Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mary Maxwell Speaks...!

Normally we have cartoons on Sunday, but this was just too funny not to pass on to you!

I got this from my cousin in Georgetown. I had never seen this lady before, but I do like what she has to say! I have to admit that I laughed out loud at some of it!

I hope you get a grin out of this!

Coffee in the kitchen again today. Rain is here, so I have some hot chocolate if you would rather!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Cowboy Mogul...!

Probably the very first true country western "superstar" was Gene Autry.

Getting started was really a series of lucky accidents, but not only paved the way to fame and fortune for Mister Autry but for many that followed! A real success story if there ever was one!

Sep 29, 1907:
Gene Autry, "The Singing Cowboy," is born

From the early 1930s to the mid-1950s, Gene Autry, "The Singing Cowboy," dominated the country & western genre as the biggest-selling recording artist of the era. But more than that, Autry was a phenomenally successful radio personality, movie star and businessman, too—a cross-platform creative mogul of the kind that today's pop superstars strive to be. Born on this day in 1907 near Tioga, Texas, Byron Orvon Gene Autry grew up to be one of the most important figures the country music world has ever seen.

As a boy, Autry sang in the church choir in Tioga and mastered the mail-order guitar his parents bought him for his 12th birthday. He was already an accomplished amateur and sometime-professional musician when, in the early 1920s, his family moved to Oklahoma, setting in motion the events that would make him into a star. While Autry strummed his guitar and sang casually during a quiet swing shift in the telegraph office in Chelsea, Oklahoma, in the summer of 1927, Okahoma's favorite son and one of America's favorite entertainers, Will Rogers, happened into the office and encouraged young Gene to head to New York City to pursue a recording career. One year later, Autry did just that, landing an audition at RCA Victor that led to his first recording sessions in the autumn of 1929.

Autry's commercial breakthrough came two years later with the first of his many big hits, "That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine." When the record sold its first half-million copies, Autry's label, American Records, presented the young star with a commemorative gold-plated copy of the disc—the first-ever Gold Record. A regular spot as "Oklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy" on the National Barn Dance radio show out of Chicago soon followed, giving Autry the platform that made him a star nationwide. Then, in 1934, Autry made his first film appearance in a movie called In Old Santa Fe, which in turn led to his being cast as Himself in a B-movie serial called The Phantom Empire, a series that featured not only singing cowboys, but also an advanced civilization called Murania driven underground during the last Ice Age. The Phantom Empire also became one of the most successful film franchises of the first half of the 20th century, earning Gene Autry recognition as one of Hollywood's top 10 box-office attractions.

Except during a hiatus for service in World War II, Autry continued an amazing career streak well into the 1950s, amassing a string of classic hits that includes not just country classics such as "Back In The Saddle Again," but also numerous holiday standards including "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," which he wrote himself, and also the biggest hit of his career, 1949's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

In later life, Gene Autry owned a record label, Challenge Records, and also became the original owner of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels. Born on this day in 1907, Gene Autry died shortly after his 81st birthday on October 2, 1998.

Sort of brings back memories of the old Saturday morning serials, doesn't it?

I suggest we have coffee in the kitchen, since the rain seems to have moved in for a couple of days. OK?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Traveling...!

Today we are taking a trip to Pennsylvania and to a very sad place!

Often, for what ever reason, things are started that just take on a life of their own. This is a case such as that and the worst part is still running on a path of destruction even as we talk about it!

 Centralia, Pennsylvania

Johnathan Faust opened Bull’s Head Tavern in Centralia in 1841, and Centralia was incorporated as a borough in 1866. The anthracite coal industry was the principal employer in the community until the 1960s, when most of the companies went out of business. An exposed vein of coal ignited in 1962 thanks to weekly garbage burning, and as a result a huge underground coal fire commenced. Attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful, and it continued to burn throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Adverse health effects were reported by several people due to the carbon monoxide produced.

In 1979, locals became aware of the scale of the problem when a gas station reported a fuel temperature of 172 degrees Fahrenheit (77.8°C). This provoked widespread attention, boosted in 1981 when a 12-year-old almost plunged to his death as a 4 foot wide, 150 foot deep sinkhole suddenly opened beneath his feet. In 1984, $42 million was spent on relocation, with most residents moving to the nearby Mount Carmel and Ashland. In 1992, Pennsylvania condemned all houses within the borough, meaning that of the 1,000+ residents in 1981 – only a handful now remain – mainly priests. The fire still rages on, and according to experts could do so for another 250 years.

I'm thinking we should have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. Wheat toast with Strawberry Jalapeno Jelly, if that's OK!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cooking Off Alcohol...!

I guess nearly everyone, including me, thought that cooking a food containing alcohol removes most of it.

Turns out this is not as true as I believed! Doesn't bother me, but if someone in your family is a tee-totaler it might be a problem for them. Of course, you don't have to tell them about this, unless you just want to! In fact, keeping this a secret until after the meal might be fun!

Maybe this chart will be of some use in seeing how much burns off. I got this from the guys over at Listverse!

Personally, I don't mind a little alcohol in my food...or with my food or after my food! I'm good with it any which way!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It might rain, and my cookies might get wet! Wait, that doesn't sound quite right, does it?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Remembering Daniel Boone...!

Today is Western Wednesday, so I thought we would talk about Daniel Boone!

Everyone knows about Boone, I think! Certainly a person of interest in many ways! Funny we don't hear much about him like some of the others of his time. Wonder why that is?

Sep 26, 1820
The famous frontiersman Daniel Boone dies in Missouri

On this day in 1820 the great pioneering frontiersman Daniel Boone dies quietly in his sleep at his son's home near present-day Defiance, Missouri. The indefatigable voyager was 86.

Boone was born in 1734 to Quaker parents living in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Following a squabble with the Pennsylvania Quakers, Boone's family decided to head south and west for less crowded regions, and they eventually settled in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. There the young Daniel Boone began his life-long love for wilderness, spending long days exploring the still relatively unspoiled forests and mountains of the region. An indifferent student who never learned to write more than a crude sentence or two, Boone's passion was for the outdoors, and he quickly became a superb marksman, hunter and woodsman.

Never satisfied to stay put for very long, Boone soon began making ever longer and more ambitious journeys into the relatively unexplored lands to the west. In May of 1769, Boone and five companions crossed over the Cumberland Gap and explored along the south fork of the Kentucky River. Impressed by the fertility and relative emptiness of the land--although the native inhabitants hardly considered it to be empty--Boone returned in 1773 with his family, hoping to establish a permanent settlement. An Indian attack prevented that first attempt from succeeding, but Boone returned two years later to open the route that became known as Boone's Trace (or the Wilderness Road) between the Cumberland Gap and a new settlement along the Kentucky River called Fortress Boonesboro. After years of struggles against both Native Americans and British soldiers, Boonesboro eventually became one of the most important gateways for the early American settlement of the Trans-Appalachian West.

Made a legend in his own time by John Filson's "Boone Autobiography" and Lord Byron's depiction of him as the quintessential frontiersman in the book Don Juan, Boone became a symbol of the western pioneering spirit for many Americans. Ironically, though, Boone's fame and his success in opening the Trans-Appalachian West to large-scale settlement later came to haunt him. Having lost his Kentucky land holdings by failing to properly register them, Boone moved even further west in 1799, trying to escape the civilized regions he had been so instrumental in creating. Finally settling in Missouri--though he never stopped dreaming of continuing westward--he lived out the rest of his life doing what he loved best: hunting and trapping in a fertile wild land still largely untouched by the Anglo pioneers who had followed the path he blazed to the West.

Truly a legend that is still with us today, mostly in the stories that remind us of a few of his accomplishments!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Fresh cantaloupe on the side!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Short Post About Age...!

Sometimes a thought can be best explained by a single picture.

I think this picture pretty much resonates with all of us that are of a certain age, don't you?

One picture sometimes really is worth a thousand words! Pretty much says it all!

Coffee on the patio this morning. We can compare our creaking joints!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Mystery Is "Who Would Eat Here?"

We have covered many different mysteries here at the Hermit's, but nothing quite like this.

I'm thinking that I would be more likely to pass up the chance, if you know what I mean! I believe that I would rather eat in someplace that didn't look like a big toilet! I'm funny that way, I guess!

Modern Toilet

At Modern Toilet, a restaurant in Taiwan, every customer sits on a stylish acrylic toilet (lid down) designed with images of roses, seashells or Renaissance paintings. Everyone dines at a glass table with a sink underneath. The servers bring your meal atop a mini toilet bowl (quite convenient, as it brings the food closer to your mouth), you sip drinks from your own plastic urinal (a souvenir), and soft-swirl ice cream arrives for dessert atop a dish shaped like a squat toilet. According to the manager, “it’s supposed to shock and confuse the senses”.

I think the manager's effort to shock and confuse the senses was very successful, at least as far as I'm concerned!

I think we should have coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'll break out some cinnamon buns, OK?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More Sunday Fun...!

As usual, Sunday is a day I use to let us all trip back to a more innocent time when laughter was more commonplace!

A good way to do that is with our Sunday dose of cartoons! Right? One of the favorites always seems to be the "Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote!" Hope another visit with them will brighten the rest of your day!

How about just one more to sort of round things out?

I do hope this brought at least a grin to your face. After all, it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown! But you knew that, right?

Coffee on the patio this morning. I've got some Danish Butter cookies that I'll share!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Unusual Heirloom Veggies...!

I know everyone has heard of Heirloom vegetables, but I found a list of some that may just be new to you!

Some of these things are almost way too pretty to eat! I'm only going to post about one of the prettiest, but I have the link to the others just in case you want to check them out! I wouldn't mind getting a few seeds from these beauties myself!

If you read the article, it may just surprise you! Anyway, check this winner out, OK?

 Violetta Italia Cauliflower

 Some other heirloom varieties: Romanesco cauliflower, Rosalind.

 These plants sport stunning, large, bright purple cauliflowers. They are delicious raw with a dip, as well as cooked or steamed. Cauliflowers are high in dietary fibre, foliate and vitamin C, but this purple variety also boasts with high levels of anthocyanin, which can slow blood clotting and prevent heart disease. 

Why don't you go over to Listverse and check out the others? I think it will be well worth your time, believe me! After all, would I lie to ya?
Coffee on the patio this morning. It's nice and cool here, at least for this time of year!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Good News Friday...!

I know that usually we go traveling on Friday, but I wanted to share a good news story with you instead.

With all the bad news coming to us from around the world, I figure we all could stand a little bit of the opposite. It isn't often I find a story that is worthy of sharing, especially because of the goodness of the story itself. If you think that the actions of just one person can't affect a much larger number, then just read this and see if it changes your mind a little!

 Winnipeg Transit driver’s amazing act of kindness stuns passengers
 By Denise Campbell on September 18, 2012

 Today, as I was riding a Winnipeg Transit bus from Unicity to Downtown I did not realize that I would be a witness to something amazing.

The ride was, as usual, long and uneventful, until we reached the corner of Portage and Main. That’s when the driver pulled over. This of course surprised all of the passengers on the bus. But, what happened next still brings tears to my eyes. 

The bus driver jumped off the bus to chat with a man that looked to be down on his luck; by all accounts, a homeless man. I first thought the driver was going to offer the man a ride until our driver took off his own shoes and gave them to the man on the sidewalk.

That is when I realized that the man the driver was chatting with was barefoot. The bus was dead silent. I think we were all stunned and speechless. As we proceeded to our next stop, one of the passengers got up and said to the driver, that was the most amazing thing she had ever seen; and then she asked him, why did he do that? 

The bus driver answered because he couldn’t stand the thought of that poor man walking without shoes. Wow! No judgement; it was just, “Here buddy you need these more than I do.”

There wasn’t a dry eye on the bus. All the passengers were moved by this bold and selfless gesture. 

Now, a homeless man will have shoes for his feet because of a bus driver’s random act of kindness. 

Not bad for a Tuesday morning in downtown Winnipeg. 

It's a shame that we don't hear more stories like this one. Amazing how the kind and caring actions of one individual can affect so many others! Good stuff!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Watch out for those hummingbirds! They are getting aggressive!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Got Apples...?

One of the wonderful things that Mother Nature provides for our use is, you guessed it...apples!

What a comfortable fruit! Good right off the tree, good for storing, and absolutely wonderful for cooking! In fact, I'm having some apple jelly on toast for dessert tonight!

From the pages of the Farmer's Almanac, here is some interesting facts about apples!

Autumn Is for Apples

In Old England, this month was called Haervest-monath (Harvest Month). We like to think of it as the month of homegrown apples.

Almost any apple can be enjoyed when eaten fresh. However, not all apples are ideal for the kitchen. For example, the popular McIntosh might be great for eating off the tree, but its flesh is too tender to hold up to baking in a pie. However, the Cortland apple is a bit firmer than the Mac, so it’s a good choice for pies as well as sauces and salads.

Note: When it comes to cooking with apples, it may be helpful to know the following:

1 pound of apples = 2 large, 3 medium, or 4 to 5 small apples

1 pound of apples = 3 cups peeled and sliced apples

Below is a list with some of the best baking and cooking apples in North America.


Sauce...Tart, sweet, aromatic...tall shape, bright color

Pies, Sauces, Fruit Salad...Tart, crisp...larger than 'McIntosh'

Baking...Sweet and juicy, firm... red skin

Dried, Cider...Mild, sweet, juicy, crisp...yellow-orange skin with red striping (resembles a peach)

Granny Smith
Baking...Moderately sweet, crisp skin

Pie, Sauce...Tangy-sweet...Yellow top, red bottom

Sauce...Tart flesh, crisp, juicy...bright red on yellow skin

Sauce...Juicy, sweet, pinkish-white skin

Newtown Pippin
Pie, Sauce, Cider...Sweet-tart flesh, crisp...greenish-yellow skin

R.I. Greening

Pie...Very tart, distinctively flavored...grass-green skin, tending toward yellow/orange

Rome Beauty
Baking, Cider...Mildly tart, crisp...greenish-white flesh, thick skin

Sauce, Pie, Cider...Very juicy, sweet-sour flavor, winey, aromatic...sturdy, red skin

No matter how you cook them, I love me some good ol' apple pie, apple fritters, apple cake, apple juice, apple dumplings, apple...well, you get the picture!

How about coffee on the patio this morning...with some biscuits and apple jelly?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One More Western Wednesday...!

Many times we hold up a person or persons as a hero, then find out later that the true nature of that person was not what we expected.

Sometimes, there is a very thin line between right and wrong. Likewise, the acceptable behavior in one situation proves to be non-acceptable in another! True that strong men were needed in the early days, but along with the strength comes a responsibility to lead by example first.

Sep 19, 1827:
Jim Bowie stabs a Louisiana banker with his famous knife

After a duel turns into an all-out brawl on this day in 1827, Jim Bowie disembowels a banker in Alexandria, Louisiana, with an early version of his famous Bowie knife. The actual inventor of the Bowie knife, however, was probably not Jim Bowie, but rather his equally belligerent brother, Rezin Bowie, who reportedly came up with the design after nearly being killed in a vicious knife fight.

The Bowie brothers engaged in more fights than the typical frontiersman of the day, but such violent duels were not uncommon events on the untamed margins of American civilization. In the early nineteenth century, most frontiersmen preferred knives to guns for fighting, and the Bowie knife quickly became one of the favorites. Rezin Bowie had invented such a nasty looking weapon that the mere sight of it probably discouraged many would-be robbers and attackers. Designs varied somewhat, but the typical Bowie knife sported a 9- to 15- inch blade sharpened only on one side for much of its length, though the curved tip was sharpened to a point on both sides. The double-edged tip made the knife an effective stabbing weapon, while the dull-edge combined with a brass hand guard allowed the user to slide a hand down over the blade as needed. The perfect knife for close-quarter fighting, the Bowie knife became the weapon of choice for many westerners before the reliable rapid-fire revolver took its place in the post-Civil War period.

I guess that Bowie will always be remembered as the father of his famous "Bowie Knife", but I hope that I'll be remembered for something a little more useful than an instrument designed for killing and maiming...but that's just me!

How about coffee in the kitchen this morning? I'll cut us up a fresh cantaloupe to share!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Remember This Guy...?

I'm sure that those of us that are science fiction fans do!

One of my favorite writers back when I was a young man. I probably read several of his books more than once, but that happens a lot when I find one I like!

Sep 18, 1917:
Aldous Huxley is hired at Eton

On this day in 1917, 23-year-old Aldous Huxley, future author of Brave New World is hired as a schoolmaster at Eton. One of his pupils will be Eric Blair, who will later use the pen name George Orwell.

Huxley was born into a prominent family. His grandfather was a famous biologist and proponent of Darwin, and his father was a respected biographer. Huxley hoped to become a scientist like his grandfather, but his dreams were shattered when a medical condition robbed him of most of his sight while he was a student at Eton.

Barely able to read, he nevertheless graduated from Oxford in 1916, the same year his first book appeared. The following year, he began teaching. His near-blindness disqualified him from service in World War I. From 1919 to 1921, he edited a publication called Athenaeum. In 1919, he married and had one son. The family moved to Italy in 1920 and lived most of the next several decades there while traveling widely. His satirical novels Crome Yellow (1921) and Antic Hay (1923) were successful, and he wrote full time for the rest of his life, churning out 47 books and many articles, essays, and screenplays.

His 1928 book, Point Counterpoint, became a bestseller, and in 1932 he published his masterwork Brave New World, which he wrote in four months. The book paints a dark vision of a future where individual emotion, creativity, and impulse have been completely subordinated to the tyrannical state.

In 1937, Huxley moved to California, where he became a screenwriter. His screenplays include Pride and Prejudice (1940), starring Laurence Olivier, and Jane Eyre (1944). In the 1950s, Huxley became a proponent of the controlled use of psychedelic drugs to liberate the mind. He wrote two books about his experiences using LSD and mescaline under supervision: The Doors of Perception (inspiring the name of the rock group The Doors) and Heaven and Hell. Huxley's first wife died in 1955, and he remarried in 1956. His 1962 novel, Island, envisioned a utopian society where psychedelic drugs are used for religious rituals. Huxley died in Los Angeles in 1963.

I wonder what Huxley would think about the world situation now days? Would he be saddened to see some of his harsher visions become so close to reality? I think so!

Something to ponder a bit, don't you think?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I have a few cookies left that I'll share!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Means Mystery Time...!

There are so many mysteries out there, it's hard to choose one for discussion.

Many of you may have heard of this one, but I thought it might be worthy of another look! Besides, I really want to know more about this stuff and I don't think the government will ever tell us how much they know about it, ya know?

Oakville Blobs

Q: What was the gelatinous substance that fell on Oakville, Washington in 1994?

On August 7, 1994, a bizarre gelatinous substance fell on the town of Oakville, which is a small logging community on the western edge of Washington State. Over a period of three weeks, the rain was spotted a total of six times, mostly in the middle of the night. By the afternoon of August 7, the residents of Oakville began to complain of a mysterious illness. They described having difficulty breathing, extreme vertigo, blurred vision, and an increased sense of nausea. One of the town’s residence Beverly Roberts was quoted as saying that everyone in town contracted a flu-like illness that lasted two to three months. Additionally, several cats and dogs that came into contact with the substance fell ill and died.

A sample of the substance was taken to a hospital and found to contain a large amount of human white blood cells, but nobody could identify how it came from the sky. The sample was then sent to the Washington State Department of Health for further study and determined to have two species of bacteria, one of which lives in the human digestive system. Because of the findings, the substance was initially speculated to be human waste from an airplane, but that was disproven. Evidence from the sample has supported the fact that the substance was alive.

Some people have linked the strange rain with a series of U.S. bombing runs that were carried out over the Pacific in August of 1994, while others are convinced that the town was used for a U.S. military experiment designed to test a new form of biological weapon. During the event, Oakville residents reported a significant, almost daily increase in the amount of slow-moving military aircraft in the skies over their town, but not much ground traffic was observed. Before the first rain was reported, a series of black helicopters were spotted in the area.

Some people have also connected the history of gelatinous rain with chemtrails in the United States. The chemtrail conspiracy holds that some trails left by streaking jets are actually chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for purposes undisclosed to the general public. There actually is a patent (United States Patent 6,315,213) which describes a method for artificially modifying the weather by seeding rain clouds of a storm with suitable cross-linked aqueous polymer. However, the current benefit of such a process in unknown. Others have connected the Oakville blobs with the historic accounts of star jelly.

Now this is a mystery you can really sink your teeth into, ya know? (sorry, but I couldn't resist!)

How about we have coffee out on the patio? Toasted sourdough bread and jelly (not the star kind) on the side!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Some Sunday Follow Up Cartoons...!

Since we had a little history on Tom and Jerry yesterday, it only seems right we view some of their activities.

I've always liked the Tom and Jerry cartoons, mainly because of the sound effects! Even though there is no talking, the yells and other noises made for these two just crack me up! I really don't know why!

Isn't it funny how something as simple as a cartoon can sometimes make us laugh out loud?

That's about it for today, I'm afraid. Don't want to take up too much of your time, but just wanted to leave you in a good mood! I hope this worked in that regard!

How about coffee on the patio this morning? It may rain, but I'll take the chance if you will!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Little Cartoon History...!

As you know, I like cartoons. I am also a big fan of history!

It seemed like a good day to dig up a little history about two of my favorite cartoon characters, Tom and Jerry! It turns out I was pleasantly surprised! Pretty interesting stuff, I think!

Tom and Jerry

First Produced: February 10, 1940 – August 1, 1958.
Inspiration: World War I / World War II

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were part of Rudolf Ising’s film production unit at the MGM cartoon studios in the late 1930s. MGM hoped to become rivals to the established Leon Schlesinger Productions (under Warner Brothers) and Max Fleischer Studios (with Paramount Pictures) and capitalize on the newly rediscovered interest in animated shorts films. Despite having acquired Friz Freleng from Schlesinger Productions, their first project entitled The Captain and the Kids did very poorly and the studio was forced to streamline the department to save costs. Joseph Barbera, a storywriter and character designer, was paired with William Hanna, a production director, in the hope that working so closely together would prove more cost effective. In their first production meeting, Barbera suggested they try a cat and mouse scenario, and they sketched out the characters they would need to produce Puss Gets The Boot, released February 10, 1940.

In interviews, Joe Barbera later said, “We knew we needed two characters. We thought we needed conflict, and chase and action. And a cat after a mouse seemed like a good, basic thought.” The original story revolved around a blue and white domestic shorthair tabby cat named Jasper in his attempts to catch a house mouse named Jinx, whilst avoiding the African American housemaid Mammy (who would later become Tom’s owner). At this, savage Jasper was seen as a quadruped and had normal cat-like intelligence, contrasting with Jinx who was bipedal and had more human-like intelligence. Between them they would smash things and damage household furniture until the cat was literally throw out, leaving Jerry free to go on as he liked. Yet this seemingly light-hearted match had a dark side in that it was also supposed to boost civilian moral during the Second World War. February 10, 1940 also happened to coincide with the beginning of the Battle of Britain, when German fighters attacked a convoy off the coast of Dover. America wasn’t officially in the war at this stage, although support for the British “Tommys” was strong among Americans. Somehow the cat and mouse story had struck a cord.

Hanna and Barbera, oblivious to this, carried on making new short films such as Gallopin’ Gals (1940) and Officer Pooch (1941) and almost forgot about their cat and mouse characters. That was until Puss Gets The Boot narrowly lost an Academy Award to The Milky Way (1940) – another Rudolph Ising production – for the Best Short Subject: Cartoons of 1941. Skeptics at MGM were immediately silenced, and Fred Quimby, the production manager at the MGM animation studio, quickly pulled the pair off their current projects and commissioned the cat and mouse back into production. The first things to be changed were the characters names. In the book “Tom & Jerry: The Definitive Guide to their Animated Adventures,” Patrick Brion recalls an in-studio competition to name the pair by pulling suggestions from a hat. Animator John Carr won $50 for his suggestion to name them Tom and Jerry. Carr’s suggestion came from two ideas: firstly that a cat should be named Tom because of the association with the tomcat as a breed of cat. Secondly because the war-like antics between the two characters reminded him of the Tommies and Jerries fighting in the First World War – a situation which had recently somehow repeated itself.

The Midnight Snack appeared as their next short on July 19 1941, the same date Winston Churchill launched his “V for Victory” campaign. The characters would go on to appear in four or five short films a year – totaling 114 films by the time the MGM cartoon studio was shut down in 1957, with the last cartoons released in 1958. This resulted in Hanna and Barbera starting their own animation studio (now primarily aimed at low budget television shorts) called Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. in 1957, although it would be some time before the studio made any money. MGM retained the Tom and Jerry license, and in a controversial twist decided to revive the series in the early 1960s using the Prague-based studio Rembrandt Films, with animator Gene Deitch and produced by company owner William L. Snyder. Czechoslovakia was a highly controversial choice given the fact it lay hidden behind the Iron Curtain, the Cold War was at it’s height, and the Cuban Missile Crisis happened during production. Both Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer were Eastern Europeans, from Warsaw and Minsk respectively

Sorry about the length of today's post, but some things need more than just a paragraph or two to talk about! And, as most history, it's much more interesting when you know all the details! Makes it a lot more fun!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning! I'll share the last of the Vanilla Pudding cake with ya!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Travels Are Here Again...!

This one isn't in the United States as some before have been!

Although it is a bit strange, I think it would be an interesting place to visit. It must be quite a sight, to say the least! While the reason for it's existence may not be clear, it is probably unique.

Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses, Kryzi┼│ Kalnas, located 12 kilometers north of the small industrial city of Siauliai (pronounced shoo-lay) is the Lithuanian national pilgrimage center. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity. The origin of the first crosses is unknown, but despite repeated attempts by the occupying communists in the 20th century to destroy the hill and remove the crosses, they still come back in their thousands. While the subject is not scary in itself, the concept of a hill with mysterious crosses appearing is a little disturbing.

Guess we should never underestimate the power of people moved by their faith! Notice the difference here between placing a cross, and attacking and killing folks for some imagined insult! In my opinion, there is just way too much killing in the world. That, however, is merely the opinion of an old-timer who has seen far too much violence in his lifetime.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. The rain seems to come and go, so we better not take a chance!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tiny Critters For Thursday...!

In a world where so many folks think that bigger is better, I thought we would examine something on the slightly smaller side.

Many times we overlook something because of the size, but nature manages to pack many of her wonders in pretty small packages! All we have to do find them to appreciate them. Here is just one example!

Virgin Islands Dwarf Gecko

On three of the British Virgin Islands lives the world’s smallest reptile. The Virgin Islands dwarf gecko is minuscule, measuring at only 18mm long and weighing a maximum of 0.15g. They live on rocky mountainsides, and tend to hide under stones in the moist shade. However, due to their small size, they are incredibly hard to find, and there are no estimates of the population size. It could equally have an abundant population or be close to extinction. Dwarf geckos are brown with a distinctive short light stripe behind each eye. Their feet have a special gripping surface that helps them climb vertically when needed. Females are slightly larger than males, and they reproduce during the wettest times of the year. Due to their small size, they lose water almost twice as fast as their larger relatives; this is thought to be why they hide in the cool, damp shade and why they reproduce only when water is plentiful.

We have to thank the fine folks over at Listverse for this article! They always have some interesting information over there, some you might like to explore when you have the time!

Coffee on the patio this morning, but we may have to move to the kitchen if the rain comes back...OK?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Once Again We Ride The Range...!

Because it's Western Wednesday, I thought we should take a look at one of the most iconic western heroes of our time, Hopalong Cassidy!

Not many cowboys had as much influence on the public's view of the western as an entertainment factor as ol' Hopalong did! Most modern western shows could thank him for a large part of their success!

Sep 12, 1972:
Hopalong Cassidy rides off into his last sunset

After nearly 40 years of riding across millions of American TV and movie screens, the cowboy actor William Boyd, best known for his role as Hopalong Cassidy, dies on this day in 1972 at the age of 77.

Boyd's greatest achievement was to be the first cowboy actor to make the transition from movies to television. Following World War II, Americans began to buy television sets in large numbers for the first time, and soon I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners were standard evening fare for millions of families. But despite their proven popularity in movie theaters, westerns were slow to come to the small screen. Many network TV producers scorned westerns as lowbrow "horse operas" unfit for their middle- and upper-class audiences.

Riding to the small screen's rescue came the movie cowboy, William Boyd. During the 1930s, Boyd made more than 50 cheap but successful "B-grade" westerns starring as Hopalong Cassidy. Together with his always loyal and outlandishly intelligent horse, Topper, Hopalong righted wrongs, saved school marms in distress, and single-handedly fought off hordes of marauding Indians. After the war, Boyd recognized an opportunity to take Hopalong and Topper into the new world of television, and he began to market his old "B" westerns to TV broadcasters in Los Angeles and New York City. A whole new generation of children thrilled to "Hoppy's" daring adventures, and they soon began to clamor for more.

Rethinking their initial disdain for the genre, producers at NBC contracted with Boyd in 1948 to produce a new series of half-hour westerns for television. By 1950, American children had made Hopalong Cassidy the seventh most popular TV show in America and were madly snapping up genuine "Hoppy" cowboy hats, chaps, and six-shooters, earning Boyd's venture more than $250 million. Soon other TV westerns followed Boyd's lead, becoming popular with both children and adults. In 1959, seven of the top-10 shows on national television were westerns like The Rifleman, Rawhide, and Maverick. The golden era of the TV western would finally come to an end in 1975 when the long-running Gunsmoke left the air, three years after Boyd rode off into his last sunset.

Sometimes all it takes is one man's vision to greatly affect the way things are done. Maybe this lesson we all should try and remember, especially around November!

The right man with the right vision could be an inspiration to all of us to set things right again, don't you think? Of course, the main thing is to participate in the process!

Coffee on the patio this morning! We can watch the hummingbirds fight for ownership of the feeder!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

You Really Need To Read This...!

Our fellow blogging buddy, Catman, created a great post.

If you want to read something outstanding, please go by and give Catman's post some attention, OK? Believe me, it's worth it...and that's the truth!

You can find it right here!

You know, we really have so many creative bloggers out there, it's hard to give some credit where credit is due! I'm going to have to try and pay more attention to this in the future!

Let's take our coffee out to the patio this morning. Got some more fresh (store bought) cookies so there's plenty for everyone!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A New Monday Mystery...!

Hunting down these different mysteries for Monday is entertaining, to say the least!

I had no idea that there were so many unsolved mysteries out there that folks were still working on and yet remain unsolved! I wonder if you can get a government grant for that kind of study?

Beale Ciphers

The Beale Ciphers are a set of three ciphertexts that supposedly reveal the location of one of the grandest buried treasures in U.S. history: thousands of pounds of gold, silver and jewels. The treasure was originally obtained by a mysterious man named Thomas Jefferson Beale in 1818 while prospecting in Colorado.

Of the three ciphertexts, only the second one has been cracked. Interestingly, the U.S. Declaration of Independence turned out to be the key — a curious fact given that Beale shares his name with the author of the Declaration of Independence.

The cracked text does reveal the county where the treasure was buried: Bedford County, Va., but its exact location is likely encrypted in one of the other uncracked ciphers. To this day, treasure hunters scour the Bedford County hillsides digging (often illegally) for the loot.

Anyone feel up to a treasure hunt? (I know you do, Dizzy!) Might be fun and just think of all the exercise we'll get!

Coffee on the patio this morning with some fried apple pies on the side! Sound good?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Once Again, So...!

I tell ya, I don't know just where the time goes!

Seems like the older I get, the faster time flies, know what I mean? Anyway, it's that time again. Time for the Sunday version of cartoons. Not the type that we see with all the politicians on the airways, but the kind that could be a little fun! So, like it or we go!

Much more fun than sitting around listening to a bunch of rich, uncaring political types yelling out lies, don't you think? One more for good measure!

That's all for now, folks! Hope I've given you something a little more fun to think about today! At least the cartoons are honest in their own special way!

Coffee on the patio today. If you're really good, I'll share my cookies with ya!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Something Different For Saturday...!

My baby sis sent me this article and I thought I would share it with everyone.

This is a new way to use an old friend, and it could come in handy!

All it a frozen lemon

Many professionals in restaurants and eateries are using or consuming the entire lemon and nothing is wasted.

How can you use the whole lemon without waste? Simple.. place the lemon in the freezer section of your refrigerator. Once the lemon is frozen, get your grater, and shred the whole lemon (no need to peel it)and sprinkle it on top of your foods. Sprinkle it to your whisky, wine, vegetable salad, ice cream, soup, noodles, spaghetti sauce, rice, sushi, fish dishes. All of the foods will unexpectedly have a wonderful taste, something that you may have never tasted before. Most likely, you only think of lemon juice and vitamin C. Not anymore. Now that you've learned this lemon secret, you can use lemon even in instant cup noodles.

What's the major advantage of using the whole lemon other than preventing waste and adding new taste to your dishes? Well, you see lemon peels contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself. And yes, that's what you've been wasting. But from now on, by following this simple procedure of freezing the whole lemon, then grating it on top of your dishes, you can consume all of those nutrients and get even healthier. It's also good that lemon peels are health rejuvenators in eradicating toxic elements in the body.

So place your lemon in your freezer, and then grate it on your meal every day. It is a key to make your foods tastier and you get to live healthier and longer! That's the lemon secret! Better late than NEVER! The surprising benefits of lemon!

Lemon (Citrus) is a miraculous product to kill cancer cells. It is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy. Why do we not know about that? Because there are laboratories interested in making a synthetic version that will bring them huge profits. You can now help a friend in need by letting him/her know that lemon juice is beneficial in preventing the disease. Its taste is pleasant and it does not produce the horrific effects of chemotherapy. How many people will die while this closely guarded secret is kept, so as not to jeopardize the beneficial multimillionaires large corporations?

As you know, the lemon tree is known for its varieties of lemons and limes. You can eat the fruit in different ways: you can eat the pulp, juice press, prepare drinks, sorbets, pastries, etc... It is credited with many virtues, but the most interesting is the effect it produces on cysts and tumors.

This plant is a proven remedy against cancers of all types. Some say it is very useful in all variants of cancer. It is considered also as an anti microbial spectrum against bacterial infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and worms, it regulates blood pressure which is too high and an antidepressant, combats stress and nervous disorders.

The source of this information is fascinating: it comes from one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, says that after more than 20 laboratory tests since 1970, the extracts revealed that It destroys the malignant cells in 12 cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas...

The compounds of this tree showed 10,000 times better than the product Adriamycin, a drug normally used chemotherapeutic in the world, slowing the growth of cancer cells. And what is even more astonishing: this type of therapy with lemon extract only destroys malignant cancer cells and it does not affect healthy cells.

Not having tried this, I can't tell you for a fact that it works. But like my sis said, it sure can't hurt! It's cheap enough as well!

How about we have our coffee out on the patio this morning? I have some miniature cinnamon rolls I'll share!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Time Travel For Friday...!

Today we are going to travel back to San Antonio for the flash flood of 1921!

Texas isn't normally known for having a lot of flash floods, especially floods of this magnitude! However, this was a bad one by any standard. I suppose that some important lessons were learned from this disaster, and the proper precautions were taken to prevent a repeat event.

Sep 7, 1921:
Flash flood hits San Antonio

The San Antonio River floods on this day in 1921, killing 51 people and causing millions of dollars in damages. The flood was caused by some of the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in Texas.

The San Antonio River winds through southwest Texas, an area that is generally dry. However, on September 7, a storm stalled over the town of Taylor and dumped an astounding 23.11 inches of rain on the area in less than a day. It was the heaviest single day of rainfall in the state to that time.

The immense amount of rain quickly overwhelmed the river. Taylor is located 30 miles upstream from San Antonio, so the resulting flash flood went barreling toward the city. Most of the victims were trapped in their cars by the surprise flood and drowned. Five to 10 feet of water submerged the city's streets, delaying an evacuation.

The city was under water for nearly a week following the flood. The flood was responsible for at least $5 million in damages in the then-small city. In the aftermath, San Antonio embarked on a 10-year overhaul of its levee system.

In this year of extreme weather, maybe we can look back at some disasters like this one and double check on the preparations against them. At least, that would be my suggestion, ya know?

How about coffee on the patio this morning? I have some brownies left that I'll share!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Good History For A Change...!

Once in a great while, you find that the government actually did something right.

Some folks might not agree, but I think this is pretty cool myself. Certainly when this many folks are employed, especially handicapped folks, things can only be good! That's just my opinion, for what it's worth.

The pens read "SKILCRAFT-U.S. GOVERNMENT." And if you have worked for an American government institution, you know that they are everywhere. At roughly 50 cents each (if you qualify for government pricing), the pens are the only ones you will see, officially speaking, at most government institutions.

Which makes you different than the people manufacturing the pens themselves. Skilcraft pens are manufactured by blind workers.

In 1938, the United States was still in the midst of the Great Depression. Given that the economy was still incredibly soft, and that blind workers were already at a competitive disadvantage, the government stepped in. Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the Wagner-O'Day Act, which aimed at providing upward economic mobility for the blind by requiring that when the federal government purchased specific goods, those goods were manufactured by blind Americans. The law, codified at 41 U.S.C. 46, soon included pens.

The Skilcraft brand came to be a decade or so later, in 1952. Today, the company employs over 5,000 blind workers in 44 states, producing a full arsenal of office supplies, janitorial equipment, etc., with the pens being produced in factories in Wisconsin or North Carolina. As reported by the Washington Post, the pens must be made to the specifications outlined by a sixteen page document which was first promulgated over fifty years ago. Among the requirements? The pens "must be able to write continuously for a mile and in temperatures up to 160 degrees and down to 40 degrees below zero."

In all, the U.S. government orders $5 million worth of these pens a year (with 60% going to the military) -- a small part of the spending under the Wagner-O'Day (now Javitz-Wagner-O'Day) Act. The Act, which was revised in 1971 to include people with "significant disabilities" as eligible for the program, is administered through an organization called AbilityOne, and helps to employ over 40,000 such people. In total, the government spends over $650 million (as recently as 2009) annually on AbilityOne goods and services.

Actually, this is one government program I can stand behind. You might know it was started a long time ago, long before the government backed so many black ops type programs. This was designed to actually help folks and apparently, it does!

Coffee on the patio this morning. Got some "pigs in a blanket" on the side!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Some More Western Wednesday...!

Behind every great story of the old west, there is a back story!

Often we think we know the complete story, but true history has a way of getting twisted and turned around. The more a story is told, the more a legend can be made to fit popular demand!
Sep 5, 1847:
Outlaw Jesse James is born in Missouri

Seen by some as a vicious murderer and by others as a gallant Robin Hood, the famous outlaw Jesse Woodson James is born on this day in 1847, in Clay County, Missouri.

Jesse and his older brother Franklin lost their father in 1849, when the Reverend Robert James abandoned his young family and disappeared forever into the California gold fields. Their mother, Zerelda, quickly remarried, but rumor had it that their new stepfather treated Jesse and Frank poorly, and a third husband soon followed. Perhaps it was a violent and unstable family life that led the young Jesse and Frank into lives of crime. Regardless, it is certain that the brothers first learned to kill during the Civil War. As Confederate sympathizers, both Jesse and Frank joined William Quantrill's vicious Missouri guerilla force, and Jesse participated in the cold-blooded murder of 25 unarmed Union soldiers in August 1863.

When the war ended, neither man felt any enthusiasm for the drab life of a Missouri farmer-earning a living with their guns seemed easier and more exciting. Joining a motley band of ex-soldiers and common thieves, Jesse and Frank staged the first daylight bank robbery in U.S. history on Valentine's Day in 1866, making off with $57,000 of the hard-earned cash of the citizens of Liberty, Missouri. For the next decade the James Gang would steal many thousands more from banks, stores, stagecoaches, and trains.

The boldness of their crimes and the growing resentment among westerners of big railroads and robber barons led some to romanticize Jesse and Frank, a process that was encouraged by the authors of popular dime novels who created largely fictional versions of the James brothers as modern-day Robin Hoods who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In reality, the James brothers' crimes preyed as much on the common folks as on the very rich, and they did little to spare the lives of innocents caught in the crossfire. The Robin Hood myth conveniently ignores the little girl shot in the leg during a botched robbery at the Kansas City Fair, the train engineer killed when the James Gang derailed his locomotive, or the dozens of other innocent bystanders murdered or maimed by Jesse, Frank, or their gang. Nonetheless, the myth that Jesse James was a good-hearted hero of the common folk remains popular to this day. Robert Ford shot James in the back of the head-- killing him on April 3, 1882.

Makes it a lot more interesting when you know the rest of the story, doesn't it?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Chocolate brownies on the side, if that's alright!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Very Serious Warning...!

Most of us have been aware for a while of the problems with the bee die-off!

This sad event is world wide and will eventually affect us all, in one way or another. This article explains a couple of main studies that have been done to try and understand what the cause is. It's a bit long, but interesting.

Colony Collapse Disorder

Since 1972, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of feral honey bees in the United States, which are now almost extinct. It has become clear that an unknown factor is threatening the existence of bees around the world. The phenomenon has become known as colony collapse disorder. By February 2007, large commercial migratory beekeepers in several U.S. states had reported heavy losses associated with CCD. Colony losses were also reported in five Canadian provinces, several European countries, and in South America, Central America and Asia. The mechanisms of CCD are unknown, but many causative agents have been proposed, including malnutrition, pathogens, immunodeficiencies, mites, fungus, pesticides, and electromagnetic radiation (EMR).

In October 2011, a review study was published by the Indian government’s Ministry of Environment and Forests that looked at 919 peer-reviewed scientific studies that investigated the impact of electromotive force (EMF) on birds, bees, humans, animals/wildlife and plants. Six articles on bees claimed to find evidence for negative side effects related to the exposure of EMF radiation. One experiment noted that when a mobile phone was kept in a beehive, worker bees stopped coming to the hive after ten days. The same study found a drastic decrease in the egg production of queen bees when a mobile phone was present. The authors concluded that “Existing literature shows that EMRs are interfering with the biological systems in more ways than one.” They recommended recognizing EMF as a pollutant.

In early October 2011, millions of honey bees died in the area of Brevard County, Florida. The case has baffled experts because the bees appear to have been poisoned. The bodies do not resemble any recorded examples of colony collapse disorder. It cannot be determined exactly what killed the colonies, but as many as 12 million bees from 800 hives in Brevard County, on central Florida’s Atlantic coast died during a seven day span. The bee carcasses show signs of pesticide poising and the case is being investigated as a possible crime. In an interesting coincidence, county officials sprayed mosquito-killing pesticide from the air in the week prior to the deaths. They said the poison dissipates quickly and should not have harmed the bees. The colonies are being tested to determine the exact cause of death, but no official information has been released.

As you can tell, I survived the get-together. It actually wasn't as bad as I expected and was overall a good party! Who would have guessed?

Coffee on the patio this morning. Fresh baked peanut butter chocolate cookies to go along with it, OK?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday Mystery Time...!

Today is not only Labor Day, but it is also our annual family get-together.

If it were left up to me, we wouldn't be having this reunion, but Mom really likes to have it. I have to figure that given her age, what she wants I need to make happen.
After all, I figure I can put up with this group for one day a year!

Now, on to today's mystery! This is another one from here in the U.S., which is good for us!

Berkeley Mystery Walls

There is a bizarre set of ancient walls that exist in the hills along the East Bay of San Francisco. Little has been written about the walls and their origin. The walls are constructed from closely fit basalt boulders, which serve as the foundation of the structures. The rocks are deeply embedded in the soil and weigh up to 1 ton. The walls extend for many miles along the hill crests from Berkeley to Milpitas and beyond, even all the way to San Jose, which is located 50 miles south. Some of the walls have been destroyed over the years, but large stretches still exist. In some places, the walls twist and turn abruptly and climb large hills. However, they don’t appear to enclose anything or serve a practical purpose.

The walls surround mountains and extend to Mt. Diablo, where people have discovered a strange stone circle that is 30 feet (9.1 meters) in diameter. The best preserved sections of the walls can be found on Monument Peak, which is east of Milpitas, California. In some places the walls have been known to reach the height of 6 feet (1.8 meters) and the width of 3 feet (0.9 meters). In one location the walls form a spiral that is 200 feet (60.9 meters) wide and circles into a boulder. The construction looks old, but no research has been done to determine their precise age. Before Europeans arrived in San Francisco Bay, the Ohlone Indians populated the region, but they didn’t use stone construction.

To the west of San Francisco Bay, there is another rock wall anomaly in Point Reyes that has drawn some attention. It consists of over 400 carefully laid stones that bisect the Tomales Point peninsula. It is currently unclear who created the Berkeley mystery walls, but some feel the structures were used as a defensive stronghold or line between Indian tribes. In 1904, UC-Berkeley professor John Fryer suggested that the walls were made by migrant Chinese, who traveled to California before the Europeans. Some specialists have noted that the walls look similar to other ancient structures found in rural Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. Some sections of the Berkeley mystery walls have been torn apart by acorns that fell within cracks, sprouted and became mature trees, and then died and decayed, which indicates the structures have been around for a long time.

Well, that's all I have for today! Guess I better go get ready for the "company!" Wonder why the majority of these folks only show up when there is free food or presents? Now there is a modern mystery for ya!

At least my Baby Sis will be here, so I'll have someone I can carry on a grown-up conversation with!

Coffee on the patio this morning. If you want some cookies, better grab them now before the hoard gets here!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Another Fun Sunday...!

I know how we all look forward to the Sunday Funnies.

Believe it or not, Buddy likes to watch the screen and chase the figures as they move! If I could keep him off the keyboard, I wouldn't mind! I get some crazy garbage on the screen when he walks back and forth across the keys, believe me!

It's been raining pretty good here and has cooled down all the way to the low 80's. Pretty nice for a change!

I think we have time for just one more, don't you agree?

I hope you all have a very good day today and that you enjoyed the 'toons!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'm in the mood for some lemon pie, ya know?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Must Apologize...!

I decided that I owe a serious "I'm sorry" to all the new followers in our group!

I should have taken the time long before now to welcome each and every person that is a follower here at the Hermit's house...especially the most recent ones! Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would have added so many new friends when I started this blog! My first post was back on November 7, 2007. Can you believe it? This blog has lasted longer than any of my marriages, but that's another story for another day!

By the way, I have a couple of new pictures of the "roomie" to share! Sorry he was asleep, but he only has two speeds...running flat out and sound asleep!

Just one more!

Again, thanks in a very big way for all of you that make my day so much better just by being a follower and for coming by each and every day! I truly appreciate it!

Coffee on the patio this morning, if that's OK. Since it's pretty warm out on the patio, I have iced tea, if you'd rather have it!