Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Very Merry Christmas To One And All...!

I just couldn't let this holiday go by without wishing you all a very happy and safe holiday.

As the end of the year approaches, I will be the first to say that this year has been interesting, to say the least. I have made many, many changes...some good, some maybe not so good. Still, I have hopes that the upcoming new year is better all around.

Until then, my friends...

MERRY CHRISTMAS...!!!


Coffee out by the pool this morning, since I no longer have a patio.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone...!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very... 

Happy Thanksgiving !


I miss you all!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Hate To Say This...!

I am going to take a break from posting for a while. The reason...I sold my house and am in the process of moving. I don't have a lot, but getting all settled in at a new place may take some time. I'm sure you all know how it goes...right?

I have no idea when I'll be back or if I will even continue to blog daily. Started out to be fun, but it may be time to hang it up. We'll just have to see how it goes, ya know? If possible I may be set up enough to begin posting again from the new place.

Sorry, but after today there won't be any more coffee served on the patio. That kinda makes me sad!

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Miniature Coffins...!

Many untold mysteries over time have gone completely unanswered, and remain so to this day. Here from Listverse is yet another.

Miniature coffins



In 1836 a group of boys set off for Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland to hunt rabbits. Intrigued by a concealed cave, the boys decided to peek inside. After pulling away the stones covering the entrance, they stumbled upon 17 miniature coffins, each with a wooden doll inside. The dolls had big eyes and were dressed in cotton clothing.

When the discovery was reported in the Scotsman newspaper, the article mentioned that the coffins were decorated with funeral trappings and it seemed that they had been placed inside the cave recently.

As is always the case with unexplained discoveries, multiple theories were presented to try and explain the coffins. Some people thought it might be children playing a trick, while others mused that witches might have used the coffins for rituals. Yet another theory said that the coffins may have been part of an ancient custom to give sailors who died at sea a Christian burial. A dark theory suggested that the coffins may have been set up in tribute of killers William Burke and William Hare who murdered 17 people.

The true purpose of the coffins and who placed them in the cave remains a mystery.

You would think after all this time, someone would have discovered the reason for the miniature coffins. One more unanswered tale of mystery, I reckon.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.Temps are supposed to be in the 70s.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Incubator Fairs...!

Sometimes folks have to go to great lengths to get an invention noticed. Such was the case in this next story from Listverse.

Incubated Babies Fairs



Photo credit: Wikimedia

Before the 20th century, premature babies had very little chance of survival. That was set to change when Dr. Martin Corney invented his incubator, but not many people trusted the machine. Hospitals rejected it, and investors were not forthcoming. To prevent the death of his invention and convince skeptics, Couney came up with a very strange and crazy solution. He built an exhibit in which premature babies will be put on display at fairs and parks. The first exhibit, or “child hatchery,” opened in Berlin in 1896. He soon moved to the US, where he opened an exhibit on Coney Island.

Couney’s exhibit looked like a normal hospital. He placed babies in wards and employed doctors and nurses to look after them. The only difference was that one side of the ward was glass, and people watched through it.

The exhibit was very successful. Parents brought their premature babies to Couney and did not have to pay for medical care. The customers were charged up to 25 cents for the show, and the money collected paid for all expenses. Most of the premature children on display survived. By the time incubated babies fairs ended four decades later, Couney had managed to convince everyone that his incubators were safe.

Not a traditional approach, but it seemed to have done the job. That's what counts, I reckon.

Coffee inside again, even though it is supposed to warm up some out on the patio.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

That Had To Hurt...!

You just never know when some bad Karma is gonna get you. Here is a story from Listverse that shows what I mean.

An Office Chair



Photo credit: Anorak

Office chairs have a small tank of compressed air underneath their seats that allow them to go up and down. Unfortunately, a line of chairs manufactured in China had a defect in the canisters. In 2009, a 14-year-old-boy named Xiaogang went to adjust his chair when it exploded while he was still sitting in it. Shards of broken plastic and metal shot through the cushion and directly into his anus. He was brought to the hospital, but he was bleeding so much that he died.

Since the original report of this incident was in Chinese, a group of English-speaking Internet sleuths on Skeptics Stack Exchange wanted to figure out how true this story actually was by translating Chinese news sites. It turns out that not only was this true, but several people had similar injuries. The chair was quickly taken off the market, and we can only hope that none ever made it overseas.

Sometimes ev3en the furniture is out to get us.

Coffee inside again this morning!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Frisco Gunfight For Western Wednesday...!

Most of what we think we know about gunfights in the old west is incorrect. Here is a story about a real gunfight to show what it was really like.

Frisco Shoot-Out



As far as one-sided shoot-outs go, there is probably none greater than the gunfight that took place on December 1, 1884 in Reserve, New Mexico. On one side, we had just one lawman by the name of Elfego Baca. On the other we had a group of angry cowboys numbering anywhere between 40 and 80 people.

It all started when Baca arrested a drunk by the name of Charlie McCarty for shooting his guns randomly. However, McCarty had a lot of dangerous friends who soon came demanding his release. Baca managed to fend off this initial attack when the leader was killed by his own horse toppling onto him.

By this time, word started spreading that there was some kind of Mexican uprising, so an angry mob formed to deal with it. When the mob arrived in town, Baca was holed up inside a small house belonging to a local. When William Hearne, the leader of the mob, tried to break down the door, Baca killed him with two shots, officially starting a shoot-out that would last a staggering 36 hours.

Supposedly, up to 80 people took part in the gunfight and shot up to 4,000 rounds into the house. None of them hit Baca. The reason: The house had a dirt floor, and he’d dug a hole into it, lending himself cover. Eventually, the posse ran out of bullets. When proper authorities arrived, they surrendered, leaving Baca victorious.

Guess this just proves that even the good guys can win once in a while.

Coffee inside this morning. Way too cold out on the patio.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

All Together Now, Boys...!

Nature sure can come up with some things we just can't understand. This case of the Fireflies is certainly one of them. Here is the story from Listverse.

Synchronous Fireflies



If you walk along the bank of Thailand’s Mae Klong river at night, you might witness one of the most incredible visual displays in nature—tens of thousands of fireflies blinking in perfect unison. Nobody knows why they do it, just that it’s part of their mating ritual.

But the real mystery is how they’re able to synchronize their pulsing lights. It’s a localized communication that spreads through the swarm like ripples in a pond—if you were to watch the light show from the beginning, you’d see it start with just a handful of fireflies, who found the right rhythm. From that small pocket, the rhythm sweeps through the rest of the population, until they’re all perfectly synchronized. What was chaos becomes machine-like precision.

It’s not just Thai fireflies that do it, either. The same phenomenon has been seen everywhere from Japan to Texas. All we know is that it’s a male-exclusive behavior.

It's almost like these guys are just showing off, ya know? Sure must be something to see, though.

Coffee inside again this morning!

Monday, November 11, 2019

The 3 Prodigal Sons For Monday Mystery...!

Sometimes a great mystery is found completely by accident. Sadly, when this happens, it opens up a myriad of questions. Here is the story from Listverse.

Prodigal Sons



In 1964, a farmer discovered the remains of three men in a pit grave on the flood pain of Sacramento River. They had died about 1,500 years ago, and all showed signs of extreme physical trauma. One victim had seven arrows embedded in his ribs. Obsidian blades were still lodged in the spines of the other two. This was not a proper burial. Their bodies were splayed out chaotically. There were no grave goods. Experts believe that 560 years ago, central California was a war zone marked by violent territorial battles. Fractured skulls, broken bones, and trophies made of human remains fill the archaeological record from this period.

Isotope analysis of their teeth revealed that the prodigal sons were born and raised locally, but had spent most of their adult life elsewhere—north of the Sacramento River, suggesting that hunter-gatherers had been even more mobile than previously thought. Why had the prodigal sons returned home? And who was waiting for them?

See what I mean? Just one more historical mystery that we will never know the answers to. We have a lot of those, don't we?

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Camera Obscura For Freaky Friday...!

For some unknown reason, folks seem to have always been fascinated with crime scenes, especially those involving murder. This was a very common practice in the early 1900s. Here is the info from Listverse.

Murder in Miniature
The Raree Show



If one couldn’t make it to the murder scene in person, the next best thing was viewing a model at a fair or from a street entertainer. The customer paid the fee, put his eye to a hole in the side of a wooden box, and was able to view a recreation of the crime scene in miniature. The luridly painted backdrops (complete with the victim weltering in his/her gore) could be changed while the operator recited the story of the crime, which might also include the murderer’s hanging. At night, the scenes were dramatically lit with candles. For some reason, nineteenth century newspapers sometimes called these exhibitions, “camera obscura.” These exhibitions remained popular until the invention of the mechanical peep show.

I reckon this was the same thing as slowing down to gander at a traffic accident, such as we do today. Gruesome habit, I think.

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

Thursday, November 7, 2019

20 Insane But True Historical Facts...!

Here are a few crazy historical facts you might be unaware of from Listverse. Some I knew, but others I didn't.

1. Before the Boston Tea Party, the British actually lowered tea taxes, not raised them.

2. England’s King George I was actually German.

3. Abel Tasman “discovered” Tasmania, New Zealand and Fiji, on his first voyage, but managed to completely miss mainland Australia!

4. Ethnic Irishman Bernardo O’Higgins was the first president of the Republic of Chile.

5. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the same day – the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

6. When the American Civil War started, Confederate Robert E. Lee owned no slaves. Union general U.S. Grant did.

7. Kaiser Wilhelm II, Tsar Nicholas II and George V were all grandchildren of Queen Victoria.

8. Karl Marx was once a correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune.

9. Josef Stalin once studied to be a priest.

10. Henry Kissinger and Yassir Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize. Gandhi never did.

11. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America banned the slave trade.

12. The Finnish capital of Helsinki was founded by a Swedish king in 1550.

13. The “D” in D-Day stands for “Day” – “Day-Day”

14. There was a New Australia in Paraguay in the 1890s.

15. A New Orleans man hired a pirate to rescue Napoleon from his prison on St. Helena.

16. Like Dracula (Vlad Tepes), there really was a King Macbeth. He ruled Scotland from 1040 to 1057.

17. In 1839, the U.S. and Canada fought the bloodless “War of Pork and Beans”.

18. Despite the reputation, Mussolini never made the trains run on time.

19. The world powers officially outlawed war under the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact.

20. Ancient Egypt produced at least six types of beer.

I figured you might enjoy these little tidbits of history. I know I did.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Alice Tubbs For Western Wednesday...!

So many times we forget just what a strong presence the women had in the Old West. From Listverse here is the story of one such woman.

Alice Tubbs



Photo credit: South Dakota Historical Society

In the 1800s, most people thought of poker as a man’s game, until they met Alice Tubbs.

Born in Sudbury, England as Alice Ivers, the woman moved to America with her family in 1865 and was sent to a boarding school for young ladies. She moved west and started cleaning out every cowboy dumb enough to deal a deck of cards. Some claim her dad taught her how to hold ’em, while others say she learned by watching her gambler husband, Frank Dunning. Either way, she quickly became the queen of the card table, picking up the nickname “Poker Alice” for her incredible skills and winning an estimated $250,000 over her lifetime.

After her first husband died, she traveled the country, playing in the biggest towns in the west. She even ran a table in a saloon owned by Bob Ford—the man who killed Jesse James—and was there when someone gunned him down.

Throughout her career, Alice was known for wearing the best dresses money could buy, probably to keep her male competitors distracted. She was an expert at counting cards, regularly smoked cigars, and was known for her catchphrase, “Praise the Lord and place your bets, and I’ll take your money with no regrets!” Still, she was regarded as a proper lady who often quoted Scripture and never played cards on Sunday.

Alice married Warren Tubbs and retired to a life of childbearing and chicken farming. But after Warren died in 1910, Alice went back to the card tables. Despite her age, she hadn’t lost any of her poker prowess. In fact, after pawning her wedding ring to pay for Warren’s funeral, she soon won enough cash to get the ring back.

After marrying for a third time, Alice opened a casino near Fort Meade, South Dakota. And before her death in 1930, she was arrested for running a brothel, murdered a man for bad behavior, openly defied Prohibition laws, and earned a gubernatorial pardon at the age of 75.

If nothing else, this ol' gal was certainly colorful. What an interesting person she must have been.

Coffee outside this morning. Warm on the patio.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Can You See Me Now...?

Nature is always surprising us with something we can't quite figure out. Such is the case of these little jewels I found on Listverse.

Luminous Mushrooms



Photo credit: blog.mycology.cornell.edu

Many fungi are bioluminescent and produce light, but no one is entirely certain just why they do it. The dominant idea is that the light is used to lure insects in much the same way that stinkhorns use their odor. Like bugs around a porch light, these insects hit the mushrooms and help to spread spores.

The phenomenon of glowing fungi has been noted for millennia. The eerie green glow of rotting wood (actually produced by the fungi consuming it) has been called fox fire and faerie fire. The light is caused by an enzyme called luciferase. Now that we know how the fungi produce light, there have been suggestions that genetic engineering could be used to make trees that glow in the dark to light paths.

I really don't mind a few surprises from Mother Nature, especially nice ones such as this.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are back to the high 70s.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Who Killed The Baby...?

Any murder case is sad enough, but when the victim is an infant it is even more sad. In this case from Listverse, the family might just be responsible for the whole thing.

Nicole Lee Hattamer



On the night of December 26, 1989, 10-month-old Nicole Lee Hattamer disappeared from her crib in her grandparents’ home in Holcombe, Wisconsin. The baby’s teenage mother, her grandparents, and the mother’s younger brother and sister were all at home at the time. No one could find the baby. The family called 911, and first responders searched the area. Shortly after midnight, the baby’s frozen body was found lying face-down, 22 meters (72 ft) from the house in the backyard. Nicole obviously didn’t make it out there by herself.

An autopsy was performed, showing that the infant died from a either a chest injury or exposure. The police believe that the chest injury was caused when Nicole was thrown several feet and landed on her chest, which caused internal bleeding. The police also believe that the infant died outside because she was holding a single blade of grass.

The unsolved murder haunted the community, which only had a population of 920 people. The FBI investigated the crime in 1992 but didn’t turn up any leads. There were also two John Doe hearings, one in April 1990 and another in December 1998. John Doe hearings are special hearings to gather information for an active investigation, and the only people in the court are the judge, the prosecutor, the court reporter, the witness, and the witness’s attorney. Also, the witness’s attorney is not allowed to aid the witness.

At the trial in 1990, Nicole’s grandparents, Lou Ann and Lee Hattamer, pleaded the fifth on some questions. Also, the retired sheriff who worked on the case said that he found it puzzling that no one from the Hattamer family had ever called the sheriff’s department to check on the progress of the case.

The police believe that the only way the crime will be solved is if someone confesses or comes forward with new information.

You really have to wonder what was going on with this small victim's family. Sounds pretty shady to me, that's for sure!

Coffee inside again this morning.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Spooner Well For Freaky Friday...!

A little strange having Freaky Friday the day after halloween, isn't it? From Listverse, here is the story about Spooner Well.

The Spooner Well



On July 2, 1778, Bathsheba Spooner gained the distinction of being the first woman to be executed in the United States after the country gained its independence. Her husband also received a unique distinction—two headstones. One was placed over his grave in a nearby cemetery, and the other one marks the location of his death. It reads, “Spooner Well—Joshua Spooner murdered and thrown down this well March 1, 1778, by three Revolutionary soldiers at the urging of his wife Bathsheba.”

In 1777, 32-year-old Bathsheba began an affair with a 17-year-old soldier named Ezra Ross. When Ross got her pregnant, Bathsheba plotted to murder her husband before he could find out. She met two British deserters, and used a combination of rum and promises of sexual favors to rope them into helping her. That night, when Joshua Spooner walked into the house, one of the soldiers ambushed him and beat him to death. Bathsheba helped the soldier and her lover throw the body down the well, which was later named the Spooner Well to mark the dastardly deed.

Everyone involved was arrested within 24 hours, and it didn’t take much longer for them to be convicted. Bathsheba pleaded for a stay of her execution to give her a chance to deliver her baby. It wasn’t granted, and she was hanged while five months pregnant.

Seems like a good tale to be told the day after Halloween, don't you think? Just shows how evil some folks can be, I reckon.

Coffee inside this morning. A little too chilly out on the patio.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why The Carved Pumpkins...?

If you have ever wondered where the traditional Jack O'Lanterns came from, here is the answer as we know it. The actual origin was an Irish legend about "Stingy Jack".

The Legend of "Stingy Jack"



People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.

Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack-o’-lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

Regardless of the fact of where the carved faces in pumpkins came from, the jack o'lantern is a fun tradition. I hope it continues for a long time.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning...just to avoid the ghost and goblins out there.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

More Famous In Death...!

You know how it seems that some artist are not famous until they die? Well, it turns out that the same can be said for some folks of the Wild West.

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

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

Guess in his chosen field of work, you just took your chances as to the outcome.

Coffee outside at least for one more morning.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Monday, October 28, 2019

Golden Owl For Monday Mystery...!

We all love an old fashioned treasure hunt...right? Here is one from Listverse you might find interesting.

The Hunt for The Golden Owl



In the early 90s, author Max Valentin hid a bronze sculpture of an owl in flight in mainland France. Valentin was the only person who knew the location of the owl. He then published a book called The Hunt for The Golden Owl effectively setting up a treasure hunt with no time limit. The book contained riddles that needed to be solve in order to find the little owl, with the prize being not only the bronze sculpture but a statuette of the original owl in gold and silver to the value of one million francs.

The book also included several rules including prohibiting the winner of the treasure hunt from speaking to the public or media about the location of the owl or the solutions to the riddles in the book.

Max Valentin has since passed away and his publishing company went out of business, but the location of the little bronze owl remains a mystery. The creator of the silver and gold owl, Michel Becker, regained ownership of it via a court ruling in 2009 but tried to auction it in 2014. Luckily the owl’s status was protected, and it had to be removed from the auction. Becker is still in possession of the owl today.

Max Valentin is said to have produced a book of solutions to the riddles in his original book before he died but his son is holding fast to that document; honoring his father’s wish that the bronze owl be found by someone who could figure out the riddles.

This is one of those mysteries that you kinda hope never gets solved, ya know? Half the fun is trying to figure out the clues, isn't it?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. Fresh gingerbread to go along with the coffee.

Friday, October 25, 2019

A Dead Jockey For Freaky Friday...!

Here is a strange story for Freaky Friday about a jockey winning a race, even though he was dead!The story comes from Listverse

Frank Hayes



Frank Hayes was a jockey who is most well known for being the jockey to win a horse race whilst dead! Hayes suffered a fatal heart attack in the midst of a race at Belmont Park in New York atop his horse “Sweet Kiss”. Despite carrying a dead weight, Sweet Kiss ran ahead of the field and won the race.

Heck of a way to be declared the winner of a race, if you ask me. After all, the poor horse had to do all the work...right?

Coffee out on the patio this cool morning.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Beware Of The Snakehead Fish...!

There is a species of fish showing up around Georgia that is troubling to many officials. The Snakehead is able to breath air or water and it is the only time I have ever heard of officials suggesting that people kill it on sight! They don't even suggest that for rattlesnakes!

Invasive Snakehead Fish That Can Breathe on Land Is Roaming Georgia

BY JAKE ROSSEN   



MOHD FAZLIN MOHD EFFENDY OOI, FLICKR // CC BY 2.0

A fish recently found in Georgia has wildlife officials stirred up. In fact, they’re advising anyone who sees a northern snakehead to kill it on sight.

That death sentence might sound extreme, but there’s good reason for it. The northern snakehead, which can survive for brief periods on land and breathe air, is an invasive species in North America. With one specimen found in a privately owned pond in Gwinnett County, the state wants to take swift action to make certain the fish, which is native to East Asia, doesn’t continue to spread. Non-native species can upset local ecosystems by competing with native species for food and habitat.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is advising people who encounter the snakehead—a long, splotchy-brown fish that can reach 3 feet in length—to kill it and freeze it, then report the catch to the agency's fisheries office.

Wildlife authorities believe snakeheads wind up in non-native areas as a result of the aquarium trade or food industry. A snakehead was recently caught in southwestern Pennsylvania. The species has been spotted in 14 states.

Sometimes it seems that Mother Nature is getting a little payback for everything, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Texas Jack And Soapy Smith For Western Wednesday...!

One thing you have to give to some of the gunfighters of the Old West, is that they had some great nicknames!

“TEXAS JACK” VERMILLION AND “SOAPY” SMITH


Soapy Smith

John “Texas Jack” Vermillion was a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, then a lawman, and then an outlaw. The origin of his nickname, “Texas Jack,” is unknown, but when asked why that was his nickname, he famously replied, “Because I’m from Virginia.” He took part in the 'Earp Vendetta Ride' that was glorified in the movie Tombstone, and afterwards joined the Soapy Smith Gang in Denver, Colorado.

Jefferson “Soapy” Smith was a famous con artist and crime boss, who gained his sobriquet “Soapy” after his most famous scam - a prize-package soap-selling racket. He was known for his swindles all across the US, including rigging city and state elections and cheating clientele in gambling halls he ran.

Texas Jack was with Soapy in 1889 at an Idaho train depot when a rival gang tried to assassinate Soapy. In 1898, Soapy tried to rob a man of $2,700 worth of gold (around $80,000 today) in a game of three-card monte, and the next day he was fatally wounded in a gunfight known as the Shootout on Juneau Wharf. Texas Jack either drowned in 1900, or died peacefully in 1911.

No matter how they died or what name they went by, these gentlemen were certainly colorful...to say the least!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Private Fear Of Stephen King...!

Who would have ever thought that one of my favorite writers of all times had a fear of anything? Certainly not I, that's for sure. It turns out that he has a fear of the number 13 as reported by Listverse.

Stephen King Is Scared Of The Number 13



Photo credit: 1428elm.com

Stephen King is the most popular and successful contemporary horror writer in the United States. He has published over 260 titles, sold over 350 million copies worldwide, and continues to produce best-selling literature at a rate of about one book per year.

As the creator of The Shining (1977), Cujo (1981), Pet Sematary (1983), IT (1986), and Misery (1987), King has built the reputation of being the godfather of modern horror, both psychological and supernatural. Many believe that his taste for the horrific means that King is comfortable with the darker side of literature and life and has nothing to fear himself. But as King described in 1984, he is mortally afraid of the number 13.

Fear of the number 13[9] (aka triskaidekaphobia) can result in physical symptoms, such as panic attacks, and affects up to 10 percent of the US population. For King, this phobia manifests itself in more impractical ways. For example, he has to take the last two steps of a 13-step staircase in one stride, meaning that he only takes 12 steps. He also refuses to finish reading if he lands on pages 94, 193, 382, and so on, because the individual digits within these numbers all add up to 13.

King is especially frightened of what he calls “triple-whammy years,” in which Friday the 13th occurs three times. It’s even worse when these dates are 13 days apart. In one of these years, 1984, King stated that he was particularly fearful because he had been married for 13 years, had a 13-year-old daughter, and had published 13 books to date.

To King’s relief, most hotels do not have a 13th floor, many airplanes do not label the 13th seat, and France promotes the hiring of a professional 14th guest to avoid having 13 people sit at a dinner table.

I thought I knew a lot about Mr. King, but I reckon I was wrong. I didn't know of his fear of the number 13, but he is still one of my favorite writers.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Monday, October 21, 2019

An Elderly John Doe For Monday Mystery...!

It is a sad thing when someone dies, and their identity is unknown. Stranger still is when the investigation shows multiple identities used by the same man. Here is the story from Listverse.

San Angelo John Doe



On March 31, 2005, an elderly man was shopping at a thrift store in San Angelo when he suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack. Identification showed that his name was “Roger Smith.”

However, it turned out that his ID was fake and that he had lived in Texas under three other false identities over the years. Amazingly, the man had deliberately smoothed off and done damage to his own fingerprints.

Since fingerprint identification could not be made, this man was suspected of hiding some sort of criminal history. At one point, facial recognition experts believed that he might be the wanted Australian fugitive Elmer Crawford, who vanished after murdering his wife and three children in 1970.

However, DNA testing ruled out this possibility. Until he can be identified, the man will simply be known as “San Angelo John Doe.”

I wonder just what can anyone do about the folks going around that don't want to be identified, even when they die? Do they have a Potter's Field type place where they are buried? Just makes me wonder, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Now This Is Really Strange...!

You know that when I say something is strange, then that means it is! I know that I post something that is weird and certainly different, but this one takes the cake...believe me! This comes from Reuters.

Paris zoo unveils the "blob", an organism with no brain but 720 sexes



PARIS (Reuters) - A Paris zoo showcased a mysterious new organism on Wednesday, dubbed the “blob”, a yellowish unicellular small living being which looks like a fungus but acts like an animal.

This newest exhibit of the Paris Zoological Park, which goes on display to the public on Saturday, has no mouth, no stomach, no eyes, yet it can detect food and digest it.

 The blob also has almost 720 sexes, can move without legs or wings and heals itself in two minutes if cut in half.

“The blob is a living being which belongs to one of nature’s mysteries”, said Bruno David, director of the Paris Museum of Natural History, of which the Zoological Park is part.

 “It surprises us because it has no brain but is able to learn (...) and if you merge two blobs, the one that has learned will transmit its knowledge to the other,” David added.

 The blob was named after a 1958 science-fiction horror B-movie, starring a young Steve McQueen, in which an alien life form - The Blob - consumes everything in its path in a small Pennsylvania town.

 “We know for sure it is not a plant but we don’t really if it’s an animal or a fungus,” said David.

 “It behaves very surprisingly for something that looks like a mushroom (...) it has the behavior of an animal, it is able to learn.”

If anything deserves to be called "unworldly", I would think this guy would certainly fit the bill.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Another Ocean Oddity...!

I had never heard of this particular sponge until today, when I found it during my browsing. Of course, I got it from Listverse.

Lyre Sponge



The Lyre sponge (Chondrocladia lyra) also referred to as the harp sponge, due to its shape that resembles a harp, is a little bit different and a little more creepy than your average sponge. It has continued to prove the lengths to which nature will go to survive in inhospitable conditions, and it doesn’t get much more inhospitable than 3,000 meters (10,000 ft) below the ocean’s surface.

The lyre sponge is a candelabra-shaped, carnivorous animal that attaches itself to the ocean floor. Long, finger-like extensions protrude from its veins which can vary in number from two up to six. Small barbs on the “fingers” snare passing fish, which are encased in a membrane and digested. To make things a little creepier, bulbs at the ends of these protrusions contain packets of sperm which are released into the current and absorbed by nearby sponges, which swell after fertilization. It has been less than two decades since scientists first discovered carnivorous sponges. Since then, new species are being uncovered regularly.

You just never know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, due to the rain.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Chief Seattle For Western Wednesday...!

I think that we have talked about Chief Seattle before, but it never hurts to have another look at such a man as he.

Chief Seattle



Photo credit: Wikimedia

Born in 1790, Chief Seattle lived in present-day Washington state, taking up residence along the Puget Sound. A chief of two different tribes thanks to his parents, he was initially quite welcoming to the settlers who began to arrive in the 1850s, as were they to him. In fact, they established a colony on Elliot Bay and named it after the great chief. However, some of the other local tribes resented the encroachment of the Americans, and violent conflicts began to rise up from time to time, resulting in an attack on the small settlement of Seattle.

Chief Seattle felt his people would eventually be driven out of every place by these new settlers but argued that violence would only speed up the process, a sentiment which seemed to cool tempers. The close, and peaceful, contact which followed led him to convert to Christianity, becoming a devout follower for the rest of his days. In a nod to the chief’s traditional religion, the people of Seattle paid a small tax to use his name for the city. (Seattle’s people believed the mention of a deceased person’s name kept him from resting peacefully.)

Fun fact: The speech most people associate with Chief Seattle, in which he puts a heavy emphasis on mankind’s need to care for the environment, is completely fabricated. It was written by a man named Dr. Henry A. Smith in 1887.

I firmly believe that this man was very respected in his day, as was proper.

Coffee out on the patio again today.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Unintended Victim...!

Strange how history revels many stories of collateral damage or victims caused by horrific acts . Here is one from Lincoln's assassination that you may not know.

The Lincoln Assassination’s Forgotten Victim



The Lincoln assassination was one of the saddest events in United States history. High-ranking members of the American government including Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward were targeted that night by Booth’s co-conspirators. One unintended victim intended was not: Clara Harris. A tangential involvement with the Lincoln assassination led to her death too.

Clara Harris was not even supposed to be at Ford’s Theatre that April night in 1865. She and her then beau major Henry Rathbone attended at First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s request. Following the recent victory of the Civil War, the theatre-goers were in a celebratory mood. But, as history well knows, the celebration was cut short when John Wilkes Booth barged into the president’s box and shot him in the head. Trying to apprehend the assassin, Rathbone grabbed Boothe’s arm but Booth stabbed him. With the bloody dagger still in hand, Booth escaped.

Years later, Clara Harris and Henry Rathbone married. Unable to part with her blood-stained dress, Clara had preserved it behind a walled off closet. She believed it might summon Lincoln’s ghost. Spirits talked to Rathbone too. Guilt driven for not stopping the tragedy, Rathbone heard voices in the walls. They blamed him for Lincoln’s death and ordered him to avenge the fallen president. With a murder straight out of The Shining, Rathbone recreated the assassination on Christmas Eve in 1883. He shot Clara and stabbed himself with a knife. Clara died. He then attempted to attack his children before groundskeepers could pull him off. Henry spent the rest of his life in an asylum.

The human mind is a strange and curious place, full of mysteries we will probably never understand. This is but one example.

Coffee out on the cool patio this morning.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sad And Unsolved Mystery...!

No one knows for sure just how many unsolved murders occur in the United States every year. Sadly many of them are children, which makes them even more heartbreaking. From Listverse is an example of one such case.

Little Miss Nobody



In a small grave in Yavapai County, Arizona lies the remains of Little Miss Nobody. She was found just off Alamo Road on 31 July 1960 and believed to have been between 5 and 7 years old. The little girl’s hair had been dyed and her finger- and toenails painted red. Since she had not suffered any broken bones, her cause of death remains undetermined, but officials agree that it was homicide.

Investigations over the years have proved unfruitful. No suspects were ever arrested, Little Miss Nobody has never been identified and her relatives never found. In 2018 the case was reopened, as investigators are hoping that modern technology might help solve the mystery.

Nerly every day I read in thew Houston paper about some child being injured or killed by a parent and I have to wonder...just want are we becoming? Seems many of us are losing our humanity and sanity.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Friday, October 11, 2019

A Little Known Food Fact...!

Something I haven't had in a while is a 7-Up! I used to drink it a lot when I was younger, but lately...not so much. Wonder if this is the reason why.

Feel Good With 7-Up



Fascinating Fact: 7-Up – invented in 1920 contained Lithium – the drug commonly prescribed now to sufferers of bi-polar disorder.

The drink was originally marketed as a hangover cure – due to the inclusion of lithium citrate. It was released just a few years before the Wall Street crash of the 1920s and it was marketed under the name “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda” – quite a mouthful! The name was changed to 7-Up shortly after its release but lithium remained one of the ingredients until 1950. Some popular myths surround the name of the drink – but the name is most likely due to the original recipe containing 7 ingredients (with the “up” portion relating to the lithium) or the fact that lithium has an atomic mass of 7.

Seems to me that a very large number of our popular soft drinks today started out with a lot of ingredients that were not exactly good for us, if you know what I mean.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The "Anti-Memorial" Of Plot E...!

This article may seem a bit strange at first, but then when you think about it, it sorta makes sense.

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery



Photo credit: Stranger20824

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Plots A–D are standard enough—they’re used to represent 6,000 American soldiers who died in World War I fighting in France. They’re well maintained, easy to access, and a timeless honor for those who have passed.

To those who visit the cemetery, it’s easy to believe that plots A–D are the only plots the cemetery holds. But there is another plot that’s surrounded with overgrown shrubbery and not mentioned on the cemetery’s website or map. The only way to access it is to walk through the cemetery superintendent’s office—and even then, the door to it is usually locked.

This is the fate of Plot E, a cemetery with 94 bodies of people executed for crimes committed around World War II, including rape, murder, and desertion. Each “gravestone” is a marker the shape and size of an index card, which is embedded in the grass with just a number to identify it.

The people buried in Plot E are positioned so that their backs are turned away from the main cemetery site. No US flag is allowed to fly over Plot E, either. Due to this, Plot E has been labeled an “anti-memorial,” which acts as a stark contrast to the honored dead in the other four plots.

I had never heard of this before, but as I said...it makes sense in a strange way.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

No Post Today...!

I won't be posting anything today. Taking the day off.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Surviving The Lava Bomb...!

We all know that nature can send some bad things our way every now and then. Those are the times that a little luck sure comes in handy. From Listverse, here is what I mean.

Struck By A Lava Bomb



May 2018 saw the Puna district of Hawaii’s Big Island inundated with lava flows from the opening of numerous fissures. Many people evacuated, but some remained in a bid to protect their homes and those of their neighbors. One such resident was Darryl Clinton, who lived to the east of the Leilani Estates neighborhood, which was hit by quite a bit of volcanism.

Darryl knew the dangers. While lava flows are generally slow and easily avoided, “lava bombs,” ejected gobs of molten rock, are of greater concern. For five days, he and others would hose houses down when they were struck by flying molten rock from Fissure 17, and they were proficient in watching for the lava bombs, gauging where they’d land, and making sure they weren’t standing in the bombs’ paths. Darryl’s luck ran out on May 19.

That day, Darryl was standing on the third-floor lanai of his neighbor’s house and talking on his phone. A lava bomb which Darryl would later describe as moving less in an arc and more like a rifle shot hit him in the ankle, flipping him off his feet and sending him into a couch, which promptly lit on fire. A friend rushed to his aid. Darryl looked at his ankle and saw bone protruding from his flesh. His foot was hanging off the rest of his leg “like a hinge,” and he was bleeding profusely. At this point, all Darryl knew was excruciating pain and the fear that he’d bleed to death.

Darryl’s friend got a tourniquet on him and dragged him downstairs and into her truck. She called 911 and sped off to meet up with first responders. Darryl was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, fully expecting to lose his leg. Amazingly, doctors managed to save it. Darryl said of the lava bomb that hit him, “It was a mean one. And I mean, it could have hit anywhere else and it would have been all over.” Despite his brush with death, Darryl has no plans for leaving the area and described seeing the lava flows up close as “the event of a lifetime."

Either this guy was very lucky on that particular day, or he had an Angel on his shoulder! Could be a combination of both, I reckon...

Coffee out on the patio, where the temps are much cooler today.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Lincoln's Unread Secret Message...!

I may have covered this one before, but I find it is interesting enough to revisit. I hope you don't mind.

Secret Message In Lincoln’s Watch



Photo credit: Smithsonian Museum via Mashable

On April 13, 1861, Jonathan Dillon, an Irish immigrant and watchmaker, carved a hidden message in Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch. Employed by M.W. Galt and Co. jewelers in Washington, DC, Dillon was repairing the president’s watch the day Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, which led to the US Civil War. The message would remain hidden until the Smithsonian opened the timepiece in 2009.

Dillon’s inscription read: “The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a president who at least will try.” Dillon and the president never met, and Lincoln never saw the message hidden within his timepiece.

In the 1850s, Lincoln purchased the gold pocket watch from George Chatterton, a jeweler in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln tended away from the ostentatious, but the gold watch was a sign of his prominent law career. In 1958, the 16th president’s great-grandson, Lincoln Isham, donated the watch to the Smithsonian.

Imagine wearing something like that watch for all those years and never knowing there was a secret message inside. Outstanding if you ask me!

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Zambia In Space...?

This next story is so strange that I felt it certainly qualified for Freaky Friday. I found it on Listverse.

Zambia Joined The Space Race



Photo credit: Cristina De Middel

Zambia is one country you do not hear about often. It is a landlocked country tucked somewhere in south-central Africa. In 1964, it joined the space race and planned to land a man on the moon before the US or the Soviet Union ever did. This was five years before Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon.

The Zambian space program was the private project of Edward Mukuka Nkoloso, a schoolteacher and founder of Zambia’s National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. Mukaka recruited twelve prospective astronauts including a 16-year-old girl called Matha Mwamba for the planned moon landing.

Mukuka lacked funding for his space project. The Zambian government was not interested in a partnership and the United Nations, United States, Soviet Union and Israel had ignored his funding requests. Nevertheless, he continued to train his astronauts using an old drum he had found.

The trainee astronauts entered the drum, which was then rolled round a tree or down a hill to imitate flight conditions. The astronauts also learned how to walk on their hands, which Mukaka claimed was the only way a human could ever walk on the moon.

The whole thing was so hilarious that international reporters started to consider it a joke. Mukaka never clarified his intention even though he seemed to be serious about it. He once told an interviewer “I’ll be laughing the day I plant Zambia’s flag on the moon.”

The space program fell apart when the trainee astronauts started asking for money. Two of Mukaka’s top astronauts also got drunk and never for returned for training. A third joined a movie troupe. The program finally ended when the only female trainee astronaut got pregnant.

If nothing else, you have to give the man credit for chasing his dream, right? Something I believe more of us should do.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Buffalo Bill Almost Made The Movies...!

During the times when the world was totally entertained by the Wild West Shows, the movies were coming of age. Folks like Buffalo Bill saw the writing on the wall, and made plans accordingly.

Buffalo Bill



Photo credit: Moffett

In 1913, Buffalo Bill (aka Colonel William F. Cody) complained that movies were taking audiences away from Wild West shows and circuses. Both would soon be out of business, according to him, with people wanting to sit indoors to see the sights of the world on a large screen. This probably explains why, in 1915, newspapers announced that “Buffalo Bill Breaks Into The Movies” with the film Patsy of the Circus.

Unfortunately, his movie career was over before it even truly began. Buffalo Bill died on January 10, 1917, in his sister’s home in Denver, Colorado.

I can't help but wonder just what will be our next big form of entertainment. Will we be mere spectators, or perhaps unwilling participants in that upcoming drama?

Coffee out on the patio this morning...OK?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Revolution Begins...!

Sometimes I think that I forget about some of the important things I've learned about the history around me until I read an article that brings it all back in my feeble mind. Age does that to many of us, I reckon. I remembered this tidbit of Texas history in reading about a cannon, of all things...go figure!

First shots of the Texas Revolution fired in the Battle of Gonzales

On October 2, 1835, the growing tensions between Mexico and Texas erupt into violence when Mexican soldiers attempt to disarm the people of Gonzales, sparking the Texan war for independence.

Texas–or Tejas as the Mexicans called it–had technically been a part of the Spanish empire since the 17th century. However, even as late as the 1820s, there were only about 3,000 Spanish-Mexican settlers in Texas, and Mexico City’s hold on the territory was tenuous at best. After winning its own independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico welcomed large numbers of Anglo-American immigrants into Texas in the hopes they would become loyal Mexican citizens and keep the territory from falling into the hands of the United States. During the next decade men like Stephen Austin brought more than 25,000 people to Texas, most of them Americans. But while these emigrants legally became Mexican citizens, they continued to speak English, formed their own schools, and had closer trading ties to the United States than to Mexico.

In 1835, the president of Mexico, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, overthrew the constitution and appointed himself dictator. Recognizing that the “American” Texans were likely to use his rise to power as an excuse to secede, Santa Anna ordered the Mexican military to begin disarming the Texans whenever possible. This proved more difficult than expected, and on October 2, 1835, Mexican soldiers attempting to take a small cannon from the village of Gonzales encountered stiff resistance from a hastily assembled militia of Texans. After a brief fight, the Mexicans retreated and the Texans kept their cannon.

The determined Texans would continue to battle Santa Ana and his army for another year and a half before winning their independence and establishing the Republic of Texas.

Sounds to me as though the folks in Gonzales wanted to keep their cannon.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Three-Eyed Snake...!

Snake are fairly scary to most of us, or at the very least make us nervous. Here is one that I'm sure will get your attention.

The Three-Eyed Serpent



Photo credit: Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife

Wildlife authorities from Australia reported the discovery of a snake with three eyes.

The baby carpet python was found in March on a highway in Northern Australia, near the town of Humpty Doo. X-ray scans revealed that the snake did not have two heads that formed together but rather a third eye socket in its skull. All three eyes appeared to function normally. Snake expert Professor Bryan Fry believed that the deformity could have been the last bit of a twin that had been absorbed during development.

The Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Service took charge of the unique reptile. Wildlife officers nicknamed him “Monty Python,” although people were more inclined to think of Game of Thrones, which has the Three-Eyed Raven.

Sadly, Monty died a few weeks after it was found. While cause of death is undetermined, the reptile was struggling to eat due to its malformation.

Just when you think you have seen it all, nature throws another curve ball.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Monday, September 30, 2019

A Little NASA Mystery...!

Now here is a mystery that originated close to home for me. Maybe a little too close, if you get my drift. I found this one on Listverse again.

The Houston gargoyle



In 1986, NASA employee Frank Shaw, left his office late one evening and walked briskly to his car. He had worked a long shift and was anxious to get home. But all thoughts of home flew from his mind when he looked up at the NASA buildings and saw a black figure perching on one of its corners. Afterwards Shaw recalled the figure resembling a humanoid creature with a something like a cape wrapped over its shoulders. In his shocked state, Shaw thought it may have been a gargoyle. He also claimed to have seen two massive wings protruding from the its sides.

Eventually arriving home, Shaw told his family what he had seen and that the ‘gargoyle’ had stared directly at him. When the winged creature took flight, Shaw had run to his vehicle and drove off in terror.

Naturally most were sceptic of Shaw’s tale, but his family rallied behind him. However, they did warn him to keep his sighting a secret from his bosses so as to not be labelled ‘insane’. As time went by, Shaw kept pondering over what he had seen and eventually built up enough courage to tell his supervisor, despite his family’s advice. To Shaw’s great surprise, his supervisor proceeded to tell him that other employees had experienced similar sightings. A file on the creature had also been opened after the corpses of two resident NASA German Shepherds were found mutilated in the same location the ‘gargoyle’ had been spotted.

Over the years, no new sightings of the creature have made the headlines. What exactly did Frank Shaw and those before him see at the NASA buildings? That remains a mystery.

Whatever he saw, I'm pretty sure I don't want to see it. I would have to change my shorts, I'm afraid.

Let's take a chance and have coffee on the patio this morning.

Friday, September 27, 2019

What Was That Noise...?

Here is an interesting little piece for Freaky Friday. Interesting if for no other reason than it was International. I found this info over at Listverse, of course.

The Jodhpur Boom



On December 18, 2012, a sudden, deafening boom startled the people of Jodhpur. It seemed to come out of nowhere, crashing in the sky like the sonic boom caused by an airplane breaking the speed of sound. However, it was more aggressive in nature, sounding a lot like a massive explosion. The citizens were concerned about the sound and asked around about it, but it soon turned out that no planes had been flying over the area and no explosions had taken place. The source of the “Jodhpur boom” was a complete mystery.

The weirdest part is that it appears that the entire month was littered with strange, unexplained booms all over the world, from United Kingdom to Texas. These bangs were witnessed over the course of several weeks and sometimes they were accompanied with strange green light. In one of the locations, a geologist even stated that the booms and subsequent tremors were unlike anything he had ever encountered and didn’t fit the official explanation that the Air Force were testing a new plane.

Were these strange sounds all over the world connected somehow? Was it some strange new weapon, or an alien attack, or maybe even a mere coincidence? Perhaps one day, we’ll find out.

I have no idea what the noise was, but I think maybe it's best that I never find out. Some things are best left alone.

Coffee on the patio one more time before the rain comes back.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

I Don't Like Jellyfish...!

Living on the coast, or close to it, for so many years has taught me one thing. I don't care for jellyfish...at all! Not many things in the ocean can entice me to go swimming, certainly not the jellyfish.

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish



The lion’s mane jellyfish, Cyanea capillata, is sometimes stated as the world’s longest animal with the largest specimen recorded at 37m from bell to tentacle tip. The bell, the body of the jellyfish, can be 2m in diameter. Their long tentacles capture small free floating creatures but are also the home to small shrimp who use them as protection. The tentacles cause only mild pain to humans but, being so long, can catch swimmers unawares. The pain can be lessened by treatment of the site with vinegar, but even this is usually unnecessary. The larger the jellyfish grow, the darker they become in color, with the largest specimens being a dark, blood red. Like all jellyfish they move mainly with the ocean currents and are only able to gently pulse to keep them near the surface.

I know they are pretty to look at, but that doesn't mean that I have to like them.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

A Tax On Breathing...?

I found an article on Listverse that has to do with some of the foolish taxes being charged by governments around the world. And here I thought our tax was bad!

Breathing
Venezuela



Photo via Wikimedia

Venezuela does not actually tax people for breathing per se. However, it has imposed a special “breathing tax” of 127 bolivars ($20) on passengers flying out of Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas. The government stated that the tax was necessary to offset the cost of the newly installed air filtration system at the airport.

According to the Ministry of Water and Air Transport, the air filtration system sanitizes and deodorizes the airport and stalls the growth of bacteria, thus protecting the health of all passengers. Many Venezuelans mocked the tax on social media. To some, it was enough evidence that the airport was broke and desperate to raise money.

My guess is that if you really needed to raise some cash in a hurry, taxing breathing would surely do it! Wonder what the punishment is if you don't pay?

Coffee outside on the patio this morning...OK?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Mad Toy Inventor...!

Ever wonder how some of the toys we have all enjoyed came about? The answer might just surprise you. Here is one I'm sure you remember...Slinky!

Slinky’s Inventor Abandoned His Wealth And Family To Join A Bolivian Cult



Photo credit: Roger McLassus

The Slinky’s origin is as whimsical as its iconic childhood status would suggest. In a happy accident, Richard James watched a spring walk down a pair of stairs. His children stood by laughing in delight.

Two years later, James showcased the newly debuted Slinky as the hot new Christmas gift of 1945. Despite its simplistic background, the Slinky has become one of the quintessential toys in American history for over 70 years.

Richard James did not have as amusing a story. The toy circuit was apparently a very scandalous place. Flushed with Slinky money, he became a serial adulterer. Remorseful for his affairs, James wanted to find religion again. He started sending his money to Episcopalian groups. His religious curiosity led him to join stricter and stricter faiths.

For a man who brought so much joy to children everywhere, James could not bring happiness to his own children. In 1960, James abandoned his six kids, who ranged from two to 18 years old. Richard James’s wife, Betty, had to raise their children on her own while James was busy sending all of Slinky’s profits to a religious cult in Bolivia.

None of James’s kids saw their father in the last 14 years of his life. The only communication was letters urging them to repent and join him in Bolivia. By shepherding the company in her husband’s absence, Betty personally saved the company from bankruptcy and let the toy entertain children to this day.

I'm glad that she was able to keep the Slinky afloat and available for us to enjoy.I think I still have one here somewhere.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. The weather doesn't feel much like Fall to me, though.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Movie Set Poisoning...!

Although I have never seen the movie, nor do I plan to, there is a bit of mystery attached to the production that has never been explained. Here is the story from Listverse.

Titanic poisoning



On the last day of filming the movie, Titanic, in Nova Scotia, James Cameron suddenly felt inexplicably ill and disoriented. When he started vomiting, he realized something was very wrong. Once he got back to the set, he found he wasn’t the only one feeling strange as some of the cast and crew were vomiting or crying and some even laughing.

At Dartmouth General Hospital, things took an even weirder turn when a crew member stabbed Cameron in the face with a pen while others started stealing unoccupied wheelchairs and wheeling themselves up and down the hospital corridors. Cameron, who was bleeding from the pen stab wound couldn’t stop laughing.

Once the hospital staff ruled out food poisoning, they realized that chowder consumed by more than 60 people on set had been laced with P.C.P.

Theories abounded; one of which had it that a dismissed crew member tried to take revenge by poisoning the food. Officially the mystery remains long after the case was closed in 1999 due to a lack of suspects.

Now I know that many say the movie was great, but I just have never been inclined to watch it.

Coffee in the kitchen again. Rain, rain go away!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Imaginary Friends...!

I don't know if any of you have ever had an "imaginary friend", but it isn't unusual for youngsters to create one. Normally this isn't a problem, but it could become one at some point.

The Boy In The Closet



When three-year-old Rebecca started talking about her new friend called Jonathon, her parents didn’t take much notice. Even when she became obsessed with her closet and told her parents that Jonathon was in there, they didn’t think anything of it. After all, many toddlers have imaginary friends, and Rebecca would soon grow out of the notion of it.

Then, Rebecca’s mom fell pregnant again, and the family opted to move to a bigger place that would accommodate their new baby. Rebecca moved on from her imaginary friend, and her parents soon forgot about it completely. Four months later, the new owners of the family’s old home contacted Rebecca’s father. They had found a trapdoor in the back of Rebecca’s closet, and below the trapdoor, there was a hole with a box in it.

The box contained baby pictures and baby clothes. On the box was written: “Jonathon’s.”

I picked up this article from the folks over at Listverse. Interesting, don't you think?

Coffee inside once again this morning.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

I Don't Want To Visit Here...!

Now this is one cave I really don't want to visit anytime soon. I'm not crazy about caves anyway, but this one is more than likely first on my list of "I'll pass" places, if you know what I mean.

Movile Cave 
The Cave With an Atmosphere of Sulfur



In south-eastern Romania, there is a cave that was locked away from the slightest ray of light for 5.5 million years—and that has a completely different atmosphere from the earth.

The cave was discovered by workers looking to set up a powerplant. They tested the ground to see if it was a safe place to build—and cracked open a pathway that leads into one of the strangest places on earth.

If you descend through the narrow shaft and past a series of tunnels, you enter a chamber with a lake of sulphuric water stinking of rotting eggs. The air there is toxic, filled with hydrogen sulphide and contaminated with 100 times the surface’s levels of carbon dioxide.

The strangest part, though, is that a whole ecosystem has survived inside it. Researchers have found 33 species inside the cave that don’t exist anywhere outside of it. They’ve adapted to survive in a sulphuric atmosphere, living by feeding off a foam on top of the stones.

I'd say this place is a good place to stay away from, but certainly a worthy topic for discussion over coffee...right?

Coffee inside again. It won't stop raining.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Beautiful Mystery...!

Ever so often, something is found that defies all explanation. That's the case with these caves in China. Pretty to look at, but why are they there?

Longyou Caves

The Longyou Caves of China are not natural formations. They appear to have been carved out of the soft sandstone more than 2,200 years ago, during the Qin Dynasty, approximately 212 BCE. The cave system is impressively large…covering more than 320,000 square feet in twenty-four different caves. Some of the caves, in fact, are nearly 100 feet in height.



The caves are not simple holes in the ground. There are carved bridges, pillars, pools, and steps. Intriguingly, there are also carved symbols chiseled all around the caves, on the ceilings, pillars, and walls. The purpose of the cave system is unknown. And there is no textual evidence to the caves’ existence, who built them, and why.

While we all love a good mystery, there are many times that our minds just scream out for some kind of explanation. This may just be one of those times.

Coffee inside again today. Still raining outside, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Not A Brainy Idea...!

No one can say that the majority of crooks are smart. In fact, many of them might even be considered "brain dead"! From Listverse, here is the story of one thief that was using a brain in a different manner...and the brain was not even his.

The Brain Thief



Photo credit: Cumberland County Prison via The Washington Post

In July 2016, police raided the home of Pennsylvanian Joshua Lee Long looking for evidence relating to a series of burglaries in the area. They found more than enough to arrest him, but they also found something rather unexpected in a Walmart shopping bag underneath the porch—a jar of embalming fluid containing a human brain. Joshua had named it “Freddy.”

Police are pretty sure that the brain was stolen, too, perhaps from a lab or university. Joshua also found another use for the formaldehyde-based embalming fluid: He’d been spraying it on his marijuana to intensify the high. Pennsylvania State Trooper Bob Hicks astutely summed up the raid: “This is one of those situations where, I think, a lot of guys were surprised.”

I think the guy must have been trying too much of his own product, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is back.