Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fun Sunday...!

Anything will be more fun than the last two weeks!

Actually, it hasn't been that bad...only crowded and busy. That's a story for another day! Today, as usual, it's cartoons. Of course, you already knew that...didn't you?

No particular hero today, just some old classics. Often that's the best, don't you think?

This heat has me all screwed up with the 'toons. I can't find any I like today, ya know?

Now that all the company is gone it sure is quiet around here. I'm looking forward to a peaceful and uneventful Sunday. I hope you have a good one as well!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's hot, but just cloudy enough to make it OK.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Oh, What A Tangled Web...!

Most of us don't think too much about how a mere handful of companies control so much of our food brand names. I know I didn't!

I personally think that it is just a smoke screen to confuse us all, and it seems to be working. Many of these parent companies would rather stay below our radar for some reason! Curious, isn't it?

They Give you the Illusion of Choice

Who would you rather give money to Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell? Well it doesn’t really matter because all three are owned by the same company: Yum! Brands Inc.

Many familiar companies have a hand in a much more varied range of products than you would expect. Pepsi Co owns Quaker oats, which means it owns a huge variety of cereals, rice snacks, pasta dishes and even baking mixes. Pepsi also owns several chip companies and even some types of coffee.

But hey, maybe those types of products aren’t your thing, so you’re gonna completely ignore Pepsi by sitting home and enjoying a nice cup of Lipton Tea. Yeah, you see where this is going: Pepsi owns Lipton too.

See what I mean? You just never know who owns what anymore! More than a little confusing!

Coffee inside again today. I'm thinking that it's just too warm to sit outside, ya know?

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Few Toilet Facts...!

I thought we would start out our Friday with a few obscure facts about the most necessary item in the home, the toilet!

The toilet actually has an interesting history. Funny how something we seldom think about can be so interesting!

1. The film “Psycho” was the first movie to show a toilet flushing – the scene caused an inpouring of complaints about indecency

2. Pomegranates studded with cloves were used as the first attempt at making toilet air-freshner

3. Hermann Goering refused to use regulation toilet paper – instead he bought soft white handkerchiefs in bulk and used them

4. Over $100,000 US dollars was spent on a study to determine whether most people put their toilet paper on the holder with the flap in front or behind; the answer: three out of four people have the flap in the front

5. King George II of Great Britain died falling off a toilet on the 25th of October 17602 Facts

6. The average person spends three whole years of their life sitting on the toilet

7. The first toilet cubicle in a row is the least used (and consequently cleanest)

8. An estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to proper toilet facilities, particularly in rural areas of China and India.

9. The Roman army didn’t have toilet paper so they used a water soaked sponge on the end of a stick instead!

10. The toilet is flushed more times during the super bowl halftime than at any time during the year.

11. 90% of pharmaceuticals taken by people are excreted through urination. Therefore our sewer systems contain heavy doses of drugs. A recent study by the EPA has found fish containing trace amounts of estrogen, cholesterol-lowering drugs, pain relievers, antibiotics, caffeine and even anti-depressants.

12. Lack of suitable toilets and sanitation kills approximately 1.8 million people a year, many of them children.

13. The toilet handle in a public restroom can have up to 40,000 germs per square inch.

14. While he didn’t invent the toilet, Thomas Crapper perfected the siphon flush system we use today. He was born in the village of Thorne – which is an anagram of throne.

15. In a 1992 survey, British public toilets were voted the worst in the world. Following quickly behind were Thailand, Greece, and France.

Boy, if you ever wanted some trivia to store away for hard times, then this is it! Might come in handy someday!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's going back up to the 100 degree mark again today. It hit 103 yesterday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The War In Texas...!

The truth is that there were several small, but important wars fought in the United States and one of them was in Texas...against Texas!

I thought that I knew a lot of Texas history, but this one threw me for a loop! In fact, I didn't know about many of these battles. Guess I wasn't as smart as I thought!

Texas Archive War

The Lone Star State suffered a few growing pains in its earlier days, not helped by the near constant threat of invasion from neighboring Mexico. In 1842, the capital of the Republic of Texas was Austin. After receiving a demand for surrender from a Mexican general backed by an army, Texas president Sam Houston and the state Congress decided Austin might be in danger and ordered the seat of government—and its accompanying archive of official public documents and records—moved to the city of Houston.

The citizens of Austin weren’t pleased. Fearing the president’s namesake city would become the new state capital, they formed a vigilante committee and swore armed resistance. The first attempt failed when the man appointed by the president to accompany the archive on its move was refused horses and wagons by the angry residents. The second attempt ended in humiliation when contemptuous citizens flouted the president’s authority, shaved the manes and tails of his messengers’ horses, and refused to let the men carry out their duty. At the end of 1842, a frustrated President Houston was forced to send a company of thirty Texas Rangers, with orders not to provoke bloodshed, to take the government archive from Austin.

The Rangers entered the town on the morning of December 29th and began quietly loading the archive into wagons, unnoticed by the citizens—except one. Upon witnessing the soldiers’ activities, Angelina Belle Peyton Eberly, who ran the local boarding house, hurried to a six-pound cannon kept loaded with grape shot in case of Indian attack, and set off the charge (fortunately, no one was injured). By the time the vigilante committee members assembled, the Rangers raced out of town, taking the precious archive with them.

Undaunted, the leader of the vigilantes, Captain Mark Lewis, commandeered a cannon from the nearby arsenal and took off after the Rangers with a couple of dozen furious citizens right behind him. They caught up to the company of Rangers the next day at Kenny Fort and at cannon-point, forced them to hand over the archive, which was returned to Austin.At that point, President Sam Houston gave up, the government archive remained in Austin, and the Archive War ended with only a few shots fired and no one hurt.

A more complete listing of some of the other "wars" can be found over at Listverse! Check them out and see if your state had one!

Coffee out on the patio today. I'll spray the patio down so it will feel a little cooler!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lewis And Clark Celebrate The 4TH...!

Even the explorers Lewis and Clark took the time to celebrate the 4TH of July.

I wonder just how they managed to keep track of what day it was. Did they have a calendar with them? Did they mark the days some other way, or was it just a guess at the date? Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Jul 4, 1804:
Lewis and Clark celebrate July 4

Staging the first-ever Fourth of July celebration west of the Mississippi River, Lewis and Clark fire the expedition cannon and order an extra ration of whiskey for the men.

Six weeks earlier, Lewis and Clark left American civilization to depart on their famous journey. Since their departure, the party of 29 men--called the Corps of Discovery--had made good progress, traveling up the Missouri River in a 55-foot keelboat and two dugout canoes. When the wind was behind them, Lewis and Clark raised the keelboat sail, and on a few occasions, managed to travel 20 miles in a single day.

By early July, the expedition had reached the northeastern corner of the present-day state of Kansas. The fertility of the land astonished the two leaders of the expedition. Clark wrote of the many deer, "as plenty as Hogs about a farm," and with his usual creative spelling, praised the tasty "rasberreis perple, ripe and abundant."

On this day in 1804, the expedition stopped near the mouth of a creek flowing out of the western prairie. The men asked the captains if they knew if the creek had a name. Knowing none, they decided to call it Independence Creek in honor of the day.

The expedition continued upstream, making camp that evening at an abandoned Indian village. To celebrate the Fourth of July, Lewis and Clark commanded that the keelboat cannon be fired at sunset. They distributed an extra ration of whiskey to the men, and the explorers settled back to enjoy the peaceful Kansas night. In his final journal entry of the day, Clark wondered at the existence of, "So magnificent a Senerey in a Contry thus Situated far removed from the Sivilised world to be enjoyed by nothing but the Buffalo Elk Deer & Bear in which it abounds & Savage Indians."

The next day, the travelers resumed their journey up the Missouri River toward the distant Pacific Coast. They would not pass by their pleasant camping spot in Kansas again until their return journey, two years and many adventures later.

One can only imagine that the group had a treasure of tales to pass on from their expedition! Probably didn't have any trouble getting listeners for their stories, either!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some vanilla cream sandwich cookies I'll serve up!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Have You Seen The Missing Lake...?

I have a feeling that maybe I should have saved this one for a Monday mystery, but it was too good to keep quiet about!

I have to admit that this one goes way beyond the boundary of strange and is definitely something worth looking into! Since most of my readers seem to like the stories that are, shall we say, different...I figured this article from Listverse would be a good read!

Disappearing Lake

On May 2007, a lake in Patagonia, Chile, literally disappeared, leaving behind a 30 meter deep pit, icebergs and dry soil. However, this wasn’t a small lake or pond – it was an astonishing 5 miles long! The last time geologists saw the lake in March 2007, they detected nothing strange about it. However, something happened during the 2 month span that not only caused the lake to vanish, but reduced a river that flowed from the lake to a tiny stream. Geologists were puzzled as to why a lake of that size would simply cease to exist. Perhaps, they suggested, an earthquake drained the lake, yet there were no reports of any quakes in that particular area during spring. Meanwhile, UFO enthusiasts concluded that a spaceship drained the lake. The mystery is unsolved to this day.

I'll admit that I'm getting hooked on these mysteries, ya know? At least I figure there's enough to last for a long, long time!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Let's share some marble cream cake!

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Strange Monday Mystery...!

I love it when I find a mystery that has been studied by the scientist and the government and still has no answer!

I like this one especially, simply because it mentions one of my favorite heroes...Tesla! Also, this one is just plain cool!

Hutchison Effect

The Hutchison Effect refers to the number of eerie phenomena that occurred when inventor John Hutchison attempted to replicate a few of inventor Nickola Tesla’s experiments. Some of the strange events witnessed include levitation, fusion of objects completely different in matter (such as wood and metal), and disappearances of some smaller objects. Even stranger is that after his experiment, Hutchison was unable to repeat the project again with the same results. This experiment was so popular it even sparked the interest of NASA and the Military, both whom have failed to produce the Hutchison Effect.

I got this information from the folks at Listverse, but I'll bet if you go to Google and type in the "Hutchison Effect" you can find out more information about this!

Let's take a chance and have coffee on the patio this morning! Sound good to you?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Of Course We Have "Toons"...!

You already knew that we were going to have 'toons this morning, didn't ya? Of course you did!

Some Tom and Jerry today! I hope that's OK.

The best thing about these old 'toons are the sound effects. I know I've said that before, but it's true!

I may change things up a little after today. We might do away with the cartoons every Sunday, but nothing is certain. I'll let you know when I decide! Until then, let's continue with the fun!

Let's have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's already too hot and the kitchen is way cooler!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Presidential Saturday...!

Once in a great while, we find out things about public figures that are just too good not to share!

I ran across these 44 facts about some of our presidents that I thought you might find interesting. You might already know these, but it never hurts to remember them again, right?

1. George Washington – Thinking that shaking hands was beneath the dignity of the President, Washington preferred to bow to greet guests. To avoid being forced into a handshake he would place one hand on his sword and hold his hat in the other.

2. John Adams – Adams, the second President, and Jefferson, the third, both died on the same day, July 4th 1826, exactly fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Adam’s last words, probably apocryphal, are said to be ‘Jefferson survives,’ when in fact Jefferson had died hours earlier.

3. Thomas Jefferson – While a famous writer, the chief composer of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson hated public speaking and avoided giving speeches. Jefferson started the tradition of delivering written State of the Union statements, which lasted until the 20th century.

4. James Madison – Madison was the slightest President. Standing at five feet four inches and weighing less than 100lbs you would need three-and-a-half Madisons to make up a Taft, the heaviest President.

5. James Monroe – In his re-election, Monroe ran unopposed for the Presidency. He failed to receive all the votes in the electoral college however when a rogue member cast his ballot for John Quincy Adams.

6. John Quincy Adams – Adams was fond of swimming naked in the Potomac. When an intrepid female reporter wished to get an interview with the President she stole his clothes until he agreed to an interview.

7. Andrew Jackson – Jackson was a noted duelist. When a man impugned Jackson’s wife they dueled. The man shot Jackson over the heart. Jackson cooly took aim and killed the man. It was too risky to remove the bullet and so it remained in Jackson for the rest of his life.

8. Martin Van Buren – Van Buren’s first language was not English, he was raised speaking Dutch.

9. William Henry Harrison – Delivered the longest inaugural address and had the shortest Presidency. His long speech in bad weather led to him developing a cold which worsened and caused his death after a month in office.

10. John Tyler – Tyler was the first Vice-President to assume office after the death of a President in office. He had the most children of any President, 15.

11. James Polk – Polk was elected on a promise not to run for a second term in office.12. Zachary Taylor – Died from contracting cholera from a bowl of cherries washed down with iced milk.

13. Millard Fillmore – Fillmore refused an honorary degree from the University of Oxford on the basis that he was not classically educated and so could not read the diploma, written in Latin. He said “no man should accept a degree he cannot read.”

14. Franklin Pierce – While President, Pierce was arrested for running over an old woman with his horse.

15. James Buchanan – Often rated the worst President when historians are polled. His Presidency included the secession of seven states and a major depression. Some historians believe that Buchanan was the first gay US President, he was certainly the only one to be unwed for the duration of his term of office.

16. Abraham Lincoln – Lincoln was a notably ugly man in photos but people who met him described his face as intelligent and handsome in motion. The first President to wear a beard he grew it at the suggestion of a young girl, Grace Bedell, who wrote to him.

17. Andrew Johnson – Was drunk at Lincoln’s second inauguration. The event was described by a senator as follows. “The inauguration went off very well except that the Vice President Elect was too drunk to perform his duties & disgraced himself & the Senate by making a drunken foolish speech. I was never so mortified in my life, had I been able to find a hole I would have dropped through it out of sight.”

18. Ulysses S. Grant – Gained a reputation for drinking heavily while still a young man. When President Lincoln was warned about Grant’s drinking habits during the civil war he is supposed to have responded “If it makes fighting men like Grant, then find out what he drinks, and send my other commanders a case!”

19. Rutherford Hayes – The only President to be elected via a special congressional committee which ruled on various ballots contested during the election. His election is still contested by historians.

20. James Garfield – Could write Latin with his left hand whilst simultaneously writing Greek with his right.

21. Chester A. Arthur – Sold off all the furniture in the White House before moving in. Lots of it dated back to the construction of the White House and any such pieces would be hugely valuable today.

22. Grover Cleveland – As well as being the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms Cleveland was a fan of the telephone and would personally answer the White House phone.

23. Benjamin Harrison – While in office Harrison had electricity installed in the White House. Unfortunately he and his wife were terrified of it and would not touch switches for fear of electrocution and often slept with the lights on.

24. Grover Cleveland – The First Democrat elected after the Civil War, Grover Cleveland was the only President to leave the White House and return for a second term four years later.

25. William McKinley – McKinley was the first president to appear on motion picture. It can be viewed on youtube here.

26. Theodore Roosevelt – Theodore Roosevelt was the first American to win a Nobel Prize, the first President to leave the country while in office, and the first to fly in an airplane.

27. William Howard Taft – Taft is best known for being the fattest President but he also holds a sporting title. He was the first President to cast the opening pitch of a baseball season.

28. Woodrow Wilson – Wilson was the best educated President, the only one to hold a PhD, and yet he did not learn to read until he was eleven

29. Warren Harding – Was so fond of cards that his cabinet was known as the ‘Poker Cabinet’ because they all played together. At his poker parties alcohol, illegal during prohibition, would flow freely.

30. Calvin Coolidge – Coolidge was a man of very few words and so became known as Silent Cal. He was so taciturn that when Dorothy Parker was told he had died she replied ‘How could they tell?’

31. Herbert Hoover – Hoover and his wife spoke fluent Mandarin Chinese. When they did not wish to be overheard they would speak Mandarin.

32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt – FDR’s wife was also a Roosevelt and so did not have to change her name on marriage. At their wedding the bride was given away by President Theodore Roosevelt.

33. Harry S. Truman – Like the ‘S’ in Ulysses Grant’s name the S in Truman’s name meant nothing. It was only ever an S as a way of mollifying both grandfathers whose names began with S.

34. Dwight Eisenhower – Eisenhower installed the putting green at the White House. When squirrels were ruining the grass he had them removed from the gardens.

35. John F. Kennedy – When his ship was sunk in World War II, Kennedy swam 3.5 miles pulling a wounded crewman by a strap held in his teeth.

36. Lyndon Johnson – Johnson loved the drink Fresca so much that he had a fountain of it installed in the White House.

37. Richard Nixon – Nixon so enjoyed bowling that he had the White House pool replaced with a bowling lane.

38. Gerald Ford – Ford was the only President never elected to either the Presidency or the Vice-Presidency, he was appointed by Richard Nixon as his Vice-President and assumed the Presidency after Nixon’s resignation.

39. Jimmy Carter – As a young man, Carter shot his sister with a BB gun in retaliation for her throwing a wrench at him.

40. Ronald Reagan – The blueberry flavor Jelly Belly bean was created for Reagan’s inauguration since he was a great fan of the sweets. A portrait of the President made of jelly beans hangs in his library.

41. George H. W. Bush – While visiting Japan, Bush vomited at a banquet hosted by the Japanese prime minister. The event coined a new Japanese phrase ‘Bushusuru,’ literally ‘to do the Bush-thing.’

42. Bill Clinton – While in high school Clinton was a member of a jazz quartet who played in dark glasses. They called themselves the Three Blind Mice.

43. George W. Bush – Bush is the President with both the highest and lowest recorded approval ratings. They peaked after 9/11 and slumped after hurricane Katrina.

44. Barack Obama – President Obama is a well-known nerd who collects comic books. When Nichelle Nichols, Uhura from Star Trek, visited the White House Obama made the Vulcan salute in greeting.

Now, I don't know about you, but I enjoy a little Whitehouse history now and then!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'm thinking cinnamon toast today!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Guarding The Homestead...!

I've heard many ideas about the best way to protect the homestead, but I think this one is really unique!

Guard dogs, peacocks, geese...these are nothing new to me, but this next one is! I never heard of it before I found it over at Listverse!

Guard Donkey

When you have a property to protect from intruders, a Rottweiler, Cane Corso or Doberman Pinscher looking like an outtake from a Jack Lemmon film might seem to fit the bill. However, you always have the option of taking the alternative approach and recruiting a guard donkey instead of a guard dog. Guard donkeys can be trained to direct their herd-defending instincts against threats to the property with surprisingly effective results and are becoming recognized as a viable option to property protection and livestock security.

These “kick-ass” domestic defenders will fearlessly charge human and animal intruders before confronting them with carnivore-like snarls, bared incisor teeth and ready hooves. Stomping attacks will prevent future run-ins with livestock predators.

Call me crazy, but I think this is a great idea! If I lived in a place where I could own one, I would! Trouble is, in my neighborhood my donkey would end up on someone's table or grill!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll set out a plate of cookies...all kinds!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let's Talk Conspiracy Theory...!

Sometimes so many theories pop up about a particular event, we become almost immune to them.

There are times, however, that all the facts come to light and the conspiracy theory is proven mostly correct! As much as we hate to admit it, recent events are pointing more and more to our very own government being involved in some very nasty activities. From illegal wiretapping, to surveillance drones being used to spy on average citizens, there are way too many incidents to mention here! However, here is one story from the folks over at Listverse that you might just find interesting!

Heart Attack Gun

Theory: The CIA’s Heart Attack Gun

This weapon exists. The CIA actually invented it with taxpayer money in the late 1960s to early 1970s. It was not disclosed until 1975, when Senator Frank Church displayed it to a subcommittee investigating the CIA’s illegal activities. They are specifically forbidden from directly killing anyone in the performance of espionage and intelligence-gathering. The gun was designed to be untraceable. It fires a bullet made of ice, about 0.11 inches wide, less than the diameter of a BB, which has been brushed with a minute amount of shellfish toxin. This toxin induces a myocardial infarction in any human, regardless of size or physical fitness. The bullet then melts leaving no trace of any kind. Autopsies would discover the presence of shellfish toxin in the bloodstream, but if the victim has died of a legitimate heart attack, unnaturally induced or not, an autopsy is unlikely. The entrance wound of the dart would appear about as minor as a mosquito bite.

There is no consensus on who, if anyone, the CIA has assassinated with this gun, but it is most likely that they have used it. Theorists point to Andrew Breitbart, a conservative media mogul who published less than flattering stories and details about President Barack Obama. He had promised in the months prior to his death that he would publish proof that Obama’s presidency was illegitimate. Breitbart collapsed on the sidewalk in a Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles on 1 March 2012 and was taken to a hospital where he died of a massive heart attack at the age of 43, despite being relatively fine health. He was not seriously overweight, but the coroner report states that cardiomegaly caused his heart to fail.

It is possible that the gun was used to assassinate Mark Pittman, the financial journalist who, in 2007, predicted the ongoing American economic recession, which was caused by subprime mortgaging. During the subsequent federal bailouts of major financial companies, Pittman famously sued the Federal Reserve for mishandling taxpayer money. The case is still on appeal. Pittman, however, died on 25 November 2009 in Yonkers, New York, in the very same circumstances as Breitbart. He was walking down the sidewalk and collapsed from a heart attack. He was 52. but possible victims notwithstanding, the heart attack gun does exist, and the CIA invented it. They could have had only one purpose in store for it. The conspiracy theorists got this one right.

Certainly is some food for thought here, isn't it? That's the thing about a good gives us pause to think!

How about we have coffee on the patio this morning? I'll rustle up some biscuits and sausage, OK?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bad "Buckskin" Leslie...!

I know that we've talked before about how many of the folks in the early Old West days were just plain mean, and this is a case in point!

Thanks to the fine folks at for the info!

Jul 10, 1889:
"Buckskin" Frank Leslie murders a prostitute

In a drunken rage, "Buckskin" Frank Leslie murders his lover, the Tombstone prostitute Blonde Mollie Williams.

Leslie was an ill-tempered and violent man, especially when he drank. He told conflicting stories about his early life. At times, he said he was from Texas, at other times from Kentucky. He sometimes claimed he had been trained in medicine and pharmacy, and he even boasted that he had studied in Europe. Supposedly, he earned the nickname "Buckskin" while working as an Army Scout in the Plains Indian Wars. None of his assertions can be confirmed in the historical record.

The record does tell us that in 1880, Leslie opened the Cosmopolitan Hotel in the mining town of Tombstone, Arizona. Shortly thereafter, he committed his first known murder, shooting Mike Killeen in a dispute over the man's wife. The killing was officially ruled to have been in self-defense, but suspicion of foul play arose when Leslie married Killeen's widow two months later.

Two years later, after Leslie badly pistol-whipped a man outside the Oriental Saloon, many Tombstone citizens began to suspect Leslie was a dangerous man. When the famous Tombstone gunslinger John Ringo was found murdered, suspicions again focused on Leslie, though law officers were unable to prove his guilt. Billy Claiborne, a friend of Ringo's, was so certain Leslie was the murderer that he called him out. Leslie shot the inexperienced young man dead.

Even among the notorious rabble of gunslingers and killers in Tombstone, Leslie was unusually violent. The people of Tombstone finally had their chance to get rid of him in 1889. Two years earlier, Leslie had divorced his wife and taken up with a Tombstone prostitute named Blonde Mollie Williams. The relationship eventually soured, and in a drunken fit of rage, Leslie shot the defenseless woman dead. With testimony from a ranch hand that had witnessed the killing, a Tombstone jury convicted Leslie of murder and sentenced him to 25 years.

Seven years later, Leslie won parole with the aid of a young divorcee named Belle Stowell. He soon married Stowell and seems to have made an effort to live a more peaceful life. He even reportedly made a small fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush. He moved to San Francisco in 1904. His fortunes thereafter quickly declined, and he disappeared from the historical record. He may have eventually committed suicide, but the true manner and date of his death remain unconfirmed.

In my mind, there is a big difference in being tough and being downright mean-spirited! No question to me that the latter describes Leslie to a tee! The west was better of without him and his kind, in my opinion!

Coffee outside on the patio this morning. It's supposed to rain and that will cool things off a tad!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Moths Against The Bats...!

I'm one of those that don't have anything against bats in general. In fact, I'm glad that they do a lot in killing off the mosquito population around here.

There are some critters that have found some really cool ways to avoid becoming part of a bats dinner. One of them is the moth! Some moths have come up with some really great defense methods and I thought I would share them with you!

Moths Possess An Anti-Bat Arsenal

Bats are some of the most fascinating and well documented hunters in the animal kingdom, so being a nocturnal flying insect seems like it might as well be a death sentence. Turns out they are actually embroiled in an arms race 50 million years old. The major problem with echolocation is that the target knows you are coming as soon as you use it, just like in every submarine movie ever.

Many species of moths use this to their advantage, to the point where some of them can gauge the distance to their attacker and react with more urgency the closer they are. My favorite tactic is called “flight cessation”, otherwise known as falling.

Tiger moths take defense a step further by employing counter-measures. At nearly the last moment of the attack they will release a series of clicks in order to jam the bat’s sonar, causing them to miss as often as 4 out of 5 times in a recent study.

I only hope that the 'skeeters around here don't start taking flying lessons from those moths, know what I mean?

Let's brave the heat and have coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some lemon pie I'll share!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Mighty Monday Mystery...!

Many ancient buildings and temples were built in the old days that we are still trying to figure out what they were used for. We may never know for sure!

It seems that many were religious in nature, though. Regardless of the original use of these ruins, they remain a mystery for us to ponder even today! This is just one such story!

Gobekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe is generally considered to be the oldest religious structure ever found. Radiocarbon dating puts the site at between 10,000 and 9000 B.C. To put this age in perspective, more time passed between the building of Gobekli Tepe and the building of Stonehenge than between the building of Stonehenge and present day.

The site contains stone structures and stone pillars which feature carvings of various predatory animals. The stone pillars—some of them reaching nearly twenty tons in weight—date to a time when humans were thought to be simple hunter-gatherers. Gobekli Tepe seems to have been built before the advent of agriculture, religion, written language, the wheel, pottery, the domestication of animals, and the use of anything other than simple stone tools.

How were these structures built at a time when humans are basically thought have been cavemen? How did they quarry huge pieces of stone, and cut them to size with no metal tools? What was the purpose of such a site, before religion was thought to have been established? The discovery and ongoing excavation of Gobekli Tepe could eventually change our conception of prehistory forever.

Sort of an ongoing thing, isn't it? Seems like the more we learn, the less we know! Does that make sense?

Coffee inside this morning. It may rain, and it's way too hot to be fun!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Once Again It's Time For Sunday Funnies...!

I know many folks get tired of the same ol' thing, but Sunday we do the 'toons! That's just the way it is.

Back to the basics this morning with some Roadrunner. I think most folks like 'em!

Always the same chase, the same results, and the same entertainment factor!

I just can't help myself. I really get a bang out of these two!

OK, OK...enough of the fun stuff! Let's have another cup to help get through the day!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Veggie Eating Plant...?

Now this is a plant that I have never heard of! Imagine, A carnivorous plant that likes veggies!

Like I said yesterday, just when I think I've seen it all...! Mother Nature is chock full of surprises, that's for sure!

Veggie-loving Pitcher

Like the dung-eaters, Nepenthes ampullaria is still technically a carnivorous plant, but has evolved to derive much of its food from alternative sources, boasting a number of unique adaptations for digesting leaves, petals and other vegetable matter that falls into its trap. Other pitchers would only get clogged by such unwanted rubbish, but ampullaria has repurposed its death-trap into its own personal compost bin, and can happily survive on very little else. Mosquito larvae and other aquatic insects may even colonize these living trash-cans and assist in the breakdown of collected litter.

Ya know, the folks over at Listverse can fill our heads with all kinds of trivia and unusual information! If you have never taken the time to check them out, you really should. I'm just saying...!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'll turn on the ceiling fan, 'cause it's hot outside!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Buying Ghost On EBay...!

If you have ever been shopping on EBay, you know that you can find just about anything. This is a first for me, though!

Just when I thought I had seen it all from EBay, I found this story on Listverse and it proved me wrong!

The Ghost Cane

Would you pay $65,000 for a metal walking cane? Especially a haunted one? The ‘Ghost Cane’ was put on eBay by Mary Anderson, a woman from Indiana who hoped the sale would ease the fears of her 6-year-old son who had come to believe that his grandfather’s ghost roamed the family home. The cane reached 132 bids on eBay and was only accepted on the online bidding site, which usually rejects ‘intangible items such as spirits or souls’ because Miss Anderson made it clear she was only selling the cane so that her son would no longer freak out.

However, she also asked the winning bidder to write a letter to her son telling him that the cane and the ghost were doing just fine. The ‘Ghost Cane’s’ new home is the Golden Palace casino in Antigua where it will take place of pride alongside a grilled cheese sandwich. But not just any grilled cheese sandwich, this sandwich bears the face of the Virgin Mary and was bought on eBay for a cool $28,000.

I've bought a lot of different things from EBay, but nothing like this! For that I say "Thank Goodness!"

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's hot and muggy outside, and this time of the year that usually means rain!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Let's Talk "Service"...!

Something a little different for you to consider this Thursday.

I become confused when I hear the word "Service" used with these agencies:

Internal Revenue 'Service'

US Postal 'Service'

Telephone 'Service'

Cable TV 'Service'

Civil 'Service'

Federal, State, City, & public 'Service'

Customer 'Service'

This is NOT what I thought 'Service' meant.

But today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had bought a bull to 'Service' his cows. BAM!!! It all came into focus. Now I understand what all those agencies are doing to us.

You are now as enlightened as I am!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'm in the mood for some sweet potato pie. Want some?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Murder In The Old West...!

There seems to always be some reason for folks killing off one another. That was pretty commonplace in the range wars of the early days.

Many western movies have been made based on the fact that the cattle ranchers and the homesteaders didn't get along. That is definitely an understatement if there ever was one!!

Homesteaders murdered by Wyoming ranchers

Having made the mistake of homesteading on land previously controlled by a Wyoming cattle king, homesteaders Ella Watson and James Averell are accused of rustling and hanged.

As the days of the open range cattle industry faded, conflicts between powerful western cattle barons and the homesteaders who were settling on "their" lands were inevitable. The homesteaders had every right to claim their 320 acres of windswept grasslands but some old-time ranchers tried to discourage the settlers in hopes of preserving more rangeland for their cattle. Usually, such discouragement was limited to cowboys cutting the settlers' barbed wire fences or diverting irrigation water, but the tactics occasionally became more violent.

A common complaint among ranchers was that many of the homesteaders were actually rustlers who stole their cows and horses. The ranchers' accusations were surely exaggerated, but the charge of rustling allowed them to take drastic actions. Such may have been the case with Ella Watson and James Averell. Watson, a former prostitute from Kansas, came to Wyoming Territory in 1886. That same year, she received a license to wed James Averell, a Wyoming saloonkeeper who had a homestead on the Sweetwater River. The couple either never married or kept the union secret so that Watson could file a second homestead near Averell's place. Both claims were located on lands claimed by the powerful rancher Albert Bothwell without legal foundation, and Bothwell used the lands for grazing his herds.

Bothwell–described as one of the most arrogant cattleman in the region–eventually accused both Watson and Averell of rustling. On this day in 1889, Bothwell and five of his men took the couple prisoner and hanged them. Although the men were later charged with murder, a pro-rancher jury acquitted them of any wrongdoing. It was the only incidence of a woman being executed–legally or illegally–in the history of Wyoming.

With all the killing that went on in the early days, it's a wonder that many places ever got settled. Life was hard and hit the early settlers on all sides. Expansion of the west was never easy, that's for sure!

Coffee out on the patio this morning? I have some yellow cake with chocolate icing as a side!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Word Games For Tuesday...!

The folks over at Listverse had an interesting article on the origin of many words, and I thought that you might enjoy this one!

Many of the words in our language have origins much different than what you might believe! It's always interesting to discover where they came from!


What it means now: “A person guilty or capable of a crime or wickedness.”

What it used to mean: A farm worker

Everybody, especially Batman, is familiar with villains—thanks to over half a century of movies, we all know that the villain is the bad guy. Back in the 14th century though, villains were the backbone of agriculture. That is to say, they were the guys who worked on farms. The word villain is actually an old French word that pulls its roots from the word “villa,” Latin for country house.

Over time, the meaning of the word gradually changed: Farm workers were poor, practically peasants. Peasants, being poor, are untrustworthy. Untrustworthy people commit crimes. And eventually we ended up with the modern day definition of villain, which is a rich person who gets killed by James Bond.

Pretty strange when you find out where these words came from, isn't it?

Coffee outside this morning. How about some apple pie to go with it?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Not A Peaceful Rest...!

Today's mystery is really more of a how...but I reckon it might qualify as a mystery.

It always takes place in Texas, which is pretty cool. The circumstances are rather sad, though. You'll see what I mean after you read the story!

Rest in Peace?

In Texas, USA, in 1899, Canadian actor Charles Francis Coghlan became ill and died whilst he was in Galveston. Because it was too far to return his remains to his home on Prince Edward Island, 3500 miles away, he was instead buried in a lead coffin inside a granite vault.

A year after his death, in September 1900, a hurricane hit Galveston, flooding the graveyard, shattering Charles Coghlan’s granite vault and carrying away his lead coffin out into the Gulf of Mexico.

In October 1908, eight years after the hurricane, fishermen on Prince Edward Island spotted a weathered box floating near the shore. It was the coffin of Charles Coghlan, which had finally returned home. He was buried in the nearby church where he had been christened as a baby.

See? I told ya it qualified as a mystery! Would I lie? (Don't answer that!)

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some chocolate brownies and some donuts left, if that's OK!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Remember Betty Boop...?

My mother used to cut out paper dolls of Betty for my sisters a long time ago. She actually was pretty good at drawing Betty Boop paper dolls, so she made a lot of them for the girls.

Funny how many memories like that can come back all at once, isn't it? Maybe it was due to my Sister "B" from North Carolina coming down to visit with Mom for a couple of weeks. Anyway, I thought we would celebrate her visit with a couple of Betty Boop 'toons

I remember from my childhood some of the music that was associated with the Betty Boop character. I have no idea why it seems to stick in my mind today, but again, it may be due to B's visit. Of course, anytime you start recalling old memories, no telling what may pop up, ya know?

Ya know, ol' Betty was pretty racy for her day! Wonder how many times she got scolded by the censors? Quite a few, I'll bet!

I'm gonna ask my Sisters if they remember Betty! I'll bet they do!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Baby Sis brought some brownies over yesterday when she came over to visit Mom and "B". I do love those brownies!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sweet Topic For Saturday...!

I don't think that I've ever met anyone that didn't like maple Syrup, and that certainly includes me!

It takes a lot of work to make the syrup from sap, and that is probably the main reason for the cost! Still, I'd rather have maple syrup than caviar, ya know? I can't picture caviar on pancakes!

Canadian Maple Syrup Heist

Maple syrup is one of the most expensive things you can pour on your pancakes. A bottle generally retails for well over $20. Part of the expense involved in the syrup is the great inefficiency in producing it. It requires anywhere from 5 to 13 gallons of maple sap to make just one quart of syrup. To make sure that it has enough to meet the international demand, the Canadian province of Quebec maintains a Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. In 2012, during an audit, it was discovered that 6 million pounds of the syrup (worth about $18 million wholesale) had been stolen in a daring heist. This was not some smash and grab theft; it would have taken dozens of trucks to move so many barrels. In the subsequent months, several arrests were made, and some two-thirds of the missing syrup was recovered.

Seems like the folks that stole the syrup were not real sharp. How are you going to hide that many barrels and keep it secret? At the wholesale price, some might consider the risk worthwhile!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. How about some biscuits and MAPLE SYRUP?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Blood-Thirsty Bambie...!

This is an article from Listverse that proves just how brutal Mother Nature can be!

When a shortage of certain minerals shows up in her animals, She finds a way for them to get what they need! It may not be pretty, but you can bet it's effective!

Bloodthirsty Deer

The Isle of Rum, off the west coast of Scotland, is home to only about 20 people. And some bloodthirsty deer. The diet of the Scottish Red Deer is the stuff of nightmares; they dine on the heads and limbs of baby seabirds. For some time, it was a mystery what was mutilating the Manx shearwater chicks of Rum, until the deer were observed chewing on them. It is believed this chilling adaptation has been adopted by the deer to make up for a mineral deficiency in their diet, the bones of the birds likely giving them some desperately needed calcium. The phenomenon remains under investigation.

I like the idea of living on an island with only 20 folks in residence, but the idea of meat eating deer running around makes me more than a little nervous, if you know what I mean!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. We had some thunderstorms over night, and the patio is pretty wet.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Different Use For Honey...!

You know how I always like to find the strange and unusual topics for us to talk about? This one from Listverse certainly fits that bill!

As much as I like honey, this is one way I don't think I'll try it. Call me crazy...I don't mind!

Mellified Man

After hearing of the mellified man, you may take your tea with something other than honey for a few days. Ancient Chinese writings tell of an Arabian process wherein elderly men near death would subsist on a diet of nothing but honey. Soon, his excrement and his sweat would be entirely comprised of honey. The man would soon die from this rather unhealthy practice, and his body would be placed in a stone casket full of honey. After a century or so of aging, the substance is gathered up and used as a medicine, particularly for the healing of broken bones.

There are very limited accounts of mellified men, the most notable coming from Chinese pharmacologist Li Shizhen, in his “Bencao Gangmu”. Although honey is known to never go bad (edible honey has been found in the tombs of pharaohs dead thousands of years), and to have noted antimicrobial properties especially a protein dubbed defensin-1, the effectiveness of this medicine is debated. Whether the story is mere legend, or whether this vile medication ever existed, is unknown. Few senior citizens seem willing to come forward and duplicate the experiment!

I do enjoy honey in many different ways, but I don't want to volunteer for an experiment like this. I'm kinda funny that way!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll set out a jar of honey for anyone who wants it, OK?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Death Of Another Gunfighter...!

There were so many bad guys in the days of the old west that we couldn't begin to name them all!

Many of these guys were mean spirited, many were cruel, and then there were some that were just hard to classify! Bill Doolin would fall in the last of these categories, in my opinion!

Jul 5, 1896:
Bill Doolin escapes from jail

The famous outlaw Bill Doolin escapes from an Oklahoma jail after only a few months of captivity.

Like many outlaws, William Doolin only gradually fell into a life of crime. Born in Arkansas in 1858, the tall and slim Doolin went west at the age of 23. He found work as a cowboy on several Oklahoma ranches and was widely regarded as a trustworthy and capable employee.

Doolin's life course changed forever when a beer party in southern Kansas turned violent and two deputy sheriffs ended up dead. Doolin's exact role in the murders was unclear, but evidence of his guilt was substantial enough to raise the chance of prison. Unwilling to risk a trial, Doolin became a fugitive.

Cool, intelligent, and a skilled shot, Doolin was suited to the outlaw life. Traveling throughout the West, he robbed banks and trains, sold illegal whiskey to Indians, rustled cattle and horses, and killed several men. He formed a criminal gang that occasionally joined forces with the Dalton brothers to rob banks in Oklahoma and Missouri.

As a robber, Doolin was more successful than most because of his careful planning, but success inevitably attracted the unwanted attention of the law. In January 1896, Doolin returned to Arkansas. While Doolin was taking the medicinal waters at a resort called Eureka Springs, the famous Oklahoma lawman William Tilghman arrested him without a struggle.

Tilghman transferred Doolin to a jail at Guthrie, Oklahoma, to await trial. On this day in 1896, Doolin managed to escape, but was free only for a short time. A few weeks later, on August 25, a posse caught up with Doolin at Lawson, Oklahoma. Doolin resisted arrest, and in the ensuing gun battle, lawmen shot him to death.

No one knows for sure why these guys turn to crime, but not many are as successful as Bill Doolin. Successful or not, he still ended up dead. Being shot dead by the Law isn't a true sign of success, is it?

It's pretty hot outside, but we can hav3e our coffee on the patio. If we stay in the shade, it is cool enough!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Something Strange For Tuesday...!

Once in a while, I find an article that is beyond strange. There are many things in this old world that I don't understand, and this story is only one of them.

At some point in time we must understand that until we solve some of the great mysteries of our past, we cannot hope to understand and deal with many of the coming mysteries ahead. That, of course, is just my opinion!

Atacama Alien

In 2003, a tiny humanoid skeleton was found in near a churchyard in a Chilean ghost town. Barely six inches long, with a terribly malformed skull, the skeleton (nicknamed Ata) was initially thought to be some kind of alien. The specimen was turned over to Stanford University, where a battery of experts studied it. DNA evidence quickly revealed Ata was in fact a human boy, having died within the last few decades. However, the skeleton remains quite mysterious; it seems to show development consistent with a six year old, and only has 10 ribs to the typical human 12. Researchers believe that Ata was either a very tiny dwarf, or that he suffered a disorder like progeria, which caused him to age rapidly while still in the womb. Others posit that Ata was merely stillborn or aborted (the force of which could have distorted the body). Further tests may reveal Ata’s ultimate fate.

I'm hopeful that research may answer the questions for sure about this tiny little "person", and those findings be passed on to the rest of us. After all, many of us would love to know the full story!

How about coffee out on the patio this morning? I'll get some sausage and biscuits for a snack!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Missing Matron For Monday Mystery...!

This is a missing person mystery that's been around for a long, long time. Maybe it's time to look at it again!

Some of the best mysteries are from a long time ago. Could be that the crime solving techniques are much better today, or maybe the mystery was just never meant to be solved.

Matron Missing in Paris

A distraught young Englishwoman came to the British Embassy in Paris one day in May 1889. She and her mother, on their way home from India, had checked into a hotel not long before, as the mother had fallen ill. She told the embassy how the hotel doctor had examined her mother and sent the daughter out for medicine. When she returned, the hotel staff denied ever having seen her mother. Only the younger woman’s name was in the hotel register. When she insisted on seeing the room her mother had occupied, she found it was not the one she remembered and even the doctor denied ever having met her before. Unable to make her story believed, the young woman ended up in an asylum in England.

Some have speculated that the mother had contracted plague in the Far East and that the hotel had conspired to suppress the news – even going so far as to redecorate her mother’s hotel room and to dispose of the corpse – rather than lose business. But the only evidence to support the case of the vanished matron was the young woman’s own testimony: a sign of madness, possibly, but if true, surely enough to drive her mad regardless.

It would be nice to know if this lady was crazy, or if the information she presented is real. One of those things we probably will never know!

Let's go to the patio for our coffee. Another hot one is on the way!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another Sunday In Toon-town...!

To me, good cartoons are like good music. They never go out of style!

Take these 'toons for instance. One of them is from the same year I was born! Now that's old, folks!

We don't see much of the old Popeye cartoons as the others, but they are still good!

Wonder why Popeye was more popular in the old days than now? Just one of life's mysteries, I reckon!

Well, I think we should have coffee out on the patio, but we might have to move inside pretty quick. Let's gamble, OK?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

One Bad Bird...!

All went well at the V.A. yesterday, as far as I know. I reckon if things were bad, they would have told me!

Let's consider for a moment one of the strangest hunters in the bird world. This guy is smart and deadly, so let's hope he doesn't change his diet from fish to people!

Black Heron

Herons are stealthy hunters that normally patrol the shallows of coastal marshes, inching forward to put surprisingly large fish within stabbing range. However, the Black Heron of the central African Wetlands has forgone the stalking in favor of a deadly invitation. In a scene that would rival an Aesop’s Fable, the Heron spreads its wings in a circle that creates a shaded silhouette, perhaps resembling a reed palm over the sun bathed waters. Tetras and other small fish seek out what they think is a cool, safe resting spot, but it will be their last. As the fish settle down, the heron’s bill plunges down from the “canopy” spearing the fish. The Black Heron will set itself up at several different locations throughout the day.

Deadly or not, this bird makes a very pretty looking place to attack from. Pretty slick, don't you think?

Let's have coffee out on the patio this morning. It's gonna get hot later, so let's enjoy the breeze.