Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy "Leap" Day...!

From the pages of the Old Farmer's Almanac, I garnered a few interesting facts and folk lore about Leap year. I just knew you were dying to know all the interesting bits of information!

Some of this you may already know and some you may not, but either way you can file it away for future use. Always interesting to find out about where things came from, don't you think?

A "Leap" Day is an extra day on February 29 which is added nearly every 4 years to today's Gregorian calendar.

How Do We Calculate Leap Years?

A year is a leap year if it is divisible by 4, but century years are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400.

So, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but the year 2000 was.

Non-leap years begin and end on the same day of the week.

Leap Year Dates

2012 Wednesday, February 29
2016 Monday, February 29
2020 Saturday, February 29
2024 Thursday, February 29

Why Do We Need Leap Years?

The actual length of a year (the rotation of Earth around the Sun) is 365.2422 days. If we didn't have leap years, the seasons would shift about a quarter of a day every year, and after 100 years the seasons would be off by 25 days. The extra leap day adjusts this drift.

Leap Year Folklore

According to folklore, in a leap year, the weather always changes on Friday.

Know a "leapling"? (A person born in a leap year is called a leapling.)

"Leap year was ne'er a good sheep year"

Are Leap Years Bad Luck?

In some cultures, it is considered bad luck to marry during a leap year. We don't know of any evidence supporting this bad luck impression, but we do know that during leap years Rome burned (64), George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876), and the Titanic sank (1912). By the same token, also in leap years, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity (1752), and gold was discovered in California (1848).

Like anything else, this information is only as important as what you make it. You know me, though...I always like the stuff I find in the Farmers Almanac!

Coffee outside on the patio this morning. It's kinda foggy, but we can still listen to the birds singing! Those doves sure do sound nice, don't they?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Showing Off Can Get You Killed...!

Things like this can and do happen with regularity even now.

In their never ending effort to show just how big and bad they are, many politicians will ignore the advice of people much more knowledgeable and experienced and do exactly what they want! More times than not, that often leads to disaster. Such is the case for the USS Princeton.

Feb 28, 1844:
Tyler narrowly escapes death on the USS Princeton

On this day in 1844, President John Tyler cruises the Potomac with 400 others aboard the U.S. Navy's new steam frigate USS Princeton, not realizing that his life will soon be in danger. In attendance that day were political dignitaries and their guests, which included the wealthy New Yorker David Gardiner and his two daughters. The 54-year-old Tyler, a recent widower, had fallen for Gardiner's youngest, the lovely 20-year-old Julia, to whom he had proposed marriage. She had not yet responded.

The Princeton carried a brand new 12-inch, 27,000-pound cannon called the Peacemaker. The gun's co-designer, John Ericsson, argued with the ship's captain, who wanted to demonstrate the new weapon, over whether it was safe to discharge because he feared it had not been sufficiently tested. Days before the cruise, Captain Robert Stockton had boasted about the Navy's new ship and armament, which he had helped design, to congressmen and reporters. He and the crew were eager to show off the cannon's ferocity, and despite Ericsson's warnings, Stockton insisted on firing the cannon during the Potomac cruise. The first two successful and ear-splitting volleys sent the crowd into wild applause.

Halfway through the cruise, President Tyler, below deck, proposed a toast to the three great guns: the Princeton, her Commander and the Peacemaker. Then the secretary of war asked for a third firing toward Mount Vernon in honor of George Washington. Stockton may have recalled Ericsson's concerns or thought it best not to push their luck with the new cannon, because he initially refused the secretary's request. In the end, though, he bowed to his superior's wishes and gave the order to fire.

The third round proved deadly. In the worst peacetime disaster of its time, the cannon exploded, killing several aboard, including Julia's father and two members of Tyler's cabinet. Tyler was halfway up the ladder to the upper deck when the explosion occurred. Julia Gardiner fainted when she heard of her father's death and, after the ship docked, Tyler whisked her off to safety in his arms. Julia's admiration for Tyler deepened into love and they were married later that year.

Now, I don't know about you but if the creator of a firearm or cannon tells me the thing needs to be tested more to be proven safe...I'm inclined to believe what he says! My momma didn't raise no fools!

The worse part of this whole thing is that even though the Captain resisted firing another round, the politicians still wanted to play the peacock! We all see just how well that worked out!

I reckon there is a lesson in there somewhere that could be applied to the way things are today, don't you think?

Coffee inside this morning. Don't know what the weather is going to do, but it's dry and warm in here. How about some apple pie to go along with the coffee?

Monday, February 27, 2012

That's Pisa, Not Pizza...!

Probably one of Italy's most recognized attractions, this tower has been in trouble for many, many years.

To make things worse, all the attempts to fix the problem only served to make it lean even more! Just another case of the fix being worse than the problem!

Feb 27, 1964:
Leaning Tower needs help

On February 27, 1964, the Italian government announces that it is accepting suggestions on how to save the renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa from collapse. The top of the 180-foot tower was hanging 17 feet south of the base, and studies showed that the tilt was increasing by a fraction every year. Experts warned that the medieval building--one of Italy's top tourist attractions--was in serious danger of toppling in an earthquake or storm. Proposals to save the Leaning Tower arrived in Pisa from all over the world, but it was not until 1999 that successful restorative work began.

On August 9, 1173, construction began on the Leaning Tower, which was to house the bells of the vast cathedral of the Piazza dei Miracoli, the "Place of Miracles." Pisa at the time was a major trading power and one of the richest cities in the world, and the bell tower was to be the most magnificent Europe had ever seen. However, when the tower was just over three stories tall, construction stopped for an unknown reason. It may have been because of economic or political strife, or the engineers may have noticed that even then, the tower had begun to sink down into the ground on one side.

In recent years, it has been determined that the tower's lean is caused by the remains of an ancient river estuary located under the building. The ground is made up in large part of water and silty sand, and one side of the heavy marble building began gradually sinking into the ground as soon as the foundation was laid.

The 95-year pause in construction allowed the building to settle somewhat, and the new chief engineer sought to compensate for the tower's visible lean by making the new stories slightly taller on the short side. In 1278, workers reached the top of the seventh story, and construction was halted again. By that time, the southward tilt was nearly three feet.

In 1360, work began on the bell chamber, the eighth and final story, and workers attempted to compensate for the lean by building the chamber at a slight slant with the rest of the tower. The tower was officially completed about 1370. Despite its growing lean, the building was acclaimed as an architectural wonder, and people came from far and wide to admire its 200 columns and six external arcades.

The lean grew a little every year, but this only increased interest in the tower. A measuring from 1550 showed the top was 12 feet south of the base. In 1838, an architect was given permission to excavate the base of the tower, a portion of which had sunk into the ground. As he dug, water came sprouting out of the ground, and the tower tilted another few inches south.

In 1934, Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy, decided that the Leaning Tower was an inappropriate symbol for masculine Fascist Italy. In an attempt to reverse the tilt, engineers drilled holes into the foundation of the tower, and some 200 tons of concrete was poured in. The tower abruptly lurched another few inches south.
In the 1950s, the heavy medieval bells in the tower were locked tight. In 1964, the Italian government publicly asked for suggestions on how to save the tower from what they believed was a forthcoming collapse. Two years later, a restorative attempt involving drilling was aborted when the tower tilted another fraction south. In 1985, another boring attempt likewise caused an increase in the lean. In 1990, the Italian government closed the Leaning Tower's doors to the public out of safety concerns and began considering more drastic proposals to save the tower.

In 1992, in an effort to temporarily stabilize the building, plastic-coated steel tendons were built around the tower up to the second story. The next year, a concrete foundation was built around the tower in which counterweights were placed on the north side. The use of these weights lessened the tilt by nearly an inch. In 1995, the commission overseeing the restoration sought to replace the unsightly counterweights with underground cables. Engineers froze the ground with liquid nitrogen in preparation, but this actually caused a dramatic increase in the lean and the project was called off.

Finally, in 1999, engineers began a process of soil extraction under the north side that within a few months was showing positive effects. The soil was removed at a very slow pace, no more than a gallon or two a day, and a massive cable harness held the tower in the event of a sudden destabilization. Within six months, the tilt had been reduced by over an inch, and by the end of 2000, nearly a foot. The tower was reopened to the public in December 2001, after a foot-and-a-half reduction had been achieved. It is thought that those 18 inches will give another 300 years of life to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I certainly hope they are right about the extended life of the tower. It would be a shame to see loss of something that's been around since 1370, don't you think?

Coffee outside on the patio this morning. Back up to the mid 80's today with maybe some more rain!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Have We Grown This Stupid...?

I found a list of warning labels on some of the products we use every day, and I have to say I'm concerned.

If we have to have some of these things on labels, maybe we should get some professional help, ya know? Who comes up with this sort of thing? Oh, I forgot! The FDA is in charge of protecting us from ourselves...sorry!

Liquid Plummer
Warning: Do not reuse the bottle to store beverages.

Do not spray in eyes.

Toilet Plunger

Caution: Do not use near power lines.

Dremel Electric Rotary Tool

This product not intended for use as a dental drill.

Arm & Hammer Scoopable Cat Litter

Safe to use around pets.

Bowl Fresh

Safe to use around pets and children, although it is not recommended that either be permitted to drink from toilet.

Endust Duster

This product is not defined as flammable by the Consumer Products Safety Commision Regulations. However, this product can be ignited under certain circumstances.

Baby Oil
Keep out of reach of children

Little Ones Baby Lotion

Keep away from children

Hair Coloring

Do not use as an ice cream topping.

Directions: Tear open packet and use.

Dial Soap

Directions: Use like regular soap.

Stridex Foaming Face Wash

May contain foam.

I'm thinking that a little common sense might go a long way, but I may be wrong. What do you think?

How about coffee in the kitchen this morning? It's warmer than the patio.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Remember The Saturday Morning Cartoons...?

Boy, do I ever remember my sisters and I waking up early on Saturday mornings, running into the living room, turning on the television and then sitting there watching the test pattern until the cartoons came on.

Back in those days, the first thing on was the National Anthem with a picture of the flag waving. We all stood up even then! The rest of the morning was filled with Roy Rodgers, Zorro, Sky King, and all the other serial type shows. Then came the cartoon shows!

Ah...the joys of Saturday mornings back then! Of course, as soon as the cartoons were all over, then we all went outside and reenacted the shows we had seen earlier. Cowboys and Indians, Zorro and the bad guys...all of them! I can almost hear the squeals of pure, unadulterated fun right now!

Keeping that thought in mind, I wanted to relive one more Saturday morning like I used to! Grab a spot on the floor and join me!

You know what would make this even better? Some old fashioned hot chocolate and buttered toast! With peanut butter, of course!

I'm starting off with some fresh coffee in the kitchen. I'll cook up some pork sausage to go along with it! OK?

Friday, February 24, 2012

You Might Want To Check This Out...!

I'm not saying that everyone, or even anyone, is going to have picked this up...but it never hurts to check, just in case!

Far be it for me to tell you what to do, but I just figured that I should call this problem to your attention. Many folks may not have heard of it.

Like I said, you might want to check it out. It won't take long and could keep you from having a real panic attack when you find you suddenly are unable to connect with the net!

Coffee outside again this morning. Boy, this is getting to be habit forming!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Mom's Best Friend Has Passed...!

It's always hard when a member of the family or a dear friend passes.

When you get to be my Mom's age, it is probably even harder! Lilly was probably my Mom's very best friend and running buddy. They went so many places together, there's no counting them. They attended the same church, worked on quilts together, knitted hats for the preemies at the local hospital, and generally shared so many things.

Lilly had been battling cancer for a long time, mostly with a very positive attitude and strong sense of humor all the while. She was a fun lady who could talk your ear off if given half a chance...and often did!

She was a little younger than my Mom, which more than likely made Mom realize how close the end of the journey really can be for all of us. Over the last few years, several of Mom's friends have passed on. I'm sure that the shrinking of the circle of friends is something Mom thinks about more and more, but we talk about friends and family no longer here with us and remember them fondly through stories and pictures. That does keep them alive in spirit and helps to keep them close.

The next few days will most likely be a little tough on Mom, so I'm doing what I can to stay close in case she needs to talk or just have some company! Seems like the very least I can do, after all she has done for me and my sisters over the years!

I firmly believe that keeping the older generation happy and busy doing what they like is one way to keep them from getting depressed. That's just my opinion, of course.

I'll do what I can, because she is not only my Mom...but my friend! God bless her heart!

Coffee on the patio this morning. It got into the 80s yesterday and is headed that direction today as well!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Don't Need This Again...!

This is the kind of thing we have to be watchful for.

It was bad when it was passed the first time, and it would be just as bad if it were even hinted at today! Believe it or not, that's not as far fetched as it seems. The only way to make sure that violations like this never occur again is to be ever vigilant!

Feb 22, 1918:
Montana passes law against sedition

Swept along by hysterical fears of treacherous German spies and domestic labor violence, the Montana legislature passes a Sedition Law that severely restricts freedom of speech and assembly. Three months later, Congress adopted a federal Sedition Act modeled on the Montana law.

The roots of the Montana Sedition Law lay with the hyper-patriotic sentiments inspired by World War I and growing fears of labor unrest and violence in the state. A sizable number of Montanans had resisted American entry in WWI, and the Montana congresswoman Jeanette Rankin (the first women elected to Congress) had voted against U.S. involvement in the Great War. Once the U.S. did become involved, though, many pro-war Montanans viewed any further criticism of the war effort as treasonous-especially if it came from the state's sizeable German-American population.

At the same time, the perceived need for wartime unity sharpened many Montanans' distrust of radical labor groups like the socialist International Workers of the World (IWW). The Montana mining town of Butte had been rocked by labor violence in recent years. In 1914, a group of men who may have been IWW members destroyed the offices of an opposing union with dynamite. An IWW leader named Frank Little had also recently given speeches in Butte condemning American involvement in the war, claiming it was being fought for big business interests.

Determined to silence both antiwar and radical union voices, the Montana legislature approved a Sedition Law that made it illegal to criticize the federal government or the armed forces during time of war. Even disparaging remarks about the American flag could be grounds for prosecution and imprisonment. Through the efforts of Montana's two senators, the act also became the model for the federal Sedition Law of May 1918. Like the Montana law, the federal act made it a crime to speak or write anything critical of the American war effort.

Later widely viewed as the most sweeping violation of civil liberties in modern American history, the federal Sedition Law led to the arrests of 1,500 American citizens. Crimes included denouncing the draft, criticizing the Red Cross, and complaining about wartime taxes. The Montana law led to the conviction and imprisonment of 47 people, some with prison terms of 20 years or more. Most were pardoned when the war ended and cooler heads prevailed, but the state and federal Sedition Laws proved highly effective in destroying the IWW and other radical labor groups that had long attacked the federal government as the tool of big business. Since many of these radicals were vocal opponents of much of the government wartime policy, they bore the brunt of the Sedition Law rebukes, and suffered sorely as a result.

Don't be surprised if something like this doesn't raise it's ugly head again, maybe buried deep in a harmless looking, never read bill! My suggestion? Never let your guard down...NEVER!

Coffee out on the patio! It may not be official, but Spring is certainly in the air here!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cherokee Printing Press...!

It's hard to imagine what an undertaking this must have been!

To take an ancient language that has always been spoken, create an alphabet for that language for the first time, and then to capture the whole thing in print...what an accomplishment!

Imagine what a job it must have been to learn a newly created alphabet and then learn to read it!

Feb 21, 1828:
Cherokee receive their first printing press

The first printing press designed to use the newly invented Cherokee alphabet arrives at New Echota, Georgia.

The General Council of the Cherokee Nation had purchased the press with the goal of producing a Cherokee-language newspaper. The press itself, however, would have been useless had it not been for the extraordinary work of a young Cherokee named Sequoyah, who invented a Cherokee alphabet.

As a young man, Sequoyah had joined the Cherokee volunteers who fought under Andrew Jackson against the British in the War of 1812. In dealing with the Anglo soldiers and settlers, he became intrigued by their "talking leaves"-printed books that he realized somehow recorded human speech. In a brilliant leap of logic, Sequoyah comprehended the basic nature of symbolic representation of sounds and in 1809 began working on a similar system for the Cherokee language.

Ridiculed and misunderstood by most of the Cherokee, Sequoyah made slow progress until he came up with the idea of representing each syllable in the language with a separate written character. By 1821, he had perfected his syllabary of 86 characters, a system that could be mastered in less than week. After obtaining the official endorsement of the Cherokee leadership, Sequoyah's invention was soon adopted throughout the Cherokee nation. When the Cherokee-language printing press arrived on this day in 1828, the lead type was based on Sequoyah's syllabary. Within months, the first Indian language newspaper in history appeared in New Echota, Georgia. It was called the Cherokee Phoenix.

One of the so-called "five civilized tribes" native to the American Southeast, the Cherokee had long embraced the United States' program of "civilizing" Indians in the years after the Revolutionary War. In the minds of Americans, Sequoyah's syllabary further demonstrated the Cherokee desire to modernize and fit into the dominant Anglo world. The Cherokee used their new press to print a bilingual version of republican constitution, and they took many other steps to assimilate Anglo culture and practice while still preserving some aspects of their traditional language and beliefs.

Sadly, despite the Cherokee's sincere efforts to cooperate and assimilate with the Anglo-Americans, their accomplishments did not protect them from the demands of land-hungry Americans. Repeatedly pushed westward in order to make room for Anglo settlers, the Cherokee lost more than 4,000 of their people (nearly a quarter of the nation) in the 1838-39 winter migration to Oklahoma that later became known as the Trail of Tears. Nonetheless, the Cherokee people survived as a nation in their new home, thanks in part to the presence of the unifying written language created by Sequoyah.

In recognition of his service, the Cherokee Nation voted Sequoyah an annual allowance in 1841. He died two years later on his farm in Oklahoma. Today, his memory is also preserved in the scientific name for the giant California redwood tree, Sequoia.

My hat is certainly off to this gentleman and his vision! This was a major gift to his people, and I'm sure they were very proud!

Coffee on the patio this morning! It's supposed to be back up in the 70s today!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Gift From Mother Nature...!

If we could only learn some of the lessons nature offers to teach us, our lives would be greatly improved.

Here is another example of what I'm talking about.

Miracle fruit berry turning sour to sweet

It's the red, almond-shaped fruit that will trick your tongue.

"My favorite food was the cherry tomatoes because they just taste like candy," Daniel Didoc, a Wofford College student, said.

He and a group of other students participated in a lecture and eating experience with what's called the miracle fruit berry at the campus library in Spartanburg.

"Only food that you'd expect to be very sour taste very, very sweet," Didoc said.

Organizers set-up tables with sauerkraut, sour cream, lemons, limes, peppers and pickles.

"Pickles taste like pickles, but not as much," he said.

Researchers said the berry comes from W. Africa and when you eat it, a protein reacts with your taste buds and induces sweetness when it comes in contact with acid.

"Never thought that eating a fruit could actually change your perception," Michael Roulhac, another student said.

"I mean it's life changing," he said.

But researchers said the real beauty behind the berry is what it may be able to do for cancer patients.

"This berry could be used to help someone taking chemo treatments taste better for foods, to taste better for them," Oakley Coburn, the Library Dean said.

He organizes cultural events at the library and helped organize the sweet miracle berry experience. He said researchers want to know if it can also be used as a natural sweetener for diabetics.

"Where they really want sweetness, but can't have sugar," he said.

And for the students, the experience was a sweet one.

Copyright 2012 Fox Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Slowly but surely we are rediscovering what the Shaman and witch doctors have known for many, many years. They were probably more in touch with the natural wonders of this old world than our so called "doctors" are today. Just maybe we should try and learn from them! Again...!

Coffee inside this morning. The wind is a tad too chilly for the patio.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

And So It Begins...!

This particular invention probably did more for the home entertainment than anything invented since!

Because of Edison and Alexander Bell, recorded music in the home became a reality for many families and ushered in the golden age of records, then radio, and eventually television!

We've come a long way in a very short time, and inventions like this have led the way!

Feb 19, 1878:
Thomas Alva Edison patents the phonograph

The technology that made the modern music business possible came into existence in the New Jersey laboratory where Thomas Alva Edison created the first device to both record sound and play it back. He was awarded U.S. Patent No. 200,521 for his invention--the phonograph--on this day in 1878.

Edison's invention came about as spin-off from his ongoing work in telephony and telegraphy. In an effort to facilitate the repeated transmission of a single telegraph message, Edison devised a method for capturing a passage of Morse code as a sequence of indentations on a spool of paper. Reasoning that a similar feat could be accomplished for the telephone, Edison devised a system that transferred the vibrations of a diaphragm—i.e., sound—to an embossing point and then mechanically onto an impressionable medium—paraffin paper at first, and then a spinning, tin-foil wrapped cylinder as he refined his concept. Edison and his mechanic, John Kreusi, worked on the invention through the autumn of 1877 and quickly had a working model ready for demonstration. The December 22, 1877, issue of Scientific American reported that "Mr. Thomas A. Edison recently came into this office, placed a little machine on our desk, turned a crank, and the machine inquired as to our health, asked how we liked the phonograph, informed us that it was very well, and bid us a cordial good night."

The patent awarded to Edison on February 19, 1878, specified a particular method—embossing—for capturing sound on tin-foil-covered cylinders. The next critical improvement in recording technology came courtesy of Edison's competitor in the race to develop the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell. His newly established Bell Labs developed a phonograph based on the engraving of a wax cylinder, a significant improvement that led directly to the successful commercialization of recorded music in the 1890s and lent a vocabulary to the recording business—e.g., "cutting" records and "spinning wax"—that has long outlived the technology on which it was based

When you stop and realize just what a short time ago this machine came into being and how far it's evolved up to now, you can't help but wonder just what going to be the next big thing!

Thank you, Thomas Edison...and you too, Mr. Bell! Well done!

Coffee in the nice, warm kitchen this morning. Can you smell the bread in the oven?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Morning Brain Test...!

I found a little list of questions that will test some of your abilities this morning.

It's really an easy way to find out if you are qualified to be called a professional!
Besides, I think you might be a little surprised at the results.

Are You Professional?

The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and tells whether you are qualified to be "professional". Scroll down for each answer. The questions are not that difficult.

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Wrong Answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant and close the refrigerator.

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your actions.

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?

Correct Answer: The Elephant. The Elephant is in the refrigerator. This tests your memory. OK, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your abilities.

4. There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by crocodiles. How do you manage it?

Correct Answer: You swim across. All the Crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Andersen Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong. But many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four year old.

Pass this around to frustrate all of your friends and associates.

Don't ask me how I did, 'cause I ain't telling! Know what I mean...?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning...unless you want to go sit in the rain! OK?

Friday, February 17, 2012

As Small As My...!

Mother Nature can produce some really strange and beautiful creatures.

It's always a good feeling to know that man hasn't managed to kill off all of the species that were, until now, undiscovered! Could be that their diminutive size is God's way of protecting them.

Tiny reptile fits on fingertips!

Perhaps the only thing more remarkable than a chameleon small enough to comfortably fit on a computer key is that researchers were even able to spot the tiny thing, and at night no less.

But they did, and now we not only have the world's smallest chameleon, but also a possible play date for the world's tiniest frog.

The miniature reptile officially goes by the name Brookesia micra and adult males max out at about half-an-inch in length. So look down at your hand. That means there's room for an extended family nearly 20 of these chameleons between your wrist and knuckles. That's crazy!

The reptiles are among four new species of chameleons discovered by researchers on an island off of Madagascar. They published their findings online this week in the journal Plos One.

Andrea Mustain of OurAmazingPlanet reports the team set out at night with head lamps and flashlights to locate the miniature creatures and, presumably, were exceedingly careful about where they stepped.

The German-led expedition found the Brookesia micra sleeping in branches just four inches off the ground. Well, "just" four inches to us ... probably a high-rise apartment to them.

Lead researcher Dr. Frank Glaw told the BBC, "They mostly live in the leaf litter in the day ... But at night they climb up and then you can spot them." He also explained that the chameleons may be so small as a result of their isolation, which can lead to island dwarfism. That's an evolutionary process where living things shrink over time to adapt to their very restricted living area.

But even that small, remote habitat is not immune from human development, and scientists believe the very existence of these newly-discovererd species is threatened.

"Its habitat is in truth barely protected," they write. "And subject to numerous human-induced environmental problems resulting in severe habitat destruction, thus threatening the survival of the species."

So think about that, developers off Madagascar: In your race to get ahead and modernize, don't forget about the little people.

Or all the little chameleons.

Once again, we should stand in awe at the wonders our maker has put on this earth. Now if we can manage to curb our selfish desire to capture, kill, or exploit these wonders maybe they can manage to live a while longer in peace and safety. One can only hope!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's chilly out, but maybe some nice, warm peach cobbler will help!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Your Past Will Find You...!

I firmly believe that the deeds and actions that lie in the past can and will eventually come to light.

Good deeds, bad deeds, it doesn't really matter...your past will catch up to you eventually! Maybe it's karma, maybe it's fate, the name doesn't matter. In the end, what matters is the fact that none of us can hide from the past. Even more reason to live life as though each day was your last! If you need a reason, that is!

Feb 16, 1894:
John Wesley Hardin is pardoned

Infamous gunslinger John Wesley Hardin is pardoned after spending 15 years in a Texas prison for murder. Hardin, who was reputed to have shot and killed a man just for snoring, was 41 years old at the time of his release.

Hardin probably killed in excess of 40 people during a six-year stretch beginning in 1868. When he was only 15, Hardin killed an ex-slave in a fight, becoming a wanted fugitive. Two years later, he was arrested for murder in Waco, Texas. Although it was actually one of the few he had not committed, Hardin did not want to run the risk of being convicted and escaped to the town of Abilene.

At that time, Abilene was run by Wild Bill Hickok, who was friendly with Hardin. However, one night Hardin was disturbed by the snoring in an adjacent hotel room and fired two shots through the wall, killing the man. Fearing that not even Wild Bill would stand for such a senseless crime, Hardin moved on again.

On May 26, 1874, Hardin was celebrating his 21st birthday when he got into an altercation with a man who fired the first shot. Hardin fired back and killed the man. A few years later, Hardin was tracked down in Florida and brought to trial. Because it was one of the more defensible shootings on Hardin's record, he was spared the gallows and given a life sentence. After his pardon, he moved to El Paso and became an attorney. But his past caught up with him, and the following year he was shot in the back as revenge for one of his many murders.

See what I mean? The past catching up can be bad for your health, or possibly good for your fortune! There's an old saying..."what goes around, comes around!" The Good Book says it even better! "...for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. The rain is threatening to return, and that is good!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Closed For Some Maintenance Issues...!

I need to do some overhauling on the Blog site today, so there won't be a regular post.

I've screwed around and failed to get things done in a timely fashion, so now I will just bite the bullet and go do it.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Little Valentines History...!

While nearly all of us know when Valentine's day is celebrated, but do we know why?

One popular story from covers the origin of this special day, but it's origin may just surprise you. I know it did me!

Feb 14, 278:
St. Valentine beheaded

On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.

Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine."

For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

In truth, the exact origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February." One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.

Legends vary on how the martyr's name became connected with romance. The date of his death may have become mingled with the Feast of Lupercalia, a pagan festival of love. On these occasions, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to the Feast of Lupercalia, and he declared that February 14 be celebrated as St Valentine's Day.

Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers.

I think I would much rather celebrate this day for the reasons that we do now, than to remember the fate of St Valentine as told here! Wouldn't you?

Anyway, for all the ladies this morning, a little something special!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. And BTW...the chocolate is to be shared by everyone, OK?

Monday, February 13, 2012

One Medal For The Brave...!

There are so many heroes in the history of our military, it would be hard to pick out just one to be awarded a medal.

Probably a decision I would not want to make, given the sheer number of candidates. I mean, there are some very close calls on who is given this particular medal. Sadly, more times than not, the Medal Of Honor is awarded those that have passed on!

Feb 13, 1861:
First Medal of Honor action

The earliest military action to be revered with a Medal of Honor award is performed by Colonel Bernard J.D. Irwin, an assistant army surgeon serving in the first major U.S.-Apache conflict. Near Apache Pass, in southeastern Arizona, Irwin, an Irish-born doctor, volunteered to go to the rescue of Second Lieutenant George N. Bascom, who was trapped with 60 men of the U.S. Seventh Infantry by the Chiricahua Apaches. Irwin and 14 men, initially without horses, began the 100-mile trek to Bascom's forces riding on mules. After fighting and capturing Apaches along the way and recovering stolen horses and cattle, they reached Bascom's forces on February 14 and proved instrumental in breaking the siege.

The first U.S.-Apache conflict had begun several days before, when Cochise, the Chiricahua Apache chief, kidnapped three white men to exchange for his brother and two nephews held by the U.S. Army on false charges of stealing cattle and kidnapping a child. When the exchange was refused, Cochise killed the white men, and the army responded by killing his relatives, setting off the first of the Apache wars.

Although Irwin's bravery in this conflict was the earliest Medal of Honor action, the award itself was not created until 1862, and it was not until January 21, 1894, that Irwin received the nation's highest military honor.

Even though the Medal of Honor is awarded to so few, no doubt there are many more that deserve it as well! How in the world could you ever choose?

Since it's so chilly outside, let's stay in the kitchen this morning! OK?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Flexing The "Stupid" Muscle...!

That's something that politicians have been doing for years!

So many times we could have been in major trouble because of the stupid act of pulling the tail feathers of another country! Maybe it's not surprising that the U.S. has been the instigator of many of these cases of "Double Dare Ya!"

Think I'm kidding? Just check this story from!

Feb 12, 1988:
Russian ships bump U.S. destroyer and cruiser

Two Soviet warships bump two U.S. navy vessels in waters claimed by the Soviet Union. The incident was an indication that even though the Cold War was slowly coming to a close, old tensions and animosities remained unabated.

The incident between the ships took place in the Black Sea, off the Crimean peninsula. The American destroyer Caron and cruiser Yorktown were operating within the 12-mile territorial limit claimed by the Soviet Union. They were challenged by a Soviet frigate and destroyer and told to leave the waters. Then, according to a Navy spokesman, the Soviet ships "shouldered" the U.S. ships out of the way, bumping them slightly. There was no exchange of gunfire, and the American ships eventually departed from the area. There was no serious damage to either U.S. vessel or any injuries.

In many ways, the incident was an unnecessarily provocative action by the United States. For many years, the United States had challenged the Russian claim of a 12-mile territorial limit in the waters off the Crimean peninsula. However, the timing and the use of the Caron in this particular operation made this a rather foolish act. The United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in negotiations to limit long-range nuclear weapons, and in December 1987, the important INF Treaty, by which both the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to eliminate their medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe, had been signed. The Caron was well known as an intelligence gathering vessel and its appearance in waters claimed by the Soviets would be seen as suspicious at best. For their part, the Soviets probably overreacted. American ships regularly moved through the area and were usually unchallenged. Perhaps the Soviet military felt a message should be sent that Russia, which was experiencing severe economic and political problems, was still a nation to be taken seriously as a major military power.

Now, you all know I totally support all our troops and appreciate all that they do. I only have a problem with the fact that most of our men and women in the armed services are foolishly put in harm's way far too often by leaders just wanting to play "King of the Mountain!" That's just my opinion, of course!

Once more it's coffee in the kitchen, as the rain is still here and the patio is wet!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Before You Fry Those Potatoes...!

You might want to read this news story from Spain.

I have a feeling that this could have been some "mind blowing" potato soup! Just another thing to keep a watch out for in the grocery store, ya know?

Customer from grocery store finds hand grenade hidden among potatoes


The hand grenade, which dates from the Second World War, comes from a potato field that was a battlefield between 1939 and 1945.

A customer of a local grocery store in the Spanish town of Chiclana de la Frontera, (Cadiz) in southern Spain found inside a bag of potatoes a hand grenade from the Second World War.

According to Spanish news agency Europa Press quoting police sources, the grenade was petrified and looked like a potato.

The same sources pointed out that the field where the potatoes had grown, somewhere in the French border with Belgium, had been a battlefield between 1939 and 1945.

I have to wonder if the potato farmer is now going to be added to the "Farming Terrorists" list! You just never know, do ya? I mean, if you can't trust your potatoes...then who can you trust?

Coffee in the kitchen again. Don't worry...I've already defused all my spuds!

Friday, February 10, 2012

One Way To Beat The Cold...!

I'm thinking this would never be approved in the states, but I may be wrong!

I have to admit it is certainly one way to stay warm. It does make me wonder though, just how much firewood this guy has to carry! Let's just hope he never has a wreck!

Zany Swiss man installs wood-burning stove in car
By Jonathan Woods,

Why yes, officer, that is a wood-burning stove in my glove box.

It's hard to imagine what led Pascal Prokop to install a wood-burning stove in his 1990 Volvo 240 station wagon. Though we're safe to say that the trend won't catch like wildfire.

Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

Smoke rises from a chimney atop Pascal Prokop's 1990 Volvo 240 station wagon near Zurich on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

Wood burns in a stove as Pascal Prokop drives his 1990 Volvo 240 station wagon during cold winter weather on a road near the town of Mettmenstetten, south of Zurich on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Prokob built and installed the wood-fired stove himself and got an operating permit from the Swiss technical inspection authority.

And you thought old Volvo station wagons weren't hot...

Hey...I guess we all need a hobby, right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. The rain last night got the patio all wet!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Got Any Of These...?

To date, there are many things that happened during the second world war that were not common knowledge! This was the case of the Hawaii dollar!

I had never heard of this particular type of bill before, but maybe you have. It's amazing what you can find just by checking out sites like Now I Know!

Hawaii Dollars

The U.S. Constitution specifically gives Congress the power to coin money, and an 1884 Supreme Court decision makes it clear that this power also applies to paper currency (in that case, backed by gold.) And with rare exception, money printed for use in one state is valid for use in the other states and American territories. One exception: the bills pictured, below.

Pay attention to the sides of the front of the bill — you will see the word “HAWAII” printed, vertically, on either side, next to the seals. The obverse is more clear, with the word “HAWAII” printed over the picture of the Lincoln Memorial and spilling into the sides. What’s going on here?

On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, bringing the U.S. into World War II in the process. Hawaii (not yet a state) was isolated both geographically and politically and — given the losses at Pearl Harbor especially — was the most likely widely-inhabited American candidate for a successful Japanese occupation. Any successful occupation would also allow the invading Japanese to seize, potentially, hundreds of millions of dollars in currency from Hawaiian financial institutions. With federal spending still in the tens of billions, such an outcome would have been significantly harmful to the American economy. The HAWAII-emblazoned bills were the solution.

In January of 1942, the military governor of Hawaii (the territory was under the military’s control after the Pearl Harbor bombing) recalled most of the currency in the future state, with some allowances as to not pull all of the cash out of the islands’ economy. Five months later, bills like the one pictured — called “Hawaii overprint notes” – were issued. The theory was simple: if Hawaii fell into Japanese hands, these bills would no longer be legal tender in the United States. This contingency plan never came into play.

In total, over 65 million Hawaii overprint notes were created (totalling over $300 million), in four denominations — $1, $5, $10, and $20, with the $5 note pictured above the rarest of the quartet. On October 21, 1944, ten months before Victory over Japan Day, the required use of these bills ceased.

I can certainly understand the reasoning behind this, but it seems like a lot of expense to me. I can't help but wonder if there might have been a cheaper solution. But then, the government isn't worried too much about how much it spends. After all, it's only our money and not theirs that's being spent! True then...true now!

Coffee on the patio. Be sure and wear something warm, as it's a little chilly first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How About A Love Potion...?

Since valentine's day is just around the corner, I wanted to discuss some gift ideas.

You might not need any of these, but just in case you or someone you know does...I thought I would offer some different love potions I found in the pages of Farmer's Almanac.

Just doing my part to share the information in a timely fashion, ya know?

The Aphrodisiac That Really Works
by Christine Schultz

Source: Adapted from an article in the 1996 Old Farmer's Almanac

History is full of stories of ordinary people using bizare stimulants for their love live: powder from the horns of rhinos, bat blood mixed with whiskey, crocodile dung . . . you get the idea.

People have hoped for sexual euphoria since ancient times. In fact, the very word, aphrodisiac, comes from the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, who has inspired cultures throughout the ages to achieve her legendary heights of delight. For example:

*Pliny the Elder recommended hippopotamus snout and hyena eyes.

*Horace touted dried marrow and liver.

*In Elizabethan times, prunes were so highly regarded as aphrodisiacs that they were served for free in brothels.
The Science of Infatuation

The possibility of death, presence of danger, secrecy, and even chocolate can spark erotic urgency. But so can the brain chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA). This is the stimulant the brain releases in the early stages of infatuation. It's the revver-upper that allows us to stay awake all night and lose our appetites.

PEA races through the system of the thrill seeker, allowing the adventurer to feel alert, self-assured and ready for whatever challenge awaits. For those men who need more help, we offer some tips from the great romantics of the past:

*Casanova championed oysters.

*Napoleon treasured truffles.

*Popeye performed manly feats on a can or two of spinach.

*The Mharajah of Bikaner ingested crushed diamonds.

*If all else fails, go forth and make yourself rich, or powerful, or the caretaker of a baby, for there are women who say these traits are most alluring.

Do love potions work?

In 1989, The US Food and Drug Administration banned advertisers from promoting pills or potions because testing had shown that none worked no matter what the contents—whether fennel or dried beetle bodies.

Any that appeared to work did so only because the user believed they would—the stimulant lay only in the users' mind. In other words, it's the imagination that creates its own exciting possibilities and the body that leaps forward to fulfill the fantasies.

The Last Stimulant You'll Ever Need

Love is the most magnificent of aphrodisiacs. Although it is certainly no more easier to get a hold of than some of these potions, it's a heck of a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Before you spend money on the goods, spend the time on your partner. Otherwise nothing will work. In the words of Prince Charles, who was offered an arousing cup of camel's milk post-Diana: "Fat lot of use it's going to be to me now!

I guess the fact that some of these might cost less than the modern versions, it might be worth investigating. Must be a high profit margin in modern versions of "snake oil", judging from the number of spam messages I get from folks selling Viagra!

To all the people trying to sell me this stuff, I don't want it and really don't need it. You'll just have to take my word for it 'cause I ain't going into details here!

How about some fresh coffee? Talk about a true love potion!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rock And Roll With Mother Nature...!

Did you know that the United States holds the dubious record for one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded? I didn't either!

When you notice the date and the size of the quake, you can imagine just what kind of destruction there would be if it happened today! From the website, here is a little known fact about that particular incident!

Feb 7, 1812:
Earthquake causes fluvial tsunami in Mississippi

On this day in 1812, the most violent of a series of earthquakes near Missouri causes a so-called fluvial tsunami in the Mississippi River, actually making the river run backward for several hours. The series of tremors, which took place between December 1811 and March 1812, were the most powerful in the history of the United States.

The unusual seismic activity began at about 2 a.m. on December 16, 1811, when a strong tremor rocked the New Madrid region. The city of New Madrid, located near the Mississippi River in present-day Arkansas, had about 1,000 residents at the time, mostly farmers, hunters and fur trappers. At 7:15 a.m., an even more powerful quake erupted, now estimated to have had a magnitude of 8.6. This tremor literally knocked people off their feet and many people experienced nausea from the extensive rolling of the earth. Given that the area was sparsely populated and there weren't many multi-story structures, the death toll was relatively low. However, the quake did cause landslides that destroyed several communities, including Little Prairie, Missouri.

The earthquake also caused fissures--some as much as several hundred feet long--to open on the earth's surface. Large trees were snapped in two. Sulfur leaked out from underground pockets and river banks vanished, flooding thousands of acres of forests. On January 23, 1812, an estimated 8.4-magnitude quake struck in nearly the same location, causing disastrous effects. Reportedly, the president's wife, Dolley Madison, was awoken by the tremor in Washington, D.C. Fortunately, the death toll was smaller, as most of the survivors of the first earthquake were now living in tents, in which they could not be crushed.

The strongest of the tremors followed on February 7. This one was estimated at an amazing 8.8-magnitude and was probably one of the strongest quakes in human history. Church bells rang in Boston, thousands of miles away, from the shaking. Brick walls were toppled in Cincinnati. In the Mississippi River, water turned brown and whirlpools developed suddenly from the depressions created in the riverbed. Waterfalls were created in an instant; in one report, 30 boats were helplessly thrown over falls, killing the people on board. Many of the small islands in the middle of the river, often used as bases by river pirates, permanently disappeared. Large lakes, such as Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee and Big Lake at the Arkansas-Missouri border, were created by the earthquake as river water poured into new depressions.

This series of large earthquakes ended in March, although there were aftershocks for a few more years. In all, it is believed that approximately 1,000 people died because of the earthquakes, though an accurate count is difficult to determine because of a lack of an accurate record of the Native American population in the area at the time.

If it happened once, it could happen again! Just imagine the wide scale effect this would have on our modern infrastructure! Just one more reason to join the folks that make a habit of preparing for any and all disasters, man made or natural!

Maybe, just maybe...being a "Prepper" isn't such a crazy idea after all! Get the hint?

Now how about some fresh coffee in the kitchen this morning? Maybe some vanilla pound cake on the side?

Monday, February 6, 2012

If I Could Get This Comfortable...!

I'll bet that every cat owner has said that very thing at least once or twice, after seeing how their cats nap!

Some of the positions these graceful animals can put their bodies into defies logic! Many are so contorted, you almost have to go check the cat's pulse to make sure they are still alive! Others are just downright cute or laugh-out-loud funny!

I'm putting a few pictures here from the article The 25 Most Awkward Cat Sleeping Positions that I found on BuzzFeed. You really should pop in to their site and go through all the pictures and the captions that go with them! Bet it makes you laugh out loud! If you don't have a big grin after might want to check YOUR pulse!

Are you grinning yet? My sides still hurt from laughing as hard as I did. I haven't enjoyed a group of pictures as much as these in a very long time!

Maybe because I have a cat and I see something similar to this everyday! Ya think?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning! The rest of our Winter is here for a couple more days!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Better Break Out The Tums...!

I always had my suspicions that Super Bowl fans could get crazy!

However, it wasn't until I read this article that I knew just how crazy the fans really get! To put it bluntly, there is one heck of a lot of food put away on the day of the "BIG GAME!"

I'll admit that most of the things mentioned I like, but after the numbers I was astonished! Check this out!

Super Bowl Sunday means 1.25 billion wings will be eaten

 By Tom Weir, USA TODAY

Super Bowl Sunday figures to be super-caloric for many people.

According to the Wall Street Journal, here are some of the consumption estimates from the food industry:

There will be more than 1.25 billion chicken wings eaten Sunday, or four apiece for every man, woman and child in the U.S. (And some of which will wind up in chicken wing cupcakes.)

4.4 million pizzas will be ordered from Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's.

48 million people will have takeout or delivery food.

On the healthier side, 71.4 million pounds of avocados will be eaten as the nation's intake of guacomole peaks. Also, less beer will be drunk on Super Sunday than what gets swilled on warm-weather holidays like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day or Labor Day.

And it will be a very good day for carrot farmers, who see a 25-28% boost in sales for the Super Bowl.

This just "bowls" me over! (Sorry, but I couldn't resist!) no matter how you look at it, this is a lot of snacks! Somebody is going to have to do some serious exercise come Monday morning!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Looks like the rain is going to stick around some more!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Proving What We Already Knew About Politicians...!

For some time now, folks like you and I have been saying most politicians are simply not doing what we pay them for!

I found an article over in the archives of Now I Know that proves exactly that! Had to be an embarrassing moment for a whole lot of folks, if you know what I mean!

In 1971, Tom Moore, Jr., then a Texas state representative, introduced a bill which honored a man named Albert de Salvo. The bill, which passed the chamber unanimously, stated in part: “This compassionate gentleman’s dedication and devotion to his work has enabled the weak and the lonely throughout the nation to achieve and maintain a new degree of concern for their future. He has been officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts for his noted activities and unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology.”

Albert de Salvo is more commonly known as the Boston Strangler, a serial killer. Moore was hoping to point out that bills are often passed without a true understanding of their meaning, and he removed the bill from consideration after revealing his ruse.

What do you want to bet that they are still doing the very same thing today? Pretty sad, if you ask me!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen again. Still trying to rain on the patio!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Changing The Perception Of Crime...!

This probably was the first time the public had read accounts of this type of crime.

Strange, but I just never thought of crimes of this magnitude taking place this far back! Guess this might be the forerunner to the types of sprees we read about every day!

It had to be very shocking to the folks back then, where as now days we are almost immune to the terrible ways that man can treat his fellow men! I'm afraid to say that we have almost reached the point where we can't be shocked by anything! Parents killing toddlers, children being raped and abused, spouse beatings and killings, old folks being attacked and beat and robbed...the list goes on and on!

You have to wonder when there is going to finally be an end to it all. I'm just surprised that God hasn't just wiped the slate clean and started over! At the rate we are going, before long the bad guys will have done away with the decent folks and then they will have to start in on each other!

Feb 3, 1780:
Early American mass murder changes common perceptions of crime

In one of the most famous crimes of post-Revolution America, Barnett Davenport commits an awful mass murder in rural Connecticut. Caleb Mallory, his wife, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren were killed in their home by their boarder, Davenport.

Davenport, born in 1760, enlisted in the American army as a teenager and had served at Valley Forge and Fort Ticonderoga. In the waning days of the war with the British, he came to live in the Mallory household. Today, Davenport's crime might be ascribed to some type of post-war stress syndrome, but at the time it was the source of a different sociological significance.

On February 3, apparently unprovoked, Davenport beat Caleb Mallory to death. He then beat Mallory's seven-year-old grandchild with a rifle and killed his daughter-in-law. Davenport looted the home before setting it on fire, killing two others.

His shocking confession was the basis of much soul-searching for the fledgling nation's press. Many books were written about the crime, and the perception of murderers began to change in America. Until then, crime was most often seen as the result of common sinners losing their way. But Davenport's crime and its portrayal to the public caused people to perceive criminals as evil and alien to the rest of society. To some degree, this view has persisted through the years.

I just don't know anymore, I really don't! Lots of spoiled fruit in our family tree! Bad thing is, from bad fruit you get bad seeds! Scary!

Let's have our coffee out on the patio. Too nice to stay inside this morning!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A New Prepper Comes Onboard...!

After all the effort we spend trying to tell folks about the whole picture in Prepping, so many times we find the talk falling on deaf ears!

However, sometimes events all mesh together to make perfect sense of the whole concept. I'm pretty sure that's what happened in the case of Baby Sis and her hubby!

Here is a guest post written by her explaining what lead her and her family in this direction!

My Big Brother, Hermit Jim, asked me a few weeks back if I would be interested in doing a guest blog. Now, I was an English major in college, and much preferred essay tests over multiple choice, but blogging??? I’m a reader – not a writer.

Lately though , I’ve become more interested in prepping, or at least considering the possibilities. Yes, Bubba has shown me his ideas, and I’ve experienced multiple tastings of his wares, but the expediency of being self-sufficient just sorta just hit me in the face in the last few weeks. Partly because of the current economic atmosphere, partly a book I’m considering buying, and a good bit from a movie I recently saw…………………Contagion, with Matt Damon and Gwenyth Paltrow, came up and slapped me, and was quite an awakening for hubby, too. Shows how a minor event, close to home, could easily become a world-wide disaster, and the chaos that could result. Very interesting, and thought provoking.

I’m looking at several different books for some guidance in my little corner of the woods. The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide seems to be what I might need to start, as I’m the stay-home-in-my-comfort-zone type, not the run-for-the-hills type. Unlike Bubba, I like living in the city, and am quite comfortable here, along with my trees and golf course views. During Hurricane Ike, we were without power for 15 days and nights, in some hot and humid gulf coast conditions. We were lucky enough to bunk on the fan-cooled floor of neighbors who had a generator, and spent days at our own home, or I went back to my A/C office as soon as the water receded. But, I cannot count on those neighbors again, nor do I want to. So, I am looking to take care of me and mine.

Thanks to some of the Hermit’s followers – Daily Good, Daughter of Texas, and Unsheltered Life (Where Do I Begin?). Gave me good thought fodder, and Food Storage & Survival – I’ll be watching for the Nat Geo special, thanks for the heads-up!

Enough of my ramblings and thought sharing. I’m open to suggestions and advice (why do we often listen to strangers rather than those we know and love?). Thanks for your attention, and Big Hugs to Bubba for the opportunity.
See you at Hermit Jim’s house, behind Mom’s –

Baby Sis

My thanks go out to Baby Sis for sharing her thoughts with us, and for taking the time to actually read the blogs of some of my followers! Good folks, all!

Coffee on the patio this morning! Supposed to go back up to the high 70's today again!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Bold Move For Texas...!

Sam Houston did not want this to happen!

If you read up on it, Sam was a dedicated Unionist! He believed that Texas was making the wrong choice, but right or happened!

Feb 1, 1861:
Texas secedes from the Union

On this day in 1861, Texas becomes the seventh state to secede from the Union when a state convention votes 166 to 8 in favor of the measure.

The Texans who voted to leave the Union did so over the objections of their governor, Sam Houston. A staunch Unionist, Houston's election in 1859 as governor seemed to indicate that Texas did not share the rising secessionist sentiments of the other Southern states.

However, events swayed many Texans to the secessionist cause. John Brown's raid on the federal armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in October 1859 had raised the specter of a major slave insurrection, and the ascendant Republican Party made many Texans uneasy about continuing in the Union. After Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in November 1860, pressure mounted on Houston to call a convention so that Texas could consider secession. He did so reluctantly in January 1861, and sat in silence on February 1 as the convention voted overwhelmingly in favor of secession. Houston grumbled that Texans were "stilling the voice of reason," and he predicted an "ignoble defeat" for the South. Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy and was replaced in March 1861 by his lieutenant governor.

Texas' move completed the first round of secession. Seven states--South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas--left the Union before Lincoln took office. Four more states--Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas-- waited until the formal start of the Civil War, with the April 1861 firing on Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina, before deciding to leave the Union. The remaining slave states--Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri--never mustered the necessary majority for secession.

Yes sir...ol' Sam was a stubborn man right up to the very end! One thing about folks like Sam Houston, they always tried to do what they thought was right and they stood by their matter what! For that, you have to give him credit!

Fresh coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's still raining outside and that's a good thing!