Thursday, October 31, 2013

Still On The Menu...!

Hard to believe this one but I guess that you can check it out for yourselves, if ya want!

From 1904 until now, this same item has been on the menu at the U.S House of Representatives dining hall...all due to one man! The story, which I got from the newsletter " Now I Know" (by Dan Lewis) is pretty interesting!

Soup of the Day

Take two pounds of number one white Michigan beans. Cover the beans with water and allow them to soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and re-cover them with water. Add a smoked ham hock and simmer the whole thing slowly for about four hours until the beans are cooked tender. Then add salt and pepper to suit taste. Just before serving, bruise the beans with a large spoon ladle, enough to cloud the broth.

That recipe serves about six people or about 435, depending on the context.

That latter number is because the recipe paraphrased above (quoted, almost, mostly with a few definite and indefinite articles added) is from the U.S. House of Representatives' official menu for its members' dining hall. If you can gain access to the dining hall (legally; please do not get arrested) you can try the soup yourself. They're serving it today, in fact.

They serve it every day -- and have since the summer of 1904.

As anyone who was on my 8th grade field trip to this nation's capital will certainly attest, Washington, D.C. can get uncomfortably hot. Soup isn't a great summertime food, especially when temperatures outside approach three digits (Fahrenheit, of course!), and it therefore doesn't make a lot of sense to prep bowls of bean soup in that weather. Omitting it from the day's menu would be eminently reasonable.

Thankfully for us purveyors of odd trivia, American politicians have a longstanding tradition of being patently unreasonable. And on a hot, hot summer day in 1904, when the kitchen staff decided there'd be no bean soup today, the Speaker of the House, the honorable Joseph Gurney Cannon (pictured) from the great state of Illinois, lost his cool. The Office of the Historian of the House of Representatives repeats the quote on its website:

“Thunderation,” roared Speaker of the House Joe Cannon of Illinois. “I had my mouth set for bean soup! From now on, hot or cold, rain, snow, or shine, I want it on the menu every day.”

He got his wish. The soup stayed on the daily menu, where it remains to this day using the same recipe -- all because the Speaker of the House demanded it.

Wonder just how many of today's politicians have that kind of clout? The man must have been a highly respected (or feared) figure!

Coffee inside today, as more heavy rain is on the way. I do have some cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing to share, though!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another Bad Guy For Western Wednesday...!

I reckon everybody likes the history of some of the bad guys of the old west!

One thing about it, there were plenty of them to go around! You might say that the old west was like a forging spot for many of the modern laws and ideas of justice. Maybe a little of the frontier justice would come in handy!

Nov 14, 1882:
Franklin Leslie kills Billy "The Kid" Claiborne

On this day, the gunslinger Franklin "Buckskin" Leslie shoots the Billy "The Kid" Claiborne dead in the streets of Tombstone, Arizona.

The town of Tombstone is best known today as the site of the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral. In the 1880s, however, Tombstone was home to many gunmen who never achieved the enduring fame of Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday. Franklin "Buckskin" Leslie was one of the most notorious of these largely forgotten outlaws.

There are few surviving details about Leslie's early life. At different times, he claimed to have been born in both Texas and Kentucky, to have studied medicine in Europe, and to have been an army scout in the war against the Apache Indians. No evidence has ever emerged to support or conclusively deny these claims. The first historical evidence of Leslie's life emerges in 1877, when he became a scout in Arizona. A few years later, Leslie was attracted to the moneymaking opportunities of the booming mining town of Tombstone, where he opened the Cosmopolitan Hotel in 1880. That same year he killed a man named Mike Killeen during a quarrel over Killeen's wife, and he married the woman shortly thereafter.

Leslie's reputation as a cold-blooded killer brought him trouble after his drinking companion and fellow gunman John Ringo was found dead in July 1882. Some Tombstone citizens, including a young friend of Ringo's named Billy "The Kid" Claiborne, were convinced that Leslie had murdered Ringo, though they could not prove it. Probably seeking vengeance and the notoriety that would come from shooting a famous gunslinger, Claiborne unwisely decided to publicly challenge Leslie, who shot him dead.

The remainder of Leslie's life was equally violent and senseless. After divorcing Killeen in 1887, he took up with a Tombstone prostitute, whom he murdered several years later during a drunken rage. Even by the loose standards of frontier law in Tombstone, the murder of an unarmed woman was unacceptable, and Leslie served nearly 10 years in prison before he was paroled in 1896. After his release, he married again and worked a variety of odd jobs around the West. He reportedly made a small fortune in the gold fields of the Klondike region before he disappeared forever from the historical record.

I guess that even the most celebrated bad guys can catch a break once in a while. Just goes to show that fame and fortune can be fleeting at best. Probably fading away was his idea and it may have been a good one!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. We have a little front moving in and that means rain!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Love Those Catfish...!

Growing up in Texas, the catfish has been a favorite menu item of mine for a very long time! Some fried catfish, fried 'taters and onions, and some cornbread makes for a good meal...anytime!

Most country folks have a fondness for the catfish. Catfish are a little on the ugly side, but what they lack in looks they make up in taste! Really! To top it off, they have a talent I never knew about!

Catfish Have About 100,000 Taste Buds

Humans have somewhere between 2,000 and 8,000 taste buds, all concentrated on the little lump of flesh wiggling around your mouth. Catfish, on the other hand, have closer to 100,000 individual taste buds—all over their bodies. In a sense, a catfish is just a big swimming tongue. Each taste bud is about 50 nanometers (50 billionths of a meter, or 164 billionths of a foot) wide, and the bigger the fish is, the more taste buds it has. Larger fish can have more than 175,000 taste buds dotted across their body.

Why would an animal—especially one that lives in the mud at the bottom of murky ponds—need such a strong sense of taste? They use it to hunt. Visibility becomes more limited the deeper you go, so for a bottom dweller like the catfish, sight isn’t always helpful. With their taste buds, catfish can “taste” prey meters away, like a wolf catching a scent. And with so many buds all over their body, they can essentially triangulate the prey’s location based on how strongly the taste hits certain body parts. Most of the taste buds are clustered around the fore region of the catfish so it can home in on the prey once it’s angled in the right direction.

Catfish still use their eyes, but researchers have found that the taste buds are more important for hunting than sight. Take away a catfish’s eyes and it will still find food. Take away its taste buds, however, and it’s essentially blind.

I guess that with that many taste buds, the fish can smell a decent bait from a long way off. That, my friends, is a good thing...for the fisherman!

Another good day for coffee out on the patio. Going back up to the high 80's today!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Mystery Close To Home...!

We've looked at mysteries from all over the world, but here's one from my backyard...almost!

I had never heard of this particular mystery until I found it over at listverse! Thanks to them, I now have something close to home i can check out! Exciting, huh?

Black Hope Curse

If you have ever seen the movie Poltergeist, you’re aware of the idea that building homes on top of cemeteries is probably a horrendous idea. However, that seemingly natural line of thinking apparently never occurred to the people who built a series of upscale homes in a neighborhood outside of Houston, Texas, and what unfolded sounds extremely similar to the movie, to the point where you would think it’s based entirely on this unsolved mystery.

Two families, including the Haney family, found themselves in the midst of what appeared to be a real live haunting after moving into the neighborhood, particularly when, like in Poltergeist, they began to dig a pool only to discover human corpses under the ground. The corpses belonged to former slaves, and soon enough the Haneys began to notice strange things happening on their property, including strange sounds and items mysteriously moving. Another family, the Williams family, also lived in the area and claimed that whenever they attempted to plant anything in the soil, it would almost immediately die. At one point Jean Williams attempted to dig in an effort to find a body to prove they were living over a gravesite, and after becoming ill her daughter took over. Her daughter promptly suffered a heart attack and within two days, she was dead.

Ya know, maybe I don't want to study this mystery too closely. Last thing I need right now, is to be bothered by some Poltergeist. That kind of excitement is not for me!

Better have our coffee outside. The sun is shining, so let's take advantage of that fact!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rainy Day Cartoons...!

Nothing like starting a wet Sunday off by watching some cartoons, then reading the rest of the day!

Sadly I can't give ya a book, but I can furnish the 'toons! Will that do?

Something about the early 'toons makes me remember my childhood. Guess we all have some flashbacks to our childhoods when we get to be my age. Man, I'm getting old and I can feel it! maybe that's why I love the cartoons on Sunday!

Ya know, with caring for Mom full time, I don't have a lot of time to relax much. Sunday is (or was ) a day of rest. Not working out like that lately, though! Let's have another 'toon.

That's all I have for today. Now that we have had the 'toons, anybody in the mood to read? Good way to spend the day when it's raining, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'll share my lemon cake with everyone!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Victim Of The Beast...?

Over at Listverse, I found a story that is disturbing to say the least. The only reason I'm putting it on here is that Halloween is very close and this could fit right in!

I use Listverse a lot in some of my postings, mainly because they always have such interesting stuff! I like interesting stuff, ya know? Back to the article...I can't imagine what would possess this man to have this message engraved on his wife's tombstone, and I'm not sure I want to know the whole story! Somethings are probably left alone!

Lillian Gray

This legend all started thanks to a tombstone located in the middle of a cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah. It belongs to a woman named Lillian E. Gray, who died in the 1950s at the age of 77. At first glance, it doesn’t look any different from the other graves surrounding it. Nothing catches the eye until you see the inscription written underneath: “Victim of the Beast 666.”

Now that is a bit unusual.

What could this enigmatic statement mean? Is it some kind of accusation, made by the believers in one of the most religious cities in the nation? Could she have been sacrificed by a Satanic cult? Was she a devil worshiper herself? An innocent woman punished in a Salem-style witch hunt? Those are only some of the rumors intrigued citizens have come up with to explain it.Of course, there are always those who have to come along and ruin the fun. It looks like the inscription was commissioned by the woman’s paranoid, anti-government husband, who blamed the police for her death. It is hard to say whether that makes the whole thing less creepy, or more so.

I, for one, would love to know the whole story, wouldn't you? No matter the cause, it is a bit creepy!

Better have coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's supposed to start raining sometime today!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Heard Of Swansea Jack...?

Sometimes our animal friends can do things that really amaze us! This is one such case, that's for sure!

I reckon we will never know just what causes animals to do these types of things, especially when many of them don't always get treated well. Maybe we could take some lessons from our 4 legged friends!

Swansea Jack

Swansea Jack was a black retriever who lived with his owner William Thomas near the River Tawe in Swansea, Wales, during the 1930s. One day, Jack saw a small boy drowning in the river and ran in, pulling the boy to shore by the scruff of his neck. There was no one around to see it, and had circumstances been different, the boy would probably have spent the rest of his life telling the story to people who would never believe him. But Jack wasn’t done. Within a few weeks, Jack rescued another swimmer, this time with witnesses in attendance. And then another. And another. And so on. Over the course of the next decade, Jack was reported to have saved at least 27 people from, presumably, the most dangerous river and docks in Wales.

For his efforts over the course of his lifetime, Jack was given a silver collar by Swansea council, the Bravest Dog of the Year Award, a silver cup from the Mayor of London, and his very own statue. That’s more accolades than your average Batman. And he’s still recognized today—he was probably the inspiration for the nickname of Premier League football team Swansea FC, “The Swansea Jacks.”

This story makes me feel good all over. Even though I'm a cat lover, dogs are great also. In fact, if I didn't live in the big city, I would have me one or two dog friends! After all, ya can't have too many friends of good character, right? Right!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. About 54 degrees, so wear a sweater!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Cause Of An Urban Legend...!

Not many things in life are more sad than a person who, for whatever reason, has a frightening look to them.

No matter the cause of the terrifying look, accident or birth defect or man-made, it's a tragedy when a persons mere looks not only hurts their standing in the community but in their own mind as well. This story from Listverse is a good example of just such a person!

Green Man

This is one of the few stories on this list that can be traced back to a real person, including the more frightening details. In Koppel, Pennsylvania, it became common to see a horribly disfigured man walking down the darkened streets at night. He was given the name Charlie No-Face, or Green Man, and everyone had their own story of sighting him.

That’s because he was 100 percent real. Born Raymond Robinson in 1910, at the age of eight he was trying to view a bird’s nest on Morado Bridge when there was an accident. He touched a power line, which electrocuted him, causing horrific facial injuries that never properly healed.

Because his appearance tended to cause panic and make babies cry, he spent most of his 74 years hiding out in his home with his family. But at night he would make the streets his own, taking long walks when people were less likely to see him.

Obviously, this didn’t work all the time. Hence he became a living urban legend in his town, where some people used to drive around all night hoping to catch a glimpse.

Many folks like this were either sold to the circus, exploited in side shows, stared at and ostracized, and generally treated badly. However, there were a few that made a decent living as a side show exhibit. Some did so for many years and actually became quite famous! They were more the exception to the rule, though.

Let's have coffee out on the patio again today. Looks like Spring has come back to Houston!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Barbed Wire On Western Wednesday...!

In case you didn't know, barbed wire was a very cheap and useful tool on the prairie.

Although there were many versions of the stuff, one of the most popular and strongest was patented by Joseph Glidden. This article from can tell you a little more about it, if you are interested!

Oct 27, 1873:
Joseph Glidden applies for a patent on his barbed wire design

On this day in 1873, a De Kalb, Illinois, farmer named Joseph Glidden submits an application to the U.S. Patent Office for his clever new design for a fencing wire with sharp barbs, an invention that will forever change the face of the American West.

Glidden's was by no means the first barbed wire; he only came up with his design after seeing an exhibit of Henry Rose's single-stranded barbed wire at the De Kalb county fair. But Glidden's design significantly improved on Rose's by using two strands of wire twisted together to hold the barbed spur wires firmly in place. Glidden's wire also soon proved to be well suited to mass production techniques, and by 1880 more than 80 million pounds of inexpensive Glidden-style barbed wire was sold, making it the most popular wire in the nation. Prairie and plains farmers quickly discovered that Glidden's wire was the cheapest, strongest, and most durable way to fence their property. As one fan wrote, "it takes no room, exhausts no soil, shades no vegetation, is proof against high winds, makes no snowdrifts, and is both durable and cheap."

The effect of this simple invention on the life in the Great Plains was huge. Since the plains were largely treeless, a farmer who wanted to construct a fence had little choice but to buy expensive and bulky wooden rails shipped by train and wagon from distant forests. Without the alternative offered by cheap and portable barbed wire, few farmers would have attempted to homestead on the Great Plains, since they could not have afforded to protect their farms from grazing herds of cattle and sheep. Barbed wire also brought a speedy end to the era of the open-range cattle industry. Within the course of just a few years, many ranchers discovered that thousands of small homesteaders were fencing over the open range where their cattle had once freely roamed, and that the old technique of driving cattle over miles of unfenced land to railheads in Dodge City or Abilene was no longer possible.

Riding the fence line was a full time job on the bigger spreads, checking to make sure that the wire and post were still in good order. No telling how many miles of the wire were strung back in the olden days, but I reckon it was a lot!

Well, looks like we can have our coffee out on the patio this morning. How about some fresh fruit today?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

So, Who Got Taken...?

Most of us were taught way back in elementary school that the island of Manhattan was purchased for a really, really low price! Somewhere close to twenty-four dollars worth of trade goods, right?

Turns out that the Indians did not get the short end of the deal after all. Turns out that the Dutch traders were not as slick as they thought. Here's the story of what really happened!

In a single landmark real estate deal, Dutch settlers supposedly purchased the entire island of Manhattan for some worthless glass beads. But what actually happened in 1626? Dutch settlers bought the use of Manhattan in exchange for iron kettles, axes, knives, and cloth. And as it later turned out, the tribe who sold the land at such a deep discount were taking payment for lands which didn’t even belong to them.

The story of the $24 Manhattan purchase is a myth which insinuates that the settlers, by virtue of being so darn clever, “deserved” the land. Of course, the valuation of anything at $24 should be immediately suspect as the dollar obviously didn’t exist in the 17th century. The idea that the goods were worth only $24 stems from a flawed currency conversion made by a 19th-century historian. And records from the time suggest it is actually the Dutch settlers who were tricked.

Letters from the period, detailing other Dutch purchases, make it clear what goods were typically exchanged for land in the American Northeast. The manufactured goods, while not extremely valuable to the Europeans, were obviously scarce in America and thus valuable to Native traders. In similar fashion, discarded beaver pelt clothing was garbage to Native Americans, yet European traders couldn’t get enough, because they used the fur to make stylish hats. Determining a trade’s winner and loser is really just a matter of perspective. “Glass beads” is a pernicious exaggeration of the idea that Manhattan was purchased for worthless goods.

Of course, the biggest problem with the Manhattan purchase isn’t the price: It’s the identity of the sellers. The Dutch conducted their business with the Canarsee tribe who were actually based out of what is now Brooklyn. However, we should be fair to perpetrators of the glass beads myth: The Canarsee probably would have taken anything in exchange for the use of Manhattan, as the island actually belonged to the Wappinger Confederacy, another group of Native Americans. As a result, the Dutch claim to Manhattan was later contested, and the Dutch compensated the rightful owners. Thus, the Dutch settlers actually paid for Manhattan twice.

Here is another point to consider. Any trade can only be judged a fair trade by the folks involved. If both parties are happy, then the trade was fair! In this case, the tribe who actually did the trade was probably extremely happy, were as the Dutch were...well, you can guess how they felt!

Let's try and have coffee out on the patio this morning. We may have to move back inside if the rain starts again!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mister X On Monday Mystery...!

There are a lot of modern day mysteries out there if we take the time to look them up.

This particular one really isn't that much of a mystery if you read between the lines. Sure is strange for this day and age, though.

Mister X

Mister X was a modern-day “man in the iron mask,” a man kept in such complete seclusion in Israel’s Ayalon Prison that even the guards did not know his name. When the media got wind of this mystery man in 2010, rumors exploded as to his identity, with some believing that X was Ali-Reza Asgari, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general kidnapped by the Mossad. In 2013, Mister X was finally revealed as Ben Zygier, a dual Australian-Israeli citizen who had been a member of the Mossad.

Zygier allegedly had espionage ties throughout the Middle East, including involvement with Hezbollah, as well as links to operations in Iran and Syria. Zygier was arrested in February of 2010, and 10 months later, hanged himself with a bedsheet in his allegedly “suicide proof” cell.

The nature of the charges against Zygier remain a mystery, but it is believed by many that he intended to sell state secrets to enemies of Israel. If so, the information must have been extremely sensitive to merit the bizarre circumstances of his incarceration. Even his suicide has been called into question. Zygier’s cell was under constant video surveillance, and reports indicate that his body was bruised. A muscle relaxant called succinylcholine was also found in his bloodstream.

Wonder just why it is that the different governments think folks will continue to accept all these lame excuses for disappearances and deaths? I firmly believe that the average man doesn't believe half of what their PTB tell them, so why keep up the charade?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, but you might want to bring a sweater!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Woody Woodpecker For Sunday...!

I don't remember the last time we had Woody on for Sunday 'toons, so it seemed that today was as good a time as any.

Ol' Woody is another one of those 'toons that's been around for a very long time. Guess he was more popular in the old days than he is today. The character is still better drawn than a lot of the computer generated characters, if you ask me, but that's just my opinion!

One thing about a lot of the cartoons made during the per-war and wartime years, is how much the government used them as propaganda sources. In fact, many of the 'toons making fun of the Germans and Japanese are still banned today! What's up with that?

Maybe it's just me, but Woody isn't as funny as some of the others. Guess I'm just getting older and harder to please! Oh well...time marches on!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Supposed to be sunny and nice, so that's a good thing!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Don't Get Worms...!

Here is a little something I got from Baby Sis the other day, and I thought you might find it funny!

After all that's gone on the last week or so, we could all use a grin, I reckon! At least this one makes a little bit of sense to me!

Four worms and a lesson to be learned!!!!

A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.

Four worms were placed into four separate jars.

The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.

The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.

The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.

The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:

The first worm in alcohol . . . . . . Dead .

The second worm in cigarette smoke . . . Dead .

Third worm in chocolate syrup . . . . Dead.

Fourth worm in good clean soil . . . Alive …

So the Minister asked the congregation, "What did you learn from this demonstration?"

Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said . . . "As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!"

That pretty much ended the service!

Hey...the logic may be faulty but it still makes sense to me, in a Hermit kind of way! Know what I mean?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. The patio is still wet from the recent rains.

Friday, October 18, 2013

How About That Slime Mold...?

There are a lot of strange critters in this ol' world and this stuff is probably one of the strangest!

I mean, this stuff is more strange than most of the members of my family tree and evena couple of my ex's! Believe me when I say that is really stretching the "strange" boundary, if you know what I mean!

The Nasty Slime That Can Tell Time And Build Computers

By Morris M. on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Slime molds are one of the weirdest creatures in existence—brainless, single-celled organisms that can break up into dozens of separate individuals and change shape at will. They’re also frighteningly intelligent.

Slime molds look like what they sound like: a lump of slimy, sticky stuff that you’d probably wipe off the bottom of your shoe. In the wild, they seem to change shape between a kind of fungus, a kind of slug, and a kind of plant (and much else) without ever actually being any of them. In short, they’re strange, strange creatures. They’re also literally brainless, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from recognizing them as almost supernaturally intelligent.

In 2000, Japanese researchers discovered that slime molds are really, really good at navigating mazes. Not in a trial-and-error sort of a way, either: If given a maze with two sources of food at opposing ends, a slime mold will instinctively grow along the shortest possible path between the two. Again, these are creatures totally lacking in anything even approaching a brain, yet they can understand not only mazes, but also time.

Yes: time. Researchers demonstrated this by putting slime molds in an ideal environment, then lowering the temperature every 30 minutes to make it inhospitable for them. After a few rounds, the slime molds learned to automatically slow their metabolism every 30 minutes on the dot, suggesting these lumps of goo have better time perception than most potheads.

But we haven’t even gotten to the weirdest bit. Thanks to their ability to find the shortest possible path between two objects, slime molds are also great at planning road and railway networks. Actual, real-life road builders have used slime molds to decide the best route to build their new highway—and that’s before we get to the guys who use them to build computers.

Basically, the idea is that slime molds can act like a type of resistor called a “memristor,” meaning they could potentially be used to build general-purpose computers. It sounds nuts—and it’s about to get a whole lot crazier. Just two months ago, scientists actually hooked a slime mold up to a robot face, so we could “see” its emotions. If there was ever one experiment that could have doomed humanity, giving the super-intelligent slime a robot slave was probably it.

Just imagine! If this stuff is so intelligent without a brain, how scary would it be if it had one? Kinda makes you look over your shoulder, ya know?

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain and cooler temps are starting early today!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Narcoleptic Bees...!

I guess that most of have been told that bees are really hard workers. as in "busy as a bee", ya know?

What I didn't know until I read this over at Listverse, is that they have a pretty short life and can die from exhaustion! Now that's pretty scary, but shows just how industrious they really are.


It has been a subject of debate for some time whether or not honey bees actually sleep. Many fact sheets on these creatures insist that they do not and that they eventually die of exhaustion. This is both true and untrue. In reality, honeybees are more akin to narcoleptics than insomniacs. Researchers have observed short periods of time, 30 seconds on average, when bees become unresponsive, their antennae droop, and their bodies become relaxed. Younger bees are typically sporadic in their sleeping habits, while older bees have more regular sleeping habits, even retreating into the cells of their hive for a quick nap. These short bursts appear to be all the rest a young honeybee ever gets. Between three to six weeks after taking its first flight, the average honeybee works itself to death, literally falling over from exhaustion.

I guess the moral of this story is to take the time to rest now and then during the day. I reckon that gives one more reason to take a nap in the afternoon! That's a good thing!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Way too damp outside to use the patio.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Western Wednesday With "Wild Bill" Longley...!

We've looked at a lot of bad guys from the Old West, but this man was borderline crazy!

At least in those days the punishment was often more than a slap on the wrist. In fact, most of the punishment was harsh, but then, so were the crimes! A little hard justice could be a good thing these days! Just my opinion!

Oct 16, 1851:
Psychopathic gunfighter "Wild Bill" Longley is born in Texas

The sadistic and murderous western gunman William Preston Longley is born on this day in 1815 in Austin County, Texas.

Little is reliably known of the youth of William Longley, or "Wild Bill" as he was later aptly called. But it is certain that before he was even 20 years old, Longley had already killed several men, and the evidence suggests he was probably what modern-day psychologists would term a psychopath. Notoriously short-tempered, Longley frequently killed for the most trivial of reasons. More than a few men died simply because he believed they had somehow slighted or insulted him, like an unarmed man named Thomas, who Longley murdered in cold blood for daring to argue with him over a card game. He had a particularly strong dislike of blacks, and African-Americans in Texas avoided him whenever possible.

Wherever Longley traveled he left behind a trail of pointless murders, but most of the details of his life are shrouded in myth and supposition. Legend has it that Longley was once hanged along with a horse thief; but shots fired back by the departing posse cut his rope, and he was saved. Reports that he was imprisoned for at least a time and once lived with the Ute Indians are more believable, though not confirmed.

After fleeing to Louisiana to escape punishment for killing a minister named Roland Lay, Longley was captured and returned to Lee County, Texas, where he was tried and found guilty of murder. Sentenced to hang, during his final days Longley became a Catholic, wrote long letters about his life, and claimed that he had actually only killed eight men. On the day of his execution, October 28, 1878, he climbed the steps to the gallows with a cigar in his mouth and told the gathered crowd that his punishment was just and God had forgiven him. After kissing the sheriff and priest and bidding farewell to the crowd, the noose was fitted around his neck, and he was hanged. Unfortunately, the rope slipped so that Longley's knees hit the ground, denying him a quick and painless death. After the hangman pulled the rope taut once more, the famous killer slowly choked to death. It took 11 minutes before he was finally pronounced dead.

You have to wonder just what it was that made these guys so evil. I'm thinking that being crazy had a lot to do with it, but I could be wrong.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. A bit chilly and damp today!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wanna Live Forever...?

To some folks, the idea of being immortal sounds great!

I'm not sure if I would want to live that long, but if this article from Listverse is correct I might not even get the option! I might not qualify, you see? Besides , there could be a host of totally unforseen problems with this whole thing!


If the early 21st century is going to be marked with battles over birth, then the second half may well be marked with battles over death. You’ve probably heard of nanobots. Basically, they’re microscopic machines that will one day swim around in our bloodstream, keeping us fit and healthy—and potentially immortal.

That’s right: Immortal. According to futurist Ray Kurzweil, in as little as 20 years the average life expectancy may well be “forever.” See, proper nanobots would be capable of destroying pathogens, keeping our brains in shape and even reversing ageing. In short, it would be the holy grail of science: Eternal life. And that’s where the problems start.

For one thing, not everyone on Earth will receive these nanobots. Let’s say they’re an American innovation, can you really imagine our scientists selling them on to, say, North Korea? So then you have to decide who does and doesn’t get these wonder-bots. Do poor people get them? What about the homeless? Are criminals banned from immortality? If not, are we comfortable with the idea of giving eternal life to rapists and pedophiles? Will immortality become the preserve of the elite? Now, obviously this is all a bit premature—nanobots aren’t anywhere near the market yet. But if it comes to pass, this is going to be one of the biggest, most controversial leaps in the whole of human history.

I don't think that I'll be around if and when this becomes an issue, and that's alright by me. With the world situation being what it is, I think I'll just do my allotted time and check out! Know what I mean?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, as we have a cold front moving our way. Around here that usually means rain!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Agatha Christie On Monday Mystery...!

One thing about a good mystery is that it gets even better when it's real!

One would not expect to find someone like Agatha Christie to wind up as a character in her own private mystery, but evidently, that's exactly what happened! Here is her story on that!

Agatha Christie

Since Agatha Christie was arguably the most famous mystery writer of all time, it’s only appropriate that she became the center of her own bizarre mystery in 1926. On the evening of December 3, the 36-year-old Christie mysteriously vanished from her home in Sunningdale, England. The next morning, her abandoned car was discovered one hour away in Newlands Corner, but she was nowhere to be found. Christie’s disappearance became a huge story and once word spread that her husband, Archibald, had recently asked for a divorce, speculation ran rampant that he’d murdered her. Finally, on December 14, Christine was found alive and well, registered under the name Teresa Neele at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel in Harrogate. She claimed to have no memory of how she’d ended up there.

There has always been debate over what happened to Christie during those 11 days. At the time, many believed she staged her own disappearance for publicity or as a way of getting back at her husband—especially since Teresa Neele happened to be the name of his mistress. However, there is evidence that Christie might have entered a fugue state and genuinely lost her memory. On the morning of her disappearance, a witness encountered her walking down the road. In spite of the cold weather, she was wearing nothing but a thin dress and seemed upset and confused. It has been theorized that Christie’s impending divorce and the recent death of her mother caused her to enter a deep depression. Crashing her car might have been the breaking point that caused her to develop amnesia and forget who she was. Agatha Christie died in 1976, and took the full truth about what happened to her grave.

Leave it to a mystery writer to take the whole story of what happened all the way to their grave! After all, that's what makes it a true mystery, right?

Let's try and have coffee out on the patio this morning. It may rain, but let's take the chance!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Same Ol' Stuff For Sunday...!

Actually, finding the right cartoons for Sunday is harder than it sounds! Want to be sure that I haven't shown them any time recently!

Of course, the hardest part is having to sit and watch so many different cartoons at one time, ya know? Anyway, here's the selection for today! Enjoy!

May be some of you that don't remember Little Audrey, but that's OK. Still kinda fun!

I know, I know...not politically correct. But judging by the way Congress has been (not) acting, I don't think they will notice!

Ya know, that last one is older than I am...and that's saying something!

Better have coffee in the kitchen again. Little thunder storm moving through and we don't want to get rained on, right?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Creepy Crawlers...!

I figured that with Halloween just around the corner, it was time to start creeping things out a bit!

The good thing is, we don't have to make any monsters up from our imagination as Mother Nature has furnished us with plenty! Here is just one of the creepiest, in my opinion.

Enormous Centipedes

Centipedes can evoke shivers among the bravest of naturalists. With their multitude of legs and wicked fangs, centipedes are ultimate killing machines. When their attention is directed toward humans, the results can be extremely painful. The Jurassic throwback Scolopendra gigantean from Peru clocks in at over 28 centimeters (12 in). This enormous crawling beast uses its powerful fangs to devour both insects and small vertebrates like lizards. While the animal controls pests effectively, a human can be seriously wounded by this potentially aggressive centipede. Few invertebrates on land can boast the combined size, aggression, and bite power of this fast-moving species.

I will admit to having a slight fear of centipedes, regardless of their size! One this size could make me really hurt myself trying to get out of the way!

Why don't we have coffee in the kitchen today? I'll throw together a peach cobbler to share!

Friday, October 11, 2013

How About A "Sea Tomato"...?

I've seen a lot of strange things come from the coastal waters, but nothing like this!

If I saw something like this, I would avoid it for sure! I wouldn't pick it up and I certainly wouldn't even consider eating it!

Blood From A Stone

Tunichates are just plain weird. Although extremely primitive and almost entirely immobile, these inorganic-looking entities are, in fact, animals. They are not conventional invertebrates, either. Belonging to a subphylum of the chordates, they are actually related to vertebrates. Pyura chilensis is one of the more shockingly bizarre tunichates, and seems to disprove the popular wisdom that you cannot get “blood from a stone.” The creature looks for all the world like an ancient, craggy rock, but inside is bright, red flesh. These South American “sea tomatoes” are a popular delicacy in Chile, a large part of their limited native range.

What about you? Would you eat one of these things? I reckon you are much braver than I am if you would!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Showers are predicted this afternoon, but for now it's dry and humid!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Now THAT'S A Minnow...!

I've been known to wet a hook a time or two using minnows as bait. but never anything like this!

Even though this is bait, I'd be happy to catch something this big in fresh water!

Six-Foot Predatory Minnow

Many children and even adult naturalists enjoy dipping for minnows in a streamside pool. Minnows are the epitome of the “tiddler” or small two-inch fish. But the largest North American minnow is a toothy predator, an endangered species, and quite enormous. The aptly named Colorado pike minnow is an aggressive fish-eater that has been recorded at a whopping 1.8 meters (6 ft) in length. Compared to the other minnow species, this gigantic fish with large jaws is a true big fish in a small pond. It can even weigh up to 35 kilograms (80 lbs). Pike minnows are an endangered species, facing serious threats from habitat damage and changes in water flow. As a result, a recovery program is now in place.

I have a feeling that Billy Bob could use a couple of these to use! If he couldn't catch anything, he could throw them on his grill for us all!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Fresh biscuits and honey sounds good!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Mountain Man On Western Wednesday...!

One thing we can learn from history is that you should always be prepared for the unforeseen! A lot of common sense is always a good thing!

No matter what you think you know, more is certainly better than less! Even the most experienced can take this to heart!

Commanche kill mountain man Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Smith, one of the nation's most important trapper-explorers, is killed by Commanche Indians on the Santa Fe Trail.

Smith's role in opening up the Far West was not fully appreciated until modern scholars examined the records of his far-ranging journeys. As with all of the mountain men, Smith ventured west as a practical businessman working for eastern fur companies. His goal was to find new territories to trap beaver and otter and make trading contacts with Native Americans.

Nonetheless, beginning in 1822 when he made his first expedition with the fur trader William Ashley, Smith's travels provided information on western geography and potential trails that were invaluable to later pioneers. Smith's most important accomplishment was his rediscovery in 1824 of the South Pass, an easy route across the Rocky Mountains in modern-day western Wyoming. The first Anglo-Americans to cross the pass were fur traders returning east from a Pacific Coast trading post in 1812, yet the news of their discovery was never publicized. Smith, by contrast, established the South Pass as a well-known and heavily traveled route for fur trappers. A few decades later, it became a part of the Oregon Trail and greatly reduced the obstacles faced by wagon trains heading to Oregon and California.

During the next seven years, Smith filled in many other blank spots on the map of the Far West. Despite having opened many new territories for future pioneers, Smith had little to show for his years of dangerous efforts. In 1830, he returned to St. Louis, determined to go into the mercantile business and draft detailed maps of the country he had explored. Before he could get started, however, an associate convinced him to take a supply of goods to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

With a party of 83 men, Smith left St. Louis in early 1831 and headed south along the Cimarron River, a region known to be nearly devoid of potable water. Despite his years of wilderness experience, Smith was apparently overconfident in his ability to find water and did not take adequate supplies from St. Louis. By mid-May, the party's water supplies were almost exhausted, and the men started separating each day to search for waterholes.

On this day in 1831, Smith was riding alone when a hunting party of Commanche Indians attacked him. Dazed and weakened by lack of water, Smith nonetheless managed to shoot one of the Commanche before he was overwhelmed and killed.

Sad to think that due to a lack of water, his life was put in jeopardy! Luck of the draw, I reckon!

Coffee out on the patio today. Warm and humid weather coming!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sadness Of Veteran Suicide...!

Now I'm not saying that the PTB caused all these suicides, but are they doing all they can to address the problem? That's the main question, I think.

When the situation gets to the point that it's at today, it's obvious that someone somewhere dropped the ball!


Suicide is a shockingly large problem in the military. Last year, 349 American services personnel took their own lives, 54 more than died in combat. But this just includes those on active duty. If you widen the net to include veterans, then the number who killed themselves in 2012 is a staggering 6,500. According to The Guardian, that equals one suicide every 80 minutes—and rather than treating the problem, the military is seemingly doing everything in its power to make things worse.

In 2010, Pvt. Lazzaric Caldwell was convicted of “self-injury,” a charge meant to cover soldiers who willingly injure themselves to escape battle. Caldwell’s crime? After suffering PTSD and learning he was in trouble for marijuana possession, he took to his barracks and slit his wrists. For attempting suicide, he was given 180 days. Ultimately, the Army Court of Appeal overturned his sentence, but the law remains on the books, meaning a commanding officer can still punish any of his men that attempts suicide. This is just about the dumbest thing anyone can do. The stigma around mental health is already so bad that only 16 percent of veterans who ultimately committed suicide had set foot in a clinic prior to taking their lives. That’s a disturbingly low statistic, and if the military continues to criminalize suicide, it’s only gonna get worse.

I almost wish that I had not found this article at Listverse, because it really haunts me. This is so far beyond sad, it's a shame!

On a brighter note, we can have our coffee out on the patio this morning! Sound OK?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mysterious Map For Monday Mystery...!

With times being hard for most folks, here is a map that could help the old pocket book!

The only problem is that you have to decipher the map first! Lots of folks have taken a shot at it, but as of today the treasure connected to the map remains hidden! Nice way to start a Monday mystery, right?

Lue Treasure Map

The only legendary treasure to have a map that directs you to 14 tons of gold is the Lue. As mystifying as the code is, it has long been assumed the only tools needed to decode the Lue is a one dollar bill, a key and a sound understanding of Masonic symbolism. Published by Karl Von Mueller, some speculate the “map” consists of various mathematical formulas.

Believed to be in the United States, the legend of the Lue claims the treasure is 14 tons of gold. The gold was brought to the US by the Nazis in a plan to sabotage the US economy and prevent Americans from entering World War II. After hearing the plan, the Gold Act was instituted to circumvent the Nazis’ plan. Failing to prevent the US from entering the war wasn’t the only failure in Nazis’ grand scheme. They also failed to decipher the Lue and the Nazi loyalist that created had died. Ultimately they were unable to retrieve the treasure and returned to Germany.

I have to admit that I got this from the folks at Listverse. If I've posted this before, I apologise. Still, it makes for a good mystery!

Better have coffee out on the patio this morning.Anyone bring cookies today?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

And The 'Toons Continue...!

Here at the Hermit's place, there is no shut down. We're just taking care of business!

Of course, for us that means that the Sunday 'toons, right? Right! No reason that all the silliness should be confined to Washington, is there?

Ya know, those guys remind me of someone. Wonder who it was?

I know, I know...mixing them up this morning! Keeps us from getting bored!

That last one was in honor of Halloween coming up soon! Besides, Dizzy said that he used to like Casper, so there ya go!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Maybe the weather will cut us a break!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hermit's View On The Shut-Down...!

I figured that the old adage of "A picture is worth a thousand words" applies here. This is for the PTB that let this circus continue!

Notice that I did keep the Fall colors? Seemed like a good idea at the time!

Coffee on the patio this morning. No rain in the forecast until this afternoon!

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Art Of Rock, Paper, Scissors...!

The game of rock, paper, and scissors seems like a children's game, but some folks take it very serious!

Come to find out, there is actually an art to being successful at this. I found an article that explains some of the finer points of playing and possibly winning!

The Strategy Behind Rock Paper Scissors

The rules are simple: Rock smashes scissors, scissors cut paper, paper covers rock. Each option perfectly balanced. The strategy? You’d think there is none, but you’d be wrong. There is a bit of psychology behind our choices, which Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) “experts” exploit to their advantage.

According to the World RPS Society, which ran the 2009 World RPS Championships last fall, there are a few factors which, if exploited, can help you win. Men tend to open with rock, but that’s only typical of beginners. Another bad habit of the uninitiated? New players rarely toss the same thing three times in a row. So if your opponent plays paper twice, you should drop a rock the next time — it’s most likely safe. And finally, inexperienced players tend to “replay” the last hand after a loss or draw, throwing the option that would have just beaten them. For example, if your opponent played a rock in the previous round and lost, they are much more likely to go with paper (which beats rock) than with the other two options.

There are tips that work on more experienced players, too. The World RPS Society notes that in competitive play — yes, there are lots of rock paper scissors tournaments – scissors appears only 29.6% of the time. And regardless of skill (to use the term loosely) or experience, all players are somewhat susceptible to implicit suggestion — simply talking about one option more than the others can subconsciously cause your opponent to play that suggested move.

These tips just might come in handy the next time you play. You never know what kind of information you'll find at the Hermit's place, right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I have some lemon bunt cake I'll share!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Plan To Shoot The Moon...!

Of all the crazy things our government has come up with, this might just be the craziest!

This obviously was a case of wanting to show just how smart and bad our weapons were. In my opinion, the whole plan was just stupid! To me it's a wonder we haven't blown ourselves up...YET!

America’s Plot To Nuke The Moon

At the height of the Cold War, the United States Air Force considered a plan to detonate a nuclear weapon on the surface of the moon. The project was deemed too risky and kept top secret for over 40 years, eventually coming to light in 2000, when former NASA executive Leonard Reiffel provided details of the plot.

The Space Race was an important part of the Cold War, the two superpowers of the USSR and the USA competing to become the first to discover the mysteries of the universe. In 1957, the Soviets took a commanding lead when they put the Sputnik satellite in orbit around the Earth. Not to be outdone, the Americans developed Project A119, “A Study of Lunar Research Flights,” a gambit to explode a nuclear weapon on the surface of the Moon.

The US Air Force commissioned NASA to crunch the numbers, a research project helmed by executive Leonard Reiffel. Young astronomer Carl Sagan was also on the project. Indeed it was Sagan’s rather loose method of keeping national secrets that led to the public recognition of the project. While researching a biography on Sagan, a writer named Keay Davidson reviewed Sagan’s scholarship application for the University of California Berkley’s Miller Institute. Bizarrely enough, the late Sagan provided highly classified details about his involvement of the project. When the 1999 book Carl Sagan: A Life was published detailing the plan, Reiffel emerged to set the story straight, claiming that “the foremost intent was to impress the world with the prowess of the United States,” and “It was a PR device, without question, in the minds of the people from the Air Force.”

The bomb used would have been small, around the same size as the one used on Hiroshima. The explosion would have been visible from the surface of Earth and would have made a serious statement about the capability of the US. However, the risks involved in the launch, as well as the possibility of creating nuclear fallout on the Moon and halting the chances of manned lunar exploration, caused NASA and the Air Force to scrap their plans. Due to the Freedom of Information Act, the plans were eventually made public, though the Air Force denies any involvement with the ill-fated Project A119, even to this day.

Funny, but I never figured that Carl Sagen would get mixed up in something like this! Guess I had him figured all wrong!

Back in the kitchen this morning. How about some blueberry muffins this A.M.?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Yosemite Founded But You Can't Visit...!

In one of the smartest moves by the government, the Yosemite Valley area was declared A national park.

In the establishing of national parks, the government actually did a favor to all Americans by saving some of these areas from becoming developed. Thank goodness for small favors! Now we can all enjoy them...if we go when the government isn't shut down!

Oct 1, 1890:
Congress creates Yosemite National Park

On this day in 1890, the United States Congress decrees that about 1,500 square miles of public land in the California Sierra Nevada will be preserved forever as Yosemite National Park.

Once the home to Indians whose battle cry Yo-che-ma-te ("some among them are killers") gave the park its name, Anglo-Americans began to settle in Yosemite Valley as early as the 1850s, eventually driving out the native inhabitants. Early settlers quickly recognized the unique beauty of the narrow Yosemite Valley with the sheer-faced Half Dome Mountain looming nearly a mile above the valley floor and three stunning waterfalls. At that time other awe-inspiring natural wonders like Niagara Falls were already becoming popular American tourist destinations, and a few early settlers tried to profit from the wonders of the Yosemite Valley by charging tourists hefty fees. But thanks to the popular paintings of Albert Bierstadt and the photographs of Carlton Watkins, Americans who would never see the magnificent valley in person began to call for its preservation from crass commercial development. In June 1864, President Abraham Lincoln agreed, signing a bill that ceded the small Yosemite Valley area, along with the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees, to the state of California with the requirement that it be held as a national public trust "for all time."

But in subsequent years, the state of California proved a less than vigilant caretaker of the Yosemite, inspiring the famous naturalist John Muir to publish several widely read articles exposing the destruction of the valley by large herds of sheep that Muir called "hoofed locusts." In 1890, Muir's efforts, as well as those of the newly founded Sierra Club, convinced Congress that Yosemite would be better protected as one part of a 1,500-square-mile national park. Though later reduced in size to 540 square miles, Yosemite National Park has ever since been one of the most popular nature preserves in the world. Today the park receives more than four million visitors annually.

In spite of all the infighting and childlike antics of Congress, the National Parks are the treasures of our country that can be shared and enjoyed by all visitors. Of course, the doors will remained locked until the pissing contest is all over in the Capital. No telling how long that will take! On the best of days, it takes forever for the PTB to agree on anything!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. The patio is still wet and may stay that way for a while!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Dangerous Religion...!

Now, by dangerous I mean dangerous to practice. Shows what can happen when the governments get to choose what you do!

I have no idea why the government in China is so against the the things that this religion stands for, but they are determined to wipe out the followers, that's for sure!

Falun Gong Persecutions

Falun Gong is a relatively recent Chinese quasi-religion based around core values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, as well as exercises designed to improve health and energy. But for millions of its followers in China, their beliefs can get them put in prison or even killed.

Since July 22, 1999, practicing Falun Gong in China is against the law. China even has their own security department, 6-10 Office, which deals exclusively with suppressing the religion. Among other horrors, the 6-10 Office has been accused of sending people to work 20 hours a day in “reform camps,” force-feeding saline solutions into prisoner’s noses, and tying people in excruciating positions for days on end. There have even been accounts of people practicing Falun Gong having their organs removed for quick, in-demand organ transplants.

Over the past 14 years, since the ban on the religion began, over 3,428 deaths have been reported, with the numbers continuing to rise. The persecution continues to this day.

Living in a country that allows us to worship in any fashion that we want seems better every day when you hear about something like this, don't you think?

Coffee out on the patio today. I'm hoping for a clear morning, but showers in the afternoon!