Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Yukon Gold For Western Wednesday...!

How about a story about the great Yukon gold strike, still considered to be one of the very first really big gold strikes in the U.S.

This one is different in the sense that the man who founded it actually made a lot of money from the find.

George Carmack discovers Klondike gold

Sometime prospector George Carmack stumbles across gold while salmon fishing along the Klondike River in the Yukon.

George Carmack’s discovery of gold in that region sparked the last great western gold rush, but it was pure chance that he found it. In contrast to the discoverers of many of the other major American gold fields, Carmack was not a particularly serious prospector. He had traveled to Alaska in 1881 drawn by the reports of major gold strikes in the Juneau area, but failing to make a significant strike, he headed north into the isolated Yukon Territory. There he spent his days wandering the wilderness with the friendly Tagish Indians and fishing for salmon.

On this day in 1896, Carmack and two Tagish friends were salmon fishing on Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River. As he habitually did, Carmack occasionally stopped to swirl a bit of the river sand in his prospector’s pan. He had seen a little gold, but nothing of particular note. At day’s end, the men made camp along the creek, and Carmack said he spotted a thumb-sized nugget of gold jutting out from the creek bank.

The two Tagish Indians later said that Carmack had been napping that evening and one of them found the nugget while washing a dishpan. Regardless, further investigation revealed gold deposits “lying thick between the flaky slabs of rock like cheese in a sandwich.”

Subsequent expeditions in the spring and summer of the following year turned up other sizeable gold deposits. In part, because the summer of 1897 was a slow one for news, the major mass-circulation newspapers played up the story of the gold strikes, sparking a nationwide sensation. In the years to come, as many as 50,000 eager gold seekers arrived in the Klondike-Yukon region. Few found any wealth, though their hardships and adventures inspired the highly romanticized Yukon tales of Jack London and the poems of Robert Service.

Carmack did get rich, reportedly taking a million dollars worth of gold out of his Klondike claims and retiring to Vancouver, B.C. He died in 1922 at the age of 61, a wealthy and honored benefactor of the city.

Nice to know there are a couple of happy stories of folks that managed to make a little money out of one of these gold rushes. So often all we hear are the stories of bad times and hardships.

Coffee inside again. How about some fresh peach cobbler?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Don't Try This At Home...!

Ever wonder just what makes some folks do crazy jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge? Nuts, if you ask me.

The first person to actually do it was Robert Emmet Odlum. Here is part of his story, crazy as it is.

Robert Odlum, the first man to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, to prove that people did not die simply from falling through the air.

The first person ever to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge was Robert Emmet Odlum. Robert had no intention of committing suicide; he simply wanted to show that a person does not die from falling through the air.

He did this to encourage other people to jump into nets when trapped in a burning building. Besides this, he desired fame and money, which served as additional motivations for his deed. Unfortunately, he did not survive the jump.

Robert was eager to perform a jump from the newly built Brooklyn Bridge, so in 1882, he sneaked to an unfinished part of the bridge. Before he could perform the stunt, the police caught him and sent him back to Washington. Three years later, he finally succeeded in his plan.

On 19 May 1885, Robert went back to New York well prepared. The NYPD was well aware of his plans, as the story of Robert’s intentions had spread throughout the city in the weeks leading up to the event. They tightened the security on the bridge, but Odlum managed to create a distraction. He sent his friend James Haggart to the bridge in a cab while he was hiding in another car. James served as a decoy for the police, pretending that he was the jumper. While the policemen were busy with the fake jumper, Robert stepped out of the car he was hiding in. Already in his swimsuit, he jumped off the bridge at 5:35 pm, before the eyes of a witnessing crowd watching from a boat.

Robert fell in the freezing water at a speed of approximately 60 miles per hour. He hit the river surface at an angle, hitting it with his feet and hip. The disastrous outcome of the jump was caused by the strong wind blowing at the time. The lifeguard, who had been hired by Odlum himself, failed to act, so Paul Boyton jumped into the water and took Robert’s body out. After he was taken to the boat, Robert regained consciousness for a short time, asked if the jump was good, and became unconscious again. Blood started flowing from his mouth, and he died at 6:18 pm from internal hemorrhaging. The ambulance summoned by his friend did not arrive in time to save his life. The coroner stated that Robert’s liver, kidneys, and spleen were ruptured and 3 of his ribs were broken. It was concluded that concussion was the official cause of death. Robert was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Like I said, I think it was a crazy idea and the man had to be a little unbalanced to even try it. Still, folks are still trying insane stunts in this day and age. No accounting for some folks action. If yo want to read more of this guys story, you can find it at this link.

Coffee inside again this morning. Temps are still too uncomfortable to be outside.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Severed Finger Mystery For Monday...!

Here is another mystery from our friends over the pond at Scotland Yard.

This mystery isn't as much fun as the missing gold case, but it remains a mystery yet unsolved just the same. As of yet, the mystery remains unsolved.

The Case Of The Severed Finger

Unable to identify a man who lost a finger in 2010, Scotland Yard appealed to the public for information.

A dog discovered the digit in an abandoned shop in Woburn Walk on December 4. No other remains were found in the vicinity. Initially, police thought the finger might have been blown from the victim’s body as a result of the July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings at Aldgate. Fifty-two people were killed in the London attacks that day.

The shop in which the missing finger was found is near the location where suicide bomber Hasib Hussain detonated his bomb on a double-decker bus. Analysis of the DNA of Hussain’s victims and survivors proved that the finger did not belong to any of them or to any missing persons.

When asking for the public’s help, Scotland Yard’s Detective Constable Tom Boon admitted the case was “quite the mystery.”

Of course, the picture that I have on the post is of a woman's finger...unless the man was wearing fingernail polish. This article is from the folks over at Listverse, so who knows?

Coffee inside the kitchen this morning. Too hot to be going outside right now.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Means Cartoons...!

Instead of the Sunday funny papers we used to have, We are going to make do with some Sunday 'toons.

Nothing new here, we have been doing this for a long time. I know some folks don't like them, but that's OK...we'll have them anyway.

How about one more...?

Ya know, when my sisters and I were kids...we would get up early on Saturday to watch cartoons and the serials that came on. Shows like Sky King, Zorro, Lone Ranger...all the good ol' shows. Sunday for us was reserved for going to church and the like. Afterwards we would have a big Sunday dinner. Sitting down together at the table, eating together, talking and catching up as a family. I don't reckon people do that much anymore.

Coffee out on the patio. Going to have to hurry before it gets too hot.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Missing Gold Mystery...!

Let's start the weekend off with a little mystery involving a lot of gold that seems to have gone missing.

Now, it seems to me that for someone to walk away with this much gold and not leave a pretty much impossible. I mean, 6,800 bars of gold is not something you can just throw in a backpack, ya know?

The Case Of The Stolen Gold

Following a massive theft of gold bullion and diamonds in November 1983, Scotland Yard admitted that it was baffled. Police hadn’t been able to identify “a single solid clue,” one officer said.

Authorities feared that the 6,800 bars of gold, worth $40 million at the time, might have been melted to destroy their identifying marks and then taken out of the country. The sale of the stolen diamonds, worth $175,000, posed no problem for the thieves because the gems lacked such marks.

The gold was being stored in the Brink’s-Mat Ltd. warehouse in Hounslow, adjacent to Heathrow, when six robbers stole it despite an array of alarms, searchlights, closed-circuit television cameras, and heavy automatic doors. Police suspected that the thieves used information supplied by someone planted in the Brink’s staff or by a Brink’s employee.

Six security guards on duty during the robbery saw three of the robbers. But they were unable to provide detailed descriptions of the suspects, who wore hoods, and nothing was known of the vehicles used by the gang.

Although insurance companies offered $3 million for information concerning the stolen items, no one came forth with any tips. The investigation was impeded by the nation’s newspaper strike, which prevented authorities from appealing to the public for assistance.

My guess is that it was definitely an inside job. Pretty slick to make off with that much gold at one time, wouldn't you say?

Coffee out on the patio, where it's already hot this morning.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Little Known Facts About Grant...!

Most of the history books we grew up with only told us about the good things our presidents did. They had some dark sides as well, however.

Take President Grant, for instance. He was pretty much a racist through and through. Of course, back in his day many folks had leanings in that direction. Grant just took it a bit farther than most would have, but he was the President and figured he had the right to do as he wished. Sound a little familiar?

Ulysses S. Grant

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

You’re going to find a common thread on this list, and it’s racism. For Ulysses S. Grant, that hatred came in the form of an attempt to deport all of the 4 million freed black slaves. He had a plan, y’all – because even though he was instrumental in freeing said slaves, he wasn’t quite so sure he wanted them integrated into American society. So he convinced Senate leader Charles Sumner that his idea to buy the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo) and send the freed slaves away there was worth pursuing.

It didn’t end up working out (obviously) because Sumner pulled his support and the treaty that would have allowed the purchase (annex) to go through failed at the last minute. Obviously.

Oh, and there’s also the fact that he’s the only president to pass anti-Semitic legislation. He felt (for some unexplainable reason) that the Jews were behind a cotton smuggling ring and banned them from living in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Not exactly a nice way for a President to act, is it? I'm sure that there were others in politics that had some ghost in the closet just as bad, but when you are the should try and set a good example, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. They say the rain is gone for now!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Texas City Disaster Of 1947...

As you may know, the disaster in Texas City led to the largest harbor explosion in American history.

The main reason i even post this today is to remind us how important it is to set up and follow all safety rules when it comes to dangerous chemicals and their handling. The story of the disaster and it's aftermath is heartbreaking, to say the least.

Texas City Disaster

Photo via Wikimedia

On April 16, 1947, the worst harbor explosion in US history occurred. A French cargo vessel named the Grandcamp was carrying a load of ammonium nitrate, which is commonly used in fertilizer and in explosives for atomic weapons.

A lit cigarette left by one of the dock workers had sparked a fire on the loading dock. It spread quickly into one of the Grandcamp’s cargo holds and ignited the ammonium nitrate.

The ship’s captain had ordered her hatches closed to contain the fire, but the rise in temperature only created better conditions for the volatile chemical to explode. The High Flyer, a nearby vessel which was carrying sulfur, was also damaged and exploded a day later due to fires from the Grandcamp‘s initial explosion.

Poisonous gas quickly filled the air over the city. Unfortunately, there was also a phone operator strike at the time, making emergency teams unable to respond to local residents affected by the toxins in the air. Over 500 people were killed in this incident, including a fire chief and 27 of the 28 firefighters who responded to the dock fire.

As a result, new safety measures were put in place to ensure that ammonium nitrate is transported safely. Docks now have a central response system to react quickly to dockside emergencies, and shipping companies are now required to use specially sealed containers and store the chemicals away from other hazardous materials.

I have been to Texas City many times over the years, and I can attest to the fact that many of the scars left from that explosion still exist. Sad thing to see, for sure!

Coffee in the kitchen once again today.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Battle Of Big Hole For Western Wednesday...!

One thing you have to agree about...the Native Americans were not ones to give up easily.

The warriors of the Nez Perce took the fight to the American troops in four separate battles, but ended up being defeated at nearly every turn.

 Nez Perce fight Battle of Big Hole

Having refused government demands that they move to a reservation, a small band of Nez Perce Indians clash with the U.S. Army near the Big Hole River in Montana.

The conflict between the U.S. government and the Nez Perce was one of the most tragic of the many Indian wars of the 19th century. Beginning with the tribe’s first contact with the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the peaceful Nez Perce had befriended and cooperated with the Americans. Even when hordes of white settlers began to flood into their homelands along the Snake River (around the present-day intersection of the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho state borders), most of the Nez Perce peacefully moved to a reservation.

However, about a quarter of the Nez Perce, most of them stockmen and buffalo hunters, refused to accept internment on a reservation. Government pressure to force these last resisters to comply finally led to the outbreak of the Nez Perce War of 1877. A small band of warriors—never more than 145 men, though burdened with about 500 noncombatants—fought U.S. soldiers at four major battles.

The third battle of the Nez Perce War occurred on this day in 1877. Fleeing eastward with hopes of escaping to Canada, the Nez Perce made camp in the Big Hole Basin in present-day western Montana. At 3:30 a.m., Colonel John Gibbon attacked the sleeping Indians with a force of 183 men. Raking the Indian lodges with withering rifle fire, the soldiers initially seemed to be victorious. The Nez Perce, however, soon counterattacked from concealed positions in the surrounding hills. After four days of sporadic fighting, the Nez Perce withdrew.

Both sides suffered serious casualties. The soldiers lost 29 men with 40 wounded. The army body count found 89 Nez Perce dead, mostly women and children. The battle dealt the Nez Perce a grave, though not fatal, blow. The remaining Indians were able to escape, and they headed northeast towards Canada. Two months later, on October 5, Colonel Nelson Miles decisively defeated the Nez Perce at the Battle of the Bear Paw Mountains. Those who were not killed surrendered and reluctantly agreed to return to the reservation. The Nez Perce were only 40 miles short of the Canadian border.

Seems like we were always moving the Indians to another place, disregarding their rights and desires altogether. No doubt in my mind that we, as a people, would fight back at such a move if it happened today. Just my opinion!

Coffee in the kitchen once again. The rain just keeps on showing up.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pilgrim Executed For Murder...!

I knew that man had been killing his neighbors for a long time, but what I didn't know is that the first execution for murder was performed on a pilgrim.

You might find this story interesting, considering the fact that we are not that far away from sending colonist to far off planets. I wonder if this will happen out there as well?

John Billington: The Mayflower Pilgrim Who Was Executed for Murder

In 1620, pilgrim John Billington crossed the Atlantic Ocean to become the first convicted murderer of the Plymouth colony.

When the Mayflower left England in 1620, it carried men, women, and children who sought peace and freedom from religious persecution. They hoped that the New World would offer a new beginning. Little did the intrepid travelers know that they shared their ship with a dangerous man.

John Billington lived in debt and on the brink of poverty in England. In order to board the Mayflower, he made a deal with prominent businessmen in London. Upon arrival, he and his family were to “work on behalf of the colony until 1627”—effectively locking them into servitude.

Billington, who was loyal to the Church of England, soon realized that he was vastly different from his fellow voyagers. Many aboard the ship were religious dissenters who had been living in self-exile in Holland before setting sail to the Americas. For their part, the Pilgrims referred to Billington and other servants and adventurers as the “Strangers.”

Billington made multiple enemies on the harsh trip across the Atlantic, earning a reputation as a “foul mouthed miscreant.” After many weeks at sea, the crew finally sighted land and dropped anchor off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts—where an unexpected blaze nearly sunk the ship. The cause? Billington’s son, Francis, who shot off his father’s gun near a barrel of gunpowder, almost killing the passengers before they set foot on shore.

Billington, his wife Elinor, and his two sons, were quickly marked as troublemakers.

Nevertheless, John Billington was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact, which was ratified on November 11, 1620. It was the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony. Upon establishing camp, the pilgrims went on to face the harsh realities of a New England winter. Nearly half of them died during this time. The following year, those who survived held their first Thanksgiving after a plentiful harvest—and Billington surely had a seat at the table.

The Billington family continued to stir up trouble. Their sons would get lost in the woods for days, only to be returned to the colony by Native Americans. Elinor was found guilty of slander and sentenced to a whipping. In 1624, Billington was accused of supporting rogues who were trying to undermine the colony.

When the colonists received full ownership of the plantation in 1626, they divided the land among them. Billington received the short end of the stick—a modest house, 63 acres of land and future land rights. His lack of social status, loyalty to the English Church, and repeated run-ins with authorities made him a permanent outsider.

By 1630, things took a turn for the worse. Billington was caught in an argument with his neighbor John Newcomen. Records are unclear as to just what triggered the quarrel. When, days later, Billington came across Newcomen in an open field, he shot him dead with a blunderbuss.

The tight-knit colony was shocked by Newcomen’s death, but not necessarily surprised by the perpetrator’s identity. Governor William Bradford concluded that Billington should be sentenced to death. After a trial by jury, Billington was found guilty of the slaying. He was hanged not far from Plymouth Rock and buried in an unknown location—becoming the first recorded murderer in what would become the United States.

Seems like no matter how far we wander, there is always someone like Billington willing to cross the line. Some people just don't know when to act civilized.

Coffee in the kitchen due to the rain. I have macaroons to share.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Now This Is Really Hot...!

I know we talk a lot about it being hot here in Texas, but I don't think it has got this bad yet!

Intense Sun in India Mysteriously Mummifies a Chameleon

Paul Seaburn
June 28, 2017

Can you believe this weather? It’s so hot in India, a chameleon crawled onto a pipe to get a drink and was mummified before it could get any water!

That wouldn’t get a laugh in a late night talk show monologue and definitely wouldn’t get any in India either where the oppressive heat in what is still early summer appeared to have quickly killed and mummified a chameleon on a water pipe. Or did it?

Chameleon Mummified Alive by the Tropical Sun

That was the headline on a tweet last week by writer and wildlife filmmaker Janaki Lenin. Below it was a photograph of said and dead lizard – an Indian chameleon (Chamaeleo zeylanicus) with its cold dead hands wrapped around the pipe where it went to the happy herpy hunting grounds.

“The tragic story of a chameleon. He must have remembered drinking water from this pipe a couple of years ago. But we had disconnected it.”
In an interview with Live Science, Alan Resetar, manager of the Amphibian and Reptile Collections at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, says this may be an example of natural mummification at work. After the animal died, the intense sunlight, dry heat and dry wind of India would have dried the outside of the chameleon quickly. Lenin says she noticed two small holes in the lizard’s skin. Resetar believes those indicate ants quickly bored into the innards of the lizard and ate its internal organs, hastening the drying out of its insides as well. The end result was a chameleon completely mummified before it could decay while still holding its death grip on the pipe.

Or was it?

Christopher Raxworthy, the curator-in-charge of the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, declared it a hoax.

“I suspect someone put the dry chameleon on the pump as a joke, or to stage this.”
Raxworthy says dying chameleons are too weak to hold on to pipes or branches and fall to the ground. While that may be true in some cases, Lenin says her family farm is in a remote area and locals won’t touch Indian chameleons – dead or alive – because they believe they’re venomous (they’re not). She’s sticking with the sticky story. Whatever the case, the bigger issue is the oppressive heat wave that killed the lizard and many Indians as well. The dead lizard may be the chameleon in the coal mine warning about … you guessed it … climate change. Because reptiles in the tropics are already living in temperatures that are at the upper limit of their survivability, even a small increase puts them in fatal heat stress.

While we continue to argue about climate change, we can at least agree that Mummified Chameleons would be a great name for a band.

I got this article from a site called Thanks for the info, guys.

Coffee out on the patio again today, before it gets too hot!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Comics...!

As usual, here is a selection of 'toons for your approval this Sunday. Not exactly the funny papers, but it will have to do...OK?

How about one more...?

OK...that's enough for now. Back to the coffee pot for a refill. We'll be having our coffee out on the patio today!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Fun Music Saturday...!

I don't know if any of you can remember these little ditties or not, but I have some fond memories of them. So let's see if you have some fun thoughts pop up with these...OK?

And just one more...

Now I have to admit, that last one was mainly for me! I have always loved that song.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Gotta beat the rain, ya know?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fence Climbing Gators For Freaky Friday...!

Now I don't mind that 'gators are needed in certain areas to help control some other critters, and to eat dead fish and such, but when they start climbing fences to get some place...then I have to draw the line.

And on top of that, some of these more industrial reptile types can climb trees? WTF??

Beware of Cow-Eating Gators and Fence-Climbing Crocodiles
Paul Seaburn
April 8, 2016

Are large reptiles evolving into mutant creatures worthy of starring in monster movies as they wipe out all cows and humans (hopefully in that order)? Two stories this week indicated that alligators and crocodiles are developing new traits that may not be good for humanity or bovinity.

A Florida commercial alligator hunter didn’t have to travel far to respond to a call that a 15-foot gator was eating cows … it was his own farm. Lee Lightsey organizes guided hunts and has been professionally hunting alligators since 1988, so he’s had plenty of experience with the big creatures. But he claims he’s never seen one as big as the 15-footer he spotted picking off cows from the cattle ponds on his farm. The largest American alligator ever recorded measured 19.2 feet long. Lightsey’s cattle feaster was an estimated 800 pounds and had to be lifted with a tractor.

At least you can keep these beasts out of your yard with a sturdy fence, right? That may be true in Florida, but not in northern India where residents of Boondi in Rajasthan watched a 250-pound pregnant croc climb a 4-foot fence and splash around in a lake before looking for a place to lay her eggs. If the crocodile climbed the fence to get out, it probably climbed said fence to get in. As a certain American presidential candidate might say, what these people need is a bigger fence.

Unfortunately, if you live in croc-infested areas, you’re going to need a MUCH bigger fence. A study published in Herpetology Notes found verifiable reports of adult crocodiles climbing fences as high as six feet and juvenile scaled critters scaling fences as high as 30 feet! So if you’re really worried about fence-climbing crocs, you should build a 31-foot fence, right?

Wrong! According to that same study in Herpetology Notes, crocodiles can climb trees too. If your fence is next to a taller tree, you’re croc-out-of-luck in keeping them out of your yard.

Can alligators climb fences or trees too? There don’t seem to be any verifiable eyewitness accounts of that. So your best bet for large alligator avoidance if you live in Florida, Louisiana or Texas is to keep your cows locked up indoors at all times. If you live in the crocodile lands of Australia, Africa, Asia and the Americas, build a 31-foot fence, cut down all of your trees or move to Antarctica.

Now, I realize all these critters have to eat and that they need exercise, but I would just as soon not have them anywhere close to my neighborhood, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen again today. Rain is back.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Don't Tease The Raven...!

Sometimes it's best to just leave Mother Nature alone.

Ravens are pretty smart and as far as birds go, they have a good memory. Also, they have an uncanny ability to remember faces. That can get you in trouble, if you aren't careful.

Don’t Mess With a Raven Because It Won’t Forget What You Did
Paul Seaburn
June 14, 2017

With apologies to both Edgar Allen Poe and James Cameron, the results of a new study on ravens show that Poe’s favorite talking bird acts more like a Terminator when wronged – holding grudges for up to two years against those who treat them unfairly. Can they fire a gun too?

The study, published in the journal Animal Behavior, involved researchers from the Lund University in Sweden and the University of Vienna in Austria where co-author Jorg Massen is a post-doc specializing in cognitive biology. Massen’s first job was hand-raising captive ravens for the project.

Once accustomed to humans, the birds were trained in the human arts of trading and deal-making. (Will this work with politicians? Asking for a friend.) Nine ravens participated in an exercise in trading. One trainer would give the bird a piece of bread. If the bird took it to the trainer at the other end of its cage, it was given a piece of cheese in exchange.

After that practice was learned, the trainers started messing around with the ravens. When approached by a bird bearing with bread, some trainers refused the trade and ate the cheese in front of the raven. Two days later, the trades were conducted again. In a test using seven of the birds, six went right to the “fair” trader who gave them cheese, one went to a neutral trainer and none went to the unscrupulous brie-eater. The test was conducted once again a month later with all nine birds. This time the results were 7-1-1 with the majority sticking with the fair dealer.

At this point, Alfred Hitchcock fans may be wondering if we’re in trouble. Can the ravens pass this judgmental trait on to others? Fortunately not. Ravens are recognized for having the most advanced bird brains (there’s today’s oxymoron) but the testers put a second raven in each cage as a trade observer and none of them learned by watching to identify the fair cheesemonger. If ravens can’t learn by watching each others, good luck with them training sparrows, parakeets and buzzards.

However, before you grab some cheese and crackers and go messing with the ravens and crows in your neighbor, Massen speculates that they can hold their grudges for up to two years, which is the amount of time that can remember other birds. In addition, ravens in the wild have been seen calling wolves to a carcass so that they rip the animal into smaller pieces that the birds can handle. Will the 911 operator believe you when you blame crows for that big dog biting you? Put down the Ritz and Roquefort and find another hobby.

If you’re still dumb enough to try anyway, remember what Poe’s raven warned:

Like I said...maybe we should just leave Mother Nature alone.

Coffee out on the patio again!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shane For Western Wednesday...!

Not many movies really stand out as much as the movie Shane did when it was first released in '53.

The story that was told was more than a typical shoot-'em-up, it actually had a moral to it. You could call it the first western geared to adult audiences.

Shane released by Paramount

Shane, considered by many critics to be the greatest western movie, is released by Paramount Pictures.

Based on Jack Schaefer’s 1949 novel of the same name, Shane was a new type of western. After World War II, Americans began to crave books and films that offered more realistic and complex characters. Simple two-dimensional heroes like Hopalong Cassidy no longer seemed believable to adults who had lived through the horrors and hardships of World War II. Schaefer’s book, and the movie based on it, created a western hero for a more mature and sophisticated America.

Alan Ladd played a drifting gunfighter who goes by only one name, Shane. In the opening scene, Shane rides down out of the rugged Teton Mountains into a fertile valley (the movie was filmed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming) where he meets a homesteading family: Joe and Marian Starrett, and their son, Joey. Eager to give up the rootless gunfighter’s life, Shane hires on as a farmhand. Soon, however, he learns that the local cattle baron is trying to run the Starretts and other homesteaders off their land so he can continue using it for grazing.

Shane is initially reluctant to use his guns to help the homesteaders. However, when the cattle baron hires a famous gunslinger named Wilson (played by Jack Palance) who kills one of the farmers, Joe Starrett is determined to take revenge. Realizing the stubborn Starrett will almost certainly be killed, Shane knocks him unconscious and goes in his place. After killing Wilson, Shane reluctantly concludes that he cannot escape his violent past and must leave the settled valley. In one of the most memorable scenes in movie history, Shane rides off into the wild mountains, the boy Joey’s voice echoing after him: “Come back, Shane!”

Simultaneously mythic and realistic, Shane created one of the first fully rounded western heroes. Shane lives by his gun, but he is essentially a good man who envies Joe Starrett’s settled family life. Ironically, Shane’s fate is to use violence to create civilized communities where violence is no longer acceptable or necessary.

I still can remember seeing Shane when I was younger, and I thought it was a good movie even back then. One of those movies that stays with you over the years, I guess.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Another Treasure Hunter Story...!

I could fill up the pages of a small book with articles about modern era treasure hunters and their escapades. A few of those didn't end well, let me tell you.

Willie And Frank McLeod

Photo credit:

The Naha tribe were the indigenous people who lived in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Once European settlers started showing up to hunt for gold, the Naha mysteriously disappeared.

In 1908, brothers Willie and Frank McLeod went on a trip to mine for gold in what is now known as Nahanni National Park, which was named after the Naha tribe. After the McLeods had been gone for two years, people began to believe that the brothers had actually struck it rich and decided to start a new life somewhere else.

Their uncle, Charlie McLeod, was worried because they never wrote home. When he finally went to look for them, he came upon the skeletons of Willie and Frank lying next to a creek where they had set up camp. They were in their sleeping bags, but their heads were missing.

They had written a message that said, “We have found a fine prospect.” None of their valuables were taken. Since that day, the location has been known as Headless Creek in Deadmen Valley.

I told you that some of these stories didn't end well for the treasure hunters. See what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio again today. I.m liking this cooler weather a lot!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Missing Plane For Monday Mystery...!

We haven't had a good mystery involving an aircraft in a while, so I figured it was about time.

The strangest part of this mystery is that it led to one of the largest searches in history, yet no sign of wreckage or bodies was ever found. Keep in mind that this was only last year, so modern tools could have been used.

2016 Indian Air Force Disappearance

Photo credit: Zee News

On July 22, 2016, an Antonov An-32 twin-engine transport aircraft belonging to the Indian Air Force disappeared while flying over the Bay of Bengal. There were 29 people on board at the time: 23 passengers and six crew members.

Radar contact was lost at 9:12 AM, and the ensuing search and rescue operation would become the largest in Indian history. Sixteen ships, a submarine, and six aircraft were deployed to aid in the search in and around the Bay of Bengal. On September 15, 2016, the mission was called off, and all aboard were presumed dead.

Now for a plane, especially a military craft, to disappear that completely in this day and age is almost unheard of. Certainly seems a tad mysterious to me, but what do I know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, where it is supposed to be a little cooler.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Update Is Good! Back To Business...!

My trip to VA was good and all was found to be well. I'm still kicking, so guess that means back to business, right? On Sunday, business means a little here we go!

And maybe just one more...!

Well, that's enough for today. Let's enjoy the rest of this slightly cooler morning, OK?

Coffee out on the patio, I think.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Gonna Be A Long Day...!

Believe it or not, I have to go to V.A. today! On a Saturday...! What's up with that, I wonder?

Not only that, I have to be there at 8:00 AM ! Crazy, right? This will be the very first time that I have been scheduled by them for a Saturday appointment. It's pretty unusual, I think. Anyway, this visit is for a check-up by the heart doctor(didn't I just do one of those?), so I guess it is important enough for me not to play hooky. The whole thing just sounds a bit strange to me.

It's been 100 degrees for the past day and is expected to be the same today. I really don't like being on the road when it's this hot, but what can ya do?

Coffee is in the regular place, so help yourself...OK?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Worm Eating Fungus For Freaky Friday...!

This next article from Listverse is not only freaky, but it's a little scary.

This mushroom is one that a lot of us have eaten over the years. Doesn't look that fact it's plain and simple in design. It has a singularly unpleasant way to get the nutrients it eats worms!

Oyster Mushrooms

Photo credit: Aaron Sherman

Oyster mushrooms of the genus Pleurotus are among the most prized edible mushrooms collected in the wild by human mycophages (a Greek word meaning “fungus eaters”). Oyster mushrooms grow on the trunks of dying and dead trees and break down the wood. The wood contains plenty of cellulose and lignin, but little nitrogen, so these crafty fungi exude chemical lures to attract their microscopic nematode prey.

When the worms crawl onto the fungal hyphae (threadlike filaments that make up most of the mushroom’s mass), the mushroom releases toxins from the tips of tiny, matchstick-like glands that paralyze the worms. The fungus then sends digestive hyphae down the victim’s mouth. They penetrate throughout the body and slowly digest the helpless worm from the inside while it’s still alive.

Now, how a plant gets the food it needs is certainly not my business. It just is a little freaky to me, but I guess that's because I never knew that it was a worm eater.

Coffee in the kitchen again today.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How About Some Shakespeare...?

You probably don't think you know much Shakespeare, but I'd be willing to bet that you have used one or more of the phrases that he came up with. Wanna bet?

Here is a partial list of the phrases he used in some of his plays. I'm sure you are familiar with a few of them.

Words that Shakespeare Invented

Here are some common words that first appeared in Shakespeare’s plays and their meanings:

Auspicious – favorable; promising success; a good omen. A wedding is an example of an auspicious occasion.

Baseless – without a foundation; not based on fact. If you accuse someone of wrongdoing, make sure that you have support to back up your claim and it is not a baseless accusation.

Barefaced – shameless; without concealment or disguise. When someone tells a 'barefaced lie' it is not a very good one and you immediately know it is not true.

Castigate – to punish harshly. Sometimes celebrities and politicians are castigated in the press more harshly than ordinary citizens.

Clangor – a loud (clanging) sound. Ghosts are sometimes said to be followed by the loud clangor of chains.

Dexterously – skillful, especially in the use of one’s hands (or also one’s mind). A good carpenter can dexterously build a bookshelf very easily.

Dwindle – to get smaller; diminish. Often used to describe money. Many people’s savings dwindle after losing a job.

Multitudinous – a lot; a great number. You are in luck if you can say that you have a multitudinous amount of friends.

Sanctimonious – pretending to be very religious or righteous. Sometimes people who judge others harshly are sanctimonious.

Watchdog – a person or group that keeps close watch to discover wrong or illegal activity. A popular watchdog group is PETA, which exposes wrongful actions against animals.

See? You actually know more Shakespeare than you thought. Pretty smart fella, don't you think?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning, but I have some gingersnap cookies I'll share!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bill Miner For Western Wednesday...!

Not all the bad guys were jerks. Some of them were gentlemen, even as they robbed their victims. That was the case with ol' Bill Miner.

Bill Miner: The Gentleman Bandit

Photo credit: Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Bill Miner was born in Kentucky, but he didn’t stay there for long. He went out west and became an outlaw. Then, after a long stint in San Quentin prison, he moved on north, hoping criminal business would be easier in the Canadian West.

They called him the “Gentleman Bandit” because of the polite courtesy he’d use when he was holding a gun to people’s heads. He was a man of firsts. It’s said he was the first to yell “Hands up!” during a robbery, and he was the first man to hijack a Canadian train.

The first train he robbed won him $7,000 in gold. At the time, that was enough of a fortune to live comfortably for two years. When the money ran out, though, he tried to pull off the trick again in 1905—and this time, it didn’t go as well.

The second train he robbed had nothing in but mail and old newspapers. Trying to make the best of a bad situation, Miner grabbed $15 and a bottle of liver pills and then ran for his life. He didn’t get far. The Mounted Police tracked him down, shot one of his cohorts in the leg, and brought Miner in. The Gentlemen Bandit was behind bars. He’d risked it all and lost it for $15 in cash.

Miner later escaped prison and fled to the US.

I guess that being courteous never hurts, even if you are a robber. Not sure that it really helped Bill, though.

Coffee in the kitchen again today.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Some Facts About O. Henry...!

In case you don't know who he was, he was the man that wrote Gift Of The Magi. among other things. He was from Austin, Texas and that's where his troubles began.

O. Henry is released from prison

William Sydney Porter, otherwise known as O. Henry, is released from prison on this day, after serving three years in jail for embezzlement from a bank in Austin, Texas.

To escape imprisonment, Porter had fled the authorities and hidden in Honduras, but returned when his wife, still in the U.S., was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He went to jail and began writing stories to support his young daughter while he was in prison.

After his release, Porter moved to New York and worked for New York World, writing one short story a week from 1903 to 1906. In 1904, his first story collection, Cabbages and Kings, was published. His second, The Four Million (1906), contained one of his most beloved stories, The Gift of the Magi, about a poor couple who each sacrifice their most valuable possession to buy a gift for the other.

Additional collections appeared in 1906 and 1907, and two collections a year were published in 1908 until his death in 1910. He specialized in stories about everyday people, often ending with an unexpected twist. Despite the enormous popularity of the nearly 300 stories he published, he led a difficult life, struggling with financial problems and alcoholism until his death in 1910.

At least hye came back when his wife was sick and made an effort to support his daughter while he was incarcerated. More than some would do, even in this day and age.

Coffee in the kitchen once again this morning.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Witchcraft On Monday Mystery...!

As we all know by now, the disappearance of watercraft on the ocean is not uncommon. To disappear this close to land, however, is a different story altogether. Here is the story of one such mystery.

The Witchcraft

In December 1967, Miami hotel owner Dan Burack decided to view the city’s Christmas lights from his luxury cabin cruiser, the Witchcraft. Accompanied by Father Patrick Hogan, he sailed about a mile out to sea. The boat was in good working order when the two men left.

At about 9:00 PM, Burack radioed to request a tow back to the marina, reporting that his boat had struck an unknown object. Despite the incident, Burack didn’t sound worried at all—after all, he’d personally built Witchcraft with a special hull to keep her from sinking. He confirmed his location with the Coast Guard and assured them he would fire a flare when they arrived in the area.

It only took the Coast Guard about 20 minutes to reach Burack’s reported location, but by the time they arrived, the Witchcraft had vanished. Although initially unconcerned, the Coast Guard eventually searched more than 3,100 kilometers (1,200 mi) of ocean. But Dan Burack, Father Patrick Hogan, and the Witchcraft were never found.

Now this is a worthy mystery to say the least. To vanish this close to land, and to not be found after such an expanded search, is strange. Can't help but imagine what could have happened, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday 'Toons Again...!

Here we go, back in the same old rut. Showing some of the older cartoons from long ago. Some folks like 'em, some folks don't. Either they are!

And one more...

That's all there is. Have a great day...! Coffee in the kitchen.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

How About Some Music...?

For some reason, I am really in the mood for some good ol' music. Something from the old days, ya know?

Bear with me a bit here, 'cause some of these folks are not around any more. I just wanted to hear some of their music again.

And just one more...

Guess that wasn't too bad, huh? Thanks for letting me do that.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's too hot outside.

Friday, July 21, 2017

You Can't Fix Stupid...!

This next story just goes to show that you never know when the Stupid Bug is gonna bite. It should be a lesson to everyone that is associated with illegal drugs in any way, shape, or form.

Waitress Inadvertently Spikes Cop’s Drink With Cocaine

Photo credit: Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

If he hadn’t been out of uniform, maybe she’d never have been busted. Unfortunately for her, the police officer was off duty when the Chattanooga waitress inadvertently spiked his water with a bag of cocaine in 2017. Jekievea Monchell Yearby’s mishap got her arrested on charges of assault, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The officer of the law called his colleagues to the scene, and they watched the surveillance video of the incident with the restaurant’s manager.

Caught red-handed, so to speak, Yearby admitted the bag of cocaine was hers, as was its twin, secreted in her bra. She’d accidentally dropped the drug in the officer’s glass of water when she’d served him. She said she doesn’t take drugs and isn’t addicted to them, but she does have other problems. Not only was she arrested, but she’s also now unemployed.

I don't know if people that use drugs are really stupid or if they are merely a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason , I don't think they have their head screwed on straight, ya know? Thanks to Listverse for this story.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning, OK?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

We Gotta Save The Bees...!

We all know that bees do a wonderful service to all of us by helping to pollinate a lot of our food crops.

Here is a little fact that should really concern many of us. One thing that the bees help to pollinate in a major coffee! That's right, my friends, COFFEE !

The Coffee Industry

In addition to various fruits and vegetables, bees are also the primary pollinators for coffee. So without bees, our world’s coffee supply would dwindle, and the industry would lose its profitability. At first thought, this seems pretty inconsequential; caffeine is not a human “need,” and the end of coffee wouldn’t mean famine. But a surprising amount of our world’s industry lies on coffee production and sales.

In 2016 alone, Starbucks Coffee raked in $21.3 billion in gross sales. And as of May 2017, the chain had 245,000 employees. Coffee is also a valuable product in Latin America, specifically Guatemala, where a large portion of the population works in the coffee industry. Without bees, this multinational coffee empire would collapse, leaving hundreds of thousands of people out of work across the world.

I had no idea that bees could have that much effect on our morning brew. So if we lose the bees, not only would we more than likely go hungry, but we wouldn't be able to enjoy our morning java either! BUMMER!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. All bees are more than welcome !

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Doc Holliday On Western Wednesday...!

Ever wonder just when the bad guys in the west really got started? I'm talking about guys like Doc Holliday.

Doc wasn't always a gunfighter, ya know. He actually got his start as a dentist. When he came down with tuberculosis, that understandably put an end to his practice.

Doc Holliday kills for the first time

Doc Holliday commits his first murder, killing a man for shooting up his New Mexico saloon.

Despite his formidable reputation as a deadly gunslinger, Doc Holliday only engaged in eight shootouts during his life, and it has only been verified that he killed two men. Still, the smartly dressed ex-dentist from Atlanta had a remarkably fearless attitude toward death and danger, perhaps because he was slowly dying from tuberculosis.

In 1879, Holliday settled in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he opened a saloon with a partner. Holliday spent his evenings gambling in the saloon and he seemed determined to stress his health condition by heavy drinking. A notorious cad, Holliday also enjoyed the company of the dance hall girls that the partners hired to entertain the customers–which sometimes sparked trouble.

On this day in 1879, a former army scout named Mike Gordon tried to persuade one of Holliday’s saloon girls to quit her job and run away with him. When she refused, Gordon became infuriated. He went out to the street and began to fire bullets randomly into the saloon. He didn’t have a chance to do much damage–after the second shot, Holliday calmly stepped out of the saloon and dropped Gordon with a single bullet. Gordon died the next day.

The following year, Holliday abandoned the saloon business and joined his old friend Wyatt Earp in Tombstone, Arizona. There he would kill his second victim, during the famous “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” in October 1881. During the subsequent six years, Holliday assisted at several other killings and wounded a number of men in gun battles. His hard drinking and tuberculosis eventually caught up with him, and he retired to a Colorado health resort where he died in 1887. Struck by the irony of such a peaceful end to a violent life, his last words reportedly were “This is funny.”

He died more peacefully than he lived, that's for sure. I'm really surprised he wasn't shot, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Victorian Killer Wallpaper...!

As you know, they did some crazy stuff back in the Victorian days, some of them were not very healthy.

Many of the things done back then could and often did, cause death. Seems almost as if the people of that time wanted to take chances with their lives and health. For that, they paid a terrible price at times.


Photo credit: EvoNews

Rather than 50 Shades of Gray, the Victorians were passionate about the color green. In fact, green wallpaper was to the home what an iPad Air is to tablets. This love of green came about because of the end of the window tax and gas lamps. With natural light flooding in during the day and better light at night, the Victorians unleashed their inner passion for bright colors.

The fashionable color to dress the walls with wasn’t just any green. It had to be a lush shade called Scheele’s Green. Not only was it bright, but it resisted fading—an extra boon. The dark side of this colorful wall dressing was that it slowly poisoned people. Copper arsenite, an arsenic derivative, gave it the rich color. Breathing air polluted with arsenic vapor had the potential to kill . . . and often did.

Whole families ailed and died, with children especially at risk. The signs of arsenic poisoning were similar to diphtheria, so many politicians remained skeptical of the danger. And those doctors who did voice concern about arsenic were often publicly ridiculed, especially by companies producing the wallpaper!

It took until 1903 for arsenic compounds to be forbidden as a food additive, but the use of arsenic in wallpaper was never formally banned.

I took this article from Listverse. If you want to read about some other deadly things done in Victorian times you might go check it out.

Coffee out on the hot and muggy patio this morning.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lord Lucan On Monday Mystery...!

Let's take a look at a fairly recent mystery from the 1970s. This one involves a murder suspect and his disappearance. No one is really sure what happened to him, but plenty of speculation is still lingering, as you might expect.

What Really Happened To Lord Lucan?

Photo credit: Photoshot

During the 1970s, the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Lord Lucan, as well as the death of his supposed victim, was huge news in the streets of London. After being accused of killing his children’s nanny and attacking his own wife, Lord Lucan (aka Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan) seemed to disappear off the face of the Earth, and not much was known about where he disappeared to—until now.

Novelist Peter James has recently suggested that Lord Lucan’s aristocratic circle of gambling friends (known as the Clermont Set) helped him escape England in a “light plane” to Montreux, Switzerland.[8] However, after Lucan began talking about how he wanted to contact his children to let them know he was alright, the group was spooked and had him killed “Mafia-style.” His body is believed to have been buried in Switzerland out of fear that the group’s involvement in Lucan’s escape would be revealed.

In recent years, some have even suggested that Lucan was in fact innocent of the murder. However, this fact continues to be disputed.

This story was taken from the folks at Listverse...and I thank them for it.

Coffee out on the patio if the weather co-operates. Otherwise, we'll have it in the kitchen.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Once Again...!

Let's go back to the days when we had some old timey 'toons on Sunday, OK?

Getting harder and harder to find the really good ones anymore, ya know? Seems like the new stuff is what most kids want now days. Give me the older ones every time!

And maybe just one more...

Well, I reckon that's enough for today. Since it's raining again I'm gonna read a book and then it's nap time!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Fresh banana bread I'll share, though.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Many Interest Of H.G. Wells...

I may have mentioned the fact before that I am an avid reader. In fact, everyone in my family is pretty passionate about reading.

When researching a particular writer or book, I occasionally run across some little tidbit of information about that writer that I feel I should share with you. The following piece of info might just surprise you, though.I know it caught me off-guard.

H.G. Wells
Little Wars

The author of War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, H.G. Wells is known today as the father of science fiction. While alive, however, Wells was a man of many interests. In addition to sci-fi, he wrote several books on history, politics, and . . . gaming.

One of Wells’s favorite pastimes was miniature wargaming, now a worldwide hobby. Wargaming seeks to reenact (or simply play through) military conflicts with model soldiers. Notable examples today include Black Powder and Warhammer 40,000. Most miniature wargames are dependent upon rulebooks for coherent play, and Wells penned one of the first: Little Wars.

Compared to modern wargaming tomes, Little Wars wasn’t much. But this attempt to establish a basic consistency in miniature wargames more or less caused the hobby to gain momentum. In fact, Wells is now considered the father of miniature wargaming in addition to science-fiction.

Somewhat ironically, Wells was a pacifist.

Who would have thunk it? Certainly not me! I wouldn't believe for a minute that Wells was an avid Wargamer, as well as an author. Then to top it off, I find out he was a pacifist...? Way too much info for me, I think.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Raining again outside.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Some More Strange Animals...!

We have some strange critters around the world, most of which we don't get to see. Lucky for us, there are some folks out there that take a camera with them when they find these critters.

How about this one...?

Well, that should do t for this version of Freaky Friday. Pretty strange, right?

Coffee inside again today!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Some Pretty Amazing Pictures...!

I wanted to share these pictures with you today. These are real pictures, without any photoshopping or editing. As you can see, there are some strange things out there, if we only know where to look!

Not something you would see everyday, I'd say.

Coffee inside again today. I still am looking for rain!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wild Bill's First Gunfight...!

Did you ever wonder just how the legend of some of our most famous gunfighters got started? We,, here is the story behind one of them.

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.

No matter how fast you were, there was always someone faster and more sneaky, it seems. Some folks were willing to shoot a person in the back of the head, merely to build a reputation. Seems like a bit of that is still going on today, right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I believe the rain is coming back.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Remembering Sergeant Bill...!

Just who was Sergeant Bill you may ask? Well, that's an interesting story that I think you will find educational.

Sergeant Bill, a Tough Old Goat!

Sergeant Bill in uniform with soldier friend.
(Photo: Broadview Museum)

A goat named Bill was pulling a cart in a small town in Saskatchewan when a train, carrying soldiers on their way to fight in the First World War, stopped. The girl who owned Bill let the soldiers take him along as a good luck charm. Mascots were not supposed to go to the front lines, but the soldiers had become very attached to the goat so they hid him in a big crate and took him with them.

Sergeant Bill, as the goat was called, was a big help. He saw action beside his human friends in many battles, including one where he pushed three soldiers into a trench just seconds before a shell exploded where they had been standing.

Despite being wounded several times, Sergeant Bill survived the war. Once the fighting was over, he was even part of a big parade in Germany, proudly wearing a fancy blue coat with his sergeant stripes. He then returned to his hometown where he was reunited with his owner.

Isn't it refreshing to hear a story like this coming from suck a terrible time in our history? I thought so.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. Fresh cookies to share!

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Big Grey Man On Monday Mystery...!

Once in a great while, there is a tale from another part of the world that sounds a lot like those we hear a lot closer to home.

From Scotland, for instance, is this story of something called the Big Grey Man. Sort of the Yeti of Scotland, I suppose. Either way, here is the story from Listverse for you to ponder.

The Big Grey Man Of Ben MacDhui

Photo credit: Brocken Inaglory

Known in Scotland as Am Fear Liath Mor, the Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui is a cryptid, similar to the Yeti or Bigfoot. He is said to be found on Ben MacDhui, the largest peak in the Cairngorm Mountains, and it first became more than a local legend in 1889, when Professor Norman Collie allegedly saw it.[2] Though he technically didn’t see the Grey Man, he was quoted as saying: “I heard something else other than my own footsteps. For every few steps I took I heard a crunch and then another crunch as if someone was walking after me but taking footsteps three or four times the length of my own.”

Various other accounts have come from a number of people since then, including Peter Densham, a member of the airplane rescue team for Ben MacDhui. Naturalist and mountaineer Alexander Tewnion also claimed to have seen the Grey Man, firing three shots from his pistol at a figure which charged at him through the mist. A Brocken spectre, a phenomenon where an observer’s shadow is cast upon the surfaces of clouds opposite the Sun, has been claimed to be the cause of these so-called sightings, although that doesn’t explain the sound of an extra pair of footsteps.

So, what do you reckon this "Grey Man" is? A figment of someone's imagination, maybe a figure seen after one or two at the pub? Or could it be something even more sinister...?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, if you don't mind.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Something A Little Different...!

Instead of having the cartoons today, let's do some brain games instead. These are pretty easy, so you shouldn't have any trouble with them. Ready...?

There! That wasn't too bad, was it?

Coffee out on the patio again.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Gotta Pain In My Ear...!

No, not me ! The man in the following story did, though. Pretty tough gentleman, sounds like to me.

I mean, if I had the slightest notion that I had a spider crawl in my ear, I would have gone to the hospital right away! No messing around, ya know?

Did You Try Nuking It?

One morning in 2014, Hendrik Helmer woke up to a stabbing pain in his ear. Since he was from Australia, Helmer naturally assumed that a spider had crawled in there while he was asleep. With that in mind, he did what any Australian would do, and tried to ignore it. When the pain not only failed to subside but got worse over the next few hours, he decided to take action.

Initially, he tried to drown the beast with water. When that failed, he decided a vacuum might be able to suck it out, which just made the creature squirm around more inside him. With all his reasonable options exhausted, Helmer decided to try a last-ditch attempt and go to the hospital.

When the doctor examined Helmer, she could see that there was something alive inside, but could not quite make out what. In a short procedure, she poured olive oil into the man’s ear, which usually drives animals out of the ear canal. In this case, the creature appears to have drowned, allowing the doctor to remove it, and finally reveal that a 2 cm (0.79 inch) cockroach was the culprit behind all of Helmer’s pain. Helmer was relatively unfazed by his ordeal, although several of his friends began sleeping with earphones.

I can't imagine what's worse...a spider in the ear, or a roach! Personally, I don't want either one in my ear...and that's a fact!

Coffee out on the patio before it gets any hotter!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Murdered Trappers For Freaky Friday...!

Here is another case of people being murdered and no one brought to justce for the crime.

That sort of thing seemed to happen a lot before we had all the modern crime fighting tools that we have today. I wonder if any of those tools would have helped in this case, though.

The Case Of The Three Trappers

During the winter of 1924, three men from Bend, Oregon, decided to spend the season in an isolated log cabin near Lava Lake and do some fur trapping. Those men were Edward Nichols, Roy Wilson, and Dewey Morris.

Come spring, some of their friends and family ventured to the cabin to check on the men. They found an abandoned house and patches of blood leading toward the lake. It wasn’t until the ice melted that they were able to see the true gruesomeness of the event. All three men had been shot, butchered, and dumped in the lake under the ice. It appeared as though they had been taken by surprise because Nichols, although missing part of his chest and lower jaw from a shotgun blast, was still wearing his reading glasses.

While looking for motive, police discovered Lee Collins, another trapper who’d had an argument with Nichols over a missing wallet and threatened to “get even.” A little more digging revealed that Collins was actually Charles Kimzey, a man with a previous arrest for robbery and assault. However, investigators didn’t believe Kimzey alone could have dispatched the three men that quickly and effortlessly, even with the element of surprise.

It took five years before police finally apprehended Kimzey, only for him to be acquitted due to insufficient evidence. The gruesome case remains unsolved with several lingering questions: Was Kimzey involved? Did he have a partner? If not him, then who?

As in so many cases like this, more questions than answers arise. Can't help but wonder what really took place at that lonely cabit in the woods.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

See? I Told Ya It Was Real...!

I'm sure that Marco Polo would be saying something like that if he were alive when the legendary Xanadu was uncovered.

Marco was probably thought crazy when he told of the wondrous Xanadu, palace of the great Khan. In reality, it just sounded too great a place to be real. Turns out, Marco Polo wasn't exaggerating.

Xanadu: The Palace Of Kublai Khan

Photo credit: Zhenglan Qi Administration of Cultural Heritage of the site of Xanadu City

Marco Polo came back from China with some incredible descriptions of Kublai Khan’s empire. The most incredible of all, though, was Xanadu, the palace of the great khan.

Xanadu, Marco Polo said, was a marble palace surrounded by a massive, 26-kilometer-wide (16 mi) park filled with fountains, rivers, and wild animals. There, the khan kept 10,000 pure white horses in a golden palace guarded by dragons. It was, in short, a paradise unlike any on Earth.

The palace was destroyed by the Ming army in 1369, long before most Europeans got the chance to see it. As the centuries passed by, it slipped into legend. It was a place poets wrote about but was little more than the stuff of imagination.

Since then, though, the site of Kublai Khan’s palace has been uncovered, and we’ve found that Marco Polo wasn’t exaggerating. The khan’s home was twice as big as the White House, surrounded by a massive park that seems to have once held a wild menagerie of animals from around the world.

There are ramps for horses in every part of it, and it even has the dragons Marco Polo described. They’re statues sitting atop of pillars that have been painted yellow—but they’re posed exactly as he said they were.

Sometimes it turns out that the tall tales some folks tell are more than that, and just may contain a kernel of truth. Maybe we should listen a little better!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bill Doolin Escapes On Western Wednesday...!

Sometimes in the old west, it seemed almost impossible to keep some of the bad guys locked up.

Escape was much more commonplace back then than we would think. Almost seemed impossible to keep the bad guys locked up for very long. However, many lawmen of the day were tenacious as bull dogs and were bound and determined to re-capture them, no matter what.

Bill Doolin escapes from jail

The famous outlaw Bill Doolin escapes from an Oklahoma jail after only a few months of captivity.

Like many outlaws, William Doolin only gradually fell into a life of crime. Born in Arkansas in 1858, the tall and slim Doolin went west at the age of 23. He found work as a cowboy on several Oklahoma ranches and was widely regarded as a trustworthy and capable employee.

Doolin’s life course changed forever when a beer party in southern Kansas turned violent and two deputy sheriffs ended up dead. Doolin’s exact role in the murders was unclear, but evidence of his guilt was substantial enough to raise the chance of prison. Unwilling to risk a trial, Doolin became a fugitive. Cool, intelligent, and a skilled shot, Doolin was suited to the outlaw life. Traveling throughout the West, he robbed banks and trains, sold illegal whiskey to Indians, rustled cattle and horses, and killed several men. He formed a criminal gang that occasionally joined forces with the Dalton brothers to rob banks in Oklahoma and Missouri.

As a robber, Doolin was more successful than most because of his careful planning, but success inevitably attracted the unwanted attention of the law. In January 1896, Doolin returned to Arkansas. While Doolin was taking the medicinal waters at a resort called Eureka Springs, the famous Oklahoma lawman William Tilghman arrested him without a struggle.

Tilghman transferred Doolin to a jail at Guthrie, Oklahoma, to await trial. On this day in 1896, Doolin managed to escape, but was free only for a short time. A few weeks later, on August 25, a posse caught up with Doolin at Lawson, Oklahoma. Doolin resisted arrest, and in the ensuing gun battle, lawmen shot him to death.

It seems a shame that someone so good at planning and avoiding capture, couldn't or wouldn't find a legal job. Guess the pay just wasn't enough or the work was too hard to warrant a lifestyle change.

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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Hate You, Sherlock Holmes...!

Not often does an author hate his own character so much that he kills that character in one of his stories.

However, that's exactly what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did. He killed off one of the most popular characters in the literary world at the time. Thinking the deed was finally bringing an end to the object of his dislike, Doyle discovered that the public wasn't ready for Sherlock Holmes to disappear just yet.

Sherlock Holmes

Photo credit: Herbert Rose Barraud

If you can only name one 19th-century literary character, it’s probably Sherlock Holmes. The hugely popular detective wowed audiences with his insane adventures and superhuman powers of deduction. Some have even credited the imaginary investigator with bringing the art of forensics to real-world crime fighters. So what could possibly defeat the greatest detective who ever “lived?” His own creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In an odd turn of events for a massively popular author, Doyle absolutely hated Holmes. In fact, it was the character’s popularity that fueled Doyle’s hatred. Desperate for money, a young Doyle wrote fiction to supplement his income, playing with topics like man-eating plants and mummies before finally finding an audience with his detective character, Sherlock Holmes. Despite immediate commercial success, Doyle regarded his work with Holmes as cheap and hacky and preferred instead to work with more historical subjects. The public only wanted Holmes, however, and Doyle found himself growing exhausted by the increasing workload and ever more resentful of the fictitious man whose reputation was overshadowing his own.

So he tried to kill him. In the short story “The Final Problem,” Doyle sent his legendary super-sleuth out in style, throwing both he and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, over a waterfall. Doyle said the decision was an act of self-defense, claiming, “If I had not killed him, he would certainly have killed me.”[1] Despite this passionate hatred, however, Doyle eventually gave in and brought Holmes back from his “faked death.” He continued writing stories he couldn’t stand for the rest of his life.

I, for one, am glad that Sherlock Holmes was brought back to life. I've always enjoyed the character very much, and find the stories about his cases fascinating and a good read. But what do I know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Happy 4TH everyone! Please be safe!