Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Grey-Haired Brigade...!

Something to ponder this weekend. Hope it doesn't hurt anyone's feelings!

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.

They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs. Some of us are "Baby Boomers" getting ready to retire. Others have been retired for some time. We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were. We have worked hard, raised our children, worshiped our God and grown old together. Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill, and that is probably true. But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.

In school we studied English, history, math, and science which enabled us to lead America into the technological age. Most of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with firsthand experience. We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes. For those of you who don't know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators. A few even remember when cars were started with a crank. Yes, we lived those days.

We are probably considered old fashioned and out-dated by many. But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off. We won World War II, fought in Korea and Viet Nam. We can quote The Pledge of Allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so. We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield. We didn't fight for the Socialist States of America ; we fought for the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave." We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag. We know the words to the Star Spangled Banner, America , and America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing. We have lived what many of you have only read in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America.

Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it. It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us. We took oaths to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.

It was mostly the young people of this nation who elected Obama and the Democratic Congress. You fell for the "Hope and Change" which in reality was nothing but "Hype and Lies."

You youngsters have tasted socialism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don't like it after all. You make a lot of noise, but most are all too interested in their careers or "Climbing the Social Ladder" to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting. Many of those who fell for the "Great Lie" in 2008 are now having buyer's remorse. With all the education we gave you, you didn't have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the 'Kool-Aid.' Now you're paying the price and complaining about it. No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom.

This is what you voted for and this is what you got. We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.

Well, don't worry youngsters, the Grey-Haired Brigade is here, and in 2014 we are going to take back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like but we get where we're going, and in 2014 we're going to the polls by the millions.

This land does not belong to the man in the White House nor to the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It belongs to "We the People" and "We the People" plan to reclaim our land and our freedom. We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to our grandchildren. So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, Stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the "Grey-Haired Brigade."

Can you feel the ground shaking???
It's not an earthquake, it is a STAMPEDE.

Now most of you know that I don't often get on a political kick here at the Hermit's, but this is a piece that I felt needed to be passed on! Some will get it, others will almost get it...and some won't ever get it!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is coming back, they say!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Heard Of The Sin Eater...?

Throughout history, there have been some really unusual jobs, but most like this no one wanted.

I saw a movie once called "The Order" and it was based around this whole idea. Strange! Anyway, I thought you might like to know about this job.

The Strange, Sad Burden Of The Sin Eater
By Debra Kelly

From the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, souls of the recently deceased were often helped on their way to the afterlife by a sin eater. Unaffiliated with any church, the sin eater would visit the body of the deceased and eat a piece of bread that had been placed upon the corpse’s chest, symbolically absorbing all of their unconfessed sins and speeding them on their way to Heaven. Once only employed in cases where death was sudden and a last confession wasn’t given, the sin eater was later called to even natural deaths and thought to help prevent the person from needing to wander the land as a ghost.

Just the name “sin eater” sounds like something that couldn’t possibly exist. But they did, and they had a very important role in the religious communities of England, Scotland, and Wales.

Unexpected, sudden deaths were typically not all that unexpected. Those who had time to prepare for their deaths were able to speak with a priest, to make a final confession, and to have their sins absolved by the church to help prepare their way to Heaven. But those who died suddenly had no such chance, and so the family of the newly deceased would often hire a sin eater.

A piece of bread would be placed on the chest of the deceased as he or she lay out in state, drawing a person’s sins from him. (Sometimes the rituals also included wine or beer as well.) It was believed that when the sin eater ate the bread, he was also eating the sins of the dead. He would take the person’s worldly actions upon himself, and free the person to pass into Heaven.

Not surprisingly, this was absolutely not sanctioned by the church. Most sin eaters weren’t just unaffiliated with any religion, church, or parish, they were also pushed off to the lower caste of society. Most sin eaters were poor—each time they freed a person’s soul, they received only what was today’s equivalent of a few American dollars.

Seems pretty low for the price of passage into Heaven, right? There was nothing easy about the life of a sin eater. Most sin eaters were also beggars, making a living any way they could amid the stigma that surrounded them. Since they were absorbing the sins of the dead, it was believed that they slowly, progressively became a more and more depraved person with each soul they saved.

Over time, the tradition that started out being mainly practiced during the deaths of someone who had died suddenly also came to be performed in the cases of someone who died of natural causes. Even if they had the chance to confess their sins, they might have missed a couple, after all. The actions of the sin eater were also thought to speed a person’s transition from the land of the living to the afterlife, and that those helped along wouldn’t be condemned to wander the land as a ghost.

The traditions of the sin eater have their roots in the Middle Ages, and it’s only relatively recently that the custom died out. It’s believed that the last working sin eater in England was a man named Richard Munslow, who died in 1906. In spite of the idea that most sin eaters weren’t affiliated—or in any way endorsed—by the church, he was buried in the graveyard of Ratlinghope Church in Shropshire. According to records, it was thought that he became a sin eater after the deaths of all three of his children, losing them all to whooping cough. Also unlike most traditional sin eaters, he also seems to have escaped much of the stigma attached to the job, acting as a sin eater alongside his other duties as a farmer.

The grave has recently been restored, with the hope that it would be a lasting tribute to the sin eaters.

How in the world would you explain this occupation on a resume? I reckon this job didn't have folks lining up for it!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Clear out so far!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Some Unknown Secret Dirty Tricks...!

I am not anti government, but I'll admit that some of the things that the PTB have done in the past and continue to do now days is more than a little unsettling to me!

In the not-to-distant past, many nasty things were done in the name of "scientific research" that are almost criminal in nature. Some of them may seem hard to believe, so I'm including links to the documents released about these so called "experiments!" You decide what to believe! I have already made up my mind!

The Government Secretly Radiated Sick Children

The US government has sponsored such a wide array of human radiation experiments on unsuspecting citizens that it’s hard to decide which was the most diabolical. They intentionally dropped radioactive material over US cities, fed radioactive oatmeal to mentally disabled children, and injected people with plutonium without their knowledge. Still, the most shocking example is arguably when the government radiated some of the most helpless individuals imaginable: children suffering from cerebral palsy.

These 1,100 children were patients at Sonoma State Hospital between 1955 and 1960, a time when parents were encouraged to institutionalize their mentally and physically disabled children. Most of these patients were simply abandoned by their parents, which meant Sonoma State had captive subjects on which they could perform all sorts of experiments without parental consent. And it was all funded by the federal government. In addition to being exposed to radiation, the kids were put through other painful tests, such as unnecessary spinal taps and having air injected into their brains.

In the end, about 1,400 children died at Sonoma State. Not coincidentally, the hospital and its doctors netted one of the largest brain collections ever recorded.

Let me say this! I am NOT just some sick psycho making all this up! I got the story from  Listverse and the other links speak for themselves, I believe! Just do your own due diligence and decide where the truth lies!

Coffee out under the carport this morning! I need the fresh air, rain or not!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Soapy Smith On Western Wednesday...!

Many professions came out of the Old West. Gunfighters, lawmen, thieves, and let's not forget the infamous con men!

There was one of these early con men probably stands out a little more than the others. He went by the name of Soapy Smith! I'd say he was one of the better known scam artist of his day. Here is a little of Soapy's history!

Soapy Smith killed in Skagway, Alaska

A disgruntled city engineer in Skagway, Alaska, murders "Soapy" Smith, one of the most notorious con men in the history of the West.

Born in Georgia in 1860, Jefferson Randolph Smith went west while still a young man, finding work as a cowboy in Texas. Smith eventually tired of the hard work and low wages offered by the cowboy life, though, and discovered that he could make more money with less effort by convincing gullible westerners to part with their cash in clever confidence games.

One of Smith's earliest swindles was the "prehistoric man" of Creede, Colorado. Smith somehow obtained a 10-foot statue of a primitive looking human that he secretly buried near the town of Creede. A short time later, he uncovered the statue with much fanfare and publicity and began charging exorbitant fees to see it. Wisely, he left town before the curious turned suspicious.

Smith earned his nickname "Soapy" with a more conventional confidence game. Traveling around the Southwest, Smith would briefly set up shop in the street selling bars of soap wrapped in blue tissue paper. He promised the credulous crowds that a few lucky purchasers would find a $100 bill wrapped inside a few of the $5 bars of soap. Inevitably, one of the first to buy a bar would shout with pleasure and happily display a genuine $100 bill. Sales were generally brisk afterwards. The lucky purchaser, of course, was a plant.

In 1897, Smith joined the Alaskan gold rush and eventually landed in the rough frontier town of Skagway. Short on law and long on gold dust, Skagway was the perfect place for Smith to perfect his con games. He soon became the head of an ambitious criminal underworld, and he and his partners fleeced thousands of gullible miners.

Smith's success eventually angered the honest citizens of Skagway, who were trying to build an upstanding community. They formed a vigilante "Committee of 101" in an attempt to bring law and order to the town. Undaunted, Smith formed his own gang into a "Committee of 303" to oppose them.

In 1898, Smith tried to crash a vigilante meeting on the Skagway wharf, apparently hoping to use his con-man skills to persuade them that he posed no threat to the community. Smith, however, had failed to realize just how angry the vigilantes were. When he tried to break through the crowd, a Skagway city engineer named Frank Reid confronted him. The men exchanged harsh words and then bullets. Reid shot Smith dead on the spot, but not before Smith had badly wounded him. The engineer died 12 days later.

The funeral services for Soapy Smith were held in a Skagway church he had donated funds to help build. The minister chose as the text for his sermon a line from Proverbs XIII: "The way of transgressors is hard."

I'm thinking that if he were alive today, ol' Soapy would fit right in with some of the crowd in Washington. I believe he was slick enough, ya know?

Sometimes it just doesn't pay to make the folks angry, especially when nearly everyone was carrying a gun!

Once again we are having coffee in the kitchen. More rain is on the way!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Whiskey Rebel Pardons Of 1795...!

You might know that the first ever presidential pardon came from ol' George Washington himself!

Seems that George had a pretty good head on his shoulders most of the time. I think he tried to avoid conflict most of the time, and concentrated on finding a peaceful way to solve problems. I reckon he was just plain tired of fighting, ya know?

Whiskey Rebellion

The first ever act of presidential forgiveness came in the wake of an armed rebellion. Fed up with a costly federal tax on distilled spirits, in 1794 a group of whiskey-producing Pennsylvania farmers took to the streets and burned the home of a local tax inspector. The attack came on the heels of several other protests and many politicians—most notably Secretary Alexander Hamilton—argued that it threatened the stability of the newly formed United States.

Faced with the possibility of a widespread uprising, President George Washington reluctantly marched a 13,000-strong militia into western Pennsylvania to quell the rebellion. Some 20 members of the mob were arrested, and two were convicted of treason and sentenced to death by hanging. Desperate to avoid further discontent, Washington chose to pardon both men in July 1795.

Some presidents go through their whole terms without issuing any pardons at all. Some give pardons that remain very controversial even to this day! Guess you can't please everyone, right?

Guess we better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is coming this way again!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday Mystery About A Lighthouse...!

Foe some reason, I find the lighthouse a perfect place for a mystery. Isolated, exposed, and quite often haunted. At least, reportedly so!

Today's story has all the makings of the true mystery. There's a mysterious storm, missing people, and no apparent clues to ponder! What more could you ask for?

The Eilean Mor Lighthouse Mystery

In 1900, the only living souls on the Scottish island of Eilean Mor were three lighthouse keepers, alone in the vast ocean.

The day after Christmas, a supply ship arrived at the island. To the crew’s surprise, the lighthouse keepers were not waiting for them on the island’s small dock. After blowing the ship’s horn and sending up a flare, there was still no activity on the island. A replacement lighthouse keeper named Joseph Moore was eventually sent to investigate.

As he climbed the narrow, rocky stairs leading up to the lighthouse, Moore recalled being struck with a sense of nameless dread. As he neared the door, he saw that it was unlocked. Stepping carefully inside, he also noticed that two of the three waterproof jackets usually kept in the hall were missing. Reaching the kitchen, he found the remains of a meal and a chair lying on the floor. The clock in the kitchen had stopped working. The lighthouse keepers were nowhere to be seen.

A further investigation revealed the disturbing final entries in the lighthouse log. The entry for December 12 was written by a keeper named Thomas Marshall. In it, Marshall claimed the island had been struck by severe winds, worse than anything he had experienced in his career. Even though the lighthouse was solid enough to outlast any storm, Marshall wrote that the Principal Keeper, James Ducat, was very quiet. The third keeper, William McArthur, was an experienced sailor and a famously tough tavern brawler. The log entry ended by noting that he had been crying.

Further entries recorded that the storm continued to rage for a few days. Secure in their lighthouse, the three men had nonetheless begun praying. The last entry stated: “Storm ended, sea calm. God is over all.” Though the lighthouse was visible from the nearby island of Lewis, no storms were reported in the Eilean Mor area during the days noted in the log entry.

Not exactly the kind of place you would want to spend the night, is it? Especially if it was storming! I wonder if there are many more mysteries involving lighthouses? Might be worth looking for!

Coffee out on the patio this Memorial Day! Don't forget to pay your respects to a vet, OK?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mighty Mouse On Sunday 'Toons...!

Ol' Mighty Mouse is one of those 'toons that have been around for a long time. He never was one of my favorites, but he should still get a shot at stardom again, don't you think?

You have to remember that this was a time where everything was "good guys vs. bad guys!" I believe that many of the early 'toons tried to teach some moral lesson to kids. Wonder how that turned out?

Well, maybe some of them were a bit over the top, but the intentions were good!

That's enough silliness for today. Maybe a good book would be a better idea!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Donut holes for everybody!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Food Rationing During World War 2...!

Sometimes we forget that it wasn't that long ago that a serious food shortage was seen on our shores. Hard to believe, isn't it?

Many of our parents and grandparents had to use the government issued "food coupons!" Let's hope that something like this never happens again, and strive to assure that it doesn't! Want to see what a typical coupon looked like? Here ya go!

World War II

Soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s subsequent entrance into World War II, it became apparent that voluntary conservation on the home front was not going to suffice this time around. Restrictions on imported foods, limitations on the transportation of goods due to a shortage of rubber tires, and a diversion of agricultural harvests to soldiers overseas all contributed to the U.S. government’s decision to ration certain essential items. On January 30, 1942, the Emergency Price Control Act granted the Office of Price Administration (OPA) the authority to set price limits and ration food and other commodities in order to discourage hoarding and ensure the equitable distribution of scarce resources. By the spring, Americans were unable to purchase sugar without government-issued food coupons. Vouchers for coffee were introduced in November, and by March of 1943, meat, cheese, fats, canned fish, canned milk and other processed foods were added to the list of rationed provisions.

Every American was entitled to a series of war ration books filled with stamps that could be used to buy restricted items (along with payment), and within weeks of the first issuance, more than 91 percent of the U.S. population had registered to receive them. The OPA allotted a certain amount of points to each food item based on its availability, and customers were allowed to use 48 ‘blue points’ to buy canned, bottled or dried foods, and 64 ‘red points’ to buy meat, fish and dairy each month—that is, if the items were in stock at the market. Due to changes in the supply and demand of various goods, the OPA periodically adjusted point values, which often further complicated an already complex system that required home cooks to plan well in advance to prepare meals.

Despite the fact that ration books were explicitly intended for the sole use by the named recipient, a barter system developed whereby people traded one type of stamp for another, and black markets began cropping up all over the country in which forged ration stamps or stolen items were illegally resold. By the end of the war, restrictions on processed foods and other goods like gasoline and fuel oil were lifted, but the rationing of sugar remained in effect until 1947.

This is just part of a larger explanation of some of the shortages the U.S. faced during the war. You can read more of the article here! Scary stuff, if you ask me! I don't want to ever experience anything like that. Know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Don't worry...I have plenty!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Early Battlefield Food...!

Now I use term food very loosely here, mainly because it was designed to primarily keep the troops alive, not to be popular.

Somehow, after reading this article from, the MREs and other Prepper foods I have stashed are looking better and better all the time. Let's face it...battlefield food, at best, has always been a challenge for cooks and troops alike. The challenges faced during the Civil War were certainly no exception!

Desecrated Vegetables: The Hardships of Civil War Eating
By Stephanie Butler

When you think of military food, the word “delicious” doesn’t often come to mind. That’s especially true of camp and battlefield rations, where MREs stocked with orange juice powder and peanut butter rule the day. But even today’s not-so-savory meals have come a long way since the Civil War, when battlefield food was just a pound of salt pork and a few ounces of sugar! In honor of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, we’re taking a look back at the food that fed hungry troops, both the blue and the grey.

One of the most striking differences in the way Civil War soldiers ate was simply who prepared the food. Instead of a centralized kitchen with dedicated cooks, each individual soldier was handed his rations of uncooked meat, flour and the rest. It was the soldier’s responsibility to prepare his own food as he saw fit. Naturally, in an era when women did the vast majority of the cooking at home, not every man in camp was equipped with the skills to make something edible out of a handful of corn meal and a slab of salt pork. Soldiers would group together to eat, and the most gifted cooks would step up to the challenge of preparing a full meal for their comrades.

The contents of this meal would vary according to the season and place where it was consumed. While in camp, away from the battlefield, rations meat (in the form of bacon, salt pork, or beef), a flour or bread product, sugar and coffee, as well as dried beans, vinegar, molasses, potatoes and pepper. Dried fruits were regarded as great treats, and vegetables were eaten only as available. This wasn’t often, and malnutrition and scurvy became new enemies for both sides.

On the battlefield, things were even bleaker. Rations were meant to last up to three days, and soldiers on the move were reduced to 16-20 ounces of salted meat, approximately 20 ounces of bread, plus sugar and coffee rations. And the “bread” wasn’t bread at all, but hardtack: an unleavened cracker made of flour and water, baked and dried for an almost indefinite shelf life (if weevils or mold didn’t get to it first). Hardtack was edible in its cracker state, but soldiers were resourceful and preferred to eat it crumbled into soups as a thickener, or fried in pork fat to create a rudimentary crouton known as “skillygalee.” The meat soldiers received was often preserved beef, a product salted so heavily that it required overnight soaking in a running stream for it to be palatable.

Perhaps the most reviled rations were the small cubes of dried carrots, onions, and celery distributed to both armies. Known as desiccated vegetables, these cubes were supposed to provide a reliable and portable source of fiber and vitamins. But the soldiers regarded as little more than bird food, and soon the cubes were called by a new name: “desecrated vegetables.”

Thank goodness that our troops today are fed better than back in the early days. This shows that learning to cook is and was a good thing, as a man that can cook stands a better chance of dining on something other than Protein bars and powdered Koolaid! Think of it as a survival skill!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Don't hardtack here!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Story Of Knives And Forks...!

Believe it or not, the silverware as we know it today is fairly new on the scene.

This might be something we don't give a lot of thought to, but the history of how these utensils became a common fixture on most tables is fascinating! Here's an article I thought you might enjoy from

Of Knives and Forks
By Stephanie Butler

Chances are you only really think about eating utensils when you forget to pack them in your picnic basket. How can you possibly dole out the potato salad or slice into that wedge of Brie without the proper accessories? Back in the day, this wasn’t a problem: for centuries, people only ate with their hands. Even in the early American colonies, forks were regarded with great suspicion, and knives were few and far between, shared at the dinner table and treasured as heirlooms. So how did these classic cutlery items make their way into your silverware drawer?

When humans first began cooking their food hundreds of thousands of years ago, sharpened stones and sticks helped them break down and consume their newly hot meals. Shells and hollowed animal horns were also commonly used, leading to the early development of the spoon. But spoon technology seems to have hit an impasse in prehistoric times, and the knife became the primary eating tool. In fact, it’s possible to trace human mechanical evolution through this humble instrument, made first with stone, later with bronze and finally with iron around 1000 B.C.

In medieval Europe, knives were often elaborately carved and decorated with bone or ivory handles. Hosts couldn’t be expected to furnish such a costly piece of equipment for large groups of people, so guests had to show up with their own knives in tow. (Given that large squares of stale bread known as trenchers served as plates until the 1600s, this “BYOK” policy probably didn’t seem so uncouth.) Early table knives had sharp, pointed ends that were used to spear food and bring it to the mouth. In an era when nobles and commoners alike guzzled copious amounts of fresh ale, this practice surely led to some punctured palates. Finally, in 1637, Cardinal Richelieu of France had his knife tips ground down to blunt circles, and our modern dinner knives were born.

Forks, meanwhile, had been around since ancient Greece, but they weren’t a regular feature at Western tables until the 1500s. The Byzantine princess Theodora Anna Doukaina, who married the Venetian doge in 1075, is credited with introducing the implement to Italy. Heartily disliked at court for her decadent, pampered lifestyle, she also brought the napkin and finger bowl to her adopted land. When she died in 1083, it was said that her entire body wasted away due to excessive delicacy.

When Catherine de’ Medici wed Henri II in 1533, she brought along a set of eating forks from her native Florence. Members of the French court scoffed at what they considered a typically Italian affectation and continued to plow through their meals with hands and knives. The tool finally gained respect in 1633 when Charles I of England magnanimously declared, “It is Decent to use a Fork,” thereby ensuring clean hands and unburnt fingers for generations of future eaters.

Ya know, there are certain foods that just call out to be eaten by using the hands and fingers! Hot dogs, hamburgers, donuts are just a few that come to mind, but I'm sure there are many more! Still, it's nice to know why most table settings have a knife and fork available, even if we don't use them.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Notice the absence of any silverware?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Deputy Billy Daniels On Western Wednesday...!

Often we forget that some of the lesser known men and women of the old west did a good job of trying to uphold the law. Even though most never became famous, that didn't deter them from doing their jobs and serving the citizens of their community.

It seems that Billy Daniels was that kind of person. Getting the job done was the most important thing on his mind and he was tenacious about it! Here's the story about Mr. Billy Daniels.

Arizona Deputy Sheriff Billy Daniels is killed

Two years after Arizona Deputy Sheriff William Daniels apprehended three of the five outlaws responsible for the Bisbee Massacre, Apache Indians kill him.

Billy Daniels was typical of the thousands of courageous young men and women who helped tame the Wild West but whose names and stories have since been largely forgotten. For every Wild Bill Hickok or Wyatt Earp immortalized by the dramatic exaggerations of dime novelists and sensationalistic journalists, the West had dozens of men like Billy Daniels, who quietly did their duty with little fanfare, celebration, or thanks.

On December 8, 1883, five desperadoes rode into the booming mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. Their leader, Daniel "Big Dan" Dowd, had heard that the $7,000 payroll of the Copper Queen Mine would be in the vault at the Bisbee General Store. The outlaws barged into the store with their guns drawn and demanded the payroll. To Big Dan's disappointment, they discovered they were too early--the payroll had not yet arrived. The outlaws quickly gathered up what money there was (reports vary between $900 to $3,000)), and took valuable rings and watches from the unlucky customers.

For reasons that are unclear, the robbery then turned into a slaughter. When the five desperadoes rode away, they left behind four dead or dying people, including Deputy Sheriff Tom Smith and a Bisbee woman named Anna Roberts.

The people of Arizona were shocked by the senseless brutality of the killings. The newspapers called it the "Bisbee Massacre." The sheriff quickly organized citizen posses to track down the killers, placing Deputy Sheriff Billy Daniels at the head of one. The posses, though, soon ran out of clues and the trail grew cold. Most of the citizen members gave up. Daniels, however, stubbornly continued the pursuit alone. He eventually learned the identities of the five men from area ranchers and began to track them down one by one.

Daniels found one of the killers in Deming, New Mexico, and arrested him. He then learned from a Mexican informant that the gang leader, Big Dan Dowd, had fled south of the border to a hideout at Sabinal, Chihuahua. Disguising himself as an ore buyer, Daniels tricked Dowd into a meeting and took him prisoner. A few weeks later, Daniels returned to Mexico and arrested another of the outlaws. Other law officers apprehended the remaining two members of the gang. A Tombstone, Arizona, jury quickly convicted all five men and sentenced them to be hanged simultaneously. As the noose was fitted around his neck on the five-man gallows, Big Dan reportedly muttered, "This is a regular killing machine."

The next year, Daniels ran for sheriff but lost. He found a new position as an inspector of customs that required him to travel all around the vast and often isolated Arizona countryside, where various bands of hostile Apache Indians were a serious danger. Early on the morning of this day in 1885, Daniels and two companions were riding up a narrow canyon trail in the Mule Mountains east of Bisbee. Daniels, who was in the lead, rode into an Apache ambush. The first bullets killed his horse, and the animal collapsed, pinning Daniels to the ground. Trapped, Daniels used his rifle to defend himself as best he could, but the Apache quickly overwhelmed him and cut his throat.

His two companions escaped with their lives and returned the next day with a posse. They found Daniel's badly mutilated corpse but were unable to track the Apache Indians who murdered him.

It appears that even back then, there were a few men and women that were willing to stand and do the right thing while not expecting any reward. I believe the right word is "character!"

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Want some cherry pie with that?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Syllabub For Dessert...!

Since we like a little history here at the Hermit's house, today we are looking at a drink from long, long ago. Maybe we can bring it back!

Syllabub: Reviving a Lost Dessert
By Stephanie Butler

In the food world, few names are as evocative as those for desserts. Take the slump, for instance—you might correctly think of fruit hunched under a thick, doughy blanket. A trifle: an alternating parade of cream, cake and fruit. The brown betty? Imagine apples under a crust as tough as the cowpoke’s wife who baked it. For a more obscure example, what about the long-neglected syllabub? This frothy mixture of whipped cream, white wine and sugar was once a popular refresher in upscale venues from Buckingham Palace to Versailles. The confection has been all but lost to the ages, a victim of changing tastes and enlarging waistlines. But surely there’s still a place for a light, sugary, alcoholic treat like this one at modern dinner tables.

One of the earliest written recipes for syllabub dates back to 1655, in the work “The Compleat Cook” by a British author known only as W.M. The tome also gave directions on how to “make Almond Jumballs” and “dresse Snayles,” and taught cooks “how to boyle a rump of Beefe after the French fashion.” In this recipe, W.M. poured heavy cream into nutmeg-flavored hard cider and stirred it forcefully, creating syllabub’s trademark frothy bubbles. Later recipes instructed cooks with willing and able dairy cows to milk the cow directly into the sugar and alcohol mixture. While this step may have raised nary an eyebrow in Elizabethan England, modern palates might be put off by the resulting combination of booze, warm cream and the occasional stray cow hair.

Even if most tales of straight-from-the-cow syllabub are udder nonsense, the dessert was extremely popular throughout Europe and America. The 17th-century English chronicler Samuel Pepys mentioned it in his “Diaries.” Pots specially designed to contain syllabub were equipped with spouts—similar to our gravy boats—so dainty ladies could drink the sweet, flavored wine after it had separated from the clouds of whipped cream. Kitchen maids used syllabub whisks made with rosemary branches to flavor the cream, inspiring the English poet William Davenant to write, “Her elbow small she oft does rub, tickled with hope of syllabub.”

It’s not clear when or why syllabub disappeared from dessert tables. It still shows up with startling regularity on menus as late as the 1900s, then seems to have been discarded in favor of more fashionable, sweeter treats like cakes and puddings. For our modernized syllabub, we added another element to the white wine and sugar mixture: Meyer lemon. This citrus originally hails from China and gives a milder, sweeter flavor than its traditional cousins. Grating zest into the sugar mixture sharpens the lemon flavor, while a touch of vanilla bean lends a subtle, comforting note.


Start to finish: 12 hours (30 minutes active)
Servings: 4

1/4 cup sweet white wine, such as Riesling or Gew├╝rztraminer
1/2 cup sugar
1 Meyer lemon
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Mint leaves, blueberries, shortbread cookie crumbs for garnish

In a small, nonreactive bowl, mix the wine, sugar, zest from the lemon and vanilla bean seeds. Let stand overnight.

In the morning, in a large, chilled bowl, begin to whip the cream with a hand whisk or electric mixer. Gradually add the wine mixture until fully incorporated and cream is whipped, taking care not to over-whip cream into butter. Serve immediately in parfait glasses, garnished with mint, blueberries or shortbread cookie crumbs.

Ya know, this actually sounds pretty good to me. I might have to try and make up a few at some point!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! Shortbread cookies, so save the crumbs!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Here is something that's out of the ordinary. A true "locked door" mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes himself!

Two things are special about this particular crime. One is that it takes place here in America, and two is that it has yet to be solved! In fact, not a single working theory has ever been put forward. That's pretty interesting, don't you think? Where is Sherlock when you need him?

Mystery of The Locked Room

Isidore Fink was shot dead at 10:30 p.m. on March 9, 1929, in the back room of the Fifth Avenue Laundry (which he owned) at 4 East 132nd Street in New York City. The police were alerted by a neighbor, Mrs. Locklan Smith, who had heard screaming and the sounds of a struggle. When the officers arrived, they found that the doors to room in which Fink lay were locked and so they gained entry by lifting a small boy into the room through a transom window.

Fink had been shot twice in the chest and once through the left hand, which showed signs of powder burns. No gun was found in the room. There was money in Fink’s pocket and in the cash register. At first police theorized that whoever shot Fink, who bolted the laundry doors when he worked at night, had climbed through the transom window. But the window was small, as was the boy who was hoisted through it, and the question of why an escaping murderer should climb through a small window instead of leaving by the door seemed unanswerable. A second theory was that Fink had been shot from the hallway through the transom , but the powder burns on Fink’s body showed that he had been shot from close range. More than two years after the crime, New York Police Commissioner Edward P. Mulrooney called the murder an “insoluble mystery.”

You have to wonder if this mystery could be solved using the modern tools available to the authorities today. I would certainly hope so, but you just never know!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.It is gonna be another warm day, it appears!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Good Day For 'Toons...!

Of course, any Sunday is a great day for all the cartoon watchers. I understand that even some kids like 'em!

Have you ever noticed how little many of the old characters have changed? Pretty amazing, really!

I can still remember having to patch bike tires with the older style patches...some hot and some cold! What a pain!

Ya know, given their age some of these 'toons are still in pretty good shape. Hope I look that good when I get that old! WAIT! I am that old!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Fresh fruit is on the table!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Getting Wired In The West...!

One thing about rural folks, they are an ingenious bunch! Making do with what you have is and was the order of the day!

It should come as no surprise then that to overcome the reluctance of the first telephone people to run phone lines to sparsely occupied rural areas, the farmers and ranchers got busy and created a network on their own! Besides being less expensive and more timely than the big companies, it demonstrated the mindset of most of rural residents. After all, working with your neighbors to solve a shared problem was a way of life that is still continued today. Too bad that attitude isn't shared by everyone!

Barbed Wire Fences Were The First Rural Telephone System
By Robert Anderson on Friday, May 16, 2014

In the late 19th century, the open range of the American West was carved up by barbed wire. During the same period, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone networks were being installed in large American cities. The early telephone companies ignored low-profit rural areas, so independent ranchers bootstrapped their own system out of their existing barbed wire fences.

In 1874, Joseph Farwell Glidden obtained the patent for an “Improvement in Wire Fences.” Before barbed wire, ranchers had to busy themselves with stopping cattle from crossing ranch boundaries and sorting out who owned what cattle at market time. Tough cattle plowed right through smooth wire fencing, and the arid West was no place to grow a hedge.

Barbed wire changed all that. New manufacturing techniques made barbed wire cheap, and enclosing one’s land became affordable for the first time. The “twisted pair” of wire with a transverse barb deterred cattle from roaming where they pleased. By 1880, about one million miles of barbed wire fencing per year was being produced and installed in the Old West.

Alexander Graham Bell was granted the telephone patent in 1876. The new device revolutionized communication because anyone could pick up a telephone and speak to anyone else with a telephone set. The only other instant communication option was the telegraph, which required a skilled operator. Instead, the telephone provided the near-miraculous ability to speak directly with another human being, in normal conversation, miles and miles away.

The early phone companies installed their systems in urban areas. Infrastructure is the main cost of any utility, and early phone company investors saw no profits in stringing hundreds of miles of expensive wire and poles to connect sparsely populated areas of the American West.

Enter the already-existing barbed wire fences. American farmers and ranchers already had a tradition of co-operatives or “co-ops.” These collectives allowed ranchers to deal with fickle commodity markets, fight wildfires, share tools and experience, and deal with water and other resources. It was only natural that they would use their newest resource, the barbed wire fence, to communicate with each other.

A typical installation would cost $25 and include a standard telephone set chosen by the co-op, two dry-cell batteries to power that portion of the system, and other hardware which acted as a primitive form of switchboard. Barbed wire was fastened to posts by metal staples, grounding the wire and making it useless as a conductor. So the farmers and ranchers would choose one wire of the fence to insulate and use as the telephone cable. Wire fences were a haphazard affair, using whatever post material was handy. Any reasonably straight stick or branch would do. And so with the insulators; leather scraps, corncobs, snuff boxes, or scraps of rubber inner tube were used to separate the wire from the post. One of the more common items were glass bottlenecks, and glass insulators remain a very popular insulating device for power and communication cables to this day.

Property lines, and therefore the fencing, were a chaotic patchwork. Not every fence line connected to another property, and some properties were very distant. Farmers bridged these gaps with specially offered insulated cables buried underground or strung on special tall poles. This grassroots, networked communication system had Meshnet beat by a solid 130 years.

The telephone co-op would publish a directory, perhaps not even in alphabetical order. Each family would be assigned a certain number of rings for their phone. If the phone rang two times and two rings was your signal, you would pick up the phone and talk to the caller. Of course, every phone was connected to the wire at the same time, so anyone could pick up their telephone set and listen to your conversation. This early “party line” was a problem; if too many people were listening to your conversation, the signal would degrade and you’d have to shout at them to hang up their phones so that you could speak your piece.

Using this network, farmers could relay news of wildfires, stock prices, sporting events, or most commonly, neighborly greetings and gossip.

By the 1920s, the telephone revolution had stabilized into the “Ma Bell” monopoly, and many rural areas were offered formal telephone service, although the old barbed-wire co-op networks persisted into the 1940s in some areas. This original network technology hack was relegated to the history books, and not even the early Phreakers of the 1970s can claim to have circumvented the big phone companies quite as effectively as tobacco-spitting, over-alled farmers in the 1880s.

Looks to me as though some of our forefathers were some of the first "hackers", even before hacking was a cool thing! Thanks to the folks over at KnowledgeNuts for filling us in on the rest of the story!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Anyone in the mood for some donut holes?

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Snow Diving Fox...!

Nature has a way of making sure all of her creatures (well, most of them) can find food using some special talents!

The Fox probably has no idea that his talent is really special, because all he worries about is getting supper. So many actions of those in the animal kingdom are governed by instinct and intuition with survival being the objective. Pretty amazing stuff, actually!

Foxes Use The Earth’s Magnetic Field To Hunt
By Nolan Moore on Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quite a few animals are in tune with the magnetic field. Sharks, turtles, ants, and even cows can sense the Earth’s magnetic poles. And now Czech researcher Jaroslave Cerveny thinks foxes use the magnetic field to hunt mice that are hiding in the snow.

Unless your name happens to be Boggis, Bunce, or Bean, chances are good you love foxes. They’re cute, intelligent, and sound like George Clooney. They also have superpowers, sort of. Foxes are excellent hunters and spend their days feasting on mice, voles, and shrews. However, things get a bit tricky when winter rolls around. Their prey starts burrowing down into the snow, making it difficult for foxes to catch their dinner. So since foxes can’t sneak up on their prey, they resort to a tactic called “mousing.” This involves leaping through the air, breaking through the snow, and snagging those tasty mice before they run away. It’s amazing to watch, but it poses an interesting question. If the rodents are under the snow, how does the fox know where to jump?

Czech scientist Jaroslave Cerveny wondered the same thing. Determined to find the answer, he gathered a team and spent a lot of time watching foxes hunt. By the time the study was over, the group had recorded 84 foxes jumping nearly 600 times. They also came up with some pretty interesting statistics. Whenever the foxes jumped in a northeasterly direction (20 degrees off magnetic north), they had a 73 percent kill rate. Whenever they pounced to the southwest, the opposite direction, there was a 60 percent chance they’d snap up their supper. However, if they sprang in any other direction, they only caught their prey a measly 18% of the time. What was going on?

Cerveny didn’t think foxes were getting cues from their surroundings since their success rates were consistent despite the water, season or time of day. Instead, the scientist believes foxes have the ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field. Coupled with its excellent hearing ability, this sixth sense works as a tracking device, helping the fox hone in on its prey. Now, while the Czech researcher isn’t exactly sure how this mechanism works, he has a solid theory. Cerveny posits that when a fox hears something scurrying under the snow, it listens to the mouse’s footsteps. At the same time, it’s focusing on the downward slope of the magnetic field in the Northern Hemisphere. When the fox hears the mouse reach that slope (or when its sights align, if you will), it then can estimate the distance between itself and its snack. That’s when the fox springs through the air, using its tail to direct its flight path, and lands on top of the runaway rodent. Of course, if it misses, it can always buy a bandit hat and raid the local chicken farm.

Another very useful thing about a talent like "magnet snow diving" is that it provides those of us that don't have the talent with some very entertaining videos to watch! I wonder if they close off their nostrils before diving into the snow?

Coffee out on the patio again today. Should be a nice one!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Merging Myth And Science...!

How many times do we totally write off creation myths about a certain place, then find out later that the myths were not that far off from the actual science of their creation?

Crater Lake, the deepest lake in north America, is one such place. Interestingly, the myths and the science are very similar in many aspects. Here is an article that shows just how close they both are!

The Surprisingly Accurate Myth Of The Creation Of Crater Lake
By Debra Kelly on Friday, May 9, 2014

Oregon’s Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, formed by many, many volcanic eruptions over thousands of years. It’s only with the relatively recent development of sonar that we’ve been able to map the bottom of the lake and understand just how it was formed. Local Native American tribes have known for generations and generations, though, and have passed down stories of volcanic eruptions in their mythologies, describing great spirits who darkened the skies, collapsed a mountain, and hurled fire.

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, with a maximum depth of 549 meters (1,949 ft). That’s only the current depth, as scientists have found that the lake bed has risen and fallen many times, and the geological formations in and around the lake tell the story of a turbulent volcanic history.

First the myths, then the science.

Myths of the local Native American tribes have been passed down from generation to generation; for how long, we don’t really known because of the oral nature of their storytelling traditions. There are a number of legends surrounding Crater Lake and the creation of not only the lake itself, but also the island in the middle, now known as Wizard Island.

According to one myth of the Klamath tribes, there was once a great battle within their people. One side laid siege to the other, and the besieging group prayed to the Great Spirit for aid. Aid came, beginning with a trembling deep within the Earth. The top of the mountain broke and fell into the Earth, swallowing those that had started the rebellion. When the tremors finally ceased, the warriors saw that the rupture in the Earth had caused the lake to form where there had been none before, and the spirits of the dead had been turned into sea creatures.

Another version of the story more directly references the volcanic activity we now know was responsible for the formation of the lake.

Llao, the god of the Below-World and Skell, god of the Upper-World, both fell in love with the same maiden. There was a great battle between them for her hand, and their quarrel caused the destruction of the mountain La-o Yaina. The mountain began to smoke first, running with fires that threatened to engulf the surrounding area. Three religious men sacrificed themselves in order to stop the destruction, and the fires were finally extinguished by Snaith, who controlled the waters and the storms, bid by Skell to fill the ruinous crater that their fighting had caused.

Yet another version of the story gives a warning as to why any adventurous souls should stay away from the lake. In a fierce battle between the earth and the sky, it’s said that the mountain shook, fire poured from the mouth of the mountain, and flaming rocks and debris in turn fell from the sky and started fires for miles around. Those that lived around the lake—then called Klamath Lake—prayed to the spirits to stop their fighting and sacrificed two of their most religious men. The spirits were appeased, and the storms came and extinguished the fires and filled the lake. They passed the story down from generation to generation, telling everyone to stay away from the lake lest they anger the spirits again. Now, the science.

The stories of collapsing mountains and fire raining from the skies aren’t just describing a single cataclysmic event, they’re describing part of a 420,000-year-long history of volcanic activity. The original volcanoes were located to the east of what is now Crater Lake, and over thousands of years, these volcanoes went extinct and gave rise to others. Mount Mazama, the volcano that formed Crater Lake, is a relatively young 30,000 years old. Over the centuries, lava and pressure slowly built up within the mountain until it erupted—7,700 years ago.

That eruption spread ash and pumice over most of the Pacific Northwest and southern Canada. The mountain did, indeed, collapse in on itself, weakened by the volume of magma that had been building up over the years. When the tremors stopped, what was once a mountain was now a crater about a mile deep.

Also like the myths, storms came and filled the new crater, called a caldera. And also like the myth that warns people that angering the spirits will cause them to wage war again, scientists think that it’s likely the volcano will once again erupt with potentially tragic consequences.

I'm thinking that just maybe we should take a little longer to listen to some of the old story tellers as they explain the myths of how things came to be. Could be that we all could learn a little something, ya know? Thanks to the folks over at KnowledgeNuts for this article!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

George Goodfellow On Western Wednsday...!

We don't often mention any of the busiest men of the Old West...the medical doctors!

With so many folks carrying and using fire arms at around that time, you know that doctoring had to be an active job. Many of these old time doctors were rough around the edges, but some like Goodfellow seemed to be outstanding in what they did. It must have taken a lot of dedication to be a doctor in those days. In my opinion, Goodfellow stood out for several reasons, but I'll let the article I found over on tell the story of this man. They can do a much better job in doing so than I ever could.

George Goodfellow investigates earthquake

Reflecting a scientific spirit that was rare among frontier physicians, Tombstone doctor George Goodfellow rushes south to investigate an earthquake in Mexico. Though keenly interested in earthquakes, Goodfellow is best remembered today for being one of the nation's leading experts on the treatment of gunshot wounds, a condition he had many opportunities to study in the wild mining town of Tombstone, Arizona.

Born in Downieville, California, in 1855, Goodfellow studied medicine at Cleveland Medical College and graduated with honors in 1876. He practiced briefly in Oakland, but then went to Prescott, Arizona, where his father was a mining engineer. After working for a time as an army contract surgeon, he relocated to Tombstone in 1880, one year before the Earps and McLaury-Clantons shot it out at the O.K. Corral. Since Tombstone was also home to dozens of other gunslingers and criminals, Goodfellow's skills as physician, surgeon, and coroner were in steady demand.

Although he was a serious and studious physician, Goodfellow was not above indulging in a bit of gallows humor, which was well suited to a town like Tombstone. Describing the condition of one murder victim, he wrote that the corpse was "rich in lead, but too badly punctured to hold whiskey." In his role as coroner, he deflected guilt from a vigilante lynch mob by officially ruling that the victim "came to his death from emphysema of the lungs, a disease common to high altitudes, which might have been caused by strangulation, self-inflicted or otherwise."

Yet Goodfellow did much more than perform autopsies on murder victims and treat bullet wounds. He developed new methods of operating on the prostate gland and performed the first successful prostatectomy in history. He was among the first surgeons anywhere, much less in the remote regions of the Wild West, to use spinal anesthesia. He advocated an open-air treatment of tuberculosis that soon made the desert climate of the Southwest the home of hundreds of sanatoriums.

In a time when many self-professed doctors had little or no formal training and used treatments that often did more harm than good, Goodfellow was a dedicated scientist who believed diseases could be cured with rational methods. He made frequent trips east to remain abreast of the latest medical breakthroughs. He was also a talented linguist and an avid student of geology, rushing to the Sonora Desert on this day in 1887 to study the effects of a powerful earthquake.

After 12 years in Tombstone, Goodfellow returned to California and became a leading physician in San Francisco. For those 12 years, though, Tombstone—today best known for its gunslingers, gamblers, and desperados—had one of the most scientifically advanced doctors in the West. Goodfellow died in Los Angeles in 1910 at the age of 64.

To say that the medical profession was sorely needed back then would seem to be putting it mildly. Let's just say that good doctors were in high demand!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Patio is still a tad wet from the rain last night!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Light Up The Sky Again And Again And Again...!

Now here is a story about Mother Nature really putting on a show...over and over again!

A view like this would certainly grab your attention, if you know what I mean! I don't think this is a place I'd want to fish! Still, it would make for an amazing night-time light show!

Where The Lightning Never Stops In Venezuela
By Debra Kelly on Monday, May 12, 2014

From anywhere between 260 and 300 nights out of any given year, the skies over the Catatumbo River in Venezuela are lit by lightning. And not just any kind of lightning; on average, each nightly storm lasts about 10 hours, and the skies are torn by thousands of lightning bolts each night. The phenomenon has been recorded as far back as the 16th century, and it’s a unique combination of the area’s topography and mixing air currents that cause these nightly storms.

With blatant disregard for the long-told myth that lightning never strikes in the same place twice, a lightning storm has been raging over one area in Venezuela almost every night for hundreds of years. Between 260 and 300 nights a year, storms light up the sky over the Catatumbo River in Venezuela. Each nightly lightning storm rages for nine to ten hours, and there’s so much lightning that area residents take measures to darken the inside of their homes in order to get some sleep.

In an average year, there are about 1.2 million flashes of lightning in the night sky. Thunder accompanies each lightning strike, but the storms are generally high enough up in the atmosphere that those on the ground can’t hear it.

Not surprisingly, the lightning storm has a prominent position in the area’s history. Acting as a natural lighthouse, the storm has been used as a landmark for sailors throughout the nautical history of the country. Guiding friendly ships, it’s also allowed land-based troops to spot potential attackers when they were still miles and miles away. Sir Francis Drake was one of the would-be attackers who had his mission foiled by the lightning.

It was also crucial in naval battles that led to Venezuela’s independence from Spain, for much the same reason.

The cause of this massive lightning storm has long been the subject of much debate. The current theory is that the unique, V-shaped mountain range that surrounds the area presents the right conditions for trapping warm winds coming out of the Caribbean. When cold air coming down off the Andes Mountains drops, lightning storms form along the change in temperature.

Add in the huge amounts of methane that leak into the air from the oil fields below Lake Maracaibo; along with the massive amounts of decaying plant matter and the gases released by that, researchers think that the gas buildup changes the normal conductivity of the air and makes it the perfect place for a prolonged lightning superstorm.

While it’s not a confirmed theory, it’s a likely one that’s supported by the disappearance of the lightning storm when there have been major changes in some parts of the environment; it’s unlikely to be one or two factors, but a convergence of several.

In 1906, the lightning disappeared for three weeks after a major earthquake and resulting tsunami. In 2010, a drought caused by El Ni├▒o also led to the temporary halt of the lightning storms. Locals had, worryingly, noticed a lull in the strength of the storms in recent years as well, and said it was most likely because of the deforestation that was happening in the area and the clogging of the river with agricultural runoff.

The lightning came back after several months, but it’s still disturbing evidence on how the natural balance is shifting to disrupt something that has been such a well-documented phenomenon for centuries.

It’s something the planet can ill afford to lose, too. The massive lightning storms put out much more than light and energy: They also form ozone. The change in pressure around a lightning bolt, along with the massive amounts of heat generated, allows oxygen and nitrogen to join together more easily. The two molecules are little more than a reluctant pairing, and sunlight often shakes the atoms loose. But ozone is crucial to the survival of the planet; when it’s high in the atmosphere where lighting storms happen, it helps shield us from harmful rays.

I just thought you would enjoy a bit of natural history this morning! Ever heard of this before? I hadn't.

Coffee out on the patio today. How about a nice lemon cake?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Mystery With The Knights Of The Golden Circle...!

Boy, that title takes up a lot of room! I wanted to talk about this mystery today because some information about it was in the news recently.

Seems to be a lot of debate about whether or not this group is still around in one form or another. All I can say is, if they are still here, they are certainly keeping a low profile! That could be a difficult thing to do in this day and age, ya know? Still, the organisation alone is mysterious enough to be featured here, I think.

Knights Of The Golden Circle

The Knights of the Golden Circle, or KGC for short, was a clandestine group of Southern sympathizers that formed before the Civil War. When fighting between the states broke out in 1861, their power and numbers only grew. They sought to conquer a circle of areas in Mexico, Central America, northern South America, Cuba, and the West Indies to form a Confederate empire of slave states: hence the name “Golden Circle.” As the Civil War raged on, the KGC decided to postpone their plans for South American domination and instead began to focus on supporting the struggling Confederate government.

The KGC and many of their alleged higher-ups in the Confederate government—such as Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart, and Nathan Bedford Forrest—tried to aid the Confederacy by capturing guns, supplies, munitions, and (according to some) gold. Lots and lots of gold. When the Confederacy fell in 1865, the KGC allegedly went underground to hide all of their gold, along with some of the recovered Confederate treasury. They used codes, treasure maps, and guards called “sentinels” to hide and protect their vast caches of treasure.

US intelligence agencies kept tabs on the KGC after the Civil War, but they had little success. The group seemed to disappear in only a few decades following the war. Some assert that they simply became even more secretive, plotting to overthrow the reunited US federal government. Others believe they are still around today, watching and waiting, ready to strike and begin building a new band of rebellious Confederate states.

If it weren't for the folks over at Listverse, I would have never known about this group. Gotta learn something new every day, I reckon!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! How about some peach cobbler to go along with it?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cartoons From The Early Days...!

Let's do something a bit different today, OK with you?

Today's 'toons will be from the early 40's. Mostly in black and white, but in the old days nearly everything was! Doesn't make them any less enjoyable, ya know?

See? Even the rural folks were preparing for the worse. Gotta be a lesson in there somewhere!

Tired of the 'toons related to war activities? Then here's one for ya! It's earlier than the others!

Maybe just one more? OK!

Well, maybe they weren't as funny as today's are, but it was a long time ago! Gotta give them credit for trying, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning! Cookies to go with the coffee sound alright? Oh, Happy Mothers' Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Live Long And Prosper...!

Every so often, a phrase or symbol turns up in our lives and stays around for what seems to be forever!

I'll just bet that even the folks that haven't seen too many Star Trek shows know the sign made famous by Spock. Today I'm going to show you the history of this sign. Just one more bit of trivia that could come in handy someday!

The Vulcan Salute Was Adapted From A Jewish Ritual
By Debra Kelly on Monday, May 5, 2014

Even if you’re not a Star Trek fan, you’re familiar with the Vulcan salute. It’s one of those gestures that seems to be rooted in our consciousness, and with good reason. The gesture, ad-libbed by Leonard Nimoy during the filming of the episode “Amok Time,” is a Jewish gesture signifying the letter “shin,” the first letter in the name of God.

You don’t have to be a Trekkie to be familiar with the Vulcan salute. It’s just one of those things that everyone knows where it’s from, even if they don’t know the canon lore behind it. And even for those who do know that it’s a traditional Vulcan greeting, they still might not know the long history of it.

“Amok Time” is one of the most well-known episodes in classic Star Trek history. As a quick recap, it’s the story of Spock’s journey back home to marry and mate. It was the first time showing Spock’s home world, and viewers got a more in-depth look at the Vulcan culture than what had previously been shown.

It was Leonard Nimoy who came up with the gesture, on the set while they were filming the episode. During the scene where Spock meets the official that will be presiding over his wedding, he felt that there was something missing. Humans have a number of symbolic gestures that we’ve done over the years when we’re greeting each other—there are handshakes and bows, curtsies and hugs. Nimoy felt that a similar yet alien greeting was needed for the Vulcan, and he knew that it couldn’t involve touching. (To a race that was touch-telepathic, that just wouldn’t have been done.)

So he modified a gesture that he had first seen in a synagogue when he was a child. He recalls not being old enough to know what was happening and why things were being done, but he does remember being old enough that he didn’t listen to his father’s instructions not to look at the people conducting the blessing.

The original gesture was made with both hands held out over the congregation and was performed by kohanim, or the descendants of ancient Jewish priests. When done correctly, the hands form the letter “shin,” which is meant to be the first letter of God’s name.

There’s some mystery surrounding the gesture, and those who do as they’re supposed to shouldn’t be looking at the people performing the blessing. According to Nimoy, members of the congregation are not supposed to look at those standing before the congregation, repeating the blessing; as they are channeling the feminine spirit of God and the light could be damaging to those who look upon them (although alternate reasons for not looking include the idea that blessings are coming from God, not from a human individual, and it’s easier to concentrate on that when you’re not looking at the people speaking).

Little Leonard didn’t listen to his father, though, and peeked. He became enamored with the gesture, and later, would amend it to the gesture we all know as the Vulcan salute. The gesture ended up being an appropriate one, a blessing designed to spread peace from God to man, now known more popularly as an invitation to “live long and prosper.”

Nimoy also thinks that Gene Roddenberry wasn’t aware of the salute’s Jewish origins, or would have protested having something so deeply religious associated with the show. For years, rumor had it that the Vulcan salute was a version of the peace symbol, and Nimoy was content to leave it at that.

Thanks to the folks over at KnowledgeNuts for passing that on to all of us. I'm all in favor of anything that can be recognized as a blessing. Lord knows, we all could use one from time to time! Right?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. Looks like a little more rain headed this way!

Friday, May 9, 2014

History Of The WWW...!

Ever wonder exactly when the World Wide Web first came into being? Well, wonder no more!

In keeping with my efforts to both entertain and share information with all my readers, I wanted to talk about the start of something we all use every day! In some ways it seems like a long time ago, but then again, it doesn't. Like most things, I believe we take most of the modern inventions we have for granted. Maybe we ought to take the time to do some research on when some of these wonderful inventions came from!

Cern's "World Wide Web Project," The First Website

Worlds First Website

“The WorldWideWeb (W3) is a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents.” So reads the text at the top of the first website ever to be published, by Tim
 Berners-Lee—the inventor of the World Wide Web—on August 6, 1991.

The page (originally at was created on a NeXT workstation at CERN labs in Geneva, Switzerland. It pretty much just states that the “Web” is now a thing that exists, and lists some of the people involved with the project and some technical information.

Since nobody but Berners-Lee and his CERN colleagues had any software resembling web browsers, most of the outside world remained ignorant of this ridiculously monumental development until the Mosaic browser debuted in 1993.

The page has been preserved, and though it looks like something a grade schooler could whip up in ten minutes today, it led directly to every website that has ever existed, including the incredibly awesome one you’re reading right now. The server it resided on is still powered on at CERN to this day, with a sign reading, “This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER DOWN!”

Do not, indeed. Father of all web servers, we salute you!

Hard to believe that this modern day wonder hasn't been around very long at all. Also hard to believe that this website is still alive and well, given all the trouble some of us have with our cable providers, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is on the way again!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Chicago Vs. Houston...!

Baby Sis sent me an interesting chart that I thought I'd share with you! I hope you find it informative!

 A Tale of Two Cities 

 Chicago, IL                                   Houston, TX
 Population 2.7 million                   2.15 million

 Median HH Income
 $38,600                                        $37,000

 % African-American 
38.9%                                             24%

 % Hispanic
29.9%                                             44%

 % Asian 
5.5%                                               6%

 %Non-Hispanic White 
28.7%                                             26%

 Pretty similar until you compare the following: 

Chicago, IL                                    Houston, TX

Concealed Carry gun law 
no                                                   yes 

# of Gun Stores 
0                                                    184 - Dedicated gun stores plus 1500 - legal                                                                    places to buy guns- Walmart, K-mart,                                   sporting goods, etc. 

Homicides, 2012
 1,806                                             207 

Homicides per 100K 
38.4                                                 9.6 

Avg. January high temperature 
(F) 31                                              63 

Democrat Conclusion: Cold weather from global warming causes murder.

I guess it's all in how you look at it. I don't think I'll move to Chicago anytime soon, though.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's suppose to rain today!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pearl Hart On Western Wednesday...!

We don't often talk about the women of the old west, but there were a few memorable ones. Take Pearl hart, for instance!

While many may not have heard of her, she was a very colorful addition to the legends of those wild and crazy times!

Pearl Hart holds up an Arizona stagecoach

On this day, the amateur bandit Pearl Hart and her boyfriend hold up an Arizona stagecoach.

Little is known about Pearl Hart's early life. She was born in Petersborough, Ontario, in 1871, and moved to Toronto as a child. She eloped when she was 16, but her husband abused her and the marriage did not last. Eventually, Hart took up with a dance-hall musician and minor gambler named Dan Bandman, and in 1892 the couple moved to Phoenix, Arizona. When Bandman left to fight in the Spanish-American War, Hart relocated to the Arizona mining town of Globe, where she began an affair with a German drifter named Joe Boot.

Short on money, the couple determined to hold up a stage, though neither of them appears to have had any prior experience as robbers. On this day in 1899, Hart (dressed as a man) and Boot stopped a stage on the run between Globe and Florence. After taking $421 in cash from the three passengers, Hart took pity on them and handed back $1 to each so they could buy something to eat when they arrived in Florence.

Unskilled in the art of the getaway, Hart and Boot left an obvious trail and the sheriff of Pinal County arrested the couple four days later. Boot was jailed in Florence, but since the town had no detention facilities for women, Hart was jailed in Tucson. Within several days, Hart had apparently charmed several men into helping her and she escaped. Her freedom, however, was short-lived. A lawman recognized her in Deming, New Mexico, and returned her to Tucson.

Tried and convicted in a Florence court, Boot was sentenced to 30 years and Hart to five. Neither served out their terms. After several years of good behavior, Boot was made a trusty and walked off while doing fieldwork, never to be heard from again. After about a year in prison, Hart became pregnant. Eager to save the Arizona Territory the embarrassment of having to explain how Hart arrived at this condition while imprisoned, Governor Alexander O. Brodie pardoned her on December 19, 1902.

Hart's life after her release is shrouded in myth. According to the romantic version, Hart leveraged her single experience as a stage robber into a career in show business, billing herself as "The Arizona Bandit." Some said she traveled for several years on the vaudeville circuit, others that she toured briefly with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. Historians have been unable to verify either of these claims. The more mundane but likely version has it that Hart quickly married an Arizona rancher named Calvin Bywater and settled down to a quiet life of domestic bliss. If Mrs. Cal Bywater was indeed Pearl Hart, she lived into her 80s and other people described her as "soft-spoken, kind, and a good citizen in all respects."

Somehow I don't think that ol' Pearl was cut out to be a very good bandit. Still she makes an interesting character to add to our growing list of stand-outs in the annals of the western days!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! Want some more coconut pie?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Strange Tuesday Trip From Taured...!

Here is a case of a traveler that no one could classify! Gotta feel sorry for the PTB...almost!

If this were to happen in the states, you can bet there would be all kinds of investigations and the like going on. Folks under lock and key with guards outside the door are NOT supposed to disappear! Doesn't fair well for the people in charge, I would imagine!

The Man From Taured

On a seemingly normal day in 1954, a seemingly normal man allegedly flew into Tokyo, but upon landing at the Tokyo International Airport, his seemingly normal trip had taken a very drastic turn for the weird. When he handed over his passport to be stamped, the man was immediately interrogated as to the whereabouts of his origins. It wasn’t a case of racial profiling: While his passport looked authentic, it listed a country no one had ever heard of called Taured.

The mystery man claimed his country was located between France and Spain, but when he was asked to point it out on a map, he pointed to the Principality of Andorra. Insisting he had never heard of Andorra and that Taured had existed for 1,000 years, he claimed that he was in Japan on business, something he had been doing for the past five years. His passport seemed to back up his story, as it was covered in previous customs and visa stamps, and he carried with him legal currency from several European countries. He even had a driver’s license issued by the mysterious country and a checkbook containing checks from an unknown bank.

After more interrogation and confusion for both parties, the traveler was sent to a nearby hotel until an official decision could be reached. There, two immigration officials stood outside the hotel door until morning. It was then that they discovered the mystery man had vanished without a trace, which was troubling, since the only possible exit was a window with no ledge 15 stories above a busy street. The Tokyo police department conducted an extensive search but continually came up empty-handed. Hopefully, if he really was from a parallel Earth, he was able to find a way back to the comforts of his home in Taured.

This one could have been saved for the Monday Mysteries, but I wanted to liven up your day. I wonder what the folks at the Tokyo Immigration Service finally decided to call this incident? Bet it was an embarrassment for them to admit to losing a traveler.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.OK?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dighton Rock On Monday Mystery...!

Once in a while, we get a real, honest-to-goodness strange mystery here that seems almost unsolvable. You know the kind I mean, don't ya?

This is one that you can actually go and see! Who knows, you might even be tyhe one to solve it! Wouldn't that be something?

Dighton Rock

The Dighton Rock, known for its puzzling petroglyphs, stands as one of the greatest mysteries in Massachusetts. The 40-ton boulder that once jutted out of the Taunton River, close to Dighton, Massachusetts, has stirred up all sorts of speculation over its inscriptions for close to 300 years. Investigators have attempted to decode the odd glyphs since an English colonist first described the boulder in 1680, but they have had little success.

In 1963, state officials removed the boulder and kept it for preservation. The Dighton Rock State Park was established in 1980 by the state of Massachusetts. Now, the rock remains in the museum there, just as mysterious as it was centuries ago.

Multiple theories exist today on who carved into the stone, but none have been conclusively proven. Most scholars say the stone and its strange carvings are of Native American origins, as similar stones have been reported in Vermont and other nearby states. Some of the wilder theories have proposed that it was the work of the Portuguese, Chinese, or even the ancient Phoenicians.

It would be nice to find out more about who actually did the carving of the rock, but then we would be left without a good mystery to ponder. I think sometimes we need to have a few of those, ya know?

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