Let's take a little trip today to a place I've never been to.
Lot's of old stories about this place and a few myths as well. I can understand why when I look at it.
Legends surround this jagged rock formation in the New Mexico desert
Rising high above the surrounding desert, the rock formation known as Shiprock has long been a point of fascination. This striking volcanic plume was formed around 30 million years ago, developing as a plug within the vent of an active volcano. Over time, the rest of the volcano eroded away, leaving the jagged outcrop all alone in a vast expanse of plain. At over 1500 feet, it’s the tallest structure for miles and miles. The structure is an epicenter of legend within the Navajo culture. Called Tsé Bitʼaʼí or “the rock with wings,” myth says that the Shiprock was a piece of land that became a bird, carrying the ancestral people of the Navajo on its back. At sundown, the enormous creature settled in its current desert location and promptly turned back to stone. The newly-arrived people settled on the rock’s peak, leaving only to collect food and water. However, one day the outcrop was unexpectedly struck by lightning, stranding members of the tribe among its shards. Since then, the rock has been forbidden to people, who may disturb the ghostly spirits of those left behind. Although the steep, perilous sides of the Shiprock were once considered a great prize among rock climbers, human ascents have been expressly off-limits since 1970, in accordance with Navajo custom.
Interesting to look at, but I don't think I want to go camping there, know what I mean?
Do you believe in curses? How about continuing bad luck? Here is an interesting example of what I'm talking about.
Virginia City Cemetery Headstones
Photo credit: Tom Carr
Built in 1867 to alleviate the problem of corpses being buried randomly about town, the cemetery at the old Nevada mining town of Virginia City has seen many of its headstones go missing since it was reopened as a historical site in 2000—only to then see them be returned en masse. Grounds manager Candace Wheeler decided to contact the thieves to see why they had stolen the headstones. Without exception, they were being used for totally mundane things—doorstops, garden decorations—until the misfortunes started rolling in, ranging from financial woes to divorce and death. Thieves were anxious to know the headstones had been returned to their proper respective graves, hoping this would reverse the curse.
Seems like a lot of folks believe, even if we don't. I wonder if it's just conscience?
After reading this article, I am reminded that most people taking polls are not that bright.
Funny thing is, the people taking the polls in this case are probably the ones that should be the most likely to know what the right answers are!
HTML Is An STD
A study in 2014 discovered that 11 percent of Americans believe that the tech language HTML is actually a venereal disease. About 2,400 people over the age of 18 participate din the survey by matching several tech- and non-tech-related words with a selection of possible definitions. The study also concluded that 42 percent believed that a motherboard was actually the deck of a cruise ship. Furthermore, 27 percent believed that a gigabyte was a type of South American insect, 18 percent thought a Blu-ray was a marine animal, and 12 percent thought “USB” was an acronym for a European country. The results of the survey were so alarming that a few media outlets thought the quiz was a publicity stunt. However, the company that crafted the poll insists that it is was not fabricated.
Now I know I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack, but I knew what the majority of these were. I got this article from Listverse, so blame them if you disagree, OK?
If the story told in the movies was factual, then Wyatt wouldn't be such a bad guy. As always though, the movies don't tell the whole story.
Officer Wyatt Earp fatally wounds cowboy
Attempting to preserve the peace in Dodge City, Assistant Marshal Wyatt Earp trades shots with a band of drunken cowboys, fatally wounding one of them. Although he ended up on the wrong side of the law later in life, as a young man Wyatt Earp’s most consistent occupation was as a lawman. The third of the five brothers in the notorious Earp clan, Wyatt was by far the most famous. He left the family home in California in 1864 and bounced around the west working odd jobs until he landed a position as town constable in Lamar, Missouri. In 1871, the tragic death of his wife and baby daughter in childbirth left him despondent, and he returned to roaming the West. At one point, he even became a horse thief. After several rough years, Wyatt got his life back on track. In 1873, he began work as a lawman in the rowdy cow town of Wichita, Kansas. He wore out his welcome three years later, however, after losing his temper and beating up a prominent citizen for insulting one of Wyatt’s friends. He promptly relocated to Dodge City, Kansas, an even rougher town than Wichita. The Dodge City leaders appreciated Wyatt’s experience in makeshift frontier justice and quickly appointed him an assistant marshal. During the three years Wyatt was a lawman in Dodge City, he generally dealt with troublemakers with his formidable fists or by clobbering them over the head with his pistol, and only resorted to firing his gun during one incident. In the early morning hours of this day in 1878, a small group of drunken cowboys began shooting their guns into the air. Wyatt and another officer came running and attempted to disarm the cowboys peacefully. Had they been sober, the cowboys probably would have cooperated. The mixture of alcohol and ready guns was dangerous, though, and several of the cowboys drew their pistols and shot at the lawmen. Wyatt and his partner returned the fire, and Wyatt wounded a young Texan named George Hoy in the arm. When the cowboys tried to ride off, Hoy fell from his saddle. The wound became infected, and Hoy died a month later. He was the only man Wyatt killed during his entire time in Dodge City. In the years to come, Wyatt continued to work sporadically in law enforcement around the West. Following the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral, however, Wyatt’s desire for revenge led him to commit several killings of highly questionable legality. After that, he never wore a badge again.
As often happens, the legend outgrew the truth. Basically the very same thing happens today. Sad but true.
It's always interesting to research company names and their origins. The results can be surprising, to say the least.
While its name probably brings to mind the concept of fast and speedy purchases, American Express used to not refer to payments at all. It was originally a high-speed delivery service back in 1850, due to the American postal service being unreliable. The people behind American Express began to realize that most of the profit could be made by doing trans-bank deliveries. They took on more and more bank-based jobs until they were a financial delivery specialist and continued their momentum until they became the very business they once served.
Imagine...a company starting out to serve the public because the mail wasn't dependable. Oh wait! Not that difficult to believe given the mail service in my neighborhood!
Coffee out on the patio this morning. How about some ice cream with the coffee?
Ever wonder how so many folks go missing without a trace in the United States every year?
Sometimes they are the victims of a horrid crime, sometimes they want to start over, and then sometimes they just disappear for good. That's where the mystery comes in.
THE SPRINGFIELD THREE
June 6, 1992. Springfield, Missouri. Teen friends Suzie Streeter and Stacy McCall had just graduated from Kickapoo High School. They attended several graduation parties that evening, then headed back to Suzie’s mother Sherrill Levitt’s house to retire for the evening. They had previously planned to stay with a friend but that friend’s house proved too crowded and Levitt’s house was plan B. The next day, the women were proclaimed missing after McCall’s parents contacted police in regards to their daughter. All three women left behind all their personal property—keys, wallets, purses, cars—and the family dog was found in the house, unharmed but distressed. That’s all that’s known about the disappearance of the infamous Springfield Three, other than the local speculation that the bodies are buried beneath Springfield’s Cox Hospital Parking Garage. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
Strange, don't you think? Especially since the mother was missing as well. Guess that's why it's called a mystery.
Ever wonder who invented things like the "Smiley?" I'll tell ya!
The man's name was Harvey Ball and boy...did he get screwed over!
Those of us born after 1963 may not realize that somebody had to actually come up with the most famous icon in the world—a yellow circle with a simple, yet elegant, smiley face. The design took creator Harvey Ball only 10 minutes to come up with and earned him a tidy sum of $45 ($350 in 2016). He was working as a freelance artist at the time and was commissioned by State Mutual Life Assurance Company to introduce an image to raise morale. Ball’s design was made into buttons for the company and eventually went on to T-shirts, posters, and just about anything and everything else, even inspiring everyone’s favorite emoticon. The image has earned billions over the decades, but Ball only ever received that one initial check.
Ya know, to be perfectly honest Harvey was probably happy to get the $45 from his creation. Just imagine if he had held onto the design and claimed the credit for the design himself. Hindsight is pretty good, wouldn't you say?
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Hot and muggy!
Some of the most celebrated scientist out there in the past made some very deadly mistakes.
Imagine carrying around radioactive material in your pocket. Sounds strange...? You bet it was, but still it happened. Madame Currie's belongings are still dangerous after all this time!
The Suburban Chernobyl
Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution
Many know that Madame Curie’s work led to her untimely demise, but few know the lasting effects that the radiation exposure has had on her belongings. Currently, her notebook is so radioactive that it must be stored in a lead box. To be able to view her personal belongings, you need protective clothing and a liability waiver. This is not at all surprising because Curie literally walked around with hunks of polonium, radium, and uranium in her pockets. She continued to conduct her radiation experiments until she died in 1934. Trucks were often seen dropping off the iron she used to extract her radioactive isotopes and carrying away the waste. Even today, with 90 percent of the building’s contents removed, there continues to be a mini-Chernobyl where her abandoned laboratory stands. Many of the surrounding neighbors blame her laboratory for their cancer rates, although many maintain that the building is no longer dangerously radioactive.
Sounds to me like her clothes would almost glow in the dark
If you ever wonder where some of of the colorful names of infamous acts came from, maybe this will help a bit.
Believe it or not, some acts of cruel justice were named after real people. Take this name, for instance.
Captain William Lynch was a man with a horrifying hobby. Nope, not stamp collecting. The captain was a man who believed in rough justice. And that meant one thing for the petty criminals and wrongly accused in his town. He and his “Lynch-men” would, well . . . lynch them. Although the term today has connotations of racial violence, the original lynchings weren’t specifically targeted at black people. Lynch and his men felt the government was too remote to dispense justice on outlaws, so they launched their vigilante group to target them. Unfortunately, their methods were less like Batman and more like the Punisher. Captain Lynch and his men tortured, strung up, and murdered so many strangers that his name became synonymous with one of the cruelest forms of mob rule in US history.
Well, there ya go. Another little peek at the darker side of history. At least you now know where the name came from, right?
The killing of native Americans was not uncommon in the early days of the settlers of the West.
Many times the attacks took place while the men of the tribe were out hunting for food, leaving mostly women and children alone and unprotected. Here is the sad tale of one such attack.
Three Knolls Massacre
Photo credit: Saxton T. Pope
By 1865, the Yana tribe’s population had dwindled to fewer than 100 in northern California around Lassen Peak. After the murders of several nearby white people during a raid, hunters tracked the culprits to Three Knolls, where the Native Americans slept. Determined to rid the area of any remaining natives, the settlers attacked, killing dozens of Native Americans. Only a handful escaped. A Yana tribesman named Ishi was present at the massacre as a small child, and he and his family eventually hid in some nearby mountains for almost 40 years. 1n 1911, he emerged as a frail, elderly man—the last of his people—to tell his fantastical story.
Just another example of how cruel and unjust the waging of war between the settlers and Native Americans could be. I wonder if we have learned anything at all about justice after all these years, or have we merely changed our focus to other groups and countries? Food for thought, isn't it?
Early warfare relied on not only physical weapons, but weapons that played on the mind as well.
The Romans were good at playing these games, inventing some of the most terrifying weapons of their time. Here is one of them.
Roman Terror Weapons
Photo credit: Peter van der Sluijs
A recent discovery suggests that the Romans employed psychological warfare using whistling slingshot bullets. They used a staff sling called a fustibalus which could throw lemon-sized rocks over a long distance. But certain bullets found at one site in Scotland have a peculiar characteristic—they are drilled through their center. The stone bullets were found at Burnswark Hill, the site of a massive fight between Romans and Scots about 1,800 years ago. Drilling the holes would have been a time-consuming endeavor, especially for something used only once. Archaeologist John Reid was puzzled by the stones’ purpose. But Reid’s brother, a keen fisherman, deduced the purpose of the bullets based on his experience of using holed-out lures. When thrown, the bullets caused a sharp whistling noise. Only small stones were drilled, so multiple bullets could be thrown at once, creating a stereo effect for added terror.
Seems the Romans were masters of the warfare game, both physical and mental. It's a shame that weapons design has always been a major function of powerful societies, ya know?
Many, many treasures have gone missing over the years, never to be found.
Some were lost at sea, some were hidden by countries at war, and others have just disappeared without a trace. One of the biggest treasures to go missing was the Amber Room.
The Amber Room
The Amber Room, originally built in 1701 for the first King of Prussia, was a complete chamber decorated with six tons of Baltic amber, gold leaf and mirrors. The room, which took ten years to complete, was eventually moved to the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia. During WWII, the Soviet Union attempted to hide the precious room behind plain wallpaper, but Nazi soldiers quickly found and disassembled the Amber Room in 36 hours. The room was never seen again. Some believe the Amber Room was destroyed during heavy bombing during the war. Others say they possess pieces of the original paneling, but none of these claims have been verified. One piece of the Amber Room puzzle was solved in 1997. A stone mosaic from the room was discovered in Germany. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Beautiful room, isn't it? Like so many other works of art, the war lead to it's disappearance. Who knows if it's location will ever be found?
I thought maybe today we would look at a spooky little story about dealing with the Devil.
Robert Johnson is supposed to be one that made such a deal Here is his story, true or not.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Robert Johnson was an American blues musician from the early 20th century who, as legend has it, acquired his musical prowess from a midnight deal with the Devil. Born in 1911, Johnson grew up along the Mississippi Delta. As a young man, he yearned for musical greatness and one night took his guitar to the crossroads in hopes of conjuring dark forces. The Devil appeared and took Johnson’s guitar; he played a few songs, and then handed it back, granting the young musician complete mastery of the instrument. The story thus explained Johnson’s extraordinary skill; it also led to rumors that Johnson’s drooping eye spoke of an infernal connection, and that he turned away from his audience while performing to hide the presence of evil. Johnson did little to discourage such tales—if anything, he fanned the flames with lyrics such as “Early this morning when you knocked upon my door / And I said, ‘Hello, Satan, I believe it’s time to go.’” In 1938, Johnson died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 27. Some say he succumbed to syphilis, others poisoning, whereas others contend it was the Devil himself collecting his due.
Makes for an interesting story even if you don't believe it. Still, the lyrics of some of his songs has to make you wonder just a bit. Maybe it's from a guilty conscience, ya reckon?
Here is one for the history books. A secret that more than one person took to their grave.
The Female Stranger
1793 – 1816
During the fall of 1816 in Alexandria Virginia two people, a man and his wife walked into the Gadsby’s Tavern Hotel. The woman was ill and it was thought she was suffering from Typhoid fever. The woman’s condition continued to deteriorate despite being attended by one of Alexandria’s doctors. The husband then summoned the doctor and hotel staff and even the owner’s wife to the room to ask a very unusual request: He asked that everyone present swear an oath never to reveal their identities. All agreed and each took the secret to the grave. Several days after the oath was taken the Female Stranger died and to this day no one knows their identity. Before disappearing, her husband commissioned an extravagant headstone and buried her at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Alexandria Virginia.
Interesting Fact: The engraving on the headstone reads:
To the Memory of a
whose mortal sufferings terminated
on the 14th day of October 1816
Aged 23 years and 8 months.
This stone is placed here by her disconsolate
Husband in whose arms she sighed out her
latest breath and who under God
did his utmost even to soothe the cold
dead ear of death.
How loved how valued once avails thee not
To whom related or by whom begot
A heap of dust alone remains of thee
Tis all thou art and all the proud shall be
To him gave all the Prophets witness that
through his name whosoever believeth in
him shall receive remission of sins.
Acts.10th Chap.43rd verse
The biggest question I reckon we'll all ask is "who were these people and why did they want to protect their identity so badly?" I reckon we'll never know!
There are so many beautiful flowers out there, we often want to try and see them all. However, even though many are nice to lok at some are deadly!
This next flower I want to talk about is called Bloodroot. Scary part is that it grows in the U.S., unlike some other dealy plants that are found overseas.
Photo credit: Matt Wade
Commonly known as bloodroot, Sanguinaria grows wild in eastern North America. Native Americans used the blood-red roots as an ornamental dye, but they also used it to induce abortions. Enough of it will put you in a coma. People more recently have taken to using it as a home remedy for skin cancer, with horrible results. Bloodroot contains a chemical called sanguarine, which, in addition to being a dangerous toxin, is an escharotic substance. Escharotics kill tissue and slough it off as a creamy pulp, leaving behind a dark black scar called an eschar. In other words, putting bloodroot on your skin causes your skin cells to kill themselves. The same thing happens internally. The chemical disrupts an enzyme called Na+/K+-ATPase, which does the important job of pumping sodium out of cells and pumping potassium in. When that doesn’t happen, all functions break down.
So remember that if you are going to add some pretty flowers in the kitchen pot, just make sure that they are not the poisonous kind...OK?
Ever wonder how some of the legends of the old west got started? For many it was more accidental than on purpose.
Take the beginnings of "Wild Bill Hickok" for instance. Although he was a good shot and could handle himself rather well, he sort of stumbled into his fame. Here is his story.
Wild Bill Hickok’s first gunfight
Wild Bill Hickok begins to establish his reputation as a gunfighter after he coolly shoots three men during a shootout in Nebraska. Born in Homer (later called Troy Grove), Illinois, James Butler Hickok moved to Kansas in 1855 at the age of 18. There he filed a homestead claim, took odd jobs, and began calling himself by his father’s name, Bill. A skilled marksman, Hickok honed his abilities as a gunslinger. Though Hickok was not looking for trouble, he liked to be ready to defend himself, and his ability with a pistol soon proved useful. By the summer of 1861, Hickok was working as a stock tender at a stage depot in Nebraska called Rock Creek Station. Across the creek lived Dave McCanles, a mean-spirited man who disliked Hickok for some reason. McCanles enjoyed insulting the young stockman, calling him Duck Bill and claiming he was a hermaphrodite. Hickok took his revenge by secretly romancing McCanles’ mistress, Sarah Shull. On this day in 1861, the tension between Hickok and McCanles came to a head. McCanles may have learned about the affair between Shull and Hickok, though his motivations are not clear. He arrived at the station with two other men and his 12-year-old-son and exchanged angry words with the station manager. Then McCanles spotted Hickok standing behind a curtain partition. He threatened to drag “Duck Bill” outside and give him a thrashing. Demonstrating remarkable coolness for a 24-year-old who had never been involved in a gunfight, Hickok replied, “There will be one less son-of-a-bitch when you try that.” McCanles ignored the warning. When he approached the curtain, Hickok shot him in the chest. McCanles staggered out of the building and died in the arms of his son. Hearing the shots, the two other gunmen ran in. Hickok shot one of them twice and winged the other. The other workers at the station finished them off. The story of Hickok’s first gunfight spread quickly, establishing his reputation as a skilled gunman. In 1867, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine published a highly exaggerated account of the shoot-out which claimed Hickok had single-handedly killed nine men. The article quoted Hickok as saying, “I was wild and I struck savage blows.” Thus began the legendary career of “Wild Bill.” For the next 15 years, Hickok would further embellish his reputation with genuine acts of daring, though the popular accounts continued to exceed the reality. He died in 1876 at the age of 39, shot in the back of the head by a young would-be gunfighter looking for fame.
Guess even back then, the media had a tendency to print the "truth" as they saw it. Not much has changed with the media since then, I reckon. Often the media plays a little loose with the truth in telling the stories of the day, don't you think?
For those interested in early Native American history, here is a tale you might find interesting.
Tall Bull dies
Tall Bull, a prominent leader of the Cheyenne Dog Soldier warrior society, is killed during the Battle of Summit Springs in Colorado. Tall Bull was the most distinguished of several Cheyenne warriors who bore this hereditary name. He was a leader of the Dog Soldiers, a fierce Cheyenne society of warriors that had initially fought against other Indian tribes. In the 1860s, though, the Dog Soldiers increasingly became one of the most implacable foes of the U.S. government in the bloody Plains Indian Wars. In October 1868, Tall Bull and his Dog Soldiers badly mauled an American cavalry force in Colorado. He confronted General Philip Sheridan’s forces the following winter in Oklahoma. Near the Washita River, Sheridan’s Lieutenant Colonel George Custer attacked a peaceful Cheyenne village under Chief Black Kettle. The Cheyenne suffered more than 100 casualties, and Custer’s soldiers brutally butchered more than 800 of their horses. However, Custer was forced to flee when Tall Bull and other chiefs camped in nearby villages began to mass for attack. Custer’s attack had badly damaged the Cheyenne, but Tall Bull refused to surrender to the Americans. In the spring of 1869, Tall Bull and his Dog Soldiers took their revenge, staging a series of successful attacks against soldiers who were searching for him. Determined to destroy the chief, the U.S. Army formed a special expeditionary force under the command of General Eugene Carr. On this day in 1869, Carr surprised Tall Bull and his warriors in their camp at Summit Springs, Colorado. In the ensuing battle, Tall Bull was killed and the Dog Soldiers were overwhelmed. Without the dynamic leadership of their chief, the surviving Dog Soldiers’ resistance was broken. Although other Cheyenne continued to fight the American military for another decade, they did so without the aid of their greatest warrior society and its leader.
History is so interesting that I never get tired of reading about it. Funny, 'cause I never cared for it when I was in school. Of course, what they taught us was a watered down version of the truth as we know it today.
Here is a story that might just creep you out a bit.
This doesn't involve murder or anything like that, but it's pretty creepy just the same. See what you think.
Annabelle the Demon Doll
Let’s face it: all dolls are a little creepy. But a figurine rumored to attack people, scrawl strange notes, and contain the ghost of a dead little girl who may actually be a demon? Yeah, no thanks. Annabelle the doll is apparently all of these things—despite looking like a kindly Raggedy Ann. Purchased by a well-intending mother at a thrift store as a gift for her college-aged daughter, Annabelle wound up in the apartment of two young women. They soon noticed strange things happening that seemed tied to the presence of the doll. A medium informed them that the spirit of a young girl who had died in the apartment inhabited Annabelle; the ghost liked the two women, and wanted to stay. Surprisingly, they complied. But as the eerie activity increased, the young women asked for a second opinion. Psychic investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren arrived, claiming now that the spirit in the doll was actually a demon, posing as the girl’s ghost. The Warrens then took Annabelle, locking her in a glass case with the written warning: “Positively Do Not Open.” If you wish to meet Annabelle yourself, she still resides in her glass box at the Warren’s Occult Museum in Connecticut.
We can't be serious all the time, right? With that in mind, here is a little bit of humor to start your weekend off with a smile!
A man lost two buttons from his shirt and put them in his pants pocket. But the pocket had a hole, so the buttons fell into his shoe. Unfortunately, the shoe sole also had a hole, so he lost the buttons. As pockets with holes, holes without buttons, and shoe soles with holes are useless, the man ripped the buttonholes out of his shirt and the pocked from his pants and tossed them in the trash along with the soles of his shoes. A police officer who was observing the man asked him for some identification. The man gave the officer a document that showed he was an ordained minister of the gospel. When the officer began to escort him to a mental institution, the minister protested violently, asking why he was receiving such unjust treatment. “Look, we both know it’s the best place for you now,” the officer replied. “Anyone claiming to be a preacher who doesn’t save souls or wear holy clothes has probably lost his buttons.”
Why Little Johnny Cried
After the christening of his baby brother in church, Little Johnny cried all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him what was wrong and finally, the boy sobbed, “That priest said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I want to stay with you guys!”
Something else to keep in mind..
Aspire to inspire before you expire.
Wine gets better with age; Age gets better with wine.
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Hurry...before it gets too hot!
In WW2 there were some very heroic deeds performed by some unlikely stars. Carrier pigeons.
Often these birds were wounded while delivering their messages, but they still managed to make it through...at least some of them did.
Photo credit: US Army Center of Military History
President Wilson was another pigeon that valiantly served with the US Army during World War I. He was with the Tank Corps during his first deployment and was stationed in the forwardmost tanks to deliver the location of enemy machine gun nests. He was then transferred to the infantry unit and participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of 1918. Released to request artillery support, Wilson flew through waves of German bullets to deliver his message. In the process, he lost his left leg and was shot through the breast. However, he survived his wounds and lived a quiet life until he died in 1929. A taxidermist then prepared the bird for display at the Smithsonian Institution.
There are many more stories of the heroics of these proud birds. You can read more of them right here!
Coffee in the kitchen again. The heat is just too great to be outside and they are asking us to stay inside the a.c.
No matter what name you want to use, Samuel Clemmens was one of the most celebrated writers of his day.
Writing under the name of Mark Twain, he penned stories that are still in print today. One of my favorite authors, and that's the truth.
Mark Twain begins reporting in Virginia City
Writing under the name of Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens begins publishing news stories in the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. Born in Missouri in 1835, Clemens followed a circuitous route to becoming an observer and writer of the American West. As a young man he apprenticed as a printer and worked in St. Louis, New York, and Philadelphia. In 1856, he briefly considered a trip to South America where he thought he could make money collecting coca leaves. A year later, he became a riverboat pilot apprentice on the Mississippi River, and worked on the water for the next four years. In 1861, Clemens’ brother Orion was appointed secretary to the territorial governor of Nevada. Clemens jumped at the offer to accompany Orion on his western adventure. He spent his first year in Nevada prospecting for a gold or silver mine but was no more successful than the vast majority of would-be miners. In need of money, he accepted a job as reporter for a Virginia City, Nevada, newspaper called the Territorial Enterprise. His articles covering the bustling frontier-mining town began to appear on this day in 1862. Like many newspapermen of the day, Clemens adopted a pen name, signing his articles with the name Mark Twain, a term from his old river boating days. Clemens’ stint as a Nevada newspaperman revealed an exceptional talent for writing. In 1864, he traveled farther West to cover the booming state of California. Fascinated by the frontier life, Clemens drew on his western experiences to write one of his first published works of fiction, the 1865 short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” The success of this classic western tall tale catapulted Clemens out of the West, and he became a world-hopping journalist for a California newspaper. In 1869, Clemens settled in Buffalo, New York, and later in Hartford, Connecticut. All told, Clemens spent only a little more than five years in the West, and the majority of his subsequent work focused on the Mississippi River country and the Northeast. As a result, Clemens can hardly be defined as a western writer. Still, his 1872 account of his western adventures, Roughing It, remains one of the most original and evocative eyewitness accounts of the frontier ever written. More importantly, even his non-western masterpieces like Tom Sawyer (1876) and Huckleberry Finn (1884) reflected a frontier mentality in their rejection of eastern pretentiousness and genteel literary conventions.
I know some folks don't like Twain, but everyone has different taste, I reckon. Like I said, he was one of my favorite authors. I really like his style!
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Dangerous heat outside!
Something a little different for this Tuesday, just to keep things interesting.
The Jersey Watcher
For sale: large, six-bedroom home in Westfield, New Jersey. Three bathrooms, wood flooring, and one unnerving stalker. Soon after Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased the Westfield home (above) in 2014, they received a letter from someone who called him/herself “the Watcher.” The anonymous individual seemed to be the latest in a long line of family members who obsessed over the Jersey home. “My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched it in the 1960s. It is now my time,” the letter read. More letters arrived once the couple moved in with their three children. “I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought me,” one read. Another chilling missive asked: “Found out what’s in the walls yet?” The Broaddus’ have since moved out—and sued the home’s previous owners for failing to mention its, uh, pre-existing condition. According to CBS New York, the house is back on the market.
Just a little something to creep you out after a long holiday weekend. Can't say I'm not a fun loving guy, right?
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Too hot to go outside...83 degrees at midnight!
After reading this article from Listverse, you have to wonder just how many things labeled "weather balloons" by the government actually were just that!
Over the years we've been told time and time again that something we've seen is nothing more than weather balloons or something similar. Seems to be a rather handy way to try and prevent folks from asking too many questions, doesn't it?
The Battle of Los Angeles
On February 24, 1942 in Los Angeles, the air raid sirens began to go off. Many believed that the United States is experiencing another attack from Japan and we were ready to go. A complete blackout was fired as the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade unloaded 1400 12.8lb anti-aircraft shells at a mysterious object floating in the night sky. The bombardment went on for a full hour with the “all-clear” being given at 7:21am. The media went crazy after the incident, and it became front-page news. What could possibly remain in the night sky with multiple spotlights on it soaking up 1,400 rounds of anti-aircraft munitions over the course of an hour? A weather balloon of course! Well that’s what the government said when questioned about the incident. The missiles killed four to five civilians, and three people died of stress-induced heart attacks. The craft then moved over the state, hovering at certain times while it was being fired at. Some described it as one large object and others as multiple small objects. Regardless, there was something mysterious over the city of Los Angeles that night that, to this day, defies explanation.
In a way it's sad to think that our own government will keep certain bit of information from us for our "own protection", don't you agree? I don't think everyone will drop dead from hearing the truth. After all, some people died just from the threats of "what-ifs", so telling the facts might have been a good choice anyway.
Coffee out on the patio this morning. BTW...HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY 4TH !!!
Actually, I don't think the medicine can kill ya, but rather the ingredients.
I guess I was lucky in the fact that I never took any Castor Oil, but I heard that it tasted really bad. Most medicine tends to taste less than good, in my opinion. Aspirin, which is my go to for aches and pains, taste terrible if you let it dissolve on the tongue.
Thinking back to the time your mother forced Castor oil down your throat, I bet you would never have guessed that it came from the most poisonous plant in the world (even if it did taste like it). Castor plants are indigenous to the Mediterranean basin, eastern Africa and India, but are widely grown as an ornamental plant. A toxin called ricin is found throughout the plant, but is concentrated in the seeds/beans (which castor oil is made from). One raw seed is enough to kill a human in 2 days, which makes for a long, agonizing and unstoppable death. The first symptoms will be experienced within a few hours and will include a burning sensation in the throat & mouth, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. The process is unstoppable and the final cause of death will be dehydration. Strangely, humans are the most sensitive to these seeds, as it takes 1-4 to kill a full grown human, 11 to kill a dog and a whopping 80 seeds to kill a duck. The castor plant currently holds the Guinness World Record for most poisonous plant.
Guess it lends new meaning to the saying "If it don't kill ya, it will make you stronger!"