way!

Salzburg Cube

In 1885, Reidl, an employee at an Austrian foundry, discovered the mysterious Salzburg Cube (also known as the Wolfsegg Iron). He cracked open a seam of coal to find a strange-looking iron cube inside it. It had many cracks and little holes in it, as well as a strange color and a deep fissure down the middle. Reidl had never seen anything like it before, so after showing it to his boss, they turned it over to the Heimathaus Museum.

The next year, a professor at the museum named Adolf Gurlt studied the cube and determined it to be part of a meteorite. But further studies by the Natural History Museum in Vienna proved that it was not in fact a meteorite, but artificially manufactured from an unknown source. It is thought that the coal that “produced” the Salzburg Cube was at least 60 million years old.

Adding to the mystery of the Cube is how some people actually believe it to have vanished. The reasons for this range from it being part of a shadowy conspiracy to it simply being debunked as a worthless piece of rock and tossed away as such. This, of course ignores the fact that the Cube does in fact exist, and can be found safely on display at its usual home, the Heimathaus Museum in Vienna.

Ya know, we could go crazy just thinking about the stuff around us that we know nothing about. It's not worth spending a lot of time trying to figure it all out. In the course of our lifetimes, there are way too many unexplained why waste time worrying about it, right?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning! Sure is some nice weather outside.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas, Everyone...!

Just wanted to drop in this morning and wish everyone a very happy holiday. So, everyone that celebrates it...have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS !

Please remember the real reason for the season !

Coffee out on the patio this morning and... Merry Christmas !

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Origin Of The Christmas Cookie...!

What kind of Christmas would it be without a fresh batch of freshly baked cookies ? Sad, I reckon.

Although the real reason for celebrating this holiday is certainly more than mere baked goods, the aroma of cookies right out of the oven reminds us just how special this day is. Take a look at the long history of the cookie over the years and you'll see what I mean !

The Medieval History of the Christmas Cookie
DECEMBER 18, 2013 By Stephanie Butler

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when cooks around the country take to their kitchens to bake cookies galore. Whether you prefer gingerbread men, crisp springerle or crunchy biscotti, chances are you’ll enjoy some fresh baked Christmas cookies this holiday season. Like many Christmas traditions, the origin of this delicious custom lies ages ago, in solstice rituals conducted long before Christmas became the huge commercial holiday it is today.

Winter solstice festivals have been held for eons, across the world. From Norway to West Africa, Ireland to India, groups of people gathered to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Celebrations revolved around food; after all, you had to feast before the famine of the winter. Solstice often meant the arrival of the first frost, so animals could be killed and kept safely to eat through the winter, and fermented beverages like beer and wine that had been brewed in the spring were finally ready to drink. As any modern host knows, a hearty roast and a stiff drink need just one thing to complete the party: dessert.

By the Middle Ages, the Christmas holiday had overtaken solstice rituals throughout much of present-day Europe. However, the old feast traditions remained. And while the roast and drink recipes were probably quite similar to what earlier Europeans had enjoyed, the pastry world was experiencing some amazing changes. Spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper were just starting to be widely used, and dried exotic fruits like citron, apricots and dates added sweetness and texture to the dessert tray. These items, along with ingredients like sugar, lard and butter, would have been prized as expensive delicacies by medieval cooks. Only on the most important holiday could families afford treats like these, which led to a baking bonanza to prepare for Christmas. And unlike pies or cakes, cookies could be easily shared and given to friends and neighbors. Our modern Christmas cookies date back to these medieval gifts.

Though cookies have come a long way since medieval times, some things haven’t changed. Many Christmas cookies are still heavily spiced. We think of “traditional” Christmas flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and those are exactly the same spices medieval cooks would have used in their cookies ages ago. Gingerbread is a classic Christmas cookie, and yet it’s also a cookie that would have tasted strikingly similar back in the Middle Ages. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace combine to make a snappy, spicy taste, just like they would have back then. And gingerbread uses molasses as a sweetener, something that medieval cooks would appreciate as refined sugar was so expensive. These cooks would not have made gingerbread men, however. The first person to try that was none other than Queen Elizabeth I of England, who had the cookie molded into the shapes of her favorite courtiers.

Cookies have long been a favorite snack of mine. Just ask those closest to me and they will agree ! Regardless of the time of the year, I do like my cookies !

Coffee outside on the patio this morning with...guess what ? FRESH COOKIES !!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sorry...I forgot !

So go ahead and just shoot me! I totally forgot to post anything for this morning !

Ya know, this has been more and more like a normal occurrence as of late. I tend to forget important stuff or get distracted and next thing you know...well, you get the idea. Part of the problem is that I live alone and don't have anyone to remind me when I do forget the important stuff, like posting.

Living alone is a choice for me. It has it's good points and sometimes it has some bad. Since all my cats are outdoors now, I don't have them to converse with. Anyway, that's the reason (excuse) that I didn't post anything for today. Normally, I post ahead of time and schedule the publishing for the next day, but this time I forgot !

BTW...Momlady sent me a care package and I was very happy to get it ! Thanks so much to Momlady and daughter K for all the goodies! This is the kind of stuff that goes good with coffee, so I'll share a bit!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Feels like Spring outside!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Bloody Massacre In Jamestown...!

Not all of the relations with the Indians back in the early days were peaceful. Not by a long shot!

The Massacre Of 1622

Photo credit: Matthaus Merian the Elder

The attack on the colony of Jamestown that erupted on the morning of March 22, 1622, proved to be one of the deadliest days in the history of colonial America. Angered by the growing English population and the less than friendly manner of the English colonists who began settling away from the coast, the Powhatan tribe surprised the citizens of Jamestown and ultimately killed 347 of them.

The massacre, which was part of a larger Powhatan uprising, nearly ended the English colony of Virginia. One-sixth of all Virginians were killed on March 22, while many others became lost or were taken prisoner.

I'd say the Indians did a number on Jamestown with this attack. To lose one-sixth of your people in one attack has got to be devastating, to say the least!

Coffee out on the patio where it seems as though Spring has shown up once more!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fetterman Massacre For Western Wednesday...!

I think we sometimes forget that the Native Americans were first and foremost excellent warriors and tacticians in the ways of war against their enemies.

Underestimating their abilities lead to several disastrous battles for the U.S. troops. This is the story of one such battle.

Indians massacre Fetterman and eighty soldiers

Determined to challenge the growing American military presence in their territory, Indians in northern Wyoming lure Lieutenant Colonel William Fetterman and his soldiers into a deadly ambush on this day in 1866.

Tensions in the region started rising in 1863, when John Bozeman blazed the Bozeman Trail, a new route for emigrants traveling to the Montana gold fields. Bozeman’s trail was of questionable legality since it passed directly through hunting grounds that the government had promised to the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. Thus when Colorado militiamen murdered more than two hundred peaceful Cheyenne during the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, the Indians began to take revenge by attacking whites all across the Plains, including the emigrants traveling the Bozeman Trail. The U.S. government responded by building a series of protective forts along the trail; the largest and most important of these was Fort Phil Kearney, erected in 1866 in north-central Wyoming.

Indians under the leadership of Red Cloud and Crazy Horse began to focus their attacks on Fort Phil Kearney, constantly harassing the soldiers and raiding their wood and supply parties. On December 6, 1866, Crazy Horse discovered to his surprise that he could lead a small detachment of soldiers into a fatal ambush by dismounting from his horse and fleeing as if he were defenseless. Struck by the foolish impulsiveness of the soldiers, Crazy Horse and Red Cloud reasoned that perhaps a much larger force could be lured into a similar deadly trap.

On the bitterly cold morning of December 21, about 2,000 Indians concealed themselves along the road just north of Fort Phil Kearney. A small band made a diversionary attack on a party of woodcutters from the fort, and commandant Colonel Henry Carrington quickly ordered Colonel Fetterman to go to their aid with a company of 80 troopers. Crazy Horse and 10 decoy warriors then rode into view of the fort. When Carrington fired an artillery round at them, the decoys ran away as if frightened. The party of woodcutters made it safely back to the fort, but Colonel Fetterman and his men chased after the fleeing Crazy Horse and his decoys, just as planned. The soldiers rode straight into the ambush and were wiped out in a massive attack during which some 40,000 arrows rained down on the hapless troopers. None of them survived.

With 81 fatalities, the Fetterman Massacre was the army’s worst defeat in the West until the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Further Indian attacks eventually forced the army to reconsider its commitment to protecting the Bozeman Trail, and in 1868 the military abandoned the forts and pulled out. It was one of only a handful of clear Indian victories in the Plains Indian Wars.

This is the kind of thing that the U.S.troops faced time and again. By not treating the Indians as seasoned fighters, the troops never really had a chance. Poor leadership and planning lead to more than one defeat on the battlefield.

Coffee in the kitchen again today, but it smells like cookies baking so that's a good thing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Treadmills As Punishment...?

Anyone that's ever been to the gym may agree that the treadmill seems to be punishment after the first mile or two.

Guess what? That's how it got started...really! Back when it was first invented, folks thought it was good for the criminals to get a little exercise once in a while, I reckon. Here is the story from the pages over at Listverse!

Treadmills Started As A Punishment For Criminals

Photo credit:

If you’ve ever been running in a gym and thought, “this is torture,” you’re more right than you know. Treadmills were originally built to make people suffer.

The first treadmill was built in 1818 by William Cubit. It was a wooden cylinder equipped with a handrail that worked like a hamster wheel, making the users walk without ever getting anywhere. Cubit put these treadmills in prisons, where they’d make convicted criminals walk on them for up to 10 hours a day.

After a while, the wardens realized they could hook treadmills up to grain grinders and water pumps to work as cheap energy sources. Soon, treadmills were in prisons all over Britain, and a few even spread to prisons across the pond.

At the turn of the century, however, the voice of the people declared that walking on treadmills was too cruel a punishment for even the worst of criminals.

I think that the treadmill seems like a good way to get rid of some excess anger and aggression in the prisons, but that's just me. Can't be much worse than lifting weights or boxing, can it?

Coffee in thew kitchen one more time, being Winter and all.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sugarloaf Mountain For Monday Mystery...

Once in a while there comes along something so strange, no one seems to understand it. Sugarloaf Mountain is like that!

Sugarloaf Mountain

Photo via

Towering above Rio de Janeiro, Sugarloaf Mountain stands 396 meters (1,299 ft) tall and is a world-famous geological feature. However, the strange signs, symbols, and texts which once appeared on the sides of the granite peak are mysterious indeed. In October 2013, green laser beams created “scrambled symbols” suggestive of a cryptic message. An eerie hologram resembling a pinwheel of four feathers framed by intersecting curved lines remained on the side of the mountain for two hours before gradually vanishing, to be replaced by the text: “#WINNER TAKES EARTH.”

Some suppose the mysterious messages may have been related to Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup competition, but the meaning of the bizarre messages remains a mystery.

Now, I don't know about you, but that message alone would be enough to seriously creep me out! I wonder just who sent it and how?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning again!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Funny Old Christmas Somgs...

C' knew they were coming, right? How could you not guess?

Actually, some of us will remember these fun little ditties from long ago. Some are a real hoot, I tell ya!

And one more...

There! Now that we got those out of the way, we can have our coffee!

BTW, we have to have coffee in the kitchen this morning. Cold outside again!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now...?

I'm sure that from time to time, we have all gotten something in our ear. Maybe a gnat, or 'skeeter, ya know something just very annoying. Imagine then how this woman must have felt!


Photo via The Independent

In 2016, Victoria Price, of Porthcawl, Wales, experienced an earache following her daily swim. She thought water might have been trapped in her ear or that she might have a perforated eardrum.

When her husband examined her ear, he told her that he thought there was something alive inside. At the hospital, using a pair of forceps, triage nurse Sarah Gaze removed a large, “wriggly” spider from Price’s ear. Despite her experience, Price said she is not afraid of spiders.

I got this article from the folks over at Listverse. If you want to see some other things that have been removed from peoples' ears, you can read about it right here!

Coffee out on the patio again today Spring today, but Winter again tomorrow!

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Post Office Boondoggle...!

What is a boondoggle, you may ask...good question!

In this case, a boondoggle has to do with government spending for a crazy idea. We all know that the government spending can and has gotten way out of control over the years. Here's one more totally outlandish example for you.

Promoting Letter Writing

The US Postal Service (USPS) caught Proxmire’s eye when it spent $4 million on a 1975–76 ad campaign intended to motivate US citizens to write more letters. According to postal authorities, the USPS was losing money on every category of mail except first class, which alone earned 30 cents in profit and helped to pay “general overhead.

”The ad campaign was supposed to help the USPS determine whether such marketing could increase revenue, but Proxmire wasn’t buying the explanation. “There is a very great question,” he said, “of whether a government-subsidized agency should be in the game of trying to drum up more business for itself.”He issued the Golden Fleece Award to the USPS in July 1977.

In case you are wondering who exactly Proxmire is, he created the "Golden Fleece Awards" just for cases like this. Gotta give him credit for that!

Once more it's coffee out on the patio. Cold front hasn't gotten here yet!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Glenn Miller Goes Missing...!

One of the all time favorites of the music scene during the Big Band days was Glenn Miller.

With his very distinct sound resulting from insightful arraignments, his popularity grew very quickly during the era of Swing, and his music can still be heard on sites like YouTube.

Legendary bandleader Glenn Miller disappears over the English Channel

General James Doolittle of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), hero of the daring “Doolittle Raid” on mainland Japan and later the unified commander of Allied air forces in Europe in World War II, offered the following high praise to one of his staff officers in 1944: “Next to a letter from home, Captain Miller, your organization is the greatest morale builder in the European Theater of Operations.” The Captain Miller in question was the trombonist and bandleader Glenn Miller, the biggest star on the American pop-music scene in the years immediately preceding World War II and a man who set aside his brilliant career right at its peak in 1942 to serve his country as leader of the USAAF dance band. It was in that capacity that Captain Glenn Miller boarded a single-engine aircraft at an airfield outside of London on December 15, 1944—an aircraft that would go missing over the English Channel en route to France for a congratulatory performance for American troops that had recently helped to liberate Paris.

It would be difficult to overstate the magnitude of Glenn Miller’s success in the years immediately proceeding America’s entry into World War II. Though he was a relatively unspectacular instrumentalist himself—he’d played the trombone in various prominent orchestras but never distinguished himself as a performer—Miller the bandleader came to dominate the latter portion of the swing era on the strength of his disciplined arrangements and an innovation in orchestration that put the high-pitched clarinet on the melody line doubled by the saxophone section an octave below. This trademark sound helped the Glenn Miller Orchestra earn an unprecedented string of popular hits from 1939 to 1942, including the iconic versions of numbers like “In The Mood” (1939), “Tuxedo Junction” (1939) and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” (1941), as well as Miller’s self-penned signature tune, “Moonlight Serenade” (1939).

The Glenn Miller Orchestra played its last-ever concert under Miller’s direction on September 27, 1942, in Passaic, New Jersey, and shortly thereafter, Miller entered the Army. After nearly two years spent stateside broadcasting a weekly radio program called I Sustain The Wings out of New York City, Miller formed a new 50-piece USAAF dance band and departed for England in the summer of 1944, giving hundreds of performances to Allied troops over the next six months before embarking on his fateful trip to France on this day in 1944.

The wreckage of Miller’s plane was never found. His official military status remains Missing in Action.

One can only imagine the joy and comfort that a small taste of home, even by music, must have brought to the troops. Every little bit counts at a time like that, I reckon.

Coffee in the kitchen again. Rain and cold are coming back!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Joseph Walker On Western Wednesday...!

Took a special individual to take off into the great unknown of the wild west back in the day. That lifestyle wasn't for just anyone, ya know?

Joseph Walker born in Tennessee

Joseph Reddeford Walker, one of the greatest trailblazing mountain men and the first Anglo-American to see Yosemite, is born in Tennessee.

Although he had little formal education, Walker was an exceptionally intelligent explorer and leader, possessing an extraordinary ability to read and remember the geography and topography of uncharted regions. When he was 20 years old, Walker joined an illegal hunting and trapping expedition into the Mexican-controlled territory in the southern Rocky Mountains. Arrested by the Mexican authorities, Walker served a brief prison term in Santa Fe, but then turned the situation to his favor by helping the Mexicans in their war against Pawnee raiders, earning rare trading privileges as a reward.

Walker’s journeys into the relatively unexplored far western regions of the continent began in 1832 when he met Captain Benjamin Bonneville, who asked him to join his trapping and trading expedition into the West. The following year, Walker, probably at the behest of Bonneville, embarked on a daring journey west into the Mexican province of Alta California, a feat that had only been accomplished by two other Anglos, Jedediah Smith and Peter Ogden. Ignoring the trails blazed by his predecessors, Walker instead led a small group of men on a new route through the Sierras that proved far more challenging than expected, and at several points the explorers were reduced to eating their horses to stay alive. But after crossing the Continental Divide on November 13, 1833, Walker and his men were rewarded with an amazing sight that no Anglo-American had ever before seen: the mighty redwoods and majestic waterfalls of the Yosemite Valley. Later in life, every man in the troop recalled that day of discovery as among the greatest of his life.

In subsequent years, Walker continued to use his voluminous knowledge of western geography as an employee of the American Fur Company and as a guide for explorers like John C. Fremont. He also led countless emigrant parties to California. His wide-ranging travels took him all the way north to the headwaters of the Missouri in Montana and led to memorable partnerships and adventures with other famous trailblazers like Kit Carson and Jim Bridger. When he finally settled down on his California ranch in 1867, nearly blind and approaching 70 years old, the intrepid mountain man remembered a single day as the best of his life, and asked that a remembrance of it be carved on his tombstone: “Camped at Yosemite, Nov. 13, 1833.”

Like I said, it took a special kind of man to live that lifestyle and we can all thank Joseph Walker for blazing the way for so many of us to follow.

Coffewe out on the patio one more time, before it turns cold again!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Unsolved Codes For Tuesday...

How cool would it be to find a way to solve an old mystery, or crack a secret code for the first time?

Well, here's your chance to crack that code. People have been working on this thing for a very long time. Part of it has been solve, but the remainder hasn't. Want to take a shot?


Photo credit: Jim Sanborn

In 1990, sculptor Jim Sanborn set up a sculpture, Kryptos, at CIA headquarters. On Kryptos are 865 characters that make up four coded messages, set up as a challenge for the nation’s brightest to solve.

The first three have already been deciphered. An NSA employee actually cracked it first, as early as 1993. By 1998, a CIA analyst had solved it, and in 1999, Jim Gillogly became the first private citizen to crack the code.

The fourth part, though, has never been solved:

In 2010, Sanborn gave away part of the code: “NYPVTT” should be deciphered as “Berlin.” Four years later, he revealed that “MZFPK” means “clock.”

“There are several really interesting clocks in Berlin,” Sanborn hinted. “You’d better delve into that.”

Amazing how long this monument has gone uncracked, especially given it's location.

Coffee out on the patio today, where Spring seems to have come again!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Moving Mountain For Monday Mystery...!

Now I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack, but even I know that mountains aren't supposed to move.

I mean, I can see them drifting away a little at a time or something like that, but changing direction every year...that's certainly got me buffaloed!

Moving Mountain

Photo credit: Tanzania Zalendo

Mountains aren’t supposed to move, but a towering mountain of sand is doing just that, traveling at a pace of 20 meters (66 ft) each year. It’s not just the massive dune that moves, either. According to Tanzania’s former president Jakaya Kikwete, a handful of the mountain’s sand “continued to move” even after he’d transferred it to his car.

Standing 10 meters (33 ft) tall by 100 meters (330 ft) wide, the crescent-shaped mountain of sand changes shape and direction every decade. It once even split in two and traveled in different directions. It’s believed to be the product of a volcanic eruption. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority uses beacons to track and predict the mountain’s movements.

Now, I may be crazy, but moving about 66 feet a year seems almost to be something that a living thing would do, ya know? I can guarantee that if I put some of this and in my car and it started moving...well, then it's good bye car!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Back in the 70s again . Guess Winter's over for us!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Secret Path Of The Dung Beetle...!

Just how smart can an insect like the Dung Beetle be? Turns out they are pretty darn smart!

Who would believe that this lowly insect can navigate using the stars? Takes some serious smarts to do that, I would think!

Insect Photographer

Photo credit: Andi Gentsch

Don’t expect to see dung beetle paparazzi any time soon. That will just freak Vin Diesel out. But they do love photography—their version of it anyway.

Dung beetles do a little dance on top of a poop ball (where else?) during which they mentally take “snapshots” of the sky. Researchers believe that they do this to determine their position and that the dance creates a memory of their geographical and celestial surroundings.

Afterward, they drop off the ball and can travel in a straight line. For a long time, it’s been known that insects, dung beetles included, use the light of the Milky Way to find their way. However, the beetles now show more advanced navigational abilities. During their dancing, these bug astronomers create an internal memory of the positions of the Sun, Moon, and stars. They then use this stored image to travel where they want to go.

It remains a mystery whether they use any other ways to plot their position. So far, none have been found. They certainly don’t use anything else that would make their lives easier. Even when the sky is completely hidden behind clouds, dung beetles don’t follow landscape cues like most other insects do.

See? I told ya they were smart little critters...well. maybe except for that rolling around a big ol' ball of sh*t and using it to lay eggs in.

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning, but it's supposed to warm back up later!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Pirate Story For Saturday...!

We haven't had a good pirate tale in a while, so I decided to post one today.

Actually it's more a story about a part of Captain Kidd's lost treasure and I think it might surprise you some. Who knew that they carried as much wealth on their ships as they did. Guess they didn't worry too much about getting robbed.

Captain Kidd’s Lost Treasure

Photo credit: Ancient Origins

A UK–US archaeological team recently discovered a mysterious 55-kilogram (120 lb) bar of silver in the shallows off Sainte Marie Island in Madagascar. The find might have belonged to the infamous Scottish pirate Captain Kidd.

The team was led by Barry Clifford, who previously discovered remnants of Kidd’s ship, Adventure Galley. In 2000, Clifford found a metal oarlock, Ming porcelain, and 300-year-old bottles of rum. He believes that the silver bar is part of the same wreck.

Enigmatic engravings cloak the silver. The letters “T” and “S” appear prominently along with smaller numerical carvings. Kidd was a privateer in the Caribbean for years before he turned to the more profitable trade of piracy.

When Kidd was captured in Boston in 1699, the jewels in his ship were valued at nearly $10 million in 2015 dollars. Kidd met his fate on the gallows in 1701. The remainder of his treasure was never found.

If he had 10 million in jewels aboard when he was captured, one can only imagine how much more he had hidden away, ya know? Bet that bit of info sent lots of treasure hunters out searching.

Coffee in the kitchen once again. Anyone want some cinnamon toast and hot chocolate?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Iron Hand For Freaky Friday...!

Yep...I said Iron Hand, a real one at that!

This story just shows how some folks, even given a second chance at a good life, revert back to their old life styles. Guess some people never change their bad habits.

Gotz Of The Iron Hand

Photo credit:

Gottfried “Gotz” von Berlichingen was an infamous German mercenary with a prosthetic arm that matched his fearsome reputation. During the 1504 siege of Landshut, Gotz lost his right arm to a cannon blast. He survived and commissioned armor with an artificial iron limb.

Internal gears controlled the articulated fingers of the iron prosthesis. The new limb was strong enough to handle a sword and delicate enough to clutch a quill. For 40 years, “Gotz of the Iron Hand” continued to terrorize the German countryside.

Born nearly 500 years ago in Wurttemberg, Gotz was a knight of the Holy Roman Emperor but spent much of his time robbing merchants and noblemen. He is now remembered as a Robin Hood–like figure. Gotz’s groundbreaking prosthesis is celebrated by Germans as a symbol of their national ingenuity.

Pretty advanced prosthetic for the times, I'd say. Doesn't look that bad, either.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's cold outside!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Radium Underwear...!

Humans have gone through some crazy trends before, but this might just be one of the craziest!

Radioactive Underwear

Photo credit:

Before the effects of radioactivity were fully understood, people believed it to be a treatment for everything. From the 1920s to the 1950s, radium could be found in cosmetics, food, and even underwear.

Advertisements claimed that problems in the bedroom could be solved with the “Radiendocrinator,” or “radium underwear.” Although it may sound idiotic to consider radioactive underwear as a treatment, radioactivity was something completely new and natural in those times.

Radium exists in hot springs, which were considered extremely healthy as well, so the hype for this “new discovered, natural wonder” is more understandable. Both men and women bought “glowing underwear” or stuffed radioactive pads inside their underpants.

I believe I'll jst pass on this. I don't want any part of me glowing in the dark, especially my privates! Call me crazy...

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Gonna get cold outside!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Temporary Home For Lewis And Clark...

Since it's Western Wednesday, let's talk abut Lewis and Clark for a moment.

The folks on the expedition didn't just sit idle, but built a fort as a temporary home. I'm sure they needed some resting time and a chance to regroup before returning home. I know I would.

1805 Lewis and Clark temporarily settle in Fort Clatsop

Having spied the Pacific Ocean for the first time a few weeks earlier, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark cross to the south shore of the Columbia River (near modern-day Portland) and begin building the small fort that would be their winter home.

Lewis, Clark, and their men deserved a rest. During the past year, they had made the difficult trip from the upper Missouri River across the rugged Rockies, and down the Columbia River to the ocean. Though they planned to return home by retracing their steps in the spring, the Corps of Discovery settled in the relatively mild climate of the Pacific Coast while winter raged in the mountain highlands.

For their fort, Lewis and Clark picked a site three miles up Netul Creek (now Lewis and Clark River), because it had a ready supply of elk and deer and convenient access to the ocean, which the men used to make salt. The men finished building a small log fortress by Christmas Eve; they named their new home Fort Clatsop, in honor of the local Indian tribe.

During the three months they spent at Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark reworked their journals and began preparing the scientific information they had gathered. Clark labored long hours drawing meticulous maps that proved to be among the most valuable fruits of the expedition. After talking with local Indians, the two men determined that they had taken an unnecessarily difficult path through the Rockies, and planned alternate routes for the return journey. Meanwhile, the enlisted men and fellow travelers hunted and trapped-they killed and ate more than 100 elk and 20 deer during their stay.

While the stay at Fort Clatsop was peaceful, it was not entirely pleasant. The Clatsop Indian tribe was friendly, but Clark noted that the Indians were hard bargainers, which caused the expedition party to rapidly deplete its supply of gifts and trading goods, and eventually caused some resentment on both sides. Most vexing, though, was the damp coastal weather–rain fell all but twelve days of the expedition’s three-month stay. The men found it impossible to keep dry, and their damp furs and hides rotted and became infested with vermin. Nearly everyone suffered from persistent colds and rheumatism.

The expedition departed for home from soggy Fort Clatsop on March 23, 1806. The region they explored later became the state of Oregon–Lewis and Clark’s journey strengthened the American claim to the northwest and blazed a trail that was followed by thousands of trappers and settlers.

Can you imagine what those days must have been like...seeing sights never seen by white men before and having a first hand view of the Pacific Ocean? Exciting times I would imagine!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, before the cold front moves in!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Shrimp Just Showing Off...!

Nature can come up with some fancy camouflage for her critters, but She also can dress them up nice and pretty as well.

This guy doesn't seem to fear that he may be attacked or eaten, so he just lets it all hang out! Kind of in your face, isn't it?

Emperor Shrimp

The tiny, colorful emperor shrimp looks looks more like a piece of candy than a living thing, but its striking color serves a very important purpose . . . actually, we have no idea why they’re so colorful, despite the fact that they’ve been studied since 1967. It’s possible that they just have no need for camouflage. Emperor shrimp live almost exclusively on the backs of a type of sea slug known as a nudibranch, specifically the Hexabranchus marginatus, which has few predators because it absorbs toxins from its food. There’s really nothing out there that would attack them anyway, so maybe they’re just showing off.

To me, it looks like the white on his body could almost be lace. Certainly is eye-catching, don't you think?

Coffee in the kitchen once again!

Monday, December 5, 2016

What Happened To Auto Polo...?

Today's mystery is a question...what caused the end of Auto Polo?

I mean, it's similar to the destruction derby' right? Maybe it was a case of common sense finally setting in, but I doubt it!

Auto Polo

Photo credit: Bain News Service

In 1912, a Kansas Ford dealer held what he hoped would be the first of many sporting matches with an eye toward generating business. It was held between the two inaugural teams, the Grey Ghosts and the Red Devils, of America’s newest sport: Auto Polo. It was played pretty much exactly as one might expect, like traditional polo but with cars instead of horses.

As cars were initially marketed as a replacement for horses, this makes a strange sort of sense. In this first match, held in a Kansas alfalfa field, two teams of three men competed: two men to drive the car and one to swing a giant mallet at a basketball-sized rubber ball. Despite (or perhaps because of) the likelihood of crashes, injuries and deaths, the sport skyrocketed in popularity for the next several decades, with the last matches taking place in the mid-1950s.

Seems to me that we take part in equally dangerous sports today. It might be fun to catch one of the old Auto Polo matches for a change. I'm sure that the horses would appreciate having a replacement

Coffee in the kitchen again today. Wet and chilly outside!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Funnies...

Let's have some cartoons today. Haven't had any for a while.

And one more...

Kinda fun seeing the older ones again, don't ya think?

Coffee in the kitchen where it's nice and warm!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Something Fishy Here...!

This critter belongs in it's own horror show!

It's scary all the way through and I can imagine having nightmares if I caught one or even saw it in person!

Bobbit Worm

There’s nothing about the bobbit worm that isn’t grotesque or morbid. Even its name came from a court case in 1993, involving a woman named Lorena Bobbitt, a knife, and . . . something else that looks like a worm. Equal parts Tremors Graboid and unholy hellspawn, the bobbit worm can grow up to three meters long (10 ft). It burrows into the sea bed, leaving a small portion of itself above the surface. When a fish wanders by, the worm lunges out, snags the fish with its massive pincers, and drags it underground.

Most specimens haven’t been found in the ocean—but accidentally stowed away in saltwater aquariums. They hitchhike into the aquarium in rocks and gravel taken from the ocean, then slowly grow under the radar. In 2009, a giant bobbit worm was found in Blue Reef Aquarium in England. It was noticed when the aquarium workers took apart the tank to figure out why all their fish were disappearing.

This is NOT something I want in my aquarium at home, let me tell ya! It would weird me out!

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

Friday, December 2, 2016

How Crazy Is Crazy Enough...?

At some level, every killer is crazy. That's my opinion, anyway.

I'm not talking about killing in time of war, but everyday, run of the mill murders! I'll never understand what drives folks liker this.

Amy Archer-Gilligan

Archer-Gilligan, who’s also the basis of Joseph Kesselring’s “Arsenic and Old Lace,” is believed to be responsible for the deaths of her two husbands, plus close to 20 residents at the convalescent home she ran. (Some estimates claim she may be responsible for many more deaths.)

The breadth of Archer-Gilligan’s suspected killings led The Hartford Courant to re-dub the Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm as the “Murder Factory.” The paper reported that “between 1907 and 1916, 60 residents died at the home, 48 of them in the prior 5 years alone.” All of her victims were male.

However, Franklin Andrews’ demise led authorities to become suspicious of Archer-Gilligan. On the day of his death, the 61-year-old was seen working on the lawn; by night he was mysteriously dead. After the media got on the case, Andrews was exhumed, where officials discovered elevated amounts of arsenic in his system. Then her second husband and four residents were exhumed—and they found arsenic or strychnine poisoning at play in their systems as well.

Though she was originally sentenced to death for Andrews’ death,“the verdict was eventually reversed on a technicality and during a second trial she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment,” the New York Times wrote. In 1924 she Archer-Gilligan was deemed insane and sent to a hospital, where she died in 1962 at 89.

I reckon this lady just didn't like men, especially older men. If you ask me, she was just plain bat-shit crazy(pardon the French)!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, but you'll need a jacket!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Yellow Balloon Mystery...!

Sometimes the simplest things turn into a major mystery. That's the case with this next story!

Yellow Cuban Balloons

In 1967 during the Cold War, a crate was discovered floating off the coast of Florida, near Hallendale. It contained seven inflated yellow balloons and was addressed to the institute of mineral resources in Cuba, from Leningrad.

Investigations revealed that the crate had been floating in the ocean for at least eight weeks, and there was only air in the balloons. There was no indication of toxic substances inside or surrounding the balloons. A similar but empty crate was found 217 kilometers (135 mi) away, off Marathon. Both boxes were marked as weighing 50 kilograms (110 lb), but the balloon-filled crate weighed only 14 kilograms (30 lb).

The Coast Guard wasn’t convinced that it was all a hoax. The purpose of these balloons, why they were inflated, or how they ended up floating in the ocean remains a mystery.

This seems to be another tale of the sea that will remain a mystery forever. I certainly don't have any answer for it.

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning!