Saturday, August 31, 2013

Family Reunion Today...

With everyone coming over to Mom's today, I need to take the day off. I hope you all understand.

If you want, drop by the patio. It may be crowded, but the coffee should still be good!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Let's Talk Golf This Thursday...!

I played a little golf in my younger days, but no more. Honestly I was never any good at it!

That being said, I do know several folks that play and are passionate about the game. My brother-in-law for one and, of course, ol' Billy Bob! While I don't share the passion, I do understand the love of the game! This would be a story that they would enjoy!

In 2001, Andrew Magee became the only golfer in the history of the PGA Tour to sink a hole-in-one on a par 4. It wouldn’t have happened had the previous golfer’s putter not been laying on the green: The ball deflected off of it.

For the uninitiated, the par rating on a golf hole corresponds to the number of strokes the average golfer should take to reach the hole. To maintain an even score, one must reach a par 3 in three strokes, a par 4 in four strokes, and so on.

Holes-in-one are obviously, then, only achieved on par-3 holes: They’re the shortest holes on the course, reachable in the fewest number of strokes. (Well, that’s not entirely accurate—while some par 4 holes are technically shorter, hazards and other environmental conditions like steep declines, uphills or doglegs will combine to justify the extra stroke.) On the PGA Tour, no hole-in-one had ever been achieved on a par 4—until 2001, when Andrew Magee did it with a little incidental help from his competition.

On the 304-meter (332 yd) 17th hole at The Players’ Club Scottsdale, Magee said he had a little trepidation—his previous drive had gone into the water, and he wasn’t even necessarily trying to make it onto the green. “I wasn’t expecting much,” he said. “But I just killed it straight at the hole.”

Fellow competitor Tom Byrum was still playing the green, squatting down with his putter next to him sizing up a putt when Magee’s drive suddenly arrived. Those watching say Byrum’s putter was about 2.4 meters (eight feet) from the hole; the ball clinked off of it, causing a slight change in direction—right into the hole.

It was later determined that no rule infraction had occurred. The applicable rule states that “If a player’s ball is accidentally deflected or stopped by an opponent, his caddie or his equipment, no penalty is incurred.” The golfer may, in such instances, choose to either play the ball from where the deflection happened or where it lies. Magee chose the latter, as the ball’s current lie—at the bottom of the cup—gave him three strokes on his scorecard and a historic sports feat that may never be matched.

OK, now that we have all shared a bit of exercise by reading about golf, we can have some more coffee. Reading about a sport is the same as exercise, right?

Let's all have coffee out on the patio this morning. It's hot, but that can't be helped.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How About "Deacon Jim"...?

Many times we talk about some of the regular bad guys of the Old West, but this man is a little different!

Now don't get me wrong. This man was still one bad dude, without a doubt! We probably should have saved him for our Western Wednesday, but he was just too interesting not to share!

James B. “Killer” Miller
October 25, 1861 – April 19, 1909

James Miller was also known as “Deacon Jim” because he went to church and did not smoke or drink. Despite his piousness, he was actually one of the deadliest guns in the Wild West. He openly stated that he would kill anyone for money, and his rate was reported at anywhere from $150 to $2,000. Miller’s usual method was to ambush his victims at night using a shotgun and wearing a black frock coat, making him hard to see in the darkness. His coat also concealed a steel plate he wore on his chest to protect him from opposing gunfire, an early version of a bullet-proof vest. He is known to have committed 14 murders, but rumors swelled that number to 50. He was arrested in Oklahoma, for the murder of A.A. “Gus” Bobbitt. Not wanting to leave it up to a jury, a lynch mob dragged Miller and three others out to an abandoned stable to be hanged. Before he died, he made two requests. He wanted his ring to be given to his wife (who was a cousin of John Wesley Hardin) and to be allowed to wear his hat while being hanged. He went out on his own terms, shouting “Let ‘er rip!” before he jumped off his box to his death. His body and the bodies of the other three men lynched that night were left hanging for hours until a photographer could be found to immortalize the event.

This makes me wonder why a man that appeared to be a solid church-goer would decide to become a killer of men. Never know the true heart of a man, I reckon!

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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Last To Surrender...!

It's always sad to see the fall of a brave and mighty warrior, and this time was certainly no different!

His name will probably be known by many generations yet to come, but his history should be remembered as well!

Sep 4, 1886:
The last American Indian warrior surrenders

For almost 30 years he had fought the whites who invaded his homeland, but Geronimo, the wiliest and most dangerous Apache warrior of his time, finally surrenders in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, on this day in 1886.

Known to the Apache as Goyalkla, or "One Who Yawns," most non-Indians knew him by his Spanish nickname, Geronimo. When he was a young man, Mexican soldiers had murdered his wife and children during a brutal attack on his village in Chihuahua, Mexico. Though Geronimo later remarried and fathered other children, the scars of that early tragedy left him with an abiding hatred for Mexicans.

Operating in the border region around Mexico's Sierra Madre and southern Arizona and New Mexico, Geronimo and his band of 50 Apache warriors succeeded in keeping white settlers off Apache lands for decades. Geronimo never learned to use a gun, yet he armed his men with the best modern rifles he could obtain and even used field glasses to aid reconnaissance during his campaigns. He was a brilliant strategist who used the Apache knowledge of the arid desert environment to his advantage, and for years Geronimo and his men successfully evaded two of the U.S. Army's most talented Indian fighters, General George Crook and General Nelson A. Miles. But by 1886, the great Apache warrior had grown tired of fighting and further resistance seemed increasingly pointless: there were just too many whites and too few Apaches. On September 4, 1886, Geronimo turned himself over to Miles, becoming the last American Indian warrior in history to formally surrender to the United States.

After several years of imprisonment, Geronimo was given his freedom, and he moved to Oklahoma where he converted to Christianity and became a successful farmer. He even occasionally worked as a scout and adviser for the U.S. army. Transformed into a safe and romantic symbol of the already vanishing era of the Wild West, he became a popular celebrity at world's fairs and expositions and even rode in President Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade in 1905. He died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1909, still on the federal payroll as an army scout.

Without a doubt Geronimo was one of the greatest American Indian warriors faced by the whites in the battle to unlawfully take control of Indian land. Very few, if any, men of his caliber will ever be seen again...and that is sad! Very, very sad!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. The rain is supposed to stay away for a day or two.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mythical Food Story...!

Here is a real food that has a rather mythical origin attached to it.

This story sort of reminds me of the story of the "manna from Heaven" mentioned in the bible. Who know...maybe they are kin in some way! You just never know!


The mandioca is a staple of the South American diet. It’s a starchy, tuberous root with a surprising number of uses. Some might say this versatile and important food was a gift from the gods, and it has a mythical origin story.

The daughter of a local chief mysteriously became pregnant, which brought shame on her father and home. She swore she’d never been with a man, but she was still banished from the village and forced to live in isolation. When villagers later brought her food, they were shocked to see that she’d given birth to a baby girl (named Mani) with skin as white as the moon. When news of the miraculous child spread, the chief’s daughter and child were welcomed back to the village and showered with love.

Unexpectedly, Mani died on her first birthday, and a new type of plant sprouted on her grave. Although hesitant at first, the villagers eventually pulled up the root, split it open, and found the insides were the same color as Mani’s skin. They peeled and cooked the plant (which they found delicious) and named it mandioca in the child’s honor.

Don't you find it a little strange that stories like this involving real food seem to be present in all cultures? Kinda makes you wonder if there is some "divine intervention" at work here! Sure does seem like it to me!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen again this morning. How about some heavenly Cinnamon rolls on the side?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Maritime Mystery For Monday...!

We have covered quite a mixture of mysteries on our Monday Mysteries", but I don't think we've done this one before.

This one is pretty strange, to say the least. It is also one that I would like to have an answer to, without a doubt!

The Greytown Noises

In March 1867, passengers and crew including Captain Reeks aboard the Royal Mail steamer Danube were startled to hear strange, baffling noises at sea while the ship was anchored near Greytown (also known as San Juan de Nicaragua) off the coast of Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea. Similar noises were heard at other times by sailors aboard steamships in the same area. Captain Charles Dennehy of the Shannon was one who spoke about his experience in a letter to Nature magazine.

The phenomenon appeared to occur only in iron hulled vessels, not ships with wooden hulls and only at night, though not every night—heavy swells were seen to prevent the freakish occurrence. The noise was described as a loud, high pitched, metallic, monotonous vibration traveling through the ship’s metal hull. One witness likened the sound to an Aeolian harp and observed the iron plates resonating. The sound could last for several hours before suddenly ceasing. No one on shore reported hearing anything unusual.

Captain Dennehy said the sound had a distinct ¾ time signature like a waltz that turned his ship’s hull into a “great musical sounding board.” According to the unflappable captain, the source couldn’t be determined by listeners as it appeared to be everywhere outside the ship and could also be heard clearly in various places around the vessel.

Following letters posted in Nature and Field magazines by witnesses, speculation ranged from schools of Sciaenidae (a type of fish known for its “drumming”), sharks, alligators, turtles, manatees, currents changed by the silting in the harbor, sea quakes, gas escaping underwater, a previously undiscovered form of electricity, or even a new type of mesmerism. The riddle of the Grey Town noises may never be solved—we can find no mention of it after 1871—but weird noises at sea have been reported in other locations around the world right up to modern times.

Land locked mysteries are intriguing enough, but those that take place in the air or aboard ships are even more creepy! I sure wouldn't want to be aboard when these noises started, would you?

Coffee in the kitchen today. I'm liking the idea of some apple turnovers, OK?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lazy Sunday...!

Actually, Sunday isn't really lazy. It's just me. My get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went, if you know what I mean!

Maybe if I have some more coffee while watching the 'toons, I'll feel more energetic!

That helped a little bit, so let's have another!

Guess you noticed that the voice was a different language on the last one! Who cares? I never hear a voice anyway!

Guess we can strop wondering how long these two have been at it, right? Guess that's enough fun for today. I better go find something important to take a nap!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Way too warm outside already!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Not Really That New...!

Some of the things we think of as being fairly new are really older than we think!

Too bad that often the folks that come up with the original idea don't get the credit due them. Such was almost the case with the Sewing machine!

Sewing Machine

The sewing machine is an invention that was chased by many, many people through the 1700s and early 1800s. Many inventors pitched in ideas, and some created prototypes that turned out to be impractical.

The first working machine was put forth by Elias Howe, who was awarded a patent for a machine on September 10, 1846. He was having a surprisingly hard time gathering any interest in America (perhaps because of all the decades of false starts), so he tried his luck in England, where he wasn’t faring much better at the time his wife died. During the time Howe was traveling back to America and dealing with her death, however, sewing machines took off in popularity. Howe was able to successfully defend his patent in court—his biggest victories were against Walter Hunt and Isaac Singer, which is a name you may know as being associated with sewing machines to this day. The resulting settlements and royalties made Howe extremely rich and his company very successful.

I'll bet there are a lot of quilters and hobbyist that owe a lot to Mr. Howe, don't you? Heck, even the tailors could throw him a "Thank You" now and then!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Who cares if it sprinkles?

Friday, August 23, 2013

One Bad Dude...!

This guy was a real life tough guy, without a doubt!

Any one of this guys injuries would be enough to put most guys out of commission for good, and to send them right into retirement! This man proved to be totally different! I'm surprised that there hasn't been a movie made about this man...and that's a fact!

The Soldier Who Refused To Die
By Mike Devlin on Thursday, August 22, 2013

Adrian Carton de Wiart was a bit of a badass. While serving with the British Army, he was shot more times than 50 Cent, losing his right eye and left hand in the process. He took bullets to the stomach, face, and skull among other places, survived a plane crash, and (as a senior citizen, mind you) tunneled out of a German POW camp with only one hand.

Adrian Carton de Wiart was born into a family of privilege in 1880 amid talk that he might have been the illegitimate son of Leopold II, King of the Belgians. He dropped out of college to serve in the British Army during the Boer War, where he would receive the first in a long legacy of wounds, shot in the stomach and groin. He returned immediately upon healing.

During World War I, he commanded infantry battalions on the Western Front. During the war, the man would literally absorb bullets. He lost his left hand and his right eye, and was shot through the skull, face, ankle, hip, leg, and ear on different occasions. When his fingers became infected and a doctor refused to remove them de Wiart bit them off himself. You wouldn’t blame the guy if he spent the rest of his life flinching at every loud noise. He did not. In fact, he was reported as saying “Frankly, I had enjoyed the war.”

The 60-year-old amputee with his pirate eyepatch again became a commander in World War II and was captured by the Italians after his plane crashed off the coast of Libya. Held in a medieval Tuscan castle, no one would have faulted the handicapped senior citizen for lying low. De Wiart most certainly did not. While entertaining his fellow captives with what was described as “the record for bad language,” he and his compatriots attempted escape five times, tunneling for months. He managed to get loose once for over a week, posing as an Italian peasant. Eventually, he was released by the Italians, who wanted to him to attempt negotiating a peace treaty with the British.

He would continue to have adventures throughout the world. While spending time in Burma, the old war hero tripped and fell down, breaking his back and several vertebrae. While he was recovering in the hospital, the doctors would take the time to remove shrapnel still lodged in his body from old wounds. Adrian Carton de Wiart finally died of natural causes aged 83.

One hates to use the term "hero" loosely, but I think that it certainly applies in this case! Rough and tough with a devil may care attitude seems to be a good way to describe him!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. No rain is forecast, but why take a chance?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

War Over A Nickle...!

The U.S. has long been involved in one war after another, and many of them seemed silly.

When I found this information the daily newsletter "Now I Know" written by Dan Lewis, I just had to pass it on to you!

The Watermelon War

On April 15, 1856, a steamboat arrived at a small, four-and-a-half square mile island off the coast of Panama. A vendor at the ferry terminal there had some watermelon available for a five cents per slice. One of the passengers, likely drunk, got into a dispute with a vendor. Before the dispute was resolved, 17 people were dead and another 29 were wounded.

The dispute was over a five cent slice of watermelon.

In 1846, the United States had entered into a treaty with a country then known as New Grenada, which is mostly comprised of what is now known as Panama and Colombia. Under the agreement, the United States established a military presence in modern-day Panama, one which engendered mistrust toward U.S. soldiers among many Panamanians. So when a steamship full of Americans landed on Taboga Island, just outside of Panama City (which at the time, did not have a wharf at which such ships could dock), even a small problem could -- and did -- lead to tragic results.

One April day in 1856, the John L. Stephens arrived on Taboga Island to pick up roughly 1,000 passengers, as recounted by one scholar. The ferries to and from mainland Panama only ran during high tide, but the tide was out, leading to a few hours of delay. The passengers, waiting in Panama City, had been drinking and weren't well liked by the locals in the first place. According to most accounts, per Wikipedia, one of the passengers, a man named Jack Oliver, spotted a vendor named Jose Manuel Luna selling watermelon at five cents a slice. Oliver took a slice but refused to pay. Luna yelled at him and pulled out a knife; Oliver responded by pulling out a gun, and one of Oliver's friends threw a nickel at Luna. Luna, running from the gun-wielding Oliver, never received the payment thrown at him, even though another Panamanian came to his defense and tackled Oliver. In that struggle, the gun went off -- and it hit someone. Things went quickly downhill from there, and Marines had to be brought in by train to quell the riots. By the end of the mayhem now referred to as the "Watermelon War," 15 Americans and two Panamanians were dead.

As a result, the United States demanded (and received) a number of military concessions from New Granada, including the right to establish military bases on islands in the Bay of Panama and take control of the Panamanian Railroad. The now-entrenched American presence in the area likely led to decades of U.S. troops and businesses in the area, and ultimately, to the creation of the Panama Canal. The Canal and the last U.S. military bases in the area were not turned over to Panama until December 31, 1999.

This just shows me that sometimes the PTB use any excuse to go to war and to steal what they want from the folks they are fighting! Guess it's always been that way and it doesn't show any signs of changing anytime soon!

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Corps Of Discovery Loses One...!

Hard to imagine what kind of hardships and obstacles faced the exploration of Lewis and Clark. We can still learn today from that long ago trip.

For this group to even attempt such a journey says a lot about their adventurous nature and their courage, that's for sure! To only lose a single member of their team is astounding to me, given everything they faced!

Aug 20, 1804:
Corps of Discovery suffers its only death

Sergeant Charles Floyd dies three months into the voyage of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, becoming the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die during the journey.

Lewis and Clark left St. Louis the previous May, heading up the Missouri River with a party of 35 men, called the Corps of Discovery. Among the voyagers was Charles Floyd, a native of Kentucky who had enlisted in the U.S. military a few years earlier. When word went out asking for volunteers to join the ambitious expedition across the continent to the Pacific, Floyd was among the first to apply. Young, vigorous, and better educated than most of the soldiers, Floyd was a natural choice. The two co-captains not only selected him to join the mission, they promoted him to sergeant.

Sadly, Floyd's part in the great voyage of the Corps of Discovery was short-lived. By late July, Lewis and Clark reported that Floyd "has been very sick for several days." He seemed to grow better for a time, but on August 15, he was "seized with a complaint somewhat like a violent chorlick [colic]... [and] he was sick all night." Concerned, the two captains did what they could to treat Floyd's ailment, but the previously robust young man steadily weakened.

The illness grew severe during the evening of August 19, and Clark sat up with the suffering man almost the entire night. Floyd died in the early afternoon of this day, reportedly "with a good deal of composure." The members of the expedition buried his body on a high bluff overlooking a river that flowed into the Missouri, affixing a red-cedar post with his name, title, and date of death over the grave. Lewis read the funeral service, and the two captains concluded the ceremony by naming the nearby stream Floyds River and the hill Floyds Bluff.

Lewis and Clark regretted that their limited wilderness medical skills were inadequate to cure the young soldier, yet even if Floyd had been in Philadelphia, the best doctors of the day would likely have been unable to save him. Based on the symptoms described by Lewis and Clark, modern physicians have concluded that Floyd was probably suffering from acute appendicitis. When his appendix ruptured, Floyd quickly died of peritonitis. Lacking antibiotics and ignorant of the proper surgical procedures, no early 19th century physician could have done much more than Lewis and Clark did.

On their triumphant return journey from the Pacific in 1806, Lewis and Clark stopped to pay their respects at Sergeant Floyd's grave. Amazingly, Floyd's was the only death the Corps of Discovery suffered in more than two years of dangerous wilderness travel.

One of the lessons we can take from this journey is that even today, we need to be able to recognize and deal with all sorts of emergencies, even medical ones, during a bug out, retreat, or camping trip to an isolated area! Even something as innocent as a camping trip can be deadly if the right knowledge and procedures are not available. There is never such a thing as too much knowledge, especially when preparing for any future situation, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's cool for a change and we need to take advantage of it!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mine Is Smaller Than Yours...!

This is certainly one gun I wouldn't mind having!

This thing is really impressive, to say the least! Not only does it look cool, but it actually shoots real bullets! That's really cool, if you ask me!

According to the company website, the Swiss MiniGun is “a double action revolver and has all the same features as are found on a real size gun.” As the name implies, the gun and its components are Swiss-made, which kind of makes sense—a country famous for the quality of its clocks and watches should have no trouble with a working pistol the size of a thumb drive.

The six-shot revolver fires 2.3-caliber, 1.97-grain bullets, which are made by the same company, and even produces a tiny little kick as it shoots these tiny little bullets at a muzzle velocity of around 400 feet per second—right around the same as your average child’s BB gun and capable of doing about the same amount of damage.

Of course, there are still those who are up in arms, so to speak, about the alleged weapon’s potential concealability, which we suppose is a valid argument. Even the slowest, smallest projectile can injure or kill if placed properly, and despite the fact that it looks almost exactly like a key chain, the Swiss MiniGun is, in fact, a gun—the smallest in the world.

Just goes to show that you can really find just about anything on the internet. Thanks to the fine folks at Listverse for having stuff like this !

I'm thinking we should have coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some banana pudding rolls we can share!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mystery Of Military Suicides For Monday...!

This is NOT the regular type of Monday Mystery that we normally have, but it is a mystery that needs addressing!

The number of military personnel committing suicide is way too high, and somehow we need to find an answer soon! This is a very sad and serious situation, my friends!

Why Are So Many US Soldiers Committing Suicide?
By Mike Devlin on Sunday, August 18, 2013

In recent years, there has been a massive upswing in suicides among members of the American military. While it may seem obvious to blame the post traumatic stress of being deployed to overseas war zones, researchers have found that more than half of those who have killed themselves have never left American soil or seen combat. The cause is currently unknown, and a study is underway.

General Sherman said “War is hell,” and certainly the atrocities of war have inspired despair in soldiers for all of human history. The recent American campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq only serve to bolster the idea that war ravages the human psyche. According to the Associated Press, 349 members of the Army took their lives in 2012, more than the 295 who died in the line of combat in Afghanistan. Although all the branches of the military have been affected, the Army has seen the worst effects.

But researchers have discovered something even more curious in recent years: More than half of the soldiers who committed suicide had never even been deployed overseas. Of those who had, only a few had even seen action on the front lines. It might make sense if those who killed themselves had witnessed the horrors of the battlefield, but why would men stationed in domestic military bases (with steady jobs and many of the surface comforts of home), be driven so frequently to suicide?

Although theories have been advanced, no concrete answers have been set forth to address this disturbing, mysterious trend. A major part of the issue may be that mental illness bears a stigma of weakness, especially among men trained to be stoic in the face of mortal danger. Sleep deprivation and family tensions can plague soldiers, even those who have not known the rigors of combat. Some experts believe the trend is going to become even worse as American forces draw down their current battlefield numbers.

According to General Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s second-in-command, only about half of service members who need help seek it out. The American military is currently conducting a $50 million study to help determine the causes at work, to be completed in 2014.

It always bothers me to no end to hear a story like this. I do hope that somehow our troops can be helped to find the peace they need to avoid suicidal thoughts and actions! I know you all share this concern!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll let you look at the newborn kittens I found in the flowerbed! Thanks, Momma Kitty!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tom And Jerry For Sunday...!

Once again, it's time for the Sunday cartoons! Seems like we just had some, but guess it has been a week! Time going way too fast nowdays.

I don't know why, but I sure like ol' Tom and Jerry. I think it's the sound effects.

Good way to start the morning, if you ask me! Sitting around with friends and sharing a few grins! What could be better?

See what I mean about the sound effects? How cool is that?

That's really all I have for today. Let's go have our coffee out on the patio, OK?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hey Buddy, Got The Time...?

This is something most of us never even think about. At least, I know I don't! I certainly never thought about making a living telling the time!

It's always amazing to find out just how creative folks can be about earning a living. I'll have to admit, this was a new one for me! It must have been a needed service to have stayed around for so long!

The Woman Who Sold The Time Of Day
By Michael Van Duisen on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In the 1800s and 1900s, before radio or reliable clocks, the only official clock in England was located at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Ruth Belville, like her father and mother before her, would check her pocket watch against the clock located in the Observatory and then travel back to London, charging people to see what the time was. For 103 years, the Belvilles provided Londoners with an extremely accurate time, until an 86-year-old Ruth had to retire because of World War II.

In 1836, a Royal Observatory, Greenwich worker by the name of Henry Belville noticed people would come to his place of work in order to find out the correct time. The Observatory is located on a hill in Greenwich Park and was a substantial distance from most of London, especially in those days. He surmised that if people were willing to spend all that time walking to the Observatory, they might be willing to pay if someone would come to them. Later that year, Henry attracted between 50 and 200 interested customers and his business was started.

He quit his job at the Observatory and, every morning, would travel there to set the time on his chronometer—a special kind of pocket watch, certified to be more precise than any other. (Fun fact: It was called “Arnold” after its inventor, Englishman John Arnold, and was originally owned by the Duke of Sussex.) Then he would travel by horse throughout London, meeting up with his customers and allowing them to set their clocks and watches to his time, which was accurate to one-tenth of a second.

For 20 years, Henry continued with his business, which flourished because of his reputation for accuracy. When he died in 1856, his wife Maria continued sharing the time until she retired 42 years later. It was then that Ruth took up the mantle and remained just as accurate. That reputation served her well because, in 1908, John Wynne, the owner of a company that wanted to spread time telegraphically, publicly slammed Ruth, slandering her business and her person. Luckily, Wynne’s speech had the opposite of its intended effect and, because having the correct time was something of a status symbol, Ruth’s client list actually grew.

Even after radio became widespread, people still wanted to get their time from Ruth, and she continued giving it to them until she had to stop in 1940 because World War II was getting worse. Her remaining 50 clients bid her good luck, ending a 103-year-old company, and she lived for another four years before passing away at the age of 90.

Honestly, would you have ever considered making a living a living doing this? Pretty inventive, I'd say!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Bad storm came through yesterday evening and really messed things up outside!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Endless Flames On Friday...!

Mother Nature can really put on a show for us, if we take the time to find it.

I've never seen one like this but I sure would like to! I can only imagine just how beautiful it can be. Probably could sit and watch it for hours, ya know?

Chestnut Ridge Park

Located behind a waterfall in Shale Creek Preserve south of Chestnut Ridge Park in Northwestern Pennsylvania lies a strange natural flame that is made even more beautiful and odd because you can see it through the falling water of the waterfall. Legend has it the flame was first lit by Native Americans thousands of years ago.

Though we know the Chestnut Rige Park’s fuel source (ethane and propane), scientists do not know where it is coming from or how it gets to the rocky enclosure. A recent study has determined the ground is not hot enough to ignite the gas and keep the fire burning, nor is the underground shale deposit at a depth where it should be able to fuel the fire. So how does the Chestnut Ridge Park natural flame work? More research is needed, but for now it remains a beautiful and mysterious phenomenon.

Ya know what? I really don't care what causes this flame, but I would certainly be the first to give thanks to the higher powers for nature's beauty such as this. We should take the time to appreciate the beauty of this world wherever we find it! That's my thought, anyway.

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. The rain may come back and it's very hot and humid!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hey, You Want This Job...?

Of all the things I can think of to do for a living, this is NOT going to be my first choice!

I guess I would do it if I had to, but it certainly wouldn't be enjoyable, that's for sure!

The Body Fishers

China has emerged as one of the suicide capitals of the world. Many choose to kill themselves by leaping into rivers. It has become such a problem that there are now people who are employed as “body fishers,” dragging corpses back to shore to be recovered by grieving family members.

China has one of the highest suicide rates in the world; according to the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, well over 250,000 people take their own lives there annually, many of them women. It is estimated that 26 percent of all the world’s suicides happen in China.

So many kill themselves that a chilling cottage industry has sprung up, a career of “body fishing”—prowling the Yellow River in search of floating corpses, which are then recovered and sold back to grief-stricken families for a tidy profit. Most of the victims are swept downstream from the city of Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province in Northwest China. It is suggested that while some of these bodies come from murders and accidental flood drownings, some 85 percent are the result of suicide.

It is a sad and ugly business; body fishers keep their catch submerged to keep the face from rotting. It is much easier to make a profit when relatives can positively identify their loved ones. Wei Zhijun, a body fisher who earned the nickname of the “Yellow River Ghost Man,” makes a tidy profit practicing his macabre craft, claiming that during the summer flood season, he has found 20 bodies in a single day. Most times, the corpses are snagged up in other garbage in the river; if they make it far enough downstream, they are sucked into the turbines of dams and gruesomely dismembered.

According to statistics posted by the Lanzhou city water station, around 30 percent of the victims go unclaimed. After around three weeks, the body fishers will untie their “catch” and allow it to drift away. Perhaps most disturbingly of all, the Yellow River serves as a source of drinking water.

Of course, the problem isn’t limited to the Yellow River; in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is a popular place to leap from, so much so that at least one Good Samaritan has made it his life’s mission to patrol the length of the bridge, trying to save distraught jumpers.

I did NOT make this stuff up! I got the information from a great site called "KnowledgeNuts" and if you have never seen it before, you might want to drop by there and check it out!

Now that we have all the gross stuff out of the way, let's have some coffee in the kitchen this morning. Big storm last night and everything is still wet!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vigilante X For Western Wednesday...!

Have you heard of the man that went by the name "Vigilante X?" He prefered to be called just "X"!

His story is one of those interesting but little known bits of Montana's history. His story is the type of history you can find at Really interesting things can be found there!

Aug 14, 1831:
Montana "Vigilante X" is born

John X. Beidler, one of the best known of the notoriously secretive Montana vigilantes, is born in Pennsylvania.

Beidler, who preferred to be called simply "X," had little formal education and tried his hand at a variety of trades. Initially a shoemaker, he also worked briefly as a brick maker and then traveled to Kansas where he took up farming. A supporter of John Brown's radical abolitionist movement, he left Kansas for Texas after Brown was captured and executed for his abortive raid on the Harper's Ferry armory in Virginia. From Texas, Beidler wandered northward, eventually joining the Gold Rush to Montana Territory in 1863.

When Beidler arrived in Virginia City, the area was plagued by marauding bandits who roamed the isolated roads of the region robbing and killing. The bandits were led by a charming psychopath named Henry Plummer who had managed to con the citizens into electing him sheriff of the nearby town of Bannock. Frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the local law enforcement, the citizens of Virginia City and Bannock formed a highly secretive vigilance committee and began systematically hunting down and hanging the road agents, including Sheriff Plummer.

Not long after arriving in Virginia City, Beidler joined the vigilantes and became one of the group's most active members. Unlike most of the members, who took pains to conceal their identities, Beidler welcomed attention. Numerous legends arose around the so-called "Vigilante X," and Beidler did little to discourage exaggerations—in fact, much of the Beidler lore was true. He was the principal hangman for at least five of the vigilante's victims, and he survived several narrow escapes in his relentless pursuit of dangerous men.

After helping rid Montana of crime, Beidler became a stagecoach guard and deputy U.S. Marshall. He appears to have been highly effective in these roles, though he was criticized for sometimes overstepping the bounds of his authority. Apparently, the former vigilante still liked to take the law into his own hands.

As an old man, he fell on hard times and became dependent on the charity of Montanans who remembered his previous service. When he died in Helena, Montana, in 1890, his death certificate listed his occupation as "Public Benefactor."

So many of these guys started off as just wanderers looking for adventure. Looks like our man "X" found it! Best part, he managed to survive it and live a long and peaceful life! That's better than most, I think!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Fresh macaroons anyone?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

You Believe In Coincidence...?

Nearly all of us have experienced something called "coincidence" before. It's fairly common.

However, sometimes things are called coincidence that just seem to be something else, ya know? I think that many things we can't find an easy answer to we just chalk up to "coincidence" and let it go. I'm thinking that sometimes it might not hurt to take another look. Here is a case in point...!

Windshield Pitting And Operation Castle

Starting in April of 1954, people in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington started to report unusual holes, pits, and dings in their car windshields. The reports quickly spread to different areas of the state and thousands of people were affected. At first, it was thought to be the work of vandals, but after parking garages and secluded neighborhoods were targeted, the reports began to spread.

By April 15, 1954, close to 3,000 windshields were affected, and police released a statement indicating that 95 percent of the cases were caused by public hysteria. Others put forth the theory that the damage was being caused by the infestation of flea eggs, cosmic rays, or nuclear fallout.

On March 1, 1954, the United States started Operation Castle—a series of high-yield nuclear tests carried out at Bikini Atoll, a group of islands located in the Pacific Ocean. They are approximately 7,700 kilometers (4,800 miles) from Seattle. The initial test of Operation Castle was named Castle Bravo, and it was the first dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb detonated by the US.

After Castle Bravo was set off, it became clear that the US government had misjudged its power. It was approximately 1,000 times more powerful than each of the atomic bombs used during World War II and the nuclear fallout surrounded the island and spread quickly. The event was the most significant case of accidental radiological contamination in US history. After Castle Bravo was detonated, five more nuclear tests were carried out in the area. The amount of nuclear fallout released into the atmosphere was difficult to measure because the data was skewed by previous explosions. By coincidence, the timeline for Operation Castle falls directly in line with the 1954 Windshield Pitting Epidemic. The city of Seattle is located in a region where it is possible that nuclear fallout from Bikini Atoll could have hit.

See what I mean about wanting to take a closer look? Maybe it's nothing after all. Maybe it really is just a "coincidence", but it does make you wonder!

I'm thinking we should have coffee out on the patio. I'll share some Donut Stix, OK?

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Creepy Monday Mystery...!

How many times do we get a chance to find out about about a mystery that is both recent and in our own back yard? Not many, that's for sure!

One thing about this story is that it was really studied, starting in the 1990s! That's fairly recent by some of timelines we've looked at in the past. Anyway, it's not that far away!

The Vampires Of New England

There weren’t many tales of vampires in America—until the dark discovery of a grave in Griswold, Connecticut in 1990. The grave contained the bodies of farmers from the 1700s. All were normal except for one. One body had been beheaded, and its skeleton was rearranged into the shape of a jolly roger.

It was decided that this wasn’t just a simple grave robbery, as it had been done 10 years after death no valuables were removed. It mirrored a case in neighboring Jewett City where, around the same time, 29 bodies were exhumed postmortem and burned. This was something of a vampire epidemic. The most famous case from this time is that of Mercy Brown, a girl who died from tuberculosis. Some time later, the rest of her family started to fall ill and die one by one until Mercy’s body was dug up, found to be remarkably un-corpsefied, and burned.

I know that we often think of vampire stories being mostly a European thing, so it's kind of a rarity to find one here in the states! Something to think about over coffee, right?

Speaking of coffee, let's try and sit on the patio this morning. Maybe the rain will cut us a break!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bugs On The Sunday 'Toons...!

We haven't seen much of ol' Bugs as of late, so I figured we would make him the star today!

You know, some cartoon characters were considered much like the superstars of today. Folks all over the world recognized them, often as easily as the president of the United States! If you don't believe me, go to YouTube and see how many different languages some of the 'toons are listed in! Today though, they are all in English!

Many pieces of classical music appeared in the early cartoons, Probably many folks got their first exposure to the classics by the way of cartoons!

Nothing like a little humor to go along with the coffee and help start the morning right!

Ya know, there has to be a reason some of these characters have been around for so long! The ones that last the longest must have some kind of magic, right? Who knows? Whatever the reason, I'm glad they are still around!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. The rain is trying to start again, so we'll stay inside and have some peaches on the side!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

World's Greatest Beer...?

I used to drink beer...a LOT of beer! Before that, I drank whisky. Beer, though, is the topic today!

Most beer drinkers are fairly particular about their brand, and I was no exception. Like many, I had a certain brand loyalty. Now if that loyalty was toward this next type of beer, it just might have been well deserved!

The Best Beer In The World

Beers are extremely difficult to rank. One’s superiority to another is largely a matter of taste. However, when it comes to naming the absolute best beer in the whole world, beer lovers are in complete agreement. This honorable drink is called Westvleteren 12. It is a 10.2 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) Trappist beer that has been in production since 1940.

Westvleteren 12 is a dark beer with a refined, chocolate-like taste that is said to be unrivaled by any other beer. It is instantly recognizable by its distinct yellow cap and complete lack of any labels. Usually, it is only available by driving to the monastery that makes it (located deep in the countryside of Belgium) and buying it straight from the monks, which often involves waiting patiently in a line of cars that can extend for miles. However, the monks are fully aware of the superiority of their product and are willing to use its reputation to their benefit on occasion. When their monastery needed a new roof in 2012, they briefly exported Westvleteren 12 to various countries with prices ranging between $75 and $85 for a six-pack and two tasting glasses.

It sold out in minutes.

Goes to show how strong the effects of "Supply and Demand" can really be. It would be interesting to taste this stuff, just because of all the hype! Unfortunately, I can't afford it...and I quit drinking beer a long time ago!

How about coffee outside this morning? Maybe it will be a little cooler today!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Little Funny For Friday...!

Thanks to Baby Sis for sending me this. I thought it was pretty good and so, I wanted to share it with you!

I hope you all enjoyed this. May not be to everyone's liking, but you can't please everbody all the time! No what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some chocolate mini-donuts I'll share!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Do You Know This Word...?

I really like finding new words to confuse and confound folks with, ya know?

Who knows? Sometimes one of these new words may help you solve a hard crossword puzzle, win a trivia game, or even add to a poem to give it some extra flair!


Use: “Nothing beats the petrichor in the morning as the dew fades.”

Petrichor is the name of the smell of rain on dry earth. The word comes from the Greek words “petros” which means rock, and “ichor” which means the fluid that runs through the veins of the gods. The smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is adsorbed (another word you probably didn’t know – definition) by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, producing the distinctive scent.

I've always loved that smell, but never before did I even imagine there was a name for it! Cool, isn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Maybe it will sprinkle and cool us all off a bit!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Treasure For Western Wednesday...!

Seems sort of strange to have a treasure story for Wednesday, but since it does relate to to the early days I think it's fitting.

This might be a bit of history that you didn't know. It's certainly something I never thought of.

Treasure At Little Bighorn

For many Americans in the late 1800s, traveling west and striking it rich by finding gold didn’t seem like an absurd idea. Some didn’t even make it all the way to the Pacific. A few men struck it rich when they found gold in Montana. When fewer and fewer men found gold in Middle America, more and more of them continued west. But they probably should have kept looking.

According to some experts, Captain Grant Marsh was in charge of the Far West, a steamboat making its way up the Bighorn River to resupply General George Custer in his fight against the Indians. When Captain Marsh heard of General Custer’s defeat and found out he would have to take injured men away from the battlefield, the only thing he could do to keep the ship from sinking under the weight of so many injured men was to bury the $375,000 worth of gold bars on the shores of the Bighorn River. Some say that Marsh had collected the gold bars from worried gold miners who didn’t want to be attacked by the Sioux.

If you like, you can read more about this "hidden gold" right here! Always fun to think about these things!

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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Want To Split This With Me...?

Once in a while, I get fascinated by some of the excesses we can produce. This is just one of them!

Having said that, I probably would try eating a part of it! The one in the picture is actually a mere "Triple Bypass Burger!" Only three patties of meat, ya know?

The World’s Worst Burger

Certainly, no one would classify hamburgers as a health food, and dietary wisdom dictates that a serving of meat should be about three ounces, or the size of a deck of cards. But one restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada, shuns such conventions. Offering up what the founder calls “nutritional pornography,” the Heart Attack Grill’s menu includes such cardiovascularly destructive fare as butterfat milkshakes and fries cooked in pure lard. Their signature Quadruple Bypass Burger has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s most calorific burger. The Quadruple Bypass consists of four half-pound hamburgers, three tablespoons of lard, 20 slices of bacon, eight slices of American cheese, 20 slices of caramelized onion baked in lard, eight tomato slices, one tablespoon of mayonnaise, two tablespoons of ketchup, one tablespoon of mustard, and a bun. It contains a staggering 9,982 calories.

The restaurant has a whole tongue-in-cheek hospital motif, with buxom, scantily clad “nurses” acting as waitresses. Diners who weigh more than 350 pounds eat for free. Should you fail to devour your burger in its entirety, the nurses will gleefully paddle your behind.

Unfortunately, patrons of the grill have actually succumbed to cardiac arrest, including unofficial spokesman John Alleman, a daily customer who died of a heart attack at a bus stop in front of the restaurant. Another spokesman, 29-year-old, 6-foot-eight, 575-pound Blair River, died in 2011 of pneumonia, and his death was likely tied to his obesity. Despite these tragedies, the Heart Attack Grill continues to do incredible business in Sin City, and the restaurant has been featured on several food- and travel-related programs.

Now this is a little bit over the edge, if you ask me. I wouldn't pay to have one of these. It seems like a waste! However, if they ever start offering a cinnamon roll of this proportion, I'm all over it, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. I'll serve up some healthy oatmeal cookies!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Forrest Fenn Treasure Mystery...!

Nothing like starting off the week with a real life treasure story, one that could be worth a lot of money to some lucky person.

Just think, all you have to do is follow the clues, solve the riddle, and find the treasure! Sounds easy enough, right? Maybe not! Been tried many times before by many other folks. However, by all accounts, the treasure is still hidden!

Forrest Fenn Hidden Treasure

Forrest Fenn wants you to have all of his money when he dies.

When Fenn was only nine years old, he found an arrowhead near his home in Texas—an arrowhead that would shape the rest of his life. Fenn fell in love with ancient artifacts. After becoming a pilot in the air force in the 1960s, Fenn regularly flew his plane to Pompeii to look for artifacts, of which he found plenty.

When the 1980s hit, Fenn was diagnosed with kidney cancer and told he would only have a few years to live. With his mortality looking him right in the face, Fenn decided to hide his most beloved artifacts and give everyone the clues to find his treasure, which he estimates to hold $1–3 million worth of gold, jewelry, and other valuable artifacts.

You can read more about this man right here! It sure makes for an interesting read, that's for sure!

Coffee out on the patio this morning again! How about some peanut butter cookies?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

After Church Cartoons...!

I say after church, but many might not go to "Sunday meeting" or church anymore. No can still enjoy the cartoons!

The whole point of cartoons is to bring back a bit of the "good days", if anyone can remember them. They really did exist and are not just a fable or made up story.

I wonder why so many folks like the Road Runner and the Coyote?

Some things just never seem to get old, know what I mean?

I always feel a little bit younger after the Sunday 'toons, don't you? Maybe that sounds silly, but hey...whatever works, right?

Let's do coffee out on the patio this morning.Very few flies thanks to the new fly trap!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sound Of Silence...!

Here is a little known fact about the use of sound during the second World War. By that, I mean I didn't know it!

To tell the truth, this was a brilliant use of the loudspeakers to keep the public informed. I would have never thought of it, I'm afraid!

Radio was an incredibly important form of mass communication during World War II. For example, before and after air raids, the city of Leningrad broadcast instructions to take cover and later, issued the all-clear over a municipal radio service. That radio system reached most of the city; it had about half a million households and businesses with speakers, and another 10 to 20, 000 loudspeakers on the street. But what if the Germans bombed the transmitters? How would the people of Leningrad know? To account for this, the city radio employed an early version of comfort noise, softly broadcasting the sound of a metronome when no announcements were being made.

Just goes to show that folks can come up with some ingenious ways to stay alive and help others do the same. Pretty cool!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Fresh peaches on the side!

Friday, August 2, 2013

We Need One Of These...!

Even though it's really been too hot to have a picnic, it would be handy to have one of these for those family outings.

One thing about it, the owners of this beauty would have to pay close attention to the care from what I understand! This could be the ultimate Prepper's tool, that's for sure!


Let’s say you’re out for a picnic, and you’ve forgotten the food. That’s not an issue, you just need to whip out your Skatert-Samobranka. The Skatert-Samobranka was a magic tablecloth that could produce food when unfurled and cleaned itself up when it was folded again. As with most supernatural items, there were rules. The Skatert-Samobranka was sentient, so it needed to be respected and cared for. If angered, it might have ruined the food, and any rips or holes would cause it to slowly lose its magical properties. That’s one temperamental tablecloth.

I know this item is only make believe, but it never hurts to have a good day dream, does it?

Let's have our coffee out on the patio today. Will some iced lemon pound cake be alright?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Now This Is A First For Me...!

Over the years, I've heard many strange and scary stories about how gullible some folks are. However this one really caught me off guard!

I don't really know why I should be surprised. After all, way too many folks show signs of being unbalanced at times, if you know what I mean! Trouble is many of them are still walking around out there!

The First Murder By Ouija Board

After a Ouija board session on November 8, 1933 in Prescott, Arizona, 15-year-old Mattie Turley fired a shotgun at her father, Ernest Turley, inflicting mortal wounds. She’d shot him, she said, because “the board could not be denied.” She eventually pled guilty to attempted murder, was sentenced to a state reformatory, and received parole three years later.

While her mother, Dorothea Irene Turley, operated the planchette during the séance, the Ouija board told Mattie to “shoot Daddy after he milked the cows” and assured her no one would discover the murder. Allegedly, Dorothea told Mattie she wanted to marry a handsome cowboy and getting rid of Ernest Turley was the simplest solution. Mattie and her mother used a deck of playing cards to apparently confirm the command, then the teenager shot her father, a former US Navy chief gunner’s mate, in the back. He later died at the hospital.

At first, Mattie tried to pass off Ernest’s death as an accident. She told the sheriff she’d been following about 30 feet behind her father when she tripped and the shotgun went off. However, the investigation revealed the victim’s wounds could only have been inflicted if the shotgun were held by someone standing upright and 10 feet away. Mattie confessed.

Dorothea Turley was also arrested and tried for assault with intent to commit murder. She was convicted and was sentenced to 10-25 years. However, following an appeal, her conviction was overturned in 1936, and she was set free.

One of the scariest parts of this whole thing is how quickly this girl was let out of prison. It almost sounds like some of the sentences served today, doesn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some apple turnovers this time around!