Friday, May 31, 2013

Let's Play A Game...!

I found this game over at Listverse, and it seemed like a good way to discover a little history about folks. I don't feel that it is disrespectful, but some might feel that it is.

Cemetery Safari

Some may consider this disrespectful, but rest assured, none is intended. Go to a cemetery, preferably one in an area you aren’t too familiar with. Find a tombstone that stands out to you, and write down the person’s name. When you get home, research that person, and check out their history. Generally, the more ornate tombstones lead to more eccentric people! I have found some truly amazing stories on my Safaris, which have in turn led me to other relatives in other cemeteries, which augmented my Urban Exploring.

I haven't participated with this activity before, but I did go along with some folks that were doing rubbings of tombstones. That was pretty educational, and some of the rubbings were very nice! This might be an activity more pleasant if done in the light of day, if you know what I mean!

I'm going to the V.A. today and will be there most of the help yourself to the coffee. You know where the pot is, right?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Let's Talk About "Twilight Zone"...!

One of the most memorable shows from my early days was "The Twilight Zone" with host Rod Sterling.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one that spent many hours in front of the tube watching this show. In fact, there are a few stations that still show the series to this very day! That says a lot about both the acting and the writers, in my opinion. I thought that this article about anthology series from the Listverse folks was worth sharing.

Anthology Series

The heyday of the network news anchor was also a formative time for television storytelling, and a transition from the techniques of radio and stage. Many early television shows were essentially filmed radio or stage plays, and one of the most effective ways to try out new ideas and techniques was the anthology series. These shows would use some sort of framing device to present a new story—with a different cast—every week, often employing a stable of writers and drawing from literary and theatrical sources. One of the most popular, Studio 60, ran for over a decade between 1948 and 1958, and helped to solidify the genre and its conventions; but another, debuting a year later, would have an enormous and lasting impact not just on television, but entertainment and storytelling in general.

The Twilight Zone was created in 1958 by Rod Serling, a veteran writer of anthologies like Kraft Television Theater and Hallmark Hall of Fame. A sort of pre-pilot, “The Time Element” aired on The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, another anthology series; by the time its run had concluded in 1964, it had established and cemented conventions of script, camera work, and acting that had not been present on television before, and continue to be used today. Too many famous actors to list here had breakthrough appearances on the show, and one of its head writers is such a towering influence on popular culture that he may yet garner a list unto himself.

The anthology format was used to great effect to explore the fledgling television medium’s language, boundaries and techniques—a purpose it appears to have largely fulfilled, as it is all but extinct today. Even separate revivals of The Twilight Zone in 1985 and 2002 couldn’t help bring it back.

You know, in all the shows like the Twilight Zone that I watched, I don't remember ever hearing one cuss word or seeing any nudity at all. Things have certainly changes in the "entertainment" industry and not completely for the good! Just my opinion, ya know?

How about some coffee out on the patio this morning? Gonna get hot later, but right now it isn't too bad!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time For Another Western Wednesday...!

Sometimes we forget that in days gone by, travel in this great big country hasn't always been easy or quick!

What we think of as a long trip can be put in perspective with this article from To folks of that era, this was nothing short of a miracle! I guess that, in a way, it was!

Jun 4, 1876:
Express train crosses the nation in 83 hours

A mere 83 hours after leaving New York City, the Transcontinental Express train arrives in San Francisco.

That any human being could travel across the entire nation in less than four days was inconceivable to previous generations of Americans. During the early 19th century, when Thomas Jefferson first dreamed of an American nation stretching from "sea to shining sea," it took the president 10 days to travel the 225 miles from Monticello to Philadelphia via carriage. Even with frequent changing of horses, the 100-mile journey from New York to Philadelphia demanded two days hard travel in a light stagecoach. At such speeds, the coasts of the continent-wide American nation were months apart. How could such a vast country ever hope to remain united?

As early as 1802, Jefferson had some glimmer of an answer. "The introduction of so powerful an agent as steam," he predicted, "[to a carriage on wheels] will make a great change in the situation of man." Though Jefferson never saw a train in his lifetime, he had glimpsed the future with the idea. Within half a century, America would have more railroads than any other nation in the world. By 1869, the first transcontinental line linking the coasts was completed. Suddenly, a journey that had previously taken months using horses could be made in less than a week.

Five days after the transcontinental railroad was completed, daily passenger service over the rails began. The speed and comfort offered by rail travel was so astonishing that many Americans could scarcely believe it, and popular magazines wrote glowing accounts of the amazing journey. For the wealthy, a trip on the transcontinental railroad was a luxurious experience. First-class passengers rode in beautifully appointed cars with plush velvet seats that converted into snug sleeping berths. The finer amenities included steam heat, fresh linen daily, and gracious porters who catered to their every whim. For an extra $4 a day, the wealthy traveler could opt to take the weekly Pacific Hotel Express, which offered first-class dining on board. As one happy passenger wrote, "The rarest and richest of all my journeying through life is this three-thousand miles by rail."

The trip was a good deal less speedy and comfortable for passengers unwilling or unable to pay the premium fares. Whereas most of the first-class passengers traveled the transcontinental line for business or pleasure, the third-class occupants were often emigrants hoping to make a new start in the West. A third-class ticket could be purchased for only $40--less than half the price of the first-class fare. At this low rate, the traveler received no luxuries. Their cars, fitted with rows of narrow wooden benches, were congested, noisy, and uncomfortable. The railroad often attached the coach cars to freight cars that were constantly shunted aside to make way for the express trains. Consequently, the third-class traveler's journey west might take 10 or more days. Even under these trying conditions, few travelers complained. Even 10 days spent sitting on a hard bench seat was preferable to six months walking alongside a Conestoga wagon on the Oregon Trail.

Railroad promotions, however, naturally focused on the speedy express trains. The arrival of the Transcontinental Express train in San Francisco on this day in 1876 was widely celebrated in the newspapers and magazines of the day. With this new express service, a businessman could leave New York City on Monday morning, spend 83 hours in relaxing comfort, and arrive refreshed and ready for work in San Francisco by Thursday evening. The powerful agent of steam had effectively shrunk a vast nation to a manageable size.

Now days we can climb on a plane and travel across this great land in mere hours! I wonder what the folks in the past would have thought about that? In many areas, we've come a long way!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! I'll set out a bowl of fresh fruit.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oklahoma Dog Story...!

In the midst of all the bad news lately, it's refreshing to finally find a ray of hope somewhere.

You may have already heard this story, but it bears repeating!

The Oklahoma Dog

Last week a tornado touched down in Oklahoma, reducing the town of Monroe to rubble. Homes were destroyed, families separated and 24 people killed. In other words, it was a catastrophe—and, within hours, news sites were awash with images of misery, devastation and more misery. Because this is the internet after all, the most-shared photo quickly became one of a mournful collie standing watch over a demolished house. The story went that ‘Susie’ was guarding her owner’s body, and our hearts collectively broke like a bunch of hormonal tweens watching the last installment of Twilight. By any sane reckoning, that image was sadness personified: where would the adorable little mutt go now?

How about home to her owner? In the sort of twist that would be mawkish in a Spielberg movie but is awesome in real life, it turned out Susie’s owner was not only alive—he was scouring the devastated town, desperate to find his dog. Because sometimes the internet really does have its uses, his sister spotted Susie’s picture on Facebook and alerted the sheriff’s; leading to a touching reunion.

It's always sad to see so many folks hurt and displaced like those in Oklahoma, but a little joy can be felt in a small reunion such as this one!

Coffee outside this morning. Fried ham and biscuits on the side!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another Triangle Mystery For Monday...!

There is just something about these mysterious triangle places that captures the imagination, ya know?

We have more of these places here in the states than I would have thought. I wonder if I could get some certain folks I know to go and check them out? Just a thought...

Bridgewater Triangle

No, seriously—stay away from triangles. Especially this one. The Bridgewater Triangle, an area of about 200 square miles in Southeastern Massachusetts just south of Boston, is like an all you can eat buffet of the supernatural.

Among other things, the area has been subject to numerous cryptozoological sightings. Since the 1970’s there have been several reports of tall, hairy, ape-like creatures roaming the swamp. There have also been numerous sightings of Thunderbirds, giant Pterodactyl-like creatures that have been seen fighting in midair. In 1976 there was a report of a man who saw a giant, ghostly, red-eyed dog rip the throats out of two of his ponies.

Besides these cryptids, there have been numerous reports of mutilated animals (mainly cows and calves) in the region. Some credit these mutilations to satanic cults, but no one has come forward and no one even knows where the animals came from.

As if all this weren’t enough, the Bridgewater Triangle is a hotbed of UFO sightings, dating all the way back to 1760, when a “sphere of fire” was reportedly seen hovering over New England. Since then there have been numerous sightings of unexplained objects in the sky—including mysterious black helicopters. One from 1976 describes two UFOs landing along Route 44 near the city of Taunton, and another from 1994 recounts a strange triangular object with red and white lights seen by a Bridgewater Law Enforcement Officer. In 1908 on Halloween night, two undertakers who were traveling to Bridgewater noticed in the sky what looked like a “giant lantern”. They watched it for almost 40 minutes before it disappeared.

Bermuda isn’t looking so bad anymore.

I don't think I want to live any where near this place. I have enough strange things going on here in Houston, if you know what I mean.

How about we take a chance and have coffee out on the patio this morning. Biscuits and jelly on the side, OK?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oldies But Goodies...!

Some of you may remember these two characters from the "old" days. We don't see much of them as much as we used to, but thanks to YouTube we can still see them!

These guys were popular a very long time ago, but showed up today just for our enjoyment.

I would say that the 40s and the 50s were the heydays for cartoons. Just my opinion!

Brings back a lot of memories of Saturday mornings, doesn't it? Not to mention the movie matinees!

Well, let's stop watching the 'toons and switch to nap time! The kitties will join us, I'm sure!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing for all!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Food For Thought...!

I want to pass on some thoughts by a man named Junius P. Long. I have to admit that he makes some valid points, and I wanted to pass them on!

Food For Thought

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the only school curriculum allowed to explain how we got here is evolution, but the government stops a $15 million construction project to keep a rare spider from evolving to extinction ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, check in at the doctor's office, buy liquor, or check out a library book, but not to vote who runs the government ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher’s "cute," but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If children are forcibly removed from parents who discipline them with spankings while children of addicts are left in filth and drug infested “homes”... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the government's plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more "safe" according to the government ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you are offended by this article, I'll bet you voted for the idiots who are running, and ruining our great country.

Like I said, this article was not written by me, but there are points here that I certainly agree with! Just my opinion, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. We have some bad weather moving this way!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ever Have A View-Master...?

My sisters and I had one when we were kids, but I never knew the history. Thanks to the folks over at Listverse, now I do!

So many things that were originally intended as toys ended up in the hands of the military. At least this one wasn't used as a weapon!


Wilhelm Gruber was vacationing in 1939 when he met the president of a picture postcard and film developing company, Harold Graves. There aren’t too many businesses more doomed for failure in the 21st century than a shop dedicated to postcards and film developing. It’s a good thing they were geniuses and patented the View-master, an invention designed as an alternative to a postcard that made use of obsolete pieces of equipment called stereoscopes.

When it debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, it was mostly sold in stationary stores and gift shops portraying landmarks like the Grand Canyon. However, in 1942 the U.S. military, deeply rooted in WWII, saw the potential for View-masters to be used to train soldiers. The military purchased more than 100,000 View-masters with millions of reels of film custom outfitted with pictures to aid in spotting artillery and aircraft. Nowadays, they are highly sought after by collectors and ex-soldiers seeking that warm nostalgic feeling of air raid sirens and widespread death.

Ya know, I still have a stereoscope (it's a reproduction, of course) but I don't have a View-Master anymore. Maybe I should find one again! Might be a kick to see one after all these years, know what I mean? We had some pretty cool toys in our generation, and none of them were digital! Imagine that!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. The kitties are allowed outside now, so watch where you step!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mind Over Matter...!

I know that all of us have heard of the monks that can control their minds and all through meditation, but just how much control they have really surprised me!

The very fact that this was studied by scientist and couldn't be explained any other way says a lot! Sometimes even the most educated folks have to admit that the mind has capabilities that just can't be explained away. Must be hard to admit that mind control of this magnitude can be achieved without the "help" of modern science, ya know? Me...I'm a believer!

Drying Sheets

Judging by their ability to meditate for hours on end, to abstain from food for days, and their vows of silence, most us would agree that Tibetan Monks have better control over their minds and bodies than the average person. Still, what’s particularly amazing is some of them can control physiological processes, such as blood pressure and body temperature – feats many medical doctors find astounding.

In one of the most notable exhibits of their skills, a group of Tibetan monks allowed physicians to monitor the monk’s bodily changes as they engaged in a meditative yoga technique known as g Tum-mo. During the process the monks were cloaked in wet, cold sheets (49 f / 9.4 c) and placed in a 40 f (4.5 c) room. In such conditions, the average person would likely experience uncontrollable shivering and would shortly suffer hypothermia. However, through deep concentration, the monks were able to generate body heat, and within minutes the researchers noticed steam rising from the sheets that were covering the monks. Within an hour, the sheets were completely dry.

Although, the display was fascinating to the doctors, for the monks it was an ordinary occurrence. In fact, new monks use g Tum-mo as a way of proving their meditative strength and hold contests to see who can dry the most sheets in one night.The Buddhists say the heat they generate is a byproduct of the meditation, since it takes energy to reach a state of alternate reality – a place unaffected by our everyday world.

Most folks I know don't have any where near that much control over their minds. In fact, some of them have no control at all! Come to think about it, they might have even lost their minds long ago!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'm baking bread and need to keep an eye on it! Don't worry, I'll share!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Western Wednesday Again...!

Many of our readers have mentioned that they really enjoy Western history here at the Hermit's, so today they should be happy!

The main character in today's piece is a man I haven't heard of before I found him at They always have some good stuff for the history buffs, ya know? Sites like this help us all to understand a little more about where we came from and how our country got to where it is today! Unfortunately, it isn't always pretty!

May 24, 1863:
Henry Plummer is elected sheriff of Bannack, Montana

The good citizens of Bannack, Montana, elect Henry Plummer as their new sheriff, not realizing he is a hardened outlaw who will use his office to rob and murder them.

Born and reared in Maine, Plummer went west in 1852 and settled in the California gold mining town of Nevada City. There he opened a bakery and became active in the Democratic Party. Well-spoken, friendly, and ambitious, Plummer won election to sheriff in 1856 and performed well enough to win re-election the following year. Later in 1857, however, Plummer suffered two setbacks. First, he lost his bid to win a seat on the California legislature. Then he was convicted of second-degree murder for killing an unarmed man in the line of duty. Plummer claimed he had acted in self-defense, but the jury apparently believed witnesses who said the true motive lay in an affair he was having with the murdered man's wife.

Plummer served six months in San Quentin prison before the governor pardoned him. When he returned to Nevada City, he won reappointment as an assistant marshal. In 1861, however, he fatally wounded a man in a whorehouse brawl and fled to avoid prosecution. During the next several years, he wandered through the gold country of Nevada and Idaho. Eventually, he took up with a band of desperados who were robbing and killing miners in Idaho. When a blunt and brave saloon keeper named Patrick Ford began to voice suspicions about Plummer, the outlaw arranged for him to be killed in a shootout. Misgivings about Plummer continued to grow, however, and he fled once more.

When Plummer arrived in Bannack, Montana, in October 1862, the people of the booming little mining town knew nothing of his record. With the Idaho gold fields beginning to give out, many of Plummer's old partners in crime followed him to Montana. Plummer quickly reorganized his gang and called the motley band "The Innocents." Skillfully maintaining his public role as an honest citizen, Plummer then managed to convince 307 inhabitants of Bannack to elect him sheriff in May of 1863.

Plummer's office of sheriff was the perfect cover for operating an effective and deadly criminal ring. Plummer provided his henchmen with information on the movements of gold shipments and ensured that they avoided capture. During the next six months, road agents ruthlessly terrorized the people of Bannack and the nearby town of Virginia City. To the dismay of the townspeople, Sheriff Plummer seemed unable to stop them. After more than 100 people were robbed or murdered, the settlers organized a vigilance committee of nearly 2,000 members in December 1863.

The Montana vigilantes destroyed Plummer and his gang in a surprisingly short time. Among their first victims was Erastus "Red" Yeager, who revealed Plummer's complicity and the names of the other gang leaders before he was hanged. Early on a bitterly cold Sunday morning, January 10, 1864, the vigilantes arrested Plummer and two of his lieutenants. While his cronies swore and resisted, Plummer reportedly wept and begged to be spared, but to no avail. All three men were hanged at once on a Bannack gallows Sheriff Plummer had prepared for another. The vigilantes rode away, "leaving the corpses," as one contemporary wrote, "stiffening in the icy blast." By spring, all of Plummer's Innocents were either dead or departed.

Guess I was right about the truth of our history, at least parts of it, not being pretty. It doesn't appear to me that much has changed in human nature since the Old West. I reckon there will always be those that abuse their power to preform evil. Like I said, not much has changed!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. So far there are no signs of stormy weather!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Surprising Raven...!

I've been fascinated by the raven for a long time!

This short article from Listverse doesn't begin to cover all the strange and wonderful talents in the bird, believe me! If any bird ever deserved more research, this guy is the one!


The raven is a huge, unnerving, and extremely intelligent bird, which can outperform eagles in the air and, on occasion, kill mammals as large as young sheep. Though they can be found almost worldwide, few people give much thought as to where they might fit into the evolutionary tree.

The answer may astound the amateur bird lover: rather than being allied with hawks or the vultures, ravens are actually the world’s largest member of the Sparrow order, Passeriformes. Though they have a wingspan of more than five feet, and an apparently hoarse voice, ravens actually have extremely well-developed vocal structures and can form a variety of surprisingly beautiful, high pitched notes. These “super songbirds” are also capable of extreme aerobatic maneuvers, and are one of the three most intelligent birds worldwide. It’s suspected that they’ve learned how to lead wolves to their prey, so that they can scavenge the kill later on.

If I had to chose just one member of the bird family to be on my team, this would be the one! Heck, even Poe wrote about this bird!

Coffee on the patio this morning. We'll share some peach cobbler, OK?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Cold Place For Monday Mystery...!

I think that for most of us, the best mysteries are those with no clear answers! That's what we have today!

This is a little different because the RCMPs are involved! That's right...the Mounties! How cool is that?

Lake Anjikuni

Not content with just a few individuals disappearing, Lake Anjikuni decided to take things to the next level and provide the locale for the disappearance of an entire village. It all happened in November 1930, when a trapper named Joe Labelle was looking for shelter for the night. Labelle was familiar with the Inuit village, whose population ranges from 30-2000, depending on who you believe. He made his way there and found quite an eerie scene—the villagers were nowhere to be found. Everything else, including food and rifles, had been left behind.

Labelle telegraphed the RCMP and an investigation began. In the Village Burial Ground it was discovered that at least one (sources vary) grave had been opened, clearly not by animals, and emptied. Furthermore, about 300 feet from the village, the bodies of around 7 sled dogs were found, having starved to death despite open stores of food at the village. Some versions of the story even report strange lights being seen above the lake around the time of the disappearance.

So what really happened? There have been all sorts of claims about the cause for the disappearance, including aliens (of course), ghosts, and even vampires. The RCMP’s own website disregards the story as an urban legend, but with so many versions of it floating around from so many years ago, it’s hard to be certain. Except about the vampires, I think we can be certain it wasn’t vampires!

I can ojnly imagine what an eerie place this was, with all the folks gone and the dogs being dead! I'd say spooky doesn't begin to describe it!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! I have some apple pie to go with the drinks!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chip And Dale For Sunday...!

Many of the cartoon characters we remember most were created way back in the 40s and 50s. The fact that they survived this long is pretty amazing!

Some of characters we don't see very much anymore, but some still pop up now and then. Such is the case of Chip and Dale!

Half the time it was hard to understand these guys, especially when they teamed up with Donald Duck! Well worth the effort, most of the time!

Every time I watch one of the older cartoons, it takes me back to when my sisters and I were kids. Ah, those were the days...!

Well, watching these older 'toons has made me realize it's about time for lunch and then a nap! I do love nap time!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! How about some angel food cake to go along with it?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

How About A Flying Car...?

The idea of a flying car goes back a lot farther than you would think. Way, way back!

The idea of a flying vehicle that you could drive on the road has even been in the mind of the tgovernment, but you can bet that what they want to use it for isn't to commute back and forth to work, ya know?

Jess Dixon’s Flying Auto

This flying car is almost a legend, and besides this photo and a brief mention of the vehicle in a newspaper clipping from Andalusia, Alabama, it might as well have not existed at all. According to the story, the photo above is of Jess Dixon; it was supposedly taken sometime around 1940. Although it’s considered a flying car by aviation history buffs, the machine is actually closer to a “roadable helicopter,” due to the two overhead blades spinning in opposite directions. In other words, it’s a gyrocopter that can also roll.

The Flying Auto was powered by a small forty-horsepower engine, and foot pedals controlled the tail vane on the back, allowing Mr. Dixon to turn in mid-air. It was also supposed to be able to reach speeds of up to one hundred miles per hour (160 kph), and was able to fly forwards, backwards, sideways, and hover. Not bad for a flying car that was never heard from again.

The research into flying autos was still being seriously studied and prototypes built as recently as 2009. If you want to see some of the others, check out the list at listverse right here!

You would think that after all these years, we would have something more exciting than what we have now. Hey, just saying...!

I'm thinking maybe we should try the patio for coffee this morning, if that's alright with you!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Another People Paper Story...!

Sometimes governments just don't get the message that they can't forcefully control some things!

Even though this isn't in our country, it is a good example of why price controls by the government just flat don't work to anyone's advantage. It's no surprise that the public is nervous about shortages like this, caused by actions of the PTB! Most of us can remember sugar shortages, coffee shortages, and oil shortages here at home...many if not all caused in part by government forms of price control. Something like this could happen here!

Venezuela running out of toilet paper
9:51 am, May 16th, 2013


Venezuela has a potential poopstorm on its hands if it can't wipe out a toilet paper shortage.

Officials said they will have to import 50 million rolls to meet the demand of what Trade Minister Alejandro Fleming called a "nervous population," according to a translation of an article from the state-run AVN news agency.

The government blames the media for provoking fears about scarcity, which prompted consumers to hoard TP.

But businesses and political opposition blame the government's policies, like price controls on basic goods - many of which are reportedly in short supply.

After meeting with Venezuelan paper company PAVECA, which agreed to increase its output, Fleming told AVN he will move to "saturate" the market to alleviate the problem.

AVN reports the typical monthly consumption of toilet paper in the country is 125 million rolls.

Let's hope that price controls by our PTB are a long way off. You never know, though! Nothing would surprise me anymore, ya know?

I think that coffee in the kitchen is a good idea this morning. Some nasty weather is all over the place!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Let's Talk "People Paper"...!

Here is another thing that's mostly taken for granted by most of us. That is, until you run out! Then it becomes a real issue!

Most of the people I know make sure they don't run out of this commodity and stock up when it goes on sale! Guess this is one luxury most folks don't want to do without! That includes yours truly, for sure!

Toilet Paper

Although paper had been known as a wrapping and padding material in China since the 2nd century BC, the first use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China. During the later Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD) a Muslim Arab traveler to China in the year 851 AD remarked:
“[The Chinese] are not careful about cleanliness, and they do not wash themselves with water when they have done their necessities; but they only wipe themselves with paper.”

During the early 14th century (Yuan Dynasty) it was recorded that in modern-day Zhejiang province alone there was an annual manufacturing of toilet paper amounting in ten million packages of 1,000 to 10,000 sheets of toilet paper each. The first producer of ‘perforated’ toilet paper was the British Perforated Paper Company in 1880. Other forms of non-perforated toilet paper were available the same time and earlier, notably from the Scott brothers (Scott Paper Company) and Joseph Gayetty. Before this invention, wealthy people used wool, lace or hemp for their ablutions, while less wealthy people used their hand when defecating into rivers, or cleaned themselves with various materials such as rags, wood shavings, leaves, grass, hay, stone, sand, moss, water, snow, maize husks, fruit skins, or seashells, and cob of the corn depending upon the country and weather conditions or social customs. I will close this list with a wonderful quote by Fran├žois Rabelais, the sixteenth century satirist who considered the back feathers of a live goose to be the ideal medium for this job:
 “He who uses paper on his filthy bum, will always find his bullocks lined with scum”

In all the years I've spent camping, I have never considered myself a sissy for wanting some people paper around. Sure, I could have found another way in most cases, but the paper was always my personal choice! Guess I'm funny that way!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It might shower and we don't want to get caught by surprise, right?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another Western Wednesday...!

Today on Western Wednesday we are looking at a popular form of frontier justice...mob justice!

Overall, the second so-called "Vigilante Committee" of San Francisco was effective, although it probably was due to the large size more so than justice! From the folks over at, here's the story!

May 15, 1856:
Second vigilante committee organizes in San Francisco

Angered by the shooting of a prominent journalist, San Franciscans form their second vigilance committee to combat lawlessness.

The need for vigilance committees in San Francisco was obvious. Only two years after gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848, San Francisco had grown from a sleepy little village with 900 inhabitants to a booming metropolis with more than 200,000 residents. The sudden influx of people overwhelmed the city. Harried law enforcement officials found it nearly impossible to maintain law and order, and chaos often reigned in the streets, which were lined with saloons and gambling parlors. Attracted by the promise of gold, marauding bands of Australian criminals called "Sydney ducks" robbed and extorted the people of San Francisco with near impunity.

San Franciscans formed their first vigilance committee in 1851. About 200 vigilantes enrolled, most of them from the elite professional and merchant class of the city. They had headquarters along Battery Street, where they could temporarily imprison criminals, and the ringing of the city's fire bell would summon the vigilantes to action. A handful of men who were found guilty of serious crimes like murder were hanged from a nearby derrick normally used to haul freight into the second story of a warehouse. More commonly, though, the vigilantes simply deported criminals like the "Sydney ducks" back to their homelands.

Whether due to the vigilante actions or because conventional law enforcement became more effective, things eventually quieted down in San Francisco and the first vigilance committee disbanded. In 1856, however, a rigged election put an Irish-Catholic politician named James P. Casey on the city board of supervisors. James King, a crusading editor of the Daily Evening Bulletin, accused Casey of being involved in criminal activity in the city. On May 14, 1856, Casey confronted King in the street and fatally wounded him with a Colt navy revolver.

The next day, angry San Franciscans created the second vigilance committee. This time, however, they could not claim that the city government was not enforcing the law--the sheriff had already arrested Casey and put him in the county jail pending trial. Acting more like a raging mob than an instrument of justice, 500 vigilantes surrounded the county jail and removed Casey from the sheriff's custody on May 18. After a short but reasonably fair trial, they hanged him.

Some historians have argued that the second vigilance committee was less interested in suppressing crime than in attacking its political enemies. Casey's election signaled a shift in power to the dominant faction of recently immigrated Irish-Catholic Democrats. The vigilantes, who were largely native-born Protestants, reasserted their control by arresting and exiling their political opponents from the city. As before, they hanged several men.

Regardless of the vigilantes' true motives, a number of Irish Catholic leaders did leave the city and the Protestant elite managed to regain control of the government. Late in 1856, the vigilance committee formally disbanded and never again became active.

One thing I couldn't help but notice in this bit of history is that the editor that was shot shared my name! Not that it actually means anything, but it's not the first time my name has shown up in an article about the violence of the old western days. At least this time it isn't attached to an outlaw!

How about coffee on the patio this morning? It's fairly nice with the temps already in the high 70s.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thank You, Walter Hunt...!

There are a lot of folks in our history that contributed some very useful products to us, most of which are still in use today!

Unfortunately, many of these inventors never got credit for their achievements. Certainly most of them were very deserving of the credit, and it's sad that it never came! Until now, that is!

Walter Hunt

Walter Hunt was an American mechanic born in New York in 1796. Throughout his life he worked as an inventor and he managed to create a variety of different devices. The lockstitch sewing machine, safety pin, a forerunner of the Winchester repeating rifle, a successful flax spinner, knife sharpener, streetcar bell, hard-coal-burning stove, artificial stone, street sweeping machinery, the velocipede, and the ice plough are his most notable creations.

Many of his creations have served as indispensable additions and improvements to basic activities and devices in modern times. This is especially true for things like the simple safety pin and the complicated sewing machine. Unfortunately, none of his extremely useful inventions managed to win him an award throughout his life (nor afterwards).

The next time that someone ask you if you knew who invented the safety pin, you can tell them about Walter Hunt! Who knows? That might come in handy someday!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I don't think that the rain is coming, so we should be good to go!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Mystery In Space...!

Today's mystery is a little far out of the range of our normal mysteries. Of course, I'm not even sure there is such a thing as a "Normal Mystery!"

I'll be the first to say that I have never heard of this one, though. I don't remember us talking much about the mysteries in space, and I'll bet there are many of them!

South Atlantic Anomaly

Did you ever wonder if there was a Bermuda Triangle in Space? No? Well you’re probably wondering it now, and you’re in luck! Because there totally is, and it’s called the South Atlantic Anomaly. The SAA is the area where the band of radiation known as Earth’s inner Van Allen belt comes closest to the Earth’s surface.

It’s an area centered just a bit off the coast of Brazil, and it’s responsible for numerous problems with satellites and spacecraft, from messing up their programs to actually shutting down their function. The Hubble Telescope is actually turned off from taking observations when passing through the Anomaly, and the International Space Station avoids scheduling spacewalks when passing through it (which happens up to 5 times a day). It’s not just technical problems, either—some astronauts report seeing “shooting stars” in their visual field as they pass through.

The cause of all these problems isn’t fully understood. The main suspect is the high levels of radiation that accumulate at the anomaly, but scientists aren’t sure exactly how or why the effects occur. So let’s just pin this one on aliens.

Nothing like finding out that strange things happen out in space as well! Not exactly the most comforting thing in the world, or should I say " out of this world?"

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll bring the baby kittens out for some air!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hey, The 'Toons Are Here...!

Well, it's Sunday again! Here at the hermit's, that means 'toons!

Someone said that I should do something else on Sunday besides sharing the cartoons. I guess they don't like the 'toons, but most of us do! It just seems to me that if we can't take one day to enjoy a little silliness, then we are in trouble. Lord knows, there is enough bad stuff going on in the world without me adding to the trouble by talking about it, right?

Worth a few grins, right?

At least in cartoons, no one gets hurt for long. In that aspect, it's better than real life...and a lot less painful!

OK, enough of this silliness. I'm sure everyone has more serious stuff to do today! Don't overdo, OK?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. And by the way...HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

You Sure You Want Decaffe...?

I personally don't care for decaf coffee. I need all the caffeine I can get in the morning, ya know?

Other folks, like my Mother, like their decaf. I have to say that really she drinks the Folgers half decaf, which to me is about the same. It just taste different to me! Guess that's why there are so many different kinds of coffee out there.

Decaffeinated Coffee

As everyone knows, coffee beans naturally have caffeine. That’s why most people drink it. But millions of “health conscious” Americans reach for decaf over the caffeinated brew. Easy enough, since it’s available in every coffee shop and every office across the country. It’s as American as apple pie.

Except, of course, that it’s not American at all (incidentally, neither is apple pie). The process of decaffeination was invented by a German named Ludwig Roselius in 1903. It was later widely marketed in the U.S. under the brand name Sanka. In addition to caffeine, coffee also has more than 400 other chemicals, all of which add their own personality to the overall taste, texture, and smell. So removing one specific chemical while keeping everything else intact isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Roselius’s process involved steaming the coffee beans with acid and then soaking them in benzene, which pulled out the caffeine. Since benzene has an annoying tendency to cause bone marrow cancer, modern decaffeination is slightly different.

I think I'll just stick to my regular dark roast coffee! It may just be a mental thing, but I don't want decaf...thank you just the same!

Coffee inside again this morning. Another storm is coming through!

Friday, May 10, 2013

What Eyes You Have...!

When I found this article over at listverse, I had to research it to make sure it was real! I had never heard of it before!

Nearly every article I could find seems to agree that even though the condition is rare, it is very real! Pretty strange, don't you think?

Pupula Duplex

If the day comes that you fall off a building and Superman saves you, try not to look into his eyes because this is exactly what they might look like. A person with two pupils may have improved eyesight in more ways than one. They might be able to escalate the amount of visual information they take in as well as have enhanced focus. As the condition mostly appears in fiction many believe it to be myth—but there is sufficient proof of historical figures, most notably the famous Chinese emperor Liu Ch’ung, who were born with the condition.

There are many articles and pictures about this condition if you want to Google it. Makes for an interesting read!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's supposed to storm today, and we need to be inside!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...!

Baby Sis sent me this list and I figured it might be just the thing to share with you! After all, why should I have all the fun?

Thoughts Of A Wandering Mind:

I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

I had amnesia once---or twice.

I went to San Francisco . I found someone's heart. Now what?

Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.

All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.

If the world were a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.

What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?

They told me I was gullible and I believed them.

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he'll never be able to merge his car onto the freeway.

Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.

One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.

My weight is perfect for my height--which varies.

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

How can there be self-help "groups"?

If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, and I'll show you a man who can't get his pants off.

Is it me --or do buffalo wings taste like chicken?

These are just something to ponder over our coffee this morning! Maybe we could come up with some more, ya think?

Coffee out on the patio today. Anyone want some vanilla cream cookies?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bob Wills On Western Wednesday...!

Anyone that likes country music, especially western swing, knows of Bob Wills.

Mr. Wills and the Texas Playboys were probably one of the best known groups when it came to western swing. Even today his music can be heard on the radio and on some old movies and country music videos.

May 13, 1975:
The inventor of western swing dies

Bob Wills, one of the most influential musicians in the history of country-western music, is born on a small farm near Kosse, Texas.

Born James Robert Wills in 1905, he was trained to be a musician from an early age. His father was a champion fiddle player, and he began giving Wills lessons as soon as the boy could hold the instrument. By the time he was 10, Wills was a skilled fiddler and a competent guitar and mandolin player.

Wills left home at 16 and worked various jobs, like picking cotton and preaching. He eventually joined a traveling medicine show, where he played fiddle and met Herman Arnspiger, a Texas farm boy who had learned to play guitar from a Sears catalog guitar book. The pair began playing at dances and parties around Fort Worth, and after adding a singer, won a regular radio gig performing as the Light Crust Doughboys.

In 1933, the group separated and Wills formed the band that would make him famous: Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. With the Playboys, Wills perfected his hard-driving country-western sound, which drew heavily on the rhythms of the popular jazz-swing bands of the era. Wills' fiddle playing sounded nothing like the traditional folk music he had heard as a child. By using strong beats and syncopation, he produced a sound that seemed to cry out for dancing.

Wills eventually added drums, brass, and woodwinds to the Texas Playboys, making himself into a country-western bandleader in the style of Benny Goodman or Artie Shaw. Several of his bands were as large as 22 pieces, and Wills worked with more than 600 musicians in his long career. In 1940, Wills took some of the Playboys to Hollywood, where the band appeared in a number of western movies that won them a nationwide following. Among their many hits were highly danceable tunes like, "Take Me Back to Tulsa," "Bubbles in My Beer," and the ever popular "San Antonio Rose." All told, Wills has sold more than 20 million records to date

Many critics have argued Wills and the Texas Playboys had a greater influence on the sounds of country-western music than any other performer or group. In recognition of his achievements, Wills was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968. He believed his chances of winning were so slim he was backstage chatting with friends when the award was announced. When he was finally tracked down and brought on stage, he said, "I don't usually take my hat off to nobody. But I sure do to you folks."

Stricken by a series of severe strokes, he died seven years later at the age of 70.

I can remember my folks dancing in the living room while listening to some Bob Wills on the records player! One of the few times I saw them dance together! Thanks to the folks at for bringing that memory alive again!

How about coffee out on the patio this morning? I have some peach cobbler I'll share!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Let's Talk "Senses"...!

Today we are talking about something a little different! At least, this was different from what I thought I knew!

Thanks to our friends over at Listverse, I learned something new while researching this article. Hopefully, this will be new to you as well! I love learning something new each day! Keeps my mind working pretty good, I think.


How many senses do you have? At least nine. The five we all know about: Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, were first proposed by Aristotle, but there are now four more which are agreed among scientists to be official senses, these are:

1. Thermoception – the sense of heat (or it’s absence) on our skin,

2. Equilibrioception – our sense of balance, which is determined by the fluid filled cavities in our inner ear.

3. Nociception – Pain.

4. Proprioception – or ‘body awareness’. This is the conscious knowledge of where our body parts are without having to look, for example, close your eyes and waggle your big toe, you still know where it is in relation to the rest of you.

Some neurologists also argue that there are even more than 9. What about hunger? Or thirst? It’s certainly a grey area.

Isn't it amazing to know we have names for these senses that I had never heard about? Heck, I feel kinda special knowing that, don't you?

Let's have our coffee out on the patio this morning. The roses are blooming all over the place and the smell is terrific!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Little Presidential Precognition...!

Sometimes we all get feelings that are hard to describe, even the presidents!

Somehow it's comforting to know that presidents, at least the PAST presidents, had some of the same feelings as the average folks! Makes them seem a little more like the common man, ya know? I doubt that we could say the same thing today. What say that we take a look at one of these particular feelings experienced by late presidents.

Precognition of American Presidents

Precognition—including the vague sense of impending doom—is an unexplained phenomenon whereby events are seen before their time. Eerily, Abraham Lincoln reported a dream in which he had seen his own dead body. Only days later, he was fatally shot.

Quantum theorists studying the fourth dimension propose that time can bend, allowing us to glimpse the future. Limiting ourselves to American Presidents alone, we find that John Garfield and William McKinley also “previewed” their own deaths. In a related—albeit slightly different—case of extrasensory perception, John Adams’ last words the moment before he died were simply “Thomas Jefferson.” It was unknown to him, but hours before, his great political rival had indeed passed away…

The feelings or premonitions that we get may be a common thread among all of us, but it would be interesting to know just what causes them, don't you think? I personally don't think that I want to know the future, but I do feel that we should pay attention to all of those little warning bells that occasionally go off in our head. Those feelings are there for a reason, at least in my opinion!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I think the Spring type weather is back for a while!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Are You Ready For Some 'Toons...?

What would Sunday be without our weekly dose of cartoons? It would be nearly as bad as trying to get started without my morning coffee...and that ain't good!

Even at my age, I can't help but smile at these! I love the sound effects!

It's always amazing to me how long some of these things have been around. Many folks have been afforded a lot of laughs from the likes of Tom and Jerry!

And, on that note, I'm going to leave everyone to finish off their Sunday! Maybe these grins will help make it a good day, despite what the weather does.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'm in the mood for sausage and biscuits today! Want some?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Sea Going Mystery...!

Some times the best stories are the ones that are true. The sea is full of strange stories and happenings, and that's part of what makes it so fascinating!

Many of the stories associated with the seas include those of lost treasure, ghost ships, and strange creatures living below the surface! How could you not like that?

We often associate these stories with times gone by, but some of them are a lot more recent than we would imagine. That's the case with this story!

The Kaz II Ghost Yacht

The Mary Celeste has gained a somewhat eerie notoriety following its discovery, apparently having been abandoned by its crew, with nobody remaining on board. This ghost vessel phenomenon seems to repeat itself, remarkably, in the modern case of the Kaz II.

In April 2007, the Kaz II was traveling with its three-man crew along the northwest Australian coast, when air surveillance noticed it drifting oddly. Upon boarding, no trace of the crew members could be found. However, no sign of trouble was discovered either. A laptop computer was still running, and the engine was on. Eating utensils were laid out on the table, while life jackets remained in their cases. The bizarre and disturbing mystery of the Kaz II essentially remains unsolved.

According to Jon Hall of the Queensland Emergency Management Office, “What they found was a bit strange in that everything was normal; there was just no sign of the crew.”

The state coroner eventually ruled that “the brothers fell overboard while attending to mechanical problems—however, the ruling is still only speculation.”

I have just one question about this whole thing. Who gets to keep the boat? I reckon they auction it off, but I'm just guessing. I wouldn't mind having it, haunted or not!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some sour cream pound cake!

Friday, May 3, 2013

How About A Treasure Hunt...?

I guess that nearly all of us are fascinated by stories of treasure, buried or just hidden!

I can only imagine that finding something like this one would be enough for most folks, but there is always a chance that instead it might feed the urge to find some more! Either way, it would be exciting to say the least!

Yamashita’s Treasure at Bacuit Bay

In Palawan, Philippines, Bacuit Bay is an island that on its own should be considered a treasure. Bacuit Bay is small, yet boasts a legendary story about Tomoyuki Yamashita’s lost treasures. A decorated general for the Japanese Army, it is speculated that Yamashita hid treasure in the caves of Bacuit Bay in the 1940s. Yamashita obtained his treasures by looting many bordering countries during the 30s until World War II. Yamashita’s treasures includes loot from Malaysia, India, Thailand and Burma, which were all shipped to the Philippines prior to their final destination—Japan. Unfortunately for Yamashita, Japan surrendered while he was still in the Philippines. Prior to being captured and hung, Yamashita hid his treasure in 172 different places on the island. He and his crew assumed they would eventually come back for the treasure. Some sources estimate that Yamashita’s treasures could be worth billions today. In the 70s, Rogelio Roxas found part of the treasure. Unfortunately President Ferdinand Marcos confiscated his findings and the remaining treasure located in that particular tunnel. Roxas sued and was awarded $22 billion dollars. Although the Marcos and Roxas family continue to battle in court, based on the story, there are more caves filled with Yamashita’s other treasures.

I can't help but wonder what most of us would do with this much money. Guess we will never know, unless one of us just happens to find something like this in the backyard! Who ever finds it will share, right? RIGHT?

Coffee inside this morning. It's cold and rainy and just plain nasty!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jesse, The Chicken Plucker...!

I reckon that not many in the entertainment field are remembered as fondly as this gentleman.

I first saw him doing a stand up piece on a television show back in the 1950s and he was funny even then! I kinda wish we had a few more like him!

Imagine, if you had to do it.

Jesse was a chicken plucker. That's right.

He stood on a line in a chicken factory and spent his days
Pulling the feathers off dead chickens so the rest of us
Wouldn't have to.

It wasn't much of a job. But at the time,
Jesse didn't think he was much of a person.
His father was a brute of a man.
His dad was actually thought to be mentally ill
And treated Jesse rough all of his life.

Jesse's older brother wasn't much better.
He was always picking on Jesse and beating him up.
Yes, Jesse grew up in a very rough home in
West Virginia.  Life was anything but easy.
And he thought life didn't hold much hope for him.
That's why he was standing in this chicken line,
Doing a job that darn few people wanted.

In addition to all the rough treatment at home, it seems
That Jesse was always sick. Sometimes it was real
physical illness, but way too often it was all in his head.
He was a small child, skinny and meek.
That sure didn't help the situation any.

When he started to school, he was the object
of every Bully on the playground.
He was a hypochondriac of the first order.
For Jesse, tomorrow was not always something
he Looked forward to.

But, he had dreams. He wanted to be a ventriloquist.
He found books on ventriloquism. He practiced with
Sock puppets and saved his hard earned dollars until
He could get a real ventriloquist dummy.

When he got old enough, he joined the military.
And even though many of his hypochondriac symptoms
Persisted, the military did recognize his talents and
Put him in the entertainment corp.
That was when his world changed.
He gained confidence.

He found that he had a talent for making people laugh,
And laugh so hard they often had tears in their eyes.
Yes, little Jesse had found himself.

You know, folks, the history books are full of people
Who overcame a handicap to go on and make a success
Of themselves, but Jesse is one of the few I know of
Who didn't overcome it.  Instead he used his paranoia
To make a million dollars, and become one of
The best-loved characters of all time in doing it!

Yes, that little paranoid hypochondriac, who transferred
His nervousness into a successful career, still holds the
Record for the most Emmy's given in a single category.

The wonderful, gifted, talented, and nervous comedian
Who brought us Barney Fife

Jesse Don Knotts.

Description: EB3E31D7716642C1A910DC49776F5D82@computer


There is a street named for him and his statue in
Morgantown, West Virginia, his place of birth.

   Jesse Donald "DonKnotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006)

I always thought the man was funny, but I'll admit that I had no idea of his back story! Sort of gives you a whole new respect for the man and what he accomplished, doesn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's supposed to go back up into the 80s, so let's take advantage of it!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Hangman On Western Wednesday...!

This had to be one of the most unpleasant jobs in the West, but it sure did pay well!

Regardless of the stigma attached to the job, it was a very needed profession. Like many jobs that are considered undesirable, it took a special kind of individual to do the job well! I guess that there was a bit of talent to tying a proper knot and making the whole event as clean as possible.

May 6, 1911:
Hangman George Maledon dies

George Maledon, the man who executed at least 60 men for "Hanging Judge" Isaac Parker, dies from natural causes in Tennessee.

Few men actively seek out the job of hangman and Maledon was no exception. Raised by German immigrants in Detroit, Michigan, Maledon moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, in his late teens and joined the city police force. He joined the Union Army during the Civil War, and he then returned to Fort Smith where he was appointed a U.S. deputy marshal. The town also had occasional need of an executioner, and Maledon agreed to take on the grisly task in addition to his regular duties as a marshal.

Maledon wound up with more business than he expected. In 1875, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed a young prosecuting attorney named Isaac Parker to be the federal judge of the Western District of Arkansas. Headquartered at Fort Smith, the Western District was one of the most notoriously corrupt in the country, and it included the crime-ridden Indian Territory to the west (in present-day Oklahoma). Indian Territory had become a refuge for rustlers, murderers, thieves, and fugitives, and Parker's predecessor often accepted bribes to look the other way. Assigned an unprecedented force of 200 U.S. marshals to restore order, Parker began a massive dragnet that led to the arrest of many criminals. A friend of the Indians and more sympathetic to the victims of crimes than the criminals, Parker doled out swift justice in his court. In his first months in session he tried 91 defendants and sentenced eight of them to hang.

It was Maledon's job to carry out Judge Parker's death sentences. Paid $100 for each hanging, Maledon willingly accepted the work. He tried to be a conscientious hangman who minimized suffering with a quick death. Maledon said he considered the job "honorable and respectable work and I mean to do it well."

In all, Maledon is believed to have hanged about 60 men and to have shot five more who tried to escape. Subsequent sensational accounts of the Fort Smith "Hanging Judge" unfairly painted Parker as a cruel sadist with Maledon as his willing henchman. Yet, it is well to keep in mind that 65 marshals were also killed in the line of duty attempting to bring law and order to Indian Territory during Parker's term.

After Parker died from diabetes in 1896, Maledon met a publicity-seeking attorney named J. Warren Reed, who had written a lurid account of the Fort Smith court entitled Hell on the Border. Attracted by the promise of fame and money, Maledon joined Reed in a promotional tour for the book. He willingly played the role of the ghoulish hangman, displaying ropes he had preserved and telling which were used to execute various outlaws.

After a year of touring, Maledon tired of the limelight and used his earnings to purchase a farm. A small man with a weak constitution, he did not have the strength to work the farm profitably, and soon after entered a soldier's home at Johnson City, Tennessee, where he remained until his death in 1911.

Ya know, I think that George found a great way to "stretch" his income by "stretching" a few necks! Sorry, but I just couldn't resist!

Better take our coffee inside this morning. It may rain, but then it may not! Only the Shadow knows!