Monday, March 31, 2014

Strange Book For Monday Mystery...!

I have to admit that I read a lot. By a lot, I try and read a book a day! However, I have never ran across a book such as this!

All through the ages there have been strange and mysterious books, sometimes even the author wasn't known. This one, I believe, was the strangest of them all!

The Rohonc Codex

One of the most mysterious books in existence today is a work known as the Rohonczi Codex, commonly spelled Rohonc Codex. Not only do we not know what it says, we also have no idea where it comes from. In the early 19th century, the manuscript was donated to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in the city of Rohonc, but that’s where the trail tapers off.

One of the reasons the Rohonc Codex has remained undecyphered for so long is its apparent alphabet. Most alphabets have somewhere between 20 and 40 characters, making it relatively easy to start replacing coded symbols with letters. The Rohonc Codex has nearly 200 separate symbols in its 448 pages, and no matter how many scholars take a crack at it, nobody can agree on a translation, let alone a general geographic area where it might have been written. Guesses range from Hungary to Romania to India.

It’s such an impressive code that scholars in the 19th century concluded that it had to be a hoax, although these days it’s believed to be genuine. If you want to take a crack at it, you can access all the pages online.

You have to wonder why someone would spend so much time and energy writing a book such as this if they didn't want to have it read. At least, it makes me wonder! Part of the whole mystery to me is the fact that no one can even tell where the darn thing came from. How bizarre is that?

Coffee outside again this morning! I'll share our sunshine!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Warm And Sunny Sunday 'Toons...!

I don't want to make our northern friends mad, but we are having a nice touch of Spring here in Houston.80 or so for the highs and that is a good thing!

Of course, come July I'll be wishing I was up north in the cooler temps! Guess we can never have it both ways, right? Anyway, I hope these 'toons help to ward off the Winter blahs.

Do you think I should do away with thew Sunday cartoons? I could find something else to blog about on Sunday, if ya want.

Some of the really old cartoons are actually better done than some of the newer ones, IMHO!

OK! Enough of the 'toons. I know a lot of you have better things to attend to, right? Me? I'm gonna read another book! After all, it's Sunday, and I'm retired!

Coffee out on the patio again. Pumpkin pie anyone?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Yes, They Do Vote And Procreate...!

We are all aware that there are some folks out in the world that could be called stupid...dangerously stupid!

I think this list of some of these folks (sent to me by Baby Sis ) shows you what I mean! These are real news stories, and that scares me more than a little!

Top 8 Morons Of 2013.


AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. He received a $26 million severance package.

Perhaps it's not Walter who's lacking intelligence.


Police in Oakland, CA spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home.

After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them in the police line, shouting, 'Please come out and give yourself up.'


An Illinois man, pretending to have a gun, kidnapped a motorist and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines, wherein the kidnapper proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts.


A man walked into a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Stop and asked for all the money in the cash drawer.

Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.

5. *DID I SAY THAT???*

Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words: 'Give me all your money or I'll shoot', the man shouted, "That's not what I said!"


A man spoke frantically into the phone: 'My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart'.

'Is this her first child?' the doctor asked. 'No!' the man shouted, 'This is her husband!'


In Modesto ,CA, Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun. Unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket. (hellooooooo)!


Last summer, down on Lake Isabella, located in the high desert, an hour east of Bakersfield, CA, some folks, new to boating, were having a problem. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn't get their brand new 22 foot boat, going.

It was very sluggish in almost every maneuver, no matter how much power they applied. After about an hour of trying to make it go, they putted into a nearby marina, thinking someone there may be able to tell them what was wrong.

A thorough topside check revealed everything in perfect working condition. The engine ran fine, the out-drive went up and down, and the propeller was the correct size and pitch.

So, one of the marina guys jumped in the water to check underneath. He came up choking on water, he was laughing so hard.

*Now remember these are all true stories*

Under the boat, still strapped securely in place, was the trailer!

Yes, my friends, it can be a weird and dangerous place out there! Almost makes you want to stay home, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Shortbread cookies to share!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Let's Talk Spies...!

Usually when you think about spies, you think in terms of cloak and dagger, right?

Some very famous and well known people were spies and everyone seemed to know it. Still, they remained prosperous and successful both during and after the war! Makes you ask the logical question...WHY?

Coco Chanel Was A Nazi Spy And Recruiter
By Debra Kelly on Thursday, March 27, 2014

Even if you’re not familiar with the world of fashion, Coco Chanel is going to be one of the names that you recognize. She’s the one with the perfume—Chanel No. 5—which has its own weird wartime history (agents were sent by shareholders in her company into German-occupied territory to make sure the recipe for the perfume wasn’t acquired by the Third Reich), and she’s also the one that’s credited with inventing the idea of the little black dress. She was also a fanatical anti-Semite and a Nazi collaborator.

It’s long been known that Chanel was not only living in Paris during World War II, but that she had taken Nazi officer Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage as her lover. At the same time, this not only put her in close contact with other, more notorious Nazi names like Goebbels and Goering, but it also gave her the freedom to travel through Nazi-occupied Europe as she liked.

For a long time, it was thought that it was no more than that—perhaps an affair of convenience at best. But more documents have surfaced, including a record of her code name—Westminster. She also had an Abwehr designation—F-7124. Her German lover, who was a well-documented and highly successful German spy, was F-8680 and reported directly to Goebbels.

They traveled together across France, recruiting others to the cause. She was also often in the company of fellow Frenchman and German agent Baron Louis de Vaufreland; on the surface, she was simply his traveling companion. In actuality, they were scouting for others that could be turned into informants and agents.

One thing Chanel was certainly never shy about was her anti-Semite bias, in spite of the fact that many of her clients were Jewish. In the 1930s, she spent some time in Hollywood, during which it was well documented that great lengths were gone to in order to keep people of the Jewish faith away from her. It was also well documented that she couldn’t wait to get back to mingling with the upper echelons of British nobility, as she firmly believed they were so much more her class of person.

Previously, references to her Nazi involvement have been toned down to imply that she simply co-existed alongside them for her own survival. That’s a harder thing to claim with the emergence of new documents, however, but it’s not entirely surprising that just how deep her involvement with the Nazi party was got covered up pretty neatly.

(It’s said that she even paid off the families of former Nazi officers to keep her name out of their memoirs, journals, and other published materials.)

At the end of the war, she did a good bit of covering up her involvement herself. She informed on those that had previously been her collaborators, including de Vaufreland. It wasn’t long after the war that she had already gone a long way in re-establishing her fashion empire, backed by plenty of money and plenty of big names.

She was a French icon and in the years after the war, an icon was needed. What she did during the war didn’t matter so much.

It never fails to amaze me at how many evil people get away with the things they do. Instead of being treated like the scum they were, they became icons in their country! Countries that they betrayed! America did the same thing with some of their "icons." Don't believe me? Look into the association of Charles Linberg and the Nazi Party! Oh, and don't forget the forgiveness we gave to Wernher Von Braun, inventor of the V rockets used to rain death on London and the rest of England! He was basically the father of our space program! So it goes!

Coffee out on the patio. Looking at a high of 82 today!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How About The Dummy Mummy...?

None of us like to admit being fooled, but I reckon it happens to all of us at some point.

Here is a case of a lot of folks being fooled by a fake for a very long time. You would think that would be embarrassing for many people, but it appears that wasn't the case!

The Paper-Mache Mummy That Fooled Everyone
By Debra Kelly on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In the early 1920s, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History was the recipient of a generous donation of artifacts, including what was said to be an authentic Egyptian mummy. It was displayed as such for decades, until a medical student asked for permission to examine it more closely for a university project. He found it was actually made of paper-mache and some animal bones stuck on a wooden frame.

There are a lot of archaeological fakes out there, and countless art forgeries. Many are done to exacting detail, taking skill and research to pull off the sale of such a forgery. But the mummy that still resides at the Old Capitol Museum in Mississippi . . . that’s another story.

Sometime in the early 1920s, the museum was given what they must have thought was a priceless artifact. It was said to be an authentic Egyptian mummy, a tiny figure, probably a child. It went on display at the museum for decades, until 1967.

That was when a medical student named Gentry Yeatman petitioned the museum, asking to borrow its most prized possession for a university research project. His request was granted, and the mummy underwent closer scrutiny.

The first telling sign that something wasn’t quite right with the so-called mummy was the shreds of newspaper that were peeling from its back. The students went on to X-ray the mummy and found that it was, indeed, constructed on a wooden frame, held together with nails, and covered with paper-mache. Her “organs” were made of nails and clumps of newspaper; some of the newspaper was written in German, some pages bore dates from 1898. Those were the only real clues as to just where the mummy had come from and who had actually made it, something that’s a mystery even today.

Surprisingly, the mummy—renamed the Dummy Mummy—kept her place at the museum. Instead of being on display as a prized possession, she’s now in storage for most of the year. But once a year she is brought out and returned to her place as a display piece every October to celebrate the State Fair.

For decades, going to see the mummy was a big deal. She was important, she was special, and just where she came from didn’t matter to the people who saw her. Some nearby residents would go every Sunday to visit the mummy, and now, her displays are a reminder of those days.

During those decades that she held a place of honor in the collection, Mississippi residents remember the excitement of going to see such a piece of history, the thrill of having something ancient that was all their own. Authentic mummy or dummy stitched together from newspapers and boards, there was apparently always something powerful about the so-called artifact.

The idea of fake mummies fooling museum experts isn’t a new one, and it certainly has stopped today. As recently as 2002, X-rays have been used to discover forgeries at the Rosicrucian Museum in California when researchers discovered their baboon mummy wasn’t so much a mummy as it was a vase wrapped in bandages.

And in fact, at the turn of the 20th century (about the time the Dummy Mummy was thought to have been made), there were companies that would create authentic-looking fakes called gaffs. These gaffs were designed to fool the public in carnivals, sideshows, and traveling museums. The construction of many of these creatures could be convincingly real, and some of the best-known examples were on display at P.T. Barnum’s American Museum.

Hey, it's nice to know that folks can still be amused with the "not-so-real", as long as they realize that fakes are still matter how realistic they seem to be!

Coffee out on the patio again today. Slight breeze blowing, but it's pleasant enough!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Arizona Ranger Mossman On Western Wednesday...!

Most of the time when the Rangers are mentioned, Texas Rangers come to mind. However, the Arizona Rangers were pretty handy as well!

In areas such as Texas and Arizona where cattle could outnumber people, the Rangers often became the sole agents for law and order. With the help of folks like Burton Mossman, the cattle rustlers and bandits often lost out.

Apr 30, 1867:
Arizona Ranger Burton Mossman is born

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds to me that this ol' boy had the savvy and know-how to do whatever it took to win the day. He must have been quite the business man as well! This was the type of individual that helped make the west what it is today. It might just be that he helped create a few legends while he was at it, ya think?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. How about some fresh cantaloupe to go along with the coffee?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Some Great Old Quotes...!

I found some old quotes from Ronald Reagan that I thought I would share this morning!

I know most of you have heard these before, but many of them bear some repeating, in my opinion. Say what you want about the man, but he was a very good orator, if you ask me!

Ronald Reagan Quotes

1. A people free to choose will always choose peace.

2. Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.

3. Democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.

4. Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

5. How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

6. Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.

7. It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.

8. We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.

9. I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.

10. There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit. 

11. We in government should learn to look at our country with the eyes of the entrepreneur, seeing possibilities where others see only problems

12. A leader, once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to stick with it and be undaunted when the going gets rough.

13. In America, our origins matter less than our destination, and that is what democracy is all about.

14. The work of volunteer groups throughout our country represents the very heart and soul of America. They have helped make this the most compassionate, generous, and humane society that ever existed on the face of this earth.

15. The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest.

16. The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

17. Coercion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him.

18. The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

19. I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I’m in a cabinet meeting.

20. My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes. [Said during a radio microphone test in 1984]

In my opinion, the man had a great sense of humor. I would much rather listen to a Reagan speech back in his day than I would listen to any present day politician, and that's the truth!

Coffee out on the patio again today! Ain't life grand?

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Mystery Of Witch Bottles...!

I don't really know if this qualifies as a good Monday mystery or not, but it sure is interesting!

Evidently these things were not that uncommon back in the "old days", but I don't think I ever heard of them before. Just when I get to thinking I know a lot of stuff, I find an article like this that proves me wrong! Guess the biggest mystery about this practice is how it ever got started in the first place!

The Weird History Of Witch Bottles
By Debra Kelly on Saturday, March 22, 2014

Witchcraft was thought to be a rampant practice in the 16th and 17th centuries throughout England and America, but fortunately, those that didn’t necessarily practice it weren’t entirely powerless against it. Witch bottles were designed to combat evil spells, either turning them back on the caster or protecting someone against being targeted by one in the first place. They were a very personal thing, and often contained human tissues and bodily secretions.

For centuries, belief in the powers of witchcraft was a very real and very frightening thing. Those who didn’t necessarily practice witchcraft but thought themselves a victim of it weren’t absolutely powerless, though: Enter the witch bottle.

Witch bottles have been found in both England and the United States, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. On their own, they’re pretty strange things that might have had archaeologists scratching their heads if not for records specifying just what they were and what they were used for.

Witchcraft wasn’t just a fringe belief, it was a real, honest-to-goodness threat. Court records from the Old Bailey in London record advice given to a man who thought his wife had garnered the not-so-pleasant attention of a witch. According to an apothecary, the remedy for her affliction was to make an anti-witchcraft potion. The ingredients? Her urine, some nail clippings, and some of her hair, combined and boiled.

Boiling was a traditional method of preparing a potion that would turn a witch’s spell back at her, a belief that was carried from England to America. Even in the colonies, witchcraft was such as serious problem there was a variety of anti-witchcraft legislation that was drawn up as official guidelines as to what to do when there was suspected witchcraft. So it’s not strange that the everyman would be taking such precautions.

Witch bottles found in Pennsylvania are similarly constructed to ones that have been found in England, dating to about the same time period. One, buried upside-down near the foundation of a house, was filled with bird bones, a shard of pottery, and six pins. (Six is a number traditionally associated with the ability to combat the effects of witchcraft, often seen in the traditional hex signs.)

More bottles have been uncovered in England, and their contents seem to vary—most likely based on what kind of spell the creator thought had been cast on them. Urine was a common component, as those who had bladder or urinary trouble often thought that boiling their own urine, bottling it and burying the bottle would transfer the problems to the caster. Throwing in the pins and nails was done to curse the witch even further, as it was thought that it would cause even greater grief.

Other bottles have contained things like brimstone (sulfur), pins, nails, and even belly button lint. In some bottles, the pins are just put in loose, but in others, they’re carefully arranged in felt or cloth hearts. The inclusion of sulfur was thought to be particularly damning to the witch, and was reserved for those that the afflicted wanted not just gone, but dead.

Some of the contents of witch bottles can be difficult to determine, because years of sitting in urine can degrade many items. Some of the bottles found have been pottery or stoneware, more rarely glass.

In addition to returning spells back onto their caster, witch bottles were also often buried near foundations for houses as they were being constructed to ward off potentially cast bad spells. Typically placed beneath hearths and in doorways, they were always buried upside-down. Others were carried as amulets meant to ward off disease and illness.

Now I don't want to get down on anyone who might believe in this sort of practice, but...really? Burying one of these to ward off witches and curses? Wow! Like the line in the television shows goes "Kids,don't try this at home?"

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's slightly chilly, but that's alright!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mixed Up 'Toons For Sunday...!

The 'toons for today are all over the place! Not all of one kind like usual!

Don't want anyone to get bored looking at the same ones over and over, ya know? So here we go!

As you can tell, this was early in Popeye's career!

Can you believe that this cartoon was banned at one time? Strange, huh?

Bet you haven't seen that one in a while! Heck, me neither!

Bet you haven't seen Gumby in a long time either! He was never real popular, I'm thinking! He did have his own television show for a while though.

Let's have our coffee out on the patio this morning. Peach cobble to share today!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

How About The Bellamy Salute...?

Did you know the original Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist? Pretty strange, huh?

The strangest part of the original pledge was the salute. That's what this article from KnowledgeNuts is all about. Makes for an interesting read!

What The American Flag Salute Once Looked Like
By Debra Kelly on Thursday, March 20, 2014

It was called the Bellamy Salute, after the Socialist Baptist minister who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. Originally, there was no right and wrong way to salute the American flag while reciting the declaration of loyalty every schoolchild knows by heart. When Congress met after World War I to standardize the salute that would be performed before the flag, they settled on one in which the pledge would be started by the person with their hand on their heart, and halfway through they would extend their arm, palm up, in a gesture of respect. Until, that is, Hitler decided to use almost the exact same thing.

Take a look at some old photos from the 1920s and 1930s like the one above. You’ll see typical schoolchildren reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. But you’ll also probably need to look twice, because to us, they’re making a gesture that can’t possibly be right. Can it?

It is, only they’re doing something called the Bellamy Salute. Named after the man who penned the Pledge of Allegiance, the gesture is eerily reminiscent of one that would be made infamous in an entirely different context during the 1940s when the Third Reich swept through Europe. And in fact, that’s why we just stick with putting our hand over our heart today.

Every school-age child in America knows the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s recited every morning when students stand and place their right hands over their hearts in a solemn gesture of respect.

It wasn’t always like that, though. The pledge has undergone several transformations, keeping the same basic idea but changing the wording. (Oddly, the words that today are so controversial—“under God”—didn’t appear in the pledge until they were added in 1954.) And so has the salute.

The pledge was written in 1892 and first appeared in the September 8th issue of a magazine called Youth’s Companion. It was a huge success. Along with the words, most people stood and saluted the flag as well, some with a military salute, some with their hand on their heart, some with a version in between. On the heels of World War I, it was decided that the salute needed to be standardized. So they went with a version they called the Bellamy Salute. It should look a little familiar.

Along with the text of the pledge, Youth’s Companion also published instructions on how the flag was supposed to be saluted, and it was this that was made standard practice. Following cues from a teacher or other authority figure, everyone was to stand and turn toward the flag. The start of the pledge was recited with hand over heart. At the mention of the flag, though, the right arm was extended straight out, hand in the air, palm upwards.

Indeed. The only difference between the Bellamy Salute and that one that countless Third Reich soldiers would give Hitler is that their hands would be palm down.

(There were different pledge guidelines for adults, who were merely instructed to stand at the reciting of the pledge. Military personnel were always encouraged to give the standard military salute.)

Not surprisingly, the similarities between the salutes made many Americans uncomfortable by the time World War II was in full force. So much so that FDR changed the salute to skip the whole “extended arm salute” part and Americans just kept their hand on their heart from then on. That wasn’t without a fight, though. The Daughters of the American Revolution and the United States Flag Association both petitioned the government to keep the original, extended arm salute, even as the war progressed. It wasn’t actually changed until December 1942, although protests over the similarities between the American and German salutes began as early as 1935.

Did you already know this? I didn't. How strange is it that the Nazi salute and the Bellamy Salute were so similar? Guess it's good that we decided to change ours. I like the hand over the heart best of all anyway!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Slow And Steady Wins The Race...!

I know that we have all heard the story of the tortoise and the hare and their famous race!

This is a story about an older gentleman that ran a race like the fabled one, but did so in real life! I think you'll find it interesting, to say the least! Thanks to the folks over at KnowledgeNuts for sharing this article!

The Amazing Real-Life Version Of The Tortoise And The Hare
By Himanshu Sharma on Thursday, March 20, 2014

The story of the tortoise and the hare is a well-known children’s tale that aims to teach the importance of steadiness over speed. While it makes sense in theory and might even have been true in ancient times, it doesn’t necessarily hold true in today’s world. One notable exception is the case of Cliff Young, who went on to win a race the exact same way as the tortoise in the tale, with his competitors even sleeping midway to let him take over.

The story of the steady tortoise winning against the fast hare shows up in many cultures in the same form. The hare challenges the tortoise to a race, overestimates his own abilities and decides to sleep midway, and is eventually defeated by the tortoise who slowly but determinedly keeps at it till the end. It’s aimed at telling the young ones the importance of steadiness over speed, though growing up makes one realize that speed actually does make a difference in the competitive world. Except there is at least one person who has proven the tale right, and in almost the same conditions as the classic tortoise and hare.

From 1983–1991, an Australian race called the Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon, a journey undertaken by professional athletes because it covered a distance of more than 800 kilometers (500 mi). Cliff was a 61-year-old potato farmer who had no prior experience as an athlete and was laughed at when he first showed up at the venue to take part in the race of 1983. He didn’t have any professional gear to complete the thing, let alone win it, and was quickly left behind by faster athletes on the first day of the race itself. What he wasn’t aware of was that the race included scheduled stops for sleep, and while the rest of the athletes took their breaks according to schedule, Cliff nudged on into the night.

You probably know exactly where this is going.

Cliff eventually took over the athletes and maintained his lead for the rest of the marathon, going on to winning it. He entered the race as a nobody and finished it a national hero. He had told the press before the race that he was used to the kind of extended running the ultramarathon demanded, as he had to stay out for days fetching sheep at his farm. He just thought of the race as just another day chasing sheep while at the same time trying to outrun a storm, which enabled him to carry on without any considerable rest throughout the race.

Australia was so impressed by the feat that a race was named for him, the Cliff Young Australian Six-Day Race, among plenty of other things. He remains an inspiration for athletes to this day, and even set the world age record for completing a six-day race held in Victoria in 2000. While the tortoise and hare story just makes sense as a children’s fairy tale to most of us, Cliff Young was the guy who proved, once and for all, that slow and steady might actually win in some grown-up cases as well.

Sort of inspires you just a little, doesn't it? Here is a man that believes he can not only compete in a race that he isn't even qualified for in the eyes of the officials, but that he can win it! Instead of listening to all the nay-sayers, he listens to his own heart. He did what he felt was right and acted accordingly. Sometimes it pays to keep your own counsel, doesn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning! Warm temps and sunshine await!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Dead Man's Hole In Texas...!

This is the kind of place where many urban legends could grow. Probably have, come to think about it!

More than likely, somewhere in every state there is something akin to this. At least it seems to me that's the case! I'll bet that the older folks in the family could tell some strange tales about landmarks like this one.

Dead Man’s Hole
Photo credit: Nicolas Henderson

Dead Man’s Hole was discovered in Texas in 1821. Its other name is Devil’s Well—so it’s obvious that it hasn’t had a pleasant history. The sinkhole earned its reputation during the American Civil War, when Confederate gangs used the hole as a dumping ground for those with Unionist sympathies. The bones of at least 17 people have been found piled at the bottom of the sinkhole.

One particularly creepy feature of the hole is an oak tree growing beside it, with a strong limb stretched directly over the hole. Those destined to die would be hanged from the oak. Then, the rope would be cut and they would plummet to the bottom of the 47-meter (155 ft) drop. On the off chance that anyone survived both of those things, the hole was full of poisonous gas that would finish the job. It’s because of the gas that the sinkhole wasn’t fully explored until 1951, when breathing equipment became more readily available.

Today, the hole is covered, and a plaque commemorates the men known to have ended up there. Among those men were a pro-Union judge and several Union officials. Another victim was a man named Ben McKeever, who killed a former slave when his horse was bitten by the man’s dog. McKeever was ambushed by his victim’s friends and thrown down the hole. Unsurprisingly, its gory past has led to stories of people seeing and hearing ghosts in the area.

Ya know, maybe we should organize a road trip to all get together and search out some of these places! Might make for an interesting way to spend some time in the summer! Just think of all the stories we would have to tell around the campfire!

Coffee out on the patio again. Want some cinnamon sugar toast?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wells Fargo On Western Wednesday...!

Not many names inspire images of the Old West as does the name of Wells Fargo.

The name alone brings forth thoughts and mind pictures of stage coaches and men riding shotgun, at least it does for me! The company was started at a time when dependable transportation for freight and people was sorely needed. The fact that it is still alive today in the form of banking institutions says a lot, if you ask me!

Mar 18, 1852:
Wells and Fargo start shipping and banking company

On this day in 1852, in New York City, Henry Wells and William G. Fargo join with several other investors to launch their namesake business.

The discovery of gold in California in 1849 prompted a huge spike in the demand for cross-country shipping. Wells and Fargo decided to take advantage of these great opportunities. In July 1852, their company shipped its first loads of freight from the East Coast to mining camps scattered around northern California. The company contracted with independent stagecoach companies to provide the fastest possible transportation and delivery of gold dust, important documents and other valuable freight. It also served as a bank--buying gold dust, selling paper bank drafts and providing loans to help fuel California's growing economy.

In 1857, Wells, Fargo and Co. formed the Overland Mail Company, known as the "Butterfield Line," which provided regular mail and passenger service along an ever-growing number of routes. In the boom-and-bust economy of the 1850s, the company earned a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable business, and its logo--the classic stagecoach--became famous. For a premium price, Wells, Fargo and Co. would send an employee on horseback to deliver or pick up a message or package.

Wells, Fargo and Co. merged with several other "Pony Express" and stagecoach lines in 1866 to become the unrivaled leader in transportation in the West. When the transcontinental railroad was completed three years later, the company began using railroad to transport its freight. By 1910, its shipping network connected 6,000 locations, from the urban centers of the East and the farming towns of the Midwest to the ranching and mining centers of Texas and California and the lumber mills of the Pacific Northwest.

After splitting from the freight business in 1905, the banking branch of the company merged with the Nevada National Bank and established new headquarters in San Francisco. During World War I, the U.S. government nationalized the company's shipping routes and combined them with the railroads into the American Railway Express, effectively putting an end to Wells, Fargo and Co. as a transportation and delivery business. The following April, the banking headquarters was destroyed in a major earthquake, but the vaults remained intact and the bank's business continued to grow. After two later mergers, the Wells Fargo Bank American Trust Company--shortened to the Wells Fargo Bank in 1962--became, and has remained, one of the biggest banking institutions in the United States.

By the way, the term "riding shotgun" was derived from the fact that most of the guards on the early stage coaches were armed with shotguns. Normally these armed guards rode next to the driver on top of the coach. In fact, the Ithica Firearms Company came out with a special "Wells Fargo" edition of their shotgun to celebrate the companies part in this endeavor. These guns bearing the Wells Fargo mark are highly sought after as collector pieces.

Another day of coffee out on the patio. I reckon that most folks won't mind that too much! I have some peach pie I'll share!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How About Those Elephants...?

I don't often have a post about the common type animal, but today we'll make an exception.

Everyone knows the elephant, but how much do we really know about this critter? Turns out that we are finding out new information almost daily, and some of it may surprise you!

Elephants Know A Scary Amount Of Information About You
By Nolan Moore on Sunday, March 16, 2014

Elephants are pretty insightful animals. In 2009, researchers discovered these long-trunked critters can distinguish between various people groups thanks to their keen sense of smell. And earlier this month, scientists realized elephants can actually identify human age, gender, and ethnicity simply by listening to our conversations.

Every so often, new research comes along that confirms what everyone already knows—that elephants are awesome. These brainy pachyderms are some of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. They can understand human gestures, mimic human speech, and, assuming Walt Disney is right, can even fly. However, two new studies have recently revealed that elephants are even smarter than we imagined.

In 2009, scientists from the University of St. Andrews ran a quirky experiment involving human clothing. Researchers placed three garments near African elephant families and watched how the creatures reacted. When the animals smelled clean, odor-free shirts, they went about their business and were totally relaxed. When the elephants smelled clothing belonging to Kamba farmers, they perked up a bit, suspecting humans were nearby. However, every single time the elephants smelled Maasai robes, they took off in terror, bolting for the elephant grass.

The reason for their fear is pretty simple. The Kamba people tend to avoid serious conflict with elephants, but it’s a different story with the Maasai. These guys are ranchers, and occasionally, elephants accidentally kill their cattle. They’re also constantly battling over watering holes and grazing land. From time to time, the Maasai arm themselves with spears and make a dent in the local elephant population. Thanks to government compensation for lost livestock, these killings are starting to drop, but elephants still associate the Maasai with death whenever they smell their distinct odor or spot their trademark red robes.

However, earlier this month, scientists from the University of Sussex made an even crazier discovery. Evidently, elephants can identify the Kaamba and the Maasai based on language alone. Using a speaker, researchers played recordings of various tribesmen saying, “Look, look over there, a group of elephants is coming.” Just like the clothing test, elephants weren’t too worried when they heard Kaamba voices, but they went into panic mode when they heard clips of the Maasai language.

The scientists were also shocked to find elephants could differentiate between men, women, and children. When zoologists played recordings of Maasai boys and women, the elephants remained calm. That’s probably because females and children aren’t the hunters. But when they heard sound bites of Maasai men, the elephants formed protective circles and readied themselves for an attack. They actually knew which humans were more likely to lob spears their way.

Wondering if they could maybe fool the elephants, scientists adjusted the pitch of the voices, causing the men and women to sound alike . . . well, to human ears anyway. As for the elephants, they weren’t fooled for a minute. Even though the voices were lighter, the animals could still tell the difference between men and women. How? Scientists are still working on that. What they do know is elephants are extremely social creatures that live long lives and share their knowledge with their kiddos. And if an old-timer has had a bad brush with a Maasai hunter, she’ll warn the whippersnappers to stay away from those red-garbed ranchers. The fear is passed on from generation to generation because, after all, elephants never forget.

Turns out that not only are these guys are not only beautiful, but extremely smart as well. I don't know about you, but this information gives me a lot more respect for the true King of beast!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I need some sun, ya know?

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Jet Pack Mystery For Monday...!

Now here is a modern day mystery for ya. We don't get too many of those anymore!

This one is different in the fact that even though the players are identified, the pack itself is still missing. I have to say that this is one of the most interesting mysteries we have looked at in a long time! It comes to us from the folks over at KnowledgeNuts!

The Murderous Mystery Of The Disappearing Jet Pack
By Alan Boyle on Sunday, March 16, 2014

As part of the celebration of the Houston Rockets winning the 1995 NBA championship, test pilot Bill Suitor flew a jet pack from a barge to the shore in the Houston Ship Channel. That was the only public flight of the Rocket Belt 2000. The belt was in the possession of Brad Barker. But two of the original investors, Larry Stanley and Joe Wright, had fallen out with Barker and wanted the belt back. They sued, but days before the case went to court Wright was beaten to death on his doorstep. Barker was the prime suspect, but there wasn’t enough evidence to charge anyone. A judge found in Stanley’s favor, but Barker refused to reveal the jet pack’s whereabouts. So Stanley took Barker hostage and locked him in a small box for eight days, and threatened to drown him. Barker escaped, Stanley was jailed, and the whereabouts of the RB-2000 remain unknown.

The idea of a jet pack first came to life under NASA in the 1960s. They created what they called a Rocket Belt, but it only flew for 20 seconds. However, in 1992 insurance salesman and jet pack visionary Brad Barker set up American Rocket Belt Corporation. With funding from his partner Larry Stanley, and space provided by a man named Joe Wright, they set about trying to recreate and improve NASA’s invention.

They had a prototype by 1994, and they called it the Rocket Belt 2000. It flew for 10 seconds longer than NASA’s model, partially because it was lighter. The world was their oyster, or so they thought. But they were their own undoing.

Wright had a meth addiction, and his business selling car stereos was suffering the expected results. Stanley thought Barker was stealing money, and their arguments became violent. By the end of the year, Barker ran off with the RB-2000 and cut off all contact with the other two men. Stanley didn’t see the belt again until the following year when it appeared on TV being flown in Texas.

Stanley decided he wanted his investment back. He got in contact with Wright, and the two of them filed a suit to get the RB-2000 back from Barker. However, 11 days before the trial was due to go ahead, someone turned up at Wright’s house and beat him to death so severely that he was “unrecognizable as a man or woman from the waist up.”

Barker was arrested for the murder but was released without charge due to a lack of evidence. The civil suit went ahead anyway, and a judge ruled that Barker should give Stanley the rocket belt and $10 million in compensation. Barker didn’t, instead fleeing once more. He did eventually go to jail on unrelated commercial burglary crimes, but it was after his release that things got odd.

Stanley’s state of mind hadn’t held up well over the years, and he had reached a point that he was willing to do anything to get the belt back. He hired a Hollywood stuntman to pretend to have a job offer for Barker, and lure him to Los Angeles. It was there that Stanley took his former business partner hostage.

Barker was put in a box for eight days. Stanley told him he was going to put it underwater, and he drilled holes in it. He told Barker that the more holes, the faster it would sink, so Barker had better reveal where the belt was. Barker eventually escaped by slipping out of his bonds and climbing through a window, though he was severely starved and dehydrated. He lost 10 kilograms (23 lb) in captivity. Stanley was arrested and sentenced to life in prison alongside his kidnapping accomplice, though his sentence was later reduced to eight years.

As of today, no one has been charged with Joe Wright’s murder, and the whereabouts of the RB-2000 is unknown.

See? I told ya this one was different! It's kinda cool, except for the fact that someone got killed along the way! If you want, you can watch the flight of the jet pack right here!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Still just a tad cool outside, but it's nice and toasty inside!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Already Sunday Again...!

It's getting harder and harder for me to keep up with the days of the week, ya know?

Of course, some folks are waiting for 'toons like we do every Sunday, so I rustled some up. I don't know if anyone remembers this little guy or not, but here he is!

Probably not very politically correct, but still worth watching.

I don't know, but I think I like Tom and Jerry a little better!

Did you know that at one time Pat Boone actually had a big hit with a song about this Speedy Gonzales? It's true!

Now if that doesn't take you back a few years I don't know what will! Guess that some of us can actually remember when Pat was that young. Man, that was a long time ago! Sure does show how much the music has changed!

Coffee out on the patio sound OK this morning? Think of it as an adventure!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Consider The Count Of Saint Germain...!

Now this guy was a mysterious fellow if ever there was one! Maybe I should say "is a mysterious fellow!"

Here is a man that there are so many stories about that no one can agree on anything about him. Most all accounts of him are different, so getting an accurate read of him seems to be out of the question.

One of the strangest figures in history is The Count of Saint Germain. This man’s origins were never truly known. He was believed by many to be immortal and didn’t appear to age or eat. While some believe him to have died, others say he disappeared just as mysteriously, and some people still claim sightings of the alleged ageless man to this day.

After being forcibly removed from England for alleged spying, the count appeared in France in the mid-1700s in the court of King Louis the XV and soon became a frequent and much-loved guest. However, it quickly became clear that this man was much more than first met the eye. He was said to be a master of pretty much any language you threw at him, from Arabic to Chinese, German to Sanskrit, and everything in between. He was said to also be incredibly skilled at the arts: He was a violinist and was said to have written a great many works. Many people were greatly intrigued by this young man of impeccably good manners, whose origins were completely shrouded in mystery. Legend says that the count was particularly reticent about discussing his origins and once said that he was 500 years old, in what people at the time thought was an attempt to deflect discussion elsewhere.

Others of course, had far different theories. For you see, the count was also insanely rich. He would carry bags of jewels with him and never seemed to be wanting for money, but no one could tell for sure where he got his money from or how. He was said to never take any food in public whatsoever and was said to never wear any colors but black or white. Some accounts say that he formed the Freemasons, or was one himself, while others connect him to the Rosicrucians and he was said to study all sorts of occult practices including Alchemy and teachings of Kabbalah. This led many people to speculate that he may have learned how to create an actual, functioning philosopher’s stone and thus have all the money and youth he could ever want. As recently as the 1900s, people have claimed to still sight the count and many claim he never truly died. Part of the legend is down to the fact that some records state that he died in 1784, but others state that is impossible because he was doing ambassadorial work for the French Masons a year later.

There is of course, one other strange theory regarding the count. Some people may have heard of the legend of the wandering Jew. The old legend states that a Jew saw Jesus on the way to be executed and made fun of him, setting off a terrible punishment for his crime. To make sure this insulting individual got his just desserts, Jesus supposedly made him wander around the earth without dying until he returns to sit on his throne of judgment. According to some theories, the Count of Saint Germain is this wandering Jew. Those who subscribe to this theory point out that he only wore black and white, never appeared to require food, and had a strong knowledge of ancient language. While many of these theories may sound fanciful, it is certainly a mystery as to where this man came from and how he came to exert such influence on his surroundings.

You have to wonder, given all the different accounts of him, if there weren't a kernel of truth hidden somewhere in the stories.Inquiring minds do want to know!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen today. The weather guy is calling for showers again.

Friday, March 14, 2014

History Of The Internet...!

Considering that all of us are using the internet right now, you would think that most of us know all about it, right?

Actually, the answer is a lot more involved than you would think! In fact, the idea for a world wide wireless network goes back many, many years. This article from can tell you just how this whole thing got started!

Who invented the internet?

As you might expect for a technology so expansive and ever-changing, it is impossible to credit the invention of the Internet to a single person. The Internet was the work of dozens of pioneering scientists, programmers and engineers who each developed new features and technologies that eventually merged to become the “information superhighway” we know today.

Long before the technology existed to actually build the Internet, many scientists had already anticipated the existence of worldwide networks of information. Nikola Tesla toyed with the idea of a “world wireless system” in the early 1900s, and visionary thinkers like Paul Otlet and Vannevar Bush conceived of mechanized, searchable storage systems of books and media in the 1930s and 1940s. Still, the first practical schematics for the Internet would not arrive until the early 1960s, when MIT’s J.C.R. Licklider popularized the idea of an “Intergalactic Network” of computers. Shortly thereafter, computer scientists developed the concept of “packet switching,” a method for effectively transmitting electronic data that would later become one of the major building blocks of the Internet.

The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network. The technology continued to grow in the 1970s after scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, a communications model that set standards for how data could be transmitted between multiple networks. ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983, and from there researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet. The online world then took on a more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. While it’s often confused with the Internet itself, the web is actually just the most common means of accessing data online in the form of websites and hyperlinks. The web helped popularize the Internet among the public, and served as a crucial step in developing the vast trove of information that most of us now access on a daily basis.

Hard to believe that the tool we call the Internet is so new, even though the idea has been around for so long! It kinda makes you wonder what else we may be on the verge of discovering, doesn't it?

Coffee out on the patio again. Anyone care for some sugar cinnamon donuts?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oxymorons For Thursday...!

Baby Sis sent me this a few days ago and I'm thing that you might enjoy them. OK?

1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

2. Why is the third hand On the watch Called the second hand?

3. If a word is misspelled In the dictionary, How would we ever know?

4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, Where did he find the words?

5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

6. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?

7.. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" Mean the same thing?

8. Why do "tug" boats push their barges?

9. Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game" When we are already there?

10. Why are they called " stands" When they are made for sitting?

11. Why is it called "after dark" When it really is "after light"?

12.. Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" Make the unexpected expected?

13.. Why are a "wise man" and A "wise guy" opposites?

14. Why do "overlook" and "oversee" Mean opposite things?

15. Why is "phonics" Not spelled The way it sounds?

16. If work is so terrific, Why do they have to pay you to do it?

17.. If all the world is a stage, Where is the audience sitting?

18. If love is blind, Why is lingerie so popular?

19. If you are cross-eyed And have dyslexia, Can you read all right?

20. Why is bra singular And panties plural?
(In Australia, you buy a “pair” of bras, just like panties!)

21.. Why do you press harder On the buttons of a remote control When you know the batteries are dead?

22. Why do we put suits in garment bags And garments in a suitcase?

23. How come abbreviated Is such a long word?

24. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?

25.. Why doesn't glue Stick to the inside of the bottle?

26. Why do they call it a TV set When you only have one?

27. Christmas - What other time of the year Do you sit in front of a dead tree And eat candy out of your socks?

28. Why do we drive on a parkway And park on a driveway?
I dunno, why do we?

I may have already posted these for ya. If I did, forgive me and enjoy them again anyway! Remember, I'm getting old and feeble minded!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. Cool, but there will be sunshine!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

10 Gallon Hats On Western Wednesday...!

As far back as I can remember, I've heard the term "10 gallon hat" and just never gave a thought as to where the term came from.

Funny how the history of a name can pop up when you least expect it. Sure does come in handy for a blog post as well!

Why do we call it a 10-gallon hat?

The popular image of a cowboy would not be complete without the wide-brimmed “10-gallon hat,” yet even the most hardened cattlemen can’t agree on how the iconic headgear first got its name. The conventional explanation is that “10-gallon” refers to how much liquid could be carried inside the hat. In fact, a famous ad for the Stetson company once even depicted a cowpoke giving his weary horse a drink from the crown of his hat. While it’s certainly in keeping with the romantic conception of life in the Old West, this image is probably as much of a myth as gunfights at high noon. Not only is the name “10-gallon hat” an obvious exaggeration—even the most comically large cowboy hats could only hold a few quarts of water—carrying liquid in the crown of any hat would most likely damage it beyond repair.

Most experts argue that the name “10-gallon hat” is actually an import from south of the border. Cattle drivers and ranchers in Texas and the Southwest often crossed paths with Mexican vaqueros who sported braided hatbands—called “galóns” in Spanish—on their sombreros. A “10 galón” sombrero was a hat with a large enough crown that it could hold 10 hatbands, but American cowboys may have anglicized the word to “gallon” and started referring to their own sombrero-inspired headgear as “10-gallon hats.” Yet another linguistic theory argues that the name is a corruption of the Spanish phrase “tan galán” —roughly translated as “very gallant” or “really handsome”—which may have been used to describe the majestic image of a hat-wearing cowboy in the saddle.

Whatever its origin, the 10-gallon hat wasn’t even the preferred headgear for most people in the Wild West—top hats and bowlers were more common. The nickname didn’t enter the popular lexicon until the 1920s, when silent film stars like Tom Mix and Tim McCoy helped popularize the oversized hat in Hollywood Westerns. The 10-gallon hat went on to earn a place as a quintessential piece of the frontier wardrobe, and presidents like Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson would later use them to cultivate a rustic image while serving as commander in chief.

Just for the record, even though I live in Texas, I don't wear a western hat. Heck. I don't even own one! That's a shame really, 'cause I think I'd look good in one!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's supposed to be cool, but that's OK!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Old, Old Murder Mystery...!

What if I told you that your early ancestors were not only murderers, but maybe cannibals as well? That might be upsetting to say the least.

Some fairly recent finds shed some disturbing light on ancient times and left behind a fairly creepy mystery in the process. Check this out!

Shanidar 3
50,000 B.C.

In the Zagros Mountains of Northern Iraq, archaeologists unearthed a Neanderthal murder victim. The specimen, named “Shanidar 3,” was a 40–50 year old and died of a puncture wound to his ninth rib. After testing Paleolithic weapons on goat and pig carcasses, experts determined a lightweight throwing spear caused the damage. Neanderthals had long, heavy stabbing spears, but they did not have projectile technology.

The prime suspect: a modern human. Was it a territorial dispute? An accidental encounter with fatal consequences? Or were the modern humans hungry? Evidence has emerged that modern man cannibalized Neanderthals. Tool marks on Neanderthal jawbones from Les Rois cave in southwestern France match those on slaughtered reindeer remains from the area. Irregular groves in jaws mean one thing: Neanderthal tongues were sliced out—a Paleolithic delicacy. Traces of pollen on remains deep within the Shanidar cave suggest that Neanderthals buried flowers with their dead. In the quest for hominid world domination, who were the real savages?

Guess that the more advanced we get, the more brutal and primitive we become! That, my friends, is a scary thought! However, if you watch the news every day, it's not that hard to imagine!

Coffee inside today. It's supposed to start raining again tonight, so the patio will be wet!

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Blue Hole On Monday Mystery...!

Unlike many of the mysteries we have here at the Hermit's, this one is actually in the states and can be visited. Not that I would want to, ya know?

Seems to me that a lot of areas have a place called the "Blue Hole", but I reckon that's just coincidence or something. I do know that my hometown of Georgetown here in Texas has a place that used to go by the same name.

The Blue Hole

New Jersey’s sprawling pine barrens are a place of great mystery. One such strange site is the Blue Hole of Winslow Township. The Blue Hole is located in the midst of a dense wilderness, and is immediately peculiar. While all the other bodies of water in the area tend to be brown and murky, the water of the Hole is a crystalline blue.

Even at the height of summer, the Blue Hole is quite cold, and legends claim that it might be bottomless. There is an element of danger as well; there are reports of whirlpools and beasts dragging swimmers down into their depths, never to be seen again. People have even claimed to see the infamous Jersey Devil haunting the Blue Hole, waiting to pounce on some unsuspecting victim.

Like some of the other entries on this list, the Blue Hole is easily investigated by amateur sleuths and monster hunters; it is part of a public wildlife preserve and easily reachable on foot.

Thanks to the folks over at Listverse for letting us know about this place. I know that some of you might want to go and check it out, and if you go be sure to take your camera 'cause I want to know what you see! I ain't going, but I'll look at the pictures, OK?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. Temps are supposed to go back up into the 70s and that's fine by me!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Again...!

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that time is moving very fast now days! Maybe it's because I'm getting older. Yeah, that's probably it!

Anyway, it is Sunday and that means 'toons. Same as always, right? Every Sunday same ol' thing!

The music from Popeye 'toons gets caught in your head and sorta sticks around! Know what I mean?

We don't have Popeye on here very often. Today should be a pleasant change of pace!

I reckon Popeye isn't so bad after all. At least with him, you know who the good guys are!

OK! I reckon that's enough for today. Let's not over-do it first thing in the morning!

How about coffee out on the patio again? Good deal!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday At Mill Ends Park...!

Now this is not what you would expect to see when I mention a park. You might say that this one is really unique and has an interesting story.

This particular park has the distinction of being the world's smallest park. The story of how this all came to be is very interesting, to say the least!

Mill Ends Park

We’ve mentioned Mill Ends Park before, but this record holder for the world’s smallest park has seen drama since then, and it’s all focused around its (rather small) mystical tree.

The park in Portland, Oregon, was created on a small piece of dirt in the middle of a road that was originally intended to be home to a set of traffic lights. When the installation of the lights failed to go ahead, a local newspaper columnist named Dick Fagan began planting flowers there. It was there that he met Patrick O’Toole, a leprechaun. Fagan captured the little fellow, and according to tradition, a captured leprechaun must offer a wish.

Fagan wished for his own park, and the leprechaun granted him the small section of dirt in the road. Since that spot also happened to house a leprechaun colony, Fagan planted a small tree there to offer them shade. Later additions were made, including a miniature Ferris wheel delivered by a full-size crane.

At the beginning of March 2013, the tree was stolen from the park. The people of Portland, having pledged to take care of the city’s leprechauns, sprung into action—the tree was replaced. A spokesman from Portland Parks & Recreation department said, “We had to do what we could to ensure the leprechauns had shade.”

A week later, the original tree was returned and left lying beside its newly planted replacement. Yet despite the fact that the criminals had seen the error of their ways, the police weren’t willing to let the matter drop. “We will continue to pursue our investigation and hope that justice is served, and served swiftly,” said sergeant Pete Simpson.

Ya know, in this day and age where the news is all about murder, mayhem, and the madness of the World in general, it's nice to be able to focus on something a little more calm. Something about peace and serenity and matter how small it may be! Just maybe that means there is some tiny bit of hope for all of Mankind!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Warm temps and sunshine headed this way!

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Hair-y Tale For Friday...!

As you may know, many strange things are done in the name of religion or some mystical belief. Many times these things are done to make money.

I don't have a problem with that, as long as it doesn't cause anyone harm in some way. In fact, some money making for the cause is downright creative! Here is a case in point from India.

Temple Hair

Many places of worship rely on donations and offerings for their income. Yet there are some Indian temples that have cornered an unusual and lucrative market—selling human hair to the West. Many Hindus shave their head, as they consider giving up their hair to be an offering to Vishnu. India’s richest temple, the Venkateshwara Temple in Andhra Pradesh, takes advantage of this on an industrial scale.

In the temple there are two halls filled with barbers. They shave the hair from 12,000 pilgrims every day. That produces 75 tons of hair every year, which makes them $6.5 million. The hair is prized by many in the west, and a lot of it goes to Italian wig manufacturers. Short hair is sent to China, where the amino acid el-cystine is extracted for use as a food preservative.

I'm not sure I really want to know about the part where they extract amino acids from the hair to add as a food preservative, but other than that the whole thing seems harmless enough to me. After all, if folks want to raise money in this fashion, it's no hair off my head! (Sorry...i just couldn't help myself!)

Coffee out on the patio this morning! How about some lemon pudding cake to go with the coffee?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Some Lip Balm History...!

I can't remember even one person that I know that hasn't seen or tried the now famous "ChapStick!"

Believe it or not, there is an interesting history behind this well known product. Naturally, I figured you might find this little bit of trivia worthy of a read!


Virginia physician Charles Fleet invented lip balm in the mid-1800s, selling the first version of his product as little waxy-looking tubes wrapped in tinfoil. The product was successful, but decades of wrapping little waxy tubes in tinfoil must do something to a man, for by the early 1900s Dr. Fleet was keen to sell off his idea.

The endeavor had begun to lose money, so in 1912 Fleet sold his recipe to John Morton for the whopping sum of five bucks. Morton began mixing up batches of the stuff in his bathtub, while his wife would melt it down, cool it, and chop it into pieces in their kitchen. Apparently their heart was in the lip balm business to a greater degree than Dr. Fleet, as they were able to use their profits to fund the startup of Morton Manufacturing and begin pumping out ChapStick in earnest.

In the 1930s, the company commissioned artist Frank Wright Jr. to produce the iconic ChapStick logo, which of course is still used today. Wright’s fee? Fifteen bucks, which you’ll notice is three times the amount paid for the recipe. If there has ever been a more shrewd twenty dollars spent, we’d love to hear about it.

I think that this shows that even the most mundane product can have an interesting history, if you are willing to look for it. Thanks to the folks over at Listverse, I can always find something interesting to pass on! History can be found in the strangest places, don't you think?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's gonna be chilly, so wear a sweater, OK?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jack Slade On Western Wdnesday...!

When you think of the name of Jack Slade, you probably remember him as a gunfighter and trouble maker. Not good in Montana in the late 1800s'!

Like many men of the times with bad reputations, Jack's drinking and bullying is mainly what led to his untimely end. Sometimes it pays to keep a low profile, I reckon!

Mar 10, 1864:
Montana vigilantes hang Jack Slade

Local hell-raiser Jack Slade is hanged in one of the more troubling incidents of frontier vigilantism.

Slade stood out even among the many rabble-rousers who inhabited the wild frontier-mining town of Virginia City, Montana. When he was sober, townspeople liked and respected Slade, though there were unconfirmed rumors he had once been a thief and murderer. When drunk, however, Slade had a habit of firing his guns in bars and making idle threats. Though Slade's rowdiness did not injure anyone, Virginia City leaders anxious to create a more peaceable community began to lose patience. They began giving more weight to the claims that he was a potentially dangerous man.

The year before, many of Virginia City's leading citizens had formed a semisecret "vigilance committee" to combat the depredations of a road agent named Henry Plummer. Plummer and his gang had robbed and killed in the area, confident that the meager law enforcement in the region could not stop them. Determined to reassert order, the Virginia City vigilantes began capturing and hanging the men in Plummer's gang. As a warning to other criminals, the vigilantes left a scrap of paper on the hanged corpses with the cryptic numbers "3-7-77." The meaning of the numbers is unclear, though some claim it referred to the dimensions of a grave: 3 feet wide, 7 feet long, 77 inches deep.

In the first two months of 1864, the Montana vigilantes hanged 24 men, including Plummer. Most historians agree that these hangings, while technically illegal, punished only genuinely guilty men. However, the vigilantes' decision to hang Jack Slade seems less justified. Finally fed up with his drunken rampages and wild threats, on this day in 1864 a group of vigilantes took Slade into custody and told him he would be hanged. Slade, who had committed no serious crime in Virginia City, pleaded for his life, or at least a chance to say goodbye to his beloved wife. Before Slade's wife arrived, the vigilantes hanged him.

Not long after the questionable execution of Slade, legitimate courts and prisons began to function in Virginia City. Though sporadic vigilante "justice" continued until 1867, it increasingly attracted public concern. In March 1867, miners in one Montana mining district posted a notice in the local newspaper that they would hang five vigilantes for every one man hanged by vigilantes. Thereafter, vigilante action faded away.

Sounds to me like ol' Jack should have hung out in a different location for a while. Just my opinion, but I value my neck too much to have it stretched by someone, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Still chilly outside!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Medieval Water Myths For Tuesday...!

Looks like there have been discussions for a long time about what makes water fit to drink. In fact, it's been a topic of many folks further back than you might think!

I found this article over on KnowledgeNuts that I found very interesting, so naturally I wanted to share it with you! Just some more Tuesday trivia to make things interesting!

Bad Water Never Made People Drink Beer Instead
By Debra Kelly on Monday, March 3, 2014

We’ve all heard it, and it sounds true: People in medieval Europe drank beer because it was safer than water. Water was dirty and carried all sorts of disease, after all. But taking a closer look at medieval texts has shown that it’s not the case at all.

It’s one of those timeless myths that makes sense. It makes so much sense, after all, that no one really bothered to look twice at it. There were no water filtration devices in medieval Europe, and there were certainly no systems in place to separate sewage and other dirty wastewater from clean drinking water, so it must have been laden with disease and bacteria, right? And then it only makes sense that people would have turned to beer and wine, as the process would make it a much safer thing to drink.

Only it’s not true at all.

It was food historian and photographer Jim Chevallier who took another look at some of the writings of medieval Europe and even farther back into ancient history. What he found was that the idea of drinking beer and wine as a substitute for water is a fairly modern idea. Drinking water was mentioned in numerous texts, but there weren’t many that made a big deal about it.

That’s just because it wasn’t a big deal.

Somewhat ironic is the number of texts in which monks and saints alike swore off alcohol completely. We usually think of them as brewing their own beer in monasteries across Europe—but nothing ever says they actually drank it themselves. A diet of bread and water was often used as a punishment, as they would need to abstain from earthly pleasures and rely on their faith to sustain them.

Bad water certainly was a concern, but people had long established guidelines for telling the difference between what was drinkable and what wasn’t. The Natural History of Pliny, written in the first century A.D., outlined guidelines for determining how good water was to drink. He stressed that if there were “eels” in the water, then it was probably clean as it could support life. Bitter-tasting water was bad, and so was water that was slimy. He also suggested leaving questionable water in drinking vessels to see if it would stain over time; if it didn’t, the water source was a good one. He also noted that water shouldn’t have a bad smell, and it should get warmer after it’s been drawn from its source.

Pliny also said that it was Emperor Nero, who ruled at the beginning of the first century, who first used the idea of boiling water to rid it of impurities. It was well accepted that boiled water was healthier, and this became common practice.

They knew all this in the first century, and there were plenty of freshwater sources for people to get drinking water from up through the Middle Ages when we hear the most about the beer-drinking myth. There are plenty of texts that suggest water in moderation, because of the idea that drinking too much at one time would distend and weaken the stomach. There were suggestions for adding water to wine. By the 13th century, doctors like Arnaud de Villeneuve were recommending a person drink wine on a daily basis for its nutritional value. It was never suggested that anyone abstain from water, however.

So where did the myth come from?

It’s possible that it gained popularity with Benjamin Franklin, who pointed to evidence that 18th-century documents indicated that drinking beer would give a person more strength than drinking water. While the nutritional component of beer and wine can’t be denied, it’s possible that the whole thing came from exaggeration that generally replaced fact.

Although I knew that someone, somewhere, finally figured out how to make water safer to drink, I had no idea just how long ago it really was! Guess some of those folks had more sense than we gave them credit for.

We better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning! Way to cold to sit out on the patio!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gold On Monday Mystery...!

Some mysteries just seem to take on a life of their own, much like the following!

Tales surrounding this lost gold and the never-ending search for it seem to surface again from time to time, leading me to believe that there might actually be something to the whole thing. I'd sure like to find it, ya know?

Lost Confederate Gold

When the South eventually lost the war In April 1865, a major mystery was shadowing the Union’s great victory. The country was torn by the conflict, and they desperately needed all the money they could get their hands on to rebuild. This is why the North was more than eager to get their hands on the Confederate war treasury. But the ”damn Yankees” were in for a surprise: The gold was nowhere to be found.

To this day, no one truly knows what happened to the Confederate gold. Many theorize that it was divided up and buried by many plantation owners, to wait for the day when the South would rise again. Others say it was robbed by a ragtag team of Confederate and Union deserters, never to be seen again. Others still maintain that it just . . . disappeared.

There are many legends about the location of this great treasure. One stash is said to be in Savannah, Georgia, buried in a cemetery under the name of a fake general. Another is supposedly in West Central Broward County, buried by an ambushed general who was trying to take it to Cuba.

However, most of those stashes are probably nothing more than legends. Although no one truly knows where the gold is hidden, the actual value of the treasury was probably somewhere around $500,000—many times less than many Union generals reported. This means that if there indeed are stashes, there are either a lot less of them than most people think, or they’re much smaller. Still, that doesn’t stop people from theorizing.

One particularly juicy rumor concerns a town called Danville, Virginia. Fairly reliable historical proof suggests that a former Confederate Navy official, James A. Semple, hid a large amount of Mexican silver dollars—thought to be a part of the Confederate treasure—in the area. Some say they have even found some of these coins.

What would the average citizen do if they ran across some of this gold? Wonder just how much the government would allow them to keep? My guess is that we will never truly know, because if anyone does ever find any of it, they probably would keep it a secret from just about everybody!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'm game if you are! I have some 7-up cake to share!