Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year...!

Happy New Year, Everyone !

Coffee in the kitchen!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mailing Kids...!

Did you know that mailing kids was once legal? It's true!

When Putting Children In The Mail Was Legal
By Debra Kelly on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

At the beginning of the 20th century, it was legal to mail children through the Post Office in the US. Even though the postmaster general tried to put an end to the practice with an official declaration, it continued until the mailing of a three-year-old (via parcel post) from her grandmother to her mother prompted an investigation. Suffragettes in England also tried to take advantage of English postal laws to mail themselves to the Prime Minister, but unfortunately for them, they were simply marked “Return to Sender.”

It’s 1913, and little Jimmy and little Dolly want to go visit Grandma and Grandpa a few towns over. Mother and Father don’t have the time to drive them out there or pick them up later. So what’s a family to do?

Why not buy some stamps and just pop the kiddos in the mail?

The first family to think of transporting their children via the US Postal Service were the Beauges of Glen Este, Ohio. They mailed their son off to see his grandmother, which gets even stranger when you know that she only lived about a mile away from the family. It cost them 15 cents, which is the equivalent of about $3.50 in 2014. He made the trip in the company of a rural mail carrier, who was presumably careful not to damage him—he was insured for $50 ($1,165 in 2014).

The longest postal journey ever made was by six-year-old Edna Neff, who was mailed from her mother’s Pensacola, Florida, home to her father’s Christianburg, Virginia, home. According to Google Maps, that’s about a 1,175-kilometer (730 mi) journey. There’s surprisingly little information on the trip. That is, aside from the fact that the child’s weight of 23 kilograms (50 lb) meant that her mother was charged a mere 15 cents for her parcel post trip. (Makes you wonder why the mile-long journey of the little Beauge boy cost the same amount.)

There are a few other instances of children being sent through the mail, usually from one relative to another via parcel post. In 1914, Postmaster General Albert Sidney Burleson issued the very clear directive that postal workers in the states were not allowed to accept children as mail items.

Because some people think rules exist merely to be broken, the practice continued for at least another year. The last case of children traveling by post was that of three-year-old Maud Smith, who was mailed from her grandparents back to her parents. She traveled in the post section of a train, and the Railway Mail Service got an investigation started by alerting higher authorities to the fact that someone had allowed a three-year-old girl to be accepted as a parcel post package.

It wasn’t just in the United States that it was legal to mail people, either. It was a thing in England, too, and there was a certain part of the population that didn’t agree with the idea. The suffragettes of the early 20th century saw the postal system as a far-reaching hand of the ever-present and very male-dominated government.

Getting the ear of the prime minister was high on their list of things to do, so suffragettes Daisy Solomon and Elspeth McClellan decided to take advantage of the system and mail themselves to the prime minister in an attempt to present their thoughts in person. In February 23, 1909, they were delivered to 10 Downing Street by a telegraph messenger.

Their plan was, unfortunately, quickly foiled. When they were received at the door, the official that met them simply refused to sign for the delivery, and the women were returned to the sender—in this case, they were escorted back to the office of the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Now, I thought I'd heard everything. This put's the icing on the cake!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Remember this guy...? He was really something!

Very few people could handle a harpsicord like he could, that is for sure!

Caught In The Act...!

How embarrassing for the government to get caught doing a nasty deed!
It wasn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. Funny how that works out, isn't it?

How A Few Protesters Exposed The FBI

Nolan Moore on Friday, December 25, 2015

Long before Edward Snowden exposed the NSA, there was William Davidon. A college professor and antiwar activist, Davidon was convinced the FBI was spying on the so-called New Left. That’s when Davidon assembled a crew of protesters to invade an FBI office, steal all the documents, and turn them over to the media.

It was 1971, and William Davidon was angry. A physics professor at Haverford College, Davidon was a member of the antiwar movement, n 1971, there was a whole lot to protest. US troops had invaded Cambodia, four students were shot dead at Kent State, and Davidon suspected the FBI was spying on members of the New Left—the men and women opposed to the Vietnam War. Convinced J. Edgar Hoover was tapping phones and hounding protesters, Davidon decided it was time to strike back, Ocean’s 11 style.

Davidon wanted to prove the FBI was abusing its power, and what better way to expose the feds than raiding an FBI office, stealing all the documents, and sharing the info with the media? But what office should he hit? At first, Davidon considered raiding the FBI’s main office in Philadelphia, but after thinking it over, he decided the security was probably too tight. He then turned his attention to a smaller office in Media, Pennsylvania.

Of course, Davidon couldn’t raid an FBI office on his own. Like any good mastermind, he needed to build a team. So the physics professor assembled a group of seven people (not including himself), and the group set about staking out the Media office. They made maps of the area and plotted getaway routes. They took note of who went in and out and when the FBI agents left for the day.

Plus, every member had their own special job. For example, Keith Forsyth (a 20-something taxi driver) took correspondence classes on locksmithing so he could pick the door lock. And Bonnie Rains (a mother and daycare worker) actually went undercover inside the FBI office. Posing as a student who was doing a little research into the FBI’s hiring policies, she got a good look at the filing cabinets, saw there was no alarm, and realized there weren’t any security guards.

The group finally struck on the evening of March 8, 1971. If that date sounds familiar, sports fans, that’s because March 8 was when most Americans were crowded around their TV sets to watch the “Fight of the Century.” Davidon and his crew knew that if the police were distracted by Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, they might have a better chance of getting in and out of the building without being detected. And for the most part, the plan went off without a hitch.

After Forsyth successfully opened the door, the rest of the thieves—all wearing business suits—marched inside, stuffed almost all the documents into suitcases, and sped away to a Pennsylvania barn. Once inside, the crew started sorting through papers, looking for the good stuff.

And they found some pretty damning information.

Equipped with enough ammo to bloody J. Edgar Hoover’s nose, they sent the documents to major newspapers like The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Obviously, the government was not happy to learn about the break-in. Around 200 FBI agents were put on the case, and when they learned the newspapers had received sensitive information, the Nixon administration demanded the media scrap the stories. Fortunately, the newspapers ignored the government’s pleas and published several of the documents.

So when Americans opened their newspapers, they learned how the FBI was trying to “enhance” paranoia among the New Left by spying on protesters, infiltrating their groups, setting up interviews with activists to make them nervous, and keeping tabs on black students. But the biggest coup for Davidon and Co. was a little slip of paper they’d found which contained the mysterious word “Cointelpro.” At first, nobody knew what this meant, but a few years later, NBC reporter Carl Stern got to the bottom of that mysterious phrase.

As it turns out, “Cointelpro” referred to the Counterintelligence Program, and when Stern dug deeper, he found some pretty horrifying stuff. Under Cointelpro, the FBI had threatened everyone from high-ranking sports figures to diplomats with blackmail and violence. They’d bugged offices, gone through mail, and committed numerous burglaries.

Even worse, Stern revealed the FBI had actually sent a letter to Martin Luther King Jr., demanding the civil rights leader commit suicide or else the government would reveal his numerous affairs to the public.

Thanks to Davidon and his gang, Congress took action against the FBI by forming the Church Committee (which exposed even more federal corruption) and the FISA Court (which grants warrants for federal departments to spy on American citizens). And as for the thieves, they totally escaped prosecution. The FBI never found out who broke into their building, and in 1976, the statute of limitations for burglary finally expired. Still, the eight thieves kept silent until 2014 when journalist Betty Medsger—who published some of the original documents in The Washington Post—revealed the names of several people involved in the operation.

I've heard it said that all is fair in love and war I think I believe it!

Coffee out on the patio this morning/

Monday, December 28, 2015

Gotta Love A Mystery,,,!

Gruesome or not, you have to love the mystery. The old questions of who, what, when, where and why!

The Murder Of James Gilmore Jr.

James Gilmore Jr., nicknamed “Jimmy,” was a tough, 14-year-old boy from Baldwin Park who bullied other children and ran around with a teenage motorcycle gang. His parents were separated, and the family was well-known by the local police. The neighbors considered Jimmy a nuisance, and even his own mother and siblings didn’t particularly like him.

While home alone on the night of January 7, 1962, Jimmy and his younger brother, Wayne, heard a knock on the back door while they were watching TV. Jimmy told Wayne that he was going outside and would be back in a little while.

When Jimmy hadn’t returned after three days, his mother reported him missing to the police. She told them that her son was “vicious” and had probably run off with some friends. Although Jimmy’s father expressed skepticism about the story, suggesting that his son might not have left the house, authorities never considered the family to be involved in Jimmy’s disappearance.

In March 1985, more than a decade after the Gilmores moved out of the house where Jimmy had lived, a worker helping to renovate the home found Jimmy’s skeleton buried beneath the building in a shallow grave. Even though Jimmy’s remains had been lying under the house for more than two decades, neither the Gilmores nor the man who lived in the house after them had ever reported smelling anything.

The police gave lie detector tests to Jimmy’s brother and parents, but all three family members passed. As of late 2015, no one has been arrested for Jimmy’s murder, and most of the people connected to the case are no longer alive.

Strange little mystery, isn't it? Strange and mysterious!

Coffee out on the chilly patio this morning!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

After Christmas Cartoons...!

I reckon we could all use a few laughs after Christmas, right? Maybe some Daffy Duck will help.

OK... that's enough for today! Time to get back to the leftovers and some fresh coffee.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain outside. Any pie left?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Memory Door Myth...!

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one this happens to!

Somehow I feel vindicated a tad, ya know? All this time I figured it was just me. See? I told ya I wasn't going crazy. No Dementia just yet!

Walking Through The Door Really Is Making You Forget Things
By Debra Kelly on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It’s called the doorway effect, and it’s what happens when you walk into a room and completely forget why you’re there in the first place. Work from a handful of different researchers has been pieced together to help explain what’s going on. It’s likely that the parts of our brain that we rely on to process navigational and spatial information are regularly wiped of information when it’s no longer relevant. Walking through a door is a good indication that our environment is now different, and old information gets dumped in favor of new surroundings.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all walked into a room and completely forgotten why we’re there. We’ve probably all wondered, too, if it was a sign of old age sneaking up on us. Thankfully, it isn’t (necessarily). There’s a scientific explanation for forgetting why we’ve gone into a certain room, and it’s actually stranger than old age.

It’s called the doorway effect, and it seems to be quite real. To really explain what it is and how it works, we have to back up a bit to work done by researchers from University College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

They were looking into how our brains process information about where we are in the world and what’s around us. That includes everything from navigating your morning commute to recognizing your own desk in a row of a dozen desks.

It all comes down to specific cells in the bran called grid cells and pyramidal place cells. When the neurons in our brain fire, they create very specific patterns based on what’s around us. That’s translated into what the researchers described as a sort of internal GPS system, which allows us to not only keep track of where we are at the moment, but likely play a part in letting us figure out how to navigate from A to B.

For some reason, walking through a doorway interrupts the brain’s ability to do what it does best.

Navigational memory is an odd sort of memory. It’s thought that in order to keep processing, the information that’s stored in these systems wipes itself every once in a while. (Have you ever gotten home from work with little to no memory of what happened on your uneventful commute?) Old information leaves, and new information about our current environment replaces it.

Researchers from Notre Dame looked at just what kind of impact doors had, and they think that it’s likely our brains use doorways as a sort of cue that it’s a good time to wipe memory because we’re entering into a new environment.

Weirdly, it’s not just real-life doorways, either. The team from Notre Dame ran some studies on the memory skills of people who were running through a video game setting. They were tasked with picking up an object from a table, then going into another room and putting it down on another table. The object became invisible after being picked up. As soon as people stepped through the virtual door, they were much less likely to remember what it was they were holding than if they went from table to table with no doorway in between.

Going back into the original rooms doesn’t usually help people remember, until they see something that refreshes the situation, getting rid of the theory that it’s a contextual thing.

Walking though a doorway seems to quite literally cause us to glitch—along with other interruptions like a phone ringing or someone interrupting our thoughts. A system that’s likely built to help us streamline our thinking has a design flaw: the door.

I'm glad the folks over at Knowledgenuts cleared this all up for me! Kinda like an after Christmas present, ya know?

Coffee back on the patio this morning! Good coffee and warm temps!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Told Ya It Would Be A Late Post...!

What happened was this.I had the BIL take me to VA to check on a persistent nose ble (off and on for 3 weeks, and ended being admitted Seems the shortness of breath was cause by A-Fib. My heart rate was around 150 or so they said! Sounded scary to me.

Just got home around 7:00 tonight. I'm very tired and haven't had a decent cup of coffee in days! However, I didn't want to without giving some explanation, and without wishing every body out there a very Merry Christmas!

Many stresses for all of us over the holidays, and with the help from all our many friends...we'll get through them!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Late Post Coming ...Later!

Sorry about that! Sometimes life happens, ya know?

Coffee is ready though. Outside today!

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Little Christmas Mystery...!

I borrowed this story from the folks over at Listverse where they have a video to go with it. However, I only took the story.

‘Footsteps In The Snow’ 

 The author of “Footsteps in the Snow” is unknown, which is unfortunate because this tale is as sad as it is creepy and the author should be given credit for it.

In the story, an old man is walking home on Christmas Eve after evening Mass. Behind him, he hears footsteps that keep time with his own, including when he stops. After a while, he loses his nerve and runs the rest of the way home despite his age.

When he reaches his house, he realizes that the steps behind him have stopped. Looking back, he sees only one set of footprints. Although it had been snowing, he is completely dry when he gets inside, and his coat is free of snowflakes.

Before he can contemplate it further, his friend Andy comes to greet him. The two chat and have a nice dinner at the table. Then Andy retires to the guest room. On Christmas Day, Andy is gone, and the bed looks unused. In the dining room, Andy’s plate of food from the previous night is untouched.

His housekeeper insists that Andy wasn’t there the previous night. He can’t make sense of it and has a rather lousy dinner that Christmas because he is frustrated. The next day, he receives a letter that Andy had died in a distant city on Christmas Eve.

More than just a little creepy, in a sad way...don't you think?

Coffee out on the patio as long as it isn't raining yet, OK?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas "Toons...!

Like I've said before, I'm not really big on Christmas the way it's celebrated today. That being said, it seems appropriate to have something for the kid in all of us to enjoy this time of the year, right?

Maybe just one more...!

Well, I hope that gets your week off to a good start!

Coffee out on the patio again. Gingerbread anyone?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Another Christmas Favorite From The Past...!

Of allmthe favorite toys from the past, this one is probably my least favorite of all. I hated it!

There were 2 reasons I hated, I was working in retail at a well known discount store in Austin when the doll came out and we were fighting for our lives! Second, to me the doll was just plain ugly!

1980s — Cabbage Patch Kids

A 1983 Cabbage Patch Doll. (Credit: Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc.)

For Christmas 1983, all bets were off. Every kid wanted to “adopt” one of Coleco’s squishy-faced Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, and parents were willing to take extreme steps (Pushing! Shoving! Fist fights!) to make it happen. As Cabbage Patch mania swept the nation, the dolls sold on the black market for 10 times their retail price of $25. By the end of the first year in 1983, 3 million Cabbage Patch Kids were sold (adopted). The product continued to exceed all expectations in 1984 resulting in $2.5 billion in retail sales. Though the craze eventually subsided, and the company went bankrupt in 1988 after costly failed ventures in video and computer games, Cabbage Patch Kids are still available from Wicked Cool Toys. Babyland General Hospital, the Cleveland, Georgia, home of the Cabbage Patch Kids is the only place in the world where you can witness the birth of a hand-sculpted doll.

I realize many, many folks fell in love with the critter, but I wasn't one of them.

Coffee back out on the patio this morning. It isn't too bad!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Smell Of Space...!

Talk about a good topic for Freaky Friday...

This is an interesting article I picked up from Knowledgenuts. I never really thought about space having any smell at all, ya know? Seems I was wrong!

Finding Out What Space Smells Like
By Debra Kelly on Tuesday, December 15, 2015

When astronauts were asked to report on the smell of space, they were actually talking about the smell that followed them back inside on their suits. Space, they said, smells like gunpowder, burnt steak, hot metal, or welding fumes, mostly because of the molecules put off by countless dying stars. Not all space smells the same. So far, scientists have found a comet that smells like cat pee, a moon that smells like farts, and a dust cloud that smells like rum.

Our own planet has some incredible smells happening out in nature, whether it’s the fresh rain, newly cut grass, the ocean breeze, or stagnant water, you immediately know what it is when you smell it. Space, it turns out, is just as clear—without the pleasantries.

While astronauts obviously can’t get a real whiff of space while they’re surrounded by it, they report that there’s an odor that adheres to their suits and enters the interior of the space station or capsule when they come back inside. Astronauts report that it has a definite burnt aroma, likening it to things like hot metal, burnt steak, and diesel or welding fumes.

That smell mostly comes from something called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A less scientific way to think of them is as the dying breath of some of the galaxy’s biggest stars. As stars collapse, a lot of chemical reactions and combustion goes on inside them, and those reactions put off the scented molecules. But you don’t have to go into space to find them. They’re here on Earth, especially in coal and oil.

They’ve also found that different planets, moons, asteroids, and comets also have their own unique smells based on whatever is in their atmosphere. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe recently got up close and personal with a comet called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and it was undoubtedly a memorable if vaguely unpleasant experience. Based on the ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, and methanol the probe found, researchers were able to define its smell as something along the lines of cat urine, rotten eggs, and bitter almonds.

They also note that the molecules that make the smell are in a low concentration, so it’s unlikely that humans would even be able to really detect it.

The comet isn’t the only one to get the smell treatment. When NASA looked at one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, through a series of spectroscopic tests, they found that they could duplicate the smell back here on our planet. The incredibly precise readings taken by the Cassini probe allowed them to see what molecules were in the thick haze that surrounds Titan.

Titan, according to NASA, smells like gasoline and farts.

That’s not entirely surprising, given that a major component of Titan’s atmosphere is benzene. That’s one of the more deadly elements in cigarette smoke, and the high content helps give Titan’s air that suffocating, poisonous scent.

But, the Max Planck Institute also points out that not all of space might smell like bodily emissions, deadly smoke, or gasoline. When they looked at a dust cloud near the center of the galaxy called Sagittarius B, they found something that might smell like rum.

Or raspberries, depending on your perspective. The cloud contains a high amount of ethyl formate, which is responsible for a good amount of the flavor present in both rum and raspberries. While there are enough other molecules to either dilute the smell (or perhaps change it completely), we’re happy just knowing that somewhere out there, there might be a giant, rum-flavored dust cloud.

Now I don't know about you, but this is way more information than I need to know. I ain't headed off in that direction anytime I don't care!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Too chilly for me outside!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Texas Rattlesnake Logic...!

Baby Sis sent me another one to share with everyone. It may be a little harsh for some, but amusing to others.

Rattlesnake Logic in dealing with terrorists.

After the Boston bombing the news media spent days and weeks trying to determine why these men did what they did. They want to know what America did to make these brothers so angry with us.

They want to know why these men were not arrested before they did something so terrible.

The media is in a tizzy about this new era of homegrown radicals and about why and how they can live among us and still hate us.

A Texan explained it best:

Here in Texas, I have rattlesnakes on my place, living among us.

I have killed a rattlesnake on the front porch. I have killed a rattlesnake on the back porch. I have killed rattlesnakes in the barn, in the shop and on the driveway.

In fact, I kill every rattlesnake I encounter. I kill rattlesnakes because I know a rattlesnake will bite me and inject me with poison. I don't stop to wonder WHY a rattlesnake will bite me; I know it WILL bite me because it's a rattlesnake and that's what rattlesnakes do.

I don't try to reason with a rattlesnake or have a "meaningful dialogue" with it. I just kill it. I don't try to get to know the rattlesnake better so I can find a way to live with the rattlesnakes and convince them not to bite me. I just kill them.

I don't quiz a rattlesnake to see if I can find out where the other snakes are, because (a) it won't tell me and (b) I already know they live on my place. So, I just kill the rattlesnake and move on to the next one.

I don't look for ways I might be able to change the rattlesnake to a non-poisonous rat snake. I just kill it. Oh, and on occasion, I accidentally kill a rat snake because I thought it was a rattlesnake at the time.

Also, I know for every rattlesnake I kill, two more are lurking out there in the brush. In my lifetime I will never be able to rid my place of rattlesnakes.

Do I fear them? Not really. Do I respect what they can do to me and my family? Yes!

And because of that respect, I give them the fair justice they deserve. I kill them. As a country, we should start giving more thought to the fact that these jihadists are telling the world their goal is to kill Americans and destroy our way of life. We should believe them.

They have posted graphic videos on the Internet showing them beheading Americans. They are serious. They are exactly like rattlesnakes. It is high time for us to start acting accordingly!

I love this country. It's the government I'm afraid of! Why? Look who's new in the White House!

Arif Alikhan, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mohammed Elibiary, Homeland Security Adviser

Rashad Hussain, Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)

Salam al-Marayati, Obama adviser and founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and is its current executive director

Imam Mohamed Magid, Obama's Sharia Czar from the Islamic Society of North America

Eboo Patel, Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships

This is flat-out scary! The foxes are now officially living in the hen house...

Now ask me why I am very concerned! Do you feel OK with this? How can this happen? - and when will we wake up?

Well, there ya have it. Maybe a little more political than I normally am, but it is what it is!

Coffee out on the chilly patio this morning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mom's Medical Update...!

I know we normally have Western Wednesday today, but I wanted to fill you in on what's been going on.

After being in the hospital for several days being treated for bronchitis and pneumonia, they also found some E Coli in her lungs. Where that came from, who knows? Anyway, yesterday they felt she was well enough to be discharged, but suggested a rehab center(nursing home) instead of home. They felt she wasn't strong enough to be at home without constant care at this time. I have to agree, because her legs just couldn't support her even using the walker.

3 weeks will be covered by Medicare and maybe by that time she will be a lot stronger. At least we hope so. At least we have her out of the hospital where she isn't exposed to Lord knows what. Besides, folks are waiting for the beds. The hospital is full and getting worse every day. Almost like the apocalypse, ya know?

Thanks to all of you for your kind words and thoughts and especially the prayers.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain and cooler temps are back.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sweet Stockpile...!

There are so many things the governments of the world are stockpiling, it really makes you wonder sometimes.

It seems that whatever master plan some governments have can easily backfire and create some big problems instead of solving solving them. Here's a good example.


The world’s sugar stockpiles are so high and prices so low that it’s driving some sugarcane farmers in India to commit suicide. Even with higher demand and lower production for sugar, the surplus in the sugar market is expected to remain high through 2016. That keeps sugar prices low and farmers hurting financially. Ironically, a major cause is the government-subsidized stockpiles of 86 million tons of sugar that were supposed to prop up prices and raise incomes for farmers of sugar crops.

That strategy obviously backfired. Sugar prices have also been hurt by low oil prices, which reduced demand for ethanol, an alternative fuel which can be made from sugar crops. The US and China have had government stockpiles of sugar for years. In early 2015, India was debating whether a government-sponsored sugar stockpile would help its farmers weather the latest plunge in prices.

But government stockpiles often cause more problems than they solve. In late 2013, China considered phasing out its stockpile in favor of making direct payments to farmers. “We have this dilemma,” said Chinese official Zhao Lihua at a local conference. “The more the government stockpiles when local supply exceeds demand, the worse the oversupply becomes because we end up importing more.”

I will never understand just why the governments tend to stockpile certain things. Maybe we should look a little further into this practice, ya think?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Submarine Monday Mystery...!

The sea is constantly furnishing us with stories and mysteries galore. This is another one in that vane from the folks over at Listverse.

USS Scorpion

In February 1968, the submarine USS Scorpion departed from Norfolk, Virginia, and headed toward the Mediterranean. It had almost a decade of reliable service behind it, and there were no qualms about the journey as the sub set out to the open sea. Three months later, the Scorpion ran into unknown trouble, and its broken pieces ended up scattered on the ocean floor. On May 27, 1968, family members of the Scorpion‘s crew waited in vain on a dock for their loved ones to return. It was October before the Navy would find the wreckage of the Scorpion and realize the horrible truth—that all 99 men onboard had lost their lives.

Investigations into the cause of the tragedy proved fruitless, even after Robert Ballard visited the site in 1985. He soon moved on to bigger things when he discovered the wreck of the Titanic that same year. In 2012, calls were made for new expeditions to the Scorpion‘s wreck site so that experts can once again try to fit the pieces of the mystery together.

Nothing came of this, and the theories continue to fly. Some conspiracy theories hold that the sub may have been downed by a Soviet attack that they never saw coming, while others believe that a mishap with one of the Scorpion’s own torpedoes may be to blame. Experts believe that if the sub had mistakenly fired off a torpedo during training, it would have turned back on itself and hit the sub, which would have been the closest and possibly the only target at the time. Others are adamant that if the sub’s propeller shaft malfunctioned, it may have caused stress to the engine coupling. This might have led to it breaking, causing water to overrun the sub.

The only thing certain about what happened to the USS Scorpion all those years ago is that some family and friends still wonder to this day what exactly happened to the 99 men out there in the ocean on that fateful May day.

I think this one fits the bill for Monday Mystery, right?

Coffee in the kitchen, just in case this morning.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tom And Jerry Again...!

How about some Tom and Jerry to start the week? bet!

I have always loved the sound effects in these 'toons! Really stand the test of time, I think.

Maybe just one more!

Well, that's enough for this morning I have to go back to the hospital to see Mom. She may be released today.

Coffee in the kitchen due to the rain.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Spy Stuff For Saturday...!

We have all seen movies or read books about the super villians in the world, often coming up with wild and elaborate schemes to take over, right? Well, believe it or not there is a bit of truth to some of the stories.

It's unfortunate that our very own country is navel deep in some crazy schemes to play the spy game. Even some wild and crazy ones have popped up over time. But, just like the fictitious plans, some of these are not so successful.

Stealth Satellites

Photo credit: USPTO via

Remember in the Bond film Moonraker where supervillain Hugo Drax had a stealth space station in orbit that was invisible to the US military? The US military actually had such a program—code-named Misty—to secretly deploy stealth satellites into space to spy on enemies. These satellites couldn’t be seen through telescopes or tracked with radar.

The first satellite was launched by a space shuttle in 1990. But just a few days later, the satellite apparently exploded. Believing that this was an ordinary spy satellite, both Russian and American space experts thought that was the end. In fact, the explosion had been faked, and the satellite had deployed a stealth shield to hide itself while the experts were distracted by the explosion.

Less than a year later, however, the satellite was spotted briefly by amateur astronomers while it was maneuvering in space. As late as five years later, other sightings were reported, again by amateurs. The military learned a lesson. When the next Misty satellite was launched in 1999, it contained a decoy that threw off the civilian astronomers for a while.

However, at a cost of nearly $10 billion, these spy satellites weren’t useful enough in real life to justify the massive expense. The project was canceled in 2007.

Thanks to the folks over at Listverse for making this spy story available to us. Funny being caught by some amateurs, huh?

Coffee on the patio again this morning, OK?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bet You Had One Of These...!

Some toys we had as kids have really evolved over the years. This certainly the case with this one!

Mr. Potato Head

Credit: Mario Ruiz/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Inventor George Lerner turned to the family dinner table for inspiration for this classic: Though many kids don’t like to eat their vegetables, they might want to play with them instead. Lerner originally created a bunch of silly face parts to be used with actual potatoes and other vegetables (beets anyone?) as part of a cereal box promotion. The Hassenfeld brothers, future founders of Hasbro Inc., purchased the toy idea in 1952, packaging 28 plastic facial and body parts with a Styrofoam head, which was later changed to plastic as well. By the end of its first year, Mr. Potato Head made history as the first toy with its own TV commercial (catchphrase: “Can I have that? I want that!”) and generated more than $4 million in sales.

If only we had some of the toys we received as kids, especially in the original boxes, we would all be rich! Oh,well...

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

So Here's The Deal...!

Yesterday at 3:00 I had to take Mom back to the doctor's office. After an examination and chest x-ray, they told me to take her back to the hospital for further test. They called the emergency room and told them we were on the way.

The main concern, besides the constant coughing, was the really low levels of oxygen. The hospital started her on a full work-up and more x-rays to find out if maybe she had pneumonia.

We arrived at the hospital at about 4:00 and I got back home about 9:00 pm. Mom is checked into the hospital so that they can better treat her. Maybe this time they will get it right before her release. Let's hope so.

So anyway, that's my post just letting you know what's going on at the Hermit's. Coffee is in the regular spot, so help yourself. Hospital coffee is really nasty, I'll tell ya!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sam Houston For Western Wednesday...!

Although many folks know the name of Sam Houston and part of his story, here is a bit of his history you may not know.

One thing about history, what we learn from the school books rarely tells the complete story. Many things get left out, twisted, or completely ignored. In Sam's case, the part often left out may change the way you think about him.

Houston opposed the secession of Texas to the Confederacy.

.Sam Houston photographed by Mathew Brady.

Although a slaveholder himself, Houston repeatedly voted against the spread of slavery to new territories of the United States during his 13 years in the Senate. An ardent advocate of the Union, Houston was the only Southern governor to oppose secession in the lead-up to the Civil War. Over his opposition, a state convention voted on February 1, 1861, to secede by a margin of 168 to. 8. When Houston refused a month later to swear allegiance to the Confederate States of America, the Texas legislature deposed him and replaced him with the pro-Confederacy lieutenant governor. Houston turned down a Union offer to lead a 50,000-man force against the Confederate rebels and retired to Huntsville, Texas, where he died in 1863.

Well, I hope I managed to tell ya something new about Sam. His early history makes for some interesting, in case you're interested.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are suppose to go up to 72.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Nazi Summer Camps In America...!

Yes, Believe it or not, there was a time that you could actually send your kid to a Nazi summer camp here in America.

I guess that kids could still have a good time at these camps, but it really seems strange to me that this was ever allowed from the beginning. Maybe this practice of allowing distasteful summer camps still exist, but I haven't heard of any. Then again, I don't think I ever went to any summer camps!

The 1930s Nazi Summer Camps In The USA
By Nolan Moore on Monday, December 7, 2015

During the 1930s, there were plenty of pro-Nazi supporters in the US. And unfortunately, a lot of these anti-Semites had kids. Wanting to instill their children with a love for the Third Reich, many of these parents sent their kids to Nazi summer camps—all located in the United States.

When we think of World War II, we generally picture it as Allies vs. Axis, the US vs. the Third Reich. The Germans followed Hitler, and Americans supported Uncle Sam. Of course, in real life, that dividing line sometimes got a little blurry. There were plenty of Germans who opposed Adolf Hitler, and as it turns out, there were quite a few Americans who thought the Chancellor was a pretty cool guy.

In 1936, a group of pro-Hitler Americans founded the German American Bund (bund means “alliance”). Led by Fritz Kuhn, the Bund wasn’t officially associated with the Nazi Party, but the group was full of die-hard Hitler-lovers nonetheless.

Under Kuhn, the Bund formed at least 70 chapters across the US. They created their own paramilitary group and even held a rally in Madison Square Garden, an event that drew in 20,000 spectators. But one of the weirdest things the Bund did was to create a series of Nazi summer camps across the US. That’s right. During the 1930s, American parents sent their kids to these creepy retreats where boys and girls played games, sang songs, and saluted the Fuhrer.

At the height of the Nazi summer camp craze, there were around 16 of these retreats spread out across the US. They were located in states like New York, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California. And they all had unique names like Camp Siegfried, Camp Hindenburg, Camp Will And Might, and The Deutschhorst Country Club. The retreats catered to kids ages 8–18, and naturally, there was a whole lot of propaganda involved.

Kids were dressed up in Nazi uniforms and taught how to speak German. They flew Nazi flags, practiced military drills, and learned how to shoot. Children learned the Nazi salute, sang German ballads, and put on some pretty impressive parades. In some camps, they even grew swastika-shaped shrubs and built fake anti-aircraft guns. Needless to say, it was all very disturbing.

Of course, these camps didn’t last very long. The government kept a close eye on the German American Bund and their Third Reich retreats. In 1939, Fritz Kuhn was arrested for tax evasion and embezzlement, which kind of put a damper on the Bund’s plan to politically conquer the country. Without their leader at the helm, the Bund started to falter, as did the camps.

Eventually, the feds started shutting down the retreats, and after the US officially declared war on Germany in 1941, it became a crime to join the Nazi Party. As you might expect, that put an end to the pro-Nazi summer camps as the American government didn’t really approve of goose-stepping nine-year-olds.

If it were not for this article from the folks over at Knowledgenuts, I would have never known this. Guess it's true you learn something new every day!

Coffee out on the patio this mornint. I believe it's gonna be warm enough.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Cruise Ship Mystery For Monday...!

Here is a modern mystery that surprisingly recent. Just the ticket for starting off another week, right?

Many of the mysteries we have for Monday Mysteries are old ones. This time that isn't the case at all. Not only is it recent, but it's close to home. How cool is that?

John Halford

In 2011, 63-year-old John Halford ran his own successful business and was about to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife, Ruth, with whom he shared three beautiful children. Halford was on top of the world, but he still had a dream that he wanted to fulfill before retiring—to go on a cruise. His dream came true that same year when he set off on a seven-day Thomson’s cruise on March 31.

Halford seemingly had the time of his life on the cruise liner, judging by the texts he sent his wife. Near midnight on the last evening of the cruise, John Halford was enjoying cocktails at the ship’s bar as the ship neared its final destination. He had sent his wife a text earlier with his flight details so that she could pick him up from the airport.

Ruth, who had missed her husband very much during his well-deserved break, couldn’t wait to go to the airport and meet him. Before she could leave, however, she received a call from the cruise company to inform her that John would not be at the airport, as he had gone missing from the ship at some point between midnight and 7:00 AM the next morning, when all the other passengers disembarked.

John Halford was never seen again. His wife and children fear that he went over the railing of the cruise liner, although the Thomson’s company strongly denied that this would be possible. Tragically, Halford is just one of more than 150 people who’ve mysteriously disappeared on cruise ships since the turn of the new millennium.

This story was found over in the mystery section of Listverse. Seems like a lot of people to go missing from cruise ships without being accounted for, don't you think?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's cool, but dry!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bugs Bunny Sunday...!

How about we watch an old time favorite today? Everyone likes ol' Bugs, right?

And just one more...

Ya know, Mel Blanc made a really good living just by bringing characters like Bugs to life for us. Did a good job, I'd say!

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Toy Favorites From Long Ago...!

With Christmas not that far away, it's time for all the kids to be told stories about some of our favorite toys from our own childhood. Remember back that far? I can...barely!

Some toys from our time just never really seem to go out of style. Some of them will probably outlast many of us, if you know what I mean.

1920s — Yo-Yo

All hail the Yo-Yo! This classic is actually an ancient invention, going back to China circa 1000 B.C. Or was it ancient Greece? The Philippines? Historians may be divided as to its exact origins, but variations of the spinning-disk-on-a-string toy had certainly been around for centuries before 1928, when Pedro Flores began manufacturing the yo-yo in the United States, calling it by its Filipino name. Flores soon sold his toy company to a competitor, Don Duncan, a marketing whiz whose promotional Yo-Yo trick contests would launch the toy’s popularity into the stratosphere.

I sometimes think that some of the earlier toys were the most fun to play with...and may still be. Thing about the older stuff, you could play with them even in a power outage, ya know?

By the way, sorry about missing the post from yesterday. Medical problems got in the way and I forgot.Sometimes life happens, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Psychic Capitals Of America...!

I find it strange that places like this actually exist and seem to be faring well in what they do.

I can only wonder why I haven't heard of these places before, ya know? With all the strange stuff I see on the Web every day, seems as though I would have found some mention of them before.

The Most Psychic Spots In The United States
By Nolan Moore on Monday, November 30, 2015

Want to speak with the dead or learn a little something about your future? Well, if you live in the US, then you need to visit Lily Dale, New York, or Cassadaga, Florida. These little towns are jam-packed with psychics, modern-day Spiritualists practicing their trade in the most psychic cities in America.

Lily Dale, New York, isn’t your typical city. Sure, there’s a post office, a library, a couple of restaurants, and even a coffee shop. But the inhabitants of Lily Dale aren’t your typical American citizens. This city is home to around 500 psychics and mediums, people who specialize in communing with the dead, peering into the future, or healing the sick.

The city got started back in the 1870s when Spiritualism was all the rage. Hoping to establish a super psychic summer camp, a group of Spiritualists purchased around 20 acres of land and named their new hangout the “Cassadaga Lake Free Association.” Over time, the name evolved into Lily Dale, in honor of the local plant life.

Today, the psychics and clairvoyants of Lily Dale continue to ply their trade, but the town is especially busy during the summer. For about 10 weeks, thousands of visitors descend upon the city, hoping to contact long-deceased relatives, answer pressing questions about the future, or attend the numerous psychic seminars. As one of the town’s citizens said in an HBO documentary about the town, “Lily Dale is to Spiritualism as Rome is to Catholicism.”

Of course, not just anyone can set up shop inside city limits. Evidently, would-be mediums have to pass a series of specially designed tests. They’re even required to conduct readings for members of the Lily Dale board of directors. Then and only then can they practice their magic in the Spiritualist equivalent of the Vatican City.

However, Lily Dale isn’t the only psychic hotspot in the US. Travel down to Florida, and you’ll find the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. Alternatively described as a “psychic Disneyland” and “the psychic capital of the world,” this Spiritualist camp is directly connected to the denizens of Lily Dale.

Back in 1894, a man named George P. Colby—who wasn’t initially connected with Lily Dale—was instructed by his Native American spirit guide to move to Florida, buy a chunk of land, and establish a psychic utopia. Colby followed orders, and in 1894, Lily Dale sent a delegation to visit Colby’s Florida plot. Impressed with the warm weather, the Lily Dale committee wanted to start a wintertime Spiritualist camp. With Colby’s help, they turned his property into “the oldest active religious community in the Southeast.”

Today, veteran Cassadaga psychics train students in the ways of the Force for up to six years. And if you ever decide to visit the community, you might want to check out their schedule and see what special services the psychics are offering on a given day. You might want to drop by on “Embrace Your Fairy Day” or take a class like “The Art of Mediumship.” Visitors can take part in a “Reiki Healing Circle” or perhaps pose for skotograph, a special type of photography that “captures” the image of your spirit guide.

If you’re a thrill-seeker, you can stay at the (supposedly haunted) Cassadaga Hotel. Or you can even take a tour where you’ll learn which of the resident psychics have communed with celebrity spirits. Of course, you’ll need to bring along a bit of cash because these services aren’t free. Con artists, er, psychics have to make a living too, you know.

Guess the main reason I haven't found one of these places before now, is that I am not psychic. I had to go over to Knowledgenuts to find out about these places. Oh well...

Coffee in the kitchen again today. Still a bit chilly out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Some Lewis And Clark History...!

Some things about the famous expedition we were never taught in school. This is one part about the trip you may not know.

You know all about the female guide Sacagawea, but here is a part of her history we never hear about.

Sacagawea reunited with her long lost brother during the journey.

One of the most legendary members of the Lewis and Clark expedition was Sacagawea, a teenaged Shoshone Indian who had been kidnapped from her tribe as an adolescent. Sacagawea, her husband and her newborn son first joined up with the explorers as they wintered at a Hidatsa-Mandan settlement in 1804, and she later served as an interpreter and occasional guide on their journey to the Pacific. During a run-in with a band of Shoshone in the summer of 1805, she famously discovered the tribe’s chief was none other than her long lost brother, whom she had not seen since her abduction five years earlier. The tearful reunion helped facilitate peaceful relations between the explorers and the Shoshone, allowing Lewis to procure much-needed horses for his trek over the Rockies.

See? There is always more to learn if you research deep enough. By the way, Mm's trip to the doctor didn't bring any bad news, but she still has a really bad cough.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Way too chilly on the patio.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Deadly Fungus Fever...!

Since I have to take Mom back to the doctor today, I figured a health story would be just the ticket. I never heard of this illness before, and I'm almost sorry that I found this story over on Listverse.


If you’ve read any news about bees, frogs, or bats dying off suddenly, much of that was caused by fungus. “Fungi kill more people than malaria and tuberculosis worldwide,” explained Professor Rosemary Barnes of Cardiff University in a January 2015 press release. “They destroy about a third of all arable food crops.

”In fact, fungus is the biggest killer in the world, and we’re not talking about someone accidentally eating a poisonous mushroom. The scariest thing about fungus is that you can breathe in a deadly spore and never know it. For example, Coccidioidomycosis (aka “valley fever”) is a fungal disease that lives in the soil of the American Southwest. If you breathe it in, you may develop a fever or nothing may happen at all. It can also turn into a flesh-eating infection that gnaws away at your lungs, your joints, or the protective membranes of your brain and spinal cord.

If you’re out enjoying a hike, you could inadvertently contract a disease that will be with you for the rest of your life. Similar to valley fever, the Pacific Northwest has Cryptococcus gattii. There are no preventive measures. There is no vaccine, either. Even masks don’t work because the spores are too small. But the good news is that fungal infections are not contagious. The bad news is that they’re spreading.

I know, I really didn't need to read this article this morning. Just thought you all needed something else to help you sleep better at night, ya know? Heck, it's no wonder some folks go nuts thinking about all the weird ways that Nature is fighting back. Almost makes a good story line for a horror movie, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.