Thursday, May 31, 2012

Big Ben Starts Keeping Time...!

Nice to know that some pieces with such a rich history are still in operation.

This is the first thing I think about when I think of England! Considering all it's been through, it's really amazing that the old time piece is still functioning!

May 31, 1859:
Big Ben goes into operation in London

The famous tower clock known as Big Ben, located at the top of the 320-foot-high St. Stephen's Tower, rings out over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, for the first time on this day in 1859.

After a fire destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster--the headquarters of the British Parliament--in October 1834, a standout feature of the design for the new palace was a large clock atop a tower. The royal astronomer, Sir George Airy, wanted the clock to have pinpoint accuracy, including twice-a-day checks with the Royal Greenwich Observatory. While many clockmakers dismissed this goal as impossible, Airy counted on the help of Edmund Beckett Denison, a formidable barrister known for his expertise in horology, or the science of measuring time.

Denison's design, built by the company E.J. Dent & Co., was completed in 1854; five years later, St. Stephen's Tower itself was finished. Weighing in at more than 13 tons, its massive bell was dragged to the tower through the streets of London by a team of 16 horses, to the cheers of onlookers. Once it was installed, Big Ben struck its first chimes on May 31, 1859. Just two months later, however, the heavy striker designed by Denison cracked the bell. Three more years passed before a lighter hammer was added and the clock went into service again. The bell was rotated so that the hammer would strike another surface, but the crack was never repaired.

The name "Big Ben" originally just applied to the bell but later came to refer to the clock itself. Two main stories exist about how Big Ben got its name. Many claim it was named after the famously long-winded Sir Benjamin Hall, the London commissioner of works at the time it was built. Another famous story argues that the bell was named for the popular heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt, because it was the largest of its kind.

Even after an incendiary bomb destroyed the chamber of the House of Commons during the Second World War, St. Stephen's Tower survived, and Big Ben continued to function. Its famously accurate timekeeping is regulated by a stack of coins placed on the clock's huge pendulum, ensuring a steady movement of the clock hands at all times. At night, all four of the clock’s faces, each one 23 feet across, are illuminated. A light above Big Ben is also lit to let the public know when Parliament is in session.

If Ben is still working after all these years, then maybe there is hope for me. If I can still function this well after having a few more years on me, I'll be a happy camper!

Coffee on the patio this morning! Supposed to start raining tonight, but for now it's pretty nice!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another Western Wednesday...!

Come to find out, not all the "bad guys" in the Old West were guys, after all!

Even though you don't often hear of them, there was a few women that were actually "bad guys!" I couldn't fined a picture of this woman, but her history is interesting and would make a good western movie!

May 30, 1899:
Pearl Hart holds up an Arizona stagecoach

On this day, the amateur bandit Pearl Hart and her boyfriend hold up an Arizona stagecoach.

Little is known about Pearl Hart's early life. She was born in Petersborough, Ontario, in 1871, and moved to Toronto as a child. She eloped when she was 16, but her husband abused her and the marriage did not last. Eventually, Hart took up with a dance-hall musician and minor gambler named Dan Bandman, and in 1892 the couple moved to Phoenix, Arizona. When Bandman left to fight in the Spanish-American War, Hart relocated to the Arizona mining town of Globe, where she began an affair with a German drifter named Joe Boot.

Short on money, the couple determined to hold up a stage, though neither of them appears to have had any prior experience as robbers. On this day in 1899, Hart (dressed as a man) and Boot stopped a stage on the run between Globe and Florence. After taking $421 in cash from the three passengers, Hart took pity on them and handed back $1 to each so they could buy something to eat when they arrived in Florence.

Unskilled in the art of the getaway, Hart and Boot left an obvious trail and the sheriff of Pinal County arrested the couple four days later. Boot was jailed in Florence, but since the town had no detention facilities for women, Hart was jailed in Tucson. Within several days, Hart had apparently charmed several men into helping her and she escaped. Her freedom, however, was short-lived. A lawman recognized her in Deming, New Mexico, and returned her to Tucson.

Tried and convicted in a Florence court, Boot was sentenced to 30 years and Hart to five. Neither served out their terms. After several years of good behavior, Boot was made a trusty and walked off while doing fieldwork, never to be heard from again. After about a year in prison, Hart became pregnant. Eager to save the Arizona Territory the embarrassment of having to explain how Hart arrived at this condition while imprisoned, Governor Alexander O. Brodie pardoned her on December 19, 1902.

Hart's life after her release is shrouded in myth. According to the romantic version, Hart leveraged her single experience as a stage robber into a career in show business, billing herself as "The Arizona Bandit." Some said she traveled for several years on the vaudeville circuit, others that she toured briefly with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. Historians have been unable to verify either of these claims. The more mundane but likely version has it that Hart quickly married an Arizona rancher named Calvin Bywater and settled down to a quiet life of domestic bliss. If Mrs. Cal Bywater was indeed Pearl Hart, she lived into her 80s and other people described her as "soft-spoken, kind, and a good citizen in all respects."

So much for the myth of the "weaker sex", right?

I suggest we have our morning coffee on the patio, if that's alright with all of you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Always Wondered About This...!

Some questions in life just never really get answered, at least to my satisfaction.

Up until just now, this was on my short list of things I really wanted to know. Thanks to the folks over at Mental Floss, I can now remove this one question off my list! Isn't that great?

Why Does Bottled Water Have an Expiration Date?
by Matt Soniak

Have you ever wondered why that bottle of Poland Spring has a “drink by” date on it when common sense dictates that water doesn’t go bad? You can thank the great state of New Jersey. A 1987 NJ state law required all food products sold there to display an expiration date of two years or less from the date of manufacture. Labeling, separating and shipping batches of expiration-dated water to the Garden State seemed a little inefficient to bottled water producers, so most of them simply started giving every bottle a two-year expiration date, no matter where it was going.

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has never established or suggested a limitation on the shelf life of bottled water as long as it’s produced in accordance with regulations and the bottle remains properly sealed. Makes sense, because it’s, you know…water. Even Dirty Jerz caught on to this fact and amended the law a few years ago. But the expiration date has been an industry norm for so long that many producers have just kept it on there.

While “expired” unopened bottled water isn’t going to do you any harm, it isn’t going to get better with age, either. The plastic that water is packaged in — usually polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for retail bottles and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for water cooler jugs — is slightly porous, so the water can pick up smells and tastes from the outside world. Keep a case of bottled water in the basement for a year or so and it’s going to pick up some interesting flavors. There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than a 2007 Evian, with hints of dust and a crisp kitty litter finish!

I have to admit that I feel much more satisfied now that I have found the answer to yet another one of my many questions! That alone should show you just a little of how my twisted mind works!

Think I have too much time on my hands?

How about fresh coffee on the patio this morning! I have some freshly baked (yesterday) brownies to go along with it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

We Should Never Forget...!

This video says everything that I wanted to say about this very important day!

That should just about cover it for me, folks! Except...GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND GOD BLESS OUR REPUBLIC!

Fresh coffee on the patio, OK?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Porky The Patriot...

I thought today, being the day before Memorial Day, we would do something a little different.

Let's watch a cartoon more in the vein of the patriotic, OK? It's still a very good cartoon.

That was a good way to start the day, don't you think?

Fresh coffee on the patio this morning. Please don't forget and thank the right folks tomorrow and every day!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Godfather Of The Horror Story...!

Ever since I was a kid, the old time horror stories and movies have been  favorites of mine.

I really don't know what the fascination is with scary stories, but to me it's the ultimate in escapism! I guess my second favorite is good mysteries, but you already knew that, right?

May 26, 1897:
Bram Stoker's novel Dracula goes on sale in London

Horror writer Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale, Dracula, is first offered for sale in London on this day.

Through fictional journal entries and letters written by the novel's principal characters, Dracula tells the story of a Transylvanian vampire and his English victims. Stoker had been publishing horror stories since 1875 and published his first novel, Snake's Pass, in 1890. The horror genre, which was born of folk tales and legends, had received a boost in 18th century England through the Gothic movement. It persisted in the 19th century thanks to works like Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein.

Stoker was born in Dublin and bedridden for his first seven years of life. However, he later distinguished himself as an athlete at the University of Dublin. He worked in civil service for a decade while writing drama reviews. In 1878, he became the manager of Sir Henry Irving, an actor he admired. He managed Irving for 27 years. Stoker wrote several other novels before his death in London in 1912, but none equaled the popularity of Dracula.

Back when I was a kid, Saturday night was always the main night to watch old horror movies. All we had was a black and white television, but back in those days most of the scary shows were done in black and white anyway! Worked out just fine and gave me a lot of fun memories!

How about some fresh coffee on the patio this morning? Mind if I water the plants while we visit?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Golf Can Be Dangerous...!

I don't know which one scares me most, golf or flying!

I always thought the golf course was a place to relax, but when it gets to the point where you have to watch out for falling airplane parts...I think it's time for a new hobby!

Report: Jet's door lands on Broward golf course
4:39 a.m. EDT, May 24, 2012

An airplane door detached in flight and fell onto a golf course in Broward County on Wednesday afternoon, WSVN-Ch. 7 reported.

The incident happened shortly after the aircraft left Opa-Locka Executive Airport. The door plunged onto the golf course at the Westin Diplomat Hotel & Spa which happened to be closed to play because of maintenance, the station reported.

There were no injuries and the plane made a safe landing at nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, WSVN reported.

I think it's better for us to just have our coffee on the patio and stay off the golf course! Fresh baked bread this morning!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Birth Of The Information Highway...!

I think it's safe to say that if this wasn't the start, it certainly was a close second!

When you stop and think about it, the amount of time between this discovery and the place we are at today is fairly short! New discoveries are being made even as we speak that will make the information sharing beyond our wildest dreams!

May 24, 1844:
What hath God wrought?

In a demonstration witnessed by members of Congress, American inventor Samuel F.B. Morse dispatches a telegraph message from the U.S. Capitol to Alfred Vail at a railroad station in Baltimore, Maryland. The message--"What Hath God Wrought?"--was telegraphed back to the Capitol a moment later by Vail. The question, taken from the Bible (Numbers 23:23), had been suggested to Morse by Annie Ellworth, the daughter of the commissioner of patents.

Morse, an accomplished painter, learned of a French inventor's idea of an electric telegraph in 1832 and then spent the next 12 years attempting to perfect a working telegraph instrument. During this period, he composed the Morse code, a set of signals that could represent language in telegraph messages, and convinced Congress to finance a Washington-to-Baltimore telegraph line. On May 24, 1844, he inaugurated the world's first commercial telegraph line with a message that was fitting given the invention's future effects on American life.

Just a decade after the first line opened, more than 20,000 miles of telegraph cable crisscrossed the country. The rapid communication it enabled greatly aided American expansion, making railroad travel safer as it provided a boost to business conducted across the great distances of a growing United States.

If Mr. Morse and his friends could see us today, I wonder what they would think?

I'm sending out an invitation to all my friends to join me on the patio for some fresh coffee this morning. Are you in?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Western Wednesday...!

I love all the history associated with the Old West!

In particular, I find the stories of how the Native Americans were of assistance to the white man in many ways. Besides their vast knowledge of the western lands and their obvious skills as guides and scouts, often the advice they would offer made the difference between life and possible death. Such was the case in the following story from

May 23, 1923:
Curley is buried at Little Big Horn

The Crow scout Curley, the last man on the army side to see Custer and the 7th Cavalry alive, is buried at the National Cemetery of the Big Horn Battlefield in Montana.

Born around 1859 near the Little Rosebud River, Montana, from an early age Curley had participated in fights with the Crow's hated enemy, the Sioux. Like many of his people, Curley viewed the Anglo-American soldiers as allies in the Crow war with the Sioux. When he was in his late teens, he signed on as a cavalry scout to aid the army's major campaign against the Sioux and Cheyenne in the summer of 1876.

Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry arrived in the Powder River country of southern Montana in early June 1876. As Custer proceeded toward the Little Big Horn Valley, he found increasing signs that a large number of Indians lay ahead. On June 22, Curley and five other Crow scouts were detached from a different unit and sent to Custer to bolster his Arikara scouts.

On the morning of June 25, Curley and the other scouts warned Custer that a massive gathering of Indians lay ahead that far outnumbered his contingent of 187 men. Custer dismissed the report and made the unusual decision to attack in the middle of the day. Both the Crow and Arikara scouts believed this would be suicidal and prepared to die.

Right before the battle began, however, Custer released the Crow scouts from duty. All of the scouts, except for Curley, obeyed and rode off to relative safety. However, since the hills were now swarming with small war parties of Sioux and Cheyenne, Curley initially thought he would be safer if he remained with the soldiers. As the fighting gradually began to heat up, Curley reconsidered. He left Custer and rode to the east. Concealing himself in coulees and ravines, Curley avoided attack and made his way to a ridge about a mile and a half to the east. There he watched much of the battle through field glasses, the last man from the army side to see Custer and his men alive. When it had become clear that Custer's army was going to be wiped out, Curley abandoned his looking post and rode away to warn the approaching Generals Terry and Gibbon of the disaster.

In the weeks following the battle, Curley provided an accurate and valuable account of the final moments of Custer's 7th Cavalry. Unfortunately, some interviewers later pushed the eager-to-cooperate Curley to revise his account and others simply misrepresented his testimony to fit their own theories. Consequently, for many years Curley was dismissed as a liar. Later historians, however, have vindicated the accuracy of Curley's initial story.

Little is known about Curley's life after the Little Big Horn, but at some point he moved to the Crow Agency in Montana where he died of pneumonia on May 21, 1923. Two days later, he was buried at the National Cemetery at the Little Big Horn Battlefield.

Times haven't changed much in the many years since this incident. So often the leaders and PTB refuse the solid advice of experienced folks and instead follow the suggestions of ignorant, uncaring and unskilled desk jockeys.

I guess this is the arrogance born of power. Seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same!

How about fresh coffee on the patio this morning? I have some wonderful donuts I'll share!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How About A Healthy Surprise...?

For something a little different today, I'm gonna tell you just how healthy two of my favorite foods are!

Even though you probably didn't know the health benefits of these wonderful things, I'll bet most of you like them...I know I do!

Ice Cream

Ice-cream is a low GI (glycemic-index) food. This means that it is a slow sugar release food that keeps you satisfied for a longer period of time than a high GI food. For that reason, you are less likely to binge after eating ice-cream. 75 grams of Ben and Jerry’s Cookies and Cream ice-cream contains only 114 calories compared to a slice of cheesecake with 511 calories. Furthermore, ice-cream is made of milk which contains many essential nutrients and vitamins. 1 cup of milk contains up to 30% of a man’s daily recommended intake. Other nutrients in ice-cream are biotin, iodine, potassium, selenium, vitamins a, b12, D, and K. Studies show a possible link between milk consumption and a lowered risk of arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease, colorectal cancer.

Interesting Fact: In the 5th century BC, the ancient Greeks sold snow cones made with fruit and honey in the markets of Athens.


Not only is coffee tasty, it is a mild stimulant with many medical uses. Caffeine contains a muscle relaxant that is very beneficial to people with bronchial problems – it can alleviate the symptoms of asthma. Additionally, caffeine releases certain fatty acids in to the blood stream that become a useful source of fuel for muscles. It even seems that the only serious side-effect to too much caffeine is a small amount of body-weight loss – a danger if you are anorexic. Caffeine should be avoided by people with fecal incontinence as it loosens the anal and sphincter muscles.

Interesting Fact: Caffeine can be toxic to animals, in particular dogs, horses, and parrots. It also has a much more significant effect on spiders than humans

Just thought you might like to know this information!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Want to join me in some coffee and ice cream?

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Monday Critter Story...!

You all know I like critters, right?

You also know that I like coffee, and somehow those two things kinda tie in together with this story!

One way or the other, the squirrel always rules

By Bruce Ward, The Ottawa Citizen May 18, 2012

One way or the other, the squirrel always rules, as columnist Bruce Ward learned.

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, and I’m sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee. But I’m not feeling anything like mellow.

I’m on high alert, because this isn’t just coffee I’m holding. It’s a surface-to-air missile, suitable for throwing at squirrels.

My plan is to fling the coffee at the big grey squirrel that is vandalizing my upscale squirrel-proof bird feeder. Next time it comes bounding across the back lawn, I’m tossing the shade-grown, fair trade brew right between its beady eyes.

Coffee has become a sort of liquid Swiss Army knife — a useful tool in all sorts of tense urban situations. Last week, a gutsy woman used her coffee to fend off a sex pervert. Several days before that incident, two guys doused a fire at Parkdale United Church with coffee.

So coffee is my new weapon against LeBron, as I’ve named the grey squirrel in honour of basketball sensation LeBron James. The ­squirrel, like the NBA MVP, has an impressive vertical leap. It can jump above four feet straight up, no lie.

The bird feeder, which hangs in the backyard oak tree, is squirrel-proof only in theory. The lid has a twist-lock feature that makes it impossible for squirrels to pry off, unless they suddenly develop opposable thumbs. And the feeder’s ports close if anything heavier than the average bird stands on the circular platform.

But the feeder’s warranty doesn’t cover break-ins by squirrels who have ingenuity and a lot of time on their paws. LeBron has learned to position himself on the branch directly above the feeder. Then he shakes it like a Polaroid picture, to quote OutKast.

When the branch wobbles, birdseed flies out of the ports in all directions. It lands on the grass, where LeBron’s buddies are waiting. Sometimes, LeBron manages to shake the feeder out of the tree. I’ve watched him do this, and you can’t tell me squirrels don’t smile.

Once it’s on the ground, LeBron rolls the feeder to the fence as its entire contents spill out.

I tried sharing with the ­squirrels, leaving mounds of birdseed beneath the oak. My thinking was, if they’re aren’t hungry they won’t go after the feeder.

It didn’t work. Squirrels don’t do sharing.

I’m not one of those 60-somethings who are as crusty as a March snowbank and despise everything furry.

I forgave the rabbits who destroyed four shrubs over the winter, even though I had to dig up the dead plants with a short-handled shovel — a loathsome tool. Next fall, though, I’m wrapping the shrubs in burlap studded with industrial diamonds. Let’s see them chomp through that.

I also forgave the skunk who sliced open half the backyard lawn in search of grubs. Hey, the grubs were killing the lawn anyway so I didn’t mind paying about $100 for 10 bags of top dressing, plus fertilizer and enriched grass seed. Not that much, anyway.

With LeBron, though, it’s total war. I have moved the bird feeder out of the oak tree. It now hangs about five feet from the ground on a skinny shepherd’s hook pole. So far, LeBron hasn’t been able to shinny up the pole to get at the birdseed.

He has, however, hired a chipmunk to do it for him. The chipmunk scampers up the pole and onto the feeder. As it stuffs its cheeks, LeBron camps underneath the pole, gobbling up the spillage. I thought of greasing the pole with extra-virgin olive oil but that would be silly.

I was foolish to think I could outsmart a squirrel, I see that now.

Suppose I did manage to splash LeBron with coffee, what then? I expect he’d find a way to tell me that his preferred morning drink is a skinny caramel macchiato — with a zucchini walnut muffin on the side.

I haven’t filled the feeder for a few days, but I can’t hold out much longer. I already miss the cardinals, whose cheery visits have stopped. Besides, I spotted LeBron in the oak tree a while ago. He was chewing off buds that are about to open.

LeBron doesn’t even eat the buds, the swine. The message is clear: if I want leaves on the oak, I’ve got to come up with the birdseed.

I know this is rodent extortion. I also know when I’m beat.

Read more:

Just a fun way to start a Monday, don't you think?

Coffee on the patio again this morning. I have an appointment at the V.A., but just help yourself!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Easy Sunday Morning...!

I know, I know...cartoons again!

Hard to believe but it is Sunday once again and we haven't seen Bugs for a while now. Besides, I'm too lazy to do anything that resembles work, so it's Bugs to the rescue!

Hope this OK with you!

Something about the gangsters in cartoons makes me laugh, ya know?

I have to say, I found that invigorating, didn't you? Either way, I'm ready for some coffee on the patio. How about a cup?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Animal Protection Started Early...!

The protection of game animals was started a long time ago...longer than you may expect!

It's good to know that with everything else that was on their plate, our forefathers decided early on to take steps to make sure the animals that did so much to provide food to the country at the very start were protected.

Credit has to be given to those with the foresight to make sure some guidelines were established and enforced to help guarantee species protection. Our present day laws follow much along the lines of these early rules.

One set of rules I have no trouble following!

May 19, 1715:
The early years of species protection

The colony of New York passes a law making it illegal to "gather, rake, take up, or bring to the market, any oysters whatsoever" between the months of May and September. This regulation was only one of many that were passed in the early days of America to help preserve certain species. In recent years, endangered species laws have been enacted in order to criminalize poaching for the protection of animals. However, earlier versions of these laws were more concerned with insuring that hunters would have a steady supply of game.

In 1699, Virginia passed a law to prevent people from shooting deer during half the year and Massachusetts made criminals out of those who exported raccoon furs or skins from the state in 1675.

Fish and game laws were not restricted to the East, though. After the near extinction of the buffalo (it is estimated that many millions of these animals were killed during the western expansion of the mid-to-late 1800s), it became a felony to kill buffalo anywhere across the country.

Because of the practice of species protection, we enjoy a large number of game animals and plenty of bounty of the coastal waters. This is largely because of the efforts of those that came before us. Something to think about!

Coffee on the patio this morning, OK? I want to see the flowers gleaming with the morning dew!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Burning Rock Mystery...!

Now this story is different than anything I've ever heard!

Must have been a real surprise to everyone involved, mainly the poor lady whose shorts were on fire! This just goes to show, Mother Nature can be "mother-in-law mean" when she wants!

Woman suffers severe burns after rocks collected during beach visit IGNITE in her pocket

PUBLISHED: 04:24 EST, 17 May 2012 | UPDATED: 07:09 EST, 17 May 2012

A woman has had to undergo surgery on her leg after rocks collected by her children, during a day trip to a local beach, may have spontaneously combusted in her pocket.

The 43-year-old woman, who remains unnamed, had enjoyed a day with her family at Trestles Beach, San Diego. During the visit, her children had collected seven unusual-looking rocks - orange and green in colour - and the woman had put them in the right pocket of her cargo shorts to carry home.

Captain Marc Stone, a spokesman for Orange County Fire Authority, explained that the woman began to feel intense heat emanating from her pocket as she was standing in the kitchen of her San Clemente home.

Her clothing and skin began to burn as the heat intensified, and she also suffered second-degree burns to her hand as she tried to remove the rocks from her pocket.

Her husband also suffered second-degree burns to his hand as he tried to help her. Eventually she managed to remove the shorts but the rocks burnt through the fabric and continued to smoulder on the kitchen's wooden floor - filling the home with smoke.

Captain Stone said authorities were conducting tests on the collected rocks, but results were not expected for a couple of weeks.

He said: 'There is phosphorous that naturally occurs on the sand at the beach, but no one has ever heard of pants catching fire.'

Phosphorus in rocks, or phosphorite, is usually deposited by sediment - dissolved phosphorus from continental weathering that is brought to the oceans by rivers and streams.

Trestles Beach, where the family were enjoying their day out, is at the mouth of the San Mateo Creek - the beach gets its name from a wooden bridge that spanned the creek.

It's not hard to imagine that, over millions of years, dissolved phosphorus has been deposited in the rocks in the Trestles Beach area.

It has been suggested that, if the rocks did contain phosphorite, they could have been subjected to friction in the woman's pocket as she walked - leading to a chemical chain reaction that ignited them.

Phosphorus ignites when it is exposed to oxygen, which is why the substance must be kept in oil in laboratories.

Captain Stone said he spoke to the paramedic who treated the woman's injuries before taking her and her husband to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana.

He added: 'He's been on numerous calls for 27 years. He's never seen anything like it.'

Staff at the Western Medical Center confirmed that a woman suffering second- and third-degree burns to her right thigh was admitted on Saturday, and that she is undergoing treatment.

She and her husband were also treated for second-degree burns to their hands.

Read more:

I don't know what else I can say, except I will be very careful from now on about what I bring back from the beach! How about you?

Coffee on the patio this morning, with maybe with some gravy and biscuits!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Some Disturbing Facts...!

This morning I'm picking on McDonald's. No particular reason, except I don't like them!

Some fast food places are good, even McDonald's may be good...I don't know because I try and stay away from fast foods! Especially McDonald's! Wanna know why? Try this!

By GUS LUBIN, Business Insider
April 30, 2012

McDonald's just reported its first quarter financial results on April 20. The global fast food chain generated $6.54 billion during the period and delivered earnings per share of $1.23. Global comparable sales increased 7.3 percent.

1. McDonald's' daily customer traffic (62 million) is more than the population of Great Britain.

2. McDonald's sells more than 75 hamburgers every second.

3. McDonald's feeds 68 million people per day, that's about 1 percent of the world's population.

4. McDonald's' $27 billion in revenue makes it the 90th-largest economy in the world.

5. The $8.7 billion in revenue from franchise stores alone, makes McDonald's richer than Mongolia.

6. McDonald's hires around 1 million workers in the US every year. This estimate from Fast Food Nation assumes a 700,000 domestic workforce with 150% turnover rate.

7. McDonald's has 761,000 employees worldwide, that's more than the population of Luxembourg.

8. According to company estimates, one in every eight American workers has been employed by McDonald's.

9. Sharon Stone worked at McDonald's before she was famous. So did Shania Twain, Jay Leno, Rachel McAdams and Pink.

10. McDonald's is the world's largest distributor of toys, with one included in 20 percent of all sales.

11. For the next three years, McDonald's is going to open one restaurant every day in China.

12. The only place in the lower 48 that is more than 100 miles from a McDonald's is a barren plain in South Dakota.

13. Americans alone consume one billion pounds of beef at McDonald's in a year – five and a half million head of cattle.

I don't care how big they get, I still don't like them! Kinda like Wal-Mart, ya know?

Coffee on the patio this morning. Hope that's OK with everybody!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some Dangerous Chocolate...!

This could have been a real danger to a chocolate lover like me!

Never ceases to amaze me at the diabolical ways man can come up with to destroy their fellow men! Of course, the Nazi's were experts at finding new ways to kill! This next one just validates my thoughts on this!

The Nazis' Chocolate Bomb

The term "Death by Chocolate" usually refers to a dessert recipe -- chocolate cake served with chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, sometimes with chocolate brownies or chocolate candies or chocolate shavings on top. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. For most, Death by Chocolate seems like a wonderful idea. The Nazis agreed -- but took the term more literally.

In 2005, the British intelligence agency MI5 released a treasure trove of documents and photographs of camouflaged equipment used up by Nazi saboteurs. Among the documents released was the item depicted above -- a sketch of what seems to be an ordinary chocolate bar. But instead of containing nougat, caramel, or Rice Crispies, these chocolate bars contained a bit more punch. This unique brand of Nazi chocolate were rigged to explode.

The chocolate bars were more akin to hand grenades than the confections they purported to be. They were steel-encased explosives covered with chocolate, all wrapped up in a candy bar-like wrapper. To detonate the bomb, the operative (or would-be victim) would break off the first row of "chocolate," revealing a canvas strap. The strap worked like the pin in a hand grenade; once it was removed, there would be only a few seconds before the bomb would explode.

The likely target of the chocolate? Gizmodo states that the Nazis envisioned the British Royal family falling prey to the ruse, opening up a bar of chocolate only to find a very rude -- and deadly -- surprise. According to the BBC, while explosives camouflaged as food were found on Nazi agents in Turkey, none made it to the UK. However, four similarly constructed cans of peas, en route to Buckingham Palace, did make it to Ireland before being intercepted.

Of course, it's incredibly unclear as to why the Nazis believed that a member of the Royal family would be opening up their own cans of peas.

See what I mean? These folks were beyond mean and nasty! They were indeed the bringers of no small way!

We are having our coffee in the kitchen this morning! Weather is just way too crazy to take a chance!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poor General Lee Just Couldn't Win...!

The history of the Civil War is just full of terrible and yet interesting facts!

Truth be known, there are so many stories about the war that we don't know, it would take years to try and find a large amount of them. That's why I turn to to try and dig out these little known nuggets of history! You would be surprised what you can learn from a little time spent there!

Robert E. Lee’s Virginia estate was confiscated by the Union and turned into a cemetery during the war.

As war descended on Virginia, Lee and his wife Mary fled their 1,100-acre Virginia estate, known as Arlington, which overlooked Washington, D.C. In 1863 the U.S. government confiscated it for nonpayment of $92.07 in taxes. Meanwhile, Lincoln gave permission for a cemetery to be built on the property, including a burial vault on the estate’s former rose garden. The idea was that, should Lee ever return, he would “have to look at these graves and see the carnage that he had created,” according to his biographer Elizabeth Brown Pryor.

After the war, the Lees quietly looked into reclaiming Arlington but took no action before they died. In 1877 their oldest son, George Washington Custis Lee, sued the federal government for confiscating Arlington illegally; the Supreme Court agreed and gave it back to him. But what could the Lee family do with an estate littered with corpses? George Lee sold it back to the government for $150,000. Over time, 250,000 soldiers would be buried in what is now Arlington National Cemetery.

See? I told ya there was a lot to learn! This one I didn't know until last night!

Let's take a chance and have our coffee on the patio this morning, OK?

Monday, May 14, 2012

This Is Really Egg-citing...!

I thought this might just be a joke when I first saw it, but it's true!

I reckon you can get in trouble anywhere if you try hard enough! This is definitely the first time I've even heard of this type of crime, and I hope it's the last!

Pretty stiff penalty for this bandit, I think!

Serial egg thief Matthew Gonshaw jailed and banned from Scotland

A serial egg thief from London has been jailed and banned from entering Scotland for the rest of his life during the bird breeding season.

Matthew Gonshaw, 49, admitted stealing the eggs of several rare species on the Isle of Rum last year.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard how he was spotted raiding nests in a bird colony on the island.

Jailing Gonshaw for six months, Sheriff Margaret Neilson described him as a "wildlife destroyer".

When he was searched by police in May 2011, officers found 20 eggs from a variety of species, including Manx shearwater and Meadow pipit.

Gonshaw, who has been jailed for similar offences in the past, also had maps of the Inverness and Cairngorm areas, where there are populations of Red Kite, Osprey and Golden Eagles.

Later officers searched his London flat where they found a large collection of birds eggs, among them were seven golden eagle eggs and eight osprey eggs.

Speaking after Gonshaw was sentenced, the head of Scotland's wildlife and environmental crime unit at the Crown Office, Craig Harris, said: "Our wildlife is part of our national character.

"It improves our quality of life, underpins many livelihoods and supports the growing nature tourism industry.

"Wildlife crime is a blatant attack against all of these benefits."

Sounds just short of tar and feathers for this Bird Brained bird egg burglar! Guess it could have been worse. Just imagine if all these birds had ganged up on this bozo!

Coffee on the patio this morning. How about toasted home made bread with some honey powder?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Funny Sunday Cartoons...!

Just to brighten up your Sunday, I'm once again going with some cartoons!

I know some don't care for cartoons, but to that I say..."Don't Watch!" Here's a couple you may not have seen in a while!

How could anyone not like Chip and Dale? Almost as good as Road Runner, and Tom and Jerry! Not quite but almost!

Sometimes these guys remind me of some of the squirrels around my house! If you have tree rats, you know what I mean!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning! I'll put out a plate of vanilla creme cookies!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Strange But True Cat Story...!

I thought I had heard just about everything when it came to cats, but this takes the cake!

Being a cat, I mean room mate, this story really surprised me! Kinda different in a nice sort of way!

Radio Station for Felines

Nohl Rosen of Scottsdale, Arizona, is the proud owner of Cat Galaxy, an Internet radio and TV station catered specially for cats (and their owners too). Running for a strong nine years, the station has radio shows like Morning Meows, Meow Mixing Monday and Friday Night Feline Frenzy. Most of the music from this station is ‘feline-approved’, ranging from Jazz to R’n’B .Plus, the station features interviews with various veterinarians and pet-owners as well. Oh, and the station’s manager is none other than Rosen’s own pet cat, Isis. Even the assistant manager and the program director are cats. For more info, go here.

Like I said, it's sorta cool and strange at the same time! You have to admit it's different if nothing else!

How about coffee in the kitchen this morning! Big rainstorm last night and it may not be gone yet!

Friday, May 11, 2012

One Bad Woman...!

I've known some pretty bad women in my life...having been married more than once, but thankfully none this bad!

Of course, her hubby wasn't much better! These were not folks that you wanted to have for neighbors, that's for sure!

May 11, 1949:
The Queen of Poisoners takes her toll

The body of Leon Besnard is exhumed in Loudun, France, by authorities searching for evidence of poison. For years, local residents had been suspicious of his wife Marie, as they watched nearly her entire family die untimely and mysterious deaths. Law enforcement officials finally began investigating Marie after the death of her mother earlier in the year.

Marie married Leon in August 1929. The couple resented the fact that they lived relatively modestly while their families were so well off. When two of Leon's great aunts perished unexpectedly, most of their money was left to Leon's parents. Consequently, the Besnards invited Leon's parents to live with them.

Shortly after moving in, Leon's father died, ostensibly from eating a bad mushroom. Three months later, his widow also died and neighbors began chatting about a Besnard family jinx. The inheritance was split between Leon and his sister, Lucie. Not so surprisingly, the newly rich Lucie died shortly thereafter, supposedly taking her own life.

Becoming increasingly greedy, the Besnards began looking outside the family for their next victim. They took in the Rivets as boarders, who, under the Besnards' care, also died abruptly. No one was too surprised when the Rivets' will indicated Marie as the sole beneficiary.

Pauline and Virginie Lallerone, cousins of the Besnards, were next in line. When Pauline died, Marie explained that she had mistakenly eaten a bowl of lye. Apparently, her sister Virginie didn't learn her lesson about carelessness, because when she died a week later, Marie told everyone that she too had inadvertently eaten lye.

When Marie fell in love with another man in 1947, Leon fell victim to her poisoning as well. Traces of arsenic were found in his exhumed body, as well as in the rest of her family's corpses. But Marie didn't let a little bit of pesky evidence get in her way. She managed to get a mistrial twice after trace evidence was lost while conducting the tests for poison each time. By her third trial, there wasn't much physical evidence left. On December 12, 1961, Marie Besnard was acquitted. The "Queen of Poisoners," as the French called her, ended up getting away with 13 murders.

It always amazes me about the depths that some folks will stoop to just because of greed! Things haven't improved much since this happened. In fact, if anything, they seem to have gotten worse!

The worse part of this whole story? She got away with it! Unbelievable!

Fresh coffee on the patio this morning, but rain might start. We'll have to be ready to run for the kitchen!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Get Out The Hanky...!

I don't like pit bulls as a breed, but once in a while I hear a good story about one!

Talk about loyalty! I've known people that would never be this protective, so I might have to rethink the breed as a whole! Maybe they are more like human beings than I thought...some good and some bad!

Boston (WCVB/CNN) - A Massachusetts pit bull saved her owner from an oncoming freight train, risking life and limb, to pull her off the tracks.

The woman survived, but the dog is severely injured.

David Lanteigne has adored this pit bull since recuing Lilly from a shelter to be a companion for his mom who suffers from alcoholism.

"We saved her life and she saved my mom's life," he said.

It was midnight last Wednesday when his mom fell unconscious on train tracks in Shirley.

"Lilly was either pushing or pulling my mother off the tracks," said Lanteigne. "There wasn't enough time and that just prior to the train making impact Lilly had intentionally gotten between the train and my mother and had taken the hit."

The entire hit. Eight-year-old Lilly suffered severe trauma. David's mother was uninjured.

[Reporter]: "Will this dog be able to walk again?"

"Yes she should be able to walk quite well. They accommodate quite well to having a front limb amputation," said the veterinarian.

Lanteigne, a Boston police officer, will be with her every step of the way.

"I'm supposed to be the strong one. I'm supposed to be here for her, but she's been so great, so tough through all this. It almost seems like she's the one comforting me and being there for me and making me feel better," he said.


I'm a sucker for animals. I'd be the first to say that I'm more of a cat person than a dog fan, but any animal willing to stand between his owner and danger certainly has my respect!

Coffee on the patio this morning. We'll have to arm wrestle for the last of the cherry pie!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This Is Bad! Really Bad...!

As if we didn't have enough on our plate with things on the border, this came to my attention.

I can't see this bill being anything but bad! I've studied and studied it, but even the border patrol and such don't think it's a good thing.

DHS has more than enough power as it is and this is something I really don't feel comfortable with. I don't think I'm the only one!
 A bad bill for the border
Updated 09:42 p.m., Friday, May 4, 2012

A bill under consideration by the U.S. House would cede control of all federal lands within 100 miles of our Mexican and Canadian borders to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and would exempt that agency from having to comply with more than 30 environmental laws that currently protect those lands.

As reported by the Chronicle's Tony Freemantle ("Safe borders at what price?" Page 1, April 30), the bill would authorize CBP to construct and maintain roads, fences and operating bases, to patrol in vehicles and aircraft, and to install surveillance equipment in some of the nation's most unspoiled, environmentally fragile areas, including Texas' Big Bend and Guadalupe national parks and Padre Island National Seashore.

One would surmise that such a sweeping measure has to be a response to a current, urgent threat against our borders. But that does not appear to be the case. In fact, it has drawn opposition from many of the same agencies that it would empower.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before Congress in March that the bill is "unnecessary, and it's bad policy." Officials of the U.S. Border Patrol have testified that they enjoy a close working relationship with the National Park Service and other land management agencies.

As for external threats, the current border situation seems to be improving: Mexican immigration has stalled, due to such factors as economic conditions, lower Mexican birth rates and increasingly effective border control, according to a recent Pew Hispanic Center study.

Another problem with the bill is that it exempts all lands that are used for mining, livestock grazing and timber harvesting. Which leaves only those pesky parks and monuments and wildlife habitats that need to lose their environmental protections.

This bill does not pass the smell test.

When even some of the main stream media frowns on something like this and says's bad! Let's just hope in never happens!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. We have a little rain and cool front here, and it's wet on the patio, ya know?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Planning To Learn To Fly...?

I myself don't like to fly, so the idea of getting a pilot's license has never been been important to me.

However, I understand that many folks have intentions of doing just that, so I thought maybe we should go over a few of the "rules of the air!"

1. Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.

2. If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.

3. Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous.

4. It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.

5. The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

6. The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to keep the pilot cool. When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot start sweating.

7. When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.

8. A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' landing is one after which they can use the plane again.

9. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.

10. You know you've landed with the wheels up if it takes full power to taxi to the ramp.

11. The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival. Large angle of arrival, small probability of survival and vice versa.

12. Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.

13. Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another airplane going in the opposite direction. Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide out in clouds.

14. Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs you've made.

15. There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

16. You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.

17. Helicopters can't fly; they're just so ugly the earth repels them.

18. If all you can see out of the window is ground that's going round and round and all you can hear is commotion coming from the passenger compartment, things are not at all as they should be.

19. In the ongoing battle between objects made of aluminum going hundreds of miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose.

20. Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.

21. It's always a good idea to keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.

22. Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.

23. Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It's the law. And it's not subject to repeal.

24. The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, runway behind you, and a tenth of a second ago.

I figure that this list is reason enough for me to stay on the ground! Even if I fall out of a Monster truck, I know that the upcoming face plant won't be as bad as one I'd get falling out of a plane! I'm just guessing 'cause I've never tried this and really don't want to, ya know?

What say we have some coffee on the patio this morning! I'll set out a plate of coconut cookies, OK?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Story Of A Mature Woman Shopper...!

My baby Sis sent me this piece about swim suit shopping for a mature woman.

It had so much humor in it that I wanted to share it. With just a few changes, this could easily apply to mature men as well!

Please note that this is meant only for entertainment, and isn't in any way meant to poke fun at all! After all there is a kernel of truth hidden in here somewhere!

The Bathing Suit (by a middle-age woman unknown)

When I was a child in the 1950s, the bathing suit for the mature figure was-boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered.

They were built to hold back and uplift, and they did a good job.

Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.

The mature woman has a choice, she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus that escaped from Disney's Fantasia, or she can wander around every run-of-the-mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluorescent rubber bands.

What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room.

The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which gives the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you would be protected from shark attacks. Any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place I gasped in horror, my boobs had disappeared!

Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.

The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.

The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump of Playdoh wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, "Oh, there you are," she said, admiring the bathing suit.

I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me.

I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two-piece that gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a serving ring.

I struggled into a pair of leopard-skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.

I tried on a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning.

I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.

Finally, I found a suit that fit, it was a two-piece affair with a shorts-style bottom and a loose blouse-type top. It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured.

When I got it home, I found a label that read, "Material might become transparent in water."

So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I'm there too, I'll be the one in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt!

You'd better be laughing or rolling on the floor by this time. Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain, with or without a bathing suit!

P. S. My Granddaughter didn't know what a bathing suit was.....She said today they're called swim suits!!!

Like I said, I'm certainly not trying to make fun of anyone! However, I'll be the first to admit that my clothes do seem to be shrinking as I get older! Mostly around the middle...wonder why that is?

Fresh coffee out on the patio this morning. We may get a little shower later, but it's clear right now.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Funny Sunday Once Again...!

No one needs some giggles more than I do today!

I won't go into all the details at this time, but just let me say that I hope I don't ever have to go through another week like this last one! EVER!

Let's all share a little escapism by watching our good friend Wile Coyote, mainly because he always seems to have a worse day than mine!

As bad as I feel about the hard times the coyote goes through, I have to admit it makes me smile and gives me a little hope about this upcoming week! So with that in mind, let's watch another!

OK...time for some fresh coffee on the patio. You can watch me water the garden! OK?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The War Came To Oregon...!

This was something that probably wasn't talked about much in the media at the time.

The aftermath of any war is bad, and this incident is no exception. However, not a lot of Americans ever knew that Japanese bombs made their way to our shores, much less that some innocent Americans did lose their lives!

This is a very sad story on so many levels!

May 5, 1945:
Six killed in Oregon by Japanese bomb

In Lakeview, Oregon, Mrs. Elsie Mitchell and five neighborhood children are killed while attempting to drag a Japanese balloon out the woods. Unbeknownst to Mitchell and the children, the balloon was armed, and it exploded soon after they began tampering with it. They were the first and only known American civilians to be killed in the continental United States during World War II. The U.S. government eventually gave $5,000 in compensation to Mitchell's husband, and $3,000 each to the families of Edward Engen, Sherman Shoemaker, Jay Gifford, and Richard and Ethel Patzke, the five slain children.

The explosive balloon found at Lakeview was a product of one of only a handful of Japanese attacks against the continental United States, which were conducted early in the war by Japanese submarines and later by high-altitude balloons carrying explosives or incendiaries. In comparison, three years earlier, on April 18, 1942, the first squadron of U.S. bombers dropped bombs on the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Kobe, and Nagoyo, surprising the Japanese military command, who believed their home islands to be out of reach of Allied air attacks. When the war ended on August 14, 1945, some 160,000 tons of conventional explosives and two atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan by the United States. Approximately 500,000 Japanese civilians were killed as a result of these bombing attacks.

It is a sad thing that civilians were killed by this balloon, especially since so many were children. However, in any war many civilians are killed by both sides! A large number of those killed are children also. Not something we like to think about, but maybe we should!

No way to say it nicely...WAR SUCKS! Just my opinion!

Coffee on the patio this morning. We can watch all the birds at the bird bath!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Beware Of The Jamestown Weed...!

Many times nature can play some really mean tricks on us!

Just to show you what I mean, here is the innocent looking flower known as Jamestown weed, among other wonderful little nicknames!

Datura Stramonium

Finally, we have Datura Stramonium. This is a very common, and very attractive plant. It grows just about anywhere there is soil. It can sometimes lie dormant underground for years and suddenly germinate when the soil is disturbed. The plant is known for its trumpet-like flower, which is colored white to pink or purple, and its seed pod which is covered in many sharp thorns. A foul odor is secreted when any part of the plant is disturbed or broken. Draw your initial conclusions when you hear its many names – Devil’s trumpet, Devil’s weed, Devil’s cucumber, Hell’s Bells, locoweed, stinkweed, pricklyburr, thornapple, Jamestown weed, Jimson weed, tolguacha and Moonflower. It is a member of the deadly Nightshade family.

Datura was used as a mystical sacrament in North America by natives, and in South Asia, where Hindus believe Lord Shiva is often seen smoking Datura. It causes intense hallucinations and delirium. It’s unofficial name, Jamestown weed, comes from the town in Virginia, where British soldiers were drugged with it while attempting to suppress Bacon’s Rebellion. They spent eleven days appearing to have gone insane, as this suggests:

“The James-Town Weed (which resembles the Thorny Apple of Peru, and I take to be the plant so call’d) is supposed to be one of the greatest coolers in the world. This being an early plant, was gather’d very young for a boil’d salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon (1676); and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural fools upon it for several days: one would blow up a feather in the air; another would dart straws at it with much fury; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.

In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves – though it was observed that all their actions were full of innocence and good nature. Indeed, they were not very cleanly; for they would have wallowed in their own excrements, if they had not been prevented. A thousand such simple tricks they played, and after eleven days returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.” – The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705

All parts of the Datura plant contains dangerous levels of poisonous alkaloids. It is often fatal when ingested by humans and animals, including livestock and pets. Datura intoxication typically produces a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy. Other symptoms reported include hyperthermia, tachycardia, bizarre and possibly violent behavior and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last for several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect. Because of the small window between dose and overdose, recreational use of datura stramonium is NOT advised. Overdose, more often than not, includes death.

Just a suggestion here, but you might want to avoid this plant in your garden. Could be bad for your health and sanity!

Coffee on the patio this morning again. Should be back up to the 90s today, so we'll stay in the shade!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Obscure Fact Thursday...!

As you probably know by now, I think of myself as a warehouse of almost useless information!

However, just because some facts may be useless doesn't mean they can't be fun! Just think how much you can liven up a dull get-together with the in-laws by throwing out some of these little nuggets!

1. Hello wasn’t always the first thing people said when they answered the phone. After the first proper phone service was started in the US in 1878, people said “Ahoy”.

2. Bagpipes were invented in Iran and then brought to Scotland by the Romans.

3. In medieval Japan, it was fashionable for women to sport black teeth.

4. Apollo 11 had 20 seconds of fuel left when it landed.

5. The Chinese used “the fingerprint technique” as a means of identification as far back as AD700.

6. Charles Dickens earned as much for his lectures as he did for his twenty novels.

7. When the Mayflower was no longer of use, they took it apart and recycled it as a barn .

8. In English gambling dens in the 18th century, there was a person who was hired solely to swallow the dice in the event of a police raid.

9. The gold ring that many sailors wore were often used to pay for a decent burial after their deaths.

10. A model named Grace Robin was the first person to demonstrate contact lenses in 1930.

11. In ancient Rome, a person with a crooked nose was considered to have great leadership potential.

12. In 1915 William Wrigley Jr. Sent chewing gum to everyone in the phone book.

13. In 18th Century Britain, you could take out insurance against going to hell.

14. The youngest parents in recorded history were eight and nine and lived in china in 1910.

15. In 17th Century England, a woman had, on average 13 children.

16. Out of the 266 men who have been appointed Pope, 33 have died in violent circumstances.

17. Olive oil was once used for washing the body in some Mediterranean countries. It is still, however, a lot more seldom practiced today.

18. India was one of the richest countries in the world until the British invasions in the 17th Century.

19. In ancient Egypt, noblewomen were given a few days to ripen after death in order to remove “temptation” from embalmers.

20. George Washington’s false teeth were actually carved from cows teeth and hippopotamus ivory and were fixed together with metal springs.

Kinda cool, don't ya think? Who knows when facts like these will come in handy! Just doing what I can to keep all my friends from being bored!

How about fresh coffee on the patio this morning?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This Must Have Been Messy...!

Some of the most used things in crime investigation came about from necessity!

We've certainly come a very long way since this case, thank goodness! Sad that this case was part of the advancement in crime investigation. Pretty primitive times back then compared to today, but some lessons were always learned the hard way!

May 2, 1924:
A grisly crime leads to rubber gloves

Patrick Mahon is arrested on suspicion of murder after showing up at the Waterloo train station in London to claim his bag. He quickly confessed that the bloody knife and case inside were connected to the death of his mistress, Emily Kaye. Mahon then directed the Scotland Yard detectives to a particularly grisly scene in a Sussex bungalow, where they found Kaye's remains, dismembered and hidden among hatboxes, trunks, and biscuit tins.

Mahon's suspicious wife set off the investigation by asking a friend and former police officer to check out the baggage claim ticket that she had found in Mahon's suit earlier. Following his arrest at the train station, Mahon claimed that Kaye, who was pregnant with his child, had slipped and struck her head, thus causing her death. He argued that he was only trying to protect his marriage by disposing of the body in the manner in which he did.

The medical examiner in charge, Sir Bernard Spilsbury, had no choice but to attempt to reassemble Kaye's body in order to find the cause of death. Over the course of several days, he painstakingly pieced her body back together from the remaining assorted parts. Missing only her head, Spilsbury was able to discount Mahon's claim that a single fall was responsible for her death. He also deduced that Kaye had been carved up with a knife that Mahon had purchased prior to the murder.

An important investigation innovation came about from the crime scene at the Sussex bungalow: The officers, who were not outfitted with gloves, were forced to pick up Kaye's remains with their bare hands. After the Mahon investigation, rubber gloves became standard equipment at murder scenes.

Much of Mahon's case is bound up in myth and legend. Purportedly, Mahon told a fellow inmate that he was burning Kaye's head on the stove when her eyes suddenly popped open.

Mahon was executed for murder in September 1924.

Funny how so many things we take for granted now days got their start in some truly bizarre ways!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Fresh baked sugar cookies on the side, OK?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mystery Of The "Stranger" At The Signing Of The Declaration...!

Just when you think you have a pretty good handle on everything that went on during the signing of the Declaration, a mystery comes to light!

This is part of a mystery I would really like to know more about, as the part we do know is so fascinating! Check this out...!

When America’s founding fathers were deep in the volatile business of signing the Declaration, Treason was a resounding word. The signing of the declaration by any man would result in gruesome torture and death by the British Colonialists. With every argument put forward being met with shouts of ‘Treason!!Treason!!!’, talks had hit a stumbling block. It was then that an unknown man arose, dressed in a black cape, to deliver this stirring oration. “They may stretch our necks on all the gibbets in the land; they may turn every rock into a scaffold; every tree into a gallows; every Horne into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die! They may pour our blood on a thousand scaffolds, and yet from every drop that dyes the axe a new champion of freedom will spring into birth! The British King may blot out the stars of God from the sky, but he cannot blot out His words written on that parchment there. The works of God may perish: His words never!

“The words of this declaration will live in the world long after our bones are dust. To the mechanic in his workshop they will speak hope: to the slave in the mines freedom: but to the coward kings, these words will speak in tones of warning they cannot choose but hear …

“Sign that parchment! Sign, if the next moment the gibbet’s rope is about your neck! Sign, if the next minute this hall rings with the clash of falling axes! Sign, by all your hopes in life or death, as men, as husbands, as fathers, brothers, sign your names to the parchment, or be accursed forever! Sign, and not only for your selves, but for all ages, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the bible of the rights of man forever.’’

You can read the rest of this very interesting article right here!

There is so much more to our history than we ever think about, and when we only learn a small portion of it, the rest remains a true mystery just waiting to be solved!

How about some fresh coffee on the patio this morning! Pretty pleasant in the mornings these days.