Sunday, August 20, 2017

More Sunday Funnies...!

Time for the Sunday Funnies, in the form of 'toons, of course.







Maybe just one more...



That's enough for today. Don't want to overdo it, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Had a little shower come through and cooled things off a tad!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Can You Find The Mine...?

No telling just how many folks went looking for this gold mine, not knowing if it was real or not.

Still, if you are an avid treasure hunter, not even the facts are gonna convince you that the mine doesn't exist. I would think that being shot at might discourage many opf us, though.

The Lost Sublett Mine



The Guadalupe Mountains, located in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico, are said to be home to some of the richest gold mines in the world, a fact alleged by the famous Apache Geronimo. Ben Sublett, an old miner who lived during the 19th century, was supposed to have found a vein of gold, one so valuable he could mine $10,000 worth of gold in a week.[6] Unfortunately, the only evidence of his mine is a single hole in the ground, which is not much bigger than a man.

Long seen as a drunk and a liar, Sublett came into his local tavern one night, throwing down a handful of nuggets and proclaiming drinks were on him. A number of unsuccessful efforts were made to pry the secret from him, and attempts were made to follow him to his secret mine, but they were met with the business end of his rifle. Even when Sublett’s young son asked where the gold was located, Sublett told him to find it himself, like his father did. To this day, no one knows where the mine is located, and scientists don’t believe large gold veins are even located in the Guadalupe Mountains.

Maybe the mine is there and maybe it's not. Makes for a great campfire story though, either way.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Getting hot early today!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Flying Double For Freaky Friday...!

Here is something a little different for ya today. One pilot flies two planes and lands them both!

It takes some real fancy flying to do what this guy did, let me tell ya. Pretty gutsy move on his part, I'd say!

Brocklesby Midair Collision



Photo credit: ozatwar.com

On September 29, 1940, two Royal Australian Air Force Avro Anson airplanes on a training exercise collided in midair above Brocklesby, New South Wales, Australia. The pilot and reconnaissance officer in the lower airplane immediately bailed out, along with the reconnaissance officer of the upper airplane.

This left only Leading Aircraftman Leonard Fuller, the pilot of the upper plane, aboard. Both airplanes did not enter a steep dive and crash as expected. Instead, they remained airborne and locked together, with one above the other.

The engines of the upper airplane controlled by Fuller had stopped working, but the airplane was kept airborne by the engines of the lower airplane. Fuller soon discovered that he could control the lower engines by simply controlling his airplane.

So he flew both airplanes 8 kilometers (5 mi) before landing in Brocklesby. The lower airplane was written off after the landing, but the upper airplane was repaired and returned to service.

Sounds to me like this pilot doesn't need any more training to fly his plane, except maybe a little to learn not to collide with another aircraft. I found this article over at Listverse...so thanks to them!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Maybe we'll get some shade this early.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Some Mark Twain Trivia...!

Being a cat lover myself, I was delighted to find out that I was in good company.

There has been a lot of famous people that were cat lovers. Folks like Hemmingway, Abe Lincoln, and my favorite...Mark Twain. Here's some trivia on just how important Twain considered his cats to be.

MARK TWAIN


 Mark Twain (1835-1910) may well out-crazy even the craziest of cat people. He had up to 19 cats at one time, all of whom he loved and respected far beyond whatever he may have felt about people. "If man could be crossed with the cat," he said, "it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat." When he was away from home, he would rent cats, paying their owners a large enough sum to see to their needs for a lifetime.

In keeping with the tradition established by Richelieu, Southey, and Gautier, Twain gave his cats most excellent names, among them Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal, Pestilence, and Bambino. To be fair, the credit for the last of these goes to Twain's daughter Clara, who took in Bambino during a sanatorium stay. She gave the kitten to her father after one of the other patients ratted her out.

When Bambino escaped one day, Twain was frantic. He put ads in New York newspapers describing the cat as "large and intensely black" and offering a $5 reward for his return. As Calvin Coolidge would find out 20 years later, a famous person asking for aid in the return of a lost cat was subject to an enormous quantity of doppelgangers and would-be changelings from people who just wanted to make contact with the celebrity. Even after Bambino turned up on his own a few days later and Twain sent notice to all the papers, people still turned up at his Fifth Avenue home with cats for him.

Now, I figure that if someone like Mark Twain was crazy enough to keep 19 cats at one time, and rent cats when he was on the road, then my having 4 cats at my house isn't too bad, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen again today. Still have some cobbler left, if you want some.

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 things...like 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 trace...is 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 president...you 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.

1877
 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 MysteriousUniverse.com. 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:
Nevermore.

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.

1953
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: mysteriousuniverse.org

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!