Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Evil Thomas Edison...!

There's an old saying that "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely!" Thomas Edison was a very good example of this!

This man could fit in very well with most of the politicians we have today, and he probably would be right at home in their presence!

Thomas Edison/Radio Corporation of America
Attempting a monopoly of patents

The ability for inventors and aspiring minds to call an idea their own, and theirs alone, is a very important mark of a fair society. Unfortunately, history is littered by examples of intellectual property being swallowed up by big corporations. In particular, Thomas Edison and the companies he formed with his vast wealth (RCA, General Electric) have always had a habit of trying to abuse the patent system for profit. The reason that Hollywood is the home of the movie industry is that film-makers in the 1920s were forced to abandon the east-coast because of the high royalties that Edison charged them for use of camera technologies. Edison even had hired goons to harass them for money.

But it was a policy of the RCA (Radio Corporation of America) that caused untold damage for inventors of the 20th century. The official company policy was that “The Radio Corporation doesn’t pay royalties” and, allegedly, David Sarnoff, the proud general manager of the company, boasted “we collect them [royalties]”. They repeatedly steamrolled inventors and small businesses to acquire their patents without licensing them, forcing the companies to collapse into the RCA’s arms because of the mounting legal fees. However, there is one notable exception – the inventor of electronic television, Philo T. Farnsworth, had his patent for electronic television and other components (notably the image dissector) approved in the early 30s, and no matter what the RCA did, they couldn’t get round Farnsworth’s patents. In 1939, a month after the war had started, the RCA accepted to pay, for the first time in their corporate history, a $1,000,000 patent license for Farnsworth’s electronic television. Legend has it there were tears in the eyes of the RCA men as they signed the document.

This whole practice was extremely unethical in terms of the technologies these companies prevented from reaching the market. Farnsworth hoped that “television would bring people together and prevent war”, but because of the RCA’s actions and endless lawsuits, television never got going until the 50s.

Back in the days of Edison and his cronies, the great men of wealth pretty much controlled the government and their actions. In some ways, not a lot different than today!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning because it looks a lot like more rain!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Strange Places For Friday...!

Here is a place I found on Listverse that even has a mysterious sounding name!

This is the kind of place that fires up the imagination! You can create all kinds of scenarios in your mind about the place!

The Plain of Jars

The Plain of Jars is one of the oldest archeological mysteries in Southeast Asia. Located on the plateau of Xieng Khouang, in the mountains of Indochina, there are about 90 different jars sites. Each site contains from 1 to 400 jars. It has been estimated that they were created 3,000 years ago, and are made of sandstone, limestone, granite, breccias and conglomerate, with the majority being made of sandstone. The tallest jar is about 9 ft. tall and all are made from their own individual slab of stone. At first glance they appear to be haphazardly placed, with some standing upright and others on their sides, pointing in different directions. Further studies have revealed that the jars are placed in positions that form the constellation patterns of the stars. There has been lots of speculation about the purpose of the jars – drinking glasses for a giant race, being used to collect rainwater, or as burial urns. Most of the jars are empty, but a few have been found with bodies or tools inside, or filled with miniature Buddha statues. Exploration is hard as the area is littered with unexploded bombs from the Secret War.

This old world has so many strange and wonderful places in it, and I would love to see some more of them before I go on to the next great adventure! How about you?

We can have our coffee on the patio this morning before the rain moves back in. Just be prepared for the humidity, OK?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Birth Of An American Icon...!

When I was a young man, the dream car for most of the guys I knew was the Corvette!

Without a doubt, the Corvette was so different from any American car made up to that time that it turned heads any place it went! We all wanted one!

Jun 28, 1953:
Workers assemble first Corvette in Flint, Michigan

On this day in 1953, workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, assemble the first Corvette, a two-seater sports car that would become an American icon. The first completed production car rolled off the assembly line two days later, one of just 300 Corvettes made that year.

The idea for the Corvette originated with General Motors' pioneering designer Harley J. Earl, who in 1951 began developing plans for a low-cost American sports car that could compete with Europe's MGs, Jaguars and Ferraris. The project was eventually code-named "Opel." In January 1953, GM debuted the Corvette concept car at its Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It featured a fiberglass body and a six-cylinder engine and according to GM, was named for the "trim, fleet naval vessel that performed heroic escort and patrol duties during World War II." The Corvette was a big hit with the public at Motorama and GM soon put the roadster into production.

On June 30, 1953, the first Corvette came off the production line in Flint. It was hand-assembled and featured a Polo White exterior and red interior, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, a wraparound windshield, whitewall tires and detachable plastic curtains instead of side windows. The earliest Corvettes were designed to be opened from the inside and lacked exterior door handles. Other components included a clock, cigarette lighter and red warning light that activated when the parking brake was applied--a new feature at the time. The car carried an initial price tag of $3,490 and could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 11 or 12 seconds, then considered a fairly average speed.

In 1954, the Corvette went into mass production at a Chevy plant in St. Louis, Missouri. Sales were lackluster in the beginning and GM considered discontinuing the line. However, rival company Ford had introduced the two-seater Thunderbird around the same time and GM did not want to be seen bowing to the competition. Another critical development in the Corvette's survival came in 1955, when it was equipped with the more powerful V-8 engine. Its performance and appeal steadily improved after that and it went on to earn the nickname "America's sports car" and become ingrained in pop culture through multiple references in movies, television and music.

I was very fortunate in my young adult years to become the proud owner of my very first Corvette! A 1963 Corvette convertible, Nassau blue, and it had both a rag top and a hard top! What a car! Later I had a 1965, but it wasn't half the fun as the '63!

Coffee on the patio again today. Fresh cantaloupe slices on the side...OK?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Once Again... Western Wednesday...!

I just love these stories about the old west!

This one sounds like it came right out of the pages of an old Zane Grey book! I mean, it has cowboys and Indians and gunfights...what more could you ask for?

Jun 27, 1874:
Buffalo hunters and Indians clash at Adobe Walls

Using new high-powered rifles to devastating effect, 28 buffalo hunters repulse a much larger force of attacking Indians at an old trading post in the Texas panhandle called Adobe Walls.

The Commanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne Indians living in western Texas had long resented the advancement of white settlement in their territories. In 1867, some of the Indians accepted the terms of the Treaty of Medicine Lodge, which required them to move to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) but also reserved much of the Texas Panhandle as their exclusive hunting grounds. Many white Texans, however, maintained that the treaty had ignored their legitimate claims to the area. These white buffalo hunters, who had already greatly reduced the once massive herds, continued to hunt in the territory.

By the early 1870s, Commanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne hunters were finding it harder to locate buffalo, and they blamed the illegal white buffalo hunters. When the federal government failed to take adequate measures to stop the white buffalo hunters, the great chief Quanah Parker and others began to argue for war.

In the spring 1874, a group of white merchants occupied an old trading post called Adobe Walls near the South Canadian River in the Indian's hunting territory. The merchants quickly transformed the site into a regional center for the buffalo-hide trade. Angered by this blatant violation of the treaty, Chief Quanah Parker and Lone Wolf amassed a force of about 700 Commanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne braves. On this day in 1874, the Indians attacked Adobe Walls.

Only 28 hunters and traders occupied Adobe Walls, but they had two advantages over the Indians: the thick walls of the adobe structure were impenetrable to arrows and bullets, and the occupants had a number of high-powered rifles normally used on buffalo. The hunters' .50 caliber Sharps rifles represented the latest technology in long-range, rapid firing weaponry. Already skilled marksmen, the buffalo hunters used the rifles to deadly effect, decimating the warriors before they came close enough even to return effective fire. On the second day of the siege, one hunter reportedly hit an Indian warrior at a distance of eight-tenths of a mile.

Despite their overwhelmingly superior numbers, after three days the Indians concluded that Adobe Walls could not be taken and withdrew. The defenders had lost only four men in the attack, and they later estimated that the Indians had lost 13. Enraged by their defeat, several Indian bands subsequently took their revenge on poorly defended targets. Fearful settlers demanded military protection, leading to the outbreak of the Red River War. By the time the war ended in 1875, the Commanche and Kiowa had been badly beaten and Indian resistance on the Southern Plains had effectively collapsed.

Sometimes I think we forget just what a big difference our modern firearms made in the old days! Improvements in guns made hunting more effective, gun fights more even, and long distance killing so much easier! Unfortunately, sometimes the killing part was applied to other people as well as animals!

Just something in Man's nature, I guess!

Fresh coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll put out a plate of macaroons to dunk with!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Taking Tuesday Off...!

Here in Houston, it is HOT!

It's so hot, the lizards are running around with sticks in their mouths! Why? Glad you asked! When it gets so hot, the lizards will grab a stick and keep it in their mouths as they start across the road. When the pavement starts burning their feet, the lizards will take the stick...jab it in the ground and climb up on it until their feet cool off!

Anyway, I'm taking the day off, so help yourself to the coffee...OK?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Monday Mystery...!

Nearly everyone that knows me, knows I love me a good mystery!

While searching for a good one to share, I ran across this one on Listverse. They are a great source of so many different topics, it's hard not to borrow from them!

This one will start you to thinking, that's for sure!

Sailing Stones

The sailing stones are a geological phenomenon found in the Racetrack Playa (a seasonally dry lake located in the northern part of the Panamint Mountains in Death Valley National Park, California, U.S.A.). The stones slowly move across the surface of the playa, leaving a track as they go, without human or animal intervention. They have never been seen or filmed in motion and are not unique to The Racetrack. Similar rock travel patterns have been recorded in several other playas in the region but the number and length of travel grooves on The Racetrack are notable. Racetrack stones only move once every two or three years and most tracks last for just three or four years. Stones with rough bottoms leave straight striated tracks while those with smooth bottoms wander. Stones sometimes turn over, exposing another edge to the ground and leaving a different-sized track in the stone’s wake.

Various and sometimes idiosyncratic possible explanations have been put forward over the years that have ranged from the supernatural to the very complex. Most hypotheses favored by interested geologists posit that strong winds when the mud is wet are at least in part responsible. Some stones weigh as much as a human, which some researchers such as geologist George M. Stanley who published a paper on the topic in 1955 feel is too heavy for the area’s wind to move.

Now this is a mystery that all the science loving folks out there can get their teeth into, don't you think?

We can have some fresh coffee out on the patio, but the heat is coming early these days!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Funnies...!

I know that the passing of Ben yesterday was a shock to us all, but I believe that Ben would have wanted us to continue doing what we do.

So in keeping with that thought, Sunday's cartoons are back again! Hope you enjoy them!

Here is another really old one!

That's all for this morning. Coffee on the patio again. I have some snicker-doodles to share!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Our Friend Ben ...! Sad Update !

Most of you that are regulars here know about ol' Ben from his blog "An Older Texan Remembers!"

Another one of Ben's friends sent me a message that Ben was in the hospital and wasn't in very good shape. I don't know anymore yet, but from what I doesn't look good.

I want to ask anyone that can to say a prayer for our friend and fellow blogger! I will update if and when I find out anything new, OK?

I have fresh coffee on the patio and on the side, I'll share the Angel Biscuits...if there are any left! Please keep Ben in your prayers!


I'm sad to report that Ol' Ben passed away last night. I don't know all the particulars or when he will be laid to rest. I'll miss him, that's for sure!

Our blogging community has become just a little smaller and our hearts a little heavier with Ben's passing! I've always heard that dying is just a part of living and I guess that's true.

My heart goes out to Ben's family and to the rest of his friends!

Travel well, Buddy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

You Like Secret Places...?

We have all heard about and read about the so called "Secret Sites" scattered around the country. Here is one of them!

I have to ask myself why places like this are kept so secret and mysterious. I just wonder what all is going on, ya know? Not that I really care what is going on, but if you want to get me going...tell me I can't do something! Know what I mean? Especially if you can't give me an acceptable reason!

Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center

This is a place that is not only closed to the public, but it is a place that the public hope to never have to enter! In most “end of the world” films we see these days, there is always a highly classified area where US government officials and a chosen few get to go in the hopes that they can escape the impending doom. The Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center is the real thing. It was set up in the 1950s due to the cold war but continues to operate today. It is a “last hope” area. For obvious reasons its operations are highly classified. It is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The center is already functioning and even in small local disasters in the US, much of the telecommunications traffic is routed through it.

I guess, like most folks, I don't like being treated like a child. "You can't go there because it's off limits! Just for your safety!" Sounds like the statement "Nothing to see here...move on, move on!", doesn't it?

Coffee on the patio this morning, I think. It will be way too hot later!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Maybe There Is Hope After All...!

Just when you think the world is going to hell in a hand basket, you find a sign like this!

Now I'm thinking that there might just be a ray of hope for the human race! Who knows...maybe the gift of just one book, offered for free if you don't have the money to buy it, could make a big difference in someone's life! Could be that it isn't the book, but the trust?

Worth a shot, don't you think?

Coffee on the patio this morning. Guess what? It's always free here!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Western Style Wednesday...!

Some of the tales about the old western days actually involved real folks!

Here is the tale of a man you may not have heard of, but don't feel bad...I don't think I have either! This guy must have been a real character, that's for sure!

Jun 20, 1875:
Mountain man Joe Meek dies

A skilled practitioner of the frontier art of the tall tale, the mountain man Joe Meek dies on his farm in Oregon. His life was nearly as adventurous as his stories claimed.

Born in Virginia in 1810, Meek was a friendly and relentlessly good-humored young man, but he had too much rambunctious energy to do well in school. At 16 years old, the illiterate Meek moved west to join two of his brothers in Missouri. In subsequent years, he taught himself to read and write, but his spelling and grammar remained highly original throughout his life.

In early 1829, Meek joined William Sublette's ambitious expedition to begin fur trading in the Far West. For the next decade, Meek traveled throughout the West, reveling in the adventure and independence of the mountain man life. At 6 feet, 2 inches tall, the heavily bearded Meek became a favorite character at the annual mountain-men rendezvous, where he regaled his companions with humorous and often exaggerated stories of his wilderness adventures. A renowned grizzly hunter, Meek claimed he liked to "count coup" on the dangerous animals before killing them, a variation on a Native American practice in which they shamed a live human enemy by tapping them with a long stick. Meek also told a story in which he claimed to have wrestled an attacking grizzly with his bare hands before finally sinking a tomahawk into its brain.

Over the years, Meek established good relations with many Native Americans, and he married three Indian women, including the daughter of a Nez Perce chief. Nonetheless, he also frequently fought with tribes who were hostile to the incursion of the mountain men into their territories. In the spring of 1837, Meek was nearly killed by a Blackfeet warrior who was taking aim with his bow while Meek tried to reload his Hawken rifle. Luckily for Meek, the warrior dropped his first arrow while drawing the bow, and the mountain man had time to reload and shoot.

In 1840, Meek recognized that the golden era of the free trappers was ending. Joining with another mountain man, Meek and his third wife guided one of the first wagon trains to cross the Rockies on the Oregon Trail. Meek settled in the lush Willamette Valley of western Oregon, became a farmer, and actively encouraged other Americans to join him. In 1847, Meek led a delegation to Washington, D.C., asking for military protection from Indian attacks and territorial status for Oregon. Though he arrived "ragged, dirty, and lousy," Meek became something of a celebrity in the capitol. Easterners relished the boisterous good humor Meek showed in proclaiming himself the "envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from the Republic of Oregon to the Court of the United States." Congress responded by making Oregon an official American territory and Meek became a U.S. marshal.

Meek returned to Oregon and became heavily involved in politics, eventually helping to found the Oregon Republican Party. He later retired to his farm, where he died on this day at the age of 65.

I don't know about you, but this is the type of man I want on my team when the SHTF...ya know?

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning, just in case the rain comes back!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Let's Talk About Hemp...!

There is so much history concerning hemp in the history of our great nation, you'd be surprised!

Of course I'm talking about industrial cannabis and not the smoking kind! Most folks don't know what a large part this plant played in nearly all aspects of early America! Hang on...'cause I'm about to rock your world (in a good, informational way)!

1. All schoolbooks were made from hemp or flax paper until the 1880s. (Jack Frazier. Hemp Paper Reconsidered. 1974.)

2. It was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s. (LA Times. Aug. 12, 1981.)

3. Refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and 18th centuries was against the law! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769 (G. M. Herdon. Hemp in Colonial Virginia).

4. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers grew hemp. (Washington and Jefferson Diaries. Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France then to America.)

5. Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America, and it processed hemp. Also, the War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow’s export to England. (Jack Herer. Emperor Wears No Clothes.)

6. For thousands of years, 90% of all ships’ sails and rope were made from hemp. The word ‘canvas’ comes from the Middle English word “canevas” which comes from the Latin word cannabis. (Webster’s New World Dictionary.)

7. 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc., were made from hemp until the 1820s, with the introduction of the cotton gin.

8. The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp. (U.S. Government Archives.)

9. The first crop grown in many states was hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th century. (State Archives.)

10. Oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization probably goes back to ancient Egypt.

11. Rembrandt’s, Van Gogh’s, Gainsborough’s, as well as most early canvas paintings, were principally painted on hemp linen.

12. In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs. (U.S. Department of Agriculture Archives.)

13. Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937. 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935. (Sherman Williams Paint Co. testimony before the U.S.Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.)

14. Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel. (Popular Mechanics, 1941.)

15. In 1938, hemp was called ‘Billion Dollar Crop.’ It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars. (Popular Mechanics, Feb. 1938.)

That's enough food for thought for today! Maybe you already knew this stuff, but I didn't know it all! Of course, I knew about rope and all, but the rest...not no much!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, if that's OK with you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Let's Talk Gold Rushes...!

The California gold rush was NOT the first one, just the most famous.

You may not have ever heard of the previous gold rushes, but don't feel too badly because most other folks haven't either!

This topic could probably win you a prize in your local trivia contest! Then again, it may not. That all depends on how trivial things are in your neighborhood!

The California Gold Rush of 1849 wasn’t America’s first gold rush. It wasn’t even the second.

When young Conrad Reed found a large yellow rock in his father’s field in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, in 1799, he had no idea what it was. Neither did his father, John Reed. The family reportedly used it as a doorstop for several years, until a visiting jeweler recognized it as a 17-pound gold nugget. The rush was on. Eventually, Congress built the Charlotte Mint to cope with the sheer volume of gold dug up in North Carolina.

In 1828 gold was discovered in Georgia, leading to the nation’s second gold rush. Finally, in 1848, James Marshall struck it rich at Sutter’s Mill in California, and thousands of Forty-Niners moved west to seek their fortunes.

I'll be the first to admit that I did not know about these other gold discoveries. But even I don't know everything, no matter how often I think I do!

How about we have our coffee on the patio this morning? Pretty nice out so far!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Tribute...!

My Father has been gone for many years now, but his memory stays with me every day.

To celebrate this holiday, I've skipped the regular cartoons and put up a song that pretty much says everything I would say about my Dad!

I do hope you enjoyed the song, and I hope you will take the time to tell your Dad "Happy Father's Day!" Even if he isn't around anymore, he'll still hear it!

I miss my Dad! Even though I can never fill his shoes, he always fills my heart!

Coffee on the patio this morning! Happy Father's Day, everyone!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Let's Go On A Treasure Hunt...!

Some legends are just meant to remain a mystery!

There has always been stories of the Lost Dutchman mine as long as I can remember. Many folks have attempted to find it and nearly all such attempts have ended in failure! Quite a tale of the lost mine and it's history, as I'm sure you will see in this story!

The Lost Dutchman Mine

Somewhere in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, located east of Phoenix, Arizona there is reputed to be a gold mine so rich that if the walls are tapped with a hammer, nuggets of gold come tumbling down. The mine was supposedly discovered by the Apache who kept it a closely guarded secret until finally revealing it to select few of the first Spanish monks who reached Arizona from the colonies in Mexico. It is known locally as ‘The Dutchmen’s Mine’ because two of the many 19th century claimants were thought to be from Holland. Jacob Waltz and Jacob Weiser were two German explorers who rescued a Don Miguel Peralta from a brawl in the Mexican town of Arizpe. Don Miguel told his rescuers about a secret family mine that one of his relatives had staked the claim for in 1748. The party of three left for Arizona with the Peralta family map and found the Peralta family mine shortly thereafter. The three men picked up $60,000 worth of gold. Don Miguel sold the map and the title to the mine to the Germans for their half of the proceeds. The two Germans continued to work the mine over the next 2 decades, but then disaster finally struck. Waltz came back to the camp one evening after camping near the mine to find Weiser had disappeared, on the ground was a blood-stained shirt and Apache arrows.

In 1880 the mine was again discovered, by chance. The discoverers were two young US soldiers who appeared in the town of Pinal with their saddlebags full of gold. They said that the ore came from a funnel-shaped mine in a canyon near a sharp pinnacle of rock. When they did not return from a second venture to the mine, a search party was dispatched. They found the bodies of the two soldiers who were both shot dead. Over time much of the stories surrounding the mine have succumbed to legend and embellishment now that there exists many variations on the tales. Currently the area is a State park, Lost Dutchman State Park. Mining is prohibited, but that doesn’t stop the 8000 people every year who come to search for the lost gold.

Well, I've given you the map, so let's get a fresh cup pf coffee and sit on the patio. We can study the map to the gold together!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Another Friday Funny...!

Another Friday funny from my baby Sis!

That girl just cracks me up sometimes! Pretty good cook as well! She does real good with cookies!(You paying attention, Sis?)

Grandma is eighty eight years old and still drives her own car.

She writes: Dear Grand-daughter,

The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a 'Honk if you love Jesus' bumper sticker ..

I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting.. So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

Boy, am I glad I did; what an uplifting experience that followed.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn't notice that the light had changed. It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn't honked, I'd never have noticed.

I found that lots of people love Jesus! While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, 'For the love of God!' 'Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!'

What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

Everyone started honking!

I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people.

I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach..

I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air.

I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant.

He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii, so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back.

My grandson burst out laughing. Why even he was enjoying this religious experience!!

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed.

So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on through the intersection.

I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared. So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away. Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!!

Will write again soon,

Love, Grandma

You just gotta love old folks and the positive outlook they have on things! Bless their pea-picking hearts!

Coffee on the patio again this morning! I still have some coconut macaroons I'll share!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Don't Forget Flag Day...!

I know it's hard to keep track of all that's going on now day, what with school being out and Summer vacation right around the corner. However, there are some things that should always be remembered! Flag Day is certainly one of them!

The Flag is the very symbol of America and a beautiful reminder of our history. It reminds us of all the sacrifices, past and present, of those that give their all to ensure that the Flag continues to fly!

Flag Day (United States)

What we know fondly as the "Stars and Stripes" was adopted by the Continental Congress as the official American flag on June 14, 1777, in the midst of the Revolutionary War. Colonial troops fought under many different flags with various symbols and slogans--rattlesnakes, pine trees, and eagles; "Don't Tread on Me," "Liberty or Death," and "Conquer or Die," to name a few. The first flag had 13 stars on a blue field and 13 alternating red and white stripes for the 13 original colonies. Now there are 50 stars, one for each state in the Union, but the 13 stripes remain. Although many people believe that Betsy Ross designed and sewed the first flag, there is no proof of that. Flag Day was first celebrated in 1877, on the flag's 100th birthday.

While displaying the flag, please remember to handle it correctly...but I'm sure you all don't need to be told that!

I have fresh coffee and tea ready for the patio this morning. Care to join me?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Unchanging Game Of Politics...!

I guess that the world of politics has not changed much since the very beginning.

For the most part, the main problem seems to be that the politicians are but mere humans, complete with all the frailties! The weaker the man's character, the weaker his strengths as a politician. This story reflects that very thing!

Jun 13, 1807:
Thomas Jefferson subpoenaed in Aaron Burr's treason trial

President Thomas Jefferson receives a subpoena to testify in the treason trial of his former vice president, Aaron Burr, on this day in 1807. In the subpoena, Burr asked Jefferson to produce documents that might exonerate him.

Burr had already been politically and socially disgraced by killing former Treasury secretary and Revolutionary-era hero Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. After killing Hamilton, Burr, still Jefferson's vice president, went into hiding to avoid prosecution for murder. (The charges were later dropped.) Burr then concocted a seditious plan to enlist the help of Britain and Spain to create a separate nation in the southwestern reaches of the American continent, including parts of Mexico, over which Burr would rule. The outrageous plan failed miserably when one of Burr's co-conspirators, General James Wilkinson, betrayed Burr and alerted Jefferson to the plot. Burr was hunted down and arrested in 1806 and indicted for treason.

Jefferson expressed in his personal papers that he felt no love or loyalty to Burr despite their former political relationship. Burr had run a close and contentious election against the republican Jefferson in the 1800 campaign. After the election resulted in a tie, the vote went to the House of Representatives. Only after Alexander Hamilton reluctantly lobbied for Jefferson did the House select Jefferson for the presidency instead of Burr. This was only one of the many grievances Burr held against Hamilton that led to the fatal duel.

Jefferson refused to appear in Burr's defense and released only a few of the documents Burr had requested, invoking his presidential right to protect the public interest. If Jefferson's intent was to help get Burr convicted, his refusal to supply documentation backfired. In the end, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall found Burr not guilty by lack of evidence.

It would be nice to see some level headed men with true backbone and hearts to match get in office for a change, but for some reason that seems unlikely!

Fresh coffee on the patio this morning. How about some fresh baked brownies as well? Sound good?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Remember Mr. Potato Head...?

I had one of these as a kid, as did the majority of the kids I knew!

Simple, fun, and creative! This was one of those toys that you could play with for hours and hours, depending on just how active your imagine was! As you can imagine, mine was pretty active!

Ya know, maybe I should get another "Mr. Potato Head" kit! My imagination is still fairly least for a older person like myself!

On May 1, 1952, the Hassenfeld Bros. toy company — later, and currently, Hasbro — brought to market a toy, Mr. Potato Head. Selling for $0.98, the toy was instantly popular, selling over one million units in its first year. Mr. Potato Head has since permeated popular culture, appearing in the Toy Story trilogy, in its own television show, and in a variety of commercials.

From the start, Mr. Potato Head has been defined by his parts — goofy eyes, protruding ears, a huge nose, and of course, a mustache. He also came replete with a pipe, but in 1987, he made a major accessory change. Mr. Potato Head donated the pipe to a great cause, eschewing smoking to help the American Cancer Society promote its efforts to end tobacco use.

But the biggest change to the iconic toy came in 1964, when government regulations caused Hasbro to add a new part to the kit — the large plastic potato-like head.

As originally designed in 1949 by inventor George Lerner, Mr. Potato Head’s parts were to be used in actual fruits and vegetables — not in a plastic toy vessel included in the package. In fact, an early, pre-Hasbro version of the toy was sold piecemeal, as inserts in cereal boxes. As pictured below (larger version here), the original Mr. Potato Head was headless. The box (if not a bucket) of mere parts calls the toy a “kit.” The packaging states that with the parts, “any fruit or vegetable makes a funny face man.”

What happened in 1964, giving us the plastic head? The government required that toys meet certain safety guidelines, and the parts included in the original Mr. Potato Head set proved too sharp. Hasbro rounded the points of the insertion pegs, but in doing so, made it too difficult to stick the parts into fruits and vegetables. As a work-around, Hasbro came up with the plastic toy head we are familiar with today.

I might mention here that Mr. Potato Head was also the first toy to be advertised on television in ads which targeted children (in favor of their parents). Pretty cool, huh?

I have tea and fresh coffee ready for the patio. I'll see if I can come up with some cookies somewhere, OK?

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Committee Of Five...!

Some of our founding fathers were very well spoken, at least on paper.

That had to be the driving force of the appointment of the five men to form the "Committee!" I can only imagine what an undertaking that was!

Jun 11, 1776:
Congress appoints Committee of Five to draft the Declaration of Independence

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress selects Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence.

Knowing Jefferson's prowess with a pen, Adams urged him to author the first draft of the document, which was then carefully revised by Adams and Franklin before being given to Congress for review on June 28.

The revolutionary treatise began with reverberating prose:

When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Congress would not tolerate the Committee of Five's original language condemning Britain for introducing the slave trade to its American colonies as a cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty. Those distant people who never offended would have to wait another century and for another war before their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness would begin to be recognized.

Those words still move me, no matter how many times I read them or hear them or even think about them!

Coffee on the patio this morning. I have tea for all that want it instead!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Surprise...!

Don't worry! We are still going to have our weekly cartoons, but first I wanted to show you something.

You know how I'm always saying "coffee on the patio?" Well, it dawned on me that not many of you have ever seen my patio! I figured that you might be more than a little curious about where we are going to sit. So, to dispel any doubts you might have, I'll show you we have more than enough room!

And another view...

See? Plenty of room! Now, on to the cartoons!

And one more to round out the day!

I hope everyone has a great day! Now, let's go get our coffee, OK?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Determination Wins The Day...!

When you make up your mind about getting a thing done, it will get done!

As the old saying goes " a thing perceived can be achieved!" If these folks had nothing else, they had the conviction of purpose. Time and time again, it has been shown that a group of people sharing the same vision can create miracles!

Jun 9, 1856:
Mormon handcart pioneers depart for Salt Lake City

In an extraordinary demonstration of resolve and fortitude, nearly 500 Mormons leave Iowa City and head west for Salt Lake City carrying all their goods and supplies in two-wheeled handcarts. Of all the thousands of pioneer journeys to the West in the 19th century, few were more arduous than those undertaken by the so-called Handcart Companies from 1856 to 1860.

The secular and religious leader of the Mormons, Brigham Young, had established Salt Lake City as the center of a new Utah sanctuary for the Latter-day Saints in 1847. In subsequent years, Young worked diligently to encourage and aid Mormons who made the difficult overland trek to the Great Salt Lake. In 1856, however, a series of poor harvests left the church with only a meager fund to help immigrants buy wagons and oxen. Young suggested a cheaper mode of travel: "Let them come on foot with handcarts or wheelbarrows; let them gird up their loins and walk through and nothing shall hinder or stay them."

Amazingly, many Mormons followed his advice. On this day in 1856, a band of 497 Mormons left Iowa City, Iowa, and began the more than 1,000-mile trek to Salt Lake City. They carried all their goods in about 100 two-wheeled handcarts, most of which were heaped with the maximum load of 400 to 500 pounds. Each family usually had one cart, and the father and mother took turns pulling while any children old enough helped by pushing.

The handcart immigrants soon ran into serious problems. The Mormon craftsmen who had constructed the handcarts back in Iowa City had chosen to use wooden axles instead of iron in order to save time and money. Sand and dirt quickly wore down the wood, and water and heat made the axles splinter and crack. As the level terrain of the prairies gave way to the more rugged country of the Plains, the sheer physical challenge of hauling a 500-pound cart began to take its toll. One British immigrant who was a skilled carpenter wrote of having to make three coffins in as many days.

Some of the pilgrims gave up. Two girls in one handcart group left to marry a pair of miners they met along the way. The majority, however, struggled on and eventually reached the Salt Lake Valley. Over the course of the next four years, some 3,000 Mormon converts made the overland journey by pushing and pulling heavy-laden handcarts. Better planning and the use of iron axles made the subsequent immigrations slightly easier than the first, and some actually made the journey more quickly than if they had used ox-drawn wagons. Still, once the church finances had recovered, Young's followers returned to using conventional wagons. The handcart treks remained nothing less than heroic. One Mormon girl later estimated that she and her family had each taken over a million steps to reach their goal, pushing and pulling a creaking wooden handcart the entire way

The brave folks that undertook this trip with all the unknowns were, in my opinion, the prime example of what America was all about! Average people, true to their vision, fighting against all odds and with limited resources...somehow managed to accomplish their goals! Not only that, they became an inspiration for hundreds of others in the process!

Coffee on the patio this morning. I have some peach cake on the side, if you'd like!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Things Are Getting Strange...!

Call me crazy, but I don't remember this many really strange things coming up at the same time in a while!

Bad enough that we have some crazy cannibals attacking folks here in the states, but it seems that more disturbing finds are being made elsewhere. Sometimes it seems that we are really in trouble as far as the number of crazies go!

Nevermind the 'zombie apocalypse': Vampire skeletons found in Bulgaria
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 20:00


While the real-life horror stories of the zombie apocalypse are becoming a growing concern in the United States, Bulgaria seems to have its own problems.

The Associated Press reported that archaeologists excavated two, not-so-ordinary skeletons in Sozopol, Bulgaria last weekend. Each of the skeletons was held down in its own grave with iron rods rammed through its chest. This pagan practice began in the Middle Ages - the period from which these skeletons originate - and continued in the early 1900s.

The skeletons found last weekend were said to date back to the Middle Ages.

“Vampires” with iron rods nailed through their chests have even been found in countries near to Bulgaria like Serbia as well as many other countries, reported BBC news.

According to the New York Daily News, Bozhidar Dimitrov, chief of the National History Museum in Sofia, Bulgaria stated that unlike the new cases of zombies in the U.S., vampire skeletons are old news in Bulgaria. About 100 skeletons have been found in Bulgaria by gravediggers in a similar condition.

After potential zombies in the U.S.and potential vampires resting in their graves in Bulgaria, everyone better stock up on their silver bullets because werewolves could be next!

You don't suppose all this is just because it's an election year, do ya? Guess we'll find out!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. The patio is just a trifle wet today!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Let's Measure Some Booze...!

The other day we talked about the measurements of time, so I kinda wanted to do the same thing with booze.

There are many, many old and unusual measurements used for alcohol, some of which are still in use today. I have heard of many of these, but i had no idea of what most of them were to be honest!


Volumes of alcohol had their own particular names. In Northern England, as well as being a small horse, a pony was two mouthfuls of fluid, or 30mL. Today, a shot of spirits is sometimes called a ‘pony shot’ after this, although shots are not standardized and their volumes vary greatly. 

Much of the system that was used in old times was based on combining doubles of jackpots. A jackpot was 74mL. Two jackpots made a gill, two gills made a cup, two cups made a pint, two pints made a quart, two quarts made a pottle, two pottles made a gallon, two gallons made a peck, two pecks made a pail, two pails made a bushel, two bushels made a strike, two strikes made a coomb, two coombs made a cask, two casks made a barrel, and two barrels made a hogshead. Phew! Hog’s Head Inn from Harry Potter is named after this volume of alcohol, about 250L.

A more recent alcohol volume measurement is the bottles worth, which is equal to a standard bottle of champagne (750mL).

Kind of confusing, isn't it? If you could memorize all these different measurements and quote them on demand, just think how you could impress folks at the next get-together! Only thing is, you would probably need to be sober to do it! Know what I mean?

Let's have coffee on the patio this morning. You can help me do a rain dance!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Boy, Do I Remember These...!

I can remember spending quite a few very pleasant evenings at the drive-in, usually in the company of a young lady!

The concept is really a nice one. Most of the drive-ins we went to were pretty nice as well! Heck, at one time I even worked in the snack bar! Some of the best popcorn I ever had, let me tell you!

Jun 6, 1933:
First drive-in movie theater opens

On this day in 1933, eager motorists park their automobiles on the grounds of Park-In Theaters, the first-ever drive-in movie theater, located on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey.

Park-In Theaters--the term "drive-in" came to be widely used only later--was the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead, a movie fan and a sales manager at his father's company, Whiz Auto Products, in Camden. Reportedly inspired by his mother's struggle to sit comfortably in traditional movie theater seats, Hollingshead came up with the idea of an open-air theater where patrons watched movies in the comfort of their own automobiles. He then experimented in the driveway of his own house with different projection and sound techniques, mounting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car, pinning a screen to some trees, and placing a radio behind the screen for sound. He also tested ways to guard against rain and other inclement weather, and devised the ideal spacing arrangement for a number of cars so that all would have a view of the screen.

The young entrepreneur received a patent for the concept in May of 1933 and opened Park-In Theaters, Inc. less than a month later, with an initial investment of $30,000. Advertising it as entertainment for the whole family, Hollingshead charged 25 cents per car and 25 cents per person, with no group paying more than one dollar. The idea caught on, and after Hollingshead's patent was overturned in 1949, drive-in theaters began popping up all over the country. One of the largest was the All-Weather Drive-In of Copiague, New York, which featured parking space for 2,500 cars, a kid's playground and a full service restaurant, all on a 28-acre lot.

Drive-in theaters showed mostly B-movies--that is, not Hollywood's finest fare--but some theaters featured the same movies that played in regular theaters. The initially poor sound quality--Hollingshead had mounted three speakers manufactured by RCA Victor near the screen--improved, and later technology made it possible for each car's to play the movie's soundtrack through its FM radio. The popularity of the drive-in spiked after World War II and reached its heyday in the late 1950s to mid-60s, with some 5,000 theaters across the country. Drive-ins became an icon of American culture, and a typical weekend destination not just for parents and children but also for teenage couples seeking some privacy. Since then, however, the rising price of real estate, especially in suburban areas, combined with the growing numbers of walk-in theaters and the rise of video rentals to curb the growth of the drive-in industry. Today, fewer than 500 drive-in theaters survive in the United States.

Ya know, sitting at home on the couch with a date just isn't quite the same somehow. The drive-in will always hold a special spot in my memory as one of my favorite places to go!

Wish I had a place like that again, don't you?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Time Talk For Tuesday...!

Time is one of those things that we often take for granted.

Many of the terms we use when referring to time may seem silly, but believe it or not many of them are actual measurements of time! Seriously! I wouldn't kid you about this!


Has someone ever told you that they will only take ‘a jiffy’ or ‘a shake of a lamb’s tail’? Jiffies and shakes are real units of time measurement. A jiffy is 0.1 seconds and a shake is 10 nanoseconds. These are used for convenience in computing and nuclear engineering respectively. A moment, on the other hand, is 90 seconds long. In Medieval Europe, the Latin ‘atomus’ was often used, defined today as 160 milliseconds.

Other time measurements are dog years, which are based on the myth that 7 dog years are equivalent to 1 human year. Dogs actually do not experience time faster, they age differently based on breed, and inventing dog years to measure their age is as meaningless as inventing snail years for said mollusks. Nevertheless, the myth has become so popular that now a dog year is said to be one seventh of a standard year, making it 52 days long.

I know it seems a little strange, but that's the way it goes! Just like the old saying goes "truth is stranger than fiction!"

Coffee on the patio this morning while it's still cool! Gonna be hot again today!

Monday, June 4, 2012

One Scary Vehicle...!

I don't know about you, but I don't want to drive anything without brakes!

It must have been an exciting time for everyone involved, especially the guy in front, riding a bicycle and serving as a rolling road block! Still, this simple vehicle sure did start something!

Jun 4, 1896:
Henry Ford test-drives his "Quadricycle"

At approximately 4:00 a.m. on June 4, 1896, in the shed behind his home on Bagley Avenue in Detroit, Henry Ford unveils the "Quadricycle," the first automobile he ever designed or drove.

Ford was working as the chief engineer for the main plant of the Edison Illuminating Company when he began working on the Quadricycle. On call at all hours to ensure that Detroit had electrical service 24 hours a day, Ford was able to use his flexible working schedule to experiment with his pet project--building a horseless carriage with a gasoline-powered engine. His obsession with the gasoline engine had begun when he saw an article on the subject in a November 1895 issue of American Machinist magazine. The following March, another Detroit engineer named Charles King took his own hand-built vehicle--made of wood, it had a four-cylinder engine and could travel up to five miles per hour--out for a ride, fueling Ford's desire to build a lighter and faster gasoline-powered model.

As he would do throughout his career, Ford used his considerable powers of motivation and organization to get the job done, enlisting friends--including King--and assistants to help him bring his vision to life. After months of work and many setbacks, Ford was finally ready to test-drive his creation--basically a light metal frame fitted with four bicycle wheels and powered by a two-cylinder, four-horsepower gasoline engine--on the morning of June 4, 1896. When Ford and James Bishop, his chief assistant, attempted to wheel the Quadricycle out of the shed, however, they discovered that it was too wide to fit through the door. To solve the problem, Ford took an axe to the brick wall of the shed, smashing it to make space for the vehicle to be rolled out.

With Bishop bicycling ahead to alert passing carriages and pedestrians, Ford drove the 500-pound Quadricycle down Detroit's Grand River Avenue, circling around three major thoroughfares. The Quadricycle had two driving speeds, no reverse, no brakes, rudimentary steering ability and a doorbell button as a horn, and it could reach about 20 miles per hour, easily overpowering King's invention. Aside from one breakdown on Washington Boulevard due to a faulty spring, the drive was a success, and Ford was on his way to becoming one of the most formidable success stories in American business history.

Maybe I could build one of these to run back and forth to the store, ya think? I'm afraid that I would have to have brakes on mine though. Guess I'm just a sissy!

Let's have our coffee outside this morning, OK?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunny Sunday Smiles...!

Even though the weekend got off to a shaky start, I figured we could all use a little humor to start the new week.

I can think of a more appropriate way to start it off than with the ageless chase of the Roadrunner and the Coyote! Besides, after Friday night and Saturday morning, I need me a good humor fix!

Now here is a side of these two you may not have seen before!

I can't help but wonder if Pops had the same trouble as Young Wiley! I'm thinking he did!

Coffee outside on the patio this morning. Looks like it's gonna get hot in a bit!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Emergency Room Visit...UPDATED!

Had to take Mom to the emergency room after she had a fall in her house.

I won't be posting until I find out something.


Sorry about the delay in getting this posted, but you know how it is when you go to the emergency room!

Mom had an MRI done on her head and all checked out just fine! What happened was that she was walking from the den to the kitchen without her cane (or her walker) and she tripped on a carpet runner. She landed on her left knee and left elbow, went sideways and hit the back of her head on a pie safe that was near-by!

She wasn't close to her call button (which she won't wear) or the phone, so she crawled into the laundry room and started yelling to try and get my attention. Luckily I heard her and went in to help her get up into a chair and we started checking for immediate injuries.

Because of the big bump on the head and the size of the knot, we decided that the ER was where we should go. This was before 9:00 pm and we managed to get home about 12:50, which all things told wasn't too bad!

Main thing is...Mom is OK, but will be sore for a couple of days. I just wish I could convince here to always use her cane, even indoors!

Thanks for bearing with me on this one. Normally I pre-post on the night before the post is dated. This one started out on Friday night, and here it is just after 1:00AM Saturday!

Don't know about you, but I need some fresh, STRONG coffee this morning! I'm getting way too old for all this adventure!

Friday, June 1, 2012

This Bit Of American History May Suprise You...!

Just when you think you have this early American history all figured out, up pops a surprise!

I'll be the first to admit that this info took me totally off guard. I don't know why, but maybe because this settlement has been here so long and is still active!

Forget Jamestown. The oldest settlement in the United States is Acoma Pueblo.

It’s no revelation that Native American settlements predate European ones, but it may surprise some people that Acoma Pueblo, west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been continuously occupied since the 12th century. The Acoma still inhabit their “Sky City,” a settlement of about 4,800 people that sits atop a 365-foot high mesa. 

Traditionally hunters and traders, the Acoma people now make their income from a cultural center and casino complex. Coincidentally, the oldest state capital in the United States is Santa Fe, which recently celebrated its 400th anniversary.

Well, like I said...short and sweet today! It really doesn't take long to find a topic that makes for interesting study. I'm thinking that would make an interesting settlement to research.

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning, just in case the rain comes back!