Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How About A "Snow Donut"...?

Because we had so much snow, and many places are still getting another round, I figured that we would look at a cool feature of this white stuff!

People make some fairly impressive creations using snow, but I think that Mother Nature once again proves that She can outdo our puny attempts!

Snow Donuts

You know how when you were a kid, and it snowed outside, the first thing you did was roll up a nice big snowball? You either threw it at somebody’s face or made a snowman with it (depending on what type of kid you were), but that’s not the important part of the memory right now. The important thing—the fantastic thing—is that nature has its own way of rolling snowballs: snow donuts. These rare shapes are formed—under perfect temperature conditions only—when a mass of snow either falls or is blown by the wind. If it manages to catch on to some other snow, and gravity or the wind is in its favor, then the new snowball will roll itself in the exact same way we all used to. In this case, though, the middles tend to collapse to create a donut shape, which can end up as tall as 26 inches (66 centimeters).

Now, don't get me wrong, but I think snow is very pretty on postcards! I just don't really want to live in an area where it is a regular occurrence. Been there and done that! I'll settle for a little frost once or twice during the Winter!

Coffee outside again this morning. I have some donut holes with powdered sugar! That OK?

Monday, April 29, 2013

One More Monday Mystery...!

We all enjoy a good mystery once in a while, right? That's why I started having Monday as a day for mystery.

Some times these mysteries have an explanation and sometimes they don't. The unexplained are the ones we like the best!

Annette Sagers

On November 21, 1987, Korrina Lynne Sagers Malinoski, a 26-year old woman from Mount Holly, South Carolina, mysteriously disappeared when she did not show up for work and her car was found parked in front of the Mount Holly Plantation. But that’s not even the most bizarre aspect of this story. On October 4, 1988, Korrina’s 8-year old daughter, Annette Sagers, was on her way to school and went to the bus stop in front of the Mount Holly Plantation… and she mysteriously vanished as well!

To make things even stranger, a note was found at the bus stop which read: “Dad, momma come back. Give the boys a hug”. While it looked like it may have been written under duress, handwriting experts determined that Annette likely wrote the note. It’s been speculated that Annette’s mother may have returned to reclaim her daughter so they could disappear together, but she also left two sons behind and no one in their family has heard from either of them in 25 years. In 2000, an anonymous caller claimed that Annette’s body was buried in Sumter County, but that lead never panned out. Overall, this is a truly baffling mystery with no discernible solution.

In a case like this, I believe that the families are the ones that suffer the most. I just can't imagine not knowing what happened to a loved one. Bad news would probably be better than no news at all, I think!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. How about some snickerdoodles?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Soggy Sunday 'Toons...!

Since it's raining here at the moment, I figure this would be a good day to kick back and watch some 'toons, right?

I think this would be a great day to read a book, don't you? I love to read and rainy days make it all the nicer. Napping is another good way to pass the time when it's raining! Of course, the best day is one where you can do both! Just one perk of being single!

Haven't seen ol' Bugs in a long time!

Maybe we should have another one!

Well, enough of the cartoons. Let's put on some nice music, grab a good book, and start a big pot of soup. Good way to spend a wet Sunday!

Coffee inside this morning. Too wet outside and I'm a wimp today!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Denver Conspiracy...!

I'm sure many of you have seen or heard of the conspiracy theory that surrounds the Denver airport, but I thought I would mention it again!

You have to admit that any conspiracy with as much tangible proof as this airport should be mentioned more than once, right? Besides, we haven't had a good conspiracy story in a while!

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport is the largest airport in the United States, and the third largest in the world. Conspiracy theorists crawl all over this as the secret cover for the New World Order’s underground headquarters. Their reasoning is that the base is abnormally far from Denver’s center, 25 miles. The airport is extremely expansive, and boasts a very strange architectural appearance. The main building is comprised on a tent structure, similar to a circus tent, made of white fabric, that is designed to remind the visitor of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, which can be seen from the airport.

But theorists claim that it is designed to resemble Indian teepees, in an effort to appease the dead Indians buried here. It is a fact that the main airport building is centered precisely on what once was an Indian burial ground. But creepier than this are the weird murals in the main building. Their designers claim to have been required to use such symbols as the Nazi Black Sun, and a scene depicting the destruction of a city and forest, with a girl holding a Mayan tablet prophesying the end of the world, and any conspiracy theorist will tell you that the room’s name, “The Great Hall,” is an obvious reference to Freemasonry.

It is a fact that the murals were commissioned by Wilma Webb, wife of Denver’s mayor, and that she conducted a Masonic dedication of the airport just before its opening.

I've seen a show with Jesse Ventura on this airport, and it was interesting!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, as the rain is coming back. Cinnamon toast this morning, OK?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Problems With The Internet Today...!

For some reason, Comcast is cutting off a lot today. I'm going to try and finish this post before it goes out completely, but no promises!

I wanted to share a little history about Mr. Pike this morning. This was one interesting man, to say the least! Too many times, folks like Pike get sort of lost in the shadows of more prominent figures and that's a shame!

Apr 27, 1813:
Explorer Zebulon Pike dies

After surviving two dangerous exploratory expeditions into uncharted areas of the West, Zebulon Pike dies during a battle in the War of 1812.

By the time he became a general in 1812, Pike had already faced many perilous situations. He joined the army when he was 15, and eventually took various military posts on the American frontier. In 1805, General James Wilkinson ordered Pike to lead 20 soldiers on a reconnaissance of the upper Mississippi River. Expecting to return before the rivers froze, Pike and his small band departed up the Mississippi in a 70-foot keelboat in early August. Slow progress, however, meant Pike and his men spent a hard winter near present-day Little Falls, Minnesota, before returning the following spring.

Less than three months later, Wilkinson ordered Pike to head west again. This time, Pike and his men explored the headwaters of the Arkansas River, a route that took them into Colorado. There, Pike saw the towering peak that now bears his name, and he made an ill-advised attempt to climb it. Grossly underestimating the height of the mountain and dressed only in thin cotton uniforms, Pike and his men struggled with deep snow and sub-zero temperatures before finally abandoning the ascent.

During this second expedition, Pike also became lost and wandered into Spanish-controlled territory. A Spanish patrol arrested him and took him into custody. Although Pike had indisputably lost his way, he had also hoped the Spanish would capture him so he could see more of their territory. This risky strategy paid off. Failing to recognize they were providing Pike with a golden opportunity to spy on the territory, the Spanish obligingly moved their prisoner first to Santa Fe and then to Chihuahua, before finally releasing him near the U.S. boundary at Louisiana.

Impressed with his daring and his reputation as an efficient officer, the military promoted Pike to brigadier general during the War of 1812. Having survived two perilous journeys into the Far West, Pike was killed on this day in 1813 while leading an attack on British troops in Toronto. He was 34 years old.

I have a feeling that a more careful study of history would find many more stories of folks like Zeb Pike, don't you? It's worth a shot!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some chocolate fudge pie I'll share!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I LIKE This Chimp...!

Many of us are always talking about having the freedom to do exactly what we want, when we want! Well, some animals have those same ideas!

Surprisingly, there is one chimp that is taking "personal freedom" to a whole new level! I have a feeling that this chimp is a lot closer to some humans than we want to admit! He does what he wants, he's sneaky about it, and he is becoming a better shot! Gotta just love this chimp!

Santino The Chimp

Santino is a chimpanzee at Sweden’s Furuvik Zoo. Santino is a normal chimp—except that he’s a bit of a jerk. In 2010, Santino began throwing rocks at zoo patrons—which, to be fair, isn’t too far out of the ordinary.

What is strange, however, is that Santino started getting better at it. He began hiding rocks around his enclosure, under hay and behind boulders that were within striking distance of patrons. He would then wait for the zoo to get busy and begin hurling rocks at people. Scientists love to study Santino’s behavior because he exhibits foresight, an understanding of cause and effect, and the ability to plan; traits that are often thought of as exclusively human.

The rest of us are a little creeped out by this hyper-intelligent chimp. If he can organize a strategic rock attack against zoo patrons, how long before chimps launch a full scale rebellion against humankind and take over the world? Seems like a logical progression to me.

I'm thinking that maybe we should take a lesson from ol' Santino and follow his example! In order to keep the wardens of the zoo from taking your rocks, hide them! Not all in one place, but hide them all over.

Practice a lot so that you don't waste all your rocks due to bad shots. Make every rock count! The main thing to remember is...do whatever you want, as long as it pisses off the keepers of the zoo!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's a little cloudy, but it's not raining!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Arizona Ranger On Western Wednesday...!

I know that many times here I have sung the praises of the Texas Rangers, but other states had their share of notable Rangers as well!

No post about Arizona Rangers would be complete without giving the biggest nod to this man!

Apr 30, 1867:
Arizona Ranger Burton Mossman is born

Burton C. Mossman, a rancher turned lawman, is born in Aurora, Illinois.

Little is known about Mossman's childhood in Illinois, though he apparently learned to be self-reliant and resourceful at a young age. When he was 21, Mossman left home and moved to Mexico, where he quickly began proving himself one of the most canny and successful ranchers in the territory. By age 30, he not only had his own spread in New Mexico, but was also the superintendent of a two-million-acre ranch in northern Arizona running 60,000 cattle.

As the size of the southwestern cattle industry increased, cattle rustlers began to take advantage of the lack of surveillance on the isolated ranges to steal stock. In 1901, the territory of Arizona responded by organizing a ranger force to rid the region of rustlers and other outlaws. The governor of Arizona convinced Mossman to sign on as the first captain of the Arizona Rangers.

Mossman was suited to the task. Courageous and skilled with a pistol, he had a knack for surprising rustlers while they were still in possession of stolen cattle, freshly butchered beef, green hides, and other incriminating evidence. Though he could use violence to good effect when needed, Mossman preferred to trick his quarry into giving up peacefully when possible. In one instance, Mossman rode south alone in pursuit of the multiple-murderer Agostine Chacon, who had fled to Mexico. Clearly out of his jurisdiction, Mossman had to act with finesse. With the assistance of Burt Alvard, an outlaw turned lawman, Mossman convinced Chacon that he and Alvard were also outlaws and would help him steal several top horses from a ranch in southern Arizona. When the men crossed the border into Arizona, Mossman revealed his true identity and arrested Chacon, who was later hanged.

The Chacon arrest was a typical example of Mossman's approach to dealing with Arizona rustlers and outlaws. "If they come along easy, everything will be all right," he once explained. "If they don't, well, I just guess we can make pretty short work of them... Some of them will object, of course. They'll probably try a little gunplay as a bluff, but I shoot fairly well myself, and the boys who back me up are handy enough with guns. Any rustler who wants to yank on the rope and kick up trouble will find he's up against it."

After a long and adventurous career with the Arizona Rangers, Mossman eventually returned to the more peaceful life of a rancher. By the time he retired from ranching in 1944, he had business interests in cattle operations from Mexico to Montana, and more than a million cattle wore his brand. He lived out the remainder of his life at his comfortable ranch in Roswell, New Mexico, and died in 1956 at the age of 89.

Thanks again to the folks at History.com for letting us learn about the working heroes of the Old West! Mossman had a long and exciting life, it seems!

Coffee outside this morning. It may start to rain, but let's take a chance, OK?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Poe Toaster...!

Some little mysteries in life are really more enjoyable when left unexplained.

Part of any mystery is the fun of not knowing or understanding the why. By not knowing, our minds can fill in the blanks and add to the mystery by making up our own version of the why. Sort of makes the mystery more interesting, don't you think?

The Poe Toaster

The Poe Toaster is the nickname given to a mysterious man who pays annual tribute to Poe by visiting his grave every year. The strange tradition started in 1949 – a century are after Poe’s death, and it occurs every year on the author’s birthday (January 19). According to Wikipedia: “In the early hours of the morning on that date, a black-clad figure, presumed to be male, with a silver-tipped cane enters the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, Maryland. The individual proceeds to Poe’s grave, where he or she raises a cognac toast. Before departing, the Toaster leaves three red roses and a half-bottle of cognac on the grave."

The Toaster wears a black hat and coat and hides his face with a hood or scarf. Groups of reporters and admirers are often on hand to watch the event. There have been no attempts to interfere with the Toaster or to unmask him – most likely out of respect for the tradition.

See, I really don't want to know why the toaster does what he (or she) does. Just the fact that someone spends a little time every year paying respects to someone that is no longer with us somehow gives me some small comfort. I can't explain it, but somehow...it does.

Coffee inside this morning. The weather is going to be warm, but rain is expected.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Honeycomb On Monday Mysteries...!

Nature can really astound us if we take the time to study her. She is constantly full of mysterious beauty!

Many times we take everything we see in nature for granted, but in all honesty most of Nature's creations are nothing short of a miracle! From Listverse, this article about the honey bee proves it!


Not only are bees stellar honey producers—it seems they also have a knack for geometry. For thousands of years, humans have marveled at the perfect hexagonal figures in honeycombs and wondered how bees can instinctively create a shape humans can only reproduce with a ruler and compass. The honeycomb is a case of wallpaper symmetry, where a repeated pattern covers a plane (e.g. a tiled floor or a mosaic).

How and why do bees have a hankering for hexagons? Well, mathematicians believe that it is the perfect shape to allow bees to store the largest possible amount of honey while using the least amount of wax. Other shapes, like circles for instance, would leave a gap between the cells since they don’t fit together exactly.

Other observers, who have less faith in the ingenuity of bees, think the hexagons form by “accident.” In other words, the bees simply make circular cells and the wax naturally collapses into the form of a hexagon. Either way, it’s all a product of nature —and it’s pretty darn impressive.

With just such an "accident" of Nature, she far exceeds the bounds of what man can do! Just my opinion, you understand.

Let's have coffee out on the patio this morning. No rain in the forecast for today.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Abbott And Costello For Sunday...!

Instead of the usual 'toons this Sunday, I thought we would take a trip back through time to the days of Abbott and Costello!

These guys were very popular during the '40s and '50s, back in the "Golden Age" of television. I can remember watching their movies back in the 1950s when I was kid! Funny stuff!

Many of the routines they used in their stand up are still being used in some fashion today. Even folks that never saw them can remember the routines!

The boys had a great combination of slapstick and Vaudeville type humor to really make an audience grin, smile, or laugh out loud!

Ya know, the more I watch this last one...the more sense it makes! That's pretty scary!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's chilly, but that's OK. Want some marble cake with peanut butter icing?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Longfellow Talks To Me...!

I found this poem for my Mom, because she had seen a small portion in a book and liked it.

After reading the poem, I realized that the words struck a chord with me and would probably do the same with some of my readers. So, that's why I chose to post it here today. You may have read it before, but even if you have, another read might be in order. At my age, this poem has a lot more meaning than it did back when I was young. Guess that happens as you get older!


As a fond mother, when the day is o'er,
   Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
   Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
   And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
   Nor wholly reassured and comforted
   By promises of others in their stead,
   Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
   Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
   Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
   Being too full of sleep to understand
   How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

Does it ring a bell with you? If nothing else, it makes for some interesting reading, don't you think?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's still a little chilly out!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The History Of Nazi "Fanta"...!

Now here is a piece of history that's related to Coca Cola, believe it or not!

I really like it when I find a bit of historical trivia that I didn't know, don't you? Of course, you may already know this, but it was brand new to me! What a great way to start the weekend!

Nazi Fanta
Fact: Nazis invented Fanta soft drinks

No matter how unbelievable this fact might sound to some, Fanta was invented by Nazis in Germany back in 1941. It was very difficult for the Nazis to import Coca-Cola syrup into Germany during World War II due to trade embargos. So, the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland, Max Keith, decided to make a new product for the German market.

He used ingredients available already in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace. During a brainstorm on what to name the beverage, Keith said “use your imagination” or “fantasie” in German. Salesman Joe Knipp yelled out “Fanta!” And this is how Fanta was born. Today you can find over 100 flavors of Fanta worldwide.

Sitting here thinking about it, I don't remember ever having a Fanta! After finding this information at Listverse, I may have to track one down...just so I can say I did!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning due to the weather! How about some biscuits, sausage, and flour gravy?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'll Drink To That...!

We all have heard that our founding fathers were hard working, hard drinking men. Just how hard drinking they were is illustrated in this story from Listverse!

Fact: The founding fathers of the US loved to drink.

While in France, Jefferson spent a great deal of time in the vineyards of Burgundy. John Adams is said to have drunk cider for breakfast every day to the day he died. In 1787, two days before they signed off on the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention partied at a tavern. According to the bill preserved from the evening, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer and seven bowls of alcoholic punch.

In their defense, we must mention that getting drunk and not losing control was socially acceptable and perfectly normal back in those times. Of course that would slowly change and become less acceptable, until the US had alcohol prohibition in the early 20th century.

Kinda makes you wonder how the guys ever managed to put together one of the most powerful and influential documents of our time, doesn't it? Those founding fathers sure had steel in their backbone, lead lined guts, and balls of pure brass!

We better have our coffee inside this morning, as we have a storm supposedly moving in. Rain, thunder, wind and hail! Nice, huh?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Boomers" And "Sooners" On Western Wednesday...!

Did you ever wonder just where the term "Boomers" came from? How about the "Sooners?" Well. don't wonder any more, because the Hermit is going to tell ya!

Both of these terms were part of one of the first land rushes. It was an interesting time, to say the least! Lots of lessons learned during the first land rush! From the folks over at History.com, here is good article about the whole mess!

Apr 22, 1889:
The Oklahoma land rush begins

At precisely high noon, thousands of would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land.

The nearly two million acres of land opened up to white settlement was located in Indian Territory, a large area that once encompassed much of modern-day Oklahoma. Initially considered unsuitable for white colonization, Indian Territory was thought to be an ideal place to relocate Native Americans who were removed from their traditional lands to make way for white settlement. The relocations began in 1817, and by the 1880s, Indian Territory was a new home to a variety of tribes, including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Commanche, and Apache.

By the 1890s, improved agricultural and ranching techniques led some white Americans to realize that the Indian Territory land could be valuable, and they pressured the U.S. government to allow white settlement in the region. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison agreed, making the first of a long series of authorizations that eventually removed most of Indian Territory from Indian control.

To begin the process of white settlement, Harrison chose to open a 1.9 million-acre section of Indian Territory that the government had never assigned to any specific tribe. However, subsequent openings of sections that were designated to specific tribes were achieved primarily through the Dawes Severalty Act (1887), which allowed whites to settle large swaths of land that had previously been designated to specific Indian tribes.

On March 3, 1889, Harrison announced the government would open the 1.9 million-acre tract of Indian Territory for settlement precisely at noon on April 22. Anyone could join the race for the land, but no one was supposed to jump the gun. With only seven weeks to prepare, land-hungry Americans quickly began to gather around the borders of the irregular rectangle of territory. Referred to as "Boomers," by the appointed day more than 50,000 hopefuls were living in tent cities on all four sides of the territory.

The events that day at Fort Reno on the western border were typical. At 11:50 a.m., soldiers called for everyone to form a line. When the hands of the clock reached noon, the cannon of the fort boomed, and the soldiers signaled the settlers to start. With the crack of hundreds of whips, thousands of Boomers streamed into the territory in wagons, on horseback, and on foot. All told, from 50,000 to 60,000 settlers entered the territory that day. By nightfall, they had staked thousands of claims either on town lots or quarter section farm plots. Towns like Norman, Oklahoma City, Kingfisher, and Guthrie sprang into being almost overnight.

An extraordinary display of both the pioneer spirit and the American lust for land, the first Oklahoma land rush was also plagued by greed and fraud. Cases involving "Sooners"--people who had entered the territory before the legal date and time--overloaded courts for years to come. The government attempted to operate subsequent runs with more controls, eventually adopting a lottery system to designate claims. By 1905, white Americans owned most of the land in Indian Territory. Two years later, the area once known as Indian Territory entered the Union as a part of the new state of Oklahoma.

I don't know if there was a better way to parcel out the land or not. I guess the PTB did what they thought was the best way, but we all know that doesn't always work out!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll show ya the four new baby kitties! Momma Kitty won't mind!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

That Special Feeling...!

I'll bet that some of you have felt the effects of this before, but probably didn't know there was a name for it!

Did you ever have one of the "virtual pets?" Many of us did. If you knew about them, you saw just how popular they were. You might say they were the Iphone of their day! Here is a little history of this effect and an explanation of the whole thing, thanks to our fine friends at Listverse!

Tamagotchi effect

Ah, the Tamagotchi. If you lived through the 1990s, you probably owned one, knew someone who did, or at the very least knew about them. As of 2010, over 76 million of the little electronic critters have been sold worldwide. A Tamagotchi, for those of you scratching your heads, is a small, hand-held “digital pet” invented in 1996 in Japan. A Tamagotchi’s owner is responsible for, among other tasks, feeding, administering medicine, disciplining, and cleaning up after it.

The Tamagochi effect is the psychological phenomenon of owners becoming emotionally attached to a robot or other digital object. A person may come to see their relationship with a Tamagotchi, a cell phone, a robot, or even a piece of software as a viable emotional relationship. Research suggests that the Tamagotchi effect is seen in all ages, and has both positive and negative psychological implications for a person’s mental health.

Isn't it nice to find out there is a name for that special feeling you may develope toward your favorite electronic toy? Does that make you feel much better about it? If so, I have to say that I worry a little about you, my friend!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. We can sit here and smell all the roses!

Monday, April 15, 2013

'Possums For Monday Mystery...!

This little mystery is a bit different than usual, to say the least! I spent the weekend catching possums! That's right...catching possums!

The strange part is that I caught these possums at home, in my Mother's house. In her toilets, to be exact! Two on Saturday and another one on Sunday! Keep in mind, this is not in the country but in Houston! In a residential neighborhood! No opened doors...no opened windows! Just to make sure that folks knew I wasn't making this up, I snapped a couple of pictures.

The pictures above are of the possums just as I found them Saturday morning. By the way, that brown color in the water came from the critters and not from something else! Just wanted to clear that up! After catching these two, I moved them outside to the back yard! They were still very much alive!

Sunday morning Mom called me to come over to her house and look at something! Sure enough, there in her john was another small possum! This one was alone, and a little smaller than the other two!

Now, here comes the mystery! How the hell did these critters get into Mom's toilets? Did they swim up the sewer pipe? Did they come down the vent pipe? Were they left by the "possum fairy?" If anyone has any idea as to how these guys got in the house and the toilets, I'd be more than happy to find out! This is one mystery I'd like to have solved, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Don't worry...I moved the possum!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Time For Sunday Fun...!

After taking off yesterday, I'm ready to get back to some fun time!

Like usual on Sunday, I thought we might do some Roadrunner 'toons. Everyone seems to like him, but I suspect that the real hero of these 'toons is ol' Wiley Coyote, ya know? Either way, here they come!

Here's one you may not have seen yet. After all, it is fairly old!

I know that many have seen many of these before, but funny is always repeatable, right?

Well, I guess that will have to do for now. I'm sure that everyone has stuff to do today! Me? I'm taking things easy again!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. You can help me plan my container garden!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Taking Saturday Off...! Corrected!

For some reason, I'm feeling pretty lazy today. I'm thinking that it must just be a case of Spring fever, ya reckon?

Just because I don't want to leave you all stranded with nothing to read or listen to...I'm filling this space today wih a song I play about once a year, at least! I haven't heard it for a while and I really like this song! I reckon that's because it rings so true!

I hope everyone has a great day. I just need a day to collect myself, OK?

Good day for coffee outside. You know where the coffeepot is, right?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Let's Talk Hermits...!

Many of us dream of being in a place of solitude, far from the noise and the maddening crowd. Few of us actually take action toward making this happen, and then someone like this guy shows us just how it's done!

Noah John Rondeau

The Hermit of the Adirondack Mountains was able to mix it up with the wilderness due to his past life as a guide of the vary same region (some contrast to his final job before his death, as Santa Claus in a New York state mall). Rondeau walked away from what he believed was the ‘Big Business and Industry Slavery’ of 20th century America. He lived alone in the Cold River area from 1929 and was considered a real man of nature—climbers frequently visiting the region nicknamed one of his huts (Rondeau built several wigwams and tepees throughout the area) the ‘town hall.’ An amateur of astronomy, and a consummate violinist (his music could sometimes be heard by hikers in the river valley), Rondeau was above all else a superb woodsman displaying brilliant bush craft skills, which he’d learned as a young man from a member of the Abenaki Indian tribe. Perhaps the most bizarre part of Rondeau’s story is his fame. Throughout the 1940s and 50s he appeared at numerous sportsmen’s shows across Northeast America to talk about his success in big game hunting and trapping. On one occasion he was even airlifted to an event by helicopter. Regardless of his brief stint in the spotlight, throughout his life, Rondeau was an incredibly secretive person. All of his journals were written in a cipher, which wasn’t cracked until some 25 years after his death in 1967.

You have to give this type of individual plenty of credit for walking the walk! They did what many of us only talk about doing! I wonder if many of us really have what it takes to do this, and especially to do it this well!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps should warm up to the 80s, I think!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Heard Of The "Casket Women"...?

The role that women played in all of the colonies in the world is often overlooked. Not just the English, but the French as well had plenty of men, but shared a shortage of women to complete the successful colonization of new territories!

Some very creative measures were needed to bring women to the new colonies, thus helping to build the backbone of any successful endeavor of this kind...the family!

Pelican Girls and Casket Girls

When the French controlled the Gulf of Mexico territory containing Louisiana, they had a problem—too many men. The male settlers included soldiers, farmers, and tradesmen. Valuable assets, of course, but as all governments of the time understood, a really successful and lucrative colony needed families, not just single men. To do that, the men needed wives. It comes as no surprise that most men involved eagerly agreed with the idea.

However, finding ladies willing to marry a stranger and endure the rough frontier with their husbands for the rest of their lives wasn’t easy. Beginning in 1704, the Compagnie des Indes (Company of the Indies) which held the monopoly on trade in the area decided to send 20 young and virtuous French women aged 14-18 to Louisiana via the ship Le Pélican. These “Pelican girls” were snapped up by men desperate for marital bliss and/or the generous dowry and other benefits subsidized by the King.

Other shipments of volunteer brides occurred periodically. Many were orphans, some less than respectable from houses of correction. Perhaps the most famous were the seventy-eight upstanding “casket girls” or filles à la cassette, named after the small caskets (like suitcases) that carried their belongings. Upon arrival, they were popped into the newly built Ursuline convent in New Orleans and supervised by the nuns until they found husbands. Today, claiming a “casket girl” as an ancestress is a matter of pride for native Louisianans.

Despite the pressure put on new arrivals, not all girls chose to marry. Some entered convents, received the education denied their secular sisters, and became nuns. But most women married, many were widowed, and if they survived the hardships of childbirth and frontier life, they often prospered due to generous inheritance laws.

I guess it's true that women have always had a very strong influence on the development of any city, state, or country! We probably would be better off not forgetting that!

Better have our coffee inside this morning. The rain came back and that's good for the roses, but bad for the patio sitting!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Not So Old West...!

One of the more successful programs to ever help the areas of the "Old West" began with the CCC.

Many national parks were improved or created by this group and, thanks to their efforts, many of the places we now consider a major part of our history are alive and well!

Apr 10, 1933:
Civilian Conservation Corps created

The Civilian Conservation Corps, a tool for employing young men and improving the government's vast holdings of western land, is created in Washington, D.C.

One of the dozens of New Deal programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fight the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was primarily designed to put thousands of unemployed young men to work on useful public projects. Roosevelt put the program under the direction of his Secretary of Interior, Harold Ickes, who became an enthusiastic supporter.

Since the vast majority of federal public land was in the West, Ickes created most of his CCC projects in that region. The young men who joined, however, came from all over the nation. It was the first time many had left their homes in the densely populated eastern states. Many of them later remembered their time spent in the wide-open spaces of the West with affection, and many later returned to tour the region or become residents.

Participation in the CCC was voluntary, although the various camps often adopted military-like rules of discipline and protocol. Ickes put his CCC "armies" to work on a wide array of conservation projects. Some young men spent their days planting trees in national forests, while others built roads and dams, fought forest fires, or made improvements in national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone. In exchange for their labor, the CCC men received a minimal wage, part of which was automatically sent to their families back home. The program thus provided employment for unskilled young men while simultaneously pumping federal money into the depressed national economy.

The training provided by the CCC proved particularly valuable to the 77,000 Indian and Hispanic youths who worked in the Southwest. Many of these young men left the CCC able to drive and repair large trucks and tractors, skills that proved highly employable during WWII. Likewise, many former CCC enlistees found the transition to life as a WWII soldier eased by their previous experience with military-like discipline.

Despite the rigid regimentation and low pay, the CCC remained popular with both enlistees and the public throughout its history. By the time Congress abolished the agency in 1942, more than two million men had served, making the CCC one of the most successful government training and employment projects in history

I can't help but believe that a program similar to this would benefit us all today. But first, we would have to figure out how to keep the government guys from being in charge.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Looks like the wind has died down some!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How About The "Zombie" Plant...?

Nature can throw us a curve ball once in a while, just to remind us who is really in charge!

What better way to prove that point than to create something like the so called "Zombie" plant? This is one insidious rascal, let me tell ya! Certainly proves my point!

Angel Trumpet

The spectacular Angel Trumpet vine is native to the forests of South America, and delivers a dark triad of potent toxins—atropine, hyoscyamine, and the mind altering scopolamine. Unlike the other plants on this list, Angel Trumpet is less dangerous in of itself, than as a biological weapon in the hands of humans. In 2007, Angel Trumpet was featured in the documentary “Colombian Devil’s Breath,” for its use by criminal gang members who refined scopolamine from the ethereal looking weed and used it to turn victims into zombies – literally. This “hypnotizing herb” leaves its victims unaware of the nature of their actions, but still completely conscious. The documentary contained numerous horror stories of scopolamine attacks, including one eerie case where a man had scopolamine powder thrown in his face, and promptly emptied his entire apartment into the van of the robbers. Voluntary experimenters have seriously injured themselves in their psychotic state.

Sounds to me like I don't want this stuff growing in my back yard! I can think of some good uses for the powder, though. Know what I mean?

How about some coffee out on the patio this morning? Anyone want some peach cobbler?

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Vaults On Monday Mystery...!

If I had a lot of something I wanted to protect from thieves, I would get me a good safe. Sometimes, though, a safe just doesn't get the job done!

Many big companies and organizations have some major vaults that are supposedly completely impervious to a break-in! I think we all know what they say about the best laid plans, right? There are a lot of people that make it their main goal in life to take anything valuable away from others, no matter how protected it is. Here, from Listverse, is a good example of just what I'm talking about!

Antwerp Diamond Center Vault

The Antwerp Diamond Vault in Belgium is best known for two reasons: for being the world’s most impenetrable diamond safe and, contrarily, being the victim of a baffling diamond heist in 2003.

The vault was originally built by a collection of 1500 diamond merchants and houses around 70% of the world’s diamonds. Obviously, the founders took great efforts to secure their valuables and outfitted it with un-matched security equipment, including heat detectors, Doppler radar, seismic sensors, magnetic fields, and a lock with over 100 million possible combinations that was designed to shut down for hours if the wrong code was entered in twice. Furthermore, the door itself was three tons, constructed of solid steel, and would’ve required 12-hours of non-stop drilling to penetrate.

Regardless of the multi-tiered security system, a ring of Italian thieves known as “The School of Turin” broke in and stole $100 million worth of diamonds and other treasures. In true “Oceans 11” style, they set off no alarms and Antwerp officials weren’t aware of the breach until the next morning when they arrived at the Diamond Center and discovered their safe gaping open and ransacked.

The booty was never found, but police did arrest one man, Leonardo Notarbartolo, based on DNA evidence found at the scene. He claims a diamond merchant hired his team for the heist and it was all part of an elaborate plan to fraud the insurance company.

The Antwerp Diamond Center has since upped its security even more, yet it seems the 2003 incident has shown that even the most sophisticated vault is no match for a truly determined criminal mastermind.

The way I see it, if these guys can't protect what they have, even with their "high tech" toys, then what good is a small lock box or safe to the average home, ya know? I'd say that right now that ol' shoebox or section of pvc pipe buried in the back yard is looking pretty valid!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I've nothing to share except some sugar cinnamon toast, is that OK?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Once Again...!

Here are some funnies for Sunday, and you don't even have to share them if ya don't want to!

When I was a kid, comics in the Sunday paper were the most sought after for me and my sisters. We finally had to come up with a fair system to make sure that everyone had their time with the funnies! Sometimes, just sometimes...we would share! Always seemed to be more fun when we did!

I can never stop at just one!

You just have to love YouTube! Right?

Of course, it wouldn't be the same without some Roadrunner, would it?

Well, I guess that will tide us over for a bit, ya reckon?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Gonna be a nice day, I think!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Want To Take A Hike...?

I found a place that none of us really want to go walking in, I believe.

There are some very bad places in this old world, but the trouble is that they are very pretty to look at. They don't look scary, but can be deadly if you aren't careful.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

The Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in Madagascar is one of the strangest places you’ll ever see. The entire park is composed of a forest of needle-like rock spires up to 120 meters high in some areas. The rock, formed by water eroding away the limestone, is razor sharp and provides a home to hundreds of species that aren’t found anywhere else on earth.

Visually the place is eerie enough, but it’s also very under-researched. In fact, few scientists ever travel deep into the forest, and only a handful have ever done it more than once.

A journalist for National Geographic describes how difficult it is to travel through the park: “We squeezed through passages, our pack straps catching on fingers of stone. We stemmed narrow ravines and nervously straddled fins that were like fences topped with broken class. The rock pierced our boots, leaving holes in the rubber. Usually we came over needle-sharp rises only to descend onto mats of thin soil covering yet more serrated rock. We’d carefully find our balance, then try to figure out what to do next.”

I think that this is one more place I'm staying out of...thanks just the same!

Coffee on the patio this morning. How about some strawberry cream cake?

Friday, April 5, 2013

For The Grandparents...!

Baby Sis sent me this and I thought it was good enough to share with you! We could all use a grin once in a while, right?

How children perceive their Grandparents

1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye.

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised." Mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said. "How do you make babies?" "It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked. "Sure," said the young boy confidently. It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back," said one child. "No," said another. "He's just for good luck. A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things, but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over, you hear gas leaks and they blame their dog.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It turned cool again and it's warm in there!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Some Great Feather Art...!

Once in a great while, I find a person with such a talent, I have to tell folks about them! Today is such a case!

This lady is a true artist. When you view some of her work, you'll see what I mean. Today I wanted to show you some of her paintings done on feathers! That's correct...feathers! How cool is that?

She does many other types of painting as well, and if you follow this link to her website, you'll see what I mean!

I think you would enjoy the rest of her work if you would follow the link to her website. Well worth the visit, in my opinion!

Let's have coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'll put out some macaroons, OK?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Last Gunfight For Bat...!

For Western Wednesday, I found an interesting story on History that told some background on Bat Masterson.

I always find it interesting to learn more about the names we all know from long ago! Often these folks had a very interesting early life, and by learning more of these early days we might better understand who they were.

Apr 16, 1881:
Bat Masterson's last shootout

On the streets of Dodge City, famous western lawman and gunfighter Bat Masterson fights the last gun battle of his life.

Bartholomew "Bat" Masterson had made a living with his gun from a young age. In his early 20s, Masterson worked as a buffalo hunter, operating out of the wild Kansas cattle town of Dodge City. For several years, he also found employment as an army scout in the Plains Indian Wars. Masterson had his first shootout in 1876 in the town of Sweetwater (later Mobeetie), Texas. When an argument with a soldier over the affections of a dance hall girl named Molly Brennan heated up, Masterson and his opponent resorted to their pistols. When the shooting stopped, both Brennan and the soldier were dead, and Masterson was badly wounded.

Found to have been acting in self-defense, Masterson avoided prison. Once he had recovered from his wounds, he apparently decided to abandon his rough ways and become an officer of the law. For the next five years, Masterson alternated between work as Dodge City sheriff and running saloons and gambling houses, gaining a reputation as a tough and reliable lawman. However, Masterson's critics claimed that he spent too much as sheriff, and he lost a bid for reelection in 1879.

For several years, Masterson drifted around the West. Early in 1881, news that his younger brother, Jim, was in trouble back in Dodge City reached Masterson in Tombstone, Arizona. Jim's dispute with a business partner and an employee, A.J. Peacock and Al Updegraff respectively, had led to an exchange of gunfire. Though no one had yet been hurt, Jim feared for his life. Masterson immediately took a train to Dodge City.
When his train pulled into Dodge City on this morning in 1881, Masterson wasted no time. He quickly spotted Peacock and Updegraff and aggressively shouldered his way through the crowded street to confront them. "I have come over a thousand miles to settle this," Masterson reportedly shouted. "I know you are heeled [armed]-now fight!" All three men immediately drew their guns. Masterson took cover behind the railway bed, while Peacock and Updegraff darted around the corner of the city jail. Several other men joined in the gunplay. One bullet meant for Masterson ricocheted and wounded a bystander. Updegraff took a bullet in his right lung.

The mayor and sheriff arrived with shotguns to stop the battle when a brief lull settled over the scene. Updegraff and the wounded bystander were taken to the doctor and both eventually recovered. In fact, no one was mortally injured in the melee, and since the shootout had been fought fairly by the Dodge City standards of the day, no serious charges were imposed against Masterson. He paid an $8 fine and took the train out of Dodge City that evening.

Masterson never again fought a gun battle in his life, but the story of the Dodge City shootout and his other exploits ensured Masterson's lasting fame as an icon of the Old West. He spent the next four decades of his life working as sheriff, operating saloons, and eventually trying his hand as a newspaperman in New York City. The old gunfighter finally died of a heart attack in October 1921 at his desk in New York City.

An article like this makes for a more interesting profile of the man, don't you think?

Better have our coffee on the patio today. Cleaning lady is coming over to Mom's and she needs lots of room!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First Woman Judge...!

Sometimes we tend to forget that women haven't always had an equal voice in politics of this country!

For a woman to be voting was a big step in the right direction, but for a woman to gbecome a judge...that was huge! I think this not only opened up a lot of the future for many women, but showed that they should be considered as equal partners of all facets of life in the developent of our country!

Apr 2, 1902:
First woman judge dies in Wyoming

Esther Morris, the first woman judge in American history, dies in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Although widely celebrated as a hero of the early suffragist movement, Esther Morris was hardly a radical advocate for women's rights. She spent the first 55 years of her life living quietly in New York state and Illinois, working as a milliner and housewife. In 1869, Morris moved to Wyoming Territory with her second husband, who had opened a saloon in the gold mining camp of South Pass City.

That same year, a territorial representative from South Pass City introduced a bill giving women the right to vote and hold public office. Eager to promote Wyoming Territory and to attract more women settlers, the all-male territorial legislature approved the bill, making Wyoming the first territory or state in American history to enfranchise women. One of the strongest backers of the new law was the territorial governor, John Campbell. Eager to take more actions to further women's political power, in early 1870 Campbell began to search for women qualified and willing to be appointed as justices of the peace. Morris became Campbell's first and only successful appointment.

Hailed by American suffragists as the first female judge in the world, Morris does not appear to have been a dedicated activist for women's rights. Appointed to serve out the term of a man who had resigned, Morris only worked for nine months as a justice of the peace. During that time she competently handled the 26 cases she tried. After she retired from the post in November 1870, however, Morris never again sought public office. When later asked about the issue of women's suffrage, Morris replied that women would do well to leave the matter in the hands of men. Like many women of the time, Morris supported women's rights, but she believed a gradual approach would prove most successful

Despite her reluctance to be revered as an activist, Morris has often been celebrated as an important symbol of women's rights. In 1890, one of her sons began calling her the "mother of woman suffrage" in his Cheyenne newspaper. Nearly two decades after she died in 1902, a witness claimed that Morris had pushed for the introduction of the original bill granting women the vote in 1869, though other evidence contradicts this claim. Nonetheless, as the "first woman judge," Morris has continued to be a symbol of the long battle for women's rights in America. Bronze statues at the U.S. Capitol and in Cheyenne honor her memory.

Why we ever waited so long to allow women to get involved in the politics in the early day is beyond me, but in todays political theatre I feel there are a few that should have never been let in! No names are necessary, as I'm sure you know who I mean!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Sorry, but I ate the last of the chocolate pie! How about some fruit?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monsters For Monday Mystery...!

We have an interesting mystery for today.

Unless you are a student of Japanese folk lore, you probably haven't heard of this one. I know I hadn't before I found this article at Listverse! Good source for interesting stuff!

Invisible Monster Attacks in Japan

Around 1890, surreal events began taking place in Japan, mainly in the area of Kamakura, Yamanouchi Ken. While scientists at the time attempted to explain the phenomenon, local villagers were convinced the cause was due to an invisible monster.

Men walking in fields, at home, or in the open would suddenly feel a strong wind and be knocked over. When they stood, the victims found wounds in their legs. The injuries were narrow slits approximately 1”-1½” long and about an inch deep, and had no apparent cause. At first painless and bloodless, after about a half hour the wounds began to bleed and the pain intensified. It was also reported that the injuries were very difficult to heal.

Scientists studying the events theorized the men’s wounds were caused by an inexplicable loss of atmospheric pressure creating a temporary vacuum. However, the stricken men and other locals believed the wounds were the work of a legendary y?kai called kamaitachi, or the “sickle weasel”—a supernatural creature with sharp, sickle-like claws who traveled in a whirlwind (sometimes described as traveling in trios) and attacked humans so quickly, they couldn’t be detected with the naked eye. The kamaitachi was said to use a medicine on the inflicted wounds to temporarily halt bleeding and pain.

The rash of attacks eventually ceased, or at least ceased being reported by newspapers at the time. No absolute explanation has ever been put forward.

You have to admit that this monster is just a tad different than the others we talked about. Strange, don't you think?

We better have our coffee inside this morning, It's trying to rain again and it's just a tad cooler!